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Writing

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

Summer Days & Sully’s book

We’re nearing the end of our July vacation ~  and it always amazes me how quickly vacation flies by!

Ahh the lazy days of summer.  It’s hot, sticky and sunny.  Even with my 70SPF I have a warm tan with tan lines where my flip flops go and tank tops end.  As when I look back at all we’ve accomplished and had going these past 2 weeks it’s no wonder we’re both moving a little slow this weekend.

  • I arrived home on a Friday after attending a 3 day corporate conference
  • Had new window treatments installed (involved moving furniture/etc out of the way and back again)
  • Played in a couples golf scramble
    • all in the same day 😀
      • what was I thinking?
      • Say yes and you’ll figure it out later
  • Picked my sister up from the plane and, for a week, stayed up late and got up early, still talking
  • Visited the big lake (Lake Michigan) 2 x  + Won and lost money at the Casino
  • Cried watching “Toy Story 4” and “The Mustang”
  • laughed at all the same places in “Bridesmaids”
  • Reveled in the ability to sit across the table from each other, laughing until we choked while finishing each others sentences
  • Skipped breakfast & enjoyed watermelon and cherries for lunch
  • Savored pots of coffee & tea out on the patio with sister, Sully and Hubbs … plus a cold beer or two, too

Mornings with Sully, an Emjayandthem (C) Photo

  • Up and outside early and to bed when tired with no alarm clocks – WHEE!
  • Celebrated the 4th with amazing fireworks, dancing fireflies and neighbors
  • Decorated the hall for the kid’s wedding and hosted the rehearsal dinner, ordered the limo, catering, bar, DJ and more plus managed the details!
  • Helped him get ready on his big day
    • Cried with Hubbs and my sister at ^^ above
      • Smiled at his smile when he saw her
      • Cried again
  • Witnessed their vows, celebrated by dancing with our boys, my sister, hubbs and friends.
  • Polka’d till I lost my breath and then went out and did  it again 🙂
  • Cleaned up the hall and tumbled into bed
  • Got up early  & hosted a gift opening
  • Languished in the hot tub
  • Cared for, slept with and supervised grand-dog Sully ~ who is adorable and hilarious but a bit like having a 70lb toddler

Today I cooked up brunch, did some catalogue perusing and online shopping but still haven’t started on my books, there’s been no time.   …. but I think I’ll take a page out of Sully’s book and go enjoy a nap in the a/c.

Sully nap, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

What are you up to today? Take any naps lately?  

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Opinion, Patriotic, Personal, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 *Vacation* Friday

It’s Friday, the last Friday of October (what??) so it’s probably time for 5 randoms from my world.

1)  Recently my job took me to Charlotte, N.C.; before my conference began I made time to visit the Billy Graham Library – the library sits on beautiful grounds.  I found the opportunity to review his life’s work inspiring.  When a volunteer offered to pray for me at the end of the tour I felt myself overcome with emotion ~ while the conference was eventful, that visit, and her prayers, were life-affirming.

  • “I have never known a man who received Christ and ever regretted it.” – Billy Graham

2 )  Last Tuesday I turned on the out-of-office messages, walked away and managed to stay offline for over a week.  It helped that I was visiting on family farms with 1 cell bar and limited broadband.    Disconnecting  so as to reconnect … ahh.

3 )  The November Primary is fast approaching ~ between Robocalls, political ads and door stuffers, we’re bombarded with information.  Last night, the phone rang as the doorbell chimed ~ I answered the door to find two young and cheerful volunteers stumping for a Congressional candidate.  Neither could answer my questions about the candidate’s position on various issues but the handout they gave me was a glossy full-color job.   Maybe it’s me but if I were knocking on doors for someone I’d make sure I knew what they stood for.

  • Stand your ground; it’s sacred.

4 )  On vacation I went to bed late, got up early, walked a lot, talked more and enjoyed some pie.  No regrets.

  • “Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet

5 ) Visiting my childhood home again something jumped out at me: the moon.  That big Harvest Moon.  And not just the brightness but the nearness of it.

Taken in the valley south of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Photo by Jeff Wizniak

  • Three things cannot be long hidden:  the sun, the moon and the truth. -Buddha

 * * * * * * * * *

I’m on vacation still and was wide awake at 5:30 this morning ~  Coffee up!

So, what’s new in your world?

 

Categories: Blogging, Elections, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Summer just opens the door and lets you out

It’s summer ~ we’re in the throes of the season now, temps hovering in the 90s with the % of humidity matching.

