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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?
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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: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Random 5 for October – 665, pies and Free Fallin’

It’s Tuesday! It’s Random! It’s time for 5 Randoms in my world.  Ready?  Set?  Go ->

1 )  665 – that’s 665 days without 1 sick day.  I was last sick (bronchial infection/the flu) in December of 2015; I started the 10 day Grain Detox on Jan 4 2016 and lost weight, the fluff & puff, and regained my health.   Cutting out grains cut the inflammation that feeds illness ~ no more seasonal allergies, colds, flu, sinusitis or bronchitis.   It’s not that hard to do and while I was super strict the first 8 months my life shifted with even more travel and I relaxed and leaned into it.  I still (largely) follow the guidelines and – to my amazement – am never sick.  Amazing!   10 days became a lifestyle.

2 )  Death ~ we had a death in the family last week, Hubbs’ Dad.  He had been estranged from the family for many years, and lived far away from all of us, by choice.   Still, it’s never easy to lose a parent, regardless the circumstances.   Someone asked me what he was like and my answer was, “He was a hard man to know.”   And there it is.   But – to clarify – when I write here about time spent with my FIL, I’m writing about Hubbs’ Step-Dad, who lives nearby.   Fathers come in many forms.

3 ) Seasons ~ it’s October and feels like June, with higher than normal temps, skies like September and heat like summer.   Birds and squirrels are as confused as we are!

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

4 ) Travel ~ I have gobs of travel this month – day trips, overnights, and out-of-towns.  Current events make for nervous travelers, watching the crowd, staying alert.    You know what keeps me going?   Too much vacation has to be used again so I’ve booked a week off at Thanksgiving ~  I’ll be reading, pie-making, relaxing and shutting out the world.      It’s good to have goals 🙂

My sister-in-law’s homemade Saskatoon berry pie.

5 )  Tom Petty.  RIP.   So many great songs, all sing-along-able.  This was and is a favorite.   “She’s a good girl, loves her Mama, loves Jesus, and America, too.”   ~ Sigh

And how was your week?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Grief, Growth, Life Lessons, Men, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Travel, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Kisses, smiles and summertime

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

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

 

 What’s your summer looking like? 

 

 

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

Random 5 (Lion) Friday

It’s Friday! It’s time for some Random thoughts ~ here we go!

1 )  March roared in like a Lion and …well she’s still roaring.  Yesterday brought freezing rain and lightning, all the same day. Today .. rain and winds.  The grass is greening and the Robins are fat… hmm.  Maybe April will come in like a lamb?

google.images

2 ) Old favorites ~ I put a tee shirt on the other day and laughed because I remember when it was new. 10 summers ago.  I still like it and still wear it but now just around the house ’cause it’s a little worse for the wear.   It’s like an old friend, comfy, soft and forgiving.  It’s from the summer we took Mom on this trip, and that’s the shirt in the picture below. Sissy and I are going again in June and Mom will be with us in spirit, clapping her hands, grinning widely and taking it all in.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO.  Summer 2007.

Of course we saw an “Elvis” show! Tony Roi as Elvis was AMAZING!

3 ) I wrapped up 7 consecutive weeks of heavy work travel and meetings.  Yesterday we were asked to set goals for the year – one of the goals surrounds meetings & outreach.  I smiled realizing I’m halfway to the goal.  Yes!!

4 )  It’s Friday.  I can hear the birds singing and my calendar, for the most part, is wide open today.  I have a few projects to tidy up then I’ll hand the reins to another and my team – and be off on v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.   It’s 34F here and 75F where we’re headed …and there’s not a schedule in sight. Ahhh.

photo courtesy of the Farmers Almanac.

5 )    Amazing. Yes, that’s it.   Ha!

That or glasses!

How about you? What’s the oldest piece of clothing you still wear?  What are you looking forward to?  Have you set any new goals for the year?  Have you amazed yourself lately? 🙂

Happy Spring, peeps!

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What’s saving my life right now

Inspired by my blogging friend Leah’s post – I am taking on her challenge to think – and write about – what’s saving my life right now.

