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Sunday thoughts: Tidying up, sunshine & magic

We’re already into mid-January it occurred to me this morning that I haven’t blogged since last year!

Gulp.  Life comes at us fast, especially in the new year.

2019 came at me like ..

Holidays ended, work resumed, and tripled in intensity.   It’s been a steady dose of crazy since, with not much room or time to breathe.  Early mornings, long days, lots of travel and copious conference calls.  Thankfully, a solid winter storm blew in this weekend, encapsulating us in icy roads, fresh snow, with a fridge full of leftovers and no particular place to be.


That brings me to today ~ awake at 6:30 I hit tossed in a load of laundry, padded through the house and caught up on your blogs.

Random observations came my way and they include:

1  )   Have you heard of the “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and movement afoot?   Based on her best-selling guide to de-cluttering your home, and soon-to-be TV series,  Marie Kondo espouses the virtues of sorting through everything – and I mean – every thing to determine “what sparks joy.”  If it doesn’t, it goes.   Now I am very familiar with the term “you can’t organize clutter” so I purge/donate/recycle on a regular basis.  Her advice is to start small, say with 1 drawer, and go through every piece that’s in it … I started with my sock drawer and found it can’t be opened all the way … probably because of the preponderance of black dress socks.  ~ Sigh.  I laughed, and set my sights in another direction.  If you’ve tried this approach and it’s helped you, do tell!

2 ) Last night I had every intention of delving into several new books; I’ve got a stack waiting for me, purchased with Christmas gift cards ~ my favorite.  Instead I read women’s magazines, binge-watched “Shark Tank,” laughed with hubby and chatted with my cousin.   Regardless, doing nothing and lots of it, was great therapy.  PS My favorite “Shark Tank” product so far has been this one ~ an amazing cleaning do-dadd that really does work:

3 )  Growing up in bright & sunny western Canada (Saskatchewan) I took our daily sunlight for granted. Yes winters were cold and windy but, for the most part, ALWAYS sunny.  Sunglasses and Sunblock are a necessity year round– now I live in Western Michigan, and because of our proximity to Lake Michigan (and lots of winter cloud cover) our winters are regularly dreary, dark and long.  I really struggle with lack of sunlight.

Update on my previous product review:  I cannot say enough good things about the Verilux Happy Light –  AMAZING!   In just 2 weeks of using it I cut my total coffee consumption in 1/2 and caffeine dosage from full throttle “Farmer’s coffee” to decaf by using this amazing little light.  Sitting near it first thing in the morning helps reset your circadian rhythm & will help you sleep (instead of lying in bed making 3AM “to-do” lists like I used to). 

Caution:   Do NOT use at night, you will be up for 1/2 of it, oops. 

I started out small, at 7-10 mins. a day, and have worked my way up to 30 mins. daily.  If YOU also slog through the dark days of winter, give the HappyLight Compact ($40 on Amazon) a try.  The. Best. $40. Ever. Spent! 🙂

4 )  Long-time blog readers, family and friends know I enjoy technology and gadgets.  But after our son told me how their “Alexa” interjected into their conversation, more than once,  I firmly advised him  to “never buy me one.”  My cell phone does enough eavesdropping as it is.  This Meme is about right, ha!

5 )  And, as much as technology makes our lives easier, and sometimes even healthier, there’s always going to be something about a real book that draws me in … and so does this picture:

Your turn:

  •  Are you working to “tidy up?”
    • What method works for you?
  • Any cool new-to-you gadgets to share?
  • What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Happy Sunday!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lists in the face

I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted.  I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.

The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”

I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men.  I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers,  Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps.  And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.

Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more.    I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.

I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so.  I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere.  But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.

I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.

  • I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
  • I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
  • I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
  • I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
  • I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
  • I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
  • I never sleep on flights.
  • All windows and doors are locked  ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
  • On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
  • It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
  • I’m not thin anymore;  extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
  • I never use parking garages,  valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
  • I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
  • I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
  • At company functions I employ the Irish Good-bye – excuse myself and don’t come back.

Your turn:

  • Can you relate to this post?
  • How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
    • Any tips or thoughts to add?


