Monthly Archives: May 2014

Random Five Friday – Handle with Care

1.  For all the snow we had this winter, record amounts in fact, we need rain. How does that work?

from inside looking out!   And Emjayandthem (C) photo

from inside looking out! And Emjayandthem (C) photo

2. No plans this weekend.  Oh sure there’s yard stuff to do and inside stuff to do but, for at least 2 days, I have no particular place to be and I am absolutely digging that!

You got it!

You got it!

3. Yesterday I was reading a message on my Smart phone and happened to catch my reflection — I stopped, laughed and realized that a lot of us, including me, make the same face when looking down:  we look like Grumpy Cat!  From now on I vow to bring my phone to eye level even if I look odd doing it.

Need to stop making this face!  source

Need to stop making this face! source

4. Lilacs. Still gorgeous.  The end.

Just heavenly!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Just heavenly! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

2.  I came across another Traveling Wilburys song that I’ve been playing a lot of lately.  George is adorable and Tom is cool but I think it’s Roy’s haunting voice that draws me back again and again.  You?

Have a great weekend, peeps!








Categories: Animals, Attitude, Blogging, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

For sure

Fifteen years ago a little dream started… a dream of living in four seasons again, being close to family and having a dog.

Fourteen years ago me & the Hubbs endured 28 realtor showings in 30 days, sold our house, (tried to) quit our jobs, packed up the boys and moved cross-country to come “home” to Michigan.

our former home in Katy, Texas (an Emjayandthem (C) photo)

our former home in Katy, Texas (an Emjayandthem (C) photo)

I loved that house, and we cried as we drove away, not for the place, but because we brought our baby home and created our family in that little brick house built just for us.

For the rest of the story, read When you know for sure.

When’s the last time you knew something for sure?

2000: One starting High School and the other starting grade one.

2000: One in High School and the other in grade one.. in Michigan.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo


Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

2 for Tuesday

Summer is on its way and that means summer produce is, too — and that makes me happy!

1) Still fighting a cough & congestion so I whipped up something I love this weekend — my “Hey Now Salsa” oh it is so stinkin’ good!  Sent a container home with oldest son yesterday & kept one for me. Crunchy, fresh, zippy and delicious, it’s better every time I make it! And it’s going with me to top off my grilled chicken salad at lunch!

photo from  (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

photo from (This has never lasted long enough for me to capture it on camera)

2) Bought myself a “Nutribullet” this weekend, too.  Why? I frequent the farmers market but often find I can’t eat everything before it spoils.  And spending all that money just to throw out wilted produce goes against my grain!  I’d seen the infomercial so I did the research and found it locally at “Bed, Bath and Beyond.”  With the the 20% coupon I found from last December I paid around $80  ~ ~ Did you know their coupons never expire?  Yes they have expiration dates but the clerks just ignore them – sweet!

image from

image from

Yesterday I made my first smoothie which consisted of spinach, 1 pear, a handful of blueberries and raspberries, water & some chia seeds.  Youngest kid liked the taste but couldn’t get past the green-ness of it.  I loved it and a concoction like that will be my breakfast today.   An extra 10lbs of winter pudge snuck onto my 5′ 3″ frame and I’m hopeful that these extra nutrients will help me not only shed the fluff + boost my immunity.  This latest bout marks the 3rd time in 5 mos I’ve gotten sick with the same thing  = time to pay attention, I think. I’ll share my thoughts and progress as I go 🙂

That’s my 2 for Tuesday — so, tell me, what gadget have you purchased recently? And, more importantly, did it work as promised?

Care to play along?  On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

Care to play along? On Tuesdays, pick a topic and lean into it with at least 2 points!



Categories: Animals, Determination, Faith, Food, Fun, Growth, Home, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Random May Friday

1. Took a road trip yesterday!  Every sign pointed to “don’t bother” – my desk was calling, calls were scheduled, but I went anyway.  Why?  Getting out of the office and into the sunshine is good for the soul.  B/c of the respiratory infection I’ve been battling, I had to hum instead of sing, all so I could “save” my voice for the meeting. I joined in, offered a few comments but mostly, I just listened.  Not talking gave me the opportunity to really hear a few who were a bit worked up.   Listening turned the situation around, and by the time I left, they had a new & different perspective on me and my company.  Whoop!

just listen

2.  Called each of my staff last night and told them to plan on leaving today around 3 pm.  Hubbs is golfing, I’m going to stay at the office and finish up some things, and they might as well get a jump on the Holiday weekend.  Not one of them turned down the offer and their reactions just made me grin.

dogs smiling

I grinned like the goofy dog on the right

3.  Our weather in Michigan has finally turned and I think we’ve fast-forwarded through spring and into early summer.

So happy my lilacs are blooming!