  • Background – Leah is a fabulous writer, author and Mom who moved with her family from  Sunny San Diego to a less-than-sunny wintry Indiana (I can so relate to the absence of sunshine!) – She cites writer Barbara Brown Taylor who, in her memoir Leaving Church, tells about a time she was invited to speak, and her host assigned her this topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”  The idea behind this is  that most can articulate what may be bothering us but few of us stop to note what’s giving us life.

Bam!  So thought-provoking!

Here are the things saving my life right now ~ in no particular order:

  1. Exercise:  After work I make time for A) the treadmill or B) Yoga.  Either helps me unwind and forget my schedule and responsibilities.  My mind drifts off and creativity sneaks in. ~ Ahh.
  2. Minimizing Electronics: The company cell phone gets shut down at 7pm and lately, the best thing on T.V. has been the off button.
  3. Books – by taking step #2  I create space to devour deliciously good reads & have  created something to look forward to on a regular basis.  Joyful!
  4. Rest: In winter I go to bed earlier, it’s a necessary step to create the energy for slogging through the greyest of days.
  5. Up:  Because of #4 I get up earlier, can sip coffee longer, and have an hour of “soul time” to myself every morning.
  6. Supplements: Vitamin D in copious amounts – 5,000iu per day.  Start slow and work your way up but this is a GAME changer especially if you live where winter happens without measurable sunshine.
  7. Color and lots of it. Again – it’s so grey here right now – you’ll find me in sweaters, scarves and dresses of purple, teal, ocean blue or green.
  8. Flowers – they’re not just for Valentines and anniversaries.    For $7.99 I can add a pop of color to my office – and flowers are nature’s happy little reminder that Spring will soon come again.
  9.  Music.  My job requires a lot of car travel back & forth to meetings – sometimes 5 -6 hours in one trip – I turn off the rants and the politics, add in some Gospel, Motown and Classic Rock and sing my way to my meetings.  Winning!
  10. Connections – phone conversations with my sister or cousin, time out to dinner or staying home with Hubbs, messaging with our boys, breakfasts with Grandpa & the Aunts/Uncles.  Chatting with someone at the grocery store.  Connections – without steps 1-9 – I wouldn’t be as motivated to create and sustain connections~!

What’s saving your life right now?

 

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

a $8.00 pick-me-up that lasts all week long. Google.images.com

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Memories of Masterpiece

Winter has arrived in Michigan – we’re on our 3rd day of heavy snow – yesterday was swirly, twirly snow spinning down and around and to the ground.  Today snow is falling quickly, like rain. It’s cold and beautiful and slippery!

“It’s a good day for a house,” Mom used to say.   Yes indeed.

Hubbs is making omelettes and I’m wrapping presents.  Christmas tunes play on the radio.  We’re cozy, tucked in and content.

Reminiscing last night about the Christmases of our childhood, Hubbs and I laughed at how our parents always bought us board games.  Well 1), because we asked for them but 2) setting up the board and figuring out the rules kept us all occupied for hours.  In my home our dining room table often had a board game set there on a rather permanent basis – Monopoly,  Clue, Masterpiece, just to name a few.

My oldest sister was the keeper of the rules and my youngest brother was the one most likely to bend them.  Oldest brother sometimes played and sometimes he didn’t – by my middle sister and I were fierce competitors.  The real fun started when our cousins and aunts/uncles arrived.  Kids games were quickly  moved to a back bedroom as the adults took over for Cribbage, Rummy, 7 card stud and Whist.

Hubby and I remember smokey clouds above the card table and counter tops covered in nuts, treats and ingredients for various adult beverages – Caesars,  Harvey Wall-bangers and Rum/Rye and Coke.  Nobody over did it, Bing and Dean played on the record player and sometimes they danced.  Ladies wore dresses and pearls, slingback heels and peep toe shoes.  Gentlemen sported dress slacks and buttoned-down shirts, jackets and sometimes a tie or a sweater.   I remember Dad grinning as he took Mom for a twirl around the kitchen before guests arrived – I watched in my Church dress and white tights.  Those moments stay close even though they’re both gone.

