Growth

Random Tuesday 5 – Cakes, skies, closets and chaos

It’s been a weird summer  season year.  Yes it sure has, and that’s putting it mildly.

I have read your blogs but not been blogging myself.  So here are some of my thoughts on a random Tuesday ~

1 Birthday cake drive-bys- To celebrate Hubbs’ birthday, we had our boys & their girls +our grands over for a get-together this weekend.  After much deliberation – and out of all choices offered – a Texas Sheet Cake is what he chose for the celebration.   I get it, this cake is hard to beat.  See there are 4 sticks of butter and many cups of sugar/powdered sugar in this beauty.  8 or 10 tbsp of cocoa, and all sorts of other goodness.

You don’t get a sheen like that from margarine, no sir-eee-Bob.     Some was devoured, some went home with the kids but the one enjoying it most of all is Hubbs … you see, near what remains is a fork.  His fork.  A drive-by fork.  And I laugh every time I pass it by!

a before shot of the Texas Sheet Cake with overflowing frosting

2 )  September Skies –We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful weather – sunny, warm days, cool nights and, my favorite – BLUE SKIES as far as the eye can see.   Today it’s overcast and cold, but blue skies are coming back, per the forecast.  MY*FAVORITE!   There’s just something about a September sky …

Our Walnut tree and hubby’s head. Oops.

3)  Closet clean-outs.   I’ve been on a health kick for years.  But this year, between intermittent fasting & my daily walks, I’m seeing changes – big changes.   Most of my clothes no longer fit.  I took the advice of the experts and if it didn’t a) fit, b) flatter or c) make me want to wear it RIGHT NOW, it’s gone.   Pictured below is one of 3 piles that went to a) the consignment shoppe, b) donation drop-off or c) garbage bin.    Anything sagging, bagging or dragging is G-O-N-E.  And I was ruthless- tried on everything (that’s a workout, holy smokes!)  and now, a week later, I can only remember 2 of the 100s of items that went.   I kept 3 pairs of jeans, 2 are too big and should have gone, too – and I’m sure I kept them out of a sense of security.  Funny how we think, isn’t it?

every color under the sun & I won’t miss any of it. Never wore that plaid shirt once!

4 ) Fat loss – working on 6 of these, see picture below.  Since 1/1/20 I’ve lost 27lbs & 39.2″ – I’m 5’2″, 39inches is more than half of my height. Yes I am slowly shrinking — inward —  Intermittent Fasting (time-scheduled eating) for the WIN!  for more information visit Gin Stephens – Books on Intermittent Fasting.

5 )  Chaos – I don’t know about you but every time I go out I think, “why did I go out?”    I get it, it’s a trying time. But folks have forgotten their manners, forgotten how to drive, how to park, and what to do.  I think I’m staying in for the foreseeable future.   Coffee up!

So …. what are you up to?

 

Categories: Books, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Simple little things

When I find simple little things that make me happy, I’ve learned to do them again and again.

I notice.

I smile.

I repeat.

Examples include:

  • Saying “Good Morning” to the neighbor’s dog who waits patiently for a pet from yours truly –

my buddy, Chief

  • Sending 4 of these packing & working on more –

  • Waking up to walk early, setting a goal, and crushing it   –

  • Reading a book so good it makes me sad to see it end – ooh!

  • Supper simmering on a rainy summer Sunday ~  Salisbury steaks!

How about you? What are some little things make you happy? Do you notice & repeat, too?

Categories: Attitude, Books, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~Pandemic Pantries, Hanging on, Good Trees and Quiet

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?

Hanging on!

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!

So … how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

To just enjoy a book or two

 “Today I’d like to sit and read. 

Forget I have a job I need.

Ignore the things I have to do.

And just enjoy a book or two.”

I read.

I read a lot.

I read quickly.

I read often.

I read.

*

I read outside in the sun.

I read at night when my work is done.

I read to enjoy, to escape and relate.

I read at night, usually too late.

I read.

* 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.

Are you a reader? 🙂

 

Accurate!

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

On being a citizen

* Originally posted July 3, 2013.

* * *

What does being a citizen mean to you?  Really mean?

Does it mean you can vote? Does it mean you belong?

What does it mean?

To me, it means a defining moment in my life.

It represents the moment I stepped away from what my family might think and into what I thought.

To me, it means the opportunity to have a voice.

To have a say.

To count.

Sure I’d had responsibilities all along (taxes). But I’d never had a voice to go with it. (the ability to vote)

Yes, as a Canadian, I had those rights already. But as a Canadian woman living in the United States with her husband and sons, I always had an underlying feeling of being in limbo. Of belonging to one place but living in another. Of feeling .. disconnected.

But not anymore.

Why?

Because I’m a new citizen; Five years ago, I stepped up with 78 others  (from 34 different countries) to take the Oath of Citizenship.  It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that  I’m a “new” citizen.  Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the mountains..to the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from this grateful citizen.

