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September, Stew and Dog Stories

September is here ~ I’m delighted because it’s one of my favorite months!

I’m leaning in for:

  • A steady stream of sunny days
  • A significant drop in humidity (my hair approves!)
  • Stew simmering in the Crock pot
    • This morning the kitchen smells of savory meat, root vegetables and pepper
      • No fall candle can top that!
  • The start of College Football
  • Windows open, A/C off
  • Sweater weather returns
    • But we may need shorts & a hoodie in the same day!

Tracking Hurricane Dorian and scrolling through other news stories, this caught my attention:

When I was a girl, we ended up with a Pit Bull at our farm ~ one of Dad’s jockeys brought him to Canada from Louisiana, probably illegally.  He was skinny and jumpy, tied up all day in the city.   Brian brought him out in the spring when they broke horses and when he left, Butkus stayed.  Filled out. Bulked up.  He followed Dad everywhere ~ he snorted and  drooled and intimidated everyone who pulled into the farm yard.  But he was a big baby ~ a cuddle bear, he loved to play tug-o-war and lie on his back for belly scratches.   The irony of his ruff & tuff exterior was that it was two “safe” dog breeds – an idiot neighbor’s Labrador & Dalmatian, who got to him.  They fought, he lost; he crawled home where he died in my Dad’s arms.     #therearenobaddogs

Now, I don’t want to end this post with you upset and sad, so I offer you this —

Ha Ha!

  • Any dog stories to share?
  • What do you love about September?
  • Are you craving stew now?

 

 

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Growth, News, Opinion, Quotes, Seasons, Uncategorized, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Elvis, Frankie, and Fall

It’s Friday, and time for some randoms … ready?  Let’s do this!

1  )   Elvis my Elvis – 42 years ago TODAY the world lost a legend with the passing of Elvis Presley.   I was at horse camp when I heard the news and still remember the sorrow and disbelief felt.  There’s never been a time when I wasn’t a fan but if you asked me to pick my favorites from his music, I’d pick this:

an MJ favorite; image from amazon.com

2 )   Seasons – School hasn’t started yet but Halloween displays are going up.  Slow down already, wouldja?

google.images.com

3 )  Home shopping – I love a good deal — some “finds” have been duds, but others have been bang-on.  This is one of my top finds, ever – a luggage set by Samantha Brown (of HGTV fame).   Well made, well organized, well structured, well … everything.   I’ve never been complimented on luggage before owning this ( bought in burgundy). Really really well done.

4 )  Fall – We’re starting to see signs of Fall here ~  after a wet spring, it’s been dry of late so certain trees are turning color already.  Mornings are a smidge darker, nights a bit shorter. There’s been a nip in the air some mornings.  I know we’re in for more heat waves but, in the meantime, I’m leaning in…. because I LOVE FALL!

Our Frankie loved Fall!! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 )  Golf – Hubbs and I were talking golf strategy last night, with me asking questions about certain clubs ~ He assumed I “didn’t like” a certain club which I hardly use until I explained I hadn’t yet been taught how to use it – for me, golf lessons have been great but a bit like being parceled out individual chapters to a story you’ve not yet read.  I want to jump ahead and know how the story ends!  (Patience!)    In the midst of our conversation I asked, “Did you ever think we’d spend an hour talking Golf?” and he laughingly responded “No, did you ever think you’d get me to talk this much?”  HA!

We are enjoying this new adventure together!  😀

How about you?   Are you an Elvis fan?  Seeing signs of Fall? Take up any new past-times lately?

Happy Friday!

Categories: Animals, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Life, Men, music, News, Opinion, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Reading through several lives

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

This should be a national holiday .. with paid time off .. with cozy chairs and coffee/tea for anyone interested. 😀

I’ve written before of my love affair with books .. and it hearkens back to being a very young girl.  Cozied up next to Mom while she read me a story, I remember the heat of her body on mine as I leaned in wide-eyed and wondering.

Mom took me for my first Library card before I started school and I still remember the joy felt filling the book bag up to the top, the weight of it necessitating a drag to the Oldsmobile.   Sorting through my choices, the smells filling my senses, I lined my books up in order of priority.

I remember a similar thrill when the Book Fair came ’round each school year ~ bringing home the paper-thin order sheet and circling choices, then handing my list over for her review and approval.  She always encouraged us to “read up,” and we discussed choices and our reasoning behind them.  Looking back, I can see she favored intelligent choices and those fought hard for.  And if you couldn’t defend it, you didn’t need it.

