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Joy

Libraries in Summer

The air is thick and hazy, humidity hanging like a curtain.

I reach into my bag of treasures, make a selection and smile sinking into the coolness of my leather chair.

Air-conditioning blowing, too hot and muggy to be outside.

Darn.

So much to do, no desire to do it.

Darn.

Summertime books are calling.

I’m diving right in … you?

“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don’t, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.”
― Polly Horvath, My One Hundred Adventures

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Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Friday ~ Summer, Strawberries and Silliness

It’s Friday & it’s time for 5 Random thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  June 1st and our grand-kids last day of school ~ Summer break begins.  I don’t know about you but we had to go through most of June to make it to Summer Break.    Usually the end of school year involved a class trip and, on the way home, a stop at McDonalds:  Two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-sauce-on-a-sesame-seed-bun – Imagine a bus full of kids singing that at full volume!  So good – and back when a fast food burger actually tasted like the commercial made it look.

google.images.com

2 )  Earlier this week, at a county meeting, I chatted with a Community official who has been a bit of a “Grumpy Grumperson” at prior meetings.  Not that day.  Seems she’s retiring in August, selling her house, bought an R.V. at a “old folks park” in New Mexico – she’s packing her books, Daisy, her 3 yr old German Shepherd, and heading out. Said she’s raised 4 boys as a single mother and its now her time — when someone asked what her kids thought her response was “the Best Western near me charges $49 a night … they can come see me and stay there.” And, she confided, on the way to the parking lot, that she’s not taking social security ’till she turns 66, in the meantime “I’ll live on coffee, books, my house proceeds and walks with my dog.”   🙂    The experience reminded me how freeing and necessary it is to take leaps of faith and to remember that ~ people – and their moods – are often just a reflection of current circumstances.

3 )  A couple of months ago I decided to invest in a personal cell phone ~ I was tired of being “on call” for my job, often muttering “I’m not a Fireman,” under my breath.  (Some of that was my own doing, I’ll admit).  So I enacted my own secret brand of mutiny and subscribed to cell service, transferred personal numbers over and asked my (short) list of contacts (family, friends, Dr., Dentist, etc) to please contact me at that number instead.  Yesterday,  while at work, I set my personal phone to airplane mode to save the battery and missed calls from Hubbs.  He called my work cell to ask – why do you have a personal cell?   Moments like this remind me how absurd I can be and how much like  her I am. 

4)  When I think of June I think of my 2 favorite fruits:  Strawberries and Watermelon.   Any “diet” will tell state that both are high in carbs.   Don’t care.  I’m not a big sweets eater but my favorite dessert always has been the one Mom made for my June birthday: Strawberry Shortcake – garden fresh strawberries, in their juice, with home-made whipped cream dolloped over Angel Food cake.  (Remember cake soaking up some of that “juice?” oh man!)   And while Watermelon wasn’t ready till mid summer – the start of June meant it was coming soon.  Family cookouts, birthdays, and barbecues were not complete without several slices of watermelon (don’t eat the green you’ll get a stomach-ache!!) and the juice running down our arms … we’d sit outside to slurp it down, wipe our hands on our shorts and run off into the summer night to play Hide N Seek or Kick-the-Can.  Pretty sure the carbs in both fueled us for hours ~ So many good summer memories, ahh!

5 )   Saw this on Facebook and it made me smile ~ are there 2 happier words than “Blanket Fort?”  Maybe “Summer Vacation!” 🙂

What’s new in your world?   When was the last time you laughed at yourself?

Happy Friday, peeps!

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, News, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Spring, Weddings and Anniversaries

Good morning and Happy Sunday to you!   Time for 5 Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go.

1 )   Spring.  I’d been away from the office for several weeks, returning last week to a stacks of mail and Spring  outside my window.   After (what felt like) a 10 month winter, Spring seems even brighter this year. And overdue.  Yes, it rained all weekend, but the rain washed away the pollen and, for the first time in a week, my eyes no longer feel gummy.    Farmer’s daughters have a hard time wishing away rain anyways.

**Hello Spring! **

2 )  Travel ~ as fun and adventurous as it was to be away ~ including staying an extra night because of flight delays (in a hotel, not the airport, yay), it’s wonderful to come home again.  With 3 days in the office last week and 1 more tomorrow, I’m nearly caught up.  On Tuesday I’m off again for a couple of nights and back home in time to slide into the long weekend.   This is the kind of travel I love~ by car, with stops along the way, the schedule is (mostly) all mine, structured enough to accomplish my objectives but with enough free time to take in the sights.  I’ll be winding my way north along the shores of Lake Michigan and back again.   And I won’t miss my desk one bit.

**Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.**

3 ) Companions– While visiting city officials and town halls I’ll have Dad with me.   See Dad, in addition to being a full-time farmer,  served his local Rural Municipality (R.M.) as a Councilor for 30+ years and this girl went with him much of the time.  I’d straighten the paperwork and make sure the coffee pot was full, watch how he listened, interacted, and worked the issues.  I learned from him how to relax and stand confident in what I know.   Although my present day role is much different from his, there’s much of what he did that comes with me.  And I still  experience a child-like wonder as I walk into a century-old City Hall, seeing the grooves in the floor from so many before me, smelling furniture polish and the must that exists in those cavernous old rooms.     I can easily spot the radiators still hugging the walls and, before long, enjoy a relaxed camaraderie with present day staff.

**A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.**

4 )  Anniversary –  This week marks 10 years as a U.S. Citizen.    10 years! Yes, 10 years ago I raised my right hand and, with 78 others (from 34 countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as a new American. It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.   It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen. Why?  Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

That’s me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”

 

3) The Royal Wedding – Unlike past events, I didn’t set my alarm, instead I set the DVR.  Snoozing till 8:00 I hopped up out of bed, poured a large cup of coffee, and turned on the TV.   For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the same interest in this wedding as I did for Diana and Charles in 1981 or William and Kate in 2011.   Maybe I was still trying to learn about the gal who’d bedazzled a Prince and, let’s be honest, some of the attraction was the hot mess certain members of her family had been, too.    The day was dazzling, the sky glorious, the hats large and the dress fancy.   Having the DVR recording allowed me to fast-forward through the speculative coverage by “new” Royal experts and get to the good stuff.  Yes, I cried when I saw the two brothers walking so confidently together.   I giggled at the cuteness of the little page boys and flower girls.   I teared up watching Prince Charles join her on her lone walk in, when the two of them said their vows, shared a kiss, and hopped into the Carriage to be swept off to their future.   I’ve cried at this and every wedding I’ve ever witnessed.  This was no different: in the end, it’s all about love.  I wish them well.

image from Delish.com

**All you need is love … ** -Paul McCartney

So, how was your week?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Hoarders, Deals and Stupid Ideas

It’s Sunday morning, the sun’s shining and we might * gasp * actually be seeing Spring today. I know, I know, we’re holding our breath because we woke up to snow Thursday.

To that end, it’s time again for 5 random thoughts, this time on a Sunday.

Ready?  Here we go:

1 ) Hoarders.  If I’m ever featured on an episode of Hoarders I’m blaming the books.   I’m not a shopper, hate the mall, and despise trying on clothes.  But click here to add one more book to my Amazon cart?  Oh, just one more nets me free shipping?  I’m in!   Many books have been devoured this past winter but this one is, hands down, my favorite:

2 ) Weekends.  A good part of the weekend is spent doing whatever I want to.  In the overly-scheduled world that is my work week, my soul craves an opportunity to goof off, waste time and accomplish absolutely nothing at all.  And I do.

“A mind preoccupied with planning plays homage to the idol of control.” – Sarah Young

3)  Stupid Ideas.  In my job I try to remain open to new ideas and different approaches.  But some ideas are simply stupid.  And stupid ideas are made stupider when brought up by those who should know better.  Except they don’t.  And, the older I get, the harder it is for me to stifle the snort a stupid idea commands. I’m working on it but let me just say, “Thank you, God, for the mute button!”  Snort Snort!

4 ) Deals  ~ about a month ago I was down with the flu – something positive that came out of that delirium was, in the midst of sleeping through watching morning T.V. shows, I learned of a cool site called MorningSave. Kind of like a buying group it’s a collection of all the “deals” featured on morning shows like “The Wendy Show,” the “Steve Harvey Show,” etc.   There are plenty of “deals & steals” on there, much of it is electronics (Bluetooth speakers, fitness gadgets, home security, portable phone chargers, etc),  fashion (handbags, jewelry), and personal items (watches, hair gadgets, skin care, teeth whiteners, etc) but here’s the skinny ~ most items are more than 65% off.    🙂

No chickens were harmed in this post

5 ) Saying Yes. I’ve written about the power of saying Yes.   And about how “no” is a sentence.   I’ve said “no” a lot over the past years.  Doing so has made room for Yes’s but I haven’t always said it.   I’ve enjoyed some time and some space without anyone in it.   Lately, I’ve started saying yes again — to things that challenge me – speaking opportunities, serving on advisory panels, putting myself out there to alleviate the boredom that comes with a little too much routine.  This has been soul-invigorating.  I’m not sky-diving or cliff jumping anytime soon, but pushing myself to say “yes” to opportunities that freak me out a little has brought something rewarding:  personal growth.

