Advertisements

Food

The idea

“Use it or lose it” they said.  I rolled over vacation time last year to this one and it’s timing out so .. with that .. I’m on vacation this week — and following the “no plan-plan.”

Purposeful nothingness.

Reading.

Sunshine.

Iced Tea.

Flip flops.

Farmer’s Market.

Pedicure.

Reading.

Phone chats with siblings and cousins.

Music.

Firing up the grill.

Shutting down the laptop.

Reading.

Naps.

A stretch of days with nothing to do and all day to do it.

You can get old pretty young if you don’t take care of yourself.

I’m feeling younger by the minute!  🙂

When’s the last time you checked out? Have you ever had a week of “purposeful nothingness?”

 

Advertisements
Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow down Summer

Arriving home Friday night, the air was heavy with moisture and the threat of a summer shower  – the humidity/heat index hovered in the triple digits.  Hubbs, naturally slender, smiled at finally being warm.  His movements were easy, mine not so much.   I rushed in with groceries, wiping the sweat from my neck, and stayed inside to cool down in the air-conditioning.

After a shower and with my hair up, I re-joined him on the patio for an iced-cold beer and one of our typical meandering Friday night conversations.

The two of us spoke longingly of our upcoming summer vacation – remembering summers of our past, some spent together, some before we met.

We both remembered that first slice of watermelon, sitting on Grandma’s front steps and a shared childhood memory of Root Beer floats, burnt hot dogs and someone’s homemade pie.

We recalled wienie roasts with cousins, sleepovers, marshmallows cooked too long, and the crackle of the fire against the quiet of a dark summer night.

We reminisced about when our boys were little, how we spent summer days with Super Soakers, sprinkler hoses and water balloons and unbridled fun.

We remembered cookouts with Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, with hordes of cousins to play with and the best food we’d ever eaten – Taco Salad, baked beans, fried chicken, burgers off the grill, lemonade, Rhubarb, Cherry and Saskatoon pie.  We talked about an older brother backing his car into the yard and opening the trunk to crank up the tunes – Led Zeppelin, Al Green or the Beatles.  We remembered some adults sipping beer from short brown bottles and Great Uncles playing Horseshoes and ladies fanning themselves against the summer warmth.    We remembered the prickly feel of lawn chairs against our sun-burnt thighs and the cozy happiness we felt being tucked into bed after such a rapturous day.

Summers were magical when we were kids – days were longer – parents were lenient – it was like everyone all knew this couldn’t – wouldn’t last.

Summer is here. Please last a little while longer.

 

Summertime, I think, is a collective unconscious. We all remember the notes that made up the song of the ice cream man; we all know what it feels like to brand our thighs on a playground slide that’s heated up like a knife in a fire; we all have lain on our backs with our eyes closed and our hearts beating across the surface of our lids, hoping that this day will stretch just a little longer than the last one, when in fact it’s all going in the other direction.”
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

 

Care to share your favorite summer memories?  Did your elders send you outside to eat watermelon or iced cream, too?

That’s me on Dad’s knee – An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Kisses, smiles and summertime

Summer just started and * gasp * it’s already scheduled  … I have too many vacation hours and must use “it or lose it” (not happening).  Not a terrible problem to have I know so, for that reason, I’m booking off soon to enjoy a summer  that looks like this:

“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!”  ― Kenny Chesney

 

 What’s your summer looking like? 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random 5 – Sisters, Books and Summer’s arrival

It’s Sunday! Back to work tomorrow ~Cooking, Laundry and random 5 today. Here goes!

1 )  My sister and I vacationed together last week ~ she lives in Canada, where we grew up, I live in the USA so – instead of traveling to each other’s homes – we met in the middle – something new for both of us.  No cooking. No cleaning. No bed-making.  No organizing. No wrangling. No Scheduling.  We loosely followed the “no plan-plan.”   Meeting in Minneapolis then flying to Kansas City together we laughed and we cried and we laughed again.  Navigating the rental car through the city and down to the interstate to Branson, MO, we sang along and talked and talked.  We had purchased a few show tickets ahead of time but left the week open to the possibilities.  Lying by the pool. Shopping in cute little boutiques, artisan markets and outlet malls.  Dining out, being waited on and, in some cases, sung to (the Singing Diner was so fun!)  Our trip was glorious!  Sister time – talking in the morning, talking at night, talking by the pool, talking in the dark.   On our last night together, out of the dark a small voice whispered,”I’m sure going to miss you, you know.”  “I know,” I said, “as will I miss you.”    A knowing look – finishing each others sentences – laughing at our stupid jokes.  For as much as we talked – sisters don’t need words.  

