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Author Archives: emjayandthem

About emjayandthem

Country mouse living in the city. Wife, mom, Nana, daughter, sister, cousin, friend & worker bee.

Winter alerts, last nerves and gravy

Like many of you, here in the Mid-Western United States, we’ve had a “weird” winter so far — a skiff of snow here, a dusting there.

But then … last week,  Winter … well she arrived with a vengeance.

2 weeks of back-to-back alerts, warnings and wildness.    Mother Nature’s last nerve is involved & someone’s poking it.   As a result, soon after came:

  • Gobs of snow.
  • Blasts of cold.
  • Frigid winds.
  • Icy.  Frosty. Chilling. Days & Nights.

followed by some really sound advice:

As for me, I’m staying in … till March.

How’s the weather by you?  Are you “hunkered down,” too?

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Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, News, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sunday thoughts: Tidying up, sunshine & magic

We’re already into mid-January it occurred to me this morning that I haven’t blogged since last year!

Gulp.  Life comes at us fast, especially in the new year.

2019 came at me like ..

Holidays ended, work resumed, and tripled in intensity.   It’s been a steady dose of crazy since, with not much room or time to breathe.  Early mornings, long days, lots of travel and copious conference calls.  Thankfully, a solid winter storm blew in this weekend, encapsulating us in icy roads, fresh snow, with a fridge full of leftovers and no particular place to be.

Darn.

That brings me to today ~ awake at 6:30 I hit tossed in a load of laundry, padded through the house and caught up on your blogs.

Random observations came my way and they include:

1  )   Have you heard of the “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and movement afoot?   Based on her best-selling guide to de-cluttering your home, and soon-to-be TV series,  Marie Kondo espouses the virtues of sorting through everything – and I mean – every thing to determine “what sparks joy.”  If it doesn’t, it goes.   Now I am very familiar with the term “you can’t organize clutter” so I purge/donate/recycle on a regular basis.  Her advice is to start small, say with 1 drawer, and go through every piece that’s in it … I started with my sock drawer and found it can’t be opened all the way … probably because of the preponderance of black dress socks.  ~ Sigh.  I laughed, and set my sights in another direction.  If you’ve tried this approach and it’s helped you, do tell!

2 ) Last night I had every intention of delving into several new books; I’ve got a stack waiting for me, purchased with Christmas gift cards ~ my favorite.  Instead I read women’s magazines, binge-watched “Shark Tank,” laughed with hubby and chatted with my cousin.   Regardless, doing nothing and lots of it, was great therapy.  PS My favorite “Shark Tank” product so far has been this one ~ an amazing cleaning do-dadd that really does work:

3 )  Growing up in bright & sunny western Canada (Saskatchewan) I took our daily sunlight for granted. Yes winters were cold and windy but, for the most part, ALWAYS sunny.  Sunglasses and Sunblock are a necessity year round– now I live in Western Michigan, and because of our proximity to Lake Michigan (and lots of winter cloud cover) our winters are regularly dreary, dark and long.  I really struggle with lack of sunlight.

Update on my previous product review:  I cannot say enough good things about the Verilux Happy Light –  AMAZING!   In just 2 weeks of using it I cut my total coffee consumption in 1/2 and caffeine dosage from full throttle “Farmer’s coffee” to decaf by using this amazing little light.  Sitting near it first thing in the morning helps reset your circadian rhythm & will help you sleep (instead of lying in bed making 3AM “to-do” lists like I used to). 

Caution:   Do NOT use at night, you will be up for 1/2 of it, oops. 

I started out small, at 7-10 mins. a day, and have worked my way up to 30 mins. daily.  If YOU also slog through the dark days of winter, give the HappyLight Compact ($40 on Amazon) a try.  The. Best. $40. Ever. Spent! 🙂

4 )  Long-time blog readers, family and friends know I enjoy technology and gadgets.  But after our son told me how their “Alexa” interjected into their conversation, more than once,  I firmly advised him  to “never buy me one.”  My cell phone does enough eavesdropping as it is.  This Meme is about right, ha!

