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Animals

Random 5 December ~ Traditions, time off and dogs

Hello again, friends.  It’s time for another Random 5  from my part of the blog-osphere. Ready? Here we go:

1)  Thursday morning, I woke with a start …. it was 4:04 a.m. and there I was, wide awake thinking about Christmas cards!  Ack, rolling over, I tried to resume my slumber.  No-can-do.  Muttering to myself that Hubbs never experiences such thoughts, I found my way to the kitchen and pressed the “brew” button on the coffee machine.

I used to enjoy writing Christmas cards, especially when the boys were little and I could include a picture or funny story about them. I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I can remember my parents’ delight when a Christmas card came in the mail. They were such a lovely alternative to newspapers, bills and other correspondence.  I recall the sparkles on my hands after reading updates from people I didn’t recall: Aunt so and so.  Cousin somebody.   Mom carefully taped the cards and put them up all around the kitchen window.  Red and green, silver and gold, shimmered in the light and brought festive to the room.  That she took the time to do so for each card suggested reverence to me.

There’s only a few family members left that I would normally mail a card to – this year, I’m calling instead.  And I think they’ll be just fine with a laugh and a chat and a “I miss you, too.”

2 )   Balance. As an adult I’ve struggled to balance between what I want (to do) for Christmas vs. what (I think) is expected of me.    Shopping is done, wrapping is not.  Some baking was accomplished …but also eaten (Hubbs!).

So what I’m working towards is making room for MY Christmas —  I relax and smile when the tree lights are on; reading or cooking near them makes me happy. There’s a peace I feel being able to pay the bills, have $ for gifts and a bit to put away, too.  There was a time I couldn’t do that, and I appreciate now that we can.  I look forward to time with the boys – card games, good foods, “knock knock” jokes with the grands, and days off with Hubbs.  No particular place to be.  No schedule. Reading more than a page or two at a time.  Knowing I can sleep in even though I won’t.  I’ll be up early, watching the snow fall, sipping coffee and reading your blogs.

My stack of reading is close to this size

 

3 ) 9 and 119 days left of work for THIS YEAR then 11 – count ’em – 11 glorious days off!  Time for a reset button.  I’m fortunate that I enjoy the work I do, but this year the challenge has been in being able to do it.  This has been a year of organizational change, steady movements, restructuring, people coming, people going, and that constant shift of the horizon has left me dizzy and needing a break.  And I plan to take it, no exceptions!

4 ) Shades of Frankie. Youngest boy got a dog, and memories of our beloved Frankie definitely influenced his choice.   Our Frankie as a Pup:

Frankie as a wee one

Ladies and gents, meet Sullivan, or “Sully” for short:

Sullivan (an Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

I haven’t met this furry little friend yet but I’m sure I’ll cry when I do.

5 ) We’re heading into the new year soon.  Can you believe it?   I haven’t thought about my goals and dreams for next year, but I’ll work on them over my time off.    A good friend is leaving our company next week; she hasn’t had time to think about what her “next” looks like.  I encouraged her to create a Vision Board.   I know she won’t, but it reminded me that I’m ready to.  

 

What traditions are worth continuing and which ones have you stopped? 

What gift are you giving yourself this Holiday Season? 

Wishing you peace at Christmas and always

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Kitty Friday

Here we are already, February.  Wasn’t Christmas about 6 days ago?  Holy wow!   Here are some randoms from my world, with kitties helping to tell the story:

1 )  Return packages.  I don’t love shopping (except maybe Christmas shopping) – but I do love – l-o-v-e – online shopping.  Amazon is a favorite – and also a wormhole.  I can get lost in there for days.   Recently – for an upcoming trip with Hubbs – I ordered a couple of new swimsuits to try on in the comfort and privacy of my own home.  Too big! Yay – so  back they go for exchanges.  So I used the pre-paid return label that came with and sent them on their way about 10 days ago.  Checking the status today it appears they are traveling back via  bicycle.  Geez Louise – at this rate I should get my new suits after the trip.     Below is me watching a tracking # – Oy.

learning kitty

2 )  Like I do every winter, I booked in for a massage a couple of nights ago – There’s something deliciously decadent about stepping into a warm, dark room in the dead of winter, snow lashing at the windows, and enjoying a hot stone massage.  I had a new experience – this one didn’t hurt – not the massage itself (they shouldn’t ) – rather me & my muscles the next day.  Why?  With 25lbs of fluff gone after banishing grains -I have very little inflammation now – an UNEXPECTED BONUS!  Whoop!  Today – I feel like this little guy!

alert kitten

3)  Winter Trade shows – ’tis the season for Home & Garden shows, Boat shows, Camping Shows, Golf shows etc.  There’s a Woman’s Expo every year but I can’t ever get any women friends to go, too.  Wanna go with me?

time to explore new things!

time to explore new things!