**This is my 12th Independence Day as a new citizen. I’ll celebrate the holiday with flair, independently, of course!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Vote | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 ~ Summer & that is all

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?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Men, News, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Sullivan State of Mind

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. 🙂

Life lessons worth repeating.

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Life Lessons, Favorites and Dogs

It’s the first Friday in June – wow!

Memorial Day passed without the Holiday ~ no parades or BBQs, somber or otherwise.    Lock-downs continue, with “social distancing,” face masks and the like.   I’m in Michigan where businesses are just now beginning to re-open but haircuts are banned (you can’t make this up).

Here are 5 randoms from my world view ~

1 )  Daily walks – what started in winter has continued and daily walks have saved my sanity.  I get away from the laptop to admire landscapes, pets and flowers while enjoying podcasts as I meander the neighborhood.

Lilacs in May

2 ) Lifelong learning ~ In addition to podcast learning and regular reading, another AHA lesson of late has been realizing AGAIN how much I love being home and how compatible Hubbs and I are.   We have our little rhythm going; part of the day is spent together, part not, and we like and need both the connection and the time apart.  I can’t imagine what this “stay at home” time would have been like had I been sheltered in place” with someone other than him.  🙂

3 )  Ch-ch-changes  I feel my body changing, adapting to and craving daily exercise.  My FitBit registers the “jump” in activity, from 5-6K/daily steps to 12-13K daily.   On rainy days I use my rebounder inside.   As a result, no “Quarantine 15” for me – actually, the reverse – I’ve lost lbs & inches, some due to exercise but most due to intermittent fasting, otherwise known as “time-restricted eating.”  No longer noshing throughout the day, I drink black coffee/water in the morning, open my “eating window” when my body signals that it’s hungry, usually somewhere around 12:30 -2pm.  Later, I enjoy dinner, listening for the “sigh” (your bodies’ signal it’s satiated) and stop, “closing” my eating window around 7-8pm.   Since I give my body a daily break from constantly digesting, fasting is healing and restorative. Think of it as letting the cleaning lady in to do the heavy lifting for you – she clears the junk away ~  As a result my clothes are bigger, I’m smaller, and my eyes, skin & hair are brighter.

I feel ah-mazing!  The best part? It’s. Free.  😀

4 ) Dogs & cats ~  76 days in and I’ve yet to see one dog unhappy with the “stay home/stay safe” order.  I see cats in sunny windows; everyone is adapting.   Below is my pal, Chief, a favorite from my walking route:

5 ) In Summary ~ the first half of 2020 brought us Russia-Gate, impeachment attempts, COVID-19, Murder Hornets, Civil Unrest & Riots ~ this about sums it up:

So, how’re you doing?

 

Categories: Animals, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

What Mom wants for Mother’s Day

Every year ( well, maybe not every year) my kids ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:

What do I want for Mother’s Day?🌹

:: I want you ::

I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about your life, whatever.

Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me as you do.

Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to my ears. And laughing together is the best! 💖

I’ve spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my handiwork.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. Hungry? You know I’ll make you something good. In fact, I don’t want it any other way.

Spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have what I need. I want to see you happy and healthy and loved. So when you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day and I say “nothing” it’s because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year.

I want you. 💖

If you’re a Mom who feels the same way, feel free to copy and paste… I did!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and child

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, child

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

and Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother in Heaven ~  She was the lead Kid-wrangler, barn helper, cake baker, costume sewer, 4-H leader, farm Treasurer, horse racing Secretary, shower & wedding organizer, party planner, master gardener, chief cook & bottle operator, farmhand, piano teacher, chauffeur, dog trainer, baby chick nurturer, horse breeder, speech preparer, Sunday school teacher ..and more.

She was something else. In her kitten heels & red patent purse on date nights, or with curlers in her hair off to town to get groceries.  She took no guff, imparted quips and wisdom daily ~ She was hilarious,intelligent, well read and loving.

Man, I miss her. Not sure how she did it all but she did – and with flair!  my Mom!

that’s me on Mom’s knee; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

and one more:

said over her shoulder in the Oldsmobile!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!    

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Love, Mom, music, News, Opinion, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Bored & busy, dogs, rules and Grover

It’s Friday, here are my 5 randoms from “shelter in place” / COVID-19.   Such a strange time we’re living in.

1    I’m grateful to be employed and my job is busier than ever, so many conference calls – 3, 6, 10 a day.   Now, because we’re working remotely,  we’ve transitioned to Web/Video calls.     Maybe I’m just punchy from being home this long but there’s a small part of me that wants to train the webcam on my Grover puppet (had since I was 7), wonder if anyone would notice?

Bueller? Bueller?

