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.
“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?
Chatting with my sister yesterday we laughed about how, like Mom, we wear the same things over and over: A raggedy tee shirt, a fraying nightie, favorite shorts with a rip in the pocket.
There’s comfort in old clothes and in old things ~ they’re worn and soft and easy on the skin. We know what to expect and they deliver. It’s not that we can’t buy new clothes, we can. It’s not that we can’t wear new clothes, we do. But, time and again, we reach for what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, what endures.
Old recipes on batter-stained pages.
Coffee cups that fit our hands.
The love of an old pet who leans in for more.
How good the house smells as something simmers in the kitchen.
We talked further about “the good stuff,” about how, as you get older, material “stuff” matters less and less. What we want are connections, meaningful conversations, comfortable temperatures, good stories, tasty foods, deep sleep, great coffee, and loyal friends. We want our kids and grands and pets to be OK and everyone we know to feel safe and loved and remembered. And in the chaos this year has brought we reach for the good stuff.
A few weeks back I heard the sad news that John Prine, legendary singer/songwriter, passed away.
I grew up singing to classic John Prine songs like this one, “Hello in There” – songs with lyrics that wrap themselves around you and deliver a punch line that still stings …
You know that old trees just grow stronger And old rivers grow wilder every day Old people just grow lonesome Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello”
He was in his early 20s when he wrote that,writing songswhile delivering mail. I laugh at and love his humorous songs like “Please don’t bury me” or “In spite of ourselves” and feel his thoughtfulness in “That’s the way that the world goes ’round,” and “Illegal Smile.” Others that still pack a punch are “Sam Stone” and “Angel from Montgomery,” but the list is as long as my arm and then some. For more visit here.
I’ve moved so much, and gotten rid of a lot, but still have this ticket stub from the night a 17 year old girl experienced two musical geniuses in concert. After the show, the lot of us went out for snacks/drinks and there they were – John Prine and Steve Goodman, in the hotel bar. Couldn’t have been nicer or more down-to-earth … smiling as they signed my ticket stub.
If you haven’t added John Prine to your music library yet, make time to. And as for me, when I take my walk later today, I’ll be singing along to “Illegal Smile” and “That’s the way that the world goes ’round” while I hike up hills and say hello to neighbors, old and young.
It’s Saturday, the sun is shining and it’s time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Set? Go!
1 ) Celebrating oldest boy’s birthday later today ~ which called for some home-made baking straight out of Mommacita’s kitchen. My blueberry-loving boy gets a blueberry/peach cobbler and the rest will enjoy a Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake (good enough to take to the rink, a nod to the winter home of my childhood). That sheen on the cake? That’s from butter in the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. Margarine is never gonna give you that sheen ~ Love baked in every bite!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler
Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake
Indeed it is
2 ) Speaking of the Rink .. it remains the H E A R T of my prairie home. Talking with my sister last night she filled me in on the “Spa Spiel” happening this weekend – a 3 day curling bonspiel, with 16 teams, ages ranging from grade school to seniors. (** Winning team gets a trip to the local hot springs Spa**) The rink kitchen will be humming with volunteers frying onions for “rink burgers,” serving up homemade pie, homemade soup and homemade buns, all donated from area residents. Those not curling will be visiting, skating, playing cards, eating pie and enjoying what’s likely to be the last winter “hurrah” for the real ice of that small-town prairie rink. Spring will come and the ice will go – it’s just the way it’s always been.
I remember coming in to warm up, after skating for hours, and finding enough change for an ice cold-coke or Sprite out of this cooler. We’d pull our drink out of the frosty water, wipe it off with the rag that’d been there forever, and enjoy, our cheeks burning as they warmed. It is not possible to craft a better childhood and I’m so glad to hear those prairie traditions continue!
the old Coca-Cola chest …
3 ) Signs of Spring are everywhere – but March came in like a Lamb. We all know what that means!
4 ) Woke up to emails from airlines that I have upcoming business trip tickets with ~ and assurances about clean air and cabin cleaning…. No CoVid19 around here yet but the FLU (which kills thousands every year) has been rampant, with many schools having to close for a week at a time. NoroVirus, Influenza A and H1N1 are all in play – blah. Between us, I’ve got a feeling my corporate conferences are about to be scrapped. And that’s OK by me.
5 ) My new indulgence – Cuban coffee ~ oh Mylanta, so good!
Recovering from dental surgery (an extraction & bone grafting to prepare for a future implant, ye-ouch), I feel the love from hubby – otherwise known as “he who doesn’t cook”- the same man who bought omelettes we could warm up. He heats them just so, then cuts everything so I can eat it. (I had made soup but it’s too painful to slurp…)
I awoke with a start at 4 a.m. today and lay in bed thinking about the Valentines of my youth .. and remembered to being young/newly married, when we still bought gifts and cards and did all that “stuff” and I compared it to the love we share now.
And I smile my gap-toothed smile appreciating that “Real love” is hubby telling his wife – the one who looks like a goalie on the losing team “it’s not that bad” & then asks “is there anything I can do for you?”