Coca-Cola was a hot commodity, too – that was a treat we rarely got.  At Christmas time Dad would buy a few cases of pop to keep in the basement (ever cold) and if we were good – and only IF – we might get to split a glass of pop with a sister or cousin.  Ooh what a treat.

Sipping on a glass of Ginger Ale, stealing Aunt Irene’s famous peanut-butter balls and winning at Masterpiece  — now that’s a Christmas vacation I can only dream about today.

parker_brothers_masterpiece_auction_art_game_board_box_lid

Forgery!! – A favorite from my childhood

**When you think back to Christmases of your childhood – what comes to mind?  Did you play board games or card games in your family?Which ones? What tastes and smells take you back to the Christmases of your dreams?

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Friday – New Years, Strangers, Queen and the King

Hey! It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 random things from my world.  Ready? Set?  Go!

1  I’m still getting used to writing 2016.  I can’t seem to do it, I’ve written 15 and 17 but 16 throws me off.  What gives?

2016

all shiny and new but I just can’t seem to get used to you!

2 I don’t know about you but that first work week of the year kicks butt.  I did nothing more than “normal stuff,” but every night found me dozing in my chair before 9pm.

sleeping-dog

If only I were that tall …

3  Facebook: I have my account set so that only friends of friends can request me as a friend (say that 3 times).  Still – the other day I received a weird message from some guy in Florida who I don’t know asking me to connect with him and telling me his daughter (!) would really like me as a Step-Mom.    I didn’t respond but it drove home the point once again, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Facebook-thumbs-down

4  True.  Every time.

bohemian rhapsody

 

5  Today would have been Elvis Presley’s 81st birthday. I’d still be swooning and singing along.  *Sigh

Hello, Handsome! google.images.com

Hello, Handsome! google.images.com

 

 

Happy Friday! We made it – what’s on tap for the weekend, my friends?

 

Categories: Attitude, Friendship, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Stew Leonard’s, gift cards, and happenstances

It’s Friday – whoop! I am off today and here are 5 randoms thoughts from my week.

1) Trader Joe’s opened a store here recently. Never been there but folks here are awfully hyped up about this grocery store. If you want to experience THE grocery store, visit Stew Leonard’s – the world’s largest Dairy store – in Norwalk, CT.  I remember taking oldest boy there when he was very little, and the prices were well worth the singing cows and dancing milk cartons … Now THAT’s a grocery store. 🙂

2) I won an award at work and picked Visa gift cards as my prize. I don’t need more stuff. Instead I stopped, after work, for a mani/pedi and became one with the massage chair. Felt like a genius.  I still have a little $ to spend but I’m one to make a list and a careful purchase.  Likely involving books … got any recommended reading for me?

cook clean or read

3) It’s Fall and I cook more when as weather cools.   Brought out my Wolfgang Puck electric pressure cooker for a yummy  dinner this weekend.  The best part?  Beef stew, braised chicken, or a succulent roast in under an hour.   (I was scared to death of the one Mom used as we grew up – it had a screaming sound and jangly top that threatened to blow at any minute. Whenever it came out – outside I went!) Get yours here

wolfgang-puck-automatic-8-quart-rapid-pressure-cooker-d-20130813151431583~269531_001

Here’s what mine looks like – no jangling bits to blow off in my face!

4) Tuesday morning, while waiting for the results of medical tests, I quietly sung one of my favorite Elvis Gospel songs.  The next morning I turned on my Mp3 for the drive to work.  The MP3 has nearly 1,000 songs on it and is always set to “shuffle” – meaning it shuffles songs randomly.   That song came on first.  Coincidence? Nope.

