A haze hangs in the air ~ both from rising humidity & the smoke of last night’s festivities.
I’ve got a beef roast with carrots, onions and potatoes simmering in the crockpot; Hubbs has already commented on how good it smells. The A/C kicks on, and a table-top fan ruffles nearby papers. We refill our coffee cups and chat in the kitchen.
I could have gone to the beach today, but I wasn’t up to dealing with crowds or the hustling it takes to get there early.
I could have gone shopping or visiting today, but I don’t feel people-y.
I could have worked on one of many work project, but I’m not going to, I work enough
Instead I’m leaning into a book, doing some laundry, and savoring the gift that is a quiet day.
It’s Friday ~Here are my randomly thought-out thoughts as we head into the holiday weekend~
1 Work / Life Balance — I don’t know about you but I laugh every time I hear that phrase. What a joke -Like the words “quality time,” there’s no balance, never has been. Work is crazy, busy, demanding, and all-consuming. Life gets squeezed in here & there ~ but the balance thing? ha ha ha – Thank God for coffee 🙂
2 Summer reading has me transported back to my childhood ~ at night, when all calls/webinars/demands have ended, I sink into my coziest chair and read in the golden hour ~ the last bit of sunlight streaming across the pages of my book, the TV off, the house quiet. Sometimes I stay up late reading but often I barely make it to 9:30 before my eyes are heavy and tired. My one true indulgence, that I savor daily, is reading for pleasure. Ahh … summer.
3 Lifestyle choices are giving me LIFE– Yes Life continues to loft challenges my way, but my ability to “deal” with them has increased so much~ I’m so much calmer and at peace with myself. Intermittent Fasting (IF) has given me incredible focus, stamina and clarity but much of my lessened anxiety I can attribute to having left alcohol in 2019 ~ It never solved anything, in fact it often made things worse b/c it ramped up anxiety and negativity ~ Now that it is no longer in the picture I traded in angst for peace & self-confidence. BAM! The image below personifies how I feel walking confidently towards my future knowing I can handle what life brings me! She is EXACTLY how I feel ~ INVINCIBLE!
4 My daily walks continue, with affection ~ what began as a break from work morphed into a return to joy – I love being outside, hearing birds, feeling the wind on my face, and saying “Hello” to all my furry friends along the way. I know all of them, the owners not as much ;). Here’s our neighborhood kitty, expert mouser, birder and catcher of all small pests ~ she comes when I call her, stays for a pet, refuses food and hunts, hunts, hunts!
5 Pandemic Lessons – If this past year taught us anything it’s this – Stop Waiting to Start Living. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
So — how do you feel about phrases like “work/life balance” or “quality time?”
It’s a beautiful, bright Sunday in May ~ windows open, blue skies, and, after last night’s rain, song birds are chirping happily. Life is busy and good, with much to be thankful for. My five Random Musings are below:
I live in Michigan with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in place – our cases are higher than ever. Other states are wide open with numbers falling. What gives?
2. Enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday ~ b/c of competing priorities I didn’t have time to do my usual research. We met up with friends & placed our “bets” on which horse we hoped would win. I glanced over the field and put my bet on the trainer – and his horse won. Something gleaned from growing up at the track — a) all the horses are “pretty,” b) sometimes a long-shot wins but c) when in doubt, bet on the trainer.
3. New job starts tomorrow ~ as is my pattern, I’ll be doing my current one + the new job as things ramp up. I’m hoping to jettison the current one over time, but that remains to be seen. It’s new territory, teams are being formed, and none of us really know what we’re in for – which is exciting and nerve-wracking, all in one. I prefer to be at the start of a project vs. coming in later on. And as my all-time favorite boss (from 7 career moves ago) always reminds me, “If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.”
4. Working from home I had another epiphany recently ~ while I’m an introvert at heart, I can be extroverted, especially in my professional role, always needing time to regroup afterwards. Hello road trips! I am also hugely empathic. What’s that, you ask?
What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”
As a result, working remotely works brilliantly for me b/c exposure to others – and their “stuff”- is minimized. When I do go out/interact, I take steps to guard myself from being bombarded with others’ energy / thoughts / emotions / physical ailments. Ever walk into a store and suddenly hear “noise” even though no one is talking? If I don’t do a prayer of protection ahead of time the experience feels and sounds like I’m on an airport tarmac standing between jet planes taking off. If you’ve experienced this, you might be empathic, too. This book helped me.
5. Last night I re-watched footage of Prince William & Princess Catherine’s 2011 wedding as this year marks their 10th anniversary. It was fun to view such a joyful event and remember where I was at that time. A few days after their wedding, I penned this blog post https://emjayandthem.com/2011/05/03/so-did-you-watch/ which went on to become “Fresh Pressed” by the editors at Word Press. It was deemed of their “best of 385,233 bloggers, 387,452 new posts, 449,667 comments, & 93,406,663 words posted” on May 3, 2011. It remains my most viewed & commented-on post, and it’s still fun to go back and re-read the comments from all over the world. How lovely she was and is.
