Monthly Archives: April 2013

Outside the touch of time

To the outside world, we all grow old.

But not to brothers and sisters.

We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts.

We share private family jokes.

We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.

We live outside the touch of time.

-Clara Ortega

all of us:: an emjayandthem photo

all of us:: an emjayandthem (C) photo

*30 days till I see my sissy again, the tall one on the right (we’re now the same height).  And that’s me giggling in the red jammies.

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Love, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Fried Spam

Have any of you bloggers noticed a trend of late?

As in ….  more spam?

More hostile comments so nonsensical and poorly written that they’re laughable?

More links to – ahem – enhancement products and dating sites?

More subscribers with links to blogs that … don’t exist?

I have.

When I was a kid, Mom bought Spam sometimes.

this kind -- salty with a touch of slime

this kind — salty with a touch of slime

She’d slice it into thick slices and fry it on high heat, heat so hot the edges would burn and curl just a little.  Served up with scrambled eggs or cheesy potatoes we kids, fresh off our ponies, the lake or the field, would gobble it down.

It wasn’t great, but it was a salty-hammy-concoction that was tolerable.  Especially with enough ketchup.

Nowadays, Spam means something else.

Spam now is unwanted e-attention from ill-intentioned people and systems.

Systems and individuals looking to scam, steal, trick, coerce and lie their way into our good graces.

Do what I do … send ’em to the Spam folder.  Never respond. Don’t click on their faceless links.

And hope that WordPress turns the heat up so high they smoke.

The Akisment Widget in action

The Akismet Widget in action

Are you seeing more spam these days?  Have you turned up the heat? 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Life, News, Random | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Winter is dead

Dare we say it?  Dare we?

Snow Thursday, 64 Saturday.

But out and about this morning, something in the mulch caught my attention.

Something small and pink and determined:

peonies popping up

The Peonies have spoken: Spring is here!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Faith, Family, Home, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

A river moving

It’s Friday.

That long awaited, much anticipated day.

There’s still lots of the week left in today, but we’re close enough to the finish line to begin thinking of other things.

peeking kitten

I see you, weekend!

Weekend warriors or time to just be?

Maybe a little of both?

Whatever you choose, take it from me and do what feeds your soul.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”― Rumi

*image from Pinterest

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Love at the table

It was Easter weekend, only a few weeks ago now. We had oldest boy and the wee ones over, plus Grandpa, youngest boy and, of course, Frankie the dog.  Add in me & Hubbs and we had ourselves a full table.  The kitchen was brimming with the scents of ham and roast turkey, double stuffed potatoes, steamed vegetables, salads and desserts.  The table, loaded with place settings and bunnies, was peppered with talk of egg hunts later on.

As we gathered, little MJ, the youngest of the bunch, leaned over and asked, “Nana, can we pray?”

“Of course we can,” I said.  Seeing her delighted smile, I asked “Would you like to say the blessing, Luvee?”

Shyly she nodded.

Ignoring her brother’s eye roll, she took his hand firmly in hers and watched as he took Pops’ hand. She reached for me and I, in turn, reached for Grandpa who reached for oldest boy who reached for youngest who reached for Hubbs/Pops. Together, we completed a circle.  Even Frankie, lying at Grandpa’s feet, was in on it.

Three and half years old, she waited for everyone to bow their heads before she started to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little to ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.”

And with that, she clapped, we cheered, and the love at the table was palpable.

The singer with her Easter "Pack-Pack"

The singer with her Easter “Pack-Pack”

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

I saw her

The past two days have been an adventure, to say the least.   After the news in Boston and Texas, it felt good to get out for a road trip on Thursday. Except for the driving rain.  And the flooding. And the difficulty doing simple things … like seeing where I was going!

But, eventually, I drove out of the storms and found myself enjoying the ride — the winding roads, the hills, farms and fields.  Arriving at my destination, I was met by the smiling face of one of my employees.  Our meetings went well, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a quaint Northern town and then, off we went again, driving through the rain and the hills and the snow to another city I’ve never visited before.

Wrapping up yesterday, we soon realized that I couldn’t go home the same way I’d came in.  You see, the city I live in has a large river snaking through it and the banks were already compromised; every river north of here is swollen and spilling over.  I decided to reroute and travel south along the Lake Huron shoreline and then make my way West from there.

Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to get out and stand!

Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to get out and stand!

Just before a stretch of open road, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed: the gas gauge was low. A lot lower than it should have been for the distance I still had to go.  I took an exit off the highway into an area I’ve never been and, driving along, it seemed to take forever to see any signs of gas stations or … civilization. My nerves kicked in and I felt my hands shaking just a bit.

Oh geez, I thought. Wouldn’t this be just perfect? I muttered.  C’mon gas station where are you? and then a chime-chime-chime of the gas alert.  Oh Lord, here we go.