How about you? If you were featured on “Hoarders” what would it be for?  How do you like to waste time?  Heard any stupid ideas lately?   Got any new “finds” to share?  And lastly, what have you said “yes” to lately?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Relationships, Seasons, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

* Snow Day *

It’s Friday and Snow-ma-geddon is happening across the upper Midwest.  As predicted, Lake Effect snow began  last night – with the snow falling fast and beautiful.   I’m thankful to be on the inside looking out.

After an eye appointment yesterday, I took the opportunity to pick up some groceries — by 3:30 p.m. the store was packed – with Seniors!  Older ladies & gents with small carts stuffed full of bread, fruit, eggs, lunch meats, deli cheeses, big jugs of wine, candy bars, frozen foods, baked goods and toilet paper.  Everyone was chatty and the mood was upbeat, with a camaraderie that comes from sharing a weather event.   Even the cashiers were cheery; I bagged my groceries and pushed the heavy cart through the slush to my vehicle.

Hubbs and I chatted last night remembering what it felt like to be a kid on an evening like that ~ going to bed happy, deliciously anticipating two glorious words at dawn’s early light:

Because he grew up in town, and I on a farm, his “Snow Day” experience was a lot different from mine.  He remembers being woken up by his Mom, letting him know that school had been cancelled, she was leaving for work and their “to-do” list was on the table.  He & his brother were to shovel the driveway, each taking a side.  There may have been other chores to do, some of which were his sisters.  Then, once the jobs were done, he, and his best friend Bob, would head to their favorite sledding hill ~ Now picture a grown man whose eyes take on a dreamy look as he remembered their adventures on that hill.  They had traditional toboggans, saucers, and of course old-fashioned sleds with runners.  He even remembered being ran over by his buddy once, two of them ending in a tangled heap.  “He over-cooked it! Of course he did,” he said, laughing.   Often, after a full day of sledding adventures, they’d return for more that evening. “Their” hill had a pole light nearby which allowed for night-time sliding ~ and he speaks fondly of the two of them laying on their backs, staring up at the stars, catching their breath and talking.   Good stuff.

On the farm we received the glorious news via a phone call from our Bus Driver, Elliott.   One of two things had happened: 1) school was officially cancelled (yay!) OR 2) the bus wouldn’t start (-40 temps).  Dad typically was the messenger – we’d wake to hear him quietly say, “back to bed – no school” or “back to bed – the bus won’t start” — all 5 of us did a collective “tuck & roll” and snoozed a bit longer.

I don’t remember extra chores ~ my brothers helped Dad with farm animals daily and we girls did, too, plus we always helped Mom inside.  What I remember most vividly was how it never took us long to hatch a plan ~  the family farm has a winding coulee / cow pasture directly to the north, with wicked sledding hills, some more treacherous than others.  Mom fed us a big breakfast and booted us outside; we’d walk to the coulee as a group, dragging our sleds and crazy carpets behind us.  There we’d stay for hours ~ or so it seemed.  I favored the crazy carpet because it was much faster than the wooden toboggan – and it was easier to pull up the hill. However, it afforded absolutely no protection if you ran over a frozen cow pie.  Toboggans would ricochet off but that thin plastic barrier ensured at least one banged up knee or bruised tailbone.  We didn’t care – the faster the better, we  lined up, zoomed down, and back up we’d go.  So. Much. Fun!   When we finally had enough, in we’d come, red-faced with sweaty hair, frosted scarves, starving and exhausted.  Mom would make us tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches followed by a card game or two.  And, if we were really lucky, and the roads had cleared, Dad might take us into town to skate at the local rink.  He’d visit with neighbors,  play cards and eat pie.

Feats of daring and destruction!