4)  Speaking of time to explore new things ~ this is also the time of year that I get restless.  Maybe it’s being inside so much – and it could be the lack of sunlight.  For example, in  January I am pretty sure we had 423 days without any measurable sun.  The sun shone brightly two days ago and everyone in my office went from this:

sleepy-kitten-cute-kittens-9835304-450-301to this:

peeking kitten

5 ) The weekend’s here – brunch with Grandpa & the Elders tomorrow – Super Bowl  Sunday – time to rest, relax and enjoy.  Who’s ready?

stretch kitty

Me! Me! Pick me!

 

  • No kitties were harmed in this post!
  • How about you:  Do you get restless in winter? Is there any sunshine in your neck of the woods?  Have you been tormented by the pace of a return package?  What’s on tap for your weekend?
Categories: Animals, Attitude, Blogging, Fun, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ house cats, Chihuahuas, kids menus & donations

Like my summer, October is already flying by!  Driving home from work one night this week I caught my surprise at the brilliant reds already in the trees ~ see, that shouldn’t be happening yet b/c, in my mind anyways, it’s only … August!

Today I’m cooking for my guys and packing for a flight tomorrow – a whirlwind trip to Denver for a conference with colleagues and dinner with the CEO, how lucky am I! 😀

Here are 5 randoms from this beautiful October Sunday:

1 – Since cutting grains I’ve lost just over a House Cat & a Chihuahua in lbs.  What I’ve gained has been so much more – respiratory stability, increased stamina and glowing skin.   I thought this graph was a great illustrator of what stuff weighs.  Rephrased I’ve lost a medium bowling ball & a table lamp+ a couple of books!!  I’ve got some more to go but the best part isn’t the smaller sized jeans it’s NEVER BEING SICK – with tons of stress this year, travel, Mom’s passing, and gobs of sick people around me ~  I. Don’t. Get. The. Crud. Anymore.

Amazing!

how-much-does-this-weigh

2. This made me laugh out loud.   Our dog never did this but I know a few who have – at least they were sorry!

dog-ate-remote

3. I took a personality test a few weeks ago for the conference happening this week ~ the results will be shared, analyzed and we’ll use them to help us learn our team’s personality types and strengths.  I barely remember my answers – oops!

tgif-friday-dog-cute-funny

4. This may be the greatest kids menu ever written!  Truth be told, every time we go out I read the menu then order the exact same thing I ordered last time! You?

best-kids-menu

5  This picture perfectly sums up why I donate vs. sell.   You?

bike-for-sale

Truth!

 

What’s up in your corner of the world?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Food, Fun, Joy, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Margins, people and porcupines

I stunned a co-worker when I explained how I’d rid myself of the rat.  See, after he was pushed out of left the company, he tried to get back in.  He tried, more than once, to exert whatever authority he’d once had to weasel his way back. He tried but he failed.

Listening intently my friend asked, “Well how did you do it? What did you say?”

I simply shared that I had been honest and direct with no wiggle room for misinterpretation: I told the rat I didn’t want a relationship. With him. Then. Silence.

“You what?” my friend asked. “You heard that right. That’s what I said.”

Of course, being the narcissist that he is, the rat turned the table on me and became the victim. That’s what Narcissists do.  Whatever. ~Yawn~.

You see, with certain people you cannot beat around the bush. As hard as may be to do you can’t be subtle. You will fail.  You have to spell things out c-l-e-a-r-l-y so there’s no room for Wiley Coyotes to belly crawl back in.

Using the margins analogy, I referenced the wired ruler books we all used to carry in grade school. The center part, where the lines are, is where our work, family and obligations live. The margins represent our free time, our weekends, where dreams live.  When my margins shrink I get very discerning about who takes up space there.