5 )  And, as much as technology makes our lives easier, and sometimes even healthier, there’s always going to be something about a real book that draws me in … and so does this picture:

Your turn:

  •  Are you working to “tidy up?”
    • What method works for you?
  • Any cool new-to-you gadgets to share?
  • What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Happy Sunday!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Showing up for life

At the cusp of a new year  I like reflecting on the past one.  I find it cathartic to look back at professional and personal accomplishments, lessons learned, and think about what’s working and what’s not.

I ask myself these 3 questions:

  1. What do you want more of?
  2. What do you want to get rid of?
  3. What’s holding you back from either one?

And then I read this and smiled.  Because, more than anything else this year, I showed up.  Growth happened, some with growing pains.  Manifestations abound; intuition sharpened.

C’mon 2019, I’m ready. 

Your turn:

  1. What do you want more of?
  2. What do you want to get rid of?
  3. What’s holding you back from either one?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, News, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 December Friday ~ Days off, kid time, new years and music

It’s the last Friday of December, how did that happen?  That means it’s time for 5 randoms from my world.

1 )  Been on holidays for 7 days and have 5 more to enjoy before I head back to work.  Today is that day:

I’ve gone to bed when tired and gotten up when I’m not.  I’ve relaxed, stretched, played and laughed.  I’ve watched movies, read (2) books and started a 3rd.    Ahh … leaning in.  

2 ) Over the summer I took care of our grand-daughter different times while her older brother was at camp, we dubbed those days “Camp Nana” because it was all fun and games. During this Christmas break I spent the day with both grand kids while their parents were at work.   Dad had left them a “to-do” list and I helped them tackle it+ added more~ that visit soon became “Nana Boot Camp” – ha ha! But they did great: they worked hard to tidy up –  they picked up, vacuumed, folded, dusted, put away, emptied the dishwasher and completed about 4 trash runs. They didn’t complain because I was right there working beside them – we spent the rest of the day cooking, playing games and playing outside.  (Our snow is long gone!)  It wasn’t lost on me that it was “Boxing Day,”  the same day Mom used to round us kids up to help her tidy the house.   The grands were proud of their efforts and joyful at the many rounds of dice, Jenga, and Uno we played.    Time marches on but kids are still just kids and, from my experience, kids spell love T-I-M-E.

Grandson learning how to make Nana’s “Sloppy Joe’s”;  coincidentally this was the first recipe I ever made in 4-H. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )    In many ways this has been a trying year and  I won’t be sad to see it go.   This picture sums it up:

4  )  As grueling and demanding and relentless as my job can be I was delighted to be awarded $$ for notable project work recently completed.   Smiling, I knew straight away where that $$ was going == AMAZON.  Funds are in my account, and I’ve already made one purchase ~ something perfect for our gloomy west Michigan winters.  Arriving tomorrow, I plan to use it daily ~ whee!

Google Image:  The Verilux HappyLight Compact makes your indoors brighter.

  • Product notes:  For millions of people, light therapy can make a not-so-great day much better – and brighter. The bottom line is, almost none of us get outside as much as we should to get as much natural full spectrum sunlight that we, as humans, need. Our bodies have evolved to actually require sunlight, and when we don’t have enough we can be groggy, irritable, unfocused and more. To make it worse, as days get shorter in the fall and winter, many people are affected by winter blues. This full spectrum light therapy lamp can help make you happier year-round.  Amazon $40

5 ) Saw this video last night and have watched it (and sang along) about 5 times already.    Trees will be bending, indeed.  SANG it, kids!   And props to the Choir Director ~ how I’d love to be part of a choir like this one!   🙂

So, what’s going on in your world?  Care to share?  And, ready or not, here’s to 2019!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Come and get your love

As of today, Sunday, I’m officially at the 5 & 11 mark:

  • 5 scheduled work days left followed by 11 days off.

Eleven. Gloriously wonderful Conference-call-free days off!

Yes I’ll monitor emails and yes I’ll likely need to chime in here and there but … my intention is to step away.   I’ve set my intentions for that preciously guarded time off and they read something like this:

  • Coffee, books, blogging and brunch
  • Daily walks / rebounding, with some yoga thrown in, too
  • Time with Hubbs, the boys, their girls and our grands
  • Yummy appetizers, dice games, laughs and movies
  • More books, coffee and brunch
  • Snuggling into bed when I’m tired and rising when I’m rested
    • Enjoying the peace, quiet and comfort of a contented Christmas

Come and get your love, Indeed.    💖

 

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”
Richie Norton

  • What are you intentional about?
  • Do you set intentions ahead of time off?

