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Posts Tagged With: time off

Random 5 December ~ Traditions, time off and dogs

Hello again, friends.  It’s time for another Random 5  from my part of the blog-osphere. Ready? Here we go:

1)  Thursday morning, I woke with a start …. it was 4:04 a.m. and there I was, wide awake thinking about Christmas cards!  Ack, rolling over, I tried to resume my slumber.  No-can-do.  Muttering to myself that Hubbs never experiences such thoughts, I found my way to the kitchen and pressed the “brew” button on the coffee machine.

I used to enjoy writing Christmas cards, especially when the boys were little and I could include a picture or funny story about them. I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I can remember my parents’ delight when a Christmas card came in the mail. They were such a lovely alternative to newspapers, bills and other correspondence.  I recall the sparkles on my hands after reading updates from people I didn’t recall: Aunt so and so.  Cousin somebody.   Mom carefully taped the cards and put them up all around the kitchen window.  Red and green, silver and gold, shimmered in the light and brought festive to the room.  That she took the time to do so for each card suggested reverence to me.

There’s only a few family members left that I would normally mail a card to – this year, I’m calling instead.  And I think they’ll be just fine with a laugh and a chat and a “I miss you, too.”

2 )   Balance. As an adult I’ve struggled to balance between what I want (to do) for Christmas vs. what (I think) is expected of me.    Shopping is done, wrapping is not.  Some baking was accomplished …but also eaten (Hubbs!).

So what I’m working towards is making room for MY Christmas —  I relax and smile when the tree lights are on; reading or cooking near them makes me happy. There’s a peace I feel being able to pay the bills, have $ for gifts and a bit to put away, too.  There was a time I couldn’t do that, and I appreciate now that we can.  I look forward to time with the boys – card games, good foods, “knock knock” jokes with the grands, and days off with Hubbs.  No particular place to be.  No schedule. Reading more than a page or two at a time.  Knowing I can sleep in even though I won’t.  I’ll be up early, watching the snow fall, sipping coffee and reading your blogs.

My stack of reading is close to this size

 

3 ) 9 and 119 days left of work for THIS YEAR then 11 – count ’em – 11 glorious days off!  Time for a reset button.  I’m fortunate that I enjoy the work I do, but this year the challenge has been in being able to do it.  This has been a year of organizational change, steady movements, restructuring, people coming, people going, and that constant shift of the horizon has left me dizzy and needing a break.  And I plan to take it, no exceptions!

4 ) Shades of Frankie. Youngest boy got a dog, and memories of our beloved Frankie definitely influenced his choice.   Our Frankie as a Pup:

Frankie as a wee one

Ladies and gents, meet Sullivan, or “Sully” for short:

Sullivan (an Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

I haven’t met this furry little friend yet but I’m sure I’ll cry when I do.

5 ) We’re heading into the new year soon.  Can you believe it?   I haven’t thought about my goals and dreams for next year, but I’ll work on them over my time off.    A good friend is leaving our company next week; she hasn’t had time to think about what her “next” looks like.  I encouraged her to create a Vision Board.   I know she won’t, but it reminded me that I’m ready to.  

 

What traditions are worth continuing and which ones have you stopped? 

What gift are you giving yourself this Holiday Season? 

Wishing you peace at Christmas and always

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random Five Friday – Rats, Math and Boom-Shakalaka

It’s a random August Friday – humid but with a cooler Fall breeze wafting in.   Summer lingers but Autumn is coming, we can feel it.

Here are 5 randoms from my crazy world ~

1 ) Recently hit a milestone – I celebrated 2 years Rat-Free.   2 years!  In that time I’ve had 4 different bosses to report to — but, thankfully, none have been rats.  Some have been more challenging than others but none have belittled me, stolen my work/ideas or endeavored to make me feel less than.  To the contrary.  It’s lovely living in a rat-free lane.  And once you’ve lived/worked/endured rat behavior – 2 years can pass and your tail still twitches at the thought of the experience.

2 )  Back to school for the littlest ones soon – I am so happy to be past the helping-with-homework stage! Essays, speeches, science, geography and social studies – sure, no problem. Math- ugh, no and where’s Dad??

3)  Vacation a few weeks ago was just wonderful.  I had the first 3 days largely to myself ~ yes I had big plans to head to the big lake then I remembered a certain festival going on so I skipped the crowd.  Instead I went to the backyard ’70s style — a big sheet spread out with my beach chair centered on it, a jug of Iced tea, books, snacks and sunshine.  I read and read and relaxed and read some more.  Hours in the sunshine, taking breaks to refill my water/tea and then later, after a shower, back out to the patio to read some more.  3 books, 22 magazines, and peace to my soul.   When friends ask my take on a given movie, in my head this is what I see:

meh

4 )  Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by anger and division, chaos and hate.   I find myself, more and more, turning off the news and flipping back to simpler times:

5 ) And on a totally random note – this made me laugh out loud!   TGIF, peeps!