In no particular order are just some of the summer delights we’ve been savoring:

  • Morning coffees on the patio
  • Fireflies fluttering at dusk
  • Strawberries, corn-on-the-cob and 7-Layer Salad
  • Anything grilled  ~ steak, chicken, shrimp and more
  • Hubbs golfing later and me reading later, all to summer’s golden light
  • A soft serve ice-cream, half chocolate & half vanilla, with half of it running down your arm
  • Stray cat visits
  • Kids playing in the sprinkler and Yellow finches mining my flowers
  • Couples walking together and dogs walking owners
  • The joy of a new book and the laziness of summer magazines
  • The smell of fresh limes on my fingers after squeezing into a margarita, the kiss of summer on my shoulders and the tangle of  beach waves in my hair

  + + + + + + +

“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.” -Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart 

Sunset on Lake Michigan

What have you indulged in this summer? 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Monday ~ Bourdain, Beaches and Ducks

It’s Monday and it’s time for some random thoughts from the ever-swirling mind of yours truly.  Ready?  No.  Well get set, let’s go!

1 ) Still reeling over the loss of Anthony Bourdain.   I’m not even a foodie.  And I wanted to be one … watching him.  I wanted to walk into his kitchen, sit at his table,  have him flirt outrageously with me, tell a clever joke and have him lean in for the punch line.   Young, middle-aged, older – there was something about him that drew us in.   And kept us there.  This blogger sums up our loss beautifully – https://atypical60.com/2018/06/09/the-anthony-bourdain-i-knew/    #LOSS.

I hope he has peace now. 😦

2 ) Last week I took a couple of days off ~ I was, once again, up against the deadline.  Time to use vacation days.  Darn.   Thursday I packed tea, sunblock, my books and a beach chair and drove myself to Lake Michigan.  A place where stress does not thrive.  I read for hours, enjoyed other people’s children, watched a wedding, dug my toes in the sand and came home with beach hair & freckles.  And yes, I aim to repeat this many times over the summer.  #SUMMERGOALS.

~~~ ahhh ~~~
An Emjayandthem(C) Photo

3 )  The days are longer now that summer is officially here.  Celebrating my birthday I reflected on changes.  Much much stays the same ~ the work load, schedule, and expectations.  But I’ve changed – I’m a bit easier on myself than I used to be.   I’ve said “no” to others so I can say “yes” to me. I’ve slowed down. I’ve leaned in.   I’ve savored.  There’s a shift and I like it.  #SELF-CARE

4 )  Something I’ve realized – getting older – is that I’m a lot like Mom:  I don’t mind time alone, I crave it.  I get a little bit cranky with too many people and too much noise.   Yes I enjoy good conversation, music and such but I can – and will – easily spend days by myself.    A few nights back I imagined taking a week off and never leaving the house.   I found myself day-dreaming of how that would go:

  • Sleep
  • Read
  • Putter outside
  • Read
  • Write
  • Chat on the phone / visit with Hubbs
  • Sing/dance to music
  • Read
  • Putter outside
  • Read
  • Exercise/stretch
  • Sleep

I even had a fantasy food list ready.  It came to me immediately and goes something like this:

  • Strong coffee with cream
  • Grilled anything & Fresh veggies
  • Strawberries and watermelon
  • Iced Tea
  • Bacon & eggs
  • Fajitas
  • Avocados
  • Chinese Coleslaw
  • Margaritas and Fresh Limes

I realized that this exercise was really me manifesting my summer “wish list.”  Yep, time to book more days off.  #SUMMERGOALS

5 ) Saw two ducks on my walk earlier tonight … made me think of this:

#CORNYJOKESMAKEMELAUGH

 

~~~~~~~

Your turn:

  • Did a celebrity death ever leave you reeling?  (recent or not)
  • Are you making a summer wish list, too?
  • Got any bread?

 

 

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Food, Grief, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Libraries in Summer

The air is thick and hazy, humidity hanging like a curtain.

I reach into my bag of treasures, make a selection and smile sinking into the coolness of my leather chair.

Air-conditioning blowing, too hot and muggy to be outside.

Darn.

So much to do, no desire to do it.

Darn.

Summertime books are calling.

I’m diving right in … you?

“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don’t, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.”
― Polly Horvath, My One Hundred Adventures

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Spring, Weddings and Anniversaries

Good morning and Happy Sunday to you!   Time for 5 Randoms from my world.  Ready?  Let’s go.

1 )   Spring.  I’d been away from the office for several weeks, returning last week to a stacks of mail and Spring  outside my window.   After (what felt like) a 10 month winter, Spring seems even brighter this year. And overdue.  Yes, it rained all weekend, but the rain washed away the pollen and, for the first time in a week, my eyes no longer feel gummy.    Farmer’s daughters have a hard time wishing away rain anyways.