2   Sometimes the calls I’ve been on are very interesting and sometimes they are calls to prepare for other calls.  During the latter, I bundle up and take a walk.   But other times, after a flurry of morning calls, I might have one or even no calls that afternoon.  I walk anyways but instead tune into podcasts (free).   One still resonates … the author talked about being “bored or busy.”  In this pandemic, many find themselves on one side or the other and wish for the opposite.  Busy?  Man, wish I had time to be bored!  Bored?  Man, wish I had something to do!  The point being that, regardless what we’re doing through this, NO ONE LIKES IT.  Why?  It wasn’t our choice.   Ding! Ding! Ding!    All we can do is do it.

Outta my way, peeps, I’ve got stuff to do!

3   Back to my walks, I’m dead serious when I say they are saving my life right now.  Getting fresh air, sunshine or not, with my Toque, scarf, coat and mittens, has been life-saving.  I wave to neighbors I’ve never seen before and smile at the dogs being walked.  And I haven’t seen a sad dog yet!     🙂

Our Frankie-bear resting during a walk; an Emjayandthem (C) photo.  Sure do miss him.

4  Hubbs and I are adapting – missing out on Easter with our kids & grands was hard, very hard.  He’s cried a few times from the stress of it all.  I’m a pretty strong individual but seeing my big-shouldered man cry makes me cry.  On the flip side, we belly-laugh about the silliest things:  songs we’ve made up, the 3,000 paper towels he has in reserve (but not so much TP),  pictures the kids send us of our grand kids and grand dogs.   Jokes back and forth.  Going through this together, I’m grateful that the life we live is a life worth rushing back to.

5   Michigan’s Governor has enacted some of the most Draconian stay-at-home orders possible;  folks are ticked, to put it mildly.    Under the rules, you can buy Pot, but not seeds for a garden.  You can buy Lotto Tickets and Liquor but not carpet or paint.   If you own a Michigan cottage “up north” you can’t travel there, but if you live out of state and own a Michigan cottage “up north,” you can.   Stupid.  People are stressed and some have ratted others “out” for perceived “wrongs.”  *Shudder*.   Freedom isn’t free and what’s legal isn’t always what’s moral.   And there are some in power who want this to drag on and on so as to create a nation of people dependent on the government.     Not me! *Shudder*

PS Not a Libertarian

 

So … how are you holding up? 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Elections, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

12 Tiny Things You Can Do Right Now

  1. Go outside, look all the way up and take 3 deep breaths
  2. Open a window ~ let the spring air in
  3. Find sunshine and sit/stand in it 🙂
  4. Call a friend or family member just to check in
  5. Drink a glass of water
  6. Write a letter
  7. Turn off the “news”
  8. Offer to help someone – a meal, groceries, a roll of TP
  9. Sing & dance to a favorite song
  10. Push your shoulder blades back 3 x – feel the tension release?
  11. Reach down and touch your toes, ahh!
  12. Laugh

 

How are you doing in self-isolation?

#12tinythings

 

**This is my 1000th post, who knew?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Soup, Social Distancing & Life Lessons

It’s Friday, the first Friday of our “stay-at-home” COVID-19 order.  I hope this finds you all safe & well ~ Here are my random 5 for today~

1 )  Being home is fine with me & Hubbs ~ we are both more introverted than not and home is our happy place. He’s wandering around, suffering from sports-withdrawal and is our resident news hawk.  Reading is my escape.  When it all gets too much, and it does, I turn off the 24/7 coverage and jump head-first into a book.

Lesson: both of us being home full-time has been a good practice run for retirement.

2 )  It’s been a week since I got sick, and 10 days for Hubbs.  We’re still coughing and appetites are slowly returning.  We’ve noshed on soups and omelettes, fruit and coffee.  Beef noodle vegetable was on the lunch menu yesterday and, because I come from a family of 7, I made enough for us, neighbors + some to freeze.  🙂

Lesson:  Yeah I could pare it back but neighbors are happy and the freezer is stocked.  All good.

3 )   I feel for the parents, home now full-time with kids, while worrying about safety, finances, job security, etc.    I say build a fort, play a board game, draw pictures, and cook together.  Let them get bored, it’s OK.   Kids don’t need to learn a new language or master advanced math right now, they just need you.

Lesson:  Do what you need to do & keep a sense of humor – for the best parent tweets about Social Distancing click here .

4 )  Benefits of staying home:

  • It takes me no time at all to get ready for work 🙂
    • I’m working longer hours and on back-to-back calls
      • Cough cough
  • No need to pack a lunch, I’m only 15 steps from the kitchen and the cook’s pretty good 🙂
    • Trying to avoid the “Quarantine 15”
  • Lesson ~
    • I love being home, I still enjoy working, and I miss being able to go out when I want
      • The lesson for me is that there’s always a lesson in there (Thanks Mom)

5 )  It’s a crazy, scary surreal time.  We’ll get through it.  After all, many of us grew up using this:

Lesson  – we are a (mostly) hearty bunch and a strong nation ~It might take a while but we’ll come back from this.

 

So how are you holding up? 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Home, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Random observations, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

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!

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

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.

these days of mine

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

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...