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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Goofballs & Billy Boy

*originally posted October 29, 2011

Halloween parties meant a costume parade through the entire school! (My grade school ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

When I was a little girl, Halloween was a very exciting time. We had a class  party and costume parade to look forward to, yummy treats to enjoy, games to play and of course …“Trick or Treating.”

Living on a farm eight miles from town, “Trick or Treating” involved 2 absolutes: cold weather and a car.  Mom and Aunt Irene helped us make our costumes and we often recycle pieces of from older costumes into something new. After supper, we’d pile into one of their cars and head out for the night.  This involved a total of five – count ‘em – five farms to visit:  The Lee home (neighbors), Uncle Harley & Aunt Maxine’s, Grandma and Grandpa’s, Aunt Irene & Uncle Jarl’s and ours.   So, depending on who was driving, we’d start at one and end at the others with three stops in between.   It was expected that we’d “sing for our supper” – sing a song, tell a joke or do something entertaining. Our song of choice was always, “Billy Boy” (Oh where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy boy .. Oh where have you been, charming Billy..) because 1) we knew the words, 2) they knew the words and 3) it always seemed to bring the best results.

I still love Halloween! Me & the Hubbs had a lot of fun with this costume.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Bear in mind that very few treats were “boughten” at that time – most offered us a home-made treat.  ((and trust me, this was the good stuff!!))   Norma and Roy Lee always gave us pop – our choice – orange or root beer – and a small bag of home-made cookies or fudge. Yum!  Aunt Irene was known for her caramel apples; Granny Smiths smothered in a thick layer of buttery rich caramel… mmm.  Aunt Maxine was crafty and loved to carve massive jack-o-lanterns to delight us… and her chocolate fudge was delicious as well.   Grandma made each of us our very own candy bag filled to the top with home-made popcorn balls and cookies mixed in with a few store bought treats – black licorice, toffee, and Old Dutch potato chips.  Smiling shyly, Grandpa always slipped in a can of pop and two bits (a quarter) and we felt oh so rich.  Our pillowcases were filled with to the brim with treats and good wishes.  After much admiration of the genius of our costumes and our profound musical talents, off we’d go to the next farm, darting through the biting October wind, wondering at the sky and trying to spot the witches we just knew were flying around.

At the end of the night, we’d get back home and marvel at the abundance of treats .. but it was always those home-made delights we fought over most.

I remember Mom making us “Goofballs” and I think I’ll make some for my grand-kids today :).

GoofBalls

Goofball image courtesy of theartofmakingthings.tumblr.com

1 pkg. Kraft caramels
1 can Eagle brand milk
1/2 lb. butter
1 box Rice Krispies
1 bag large marshmallows

Unwrap the caramels and place into a heavy saucepan.  Add the Eagle brand milk and the butter and stir until the caramels are melted and a sauce is formed. Remove from heat.

Stick 1 toothpick into a large marshmallow and dip it into the sauce carefully.  Immediately roll the caramel covered marshmallow in Rice Krispies. Set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to cool (remove toothpick).    These travel great and kids (and adults) gobble them up!

And .. sing something, will ya?

Happy Halloween!!

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Categories: Attitude, Family, fear, Food, Fun, halloween, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – 5 years

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday (yay!) so here are 5 randoms from my little corner of the universe.

1  Cooked yesterday and doubled everything. Why? I’m dropping off half to oldest boy and the grands later today.   The work/school/homework schedule is just nicer when you have “extras” around.  Homemade soup, sloppy Joe’s, Game day brownies  and more.   To quote Mom, “Love is Groceries.

food ina garten

2 It was Mom who taught me the significance of caring for others.  On Mothering is just one of many posts I’ve written about her. She taught me so many things but, most importantly, she taught me how to mother.  And, like her, I’m fierce — no apologies.  Because of that, I can’t wrap my head around that our grand children’s mother left them like she did.   But it was my wee Mom who reminded me He gave our boy big shoulders for a reason and sometimes Mom & Dad are the same person.