I used this example recently when someone recounted all of the past hurts another had caused her, over and over again. I heard the anguish in her voice, the frustration, the pain.  Now I don’t know about you but when I rehash past traumas I rarely feel better; often, I feel worse.   So I countered with how stepping away from toxic people has helped me heal. It didn’t change them, no, they’re as ornery as ever.  But being absent from their negativity has changed me.  It was in sharing my growth that I thought to give her this advice:

don't pet the porcupine

Now this little guy, Teddy Bear, is so cute eating (and commenting on) his treat. But I know better than to pet him.

You?

 

 

Whose personality comes to mind as you read this?  How are your margins looking these days?   What would you like to make room for?

*Thanks to DM for the margins reference. Love it!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

The right side of the gate

rodeo clown

When I was a girl I often helped Dad outside in the barnyard. In fact, I’d choose nearly any chore over chores inside.  Mucking stalls, loading bales, hauling chop (chopped oats), you name it.  I’d happily hop in the truck with Dad and run an errand, too: pick up a load of hay, drop off a steer, etc.  Plus, riding with Dad had its bonuses, namely you ride with the Candy Man you get some candy, man!  🙂

Flash forward to my corporate life today: I’m inside a lot, but I take the opportunity to get out “in the field” and in front of people as much as possible.  There’s only so many spreadsheets a girl can take.  I can create and run pivot tables, populate Power Point, yada yada yada, but, as I’ve blogged about before, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and experience things head on.

A situation has been brewing that I’ve been managing and monitoring; I’ve pulled in local leaders and they understand the scenario.  Getting our corporate team’s attention isn’t always as easy, however.  Not for any other reason than what’s concerning me isn’t blowing up their backyard, it’s blowing up mine.

On a conference call with two lawyers the other day, I sensed they weren’t getting it.  So I brought up my Dad.  I explained that I’d learned a lot about the work I do by observing him as a Rural Municipal rep. He navigated political situations adeptly, he was a good listener, and his quiet charm and gentle approach served him well.  As a girl I tagged along to his meetings, making sure the coffee was fresh and the literature was straight.  I watched and learned as he listened to others’ concerns.

Further, I explained there were certain times when Dad would enlist all 5 of us kids for help – working cattle.  And one of his life lessons was to ensure we were always on the “right side of the gate.”  I shared his words, “If the bull’s out, you want to be in. If the bull’s in, you want to be out.”  Using this analogy, I related that I recently I’d felt like I was in the chute with a frothy mob of bulls bearing down on me and that it was up to the company to give me support as I vaulted up and over to the right side of the gate.  When I added that lately I’d felt like a “rodeo clown,”  they laughed and I felt Dad with me.

Me and those attorneys?  They get it, we formulated a plan and I am once again on the right side of the gate.

100_3119

Oh you could put yourself between her and her babies, but I wouldn’t advise it. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

 

Can you relate to this story? Have you ever found yourself on the “wrong side of the gate?”   What childhood life lesson applies to your work life today?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Elections, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Try it and see what happens

yes racoon

“Once you make up your mind and start something… Once you commit to it, say “Yes!” and never look back.

Do you have any doubt that I won’t rush to your side?  That legions won’t be summoned? That players won’t be drawn to help, assist, and fall in love? That connections won’t be made? Circumstances won’t be crafted? Dots won’t be connected?  That the course of history won’t be irrevocably changed?

Good, I didn’t think so. 

I’d say you’re ready,”
    – The Universe

Happy Monday!  What are you saying “yes” to this week?

yes-yes

 

*all images from Google.com

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 – Congress, Mentors and Meerkats

It’s time for five random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly.

1.  I’m off to D.C. soon and last week, with the help of my Congressional office, I booked a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol.   Normally you should book these tours months in advance …  my schedule is jam-packed while I’m there.  I took a chance and found there was one spot left on the afternoon I was available. Luck or fate?   I’m going with a bit of both.  And, if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.”  Just ask – who knows?

US.gov

Isn’t she grand?  VisittheCapitol.Gov

2. Last Thursday marked 7 years as a citizen.  7 years ago I obtained my 2nd passport and voted (here) for the first time. 7 years.  Stepping forward, with 78 other hopeful new citizens, that moment – and the memory – is still goose-bump-worthy.