“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”



Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Margins, people and porcupines

I stunned a co-worker when I explained how I’d rid myself of the rat.  See, after he was pushed out of left the company, he tried to get back in.  He tried, more than once, to exert whatever authority he’d once had to weasel his way back. He tried but he failed.

Listening intently my friend asked, “Well how did you do it? What did you say?”

I simply shared that I had been honest and direct with no wiggle room for misinterpretation: I told the rat I didn’t want a relationship. With him. Then. Silence.

“You what?” my friend asked. “You heard that right. That’s what I said.”

Of course, being the narcissist that he is, the rat turned the table on me and became the victim. That’s what Narcissists do.  Whatever. ~Yawn~.

You see, with certain people you cannot beat around the bush. As hard as may be to do you can’t be subtle. You will fail.  You have to spell things out c-l-e-a-r-l-y so there’s no room for Wiley Coyotes to belly crawl back in.

Using the margins analogy, I referenced the wired ruler books we all used to carry in grade school. The center part, where the lines are, is where our work, family and obligations live. The margins represent our free time, our weekends, where dreams live.  When my margins shrink I get very discerning about who takes up space there.

I used this example recently when someone recounted all of the past hurts another had caused her, over and over again. I heard the anguish in her voice, the frustration, the pain.  Now I don’t know about you but when I rehash past traumas I rarely feel better; often, I feel worse.   So I countered with how stepping away from toxic people has helped me heal. It didn’t change them, no, they’re as ornery as ever.  But being absent from their negativity has changed me.  It was in sharing my growth that I thought to give her this advice:

don't pet the porcupine

Now this little guy, Teddy Bear, is so cute eating (and commenting on) his treat. But I know better than to pet him.




Whose personality comes to mind as you read this?  How are your margins looking these days?   What would you like to make room for?

*Thanks to DM for the margins reference. Love it!


Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Random 5 Saturday- Radiators, Revolutions & True loves

Here we are at Saturday again and this week felt like four-in-one.

1.       Attended a meeting in an ancient City Hall recently and noticed steam radiators at the back. They took me back to grade 6 in our tiny prairie school.  That’s where we defrosted (homemade) wool mittens and, in a stroke of pure genius, my cousin and I convinced Mom and Aunt Irene to pack us grilled cheese sandwiches wrapped in foil. Why? About 30 minutes before noon you’d find those same foil packets set amongst the wet woolies and we’d guarantee ourselves ooey-gooey goodness for lunch.  I still remember the hissing and clanging sound those things made … and being cold most of the time.


2.       Went through a Starbucks drive-thru on my way back into town the other day. Now I don’t love Starbucks, as their coffee is a bit strong for me, and I’ve never adapted to their haughty sizing conventions. Venti-Grandayyyyy-whatever. I ordered a medium mild coffee with lots of cream and waited my turn in line. Well apparently we all waited too long because a gal behind me tooted her horn to get everyone going. Looking through the rear-view, I gave her what Mom always dubbed, “the look.” You know the look – you likely learned it from YOUR Mom. The look can turn someone into a pillar of salt. Anyways, confusing my acknowledgement for something else, she waved and offered what could politely be called a “hurry up” gesture.  Quietly and deliberately, I took my foot off the brake and put my car in park.  For a minute.  Or two. Maybe three? Who knows?  Just long enough to see her wave her hands and lose her you-know-what. Just long enough to send a message of, “Hey Honey, don’t mess with old(er) people.  Ta-wanda!”

 3.       Speaking of Tawanda, a bowling acquaintance told me I remind her of Kathy Bates in “Fried Green Tomatoes.”  I adore Kathy Bates but haven’t wrapped myself in Saran Wrap or hatched plans to smash some chick’s car in the parking lot … oh wait. See # 2. Ha!

I do love this movie!

I do love this movie!

4.        Next week oldest boy turns 30.  2 minutes ago he was this little.  Sniff, sniff.  He’ll always be my first true love.