Care to share your randoms with me?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The idea

“Use it or lose it” they said.  I rolled over vacation time last year to this one and it’s timing out so .. with that .. I’m on vacation this week — and following the “no plan-plan.”

Purposeful nothingness.

Reading.

Sunshine.

Iced Tea.

Flip flops.

Farmer’s Market.

Pedicure.

Reading.

Phone chats with siblings and cousins.

Music.

Firing up the grill.

Shutting down the laptop.

Reading.

Naps.

A stretch of days with nothing to do and all day to do it.

You can get old pretty young if you don’t take care of yourself.

I’m feeling younger by the minute!  🙂

When’s the last time you checked out? Have you ever had a week of “purposeful nothingness?”

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Decisions, decisions

Ahh, Summer.

A day off and the chaise lounge awaits …

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles William Eliot

 

**What are you reading these days?  

 

Categories: Fun, Gratitude, Joy, Products I love, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 – Christmas Vacation awaits

It’s almost here! Christmas vacation – so close I can taste it but don’t dare spend time thinking about it for I know I’ll be lost in dreamland if I do.

Soon we’ll step away ~ the ache in my shoulders serves as constant reminder of the need for some down time.

Our boys and grands and daughter in law and girlfriend will be here Friday night – we’ll nosh on appetizers and home-made treats, play games and tell stories. We’ll pop Christmas crackers and open presents and for just a few hours my heart will feel like it could burst.

We downsized this year in more ways than one:  Yes a smaller house but now there’s smaller everything – Christmas Eve will be just Hubbs and me, youngest boy and his girl – a whole new experience yet cozy and I hope, delightful.  Christmas Day winds down to just us 2.  What a change – no more bed-head grands tumbling out wide-eyed and bushy tailed.  They will be back at some point but there’s other family to see and that’s OK, too.  Hubbs and I will linger over brunch and later watch a movie, we may doze in our chairs, who knows.

Just the topic of Christmas vacation elicits so many conversations between us; for growing up in two different countries we share many similar memories:  Late nights at Aunts/Uncles,  sledding with cousins, and dinner at Grandma’s  on Christmas day (1pm sharp!).  Then “lunch” at 4:00 with skating-sledding-sliding-snowmobiling- all that snow, to follow.  Days later – time off to enjoy our new things, figure out board games or learn new skills – wood burning, pottery sculpting or jewelry making kits – those were all the rage in the 70s even if our finished results were less than spectacular!

Random 5 – after a rambling – ready?

  • Assorted chocolates.  Remember being a kid and someone would bring a box of chocolates to the family party?  Sometimes the treats were good but often times not.   Hey what’s this? (( big bite )) Ewww — orange marmelade swirl! Gag, retch, blah. Or how about hey what’s this one? It looks promising, like maybe there are nuts and caramel inside …. Nope, foiled again.  Strawberry cream delight!  Glach!  What is this? Is this mayonnaise?  Toothpaste?    Flash forward 45 years ~ I was gifted a gourmet box of chocolates this week.  Where are they?  In the office lunchroom. Nope,  after all those years, I do believe “you never know what you’re gonna get.”  My office mates are happy and I’ll take a pass, thanks!
photo from couponsaver.org

no thanks

  • Yesterday I found myself awake in the middle of the night – too many things racing in my head. At 4:00 a.m. I got up and made a list, thinking that would help.  Wrong. At 4:30 a.m. I started the coffee and showered, and was at the office by 6:00.  Arriving in the dark I laughed out loud because 1) I had my security code with me but 2) not the outside door badge.  Sipping my coffee I decided to give the outer door a try – voila it opened.  Sometimes what made perfect sense at 4:00 a.m. doesn’t translate so well later.

hit-me

  • Last minute Larry’s.  This is a phrase I’ve coined for the co-workers who’ve had the same project or looming deadline as I have – we’ve had it for weeks but they always arrive skidding to the finish line expecting me and others to save them. Nope.  Out-of-office is going on and your boat is yours to save.   How’s that for Christmas spirit? Ha!
Amen said the choir! Google.images.com

Amen said the choir! Google.images.com

  • Leisurely reading – I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like.  Yes I’m going plant my face in a book and not come out until the coffee’s gone. I hope it’s howling, snowing and blowing all the while.  I hope while I’m tucked in there, sipping coffee and reading, relaxing and enjoying.   I hope. I hope. I hope.

book-magic

  • Pauses.  It’s important to pause.  Pause to give thanks, pause to savor Christmas memories in the making. Pause to listen to little ones.  Pause to hug the big ones. Pause for kitchen kisses.  Pause in traffic to let someone in.  Pause to shut the door, breathe, and turn it all off.  Pause to allow for wonder.  Pause to know good news is soon to come.