That's me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

That’s me, holding the flag, and taking the Oath of Allegiance.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

3. I’ve been saying “Yes” as much as possible lately and enjoying what comes next.  Last week I received an email from a long-time hero and mentor, Pat Katz.    Pat, teen leader and champion from the 4-H days of my youth, now writer, speaker, motivator, coach, artist, and all around fabulous woman.  She made a lasting impression on a young farm girl 36+ years ago and when we reconnected on Facebook, I felt like someone gave me the key to the cool kid’s club.   She shared this quote below and encouraged me to continue saying yes – and mentioned how fun it would be to meet up the next time I’m in Saskatchewan.  I immediately said yes – I’m going home for an August wedding and we’re grabbing a coffee and a hug at the airport arrival with my sissy Pat –and I’ll have my two favorite “Pats” in the same place – how sweet is that?

“Once you make up your mind and start something… Once you commit to it, say “Yes!” and never look back.

Do you have any doubt that I won’t rush to your side?  That legions won’t be summoned? That players won’t be drawn to help, assist, and fall in love? That connections won’t be made? Circumstances won’t be crafted? Dots won’t be connected?  That the course of history won’t be irrevocably changed?

Good, I didn’t think so. 

I’d say you’re ready,”
    – The Universe

4. This past week everything “popped” at once – not just Lilacs and other plants but the trees, too.  I’m popping Claritin like candy  … but is sure is green and lush and lovely.  Spring has sprung!

100_2359

Emjayandthem(C) ‘s lilacs

5.  I don’t care who you are or where you’ve worked – we have all sat through that one long, boring meeting, speech or sermon and then …

 

What are you waiting to say “Yes” to?  What would you try if you knew there was no way you could fail?

Have a great Wednesday, Peeps!

ha!

ha!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Relationships, Vote, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ TV dinners, road trips, community and common sense

Random Five Friday pic

It’s Friday and here are 5 random happenings and thoughts from this week:

1.  Hubbs and I talked about this a couple of days ago but who else remembers when TV dinners were good and something to look forward to?   I remember, on special occasions, Mom coming home from town with some of these.  Our excitement was palpable as we placed our foil trays into the oven and, later, peeled back the cover and attacked the fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables and little apple or cherry dessert.  It was even better if Mom and Dad were going out for the night and my cousin and I had an Elvis movie coming on at 8!   Haven’t had one of these in 35 years but I still smile at the memory.

tv dinner

Oh yes!

2.  Road trip Wednesday crossing three counties and at least 3 weather bands.  Several times I drove through freezing rain or flurries.  On my way to my last appointment, I rounded the bend on a country road, and spotted something odd.  It took me a few moments to realize what I was looking at: newly shorn sheep shivering in the snow.  (Say that seven times – ha!)

sheep-thumb

Dude! It’s way too early for us to be naked!! Google.images.com

3.  Stopping for gas yesterday morning, an older gentleman was filling his van up just ahead of me.  As the wind blew my hair sideways I looked up, his eyes met mine, I smiled and commented, “So much for Spring, hey?”  He laughed and replied, “I know, we just got home from Florida yesterday, and I told the wife next time we’re staying there!”  He chatted a bit more about their trip there and the snow on the ground at his home here and what a crazy year it’s been weather-wise.  He paid his tab, wished me a good day, and off he went.  And as I left the gas station, there he was at the next intersection, giving me a hearty wave good-bye.  I smiled, waved back, and gave thanks for living in a place where weather is always a safe topic and more people than not are friendly and nice.

4.  I’ve been out of the office a lot lately and something I’ve had reinforced again is a simple rule of business etiquette.  When I’m away, I put the “out of office” message on ~ I let internal employees know how to reach me and my team and external contacts know I am away until X time or date.  I do the same with voice mail.  This helps manage the influx of requests, keeps inquiries and tasks moving, and lessens the “Hi it’s so and so; call me back please” messages — simple, effective, and irritating when others don’t do it, too.   Yes I know we live in a 24/7 society and instant everything but there are times I’m in meetings or out of range.  I’m not a Fireman and managing expectations has become as important as meeting deadlines.

out-of-office

5.  Saw this recently and laughed out loud.  I’m pretty sure our dog Frankie would have answered to these names, too!

stop that dog

Do you remember having TV dinners on special occasions as a kid?  What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a recent road trip?  Does it make you happy when random people comment on the weather to you?  What rules of business etiquette work for – or annoy – you?  And what other names do your pets answer to?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Random, Seasons, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 in 5

Five minutes for 5 Random Friday thoughts. Go!

