A haze hangs in the air ~ both from rising humidity & the smoke of last night’s festivities.
I’ve got a beef roast with carrots, onions and potatoes simmering in the crockpot; Hubbs has already commented on how good it smells. The A/C kicks on, and a table-top fan ruffles nearby papers. We refill our coffee cups and chat in the kitchen.
I could have gone to the beach today, but I wasn’t up to dealing with crowds or the hustling it takes to get there early.
I could have gone shopping or visiting today, but I don’t feel people-y.
I could have worked on one of many work project, but I’m not going to, I work enough
Instead I’m leaning into a book, doing some laundry, and savoring the gift that is a quiet day.
It’s Friday ~Here are my randomly thought-out thoughts as we head into the holiday weekend~
1 Work / Life Balance — I don’t know about you but I laugh every time I hear that phrase. What a joke -Like the words “quality time,” there’s no balance, never has been. Work is crazy, busy, demanding, and all-consuming. Life gets squeezed in here & there ~ but the balance thing? ha ha ha – Thank God for coffee 🙂
2 Summer reading has me transported back to my childhood ~ at night, when all calls/webinars/demands have ended, I sink into my coziest chair and read in the golden hour ~ the last bit of sunlight streaming across the pages of my book, the TV off, the house quiet. Sometimes I stay up late reading but often I barely make it to 9:30 before my eyes are heavy and tired. My one true indulgence, that I savor daily, is reading for pleasure. Ahh … summer.
3 Lifestyle choices are giving me LIFE– Yes Life continues to loft challenges my way, but my ability to “deal” with them has increased so much~ I’m so much calmer and at peace with myself. Intermittent Fasting (IF) has given me incredible focus, stamina and clarity but much of my lessened anxiety I can attribute to having left alcohol in 2019 ~ It never solved anything, in fact it often made things worse b/c it ramped up anxiety and negativity ~ Now that it is no longer in the picture I traded in angst for peace & self-confidence. BAM! The image below personifies how I feel walking confidently towards my future knowing I can handle what life brings me! She is EXACTLY how I feel ~ INVINCIBLE!
4 My daily walks continue, with affection ~ what began as a break from work morphed into a return to joy – I love being outside, hearing birds, feeling the wind on my face, and saying “Hello” to all my furry friends along the way. I know all of them, the owners not as much ;). Here’s our neighborhood kitty, expert mouser, birder and catcher of all small pests ~ she comes when I call her, stays for a pet, refuses food and hunts, hunts, hunts!
5 Pandemic Lessons – If this past year taught us anything it’s this – Stop Waiting to Start Living. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
So — how do you feel about phrases like “work/life balance” or “quality time?”
It’s a beautiful, bright Sunday in May ~ windows open, blue skies, and, after last night’s rain, song birds are chirping happily. Life is busy and good, with much to be thankful for. My five Random Musings are below:
I live in Michigan with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in place – our cases are higher than ever. Other states are wide open with numbers falling. What gives?
2. Enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday ~ b/c of competing priorities I didn’t have time to do my usual research. We met up with friends & placed our “bets” on which horse we hoped would win. I glanced over the field and put my bet on the trainer – and his horse won. Something gleaned from growing up at the track — a) all the horses are “pretty,” b) sometimes a long-shot wins but c) when in doubt, bet on the trainer.
3. New job starts tomorrow ~ as is my pattern, I’ll be doing my current one + the new job as things ramp up. I’m hoping to jettison the current one over time, but that remains to be seen. It’s new territory, teams are being formed, and none of us really know what we’re in for – which is exciting and nerve-wracking, all in one. I prefer to be at the start of a project vs. coming in later on. And as my all-time favorite boss (from 7 career moves ago) always reminds me, “If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.”
4. Working from home I had another epiphany recently ~ while I’m an introvert at heart, I can be extroverted, especially in my professional role, always needing time to regroup afterwards. Hello road trips! I am also hugely empathic. What’s that, you ask?