  • Another one of her life lessons right there!

And, as I’ve grown, books remain a comfort to me ~ a place I love to belong.

A summer read takes me back to our backyard canvas tent, reading my sister’s “Valley of the Dolls” or “Love Story” before moving on to “It” or “Roots” or other intriguing plots.

A winter read can transport me back under the covers of our shared girls’ bedroom, the weight of winter blankets cocooning me into a drowsy state of relaxation.

It’s National Book Lovers Day ~ but I’m celebrating all year long!

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  ― William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

 

  • Are you celebrating National Book Lovers Day with me?
  • If you’re a reader, who encouraged your love of reading?
  • What recent book are you still thinking about?
    • for me, it’s “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Home, Life, Mom, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

July Random 5 – Aging apps, Shirley MacLaine and self-care

It’s Sunday, mid-July, and here we are cruising down hill towards August.   Time for 5 Rapid Fire Randoms from my world.  Ready? Set – Go!

1   Aging apps – friends on Facebook are posting results of an app that ages you by 40 years.  Here’s one to try- ha!

Dog days of Summer –  Our West MI Summer took it’s sweet time arriving.  Our first 80F day was June 20th.   But now that we’re into July – with more than 3 weeks of warm weather behind us – folks are already CRABBING about it.  I was doing fine until that sweltering sweaty muggy stuff landed last week ~ the hot, humid, dank weather that steals your breath away at 6am.   The humidity so high that you sweat AFTER a shower.   Our local AM radio host cheerfully announced, “The heat index – with the humidity – is already over 90F.”     I turned up the fan and suppressed my crabbiness.3 Grand Dames – I read a recent interview with actress Shirley MacLaine.  Always liked her.  Classy, smart, sassy … takes no prisoners.  This quote resonated with me:

“I have what I consider just a perfect life … I eat what I want, I sleep when I want.  Not that much bothers me. I think attitudes are a choice.  Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm – which is what I’m good at – is a choice.” ~ Shirley MacLaine

I wanna be Shirley MacLaine when I grow up!

the incomparable Shirley MacLaine

4 Stopping when necessary – As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at stopping what doesn’t work for me.   Try something new but don’t like it?  Don’t keep doing it.  Order a new food that disappoints?  Set it aside.   The same goes for books – I LOVE to read, as in l-o-v-e to read.  Summer = reading for me.   But just recently I started a book with characters so awful – I had to stop.  The female character allowed herself to be manipulated by a narcissistic and cruel man, a man who enjoyed  the “game,” playing with her emotions and physical safety like a cat with a mouse.    I could see where the story was going after reading just a few chapters. Yes, I knew she’d probably become her own kind of hero but I just couldn’t sit through the abuse.

So I stopped reading it.

I didn’t give it away, I didn’t turn in for re-sale or donate it.

I threw it out.

You might be empathic if …

5  Heading to a corporate conference this week ~  practicing self-care now – there – and thereafter!

  1. Ever stopped doing what didn’t work for you? 
  2. Does Shirley’s quote resonate with you as well?  Why?
  3. How do you practice self-care? 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Food, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sunday Random 5 – Golf, Joe Friday, Wedding Bells & Good Tired

Here we are nearing the end of June ~ it’s time for 5 Random Thoughts from my world.  Ready?   Let’s do this.

1 ) Golf – who knew I would have this much fun golfing? Even the lessons are fun!  I tell him this all the time so I’ll tell you, too: Hubbs was right.  You cannot golf and work.  Beyond being together and being outside,  disconnecting from my job is something I’m  enjoying so much.  I like what I do, but no one needs to do it a-l-l the time!  🙂

2 )  Good tired. We both worked around the house & yard yesterday and I went to bed early ~ It was a “good tired,” the tired that comes with aching muscles and sore feet but the knowledge you accomplished something.  Then, to no surprise, I found myself awake at 4, then 5, at by 6:10 I threw the covers back with a “oh just get up already.”    Laundry’s done, coffee’s hot and Salsa Chicken simmers in the crock pot ~ I’m enjoying padding around a quiet house on a sunny summer Sunday.