smell the color 9

3  Stopped the other day to take this picture – October will end soon and all of this will pass.  Don’t miss it.

Country Club trees

4  I write as means to formalize my thoughts, connect-the-dots and express myself.  Through this experience I’ve connected with many of you, and one I’ve even met in person (lucky me).   When I write what I know – posts about life, relationships, personal growth, faith and home – you chime in and I love that so much.

m151be-yourself-unknown-posters

5 Going back to Mom, she was moved to Nursing Home placement this week and, when asked how things were going, her response made me laugh.  “I’m doing the best I can and managing to stay out of trouble… so far!”  This center is small, 17 beds, and in a rural setting, which is much more her style.  Both my sisters are certain she’ll get more personalized care and that’s of comfort to us all.  Thinking of her it hit me that 5 years ago today I published my very first blog and, not surprisingly, I wrote about  another life lesson learned from Mom.      5 years, 824 posts,179,273 visitors, still writing.    Thank you for reading along.

yes i can

Happy Sunday to you!  When you look back over your blogging lifetime, what do you see?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Food, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Navigating perpetual rats

I knew it was coming, and I’m not thrilled about it.  An industry gathering occurs later today, and the rat will be there.

warren t rat american tail

I’d sit at the opposite end of the table, but the table’s not going to be big enough.

I’d find another part of the room to mingle in, but the group setting will be somewhat small.

So I’ll do what I always do – smile and get through it.  And when he blathers on about himself and his life and his other favorite topic, him, I’ll silently think about how glorious the past two months have been since he left.  And when someone catches a whimsical look on my face they may suspect I’m day-dreaming but really I’ll be thinking this:

hate you

And with that, I’m off.  Prayers accepted!

Question: Have you ever jettisoned a rat from your life only to have them re-appear?  How did you deal with it? Please share!

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Growth, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

Step aside Monday

8:30 p.m.  *yawn*

9:30 p.m.  *chatting, catch 2nd wind*

10:30 p.m. *wind back down*

11:30 p.m.  *night!*

11:45 p.m. *zonk*

….

….

….

4:00 a.m. *BING!*

4:48 a.m. *flip pillow, check time*

5:48 a.m. *zonnkkkkk*

6:00 a.m. *ALARM BELLS RINGGGGGGG*

6:01 a.m.  *punch alarm, leave pillow*

~ ~ ~ ~

step-aside-monday

Every once in a while,  the new week steals some of my Sunday. You?

~Happy Monday!~

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Stew Leonard’s, gift cards, and happenstances

It’s Friday – whoop! I am off today and here are 5 randoms thoughts from my week.

1) Trader Joe’s opened a store here recently. Never been there but folks here are awfully hyped up about this grocery store. If you want to experience THE grocery store, visit Stew Leonard’s – the world’s largest Dairy store – in Norwalk, CT.  I remember taking oldest boy there when he was very little, and the prices were well worth the singing cows and dancing milk cartons … Now THAT’s a grocery store. 🙂

2) I won an award at work and picked Visa gift cards as my prize. I don’t need more stuff. Instead I stopped, after work, for a mani/pedi and became one with the massage chair. Felt like a genius.  I still have a little $ to spend but I’m one to make a list and a careful purchase.  Likely involving books … got any recommended reading for me?

cook clean or read

3) It’s Fall and I cook more when as weather cools.   Brought out my Wolfgang Puck electric pressure cooker for a yummy  dinner this weekend.  The best part?  Beef stew, braised chicken, or a succulent roast in under an hour.   (I was scared to death of the one Mom used as we grew up – it had a screaming sound and jangly top that threatened to blow at any minute. Whenever it came out – outside I went!) Get yours here

wolfgang-puck-automatic-8-quart-rapid-pressure-cooker-d-20130813151431583~269531_001

Here’s what mine looks like – no jangling bits to blow off in my face!

4) Tuesday morning, while waiting for the results of medical tests, I quietly sung one of my favorite Elvis Gospel songs.  The next morning I turned on my Mp3 for the drive to work.  The MP3 has nearly 1,000 songs on it and is always set to “shuffle” – meaning it shuffles songs randomly.   That song came on first.  Coincidence? Nope.