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

5.       Yesterday marked 60 days grain-free.  60 days!  I’m feeling good, sleeping well, and no longer complain about aches & pains.  My skin’s happy, my clothes are looser, and I’ve found what works for me.  Social events are a challenge, travel can be as well, but you know what? I’m worth fighting for.  I’ve finally put myself on that d*mn to-do list I’ve carried around for 30 years.  Whoop!


What’s random in your world this week?  What revolutions have you inspired in your mind?  Did you have alternate uses for heating appliances as a kid?  What’s the last kind thing you did for yourself?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

5 for Friday ~ fudge, Christmas lists and hooligans

It’s Friday (whoo hoo!) and it’s random.  Here are 5 random happenings from my world this week:

1 Office potluck called for my first batch of fudge of the season — this one uses only 4 ingredients.  Ready?  a) 1 bag of chocolate chips (or peanut butter or butterscotch), b) 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, c) 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows (3 cups) and d) 1 1/2 cups of dry roasted peanuts (or walnuts).  Directions:  Melt chocolate chips and condensed milk in microwave – on high – for one minute. Stir.   Continue for 15 min 15 second intervals until fully melted (mine took 1 min + 15 sec).  Stir in marshmallows and peanuts and pour into well greased (9 x 13) pan. Pop into the fridge to set for 1 hour then cut.   Take to office or family gathering, stand back, and watch these babies disappear.

rocky road fudge

2 Bought my first Christmas present this week – for the monkeys.  They circled their “ideas” (translation = everything) last weekend.  From that came THE list.  The best part of this (free) exercise are their comments during the activity:  Littlest one asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I replied I just wanted all of us together: playing games, enjoying each others company, yummy food and having lots of fun. So she replied “so you just want us?” and I said “yep,  that’s what I really want.” Her reply, ” well put a bow on me, Nana, – here I am!” Kids!

grands and xmas list

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 Had my first touch of snow this week – last night – and more on the way today.  Last year at this time we had 30″ of the white stuff.  Not complaining … yet :).

it’s coming

4  You know those Hallmark holiday commercials with the cozy “normal” families? Yeah, that is so not us.  Here are our boys as we try to take a birthday picture at youngest kid’s birthday.   You can see why I don’t write Christmas newsletters … most of what they come up with is not fit for public consumption!  But I never laugh as hard as I do as when I am with them :D.

hooligans at bday

an Emjayandthem (C) photo

5 Heard a quote this week that bears repeating, “The only way any of us can grow to be older and wiser is if we’ve already been younger and stupider.”   Boy if that isn’t true!


The wise old own .. the big black crow .. flapping their wings singing go, birdie go …

What random happenings happened in your world this week?  Are your family shenanigans suitable for a Christmas letter?  Craving a little bite of fudge now?

** Thanks to my friend Diane H. who caught the 15 min error above – if you nuke your fudge for 15 min instead of seconds, your kitchen might be smoking! 🙂

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Holidays, Home, Love, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Seasons, Thoughts, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

R5F – Say Hey ~I love you

It’s Friday and time for 5 random thoughts ~ here we go:

1. Last night I stopped for groceries ahead of the weekend. Why? Those cute lil’ Cub Scouts who camp there on Saturdays, that’s why.  They’re adorable, irresistible and I am absolute putty in their hands. Yes, I dodged them and fully admit it.  Please forgive me.

popcorn_cub scouts

I don’t have a prayer against an army of cute.

2.  Have a couple of friends going through trying relationships of late.  It’s hard to witness because sometimes, as an “outsider,” you can see things the person “inside” cannot.  Doesn’t mean you can say anything though.

True that

True that!

3.  We’ve had cooler temps lately but loads and loads of sunshine.  I don’t know about you but the sun shining just makes everything happier, brighter … and better.

There's a photo opp every 20 feet!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

There’s a photo opp every 20 feet! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

4.  My cordless phone battery died.  You know the one that made us feel so “with it” cause we weren’t tethered anymore? Well here’s the kicker: no one sells cordless phone batteries now.  I can find a replacement online but .. is this a sign that people really have  dropped the land line?  I still have the (now-ancient) plug-in-the-phone-jack-and-work-without-batteries-phone.   When our power goes out and the cable/phone modem is kaput, it still works.  Hmm … perhaps the cordless phone is out and the land line remains!