 

Merry Christmas to all! 

 

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Fun, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – Vacation, Naps, Plans and Cheer

It’s time for Random 5 Sunday on the first Sunday in December:

  • Thanksgiving week vacation:  I’ve never taken the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I’ve taken a day here and a day there. But never the whole week. And now, ladies & gents, I do believe I have a new tradition ~  whoop!

good-for-your-soul

  • Hallmark Channel Holiday movies.  While on vacation, I watched at least 5 Hallmark Holiday movies – sometimes I only caught the tail end or the beginning.  You have to admit, the plot is easy to predict most of the time – a beautiful young lass soured on love by a jerky boyfriend moves back to her home town only to bump into the world’s hottest handy-man while shopping for her daughter who it turns out only made 1 friend at school – the (widowed) hottie’s son … and in just a matter of weeks she finds the love of her life, saves a small town business, rescues kittens and puppies and all they live happily ever after, over hot chocolate in perfectly coordinated tartan jackets ~ sigh

hallmark-christmas-movies

  • Naps – glorious, wonderful, and life-redeeming.  Because we stayed on our “normal” schedule during our time off,  just 1 nap was enough. Somehow I kept up on my rest.   Went back to work wide-awake and refreshed.  And good thing, because I clocked 800+ miles last week alone!

kitten asleep

  • Travel plans ~  Sissy and I are planning a “sister’s” getaway – we’ll likely revisit Branson, MO for a week of visiting, shopping, visiting, shows and fun.  We’ve visited there once before, 10 years ago, when we took Mom for her 77th birthday.  What a great time we had – and such a relaxed and friendly place to be.   After our 3rd night Mom happily chirped, “You know, I’ve never stayed in a hotel this many nights and I’ve never gone out for every single meal!”  We were girlfriends on this trip you see, more than mother and daughters.  She loved the adventure and spoke of it many times with fondness.  I know she’d love that we’re planning to go back.
me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

me, mom & my sister in Branson, MO, 2007

  • Christmas Spirit:  I wasn’t really feeling any Christmas spirit heading into our Family Christmas party last night.  The hustle and bustle and holiday ho-ho-hos didn’t do it.  Lots of yummy foods, hugs and merriment didn’t do it.  No – it was capturing this picture – of wee cousins (with our grands in the mix) at the exact moment they all cheered “SANTA CLAUS” – that’s what did it.
xmas-party-2016-kiddos

Santa Claus!! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  ― Roy L. Smith

What randoms would you like to share?  Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Random, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Stress, horizons and pie

Vacation is on the horizon!

vacation next exitStarting Monday ~ 5 glorious days off with Thanksgiving tossed in for good measure.

Emails will pile up, phone calls will continue, conference calls will be scheduled even though others know I’m away.

“Take the time before you lose the days.”

I now have more vacation time “in the bank” than I have time to use.

Emails continue to come in, fast and furious, hundreds every day.

Calls, meetings, schedules.

Lately I feel like I’m scaling the Grand Canyon on a daily basis…. blindfolded.   I can feel the tension in my shoulders, which now approach my ears. I can feel stress in my heart rate when I lie down at night and can’t quieten my thoughts.

1,000+ miles in the past 10 days, 150 yesterday and another 400 tomorrow – and all the while project calls get scheduled and scheduled and scheduled. “Could you take the lead on this?”  “But you and your team know so much about X” “We want you on this task force…”  Flattering but ..my cup runneth over.

I hear my mother’s voice whispering in my year, “You can’t be everything to everyone, dear.”

My weariness reminds me to shut it down, shut it up and shut them out.

So – vacation is on the horizon … and there shall be pie!

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet, Boston Marriage

*Note: no pies were consumed in the writing of this post.  Pies shall be made for 1) Grandpa (apple), 2) oldest boy (blueberry) and 3) youngest boy (pumpkin).  Will I have any? Not likely. See, the joy is in the creating ~ the cutting, the simmering, the kneading of the dough, Al Green on the stereo and happiness in my kitchen.

Oh so true!

Oh so true!

 

*Are you taking some time off over the Thanksgiving Holiday? What are you looking forward to most?  Is there a pie in your future? 😀

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

A Flapper pie I baked in Mom’s kitchen ~ an Emjayandthem (C) photo

 

 

Categories: Determination, Food, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Random Five Friday

It’s Friday! It’s random! Let’s go ….!

1.  Our trees are have peaked and with the rain this week many have let go.  There are still beautiful scenes to behold and yesterday I noticed another favorite of fall – that rich  autumn smell. The fresh smell of wet leaves and plants letting go of their summer glory.  The fragrance that reminds us all what Mother Earth smells like and all that she gives us.

