Life

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: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 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

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

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

Control your controllable(s)

Crazy times we’re in ~  and that’s the understatement of the year!  New buzz words pepper our vocabulary ~

  • Quarantine
  • Self-isolate
  • Mitigate spread
  • Prepare, prepare , prepare

COVID-19. Pandemic. Confusion. Fear.

We are tucked in, with Hubbs battling a viral bug and me not far behind.   We’re on the mend and thankful for a stocked pantry with enough paper products for a while ~ no hoarding here.

Self-care is foremost including:

  • Hand-washing and cleaning
  • Fluids and plenty of rest
    • Slept 11 hours Friday and took a 2 hour nap Saturday
      • As Mom would say, “You must have needed it”
  • Reading, reading and reading
  • Turning off news after a while,  usually in evenings.
    • It’s hard to sleep after all that.
    • Updates bring more anxiety
  • Moving around and stretching
  • Laundry, washing jammies and sweatpants and blankies, because that’s what we’re using most
  • Cooking a little, enjoying eggs, fruit, tea and toast

Sending good thoughts to all  ~ We’re thankful our boys & their girls and all of our littles are well and at home.

Yep, we’re doing our best to “control our controllables” – and praying for patience for all ~

 

So ~ how are you doing?  Be safe and please stay home!  

 

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Home, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 Saturday ~ Birthdays, Rinks and COVID19

It’s Saturday, the sun is shining and it’s time for 5 randoms from my world.  Ready? Set? Go!

1 )  Celebrating oldest boy’s birthday later today ~ which called for some home-made baking straight out of Mommacita’s kitchen.   My blueberry-loving boy gets a blueberry/peach cobbler and the rest will enjoy a Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake (good enough to take to the rink, a nod to the winter home of my childhood).  That sheen on the cake? That’s from butter in the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting.  Margarine is never gonna give you that sheen ~ Love baked in every bite!

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Triple Chocolate “Rink” Cake

Indeed it is

2 ) Speaking of the Rink .. it remains the H E A R T of my prairie home. Talking with my sister last night she filled me in on the “Spa Spiel” happening this weekend – a 3 day curling bonspiel, with 16 teams, ages ranging from grade school to seniors.  (** Winning team gets a trip to the local hot springs Spa**)  The rink kitchen will be humming with volunteers frying onions for “rink burgers,”  serving up homemade pie, homemade soup and homemade buns, all donated from area residents.   Those not curling will be visiting, skating, playing cards, eating pie and enjoying what’s likely to be the last winter “hurrah” for the real ice of that small-town prairie rink.   Spring will come and the ice will go – it’s just the way it’s always been.

I remember coming in to warm up, after skating for hours, and finding enough change for an ice cold-coke or Sprite out of this cooler.   We’d pull our drink out of the frosty water, wipe it off with the rag that’d been there forever, and enjoy, our cheeks burning as they warmed.    It is not possible to craft a better childhood and I’m so glad to hear those prairie traditions continue!

the old Coca-Cola chest …

 

3 )  Signs of Spring are everywhere – but March came in like a Lamb.  We all know what that means!

Roar !

4 ) Woke up to emails from airlines that I have upcoming business trip tickets with  ~ and assurances about clean air and cabin cleaning….  No CoVid19 around here yet but the FLU (which kills thousands every year) has been rampant, with many schools having to close for a week at a time.   NoroVirus, Influenza A and H1N1 are all in play – blah.   Between us, I’ve got a feeling my corporate conferences are about to be scrapped.   And that’s OK by me.

5 )  My new indulgence – Cuban coffee  ~ oh Mylanta, so good!

 

What’s new in your world?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Home, Joy, Life, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Can’t say no

Grand-dog Sully

Grand-dog Sully is here for the weekend. He’s like having an 70lb toddler around, in/out, up/down, squeaky toy, wrestling toy, chew toy then knocked out-sleep.  I’m his favorite (I’m the cook & he’s no dummy) and while he likes hubbs he follows me ..and believes that he is a lap dog.

We were up & outside at 530, completed a yard inspection by 7:15 … at 25F. He barked at songbirds trilling – they know it’s warming up, but he missed the memo.  

I’m still recovering from dental hell but laughing at him has been good therapy.

And with that, I gotta go.  I promised my little pal I’d peruse the yard with him again after this last cup of coffee … and even though he is big and grown, when I look in his eyes I still see this:

baby Sullivan

What are you up to today?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

More of my old friend

It’s the New Year and I’ve been (mostly) absent from this blog.  I’ve read yours (thank you for continuing to post while I’ve been away). You see, I’ve reconnected with an old friend ~ my books.