3 ) Joe Friday  – Heading to another corporate conference this week ~  there have been even more organizational shifts with senior people leaving and new folks coming in.  The bench is deep and the talent is impressive.  And, as we’ve done before, we were asked to complete the Myers-Briggs personality test.   I’ve taken this test many times  over the course of my corporate life and I always get the same result – I’m an ISTJ  —

  • ISTJ – The Inspector (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging)  ~ Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Highly capable and decides logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

I’m Joe Friday! Google.images.com

However, the test is only as accurate as your answers are honest.   And like we’ve all seen, there are some who “play it” up for the big cheese(s), sit in the front row, hang on the leaders’ every answer, and kiss the ring.  These are the same people whose profiles never match up to who they actually are.   I’m fine with my results because I know exactly who I am – the good, bad, and the ugly.   And that’s exactly why such trips are so taxing!

4)  Wedding bells – Our youngest son is getting married in just a few weeks!  10 minutes ago he was this little.  But he’s not so little anymore.  He still has the same laugh & love for life ~ and now he has a beautiful partner by his side, someone to call his very own.  The love between them is palpable and we couldn’t be happier!

Corporate Family picnic, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 )  Summer Vacation  – After this week’s conference ends comes 15 – count ’em – 15 days off!  I’m leaning in for time with Hubbs, time with my sister, trips to the beach and Casino, visits with our boys & their girls, a happy wedding to enjoy and dance to,  grilling out,  grand-kids, grand-dogs,  Golf, sunshine,  sunscreen,  watermelon, flip flops, tank tops, down time , new books and more good tired. 

 

  • So, what’s new in your world? 
  • Do you enjoy the feeling of “good tired?”  
  • Ever taken a personality test?
Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Saturday ~ rooms, fasting and fools

It’s nearly May and *gasp* I’ve hardly been here.  As in, on the blog.  I’ve driven to and been in meetings all over this state – an excess of 2,500 miles logged in the past 5 weeks. I’ve woken up and thought Monday was Saturday. I’ve wondered where I was – hotel or home?  Too much, too much.  I’m ready for some down time and soon.  So, with that, I do believe it’s time for 5 Randoms from my world. You ready?  Let’s go.

1 )   This room:  I can feel myself, coffee in hand, meandering my way to that white patio chair ~ birds signing and me humming, you?

2 )  I accepted a last-minute speaking request Monday for an event on Wednesday.  150+ in the audience in a City I’ve never been with people I’d never before met.  One had been in the audience for a presentation I’d given at a neighboring conference so that happenstance created the opportunity for this one ~ Motoring there, tunes up, I remembered this quote:

“Great things never came from comfort zones.” …

And I smiled at how much I welcomed the “break” in my ‘routine.’

3 )  Miss Kitty Kitters (neighborhood cat) visited us earlier in the week ~ Spring’s arrival means she moseys by and stops in for a pet or five.  I don’t know where winter holds her, but she sure is happy to be out walking the her beat again.

She looks like this and is even cuter!

4 ) Something I’ve noticed working 5 days a week – office or home – I tend to eat on schedule.  And sometimes, I think I eat because it’s time to, not b/c I’m hungry.  ( It’s that old fear of low blood sugar shakes returning that causes me to do this, I know.)  On weekends, I’m up early – between 6 and 7am – but I don’t eat until ~1pm… I mosey through the house, straightening this, cleaning that, and sipping coffee all the while.  I eat around 1 and again at 6 or 7pm & then I am done for the night.  And I’m just fine, not starving.  Not one bit.

An epiphany — I’ve been “Intermittent Fasting” without even realizing it – this. is. how. my. body. prefers. things. to. be.    A light bulb went on – I’m gonna give IF a go during the work week, too — for more info on the benefits of Intermittent Fasting (eating in a window only), read Gin Stephens’ “Delay Don’t Deny” – reading now .. and yeah, wow!

Most of a fast happens when you are asleep … hence break-fast

5 ) At a meeting several weeks ago a seemingly mild-mannered individual suddenly turned.   Red-faced and angry, he snarled, looking for a fight.   I didn’t take the bait.  In that moment,  I remembered these words, and I might have even said them out loud, I’m not sure.  See I get angry, too, and I refuse to be bullied or talked over.  The meeting soon ended, he’s likely still angry and Jimmy Cracked Corn!

And how was your week? Any AHAs recently?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Growth, Joy, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Served what you deserve

This recent article about a suspected Rhino poacher who was trampled by Elephant(s) and then eaten by lions .. y-ouch!