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, music, Personal, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Christmas treats, traditions and “41”

It’s Friday and you know what that means ~ it’s time for my Random 5 Friday!  Ready?  Let’s go!

1 )  Christmas Treats: Made my first round of Christmas treats last weekend.  Background:  I bake & make Christmas treats in “rounds” to give Hubbs his “due” ~ it’s a strategy that seems to work because he gets his fill and if I make enough “rounds,” I end up with some treats left to share with others.  Case in point:  just the other night, he exclaimed, “No more fudge till Christmas!” (( Like I’m-a-gonna do this all again on Christmas Eve?  … um No!))   But I ran into a quandary I hadn’t foreseen.  See, we gave away our larger freezer a few years back so I don’t have an easy storage spot.   I put on my thinking cap and …. Bingo! Problem solved:

Chocolate covered peanuts hidden in the crisper ~ He’ll never look there!  (( Shhh don’t tell ))

2 )  Holiday traditions:  When we moved to Hubb’s home state of Michigan 18 years ago it was his idea to throw a Christmas party and bring the extended family together.  His eyes would mist over recalling the big family gatherings of his childhood.  So, we started a small family party in our home that soon grew to a hall; we continued to host it annually for a dozen years or so; others in the family took it on for a few years and now, younger cousins have the lead.   Regardless who hosts or plans, the workload to do it, during the busiest time of the year, is never  insignificant.  There are menus to plan, details to organize, a hall to book, decorations to buy or recycle, addresses to update, invitations to share and more.  Just like in life, there’s always someone quick to point out what was missed or what wasn’t done. (Those same ones typically contribute nothing).  Regardless of the snark, the tradition continues and the family comes together.  Dishes are made involving 4 important Holiday food groups:  cheese, chocolate, BBQ sauce and cool-whip.  Little kid cousins get re-acquainted and run around together, red-faced and sweaty in their Christmas outfits,  elders tell stories and for a while everyone slows down and lingers in the moment.   And that’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown!

Christmas time is here! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 ) Community: Stopped at my local (tiny) grocery store last night and, in the baking aisle, shared a conversation with Ray, the older stock boy man.  Maybe it’s because I’m not from here and still long for a sense of community, I always make time to chat with him.  I know he walks his dog in the mornings, before work, that he lost his wife years ago and alternates between tears and smiles when he speaks of her, and that his daughter makes him cookies all year-long.   This is my small neighborhood store, not a big box chain.  They don’t stock everything and yes, you pay a little more sometimes.  But I like that bath soap isn’t 2 miles from the butter.  And I love that the checkout clerks know me and I know them.  In line to pay, I let a lady with a just a few items go ahead of me. She thanked me then  commented, “I really like this store, it’s so calm here.”  I smiled and I got it.     And it hit me right then that perhaps my little community has manifested itself right before my very eyes.

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

4 )  Family Photos:   When our boys were little, it was easy to seat one on our laps and stand the other next to us for a family portrait.   But now that everyone is older and there’s far more of us, family pictures are harder to come by.  I enjoy the perfectly posed portraits on friends’ Facebook pages — the coordinating plaid, hair bows and Holly,  littlest ones in Santa hats, bow ties, Christmas dresses, black patent leather shoes and white stockings.  Somehow I know if we tried this today, we’d end up with something like this:

Truth!

5) Passing of a Giant – Like many of you, I watched the coverage of President George H.W. Bush’s funeral with rapt and tearful attention. It was stately. Poignant. Emotional.  Respectful. Moving.  Epic.  So many moments, such long, long days for the family.  So many tributes to his character, life and legacy.  This picture though …

Together again

Your turn:

  • Do you also hide holiday treats?
  • Are there any Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us?
  • Where do you get a sense of community from?
  • Does your family take annual holiday photos?
  • And .. did you watch?
Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Snarky, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Generationally speaking

So there was this presentation at a recent conference that I keep thinking about: a presentation on the challenges different generations within one organization face:  challenges communicating, differing expectations, sharing of feedback, work styles, and more.

Background – My employer has undergone tremendous growth over the past couple of years – with so many coming, and even more going. And when employees leave, we don’t know they’re gone until their emails go unanswered or, worse yet, names disappear from the employee directory.