I was up early this morning, rolling around at 4:00am and in the shower by 5:00. Over coffee I mulled over a new opportunity that excites and un-nerves me. There is a lot about it I love ~ stewarding a high-profile, multi-year, multi-state project – but just as much is unknown which, for me and my planning nature, is unsettling.
It’s brand new, un-defined, and questions I have will be answered in time.
That’s the thing with new opportunities.
They come to you.
You may be ready or maybe not.
You may see them approaching or not notice as they pass by.
I’ve found this to be true – every job, role, assignment, and committee I’ve led or contributed to, every start and stop, frustration and success, every win and loss, each and every one brought me right to this moment.
I’m confident in my abilities, but even more so in my ability to be discerning.
It’s Friday and time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 1 year ago today (March 20th) I had a scheduled day off planned because Hubbs & I were going to gather with friends and watch “March Madness” (college basketball tournaments). I don’t know much about basketball and have never watched a full game in my entire life, but Hubbs does and was a star player back in the day. So I go for him, the camaraderie and the food. 🙂 About a week before that fateful day, the tournament was cancelled b/c of the virus. A week later lockdowns started and we’ve been locked down ever since.
I had a scheduled day off today and over coffee this morning, Hubbs and I reflected on this past year ~ and what a tragic, strange and twisted year it has been. He’s watching as many basketball games as he can and I’m over here in my books ~ Onward!
2 ) The same habits I’ve chatted about before are same ones sustaining me ~~ work is v.e.r.y. busy, every day is long with many, many calls, however I remain thankful to be well employed with plenty to do. I take a break for a walk mid-day, I eat simple, nutritious foods; at night, the TV is off, books are open, and bedtime comes quickly. I’m up early and savor alone time before the race begins again.
3 ) Hubbs golfed a week ago and is planning to go again shortly. I see everyone getting all lovey-dovey with this Spring weather that’s happening over here but there’s a very big part of me that just. does. not. trust. it. I’m sure we’re in the “Spring of Deception” and that a snowfall spanking is coming for us soon. After last year, I admit it, I have trust issues.
4 ) Speaking of last year, this made me laugh out loud. Gentlemen, start your engines:
5 ) Lastly, I know this post violates MPSI (memes per square inch) rules, but I’m creatively spent. I miss writing. I miss my blogging friends. Some day it will come back to me. Until then, I give you this:
It’s Super Bowl Sunday and time for 5 random things from my corner of the world.
Ready? Let’s do this!
1. Snow. Our part of the country is well UNDER “normal” snowfall levels. But late last week/this weekend a big storm blew in …Lake Effect snow, high winds followed by bitter temperatures. Local grocery stores were crowded with folks in line, chatting through their masks and talking about stocking up. I don’t know about you but I think people like a big storm, gives ’em something to talk about. 🙂
2. People. Sometimes I do wonder about people: the same ones whose mask hangs half off their face while they fondle produce can be seen shrieking at another for standing too close in line. When I go out there are often moments when I think, “well, this is why I don’t go out!” Mask-idiots = Maskiots!
3. Walks. I miss my walks. I’ve been able to get in a few here & there but, for the most part, it’s just too icy. I miss my doggie friends; just last week my buddy, Chief, and I were reunited. Hard to say who wiggled and twirled more!
4. Zoom Exhaustion. It’s a thing. Extroverts are all about Zoom calls, Zoom Happy Hours, Zoom-you-name its. You see Zoom allows them to be on camera, talk over each other, comment too much and tell others every single thought or concept they ever had. Meanwhile introverts are muted with the camera off because we know our facial expressions will give us away.
5. Road Trips: I miss road trips. Having a new place to go (besides the grocery store) and meetings in-person. I miss driving and listening to music or podcasts, sipping my coffee or water, and thinking. I sure do miss road trips. But I don’t miss doing so in winter. 🙂
The door is closing on 2020 ~ we’ll soon be packing up Christmas décor. What a year this has been! There will be “2020 in review” shows on TV shortly, but I’m not watching. I’d rather reflect on my own ~ my year in review involves one word: gratitude. I’m not tone-deaf to the struggles others have/are facing in the pandemic, rather sharing that I chose to be grateful where-ever possible.
I’m grateful to be well employed in year of chaos and uncertainty and that my employer allowed for and supports working from home.
I’m grateful our boys, girls & grands are healthy, happy, and employed.
I’m grateful that what started as daily walks for stress relief morphed into a habit I look forward to & enjoy.