It takes me back to working for a belligerent trophy-hunting executive years ago, the one whose African Safari journey ended in a big fat slice of Karma Pie.

this is what I imagine Karma pie to look like .. but maybe it’s chunky and hard to choke down?

Or the snarky sneaky lying rat of a boss who finally met his match and helped this believer drop 250 lbs in one day.

Karma’s coming!

Yep, every time I hear of a story like this, I’m reminded of something I’ve always told our boys:

  • Karma is only bad if you are

 

 

  • Do you believe in Karma?
  • Have you witnessed Karma coming full circle – in good ways and bad?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spring / Slog Forward ~ 2019

It comes every year whether we like it or not: Daylight Savings Time.  We Spring Forward – turn clocks an hour ahead and experts like to claim we’ll feel like this:

google images

And every time it has the opposite effect on me:

google images

So today, I’ll do as I’ve learned to do ~

  • I’ll cook a few things, but not too ambitiously.
  • I’ll read a while, but not too ambitiously.
  • I’ll workout a bit, but not too ambitiously.
  • I’ll go to bed a little sooner and give myself some grace to adjust … ambitiously.

But, after the winter we’ve had/been having, anything with the word Spring in it should be embraced 🙂

Still,  I’m with Maxine on this:

google images

 

** No kitties were harmed in this post

What are your thoughts on Daylight Savings time?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Cows, gifts, dogs and Bradley Cooper

It’s the first Sunday of March, yay!  I’m gearing myself up for several weeks of business travel and heading into some of the coldest temperatures of the year.     Time for some Randoms from my world.

1 )  This picture describes this winter!

2 ) Lately my Facebook feed has been filled with political posts by well-meaning friends ~  I admit to having snoozed” a few ( to avoid seeing their stuff for 30 days)  because I can’t take the rants.  Give me pictures of your babies, kids, dogs, cats, casseroles or cakes.   The other stuff I’d just as soon pass over.  But this one, now this one made me laugh:

3 )   I asked our youngest boy for just a little bit of his co-worker’s “homegrown honey.”  This is what he gave me.  Nothing says love like a year’s worth of amber deliciousness~!

An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

4 ) Maybe it was the cold or just being home and inside but this year I watched the Oscars.  Haven’t watched in years!  Hubbs and I were “dog-sitting” our oldest son’s dog, Roscoe, and he watched the Oscars with me.  It was a cold & stormy night (sounds like something Snoopy would write) and the winds were howling (the Bomb Cyclone was underway).    Between us, we decided Roscoe-Doggus should have been nominated (and won) in the most dramatic category:

  • #highwindsequalhighbarks
  • #willbravethesnowfortreats
  • #workingPopsforpizza
  • #Nanaisasuckerfortheseyes
  • #moveoverBradleyCooper

Grand-dog Roscoe ~ we sure missed him when he went home. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

5 ) Speaking of Bradley Cooper… this also made me laugh.  (Bad weather can certainly = carb noshing!)

In case you missed their Oscar performance, see link below ~ ME-Ow!

 

And how was your week?

Categories: Animals, Family, Food, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Men, music, News, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Lake Days, “Bomb Cyclones” and conversations

My new summer tradition, established last year on my birthday,  is this one:  I get up early, coffee-up, pack a cooler and leave for the beach at Lake Michigan ~ about a 40 minute drive due West.   There are audible smiles of joy as I pack and singing at full volume as I drive.

Easy-peasy free parking and lots of it, I set my beach chair, books and cooler up just before 10:00 a.m. near the water’s edge, with the chair angled towards the sun but so I can still see the waves.

Much like this guy below:

Grand Haven State Park, MI

 

~~~ ahhh ~~~at the Water’s edge ~ An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

As the day progresses, I turn to follow the sunshine.    Books are read, snacks are savored, I dip in and out of the water and make trips up the beach to the bathroom, too.  I might chat with strangers or little kids or no one at all.  I pack up and leave as the crowds … crowd the sand ~ somewhere  between 2 and 3 p.m.  Long before this:

picture from Michigan.org

On my way out of town, I stop at the “Tasty Treat” for a vanilla/chocolate soft serve and enjoy it (and its messiness) all the way home……ahh summer!

We’re in the dregs of winter now – and summer will come again.   Between now and then we’re facing such weather events like “bomb cyclones – rain, thunderstorms, ice and snow … and more power outages.  So I’m glad to have pictures like these because they hold me over until the time comes again when we can complain about the heat  🙂 !  

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” – Kim Hubbard

 

  • What’s saving your life (in winter) right now?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, News, Personal, Seasons, Traditions, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Winter & a time for home

  1. Our city / state has made the national news for winter weather events, three weeks in a row.
    • we also have flooding from “ice jams” to deal with, too 🙂
  2. Schools have exceeded allowed snow days (6), some by double that amount.
  3. Snow shovels, snow blowers & ice melt are sold out; beach towels & suntan lotion remain untouched. (Spring Break’s a coming)
  4. Heat’s up, books are being slayed at night, and I’m working from home for the foreseeable future.
  5. Soup’s on the stove, and Hubbs is due back from meetings soon.   Hoping the power stays on …

 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  Edith Sitwell

:: Home-made soup today — ahh! ::

 

  • And how are you faring this winter?  
  • Are you tucked in safely at home, too?
Categories: Faith, Family, Food, Home, Life, Men, News, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Snow Day(s) ~ town buddies, pant checks and heroes

Like much of the country, we’ve been smack in the middle of a winter storm for nearly a week and today, temperatures plummeted ~ Meteorologists are breathlessly reporting, “Polar Vortex, Arctic Chill and Extreme cold warnings!!” as the furnace hums steadily. I was up long before I needed to be but enjoyed puttering around the house in winter’s quiet.

Seeing the scroll of school, church and business closings last night I couldn’t help but remember my farm childhood and hearing two deliciously wonderful words at morning’s cusp, “SNOW DAY!”  And my snowy memories inspired me to post these Random Snow Day Thoughts ~ here we go:

1 )  Growing up in the country farm kids like me had a “town” buddy in case severe weather came quickly.  My town buddy was a classmate named Melanie Wright – her house was in the middle of the village.  I’d estimate a walk there took less than 10 minutes but it sure felt longer to me.  I recall spending the night once or twice, being fed and warm but also terribly homesick.  I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8.   I think that’s Melanie in the sailor dress next to me (in the bow tie), front row.

  • This picture represents 2 grades; my grade was one of the largest with 11 kids.
    • We often had 3 grades sharing one room in our little brick schoolhouse ~ God Bless our teachers!

Class picture, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

2 )  Bitter blizzards and freezing winds take me right back to Mom’s kitchen where she, the 100lb dynamo, would stand at the door and make my siblings & I pull up our pant legs to give evidence of tights or long johns underneath. No negotiating,  no exceptions, “don’teventryit.”    She showed her love and care for us in a multitude of ways but the love I felt via a pants inspection lingers with me still.  Man I miss her.

Mom & Sport, winter 1952-53. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 )  Being home since last Thursday I’ve leaned into my stack of books. Read 3, ordered 4 more, and plan on starting another tonight.   Couldn’t. Be. Cozier.

“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith

Bucket List Goals: Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland

4 ) Our local news has been sharing heartwarming stories of folks stepping up to help others out of a snowy ditch, clearing sidewalks, checking on elderly neighbors and even rescuing dogs out in the (dangerous) cold.   I have my own story to share:   a  situation arose late Monday that necessitated me making a quick trip to the office to pick up several (specialty) items ~ these were to be shipped to a colleague in another state.  The request came Monday evening, in the midst of white-out conditions with winter warnings” all around.   Pondering my next move, Hubbs made it easy, “I’ll take you.”    Yes I could have driven myself but that wasn’t the point.   Accompanied by his calm demeanor, fuzzy pants and snow boots, we set out the next day ~ roads were awful, snow-covered and icy.  Visibility was maybe 12 feet.  It was in that moment I was reminded of something Mom had always said:  Romance is not always flowers and chocolates … it’s someone willing to lay down a brick for you, over and over and over again.   And, as usual, she was right.

5 )  With 480+ area schools on an extended winter break, Schwartz Creek School Administrators in Clayton Township, Michigan got their “Snow Day” announcement just right  ~  Hallelujah, indeed! 🙂

 

  • Is the 2019 Polar Vortex affecting you / your area?
  • Did you have a “storm buddy” as a child?
  • Any “hero” stories to share?
  • Ever had a “pants” inspection?

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Mom, News, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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Renee Johnson Writes

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Just another WordPress.com weblog

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