What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”
As a result, working remotely works brilliantly for me b/c exposure to others – and their “stuff”- is minimized. When I do go out/interact, I take steps to guard myself from being bombarded with others’ energy / thoughts / emotions / physical ailments. Ever walk into a store and suddenly hear “noise” even though no one is talking? If I don’t do a prayer of protection ahead of time the experience feels and sounds like I’m on an airport tarmac standing between jet planes taking off. If you’ve experienced this, you might be empathic, too. This book helped me.
5. Last night I re-watched footage of Prince William & Princess Catherine’s 2011 wedding as this year marks their 10th anniversary. It was fun to view such a joyful event and remember where I was at that time. A few days after their wedding, I penned this blog post https://emjayandthem.com/2011/05/03/so-did-you-watch/ which went on to become “Fresh Pressed” by the editors at Word Press. It was deemed of their “best of 385,233 bloggers, 387,452 new posts, 449,667 comments, & 93,406,663 words posted” on May 3, 2011. It remains my most viewed & commented-on post, and it’s still fun to go back and re-read the comments from all over the world. How lovely she was and is.
It’s Super Bowl Sunday and time for 5 random things from my corner of the world.
Ready? Let’s do this!
1. Snow. Our part of the country is well UNDER “normal” snowfall levels. But late last week/this weekend a big storm blew in …Lake Effect snow, high winds followed by bitter temperatures. Local grocery stores were crowded with folks in line, chatting through their masks and talking about stocking up. I don’t know about you but I think people like a big storm, gives ’em something to talk about. 🙂
2. People. Sometimes I do wonder about people: the same ones whose mask hangs half off their face while they fondle produce can be seen shrieking at another for standing too close in line. When I go out there are often moments when I think, “well, this is why I don’t go out!” Mask-idiots = Maskiots!
3. Walks. I miss my walks. I’ve been able to get in a few here & there but, for the most part, it’s just too icy. I miss my doggie friends; just last week my buddy, Chief, and I were reunited. Hard to say who wiggled and twirled more!
4. Zoom Exhaustion. It’s a thing. Extroverts are all about Zoom calls, Zoom Happy Hours, Zoom-you-name its. You see Zoom allows them to be on camera, talk over each other, comment too much and tell others every single thought or concept they ever had. Meanwhile introverts are muted with the camera off because we know our facial expressions will give us away.
5. Road Trips: I miss road trips. Having a new place to go (besides the grocery store) and meetings in-person. I miss driving and listening to music or podcasts, sipping my coffee or water, and thinking. I sure do miss road trips. But I don’t miss doing so in winter. 🙂
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”
Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!
A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.
Being and staying healthy makes me happy.
Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.
I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.
I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.
I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.
I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.
I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.
I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.
I choose me.
What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?
It’s Sunday morning, coffee tastes good and time for 5 random happenings from my corner of the world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 10 years – 10 years ago I registered for this domain on Word Press. 10 years!
I’ve written many posts and most about life, love, relationships, and life-lessons. Over time posts have evolved in depth and scope, frequency and topics. I’ve followed & commented on your blogs, and you on mine. Thank you; I appreciate the kinship and connections we’ve formed.
2 ) News – Did you know there’s an election this year? Chiefers would like to remind anyone reading that, no matter what happens November 3rd, dogs will still be dogs and cats will still be cats. We don’t need to all be the same to get along. I’ll try if you will.
3 ) Fall. My favorite season. Time for soups, stews, and chili. Muffins, banana bread and cookies. Books, cozy blankets & a time change. Pink cheeks, brisk walks in the wind, scarves and hoodies. I. Love. Fall!
4 ) Choices. This year has been a doozy, and that’s an understatement. 2020 is that annoying house guest who shows up early and never leaves. At the start of the new year I set a personal goal that went as follows, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”
I focused on 2 choices: intermittent fasting (IF) every day and delaying alcohol. Those 2 choices led to other positive choices, daily walking for stress management has evolved into a love of movement. Being outside makes my heart sing: it took a Pandemic to get me walking my neighborhood. Between all 3 I’m leaving (so far!) 31lbs & 43″ by the side of the 2020 road. Boats have been torched & the island is mine. What I love best about this lifestyle is that AF/IF is free and so am I!