Chatting with our oldest son, he shared that the grands have a snow day too – and he has the day off  and they’re scouting for the perfect sledding hill.  They’ve got snowboards and saucers but he’ll be the biggest kid on the hill 🙂

 * * *

* Below is the family coulee ~ in the distance you can see our magnificent sledding hills … oh the memories.

a coulee that runs for miles

 

What do you remember about snow days when you were a kid?  How did you get the glorious news?  And do you get snow days now?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, News, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Travel, change and solace

Readying for another road trip later today, I thought about how much things have changed over the years:

  • Remember paper maps?  Maps that unfolded with landmarks and highway intersections?  You’d need a companion to help navigate. Now – I rely on an iPhone or car navigation system.  I prefer the phone because one can listen for upcoming turns and still enjoy the radio.  My car system talks over the radio and I end up missing sing-along opportunities, political updates, and advice from Dr. Laura. 🙂

  • Packing for an overnight requires just as much effort as packing for four.  Vitamins, hair stuff, makeup, jewelry, pajamas/robe, in-room clothes, work clothes, travel clothes, computer, portfolio, shoes, phone charger and more.    And coffee, don’t forget the coffee.

  • I don’t sleep well in hotels.  Part of my packing routine involves a good book and essential oils; most times, I average 4 hours of flipping & flopping vs. the 7 solid Zs at home.

  • As much work as it is, I still enjoy going.  Meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone.   Example, tomorrow I’m one of several giving a presentation to company peers and executives.  Now I make presentations on a regular basis but usually before total strangers.  Peers are far more daunting.  So I do what I always have:  prepare, know my stuff, and nail it!  (And a little self pep-talk never hurts.)

  • And as much as I love the going, the coming home is even better.  🙂

“Home is where you go to find solace from the ever changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.”  – Kendal Rob

 

What do you enjoy about the going?   What do you never travel without?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, fear, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sunday thoughts – Resolutions, Squirrels & boxes of joy

It’s Sunday; snow’s falling, brunch is calling and I just remembered I have tomorrow off.  Yippee Skippy!

Chatting with a colleague recently, I used the squirrel analogy ~ never heard of it?   It goes like this:

Make a decision and take what comes with it.   And not deciding is taking action, too.

It’s January and we’re bombarded by “diet” ads on TV, including NukeyourSystem, Weight Counters, you name it.  Radio ads tout  gym memberships and today’s newspaper featured “deals” on “heart healthy” prepacked frozen foods with green (think healthy) packaging.  This picture below made me laugh because it is so much closer to reality:

Lately I’ve tuned out the noise, enjoyed the “off” button on the TV/Radio/iPhone and found myself devouring a box of joy, see below:

“The greatest gift is the passion for reading.
It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites,
it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.”

Elizabeth Hardwick

 * * *

What are you reading?  And did you make any New Years resolutions?

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The gift of an unconventional Holiday

I knew the day was coming, and tried to keep my voice cheery as I zipped his parka, handed off his Ninja Turtle backpack, and sent my 4-year-old off with his father.  Freshly divorced, and newly navigating the every-other-holiday thing, I kissed my boy good-bye and squeezed his mittened hand one more time.  He took his cues from me, and although bio-Dad was consistently inconsistent with visitation, and I had not yet met  (or even imagined) the man-who-would-be-Hubbs, I needed to keep my act together so my little guy would be OK.

Shutting the door, I stood in the darkened entry and watched them drive away, a wave of sadness fell over me. It felt like the wettest blanket on the coldest night.  It was a rainy, dreary Wednesday afternoon in western Connecticut.  My family was a million miles away in Canada and I’d been too busy surviving working to have made plans.  At least he would only be gone for the weekend, and knowing the other one, probably coming home early.   I looked around our sparse apartment, at my pull-out sofa in the living room, his bunk beds and toys in the bedroom.  My eyes landed on our small table with two chairs, at books and Play-Doh from earlier play.

Calling Mom, we chatted for a while and caught up on the goings on there.  I heard her attempts at a cheerful voice, knowing we were so far away, and that I was by myself tonight.  When she asked what I’d be doing for the Holiday, I sputtered out something about being invited to a friend’s apartment.  “Oh, that’s good, dear.  You should go, there’s no need to be by yourself, and, well, we’d feel better if you did.”  She was right, of course, but there was about a .001% of me that wanted to go out and meet new people.   I promised her I’d think about it.

Later that night my friend Dee called.  Practically begging,  she admitted her parents were coming, too, and “you know how my Dad can be.”  Yes, I’d met them both, they were European, on-again-off-again as a couple, the Mom, quiet and nervous, the Dad, critical and imposing.  I knew she needed a buffer and, quite frankly, I suddenly had a need to get out of that apartment.   We agreed I’d be there mid morning the next day.