Coming around a bend in the road, I saw it: a little country stop called, “Gas N Go.”   Let’s hope it’s open. 

I pulled up, filled up, and walked inside to pay.   As I opened the door, here she came: a little (and I mean tiny) old lady in a rain hat and boots, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you know the roads?”

Holding the door, my hair flying in the wind, I replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t. I’m not from around here.”  She put her head down and started to walk away when something made me  ask “Where are you headed?”

Looking up, her bright blue eyes peeking out from under her plastic rain hat, she said, “Well, I’m headed to Belding; you see my sister died and I need to get there.”   I touched her arm lightly and said, “I’m so sorry; you know the roads are bad and it’s flooding and are you sure you should be going?”  Again those blue eyes, “I have to” and off she headed to her truck.

I went inside to pay and felt my emotions get the best of me. That could be my Mom out on a country road. That could be me.

I blurted out my concerns to the clerk: that she shouldn’t be out in this, and couldn’t we do something?  Behind me stood an older man, a farmer-looking kind of man. The kind of man who could have been my Dad or my neighbor growing up.   I heard him clear his throat and put his change on the counter; he stepped ahead of me and went straight to her truck.  In the wind and the driving rain, I saw him pointing forward and telling her road names.

Driving back to the highway, I thought of her. I prayed for her. And yes, I cried for her.

You see, as a girl who lives so far from what’s familiar, there’s much of my life that’s an adventure. But there are also moments like this when I feel the pinch of not living where things are known to me.

Last night, I found myself telling Hubbs about that encounter.  He listened, as he always does, and then said something that resonated with me. “No you couldn’t help her, you didn’t know your way, but you did what you could: you saw her.”

Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re not meant to solve everyone’s problems. Maybe the best we can do is take a moment and see someone.

Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on. ~Henry Burton, Pass It On

Categories: Faith, fear, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, Personal, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments


I wrote about Boston yesterday. Today I found out about an odd coincidence:

Sheryl, the gal who taught my blogging class so long ago? She’s a runner and ran the Boston, her first time. She and her family are OK and you can visit her blog at:

I don’t know why but, somehow, finding this out made me feel better.

Not about what happened.  Not about what people are going through.

About the connections we make that seem so happenstance at the time.

About feeling a little less alone in all this turmoil.

About knowing that there’s a larger plan in place than what I know it to be.

Curved asphalt road

Everyday is a winding road …

“Coincidences are just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Have you ever experienced a coincidence that gave you comfort?


Categories: Attitude, Faith, fear, Friendship, Gratitude, Life, News, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Patriot’s Day

Yesterday was “Patriots’ Day” here in the United States.  In Massachusetts, a state holiday.  The running of the Boston Marathon.  You know the rest.

And today, just like after so many other similar days, we’re reeling.

Newtown. Aurora. Oklahoma City. 9/11. Boston.

What can you do?

What can I do?

Today you can know this: in the face of unimaginable horror, there were still more who tried to help than did not.

There were still more who rushed to the scene than ran away.

There were still more offering tips than the phones could handle.

There were still more who watched in sadness and wondered what can I do?

And that’s when the anger came. Anger that someone – identity unknown – wants us all to live in fear.  To be afraid to run.

Not happening, coward.


  • The Red Cross says the best way to help right now is to get in touch with loved ones through its Safe And Well Listings. The organization is not asking for blood donations at this time.
  • The Salvation Army is offering food, beverages and crisis counseling to survivors and first responders. Find out how you can get involved here.
  • Some marathon runners are stranded in Boston and in need of places to stay. Find out how you can offer housing here.
  • Anyone with info about the incident can call 1-800-494-TIPS.

This Patriot stands with Boston and I am not afraid to run.


Categories: Faith, fear, Grief, Life, News, Patriotic, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

A flowerful May?

Last week, we had rain. A lot of rain.

This weekend, we had snow. A fair amount of snow.

The week ahead?  More rain.

If the saying is true, May should be filled with flowers.


April showers bring May flowers (image from Pinterest)

Has Spring arrived where you’re at? Could you send it on to Michigan?

related posts:

Categories: Animals, Faith, Fun, Home, Life, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Turning down life’s volume

I don’t know about you but most of my days are pretty scheduled.   During the work week, I am up early and out the door on time; I usually work through lunch and conference calls don’t often end until well after the quitting hour.  The funny thing is, I love a schedule. I enjoy the nuances of my work and the fact that some weeks have me traveling one day and in the office the next.    The company I work for is changing, morphing, growing;  keeping a schedule and helping my team know what to expect is critical to our success.

But, when Saturday rolls around, I still arm myself with a big list of things to accomplish.  You know what I mean: clean the closet, organize that stack of medical reports, wash the floor, etc.