1.  Protein shake for breakfast – feels like cheating 🙂

2.  Here’s a flashback to about 1968: me with one extremely large Tomcat, Tigger.  There were a lot of little kitties around who looked like him:

I swear I wasn't strangling Tigger!   an Emjayandthem (C) photo

I swear I wasn’t strangling Tigger! an Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  No acuptuncture for me today.  Hubbs pointed out my 4 hour Dental appt that starts 15 min from now — yeah, probably not good to add PINS to the mix.  That’s Tuesday instead :).

4. It’s Friday!  Time to get my groove one … here’s the “real” clip to the song I posted a few days ago — have some “Uptown Funk” featuring Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars.  I love the dance moves, the horn section and the “super fly” feeling to this song.

5.  This picture inspired this post.   Dance like no one’s watching .. because they’re not. They’re doing their own thing or on the smart phone!

dancer inside

Google.images.com

Happy Friday, peeps!  I double-dog-dare ya to write a post in 5 minutes.  Go!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Random, Random observations, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Hello, March

Breaking records for the coldest February since 1892 I’m happy to see March’s arrival.  It’s hard to believe Spring is only a few weeks away!

And with that I give you Plume the cat.  His attitude to snow is similar to mine — put your head down and get through it!

 

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”~Proverb

Are you having Spring Fever, too?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Random, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Friday – at last

It’s Friday! Time for 5 random thoughts from the mystical, magical mind of MJ.   Or something like that…

1. It’s Friday, Friday, Friday!!!   Just finished a LONG couple of days in meetings with our new corporate Exec.  The sessions were intense with questions,  charts, maps, background info, and a data dump.  Holy cow, even I am sick of those charts and numbers BUT I am also energized because both my team and I knocked it out of the park.  Nothing feels as good as 1) knowing what you know 2) knowing what you don’t and 3) being able to let someone else lead, too.    Never met the man before but he’s sharp, shrewd, ethical and fair.  That’s the kind of Leader I can get behind!

Lots of "take aways" but it's all good - whoop!  Google.images.com

Lots of “take aways” but it’s all good – whoop! Google.images.com

2.  The morning of the first day’s meetings I was getting the last of my things packed and decided to groom my eyebrows.  You know, ’cause that’s what you should do when you’re nervous: wield something sharp.   Now, as I’ve gotten older, eyebrows have started growing weirdly and nobody wants some Andy Rooney’s looking back at them in a meeting.   Well you can just imagine what happened: yes, I lopped off the corner of one.  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good, either.  I did the only thing I could think of: set it down and laughed out loud.  Thank goodness for eyebrow pencils and make up tricks learned in the drama club.  Hubbs about died laughing at that story last night and I do telling it.   🙂

3.  Right after that moment I read this quote and felt myself relax.  I gave that girl a few pats on the back for all of her hard work to-date, told her to rock n’ roll and then off I went.

Try it .. it works.  Google.images.com

Try it .. it works. Google.images.com

4.  At dinner the first night, our new leader asked each of us about ourselves so he could get to know us better:  favorite movie, music, our background, how did we get to the company we work for, do we have a family, etc.   Everyone took their turns and the information shared was both revealing and interesting, making for great conversation, laughs and side conversations. I watched him artfully do this and thought, “nice work.”  In all the years I’ve worked at this company no one in leadership – not one – had ever done this.   Around the table we went – and when we all finished I realized no one had asked him.  So I did.  And as his eyes met mine and he began to talk about his career, family and interests I took my very first lesson.  Nice.

how people feel

5.  My regularl readers know I’m more of a reader than a movie watcher but when asked to share a movie I turned to the table and said, “Shrek because who doesn’t love Donkey?”  The table roared, he got a glimpse into my personality, and it was all good.

How about you? How was your week?  Ever had a grooming mishap?  If asked these questions, what would you share?  What Shrek character is your favorite?

Happy Friday, peeps!

ha!

ha!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sound effects required

Google.images.com

Google.images.com

It’s not that I hate Mondays it’s just that I love the weekends so much more. Have a great week, folks!

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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