Sisters! An Emjayandthem(C) photo

2 ) Heat – arriving back home I was surprised to find the weather much hotter here (northern) than where we’d been (southern).  How did that happen?  80s up to 90s with little rain. It’s hot and dry.  Birds flitter happily through the sprinkler.

3 )  Taking a (leave-your-house) vacation is an excellent reminder that all of the stuff stressing me out is just that … stuff.    I work hard and do my best to stay on top of everything but every once in a while I need to step away from it and breathe.  Live.  Laugh.  And re-connect.

and there it is

4)  Books — Read one and bought another — one of my favorite things to do on a plane is to dive into a new story.  This one was well worth the dive:

… great read .. right to the last page!

And I bought this on the recommendation of a fellow passenger – next up on my summer reading list.

5 ) Summer’s here and another favorite just arrived — the Farm Market is open again!  I have to pace myself and remember that, for the most part, I’m the only one eating all these yummies.   Ooh … deliciousness abounds!!

What’s on your summer reading list?  Have you had any adventures lately?   What are you grateful for?  Are you a fan of toasted ‘mater sammiches, too?  *(GF for me!)

Toasted Tomato Sandwich ~ ahh, Summer!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Glad Surrender

Lately my work life is all consuming  ~  looking back and ahead I am struck by these four things:

1 ) Traveling every week for work & so that means restaurant after restaurant – and eating healthfully can be a challenge.  Typically I have a big breakfast sometime during the day and supplement with foods I bring with me.  But, I’ve discovered the wedge salad and that has become my new favorite.  I’m sure it’s 10,000 calories but I don’t care.   Here’s is one I enjoyed a few nights ago with shrimp and a Skinny Girl Margarita.  Yes I was that gal photographing her food … ha!

dinner on the road recently

2)  I’m tired.  Tired of work, tired of calls, tired of projects, tired.  I’m tired of increasing pressure, endless demands and unrealistic expectations.  In just a few weeks we will shut everything off and head to a warm vacation.  In response to bosses who’ve asked anxiously if I’ll be online while away I’ve answered no, I’ll be IN line for a beach towel and a lemonade by the pool.   Looking forward to no schedule, no calls and no clocks.  I know what will happen – we’ll sleep deeply, be up early, and smile our way through sun, tunes, good foods and warm waters.  And when we get back it will all be there waiting for us.

3)  The one thing saving my life right now is weekends.  And sleep. And wedge salads. And that pool image above 😉

4)  Many flagship stores around us are closing – K-Mart was first, Sears was next, and now, certain J.C. Penney stores, too.  Out of solidarity I stopped at JCP one night last week, hit a sale, and walked out with >$300 in merchandise for $95.    If I could get a deal like that more often I’d go to the mall more.  Hmm.

** How about you? What new-to-you food are you loving? Have you came upon any deals lately? What are you excited about?  When’s the last time you took a break? Can you embrace the Surrender?**

“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender

 

Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fashion, Food, Fun, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lions, Lambs and funeral luncheons

Mother Nature has been mercurial again – here March roared in like a lion, with freezing temps, bitter cold, blowing snow and lashing sleet.   All this after a mid-February warm up to nearly 70F.  The latest round felt like a mid-winter spanking. Are we safe to assume March will leave like a lamb?  I’m not so sure.

A friend passed away last Sunday ~ shockingly young, leaving a wife and two children plus a business and employees to take care of.  We struggled to absorb the news and rally around our friend.  As expected, a call went out for food and folks didn’t disappoint.  At the wake Friday night, were crocks full of hot foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joe’s, Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagna plus trays of cakes, cookies and squares, salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, boiled shrimp, crackers and cheese, a  baked ham and the fixings for sandwiches.

There’s something so comforting about being able to help at a time of sadness. 

Many commented on the abundance of foods and I thought of Mom and my Auntie and all the times they’d done the same. It’s nice to be part of a community that comes together and provides sustenance when needed.

Later that evening, reflecting on the day, Hubbs and I chuckled at how we’d both observed the same thing: older gentlemen – every one of them had a big slab of cake (sometimes two), cookies or brownies on their plate ~ we laughed about how we could see my Dad or his Grandpa doing the same – how they knew enough to”go for the good stuff first.

Co-mingled in the sadness is a lingering feeling of fellowship, the memory of a room growing loud with laughter and toasts to a good man.

And as the wind howls outside here today, no lambs are in sight.