Like this .. only beige.

Like this .. only beige.

5.  Heard this song in an airport recently and I’ve been playing it ever since.  Check out Michael Franti & Spearhead singing a happy Reggae-inspired “Say hey I love you.”


And how was your week? Dodged any cute kids lately?  Any relationship advice to share? How are the temps in your neck of the woods?  Do you still have a land line?  Are you digging any new tunes of late? Do tell!




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Random Five Friday – Facts

Random Five Friday is here again, even though I’ve only been back in town 2 days. Feels weird that it’s Friday but hey ~ I’ll take it.

Here we go!

1.  Attended a departmental conference with colleagues in Denver earlier this week. Unlike past meetings, where various experts and executives spoke at us for two days, this one was extremely interactive.  All of us completed the MBTI assessment ahead of time and we had one full day of breakouts to learn about each indicator before getting our results.   Now, I’ve taken this before, in fact it was this assessment, taken in a three-day conference, that prompted our move to Michigan.  Read more at When you know for sure.   Re the training, there were some who embraced it, some who quietly tolerated it, some who pooh-poohed it and others who rolled with it.  I’ll let you guess which one I was :).

2.  Landing in Denver and stepping outside was like walking into a furnace. Hot, billowing dry air and all-encompassing.  No humidity. None.   I felt my eyes crinkle to raisins and slugged down more water than ever.  My normally hair-that-shall-not-be-tamed decided to lie down in protest.   Weird.

3. I’ve mentioned before that our company is going through a lot of organizational and structural changes.   Tuesday night, I found myself in a deep conversation with a colleague, someone I don’t know well and rarely see, but someone I’ve long admired for his gentle dignity and the steady way he conducts himself.  We started chatting about the changes and something led me to ask about his situation, suspecting he’s not likely to have a job in a year. Shyly he told me a bit about other ventures he’s involved in and, as I listened, I watched as his face lit up. The more he talked about having more time with his wife and children, the more animated he became. I felt a nudge to tell him our story, about taking this same class so many years ago and how that exercise created a foundational shift change for us.   As I talked about our course correction, and being led by faith, I felt myself growing more animated, too.  We were soon called to dinner but not before he said, “You don’t know how much I needed to hear what you had to say, thank you.”

4. Re the personality types, my results were not a surprise to me:  ISTJ.  Here’s the description:

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!

I’m Joe Friday!

I did have several “aha’s” however – I understand now why my trip “home” was so exhausting. I’m a “situational extrovert” – I can chat it up with family or be on “stage” at a meeting, etc. but I cannot do so without a price. There are a lot of extroverts in my family and, after being with them a week, I lost my voice. Makes me understand why I crave my quiet Sundays at home. Ding! Ding! Ding!

The other important takeaway was the opportunity to understand the other types on my team and across our department.  There emerged some clear leaders and big-picture thinkers, the “do-ers” and the diplomats and so on.  The most profound affirmation was learning that the person I report to is my polar opposite: it’s no wonder we struggle communicating.  I come at a task with facts, strategy, and a plan; I crave order, quiet and structure. He shows up late, with no idea what’s coming at us or what’s needed to get it done, bucks the plan, laughs at to-do lists and thinks out-loud in a steady stream of consciousness.   Please pray for me.

5.  It’s good to be home where it’s 74F and 9,000% humidity.  Say what you want about higher temps, it feels hotter here!

And with that, I give you this door sign. Funny stuff.

funny stuff.

funny stuff.

Do you know your MBTI type? Does it ring true for you?  Happy Friday, peeps!


Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Useful Information, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Don’t be scared, make my Skyline Chili Dip instead

I know the drill. You’ve got an office potluck for “All Hallow’s Eve” tomorrow and you’ve got nothing exciting to bring. Nothing that makes you feel all Snazzaroonsky inside! Don’t you worry, Auntie MJ is here to save the day.

All you have to do is make up some of my Skyline Chili Dip and you, too, can be the company hero, who needs “Captain America” or “Superman!”

