I’ve been working, walking, reading and repeating.
Some travel. A few meetings.
All the calls.
The demand is constant, it never slows.
The pace, the pressure, the expectations can be unreal ~ some have left, moving on to other opportunities. New stress and chaos, most likely!
Evening arrives, laptop closes, phone is muted.. and I read.
Recently I celebrated my 20th year with the company and a Sr. Exec. asked about future plans, including retirement. Well, I’m not there yet. It’s closer than it was but it’s still far off on the horizon. He asked, “When that day comes, what are you going to do?” My response, without skipping a beat, “Live! And read all the books I haven’t had time for yet ….” 😀
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.” ― Sylvia Plath,The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
As often happens, I am up against a “use it or lose it” vacation days scenario. But add to it the complications a pandemic brings — it’s difficult to make travel plans, as the situation can change on a dime. I’m not interested in the hoops I’d have to jump through to maybe be able to visit my Canadian family ~ quarantines, mask mandates, ridiculously high airline fees, crowds, people. Nope, not doing it.
Work has me traveling a fair bit now so I don’t feel a burning desire to get out on the highway.
What to do, what do do.
I love this image about being seated in the front row of your life:
So I booked this week off ~ and yes I took great pleasure in politely declining each and every zoom/webex/teams/call invitation. Instead I had lunch with a friend, brunch with Hubby, a mani/pedi, have savored my coffee as the sun rose, refilled the bird feeder, and continued my daily walks. I’ve scheduled a massage & facial for later in the week + another lunch with a friend & mentor, will do a little exploring and shopping and a lot of reading.
The TV is off, cell is muted and my work laptop is powered down.
And this little girl personifies just how I feel about it! 🙂
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. ” – Christopher Germer
It’s Friday ~Here are my randomly thought-out thoughts as we head into the holiday weekend~
1 Work / Life Balance — I don’t know about you but I laugh every time I hear that phrase. What a joke -Like the words “quality time,” there’s no balance, never has been. Work is crazy, busy, demanding, and all-consuming. Life gets squeezed in here & there ~ but the balance thing? ha ha ha – Thank God for coffee 🙂
2 Summer reading has me transported back to my childhood ~ at night, when all calls/webinars/demands have ended, I sink into my coziest chair and read in the golden hour ~ the last bit of sunlight streaming across the pages of my book, the TV off, the house quiet. Sometimes I stay up late reading but often I barely make it to 9:30 before my eyes are heavy and tired. My one true indulgence, that I savor daily, is reading for pleasure. Ahh … summer.
3 Lifestyle choices are giving me LIFE– Yes Life continues to loft challenges my way, but my ability to “deal” with them has increased so much~ I’m so much calmer and at peace with myself. Intermittent Fasting (IF) has given me incredible focus, stamina and clarity but much of my lessened anxiety I can attribute to having left alcohol in 2019 ~ It never solved anything, in fact it often made things worse b/c it ramped up anxiety and negativity ~ Now that it is no longer in the picture I traded in angst for peace & self-confidence. BAM! The image below personifies how I feel walking confidently towards my future knowing I can handle what life brings me! She is EXACTLY how I feel ~ INVINCIBLE!
4 My daily walks continue, with affection ~ what began as a break from work morphed into a return to joy – I love being outside, hearing birds, feeling the wind on my face, and saying “Hello” to all my furry friends along the way. I know all of them, the owners not as much ;). Here’s our neighborhood kitty, expert mouser, birder and catcher of all small pests ~ she comes when I call her, stays for a pet, refuses food and hunts, hunts, hunts!
5 Pandemic Lessons – If this past year taught us anything it’s this – Stop Waiting to Start Living. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
So — how do you feel about phrases like “work/life balance” or “quality time?”
It’s a beautiful, bright Sunday in May ~ windows open, blue skies, and, after last night’s rain, song birds are chirping happily. Life is busy and good, with much to be thankful for. My five Random Musings are below:
I live in Michigan with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in place – our cases are higher than ever. Other states are wide open with numbers falling. What gives?
2. Enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday ~ b/c of competing priorities I didn’t have time to do my usual research. We met up with friends & placed our “bets” on which horse we hoped would win. I glanced over the field and put my bet on the trainer – and his horse won. Something gleaned from growing up at the track — a) all the horses are “pretty,” b) sometimes a long-shot wins but c) when in doubt, bet on the trainer.
3. New job starts tomorrow ~ as is my pattern, I’ll be doing my current one + the new job as things ramp up. I’m hoping to jettison the current one over time, but that remains to be seen. It’s new territory, teams are being formed, and none of us really know what we’re in for – which is exciting and nerve-wracking, all in one. I prefer to be at the start of a project vs. coming in later on. And as my all-time favorite boss (from 7 career moves ago) always reminds me, “If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.”
4. Working from home I had another epiphany recently ~ while I’m an introvert at heart, I can be extroverted, especially in my professional role, always needing time to regroup afterwards. Hello road trips! I am also hugely empathic. What’s that, you ask?
What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”
As a result, working remotely works brilliantly for me b/c exposure to others – and their “stuff”- is minimized. When I do go out/interact, I take steps to guard myself from being bombarded with others’ energy / thoughts / emotions / physical ailments. Ever walk into a store and suddenly hear “noise” even though no one is talking? If I don’t do a prayer of protection ahead of time the experience feels and sounds like I’m on an airport tarmac standing between jet planes taking off. If you’ve experienced this, you might be empathic, too. This book helped me.
5. Last night I re-watched footage of Prince William & Princess Catherine’s 2011 wedding as this year marks their 10th anniversary. It was fun to view such a joyful event and remember where I was at that time. A few days after their wedding, I penned this blog post https://emjayandthem.com/2011/05/03/so-did-you-watch/ which went on to become “Fresh Pressed” by the editors at Word Press. It was deemed of their “best of 385,233 bloggers, 387,452 new posts, 449,667 comments, & 93,406,663 words posted” on May 3, 2011. It remains my most viewed & commented-on post, and it’s still fun to go back and re-read the comments from all over the world. How lovely she was and is.
It’s Friday and time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 1 year ago today (March 20th) I had a scheduled day off planned because Hubbs & I were going to gather with friends and watch “March Madness” (college basketball tournaments). I don’t know much about basketball and have never watched a full game in my entire life, but Hubbs does and was a star player back in the day. So I go for him, the camaraderie and the food. 🙂 About a week before that fateful day, the tournament was cancelled b/c of the virus. A week later lockdowns started and we’ve been locked down ever since.
I had a scheduled day off today and over coffee this morning, Hubbs and I reflected on this past year ~ and what a tragic, strange and twisted year it has been. He’s watching as many basketball games as he can and I’m over here in my books ~ Onward!
2 ) The same habits I’ve chatted about before are same ones sustaining me ~~ work is v.e.r.y. busy, every day is long with many, many calls, however I remain thankful to be well employed with plenty to do. I take a break for a walk mid-day, I eat simple, nutritious foods; at night, the TV is off, books are open, and bedtime comes quickly. I’m up early and savor alone time before the race begins again.
3 ) Hubbs golfed a week ago and is planning to go again shortly. I see everyone getting all lovey-dovey with this Spring weather that’s happening over here but there’s a very big part of me that just. does. not. trust. it. I’m sure we’re in the “Spring of Deception” and that a snowfall spanking is coming for us soon. After last year, I admit it, I have trust issues.
4 ) Speaking of last year, this made me laugh out loud. Gentlemen, start your engines:
5 ) Lastly, I know this post violates MPSI (memes per square inch) rules, but I’m creatively spent. I miss writing. I miss my blogging friends. Some day it will come back to me. Until then, I give you this:
It’s Super Bowl Sunday and time for 5 random things from my corner of the world.
Ready? Let’s do this!