Upon arrival, I learned she’d also invited the “strays” ~ anyone in her building who didn’t have a place to be or family to spend the Holiday with.  Wow!

We quickly set to work peeling potatoes, setting a card table & chairs at the end of the kitchen table, scrounging around for Fast Food napkins, extra plates, plastic cutlery, tablecloths and a couple of old candles.  She turned on the radio – with a countdown of sorts, a mixture of Motown and Classic Rock, fun.  The turkey simmered in the oven, and the aroma, unmistakable.

Next she announced we had turnips to prepare ~ her crusty Dad had a thing for buttered  turnips, except she had no clue how to peel the waxy layer off of  it and neither did I.  We managed to get a steak knife stuck embedded in that thing more than once.  Laughing, we developed a rhythm, but we were more like Lucy and Ethel than Fred and Ginger. I peeled carrots and steamed them with peas, poured off the turkey drippings to make gravy, and mashed the potatoes.  She stirred corn and cream and butter together, microwaved Stove-Top Stuffing.  We ran into each other more than once.  Yep, Lucy and Ethel.

Soon guests began arriving ~ old and young, a shy woman with a bright-eyed toddler and no mention of the father, a married couple from Venezuela, she with lovely accent, his hand on the small of her back.  My friend’s son and his girlfriend, her parents and me, and Ivan, the lanky maintenance man with a heavy Russian accent, a shy smile and two bottles of vodka.  Everyone streamed in, offering what they had, ~ buttery Seafood Paela, a cheesecake, Wine, chocolates, sausage, pickles and cheese. We sent her son to 7-11 for more plates and paper products while her Dad took a seat to carve the turkey.  Her Mom, a bit tipsy from the vodka, chatted animatedly with Ivan.  We all found a seat on uneven and mismatched chairs, making small talk, clanking glasses,and savoring the moment.  I was in and out, serving, and bringing more to share.

It was there, grabbing another bowl of something in my friend’s kitchen, when I remembered that I’d forgotten about being sad. About being far from home.  I felt a tug ~ a love of cooking I’d not experienced in years.  See, since the divorce, I’d been getting by on “functional cooking” —  cooking to live, cooking to check the box.  Day-to-day. No joy, no creativity.  This was different.  This effort, stirring the gravy and mashing turnips in a new-to-me kitchen – transported me to my mother’s kitchen.  To Holiday meals and Mom’s and my Grandmother’s tables so lovingly prepared one couldn’t feel anything but gratitude at being included.  To feelings of warmth and happiness and appreciation for everything – the love and the labor, the sweat and the tears, that went into it creating so much magic for all of us.  It was in that moment, on that unorthodox Holiday, when I felt my love of cooking re-ignite. It was there, tasting the turnips, that I gave thanks.

one end of my Grandmother’s Holiday Table, an Emjayandthem (C) picture

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Flash forward to now:  After a visit with our grand-daughter at school yesterday morning, my son and I enjoyed a brief lunch together.   He’s no longer that little tow-headed boy, he towers over me by a foot, and has a family of his own.  He helps them with their mittens and coats.  Full circle.

I told him the story of my unorthodox Thanksgiving holiday so long ago, and how I thought we would all be well served to experience a holiday like that.  I told him that getting through that helped me appreciate where I’m from, and the traditions we enjoy today.

He gently teased me about my “holiday marathons” ~ I pointed out that when I start cooking 2-3 days ahead of the holiday, it’s because I want to.

When I prep multiple appetizers and side dishes, meats and desserts, it’s because I have people to cook for.

And when I decorate the table well before anybody steps foot through the door, I channel all of them: my Mom, My Grandmother, and the other wonderful women of my childhood who did such things for me.

  • Did you ever spend a holiday in an unconventional way? What do you remember from the experience?
  • What traditions are you carrying forward?
Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Road to Shambala

I’m heading into the holiday season with the last of my scheduled corporate travel behind me now – Yippy Skippy!  I’ve not had much free time so this blog has lagged but I still think about writing, just as I think about many other things on my “to-do” list.

Epiphanies that took place this week include:

1 )  Music is therapy.    Road trips are better with handsome men singing harmony. 🙂   And hearing this song took me back to my summer trip with my sister and a concert we enjoyed featuring the music of Three Dog Night.  Front row seats – great music – and stellar company was simply awesome.  No matter what I’m thinking about, when a good song comes on I just have to crank it up and sing along.