You can make this in layers and cook it in the oven for a weekend get-together OR dump it all into a crock pot and let ‘er rip for the office-mates.

It’s cheesy, it’s yummy, and it’s naughty – it’s everything an office potluck commands! And it beats anything Chain-Smoker-Carl’s bringing!

Ready?  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 blocks of cream cheese
  • Chopped green onion & peppers, however much you want
  • A can of Skyline Chili (or whatever kind you like)
  • Shredded cheese, about 1 1/2 cups

That’s it.

Here’s what you do:  layer the cream cheese, then the veggies, top with the chili and then the cheese – bake at 325 for 35 min —OR —  mix all together in a crock pot, take it to your office, plug it in under your desk, push away the inquiring souls who will want to know what that DARN fine smell is coming from your office and serve it with great flourish.  And tortilla chips.

That’s it. You’re welcome.

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And, when all the ghosts and goblins are long gone and leftover candies are tempting your waistline and thwarting your fitness goals, did you know there’s an organization that’s HAPPY to get your leftover (wrapped) candy?  And that any candy you donate is shipped to our wonderful military members all over the world? Yes there is.  Click here for more info!

Happy Halloween!  

Don’t be a Ghoul, consider supporting the American Red Cross and those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  For more info on how you can help, click here

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Life, Personal, Share, Uncategorized, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Four hundred children and a crop in the field

Poor Kenny; ole Lucille picked a fine time to leave him, didn’t she? Except for the fact that the song lyrics were actually, “four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

I remember riding my 5 speed along a dirt country road, my face in the wind, braids in my hair, and belting out all the popular hits of the time.  I loved to sing, and I still do, except that, most of the time I had the words … all wrong.


“There’s a Bathroom on the right”  oops .. it’s really “There’s a Bad moon on the rise…” (Bad Moon Rising, by Credence Clearwater Revival AKA CCR)

Who could forget “The girl with Colitis goes by..”  Um that’s the “Girl with kaleidoscope eyes,” from the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (later sang by Elton John.)

Speaking of … I remember crooning “Hold me closer, Tony Danza!” except that the words were actually,”Hold me closer Tiny Dancer” from Elton’s “Tiny Dancer.”  Oops.  Hey … who wouldn’t want Tony Danza to hold ’em closer? I’m

Tony Danza .. hubba hubba (image from Facebook)

just saying …

In hindsight, I committed many a “Mondegreen” (for more, click the link).

It doesn’t happen as often now .. but still I still feel a pinch of embarrassment when I realize that a song I love and have been singing along to ….I’ve been  singing with the wrong words all this time.  Somehow though, I am sure I’m not alone.

Here’s some vintage Kenny with the lyrics to back me up; an interesting side note, my parents took us to see Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in concert.  I think I was around 8 or 9.  I remember reading every detail in the programme, how much I enjoyed the concert  (“Something’s burning…and I think it’s LOVE..!”) and how handsome I thought he was .. for an “old” man.  Ha!

How about you?  Ever realized … 10, 20, 30 years AFTER the fact that the song you’ve been singing along to doesn’t exist as you sing it?  🙂

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Men, music, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Just veggin’

For about a month now, I’ve been making a concerted effort to consistently eat better. I’ve tried doubling up on my fruit (easy to do – I love fruit and there are a lot to choose from right now) and I’ve also tried to triple my vegetables.  Some days are better than others but – hey – that’s what intent is all about, right?

When I eat out regularly I can really feel the added salt taking effect.  Also, in a group setting, I can find myself at a lunch location that’s far from healthy. So .. I’ve started politely declining offers to “get out” and instead, have been bringing my lunch.  I usually leave my office and run a quick errand, then eat when I come back.  That allows me to break away from my work and I am rewarded with something tasty, colorful and delicious when I return: Win-Win!

I am gluten-sensitive (not intolerant …just sensitive. Think of me and gluten like certain relatives … we get along, but it’s really best we don’t see each too often).  To that end, I rarely eat bread, pasta, or anything containing flour.   So, for me, sandwiches and wraps are not something I can count on for lunch.   Leftovers stay in at home for the hubbs, who works out of the  house.  And salads?  I love salads but also get bored easily and … sometimes I just want to eat something warm & aromatic at lunch.