**Hello Spring! **

2 )  Travel ~ as fun and adventurous as it was to be away ~ including staying an extra night because of flight delays (in a hotel, not the airport, yay), it’s wonderful to come home again.  With 3 days in the office last week and 1 more tomorrow, I’m nearly caught up.  On Tuesday I’m off again for a couple of nights and back home in time to slide into the long weekend.   This is the kind of travel I love~ by car, with stops along the way, the schedule is (mostly) all mine, structured enough to accomplish my objectives but with enough free time to take in the sights.  I’ll be winding my way north along the shores of Lake Michigan and back again.   And I won’t miss my desk one bit.

**Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.**

3 ) Companions– While visiting city officials and town halls I’ll have Dad with me.   See Dad, in addition to being a full-time farmer,  served his local Rural Municipality (R.M.) as a Councilor for 30+ years and this girl went with him much of the time.  I’d straighten the paperwork and make sure the coffee pot was full, watch how he listened, interacted, and worked the issues.  I learned from him how to relax and stand confident in what I know.   Although my present day role is much different from his, there’s much of what he did that comes with me.  And I still  experience a child-like wonder as I walk into a century-old City Hall, seeing the grooves in the floor from so many before me, smelling furniture polish and the must that exists in those cavernous old rooms.     I can easily spot the radiators still hugging the walls and, before long, enjoy a relaxed camaraderie with present day staff.

**A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.**

4 )  Anniversary –  This week marks 10 years as a U.S. Citizen.    10 years! Yes, 10 years ago I raised my right hand and, with 78 others (from 34 countries) took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America and stepped forward as a new American. It signified the end of one journey and the beginning of another.   It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.  (more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen. Why?  Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

That’s me, holding the flag, during my swearing in ceremony; An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.”

 

3) The Royal Wedding – Unlike past events, I didn’t set my alarm, instead I set the DVR.  Snoozing till 8:00 I hopped up out of bed, poured a large cup of coffee, and turned on the TV.   For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the same interest in this wedding as I did for Diana and Charles in 1981 or William and Kate in 2011.   Maybe I was still trying to learn about the gal who’d bedazzled a Prince and, let’s be honest, some of the attraction was the hot mess certain members of her family had been, too.    The day was dazzling, the sky glorious, the hats large and the dress fancy.   Having the DVR recording allowed me to fast-forward through the speculative coverage by “new” Royal experts and get to the good stuff.  Yes, I cried when I saw the two brothers walking so confidently together.   I giggled at the cuteness of the little page boys and flower girls.   I teared up watching Prince Charles join her on her lone walk in, when the two of them said their vows, shared a kiss, and hopped into the Carriage to be swept off to their future.   I’ve cried at this and every wedding I’ve ever witnessed.  This was no different: in the end, it’s all about love.  I wish them well.

image from Delish.com

**All you need is love … ** -Paul McCartney

So, how was your week?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Love, News, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Relationships, Thoughts, Traditions, Travel, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Sunday ~ Hoarders, Deals and Stupid Ideas

It’s Sunday morning, the sun’s shining and we might * gasp * actually be seeing Spring today. I know, I know, we’re holding our breath because we woke up to snow Thursday.

To that end, it’s time again for 5 random thoughts, this time on a Sunday.

Ready?  Here we go:

1 ) Hoarders.  If I’m ever featured on an episode of Hoarders I’m blaming the books.   I’m not a shopper, hate the mall, and despise trying on clothes.  But click here to add one more book to my Amazon cart?  Oh, just one more nets me free shipping?  I’m in!   Many books have been devoured this past winter but this one is, hands down, my favorite:

2 ) Weekends.  A good part of the weekend is spent doing whatever I want to.  In the overly-scheduled world that is my work week, my soul craves an opportunity to goof off, waste time and accomplish absolutely nothing at all.  And I do.

“A mind preoccupied with planning plays homage to the idol of control.” – Sarah Young

3)  Stupid Ideas.  In my job I try to remain open to new ideas and different approaches.  But some ideas are simply stupid.  And stupid ideas are made stupider when brought up by those who should know better.  Except they don’t.  And, the older I get, the harder it is for me to stifle the snort a stupid idea commands. I’m working on it but let me just say, “Thank you, God, for the mute button!”  Snort Snort!