Change can be good. But it can also be unsettling.

It’s odd being the last one standing from the original team.

Some retired, some fired, others left on their own.

I’m the keeper of a history no one cares to know about, until they need it. And explaining it over and over again is exhausting.  I’ve had four bosses in two years ~ my head’s spinning.

At 55 I’m now the oldest employee in the office; it’s to me whom others come to for advice, counsel and direction.  50% of our workforce is under the age of 37.

Those of us with 20 to 30 years of experience are in the minority; even more rare are employees like me who’ve only had two to three employers our entire career.  The new normal is 5-8 employers by age 35.

A 60 minute conference call can start with 15 minutes of praising and fawning over the leader.    I’m embarrassed by a the clamoring, gushing and kissing of the ring.  Blah.

My generation, the baby boomers, had many candidates competing for each job, every opportunity, every advancement. We signed up, showed up, and kept up. We got it done.

We wrote and adhered to policy, learned by trial and by fire, came in early, worked through lunch, and stayed late. We respected authority and boundaries and did our best to manage and succeed through the pace and the stress.

“Work/life” balance, what’s that?  “Purpose over paycheck?”  Huh?

Boomers stayed loyal to our employers, believing that, over time our hard work and dedication would be rewarded.  And sometimes it was. But,  just as often, it wasn’t.

Now we find ourselves working with much younger colleagues ~ Generation “X”ers, and Millennials.

Lest I sound too negative let me make it clear many are smart, creative and witty.  They’re accomplished, hard-charging, bright and capable.

However this is a group who seems to be always “on,” consistently paying half-attention while multitasking, and who don’t regularly slow down long enough take a breath, ask questions or listen for the answer. Some skip greetings, salutations, punctuation and sentence structure.  I’ve had bosses who text at all hours of the day and night, and colleagues rattling off stats on whatever personal milestone, habit or TV series they’re binge-watching now, like doing so is an accomplishment.  Co-workers who steadily are “plugged in,” and constantly seeking reassurance, admiration, affirmations are exhausting.

I know some view Boomers like me as rigid and set-in-our-ways.  But with our consistency comes depth of experience, too.  I know I’m not alone in wondering how this is all going to play out.

~But ~

Something positive that may come of this is that a new workforce who demands a better work environment, a positive office culture, robust perks and equal pay is sure to benefit all of us.

Related:

  • This organization defines millennials as the generation aged 21 to 36 in 2017.
    • In 2017, 56 million millennials were working or looking for a job — outnumbering 53 million Gen Xers, who made up 33% of the labor force, and 41 million Baby Boomers, who accounted for 25% of the total.
      • Apr 16, 2018

 

  • Bye Bye Boomers: Who will fill your workforce gap?
    • According to Gallup, about a third of today’s workforce comes from the 75 million-strong Baby Boom generation.
    • The oldest Boomers turn 70 next year and the youngest are in their early 50s.
    • More than 44 million of them are still working.

 

And while a bit extreme, these two clips made me laugh:

 

 

What’s been your experience?  Can you relate to this post?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Growth, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Really living this Thanksgiving

It’s the night before Thanksgiving … and all through the House, Not a spatula was stirring …

WHAT?

  • NO taking the day before off work to clean, cook, prep and repeat?
  • NO fridge stuffed with Cheese Balls, Salads, Cheesecake and Pie?
  • NO 10,000+ steps inside the house?
  • NO setting the alarm to shove the bird, ham and other delights into the oven?

2017 Thanksgiving eve’s Fridge – Cherry cheesecake, Mom’s Pineapple carrot salad, homemade cheese balls and more. an Emjayandthem(C) photo

Nope.  Nada. None.

Today I went to the office, had time to stop for a coffee (gasp!) and worked a “normal” day.

  • No cutting out early to set tables, stock up on booze, clean the garage,  wash crystal or defrost something.
  • Nope. Nada. None.

Why?

Oldest boy and his beautiful bride bought their first home earlier this year and, while walking through their gorgeous open concept kitchen/living room, I may have happily proclaimed, “WOW this is gonna be great for the Holidays!”

There might have been a skip in my step, not sure.

See, I’ve loved cooking and entertaining and fussing and decorating and providing for everyone all these years (32+ but who’s counting?) but do you know what I love even more?