5 ) 22 days till Halloween!  I no longer decorate for it like I did when the boys were little but I do love shopping with the Grands for their costumes.  We touch and try on crazy hats, test drive the spooky sounds of store displays and thoroughly enjoy the outing.  I remember these kinds of costumes, and our faces sweating underneath them.  How about you?

google.images.com

google.images.com

 

How was your week?  Ever been to a Trader Joe’s or Stew Leonard’s?  If you had a $100 gift card to spend, what would you buy?  Do you have any page-turners to recommend?  Ever cooked with a Pressure cooker?  How do you feel when you experience random happenstances?  Are they random?  And what costume do you remember sweating under?

 

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Growth, halloween, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Angel Kisses

Stepping up to the desk I watched as she noted my name and birth date.  Placing a wristband on me, and snapping it shut, she smiled while handing over a questionnaire to complete.  Answering questions about family history and trying to remember past surgical dates I stopped and looked up. Looked around.  At the others there.  My age, many older, a few younger.  All women.  Most alone, some with a friend or a husband, all sitting quietly …  just waiting their turn.

Heading back, I changed into a gown and felt a shiver, like a kiss, on my shoulder.

I took my seat in the internal waiting room, smiled at the other ladies gathered there and glanced around. Hoda and Kathie Lee blathered on, I answered a few emails, and glanced at the women’s magazines laid out for us.

Someone new called my name and I followed, stepping into the room with the machine looming.  Asking my last name and birth date, and checking my wrist band, we exchanged pleasant banter as she explained why I’d been called back today.  See there was this area they wondered about, and I really should have it checked further, and so here I was.

I’d nearly rescheduled the appointment just days before.  The test isn’t even covered by insurance.  My job is so full right now, etc.  I don’t have time. But something, something stopped me from doing that.

trust your intuition

We started through the test, one side of the gown dropping away, my arm draped around the top of machine, the other shoulder trying to relax.  It pressed down, the whirring of the imaging doing its job, followed by her soft words of encouragement.  Wrapping up again, off I went to wait.  Wait with the others.

She came back again and pulled me aside to say they’d ordered further tests and that I’d be staying for a while and would that be OK?  Sure I said, not really thinking about it.  Then, with her hand on my arm, this question “Is anyone here with you?”  And a look.  A look that your soul can only recognize as one of concern and when I saw her expression change, I felt concern, too.

Going back to the waiting room, I looked again at the magazines waiting, and laughed at what was on top. “Guideposts,” a spiritually rich periodical that I used to read with Hubbs’ Mom.  I remembered sharing issues with her and both of us dog-earing our favorite stories to talk about later.   Taking that as a sign, I smiled through several stories of faith and inspiration.  Fear receded.

Another called my name and led me down the hall and round the corner for an Ultrasound.  Now the only ultrasounds I’ve ever had were years ago when pregnant with my boys so I knew this wasn’t any big deal.  The Technician was friendly, with a pretty smile and bouncing brown curls, and she put me at ease immediately.  Again, the same routine, confirmation of my name and birth date, a check of the wrist band, and we were off.  But in the soft light of that darkened room, I let myself go there.  To those thoughts that anyone would have when they realize their life might be changing in a very big way.  A tear rolled down my cheek and I muttered the same words to myself that Sissy did during her heart attack this spring: Well this is b.s.  The same ones Mom said when she went in the hospital 49 days ago. Then I took a breath and smiled at her as she covered up my chest with a warm blanket and an explanation that the Radiologist would read the results right now. However, she added, he might come in and do more testing himself. Would I be all right with that? Did I have any questions? She smiled as she waited.  “Yes,” I said.  “Is he good-looking?”  Tipping her head back we laughed together.  Out loud and hard.  I explained how I used to watch daytime “programs” with my Grandma and that she fancied this one particularly handsome Doctor.  We giggled like we’d known each other more than 40 minutes and again I felt a shiver, like a kiss, on my shoulder.