So happy my lilacs are blooming!

4. Frankie loved that Lilac tree and was a regular sniffer of it. He sniffed in and under it, and usually came back to the house covered in blossoms.  He also loved the Peonies that bloom nearby. Once those are blooming, we will scatter his ashes throughout that bed.  Ferdinand-the-Frankie dog would have loved that and I think the chipmunks will notice his return.

Can you find old dog in this photo?

Can you find old dog in this photo?

5.  I plan to indulge in a healthy round of NCD this weekend and I hope you do as well!

I hope you get some "no can do" time this weekend!


And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me. -Lee Greenwood

Happy Memorial Day!

image from

image from

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Memory lane across the span of three cupboards

My trip to the farm has come & gone.

Out of one world, into another, and back again.  Just like that.

Now I’m fighting a nasty cough, likely brought on by chats, the dry climate and a wind that never stops. Yep, “like trying to stuff 12 pounds of potatoes into a two-pound sack” we absolutely did just that.

So now I am here again, bridging my two worlds, and thinking of an epiphany  experienced in my childhood home: this was the first of all of my trips back “home” that “home” wasn’t there to be found … turns out, home is here, where I’m at now.

It was odd … sleeping in my old room, using the same coffee cup I’d favored as a teen, sitting in Dad’s chair .. and not feeling that familiar sense of home anymore.  It took me a while to see the obvious: I’ve grown up and moved on and I don’t really fit in there anymore.

I’ve lived more years away than I did there.

Once I got past that, I could lean into the visit.  And lean into it we did.   We spent most of our time just being together. Within touching distance.

Hugs good-night and good morning hellos.

Passing the jam.

Washing my hair in the kitchen sink, like I’d done as a girl.

Fixing the coffee and instinctively finding the grounds where they’d been forever (beside the fridge, on the floor, in a large tin can).

We finished stories and told new ones.

We stayed up late.

We asked “whatever happened to so & so?” and we were there for the answers.

We settled into a routine and I became part of the landscape where Mom’s lived and loved for 62+ years.  The home I hope she can stay in for many more.

It’s not my home anymore and that’s O.K.

But it did take time to be able to see it.

It took even more to be able to admit it.

And oh, before I forget, I made a pie!

It was a bright sunny morning, the country radio station was blaring and I took over her kitchen to whip up a pie … and, the funny thing is,  I enjoyed the making as much as I did the tasting … look at all that meringue – yum!

That  experience of standing at her counter tops – listening to familiar radio chatter once more – using Mom’s “harvest gold” measuring cups and battered mixing bowls – all of it … made me smile.  The trip down memory lane happened across the span of three cupboards.

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

It also took this trip back to my roots for me to finally understand why I’ve never been a fan of surprises or surprise parties.

You see, part of the fun for me is the anticipation. Don’t deny me that, please.

Trips are like that, too.

Trips and pie.

Sometimes the process can be as enjoyable as the end result.

It was soon gone.

The Flapper pie was soon gone.

# # #

When was the last time you had an epiphany?

What did you learn?

# # #

My sister-in-law’s Mom’s Flapper pie recipe:

(while talking about baking pie, my SIL Colleen quietly mentioned her Mom had been quite a good baker in her day and had a great Flapper Pie recipe and might I like to have it? Of course I would! So here it is.  Thanks Colleen!)


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • Melt margarine, pour into crumbs and stir in sugar.  Press into large pie pan and up including sides.


  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Stir in microwave-safe pourable bowl; Microwave on high until thick.  About 2 min, then stir, then another 1-2 min, depending on strength of microwave.  Watch closely, must be thick but pourable.  Pour into shell.


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Whip with an electric hand mixer or whisk until frothy & forms peaks (to test, turn off mixer and lift beaters away from mixture. If a peak remains, you’re set. If not, keep going.  It took me about 5 min with the hand mixer set to high to get the peaks formed).
  • Spread over filling and bake in 375 F oven until golden brown, about 8-10 min.

Allow to cool at room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge – best served cold with some strong “Farmer’s Coffee!”





Categories: Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Nameless moments

Some of you know I am heading out tomorrow … off to spend a week with Mom, and our first Mother’s Day together in 29 years.   The numbers astound even me.  Of course I’ve visited many times since I left Canada at age 22 but I’ve never been there on Mother’s Day.   This is just as much for me as it is for her, I can admit that.