  • That my big strapping handsome son loves it, too.
    • And so does his wife!
  • I love that he has some semblance of understanding what’s he’s in for and that they want to host Thanksgiving this year.
    • As the chief cook, cleaner and bottle washer, I couldn’t be PROUDER!
      • And neither could these two, although they’d never believe it was a MAN was stepping in to cook!

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together; and Emjayandthem (C) photo

BREAKING NEWS:  Are you sitting down?

This is the first family Holiday I haven’t hosted, cooked, cleaned for or done.

For at least 35 years.

Thirty. Five. Years.

Flash forward to tonight:

  • Hubbs and I are to bring a couple of side dishes, show up, mingle and BE GUESTS!
    • We may have done the dance of joy more than once tonight (he in his fuzzy pants and me in mine, prepping my 2 side dishes {done and in the fridge already!})
      • Her parents, Grandparents and brother are coming, too.
      • So is youngest boy and his fiance.
    • Their dog will be in the mix, too, and he and I are likely to be shooed out of the kitchen.
      • Can’t wait.

 

  • Hubbs and I toyed with the idea of (not really) being BAD guests, you know the ones .. they don’t bring what they said they would OR they show up late OR they bring other guests you don’t know OR all of the above!
    • But we won’t do that.
      • But we laughed hard at the thought of it.

 

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” ~ Gail Sheehy

 

Your turn:

  • What traditions have you changed up lately?
  • What would you like to change-up?
    • Happy Thanksgiving!

 

P.S.

  • Made Hubbs some fudge just because.
    • He very nicely offered that “some” could go with us tomorrow ~

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

on Sunday drives, friendship and Chocolate

Three and a half years ago I  signed up for a women’s workshop across the state.   Intuitively I was hoping for a positive experience and,  looking back , I still am reaping the benefits.

Yes! Google.images.com

A two-hour drive there and back gave me time to prepare – and – time to reflect on all I’d learned.

I remember my nervous stomach lurching as I entered the Inn.  Soon my worries fell away as the facilitator wrapped me in a warm embrace.  Before long I was chatting with others and shyly stepping forward to share experiences.

One woman spoke to what we’ve all endured ~ the cattiness of other women.. and her fears about attending: would we be any different?  Could we be trusted?   She spoke of her losses and her triumphs and how those experiences had prepared her to be exactly where she was right now … and we found ourselves nodding in agreement. Church was in session and I was in the front pew!

Across from me sat Diane, a bubbly and energetic woman with very expressive hands – she patiently listened to everyone but when I asked her our table’s question: “what are you naturally good at” her eyes firmly met mine and she confidently said, “I’m very creative.”  When women speak their truth, have you ever noticed body language shifts and they lean into the answer? I l-o-v-e that.

Well, flash forward a few years and today, a work event scheduled for tomorrow means I need to travel across the state today – to the same general area where the workshop was held.

And who am I meeting for dinner?

Diane, my creative friend with the very expressive hands, who now runs a successful home decor business!  

We’ll hug and laugh and share our stories, updates and dreams and, for just a little while, we’ll savor being in the sacred space where friendship lives.  And it very well may be accompanied by some chocolate.

 “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  Linda Grayson

What’s the last adventure you said YES to? 

Related:

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Quotes, Thoughts, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 *Vacation* Friday

It’s Friday, the last Friday of October (what??) so it’s probably time for 5 randoms from my world.

1)  Recently my job took me to Charlotte, N.C.; before my conference began I made time to visit the Billy Graham Library – the library sits on beautiful grounds.  I found the opportunity to review his life’s work inspiring.  When a volunteer offered to pray for me at the end of the tour I felt myself overcome with emotion ~ while the conference was eventful, that visit, and her prayers, were life-affirming.

  • “I have never known a man who received Christ and ever regretted it.” – Billy Graham

2 )  Last Tuesday I turned on the out-of-office messages, walked away and managed to stay offline for over a week.  It helped that I was visiting on family farms with 1 cell bar and limited broadband.    Disconnecting  so as to reconnect … ahh.