**   How does your family or community navigate loss?  Are you experiencing Lambs or Lions where you live? **

 

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Grief, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Random 5 January Friday

It’s Friday! Time for 5 Random brand-new-year thoughts!

1) Our January weather has been weird.  -temps then + temps.   Blizzards then thunderstorms.  Lake effect snow then freezing rain then black ice then … warm weather and sunshine.  I think Mother Nature is in menopause!

amaze-myself

I can relate to Mother Nature!

2)  Nearly every ad on TV of late is about weight lossHow Marie lost 50lbs on Nuke-your-System!! Oprah and her cookbook and her love of bread! There’s even a new prescription out (can’t recall the name) that promises to accelerate weight loss – the disclaimer states that it “may cause seizures, greasy bowels, rapid heart rate and other side effects.”  Nice!   Who wants to be slimmer but with greasy bowels and seizures? Yikes!  I’ve been (largely) grain free since January 2016 and guess what – not only did I lose weight – I. Am. NEVER. Sick.  In 2014 I had bronchitis 5 times; 2015 – 3 times. 2016? None. Zip. Nada.  **As inflammation recedes the immune system can heal**.  Also-my skin healed, joints don’t ache any more and did I mention I am never sick – despite heavy travel, copious amounts of work stress, public interaction, and being around co-workers with colds & the flu. I’ve lost 20 lbs and 16″.   YES to no more Claritin, Mucinex, Tylenol Sinus, Neti Pot or inhaler needed!  You don’t have to spend a bunch of money eating fake food or chugging down pills – you really can heal from the inside out.  For more visit Cardiologist Dr. William Davis’ site, www.wheatbellyblog.com.

1 year Grain Free ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo

1 year Grain Free ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3)  Do you ever forget certain chores?  I forget to vacuum. I don’t dislike it, I just forget about it – oops.    What chore do you forget on a regular basis?

4) Saw this on FB and laughed out loud.  Snaccident.  I have never tried Nutella but I could hurt myself with Guacamole!

snackcident

5)   And with that … I’m off to get more coffee!  Happy Friday, peeps!

coffee star trek

 

What weight loss ad have you seen recently? Forget any chores of late? (Or on purpose? 🙂  )  Have you ever had a snaccident?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Food, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Personal, Recipes, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stress, horizons and pie

Vacation is on the horizon!

vacation next exitStarting Monday ~ 5 glorious days off with Thanksgiving tossed in for good measure.

Emails will pile up, phone calls will continue, conference calls will be scheduled even though others know I’m away.

“Take the time before you lose the days.”

I now have more vacation time “in the bank” than I have time to use.

Emails continue to come in, fast and furious, hundreds every day.

Calls, meetings, schedules.

Lately I feel like I’m scaling the Grand Canyon on a daily basis…. blindfolded.   I can feel the tension in my shoulders, which now approach my ears. I can feel stress in my heart rate when I lie down at night and can’t quieten my thoughts.

1,000+ miles in the past 10 days, 150 yesterday and another 400 tomorrow – and all the while project calls get scheduled and scheduled and scheduled. “Could you take the lead on this?”  “But you and your team know so much about X” “We want you on this task force…”  Flattering but ..my cup runneth over.

I hear my mother’s voice whispering in my year, “You can’t be everything to everyone, dear.”

My weariness reminds me to shut it down, shut it up and shut them out.

So – vacation is on the horizon … and there shall be pie!

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet, Boston Marriage

*Note: no pies were consumed in the writing of this post.  Pies shall be made for 1) Grandpa (apple), 2) oldest boy (blueberry) and 3) youngest boy (pumpkin).  Will I have any? Not likely. See, the joy is in the creating ~ the cutting, the simmering, the kneading of the dough, Al Green on the stereo and happiness in my kitchen.

Oh so true!

Oh so true!

 

*Are you taking some time off over the Thanksgiving Holiday? What are you looking forward to most?  Is there a pie in your future? 😀

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

A Flapper pie I baked in Mom’s kitchen ~ an Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

 

Categories: Determination, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 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

Saturdays, soup and happiness

Saturday.

The house is quiet and the ambience lazy.

Chicken soup simmers on the stove.

Windows open, a cool breeze wafts in.

The dryer hums in the basement.

Hubbs and I refill our coffees and look towards the day:

  • No plans.
  • No schedule.
  • No particular place to be.

Happiness.

I feel it seeping in.