I’ve found a solution!

At the start of the week, I chop up the following (you can use whatever vegetables you want, these are just ones I like and know will hold up well).

  • 2 Yellow squash, chopped
  • 2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 red (or green) pepper, sliced into bite sized squares
  • 8-10 sliced mushrooms
  • A handful of fresh green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
  • A handful of “broco-slaw” (shredded broccoli, carrots & coleslaw, found in the salad section – yum)
  • Seasonings!  I like (salt-free) Mrs. Dash ( I like regular & onion ). You can also use cayenne, onion powder or flakes, fresh garlic or garlic powder.  Get jiggy with it!
  • A splash of low-sodium soya sauce
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

easy peasy veggie stir fry; an emjayandthem photo


Chop all vegetables and set aside.

Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan and, on medium heat, heat up the oil. You want the oil hot enough to “sizzle” when the veggies hit it but not so hot that there’s smoke.  (If the smoke alarm goes off .. it’s too hot.  Back that thing up!)

Gently pour your vegetables into the oil (no sudden moves or the oil will splash and burn you – done it, got the marks to prove it).

Turn the heat up to medium-high and, with 2 spoons, continually toss the veggies so that they start to cook.  Add your seasonings liberally now. Cook and continue tossing for ~5 -7 min tops (I like my vegetables to be a bit crunchy when I eat them).   If you don’t, just cook a little longer.  A good indicator?  The onions.  They will turn from milky white to nearly clear when cooked.

When you’re nearly ready to turn the heat off, pour a splash of low-sodium soya sauce over the mixture and toss to distribute.  Let mixture sit in the pan for a few minutes then eat or let cool and store in the refrigerator.

I love to eat this stir fry mixture with:

  • Grilled chicken or turkey
  • Grilled Salmon, tuna or mahi-mahi
  • I’ve even thrown a leftover burger in there…

You could add chopped tofu if you’re into that; I’m not, it’s a texture thing for me **shudder**.

And that’s it.  The combo of veggies easily makes 5-6 servings and keeps wonderfully (unlike pre cut lettuce that turns orange 5 minutes after the bag is opened .. ugh).  It’s handy to have on hand when I’m tired or get home later than planned; this is important to me because those are the moments temptations are likely to win.

Fixed any new dishes that you’re really enjoying? Please share! 

Categories: Blogging, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Life, Personal, Recipes, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Useful Information | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

*A Royal Schedule*

image from

Tomorrow’s the day: HRH Prince William of Wales will marry his beaming bride, Miss Catherine Middleton.

Earlier today, The Royal Couple released the following statement , “We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives. The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.”

Should you care to follow along, here’s what you need to know:  (source: multiple)

8.15 a.m. London time (12.15 a.m. PT/3.15 a.m. ET) – General congregation arrives at Westminster Abbey between 8.15 a.m. and 9.45 a.m.

9.50 a.m. London time (1.50 a.m. PT/4.50 a.m. ET) Distinguished guests arrive.

10.10 a.m. London time (2.10 a.m. PT/5.10 a.m. ET) Prince William and Prince Harryleave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.15 a.m.

10.20 a.m. London time (2.20 p.m. PT/5.20 p.m. ET) Carole Middleton and Kate’s younger brother James leave the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.27 a.m.

10.35 a.m. London time (2.35 a.m. PT/5.35 a.m. ET) The following members of the Royal family leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey: Princess Anne and Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.40 a.m.

10.38 a.m. London time (2.38 a.m. PT/5.38 a.m. ET) HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall leave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.42 a.m.

10.40 a.m. London time (2.40 a.m. PT/5.40 a.m. ET) Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey. 

10.48 a.m. London time (2.48 a.m. PT/5.48 a.m. ET) The bridesmaids and pages leave the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey. They arrive at the Abbey at 10.55 a.m.