3 )  The November Primary is fast approaching ~ between Robocalls, political ads and door stuffers, we’re bombarded with information.  Last night, the phone rang as the doorbell chimed ~ I answered the door to find two young and cheerful volunteers stumping for a Congressional candidate.  Neither could answer my questions about the candidate’s position on various issues but the handout they gave me was a glossy full-color job.   Maybe it’s me but if I were knocking on doors for someone I’d make sure I knew what they stood for.

  • Stand your ground; it’s sacred.

4 )  On vacation I went to bed late, got up early, walked a lot, talked more and enjoyed some pie.  No regrets.

  • “Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet

5 ) Visiting my childhood home again something jumped out at me: the moon.  That big Harvest Moon.  And not just the brightness but the nearness of it.

Taken in the valley south of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Photo by Jeff Wizniak

  • Three things cannot be long hidden:  the sun, the moon and the truth. -Buddha

 * * * * * * * * *

I’m on vacation still and was wide awake at 5:30 this morning ~  Coffee up!

So, what’s new in your world?

 

Categories: Blogging, Elections, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lists in the face

I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted.  I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.

The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”

I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men.  I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers,  Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps.  And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.

Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more.    I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.

I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so.  I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere.  But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.

I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.

  • I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
  • I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
  • I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
  • I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
  • I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
  • I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
  • I never sleep on flights.
  • All windows and doors are locked  ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
  • On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
  • It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
  • I’m not thin anymore;  extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
  • I never use parking garages,  valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
  • I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
  • I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
  • At company functions I employ the Irish Good-bye – excuse myself and don’t come back.

Your turn:

  • Can you relate to this post?
  • How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
    • Any tips or thoughts to add?

 

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 – Suppers, Sparks and Wonky Donkeys

It’s the last Friday in September (how’d that happen!!) so it’s time for 5 randoms from my world:

1 ) Had Hubb’s Step-Dad, Grandpa John, over for supper last night ~ we’d been planning to do so for a while  but our weeks are jammed & weekends are often full, too ~ so a week night seemed like the best choice.   The roast went into the crock-pot before I left for work with Hubbs commenting how he had to smell it all day.  At no surprise to either of us, Grandpa arrived early with a bag full of Glad Ware (I know how you cook), sporting a fresh haircut, a new shirt and a whiff of after-shave.   The visit lasted several hours and we sent him home with leftovers, peanut butter cookies and more.   Upon his arrival he announced how he doesn’t eat much anymore … but after the meal he commented that “he hadn’t eaten that much in a while!”   🙂

  • It was another reminder that sharing a meal around a table is good for all and that small things mean so much.

2 )   As I often do at this time of year, I took today off.  I had every intention of cleaning out my closet, organizing  and more.  Instead I slept in, drank a pot of coffee, made my bed and am still in my jammies 🙂

  • Sometimes the best “to do” list is the one in the trash.

3 ) While answering questions from Grandpa about smart phones Hubbs deferred to me as “the Lover all things Techie” and he’s right, I do love me some Technology.  A hearty conversation followed about the pluses and minuses, pitfalls and pointers, apps and trackers.   In the spirit of tech fun, I showed him my newest gadget  ~ the FitBit Charge2, in purple, of course.   (( I’ve had the FitBit Flex for years but it’s starting to lose mojo – and with my recent foray into rebounding, I wanted a better tracker plus I missed having a watch )) By the end of the conversation he’d settled on keeping his flip phone (the one that’s rarely with him or charged. )

  • Everyone has their own interests and we can learn from each other ~ Grandpa’s into guns (Military Man) I’m not, but if I ever had questions I know just who to go to!

4 ) Next week brings October and, at work, we’re setting meetings into December and January.  Time has a way of racing ahead, doesn’t it?  I chatted yesterday with Pat, our UPS driver, who shared the exciting news of his retirement November 1st.  “Not doing another Holiday Season” he announced.  His glee was as broad as the smile on his face.  As much as I try to be in the “now” and be ready for what’s next, I do think sometimes you just have to Namastay – see below:

  • Namastay in my cozy clothes all day 🙂 

5 )  And then there’s this ~ a wee Scottish Grandma reading “The Wonky Donkey” — be ready to laugh … hard.

  • Laughter makes everything better!

Thanks for reading my Random 5 this week ~ care to share yours?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Home, Humor, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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Makeup Connection

The best cosmetics on the web

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our wild little farm.

3bones

Laugh. Dream. Dare. Inspire.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

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Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

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EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...