“October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or of shutting a book, did not end a tale. Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: “It is simply a matter,” he explained to April, “of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

100_2077.jpg

Categories: Family, Food, Home, Joy, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 for Labor Day – Ice Cream, escape artists, Apple Season and days off

Random 5 for Labor day ~ here we go!

1 ) Years ago my cousin had a summer job at an ice-cream parlor. I spent the night with her to help eat at the shoppe.  We made up every concoction possible, ate gobs of ice cream, butterscotch, hot fudge, nuts and whipped cream.  I recently realized that I don’t crave ice cream ~ pretty sure that gluttonous memory is why.

hard decisions of our childhood

Remember?

2 )  Labor Day.  The end of summer as we know it ~ and leaves here are already turning.   But wait – here’s the BEST news – Honey-Crisp apples are nearly ready!!  Oh the joy cannot be contained!  You can still buy some of last year’s apples for $5.00/lb — but soon the orchards near me will sell FRESH apples (bumper Michigan crop this year!) -I can get a dozen for ~$7.00 and youngest boy and I will gobble them down like iced cream!

cropped-apples.jpg

3 ) Speaking of youngest boy, he has a  girlfriend and the girlfriend has a dog named Morty.  I like her already. And isn’t that the greatest name?  Apparently Morty likes busting free from the confines of the kennel; the kid has since nicknamed him “The great Mordini.”  Ha ha ha.

puppy-basset-hound

who can resist? Not I.

4 )  I love Fall.  Apples. Leaves. Bright sunny days. Cool, crisp nights.   I. Love. Fall! ❤

pumpkins.jpg

 

5) Hubbs and I both took tomorrow off !  I’m planning on sleeping in followed by coffee & a lazy brunch then a massage and whatever else I feel like doing – or not !!  Whoo Hoo!

otter day off

No stress, no dress code!

 

What’s your Random 5 looking like today? Ever over-do it on a food you love?  What happened?  Are you seeing signs of Fall where you are?  What’s the last kind thing you did for yourself?   Happy Labor Day everyone!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Holidays, Joy, Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Reality and Visions

As we move around in this world there are moments of clarity that occur.

Moments of reality.

Moments like this:

perfection

Yes, I can see myself in her, sans the bustle.

Because in my head I have a vision for this new house, having closed on the sale of the old one last week.

I have a vision of things in their “place,”  good smells and pleasing views.  I have a vision of tidiness and order and coziness and comfort.

And in the way?

Work.

Life.

Interviewing to fill a vacancy, one I’ve covered for months now. And, after that, on boarding someone new, training, policy, understanding, compliance and meeting all deadlines in the interim.

Add to that a new organizational structure, new boss(es), new, new, more, more.

Conference calls. Meetings. Travel.  Repeat.

And Hubbs gimping around with a sore back.

~Gulp~

So I’ve padded up my Labor Day weekend with a couple days off and maybe then I’ll make some headway. Maybe then our living room will transform into the “Home & Garden” vision in my head.  Maybe then.

Still, the aroma of a roasted meal lingers in the kitchen this morning. The counters are clear from last night’s efforts.  Progress – albeit slow – is there, if I let myself see it.

Youngest boy even declared “Mom, it smells like home in here” and his joyful statement helped me see that maybe we’re already there and not much more is needed anyways.

“Home isn’t a place, its a feeling”
― Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie

*** Can you relate? What vision in your head doesn’t translate to the reality in front of you?**

 Related: Just Like That

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Life, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

A Simple, Village Undertaker

A Look Out My Window…header photo of Galway Bay, by Elissa Visotski

A New Day Dawns

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

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Waiting for the Karma Truck

thoughts on the spaces in between

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by three opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Grit & Honey

Women clothed in strength. Your story isn't over yet.

Live & Learn

David Kanigan

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

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

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Flamidwyfe's Blog

Midwifing women all over the world!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Care Packages for U.S. Troops, Veterans, New Recruits, Wounded Warriors and Military Children

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time...Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!

Holy Ghost Bumps

...For when I am weak, then I am STRONG. 2 Corinthians 12:10

She's a Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

security is for cadavers

"One can attain a high degree of security in a prison cell if that's all he wants out of life." - Dwight Eisenhower

Stevil

Death Before Sour Mix

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

Kathryn M. McCullough

Author, Artist, Expat

Iced Tea with Lemon's Blog

Random Thoughts by Karen

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

A prairie woman choosing to enjoy each season, in weather and in life

Undercover Surfer

...random thoughts and images overflowing from my brain

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.

Georgette Sullins's Blog

My view of the cow parade

these days of mine

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

Writingfeemail's Blog

Random observations on writing and life

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...