Real love is hubby asking “what book are you reading now?” even though he’d rather watch sports or politics than talk books. 📚
Real love shows up, checks in, accepts the bed hair, mismatched jammies and fusses to make sure all is well. Real love turns up the heat, warms up the leftovers, scolds with a finger point reminders to take the antibiotics and pain meds on a regular basis. Real love does the best he can.
And that, my friends, is all the Valentines Love I need
I hope you are feeling loved today – be it self-love, partner love or pet love! XO
It’s only fitting that, on my very last day of 9 glorious days off, I’d wake to this:
12.1.19 First snow an Emjayandthem(C) photo
It was, by far, the best sleep of my entire week off … the house calm, dark and quiet.
A heavy quiet that only fresh snow can insulate us from a hurry-up / busy world. Cocooning from the noise around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Leftovers, Holiday Travel, deadlines, to-Do lists. Z-z-z-z-z-z
Here we are – we’ve set our clocks back (blah) and turned the page to November. Time for 5 random thoughts:
1 Benefits: In comes November and along with it 2020 Benefits enrollment & Holiday planning, just like that. For the first time we’ll only have hubbs & I on our insurance ~ feels weird and suddenly I feel old. Or maybe it’s that Daylight “Savings” experience!
2 Home: The later the season, the more I want to be home. Yesterday the weather brought us a rainy/snow mix, it was cold, windy and dark, most of the day. A “good day for a house,” Mom used to say. After errands and leftovers I settled in with a good book and read till I couldn’t anymore; I woke still thinking about the story and the characters in it, eager and happy for another day to finish it. I have to pace myself because I read quickly and this story is one worth savoring:
3 Passages: When we got the news of our friend’s Dad’s passing 2 weeks ago, I started cooking. Soup on the stove, placed an order for deli sandwiches, and baked up a fruit cobbler. Later, I texted his wife and asked if we could drop off food for them ~ she gave me an affirmative and a plan was set. See I’ve been that friend who’s offered to help saying, “just let me know what you need,” and then never heard anything further. And I’ve learned that you don’t wait to be asked to help by someone in shock and grieving – you just do it.
4 Christmas trees – Yesterday Hubbs and I spent 2 hours in our local Hardware/Home goods store ~ he had a list as long as his arm and we ping-ponged from one side of the store to another to find all items: Rock Salt, Bungee Cords, WD-40, Tub Caulking, you name it. We found ourselves among the Christmas Trees and shared a look: our tree is beautiful but takes up too much room in the smaller home we down-sized to. We left the store with 2 trees ~ a tall slim tree for the family/game room and a small “frosted” tree for the living room. Our big tree will be gifted to one of the boys – or Goodwill – and we’ll enjoy putting up our smaller ones in a month or so.
5 Holiday plans – Work teams are busy putting in for vacation time off but I’m holding back and trying to stay nimble ~ why? We have a grandbaby due in early December! I could be hosting/cooking for Thanksgiving or loving on the new baby & his parents with a dish-to-pass. We just don’t know ~ so we’re staying flexible. And for this life-long planner, that’s hard to do … maybe I’ll prepare a batch of TLC Chicken Spaghetti now & freeze it, just in case!
Here we are on the weekend of Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving ~ we’re smack dab in the middle of my favorite season: FaLL, glorious Fall! Crisp apples, sunshiney days, something simmering in the oven. Cozy blankets, good sleeps, wonderful drives and cool breezes.
Here are 5 Randoms from my October world:
1 ) I don’t watch a lot of TV but I binge-watched this series and doing so took me right back to my parents kitchen, soup simmering, AM radio on, and a Hank Williams or Waylon Jennings song on the radio … so good!
2 ) Speaking of, I remember Willie & Waylon from their “Outlaw” Days, partying hard and having fun. But here’s a little some-something I discovered while watching that series … who knew, that before the greasy hair and cowboy hats, that Waylon Jennings was that good looking? Day-umn! **Might have rewound the show, not telling. 😉
A young Waylon Jennings
3 ) A year ago I visited the Billy Graham library in Charlotte, N.C. What an amazing and humbling experience that was, especially when, at the end of the tour, a volunteer asked if she could pray for me. I accepted, and that experience, and her gentle words of faith, remains deeply touching to me. I’ve recently discovered Podcasts and enjoy listening to them while driving to and from my many meetings. This week, the Billy Graham Ministries Podcast appeared in my “suggested” queue ~ random? Not so much.
The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.
4 ) Cooking last night for a family baby shower this weekend, our kitchen windows steamed up from the heat ~ On the stove simmered Sloppy Joe’s, in the oven roasted Cheesy harvest potatoes and a from-scratch pizza for the hubbs. He may have visited the kitchen several hundred times … I heard the screech of his slipper brakes as the pizza came out of the oven, bubbling and wonderful. We sampled and enjoyed and felt the coziness that comes from a contented life together. And when we got up this morning our house still smelled of all I’d cooked the night before. Say what you will, there’s not a candle made that can match the smell of “home.”
5 ) Fall leads to Winter and you know what that means to me? Books, books and more books! I’ve assembled quite a stack over the summer, some new and some new-to-me … They’re waiting for me like good friends at the ready. Waiting for a perfectly cozy Fall day with sunshine streaming in, a cozy blanket and no particular place to be. Ahh.