1. Snow. Our part of the country is well UNDER “normal” snowfall levels. But late last week/this weekend a big storm blew in …Lake Effect snow, high winds followed by bitter temperatures. Local grocery stores were crowded with folks in line, chatting through their masks and talking about stocking up. I don’t know about you but I think people like a big storm, gives ’em something to talk about. 🙂
2. People. Sometimes I do wonder about people: the same ones whose mask hangs half off their face while they fondle produce can be seen shrieking at another for standing too close in line. When I go out there are often moments when I think, “well, this is why I don’t go out!” Mask-idiots = Maskiots!
3. Walks. I miss my walks. I’ve been able to get in a few here & there but, for the most part, it’s just too icy. I miss my doggie friends; just last week my buddy, Chief, and I were reunited. Hard to say who wiggled and twirled more!
4. Zoom Exhaustion. It’s a thing. Extroverts are all about Zoom calls, Zoom Happy Hours, Zoom-you-name its. You see Zoom allows them to be on camera, talk over each other, comment too much and tell others every single thought or concept they ever had. Meanwhile introverts are muted with the camera off because we know our facial expressions will give us away.
5. Road Trips: I miss road trips. Having a new place to go (besides the grocery store) and meetings in-person. I miss driving and listening to music or podcasts, sipping my coffee or water, and thinking. I sure do miss road trips. But I don’t miss doing so in winter. 🙂
It’s Sunday morning, coffee tastes good and time for 5 random happenings from my corner of the world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 10 years – 10 years ago I registered for this domain on Word Press. 10 years!
I’ve written many posts and most about life, love, relationships, and life-lessons. Over time posts have evolved in depth and scope, frequency and topics. I’ve followed & commented on your blogs, and you on mine. Thank you; I appreciate the kinship and connections we’ve formed.
2 ) News – Did you know there’s an election this year? Chiefers would like to remind anyone reading that, no matter what happens November 3rd, dogs will still be dogs and cats will still be cats. We don’t need to all be the same to get along. I’ll try if you will.
3 ) Fall. My favorite season. Time for soups, stews, and chili. Muffins, banana bread and cookies. Books, cozy blankets & a time change. Pink cheeks, brisk walks in the wind, scarves and hoodies. I. Love. Fall!
4 ) Choices. This year has been a doozy, and that’s an understatement. 2020 is that annoying house guest who shows up early and never leaves. At the start of the new year I set a personal goal that went as follows, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”
I focused on 2 choices: intermittent fasting (IF) every day and delaying alcohol. Those 2 choices led to other positive choices, daily walking for stress management has evolved into a love of movement. Being outside makes my heart sing: it took a Pandemic to get me walking my neighborhood. Between all 3 I’m leaving (so far!) 31lbs & 43″ by the side of the 2020 road. Boats have been torched & the island is mine. What I love best about this lifestyle is that AF/IF is free and so am I!
4 ) Heart songs – I’ve written about this before but, the older I get, the more stock I put into simple pleasures: supper simmering on the stove, good coffee, a cozy sweater, the delight of a good book. A hug from a grown child or a wee grand. Conversations that meander and turn. Sunlight streaming in. Walks in nature. A quiet, clean house. Laughter so raucous my face hurts. These are my heart songs.
5 ) Fill up: Soon we’ll have one son, 2 grands & one grand-dog over, I’m cooking brunch ~ tunes are playing, bacon is sizzling, and the fridge is full of leftovers. My heart is full.
Thank you for following my blog, many of you for 10 years!
It’s Sunday in Summer and time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Let’s go!
1 ) Pandemic Groceries – Still working my way through our pandemic-groceries. Background: at the start of the lock-downs, Hubbs was doing the weekly grocery shopping, a task he enjoyed very much. I pulled the plug on his outings given his asthma & other risk factors. Other risk factors included the potential for altercations in Aisle #5 (paper aisle). But before our shift change in late-April, he was Mr. Pandemic-buyer. I think we have enough canned goods to last to 2028. With just two of us, it was already difficult to cook “small,” (I grew up in a family of 7… leftovers were a rarity in my house, and Mom prepared multiple meals daily). But while I’ve teased him about his purchases, I admit to having enjoyed “perusing” the pantry to set a meal plan for the week. Not ours, but pantry-envy worthy!