10:51 a.m. London time (2:51 a.m. PT/5:51 a.m. ET) – Kate and her father Mike Middleton will depart the Goring Hotel via car, the first time since 1963 that a royal bride has not arrived at the church by horse-drawn carriage. Their car will travel along The Mall, passing by Clarence House, Whitehall, and Parliament Square before arriving at the Abbey. 🙂

11 a.m. London time (3 a.m. PT/6 a.m. ET) – The service begins at 11:00 a.m. While the Dean of Westminster will conduct the church service, William and Kate will actually be married by Rowan Douglas Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The marriage service will be relayed by audio speakers along the procession route. 🙂

12.15 p.m. London time (4.15 a.m. PT/7.15 a.m. ET) – Following the ceremony, Prince William and Princess Catherine, now husband and wife, will return to Buckingham Palace in a procession of horse-drawn carriages (with the newlyweds travellign in the 1902 State Landau carriage), passing by the thousands of well-wishers who will be lining the streets. 🙂

12.30 p.m. London time (4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET) – Once back at Buckingham Palace, the newlyweds enjoy a champagne reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen.

1.25 p.m. London time (5.25 a.m. PT/8.25 a.m. ET) – The Royal couple and their families will take a moment to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony. We expect that William and Kate will share a **kiss** for the crowds and cameras. 🙂

1.30 p.m. London time (5.30 a.m. PT/8.30 a.m. ET) – The royals watch a flypast by the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight before returning inside for the Queen’s reception.

7 p.m. London time (11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET) – Charles, The Prince of Wales will host a private dinner and dance, also at Buckingham Palace. 

     * I’ve marked with a 🙂 the points of the schedule I’ll be paying the most attention to …. and, with that,  I’m off to bed! MJ

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fashion, Fun, Joy, Life, Love, News, Relationships, Romance, Share, Useful Information | Tags: | 9 Comments

I got Chromed!!

image from

On the advice of a friend, I decided to update my internet browser from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome™.  More information on it here.   This was an easy decision for me as my internet homepage has been set to Google ™ for quite some time. I felt confident going forward and, consequently, didn’t do any research.  

Bad move.

At first glance, everything worked great. 

I liked the fact that Google Chrome™ didn’t just remember my browsing history; it displayed a page of little tiles showing where I’d been. All I’d need to do was click on a recent tile and –Bam- I was there.  Sweet! I could open multiple tiles at a time and alternate between them. 


The first sign of a problem was when I couldn’t finesse my way through the security settings and allow pop-ups I WANTED from trusted sites. I.E. my bank.  Hmmm. The second sign was the fact that our son suddenly couldn’t access the internet when logged in under his Windows Vista® profile.

It soon became painfully obvious that:

  1. I should have researched this new product and had a better understanding of  it before I downloaded it. (sigh)
  2. Google Chrome™ was indeed robust but it was persnickety and problematic for me.
  3. Somewhere along the way, an update from Microsoft Internet Explorer version 8 to 9 had tried to happen, and not happened correctly.

Being the techie that I am (insert sneer here; hey I’m fairly capable, but I’m also impatient and have been known to click & recycle at will), I thought, “This is easy – I’ll just uninstall it.”   🙂

Bad idea.

I uninstalled Google Chrome™ and subsequently had NO working internet browser.




This morning… around 3:00 a.m., as I lay in bed thinking of how to solve this, I admonished myself for not having researched the product in my usual thorough fashion. So, using the hubbs’ laptop, I “Googled” “Google Chrome uninstall problems” which produced  720,000 results.  Eek!

 I did find a solution though! (This is for Vista users)

Go to:

  • Start
  • Control Panel
  • Programs
  • Programs & Features
  • Installed updates
  • Find Internet Explorer 9 and remove it.
  • Restart.
  • System reverts to Internet Explorer 8.

 And everything works as it should now! 

 *Disclaimer: Google Chrome™ may be a great product but this user needs to do more research before taking another blind leap!

 Anyone else tried Google Chrome™? What’s your experience been like?

Categories: Blogging, Determination, Fun, Life, Opinion, Personal, Share, Technology, Uncategorized, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

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!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four 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.


Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another 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...