I know from where it comes: my parents and Grandparents.  Hard work was expected but good work was praised. Growing up, they didn’t have time to pursue extra interests so what attributes were commented on?  Work ethic. “Oh … he’s a good man, that one, a really hard worker.” Or “Oh that guy, kind of a slacker, be glad you didn’t marry someone like that.”

So there’s a certain genetic marker in me that is programmed to work. To be useful. Effective. Organized.

But also living inside me is the dreamer, the creative one, the one who wants to play.

Some Saturdays you’ll find me going after the house like the White Tornado.

Remember Ajax's "White Tornado?" google images

Remember Ajax’s “White Tornado?” google images

And other Saturdays finding me doing just the opposite.

Today, I did something I don’t often do: I slept ’till I woke. It was 8:08 when my eyes opened … not late, really, but choosing to snooze till my body said “wake” felt like a gift.

I could have slept longer, but I didn’t.

I could have immediately started laundry and put away the dishes and and and.

But I didn’t.

Instead, Frankie and I stood in the doorway to the yard and watched the snow fall.  He sniffed and I sipped and we both smiled at the robins flitting about.

Yes there are things to get done but, more than anything, we’re pushing the off button.

“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Amir”  – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Are you able to lower the volume on your life?  Do you have that same genetic marker that tells you work-work-work?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Opinion, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Yellow roses

So there was a time, many years ago, when hubbs was not in my life.

We met just after I’d formally given up on love; at a time when I assumed that being alone and a single Mom was just the way life was meant to be for me. I’d even announced it to friends (like that made it official – ha!).

Yep, I thought I had it all figured out. I was a divorced mother of a 5-year-old and he was a well-traveled businessman from the Midwest. I had a child. I did not date. I worked and took care of my son.  But a relentless girlfriend dragged me out one Friday night and that’s where we met. He chatted her up (I thought he had a thing for her) but, little did I know, he was making his way to me.

The evening was fun and the conversation was great. He was easy to talk to and even easier to look at. I recall settling back into my seat when he asked me if I had any kids. Shyly I told him a little bit about my little boy. I’ll never forget his face lighting up and him saying, “Really? I love kids.”    But still, caution ensued and when he asked for my phone number I had to say, “I’m sorry I don’t give that out.” I’ll never forget his confident reply, “If you’d at least tell me your last name .. I’ll look it up.”  And he did.

Before we even had our first date, my employer announced they were relocating us from Connecticut to Texas … 6 states away in 4 months.  Still, summer arrived and, cautiously, we spent time together – the 3 of us – how’s that for romance?   Seeing that big shouldered man play with a tow-haired boy softened my wounded heart.

But the movers came anyways, and we found ourselves having long talks about a future together. It was me who kept chiding, “You know we’re moving; I have to go with my job. I’m the only provider…”  And his reply was always the same, “I know but I’m just not letting you go that easily.”

Letters were written, phone calls exchanged, and visits were often.

It was on one of those weekend visits that he asked me to marry him. Again. And again I shyly gave him my pat answer of “maybe.”

When we said our tortured good-byes at Houston’s Hobby airport, I could sense his frustration.

Driving home, my boy heard me cry out loud … “Oh no.”

“What’s wrong, Mom?” he chirped from the back seat.

“Tomorrow’s his birthday and how could I forget, oh my God we didn’t even get him a present to take home with him!”

I felt like a heel.  A total idiot. A terribly thoughtless person caught up in a romance that my heart trusted but my head had said no to.

And then it came to me, a voice as clear as any I’ve ever heard. One that said, “You know what he wants.”

And I wanted it too.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get on the phone.

Calling information, I found a shop located near his New Rochelle office. Desperate and breathless, I tried to explain the situation to the gal on the other end of the line.   Sympathetically she said,”No problem, sweetheart, we’ll take  care of it for you.  Good luck to you!”

And the next day, in front of his all female staff, that big shouldered Michigan man received a giant bouquet of yellow roses on his birthday.  Why? Because we were in Texas and he wasn’t.  And the card?

The card said Y-E-S.

Happy Anniversary, Hubbs.

me & the hubbs at our wedding

“Choose the guy who ruins your lipstick, not the one who ruins your mascara.”  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

21 years.  7,665 days. No regrets.

I smile when I see yellow roses.

I still smile at yellow roses.


Categories: Faith, Home, Joy, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , | 65 Comments

On Fridays

happy dog

Friday’s make me grin

On Fridays, coffee shop lines are filled with people who smile at each other.

On Fridays, the weekend peeks over the horizon with projects and possibilities.

On Fridays, conversations turn to dates and plans, dreams and stories.

On Fridays, we turn off the lights on our week’s work.

On Fridays,  4:30 is to meetings what water is to boarding.

Happy Friday, peeps!

happy cat

Have a great weekend!

*all images from Pinterest.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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Connie Rosser Riddle

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