I’ve read, and read, and read some more.  Yes I’ve also cooked, cleaned, socialized, worked, and worked out .. yes, all that. But I’ve mostly leaned in and cozied up through this cold, dark January ~ So far Grand Rapids has had zero sunny days, 10 days with a little sun and 17 entirely cloudy days.  Until I read that article I hadn’t noticed!  You see between this little gadget shown below (used every morning) and all my delicious reading, I’m too content to care 🙂

I am relaxed and happier – all from doing what I love – with no guilt. Reading, learning, growing, and more.  So much more.

  • Does your reading activity go up in winter?
  • Is it sunny where you are?

“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

  • (and this friend READS )
Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Personal, Self Discovery, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fri-yay 3 ~ Milestones, Storms and Thieves

It’s Friday of the first full work week of 2020 ~ here are my 3 Random Thoughts for Fri-yay.

Ready? let’s go!

1 ) Milestones – Attended a retirement party recently for the woman who hired me 18+ years ago.  How did we get old enough to retire already?   Ironically one of her parting gifts was a beautiful clock.  Maybe it’s me but I found it funny that others assume someone who’s not going to be “on the clock” anymore wants … a clock?   We had a good visit and lots of laughs and she whispered joyfully, “5 more alarms to go…”   #IsntItIronic

2 ) Winter Storm Watch – the Midwest is bracing for a wild weather weekend.   TV forecasters are salivating, their eyes wild with excitement as they breathlessly provide hour-by-hour updates.  Stores are stocked, aisles are jammed, and folks are getting ready.  It’s 45F right now but expected to drop with rain then ice then snow then .. trees down, ice and snow, etc.    Regardless what happens .. we’ll be as ready as we can be.  #WinterinMI

3 )  Thieves – over the Christmas break I had my credit card number skimmed at a local (chain) retail store.  Thankfully I have alerts set up and received a message, via text, about suspicious activity.  (The text also looked suspicious, to be honest).  I didn’t respond to the text but instead called the credit card company, verified my identity, and confirmed I was home in my jammies and not trying to book a Hotel in Delaware!   After that whole mess I set up additional alerts to the account – transactions > a certain amount, change in security, debit charges, withdrawals, etc.   Make technology work for you! If you have a credit card, I suggest you set up similar stop-gaps.  Thieves have no problem helping themselves to your good credit and assets.    #StillAngry

 

P.S. ~

After the “skimming” incident I called the store where I’m certain the thievery happened and asked to speak to the manager. What sounded like a 12 year old came to the phone.  *SIGH* After explaining my dilemma and urging her to check their security/IT network she countered that, “Oh no, that couldn’t have happened here ’cause we.. like …  check our machines.. like … all the time.” When I offered that there is a current problem (since I hadn’t otherwise used the card in nearly a month anywhere else OR online and the attempted charges happened 2 hours after I shopped at their store) she responded with, “Well OK then … no worries,  Thanks for the call ….”   It was obvious, by her dismissive response that I wasn’t getting anywhere with Mandi with an i and ended the call.

  • #PutAlertsonYourCredit #CantFixStupid

 

What’s new in your world?

  • Any milestones happening around you?
  • Storms a-coming?
  • Tech tips or other thoughts to share?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Growth, Home, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

That feeling ~ New Year’s 2019

December 31, 2019 ~ I woke to a darkened house, blanketed in quiet from the snow swirling down.  It’s New Year’s Eve ~ and here we are on the cusp of a new month, a new year, a new decade.

Just like that.

When asked my resolutions for 2020 and I answered quickly – it’s simple, really. All I have to do is look back at the past 11 days off,  and therein lives my answer.

In 2020 I’ll try my best to recreate that ~

  1. That feeling, as winter winds roar outside the windows and you lift your head up from reading for 4 hours straight, plowing through magazines and books without a care or a distraction, a deadline or a phone call.
  2. That feeling, stretching and waking gently, without the glaring jolt of an alarm.
  3. That feeling, when you listen to your body and move it a little more, haul the boxes and work up a sweat taking down and packing up and catch yourself smiling because it’s only 9:30 a.m. and you’ve been up for 3 hours already.
  4. That feeling, between two major holidays, when you’re not sure which day it is – is it a work day? is it a week day?   And you have to consult the calendar to confirm.  And laugh about it.
  5. That feeling when your sustenance consists of coffee, bacon, eggs, cheese, pickles and clementines.

Nope, no New Year/New You for me. Not this year. I’m gonna focus on finding more of that feeling denoted above.

Your turn:

  1. How are you ringing in the new year?
  2. Do you resolve to do things differently?
  3. Do you want more of what you already have?

 

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” —Shauna Niequist

Happy * New * Year *

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Snarky, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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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

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RICH RIPLEY

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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 three 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...