I’m grateful I can cook; Hubbs and I have enjoyed more home-made goodness than ever, and his oohs and ahhs sustain me. We’re still working our way through his “pandemic groceries.”
I’m grateful I can read: my regular reading habit relaxes and comforts me.
I’m grateful I found Intermittent Fasting ~ the health plan with a side effect of weight loss. The clarity, energy and peace I enjoy is indescribable. And it’s free, even better.
I’m grateful to have enough – I can, and do, help others.
I’m grateful that last New Year’s Day, when I declared, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats” that the Island is now mine. I’ve found gifts while being home ~ using the time to improve my health, mind, spiritual journey, body, sleep and work product.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ~ Maya Angelou
This weekend, I’ll create my 2021 vision board & hang it where I can see it. I’m enjoying thinking about themes and ideas to explore. I’m mixing it up.
Your turn: What does your year in review say? Do you set intentions for the coming year?
It’s Sunday morning, early December and here we are. Time for some random randoms from my part of the world. Ready? Let’s do this:
1 ) Sundaymorning coming down: Sundays are my favorite, there’s no rushing, no fussing, just stirring and sautéing and tidying. Reading, regrouping, resting and readying. My day to recharge. ahhh…
2 ) Taters: Took this picture of 31lbs of potatoes I stacked up that represent what I’m leaving behind in 2020: 31lbs, 49″ and 60 – count ’em – 60 non-scale victories. Intermittent fasting is my life now. Want more info? Read the book, “Fast, Feast, Repeat” by Gin Stephens – it’s the health plan with a side effect of weight loss Fast. Feast. Repeat. | Gin Stephens | Macmillan
3 ) Walking friends: Something that’s saved my bacon this crazy year has been my daily walks. These are non-negotiable. I might not take a lunch break but I always take a walking break. Now sometimes my walks are stomps, other times more leisurely, but regardless, I come back refreshed, energized and thankful. A highlight is seeing my buddy, Chief. It’s even better when he sees me ~ tail thumping, a big smile as he lopes over to lean in for a big hug and many pets and assurances that he is, indeed, a very very very very good boy.
4 ) Christmas: The tree(s) are up and decorated; the lights and pretty colors make me smile and remind us both of the promise of Christmas.
5 ) Kiss an Angel good mornin’: Rest In Peace, Charley Pride. Such a sweet and timeless message of “the secret of happiness.” It’s a simple thing …. and the answer is in this song that I always sing:
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”
Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!
A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.
Being and staying healthy makes me happy.
Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.
I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.
I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.
I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.
I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.
I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.
I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.
I choose me.
What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?
It’s Sunday morning, coffee tastes good and time for 5 random happenings from my corner of the world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 10 years – 10 years ago I registered for this domain on Word Press. 10 years!
I’ve written many posts and most about life, love, relationships, and life-lessons. Over time posts have evolved in depth and scope, frequency and topics. I’ve followed & commented on your blogs, and you on mine. Thank you; I appreciate the kinship and connections we’ve formed.
2 ) News – Did you know there’s an election this year? Chiefers would like to remind anyone reading that, no matter what happens November 3rd, dogs will still be dogs and cats will still be cats. We don’t need to all be the same to get along. I’ll try if you will.
3 ) Fall. My favorite season. Time for soups, stews, and chili. Muffins, banana bread and cookies. Books, cozy blankets & a time change. Pink cheeks, brisk walks in the wind, scarves and hoodies. I. Love. Fall!
4 ) Choices. This year has been a doozy, and that’s an understatement. 2020 is that annoying house guest who shows up early and never leaves. At the start of the new year I set a personal goal that went as follows, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”
I focused on 2 choices: intermittent fasting (IF) every day and delaying alcohol. Those 2 choices led to other positive choices, daily walking for stress management has evolved into a love of movement. Being outside makes my heart sing: it took a Pandemic to get me walking my neighborhood. Between all 3 I’m leaving (so far!) 31lbs & 43″ by the side of the 2020 road. Boats have been torched & the island is mine. What I love best about this lifestyle is that AF/IF is free and so am I!
4 ) Heart songs – I’ve written about this before but, the older I get, the more stock I put into simple pleasures: supper simmering on the stove, good coffee, a cozy sweater, the delight of a good book. A hug from a grown child or a wee grand. Conversations that meander and turn. Sunlight streaming in. Walks in nature. A quiet, clean house. Laughter so raucous my face hurts. These are my heart songs.
5 ) Fill up: Soon we’ll have one son, 2 grands & one grand-dog over, I’m cooking brunch ~ tunes are playing, bacon is sizzling, and the fridge is full of leftovers. My heart is full.
Thank you for following my blog, many of you for 10 years!