Soon she left the room and I lay there, quietly singing one of my favorite Gospel songs, thinking about how things can go from zero to sixty and how life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I went from scared to mad to making promises– how I’d take on less, I’d exercise more, and maybe I’d even give up potato chips and then the door opened and there he was. Smiling down and explaining what they’d seen didn’t warrant a specialist or further tests and how they’d just been extra cautious because my type of tissue is hard to read and stuff can hide in there.  Then he said these words: “come back in 6 months for another test and you should be good to go.”  Tears clouded my vision as he shook my hand, smiled and left the room.

And then I breathed.  Really breathed.  Like I must have been holding my breath for 3 hours breathed.   She walked me out, I got dressed, and checked out at the front desk. We made that 6 month appointment and cut off my wrist band.  Before heading to my car I stopped and bought a coffee and smiled at the potato chips winking at me from the checkout line.

angels-kiss

I’ve narrowed my kiss givers to four loves no longer here with me: Nana, Grandma, Hubbs’ Mom, or my Dad. Or maybe four took turns, I don’t know.  See, I lost count of the kisses, but not the feeling that remains.

 * * * * *

How about you? Have you had a health scare?  Did your reaction surprise you? Have you ever experienced an Angel’s Kiss?  Who do you think it was?

breast cancer awareness

Yes, I’m aware. You?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life Lessons, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

R5F – October, Crock Pots, Coincidences and Songs

It’s Friday (whoo!) It’s random (whee!) It’s October! (yay!) Here are 5 randoms from this corner of the globe:

1 Hello October!  Next to September, this is my favorite month …. colors, smells, sights,  cool air, crisp nights, crock pot dinners, windows cracked, cozy blankies, time to cozy up and read … ahhh.

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2 doors down & taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2  Speaking of crock-pots, a friend just bought her very first one.  First. Crock Pot. A Midwest girl who never owned a crock-pot?  Guess you hear something new every day!  🙂 My newest favorite recipe is this one: salsa chicken.  Ready?  Dump 6 large frozen chicken breast in the crock pot, season with whatever you like (I use Mrs. Dash Onion {salt free} and a bit of fresh garlic) then pour a medium-sized jar of salsa (about 10 oz) of mild, spicy, whatever over the chicken.  Put the lid on, turn the crock pot on low, and leave for the day. That’s it.  6-8 hours later you’ll have tender, juicy and tasty chicken that is easily shredded for Tacos, wraps, poured over rice, topped on salads, etc.  Extra tip? When fully cooked and shredded, stir in 2 tbsp of cream cheese for creamy chicken goodness.  Yumm-o!

salsa chicken over rice

3  Earlier this week, one of Mom’s cousins (whom I’ve never met) sent me a friend request on Facebook.   She grew up in British Columbia, Canada, but lives at the Easter shore of Virginia.  When I looked up where she lived, I could see that she’s pretty close to my Virginia friend  Dianna – whom I met through this blog.  Sometimes the world just isn’t that big is it? 🙂

Believe_In_Coincidence_by_reds2005

4  Tomorrow I’m going to visit a friend who recently had surgery; she had been told one thing about the recovery time then found out the healing time will be much, much longer.  I remember the same happening when I had foot surgery- and that feeling of being “stuck” inside.   I know she’s a reader and we both love coffee – so I have huge bags of magazines and books, coffee and chocolates and more – because when you’re laid up and bored, sometimes the very best therapy is coffee with a girlfriend and a healthy dose of chocolate!

a glimpse of heaven

5   Leaving work closer to 7 than 5 the other night, I reflected on the day, the pace, the craziness that is my work life right now.  I still love what I do, but I’m just as happy to get in the car and crank up the tunes – this one came on and it’s funny how, two days later, I’m still singing a song …. You?

 

What do you love about October?  Are you a crock-pot user?  What’s your “go-to” fall recipe?   What plans do you have this weekend? Any visits in your future?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Recipes, Share, Thoughts, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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