2 ) Decisions that continue to bear fruit –  ahead of one of my many trips, I sent a note to a group of girlfriends I’d met at a workshop in May of 2015 ~ vibrant, intelligent, wonderful women.   Several quickly responded that – yes – they’d love to meet for lunch this past Friday! As the date drew near a few had to drop out but still 3 of us met — we enjoyed delicious food, the camaraderie that comes from being around others who “get us” and laughs galore. We shared our hopes, our dreams, and our plans.  We encouraged each other.    Boy, what one hour of positive company can do for you!

3 )  GPS boondoggles are often just what’s needed – when the system takes me off the beaten path and down a country road, I often am grateful for the diversion.  I am not sure exactly where I was when I snapped this picture but that’s the point.  Friends commented “but what if you’d had car trouble?” and my thought was “what a better place to be if I did.”  – Surrounded by fields and farms and trucks driving down those roads – all drivers waved.   Me – tunes on, windows cracked, smiling wide.

Snow’s a-coming. Somewhere in MI; and Emjandthem (C) photo

 

Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain

With the rain in Shambala

Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame

With the rain in Shambala

 

Had any epiphanies lately?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery, Technology, Thoughts, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Family, Flea Markets and Pie

It’s Sunday and I was up early with the sunshine, sipping coffee, packing for my week ahead and thinking it’s about time for 5 Random Ramblings from my world.   Pour some coffee and join me, will ya?

1 )   A Family brunch yesterday had a host of familial layers all at the same table: Uncles and Aunts, Cousins and kids, Step-in-laws, son’s girlfriend and me.    Uncle Ron sat next to Hubbs who sat next to cousin Johnny who sat next to me.  Facing them was youngest boy, his girlfriend, an Auntie, Grandpa, a cousin and another Auntie ~ I nodded my head to the youngest ones to get them to look ~ and they caught it — all of the guys, various ages but similar in looks, structure, and all folding their arms up high on their chests, head tilted just so to listen to the  story being told.   The story-telling was being done by another cousin,  directly across from them, whose arms were no longer folded. Like them, when talking, his arms and hands were wide open and out as he drove home the point of the story, “and then they brought ME the mailbox they’d ran over like I’m supposed to go back and fix it!”  Laughter filled the restaurant and diners nearby looked our way, mostly with understanding, one with annoyance but many with longing.  Family.  It’s big and it’s noisy and it’s wonderful. Gotta love it!

2 )  Fall is here and glorious ~ colors are magnificent, the sky is blue and deep and wide and the air is dry and crisp.  It won’t last, I know.  But windows are open, supper is in the crock-pot and I’m loving every minute of it. Fall is my favorite season and I wish it could stay just a little longer …

Many scenes like this one right now google.images.com

3 ) With Fall’s arrival comes the start of indoor trade shows ~ I remember going as a girl with Mom & Dad.  This is shopping I love — wandering around from item to item, chatting with people and trying new things.  The shows we attended were Agriculturally focused with cattle breeders, farm implements and a host of novelty items targeted to the wives and kids accompanying said farmer  ~  the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadget,  smoked meats, candles, jewelry, make-up, toys, knives, you name it.  One such event rolled into town this weekend and a friend and I decided to go — and yes we saw the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadgets, sampled smoked meats, smelled the candles, laughed at the toys and books and “man-cave” items and more.   The usual suspects were there ~ selling Cinnamon almonds, home-baked goods, and of course, knives.   I came home with jewelry, Avon hand lotion, a pie and some herb-flavored butter.   Fun!

Like this but with 20x the people ~ Shipshewana on the Road

4 ) Traveling this week to a corporate conference ~ I’m looking forward to seeing my colleagues again.  I’m sure to learn a few things and I’ll do my best to avoid snakes (lipstick can’t cover fangs).  Over my working career, I’ve dealt with my fair share of Rats and Snakes and there’s always been a part of me that wants to ask this question, even though another part of me already knows the answer:

“Were you always such a snake,” the child asked, “or did you grow into what you are?”
― Dean Koontz, Odd Apocalypse

5 )  At the Flea Market yesterday I bought my friend and I each a sweet potato pie.  “Uncle Calvin” was selling them and promised the pies were his “Momma’s” recipe. That’s enough for me.

Before anyone freaks out about my non-sweets craving self enjoying a pie, I’ll share some perspective:

“The” pie .. next to my hand 🙂

Yep, I’ll scoop out the contents, skip the crust and enjoy every morsel.  It’s a taste and that’s enough for me.

So what’s new in your world? Had any pie lately?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, News, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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?”

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

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