2 ) Hanging on – There’s been a shift again working remotely ~ we haven’t re-ordered letterhead or business cards. With no in-person meetings now or anytime soon, there’s simply no need. Logos & return addresses can be affixed digitally, e-copies suffice. Conversely, my days are longer than ever because I start earlier and work later. I exercise early mornings but rarely take breaks or more than 15 minutes for lunch. It’s not uncommon to have Corporate schedule (video) calls that start at 5pm, 6pm or later. It’s a weird world nowadays. I’m adapting, what else can you do?
3 ) Great trees make me grin – Below are a few of my favorite neighborhood trees ~ totally climb-able. Being raised a prairie child I shall forever appreciate a great tree.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
4 ) Quiet: The older and busier I get the more I savor quiet ~ the quiet of an early morning, a Sunday afternoon, or that moment when dusk turns to night. Hubbs is a TV-on-all-the-time kind of guy. He often wanders through the house to find me tucked into a book, the only sound that of a slow summer fan. Ahh.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” ― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth.
The magic of a summer read in a house full of quiet.
5 ) Driving. I don’t know what’s up but some appear to have lost their ability to make rational decisions AND drive at the same time. I blame the masks!
* I’ve not counted how many books I’ve read this year, but it’s safe to say my “Quarantine” pile is tall enough to topple over. I’d guess between 50-60. My favorite this year has been “The Authenticity Project”by Clare Pooley.
It’s summer in Michigan ~ we all know what that means … Spring’s sweaty sister is here for a visit. Could be long, could be short but move over, ’cause she’s sharing your space! Here are Five Random thoughts for today ~ ~
1 ) Watermelon, Cherries, Blueberries and Strawberries in season. That is all.
2 ) Humidity is regularly 80% … or more. Walks are taken before 7:00 a.m. Books are devoured outside or under the kiss of a summer fan. That is all.
3 ) Michigan is still locked in/down. Just keep living. That is all.
4 ) Speaking of lock-downs – there is a strong physical & emotional resemblance to Hubbs here. Add golf and me and it’d be bang-on. That is all.
5 ) This is just a little too true ~ and that is all!
So, what day is it, anyway? And how are you coping?
We have grand-dog Sullivan (“Sully”) with us for a week. Actually I should say I do. I’m clearly his favorite, which annoys my tender-hearted dog-loving Hubbs. He doesn’t mean to but his large frame and big voice scare Sully. Meanwhile if I stop short he literally runs into my butt.
When you haven’t had a dog you in a while you tend to forget what it’s like. Here are some “life lessons” I’ve enjoyed revisiting brought to you from the 3 year old wonder dog:
Live in the moment – he has a harness thing that took me 15 tries to figure out – but I got it and we were off! His tail wagged the whole time I tried. 🙂
Appreciate everything: Walks are great & even better with a buddy. 90% of the time he goes full speed ahead. Unless he stops to sniff something. Another good reminder to pause, give thanks, and take in the day.
Mix things up – take an alternate route once in a while. He enjoyed the detour and I enjoyed the shade!
Get outside as often as possible. This was early evening, after storms had rolled through. So. Many. Sniffs!
Play every day. And then do it again as soon as possible.
Never underestimate the restorative powers of sleep. Photo after 2 walks, 8 games of “keep-a-way,” a million in & outs and 15+ yard sniffs.
We’ve enjoyed having him, we always do. I enjoy waking to a small furry face in mine; I laugh when he nudges me with a squeaky toy. I do what is asked, step away from the laptop and run around the yard a few times.
I’m off work the rest of the week but haven’t told Sully yet ~ I’ll just play with him and let it be his idea. 🙂