4 ) Deals  ~ about a month ago I was down with the flu – something positive that came out of that delirium was, in the midst of sleeping through watching morning T.V. shows, I learned of a cool site called MorningSave. Kind of like a buying group it’s a collection of all the “deals” featured on morning shows like “The Wendy Show,” the “Steve Harvey Show,” etc.   There are plenty of “deals & steals” on there, much of it is electronics (Bluetooth speakers, fitness gadgets, home security, portable phone chargers, etc),  fashion (handbags, jewelry), and personal items (watches, hair gadgets, skin care, teeth whiteners, etc) but here’s the skinny ~ most items are more than 65% off.    🙂

No chickens were harmed in this post

5 ) Saying Yes. I’ve written about the power of saying Yes.   And about how “no” is a sentence.   I’ve said “no” a lot over the past years.  Doing so has made room for Yes’s but I haven’t always said it.   I’ve enjoyed some time and some space without anyone in it.   Lately, I’ve started saying yes again — to things that challenge me – speaking opportunities, serving on advisory panels, putting myself out there to alleviate the boredom that comes with a little too much routine.  This has been soul-invigorating.  I’m not sky-diving or cliff jumping anytime soon, but pushing myself to say “yes” to opportunities that freak me out a little has brought something rewarding:  personal growth.

How about you? If you were featured on “Hoarders” what would it be for?  How do you like to waste time?  Heard any stupid ideas lately?   Got any new “finds” to share?  And lastly, what have you said “yes” to lately?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Products I love, Relationships, Seasons, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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?
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: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Family, Flea Markets and Pie

It’s Sunday and I was up early with the sunshine, sipping coffee, packing for my week ahead and thinking it’s about time for 5 Random Ramblings from my world.   Pour some coffee and join me, will ya?

1 )   A Family brunch yesterday had a host of familial layers all at the same table: Uncles and Aunts, Cousins and kids, Step-in-laws, son’s girlfriend and me.    Uncle Ron sat next to Hubbs who sat next to cousin Johnny who sat next to me.  Facing them was youngest boy, his girlfriend, an Auntie, Grandpa, a cousin and another Auntie ~ I nodded my head to the youngest ones to get them to look ~ and they caught it — all of the guys, various ages but similar in looks, structure, and all folding their arms up high on their chests, head tilted just so to listen to the  story being told.   The story-telling was being done by another cousin,  directly across from them, whose arms were no longer folded. Like them, when talking, his arms and hands were wide open and out as he drove home the point of the story, “and then they brought ME the mailbox they’d ran over like I’m supposed to go back and fix it!”  Laughter filled the restaurant and diners nearby looked our way, mostly with understanding, one with annoyance but many with longing.  Family.  It’s big and it’s noisy and it’s wonderful. Gotta love it!

2 )  Fall is here and glorious ~ colors are magnificent, the sky is blue and deep and wide and the air is dry and crisp.  It won’t last, I know.  But windows are open, supper is in the crock-pot and I’m loving every minute of it. Fall is my favorite season and I wish it could stay just a little longer …

Many scenes like this one right now google.images.com

3 ) With Fall’s arrival comes the start of indoor trade shows ~ I remember going as a girl with Mom & Dad.  This is shopping I love — wandering around from item to item, chatting with people and trying new things.  The shows we attended were Agriculturally focused with cattle breeders, farm implements and a host of novelty items targeted to the wives and kids accompanying said farmer  ~  the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadget,  smoked meats, candles, jewelry, make-up, toys, knives, you name it.  One such event rolled into town this weekend and a friend and I decided to go — and yes we saw the latest & greatest “as seen on TV” gadgets, sampled smoked meats, smelled the candles, laughed at the toys and books and “man-cave” items and more.   The usual suspects were there ~ selling Cinnamon almonds, home-baked goods, and of course, knives.   I came home with jewelry, Avon hand lotion, a pie and some herb-flavored butter.   Fun!

Like this but with 20x the people ~ Shipshewana on the Road

4 ) Traveling this week to a corporate conference ~ I’m looking forward to seeing my colleagues again.  I’m sure to learn a few things and I’ll do my best to avoid snakes (lipstick can’t cover fangs).  Over my working career, I’ve dealt with my fair share of Rats and Snakes and there’s always been a part of me that wants to ask this question, even though another part of me already knows the answer:

“Were you always such a snake,” the child asked, “or did you grow into what you are?”
― Dean Koontz, Odd Apocalypse

5 )  At the Flea Market yesterday I bought my friend and I each a sweet potato pie.  “Uncle Calvin” was selling them and promised the pies were his “Momma’s” recipe. That’s enough for me.

Before anyone freaks out about my non-sweets craving self enjoying a pie, I’ll share some perspective:

“The” pie .. next to my hand 🙂

Yep, I’ll scoop out the contents, skip the crust and enjoy every morsel.  It’s a taste and that’s enough for me.

So what’s new in your world? Had any pie lately?

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Mom, News, Personal, Products I love, Thoughts, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 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

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just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

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Just another WordPress.com weblog

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some thoughts along the way

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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.

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