5 ) 22 days till Halloween!  I no longer decorate for it like I did when the boys were little but I do love shopping with the Grands for their costumes.  We touch and try on crazy hats, test drive the spooky sounds of store displays and thoroughly enjoy the outing.  I remember these kinds of costumes, and our faces sweating underneath them.  How about you?

google.images.com

google.images.com

 

How was your week?  Ever been to a Trader Joe’s or Stew Leonard’s?  If you had a $100 gift card to spend, what would you buy?  Do you have any page-turners to recommend?  Ever cooked with a Pressure cooker?  How do you feel when you experience random happenstances?  Are they random?  And what costume do you remember sweating under?

 

 

Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Growth, halloween, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

R5F – October, Crock Pots, Coincidences and Songs

It’s Friday (whoo!) It’s random (whee!) It’s October! (yay!) Here are 5 randoms from this corner of the globe:

1 Hello October!  Next to September, this is my favorite month …. colors, smells, sights,  cool air, crisp nights, crock pot dinners, windows cracked, cozy blankies, time to cozy up and read … ahhh.

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2 doors down & taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

2  Speaking of crock-pots, a friend just bought her very first one.  First. Crock Pot. A Midwest girl who never owned a crock-pot?  Guess you hear something new every day!  🙂 My newest favorite recipe is this one: salsa chicken.  Ready?  Dump 6 large frozen chicken breast in the crock pot, season with whatever you like (I use Mrs. Dash Onion {salt free} and a bit of fresh garlic) then pour a medium-sized jar of salsa (about 10 oz) of mild, spicy, whatever over the chicken.  Put the lid on, turn the crock pot on low, and leave for the day. That’s it.  6-8 hours later you’ll have tender, juicy and tasty chicken that is easily shredded for Tacos, wraps, poured over rice, topped on salads, etc.  Extra tip? When fully cooked and shredded, stir in 2 tbsp of cream cheese for creamy chicken goodness.  Yumm-o!

salsa chicken over rice

3  Earlier this week, one of Mom’s cousins (whom I’ve never met) sent me a friend request on Facebook.   She grew up in British Columbia, Canada, but lives at the Easter shore of Virginia.  When I looked up where she lived, I could see that she’s pretty close to my Virginia friend  Dianna – whom I met through this blog.  Sometimes the world just isn’t that big is it? 🙂

Believe_In_Coincidence_by_reds2005

4  Tomorrow I’m going to visit a friend who recently had surgery; she had been told one thing about the recovery time then found out the healing time will be much, much longer.  I remember the same happening when I had foot surgery- and that feeling of being “stuck” inside.   I know she’s a reader and we both love coffee – so I have huge bags of magazines and books, coffee and chocolates and more – because when you’re laid up and bored, sometimes the very best therapy is coffee with a girlfriend and a healthy dose of chocolate!

a glimpse of heaven

5   Leaving work closer to 7 than 5 the other night, I reflected on the day, the pace, the craziness that is my work life right now.  I still love what I do, but I’m just as happy to get in the car and crank up the tunes – this one came on and it’s funny how, two days later, I’m still singing a song …. You?

 

What do you love about October?  Are you a crock-pot user?  What’s your “go-to” fall recipe?   What plans do you have this weekend? Any visits in your future?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Recipes, Share, Thoughts, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Flipping back

clock_70s_flipClick-Click-Click.  That’s the sound my 70’s clock radio made, with the numbers that ‘rolled’ down from above. Do you remember?

Starry summer nights, a Canadian farm girl fine-tuning her radio to bring in American radio stations late, late at night.  Straining to hear “those crazy accents” from faraway-to-me places.  KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska, coming in clearly with a voice I’d learned to recognize: Sally-Jesse Raphael, long before she was on TV, hosting an advice/talk show.   Lonely farmers, wives with money problems, young lovers separated by difficult circumstances.  Our house was quiet and I found myself leaning in for their stories – carried through the air and across international borders – and wondering at the faces of the folks calling in.

Driving today, a song came on the radio, and it took me back to that time in my life.

“Hello?  How are you?” right at :27.   Haunting.

Singing along I looked down at all my “new” technology, Smartphone, GPS and MP3 player, and laughed. Then I cranked up the tunes and sang all the way to my meetings, remembering the summers of my youth, and a time when adventures could be as simple as imagining just who was on the other end of the line.