4 ) Heart songs – I’ve written about this before but, the older I get, the more stock I put into simple pleasures: supper simmering on the stove, good coffee, a cozy sweater, the delight of a good book. A hug from a grown child or a wee grand. Conversations that meander and turn. Sunlight streaming in. Walks in nature. A quiet, clean house. Laughter so raucous my face hurts. These are my heart songs.
5 ) Fill up: Soon we’ll have one son, 2 grands & one grand-dog over, I’m cooking brunch ~ tunes are playing, bacon is sizzling, and the fridge is full of leftovers. My heart is full.
Thank you for following my blog, many of you for 10 years!
Chatting with my sister yesterday we laughed about how, like Mom, we wear the same things over and over: A raggedy tee shirt, a fraying nightie, favorite shorts with a rip in the pocket.
There’s comfort in old clothes and in old things ~ they’re worn and soft and easy on the skin. We know what to expect and they deliver. It’s not that we can’t buy new clothes, we can. It’s not that we can’t wear new clothes, we do. But, time and again, we reach for what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, what endures.
Old recipes on batter-stained pages.
Coffee cups that fit our hands.
The love of an old pet who leans in for more.
How good the house smells as something simmers in the kitchen.
We talked further about “the good stuff,” about how, as you get older, material “stuff” matters less and less. What we want are connections, meaningful conversations, comfortable temperatures, good stories, tasty foods, deep sleep, great coffee, and loyal friends. We want our kids and grands and pets to be OK and everyone we know to feel safe and loved and remembered. And in the chaos this year has brought we reach for the good stuff.
It’s been a weird summerseason year. Yes it sure has, and that’s putting it mildly.
I have read your blogs but not been blogging myself. So here are some of my thoughts on a random Tuesday ~
1 Birthday cake drive-bys- To celebrate Hubbs’ birthday, we had our boys & their girls +our grands over for a get-together this weekend. After much deliberation – and out of all choices offered – a Texas Sheet Cake is what he chose for the celebration. I get it, this cake is hard to beat. See there are 4 sticks of butter and many cups of sugar/powdered sugar in this beauty. 8 or 10 tbsp of cocoa, and all sorts of other goodness.
You don’t get a sheen like that from margarine, no sir-eee-Bob. Some was devoured, some went home with the kids but the one enjoying it most of all is Hubbs … you see, near what remains is a fork. His fork. A drive-by fork. And I laugh every time I pass it by!
a before shot of the Texas Sheet Cake with overflowing frosting
2 ) September Skies –We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful weather – sunny, warm days, cool nights and, my favorite – BLUE SKIES as far as the eye can see. Today it’s overcast and cold, but blue skies are coming back, per the forecast. MY*FAVORITE! There’s just something about a September sky …
Our Walnut tree and hubby’s head. Oops.
3) Closet clean-outs. I’ve been on a health kick for years. But this year, between intermittent fasting & my daily walks, I’m seeing changes – big changes. Most of my clothes no longer fit. I took the advice of the experts and if it didn’t a) fit, b) flatter or c) make me want to wear it RIGHT NOW, it’s gone. Pictured below is one of 3 piles that went to a) the consignment shoppe, b) donation drop-off or c) garbage bin. Anything sagging, bagging or dragging is G-O-N-E. And I was ruthless- tried on everything (that’s a workout, holy smokes!) and now, a week later, I can only remember 2 of the 100s of items that went. I kept 3 pairs of jeans, 2 are too big and should have gone, too – and I’m sure I kept them out of a sense of security. Funny how we think, isn’t it?
every color under the sun & I won’t miss any of it. Never wore that plaid shirt once!