Stepping out of one world and through the doors to another.  Away from smart phones and conference calls, instant messaging and project meetings.  Away from traffic and busyness and into the arms of a tiny-faced lady who will hug me with everything she’s got.

I’ll step away from stewarding my team, being a wife, Mom and Nana and back to the roles of daughter, (little) sister and “that girl who used to sing and play guitar.”

I’ve got a few things ready – including a funeral outfit – because, as Sissy pointed out, “I thought you’d want to attend and you’ll surely see lots of people you know.” And she’s right.  That’s how small towns are.  Funerals, weddings, gatherings; regardless the circumstance, the timing is such that I can take Mom, pay my respects and have a visit. And some pie.

My carry-on bag is already heavy and full – full of books for Mom.  A friend pointed out airline weight limits; I just smiled and said, “Yeah, I know.”  Oh there’s a fee? Whatever, I’ll pay it.  She didn’t get it and I didn’t expect that she would.

You see, when you only see your Mother once a year, you can get defensive with anyone who tells you how to do it.

Sissy will meet me at the airport and we’ll cry. Then we’ll laugh at our sappiness and enjoy the country drive together.  We’ll stop in town to pick up a few things and it’ll take longer to check out because I’ll end up chatting with a neighbor at the till.  Yep, when you see your sister only once a year, you tend to savor little moments like those.

So after I land at the farm and the hugs are exchanged, the chats and laughs will begin.   I’ll get up early and go for walks down our country road with my sister-in-law and her farm dog, Stevie. On the way back I’ll stop by Dad’s shop where I’ll find a brother or two and chat about whatever topic we fancy.  When I get back Mom will be at the table and there we’ll linger in that morning sunshine, sipping coffee and ignoring the ticking of the clock and the knowledge that I have to board again soon.

We’ll stay up late peppering the air with our opinions on world events and family nuances.  I’ll stand at her stove and cook for her and sing along to Willie, Elvis and Roy, just like we did when I was a girl. We’ll sip tea and nibble the lemon loaf she’s baked for me; she’ll fuss and I’ll let her.

We’ll gather at her house for a Mother’s Day brunch – about twenty of us – and she’ll beam at the noise and commotion that all of being together brings. We’ll miss those who can’t be there and every single one of us will feel Dad in the room.

And for seven days, I will ask those clocks to slow, just a little.

Me & Mom rocking the Casino last summer!

Me & Mom rocking the Casino last summer!

 The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you. ~Anonymous


Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Thoughts on a Thursday

1. Today’s my Friday!    In a week Sissy will greet me at the Saskatoon airport and, between a mix of tears and smiles, we’ll make our way to Mom’s where I’ll remain for 7 days.  Getting ready for a trip like that means I need a bit of time at home first.   I’ll tidy up tomorrow, cook a few meals to pop in the freezer, and spend some time with my guys and grands.  Ahh .. Heaven.

Appreciate the little things in life, one day you’ll look back and realize those were the big things.Anonymous

2. Speaking of Mom, she and I talked last night and she had questions about “this Mother’s Day brunch” I’m organizing.  She’s one capable lady and wanted the details.  Who’s coming? What time?  What should we make, etc.  But it was her quiet mention of inviting a distant grandchild that touched my heart. My oldest brother’s daughter, the one she doesn’t see as much as the others.  The one with her own family and Mother to Mom’s 3 great-grandsons.  My response, “Mom, if you’d like to include them then by all means do so.”   I could hear her smiles over the phone.  It’s just food and I can make more. 🙂

A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.  ~Robert Brault

3.  The company I work for announced some big news this week and I know that means reorganizations and realignment in our future.  People are already jockeying and posturing and aligning.   I am in a good place and probably have as much security as could be had, given the situation.   Having said that, it’s not the news that rattles me, it’s the behavior.  Geez Louise, people, do your work, stay the course, and let it sort itself out.

“Whatever follows ‘I am’ is going to come looking for you.” – Joel Osteen

4. Speaking of family, I called my sister last night. No, not Sissy, the other one, the one I haven’t been as close to.  Yes it was awkward, but over a bit of time, she warmed up and the conversation was a bit easier.   Of course, we stayed in a safe swim lane of topics – Mom, the weather, and my sister’s life. There was no inquiry of me and mine, but that’s not new,  it’s just more.   I know the effort was probably for naught, but when I listened to Mom speak longingly of her sisters, she helped me remember  that I still have two.

It doesn’t take a whole long life to realize that what we deserve to have, we rarely get.” ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

5. Totally off topic, I saw this recently and cracked up. I bet you do, too:



Happy Thursday, peeps!


Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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