 

Do you remember the click-click-click of a clock radio? Did the numbers roll down or stay lit?  What faraway radio stations were you able to tune in?

 

 

Categories: Fun, Life, music, Personal, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Coyotes, silence and Carpe Diem

It’s Sunday and I’m still in a bit of a fog after being “away” on vacation.  I went home to the family farm in Saskatchewan – to visit Mom, attend a wedding, and catch up with family.  Here are my random 5 thoughts from this past 10 days:

1. Lessons. Other travelers sure were chatty.  On 3 out of 4 flights I had someone older sit next to me and once they learned what I was up to every single one spoke longingly of their departed family members.  Some had a parent or sibling remaining, others had none.  It was not lost on me, as the youngest of 5, that time marches on and there will come a day when I don’t have them anymore.  Coincidences are just His way of remaining anonymous.

2. Time.  I found myself wide awake before 5:00 a.m. most days (that’s 7:00 a.m. in MI) and outside soon there-after. Hitting my 5 mile daily walking goal was a breeze. Most days I walked 6 miles before 9:30!  That time gave me the opportunity to visit with my brother & sister-in-law, chill with the farm dog & kitties, and drink in the intoxicating fragrance of freshly cut hay.  Ahhh.

Stevie the dog and the road to home.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Stevie the dog and the road to home. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3.  Silence.  I hadn’t realized it until I was there but opportunities for meandering conversations with Mom don’t happen as frequently as they used to.  She doesn’t hear as well now and it frustrates her to miss out on things.  And as busy and restless as I tend to be, it was challenging to sit in the stillness with her.  But I’m glad I did because opportunities still came.   Case in point:  The day we left for the wedding city, a 2+ hour drive, I could feel her anxiety and sensed she might pull the pin on our plans.  It took several hours for me to get everything loaded up and once I had her buckled in I asked, “You ready, Thelma?”  Her response? “Let’s do it, Louise!” That – and a fist bump from my 85-year-old Mom – and we were off.   Traversing roads she hadn’t traveled for years I laughed when she chatted and commented the whole way there.  She told me, more than once, that she never could have gone without my help and thanked me time and again for making it so much fun. Priceless!

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride.  An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Me, Mom and my Sissy, Mother of the Bride. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

4.  Milestones.  We had fun at the wedding but, as we suspected might happen, the excitement and schedule left her a bit weary.  Plans to go out for a birthday supper were changed to a gathering at home instead.  She got into her comfy chair, surrounded by kids and grands, and smiled all afternoon. We enjoyed take-out Chinese food and my sister’s delicious home-made chocolate cake with Opal’s Caramel Frosting .    Between the pictures taken and the smiles shared we all felt a pinch wondering how many more times we’d get moments like this. Not one to dwell on such seriousness, she polished off her Caesar (aka Bloody Mary) and asked that we move outside — it was too hot in the house and she wanted to visit where it was cooler.  In the dusk of twilight, we listened to the yips and yelps of nearby coyotes and Mom had her own “Carpe Diem” moment right there.

Mom's 85th 2015

Mom’s comment: “I’m glad there are 2 big candles instead of 85 small ones!!” An Emjayandthem (C) photo.

5. Appreciation.  Being away from Hubbs made me appreciate him even more. How I missed our daily conversations and comments and humor.  How I missed being able to chat with my boys and get regular updates on their lives. I looked around my childhood bedroom and laughed to myself that the same types of things “saved” there are “saved” in my MI home.  I am my mother’s daughter in a very big way! My first morning back in MI youngest boy commented that he’d always known I did a lot (around here) but he didn’t know how much until he had to do it.  “All I did was clean and tidy up and take care of things and water your plants and look after the pool and … wow you do a lot!”  So as much as I love going away, hey, it’s good to be back home again.

 

*I’ve missed all my blogging friends and am way behind on reading your posts. I’ll catch up as soon as I can – in the meantime – how’s your week been?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, music, Personal, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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