4 ) Fat loss – working on 6 of these, see picture below. Since 1/1/20 I’ve lost 27lbs & 39.2″ – I’m 5’2″, 39inches is more than half of my height. Yes I am slowly shrinking — inward — Intermittent Fasting (time-scheduled eating) for the WIN! for more information visit Gin Stephens – Books on Intermittent Fasting.
5 ) Chaos – I don’t know about you but every time I go out I think, “why did I go out?” I get it, it’s a trying time. But folks have forgotten their manners, forgotten how to drive, how to park, and what to do. I think I’m staying in for the foreseeable future. Coffee up!
It’s Sunday in Summer and time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Let’s go!
1 ) Pandemic Groceries – Still working my way through our pandemic-groceries. Background: at the start of the lock-downs, Hubbs was doing the weekly grocery shopping, a task he enjoyed very much. I pulled the plug on his outings given his asthma & other risk factors. Other risk factors included the potential for altercations in Aisle #5 (paper aisle). But before our shift change in late-April, he was Mr. Pandemic-buyer. I think we have enough canned goods to last to 2028. With just two of us, it was already difficult to cook “small,” (I grew up in a family of 7… leftovers were a rarity in my house, and Mom prepared multiple meals daily). But while I’ve teased him about his purchases, I admit to having enjoyed “perusing” the pantry to set a meal plan for the week. Not ours, but pantry-envy worthy!
2 ) Hanging on – There’s been a shift again working remotely ~ we haven’t re-ordered letterhead or business cards. With no in-person meetings now or anytime soon, there’s simply no need. Logos & return addresses can be affixed digitally, e-copies suffice. Conversely, my days are longer than ever because I start earlier and work later. I exercise early mornings but rarely take breaks or more than 15 minutes for lunch. It’s not uncommon to have Corporate schedule (video) calls that start at 5pm, 6pm or later. It’s a weird world nowadays. I’m adapting, what else can you do?
3 ) Great trees make me grin – Below are a few of my favorite neighborhood trees ~ totally climb-able. Being raised a prairie child I shall forever appreciate a great tree.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
4 ) Quiet: The older and busier I get the more I savor quiet ~ the quiet of an early morning, a Sunday afternoon, or that moment when dusk turns to night. Hubbs is a TV-on-all-the-time kind of guy. He often wanders through the house to find me tucked into a book, the only sound that of a slow summer fan. Ahh.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” ― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth.
The magic of a summer read in a house full of quiet.
5 ) Driving. I don’t know what’s up but some appear to have lost their ability to make rational decisions AND drive at the same time. I blame the masks!
It’s Friday and time for some Randoms from my world. Here we go:
1 ) Opportunity knocks
Today a neighbor stopped by to tell us they were robbed. He admitted to leaving their garage open all night, by mistake. Pandemic or not, when an opportunity is there some have no problem helping themselves to what’s yours. Hubbs shared he is a night owl and regularly outside “at watch” late at night…. and he’s scared off a few shady characters in the process. That deep voice of his cutting through the dark probably landed them in therapy. #notsorry #thievessuck
2 ) Use it or lose it
Took two last-minute vacation days, spent both at/ in Lake Michigan. I work too hard to forfeit vacation days and have many left to use before year-end. Even if I go no farther than the yard, I’m using them ALL. #nomartyrshere
3 ) Cry baby, cry
Temps have been in the 90’s with high humidity – I’ve continued my daily walks, getting up & out before the heat. Sweat pours off me, cool showers are delicious and satisfying. I sleep well, move easily and feel calmer.
When I cook I love to listen to music, typically classic rock, R&B, old country, and some Gospel for good measure. No offense to Miss Swift, but I’m with Stevie all the way. #mykidspreferourmusic
5 ) Needed B.S.
There are no shortage of pundits & opinions clamoring for attention. To quote my Mom, “it has an off button.” I shut the “news” off, tune out the noise, and snuggle back into my book. Nope, the only B.S. I need is a beach & some sunshine. #30minutestothis
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.
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.
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!