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

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

2.  I’ve taken the past 3 days off.  Why?  Because after leading an 8 1/2 month project while also covering another’s duties for 7 of those same months, I hit the wall. Everyone around me asked the same questions: what are you taking time off for? Where are you going? Are you going away? What are you going to do with all that time???? And my answer was the same: nothing. I’m not committing to anything. I’m going to rest, read, rest and read, in that order.  And I have.  I don’t feel the urge to “fill up” every spare minute with more to do.   You?

3.  Heard this morning of that a friend’s Dad passed away last night.  That’s the stage of life we’re in now-a-days.  Most of us have (mostly) grown children + aging parents and there’s a whole lot of both. Tomorrow I’ll make up some soup & other foods and have Hubbs drop it off to the family.   Good thing I am rested and had that time off ~ see how that works?

4. Tomorrow marks 4 years of blogging. 4 years!  In my very first post “Who’s the turkey” I wrote about things that I still write today – Mom, cooking, traditions, personal, relationships, joys, life lessons, and faith.   Some topics can stand the test of time.

5. And this last photo is for my blogging buddy Dianna who writes at “These Days of Mine.”   She has a pair of wild swans who visit their yard in S.E. Virginia and when I saw this picture I had to snag it for her.  Taken in my home province of Saskatchewan, Canada earlier this fall, I call this one “Seven Swans a  Swimming.”   Millions of birds are very happy to summer “up north” where the world’s wheat basket is located.   And yes, there are only 68 days till Christmas!

photo credit: Owen Lasseur

photo credit: Owen Lasseur

How’s your week been?  Do you ever take time off just to “be?”  Are you seeing migratory birds in your neck of the woods?

Categories: Animals, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

On house-building

“An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us.

We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter.

Think about your house.

Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

Build wisely:   It is the only life you will ever build.

Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”

Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.” – Unknown

A friend shared the words above with me recently.  Little did she know how much I needed to read them.  Serendipity, yes, I think we could say that.

And to that end, it’s time.

Time for an absence of schedule. Time for a little less obligation and a lot more recreation.

It’s time to say “no” to phones, socks, clocks and conference calls.

It’s time for shared glances, twirly skirts, golf dates and date nights.

Every summer, hubbs and I take a “time out” to do all the above …and this year?

It starts …. tomorrow!

 * * * You are the carpenter. Your life is the house. How are you building it? * * * 

"Choose the guy who ruins your lipstick, not the one who ruins your mascara." -Unknown.  Me & Hubbs, an emjayandthem photo

Me & Hubbs: we sure have fun together.  (C) an emjayandthem photo

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Men, Personal, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

on Racing

I read a quote last night that stuck with me:  “If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”

Wow, is that ever my life right now.

List-maker, do-er, chief domestic engineer.  Full-time staffer, Mom, wife, Nana, cousin, sister, friend.

The weekend was just here, right?

We had a full day Saturday so Sunday was my cook-a-bunch of stuff/get the laundry done/talk to my Mom and such kinda day … then came Monday, and it started all over again.

do-over-button-150x150

where is it?

Somewhere in there is room for me, right?

I think the reason that quote hits me so hard is that we just had 10 days off — 10 glorious days over Christmas to enjoy — 10 days we spent …  s i c k.

I’m glad we had the time off to rest … but those best laid plans of fireside chats and trying new restaurants and sleeping in … were replaced by extra blankets, Vicks  Vapo-rub and soup.

Now, we’re back in the trenches.  Back in the guts and the glory without the time off we worked all year to get.

*Sigh*

Anyone else need a “do over” button?

Categories: Animals, Faith, Friendship, Home, Life, Personal, Quotes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Time outs aren’t so bad after all

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” –Marthe Troly-Curtin

So, I’ve written about being stressed and as sick and tired as I am of feeling that way, I’m pretty sure you, dear readers, might be sick of hearing about it, too.

You see, sometimes, in the day-to-day race that is life, I can get so caught up on the merry-go-round that I no longer hear the music; all I can hear is noise. I can no longer see the intricate carvings of the horses or enjoy the lights because it all flies past me in the blur known as “get-it-done.”

When I stop feeling exhilarated and start feeling woozy, it’s time to stop the merry-go-round and get off.

image from MILive.com

And for that reason, I’ve taken two – count ‘em – two vacation days: tomorrow and Monday.  Call ’em mental health days, call ’em what you will – I’ve checked out.

I’ll make lists and I’ll ponder, I’ll putz and I’ll organize but … I’ll also sip coffee, catch up on your blogs, daydream and hang out with old dog. I’ll get in a run or two, I’ll accomplish a few things and ignore twice as much; I’ll dine with Hubbs and chat with the kids and maybe even sleep in … just a little. I’ll watch the World Series and chat on the phone with Mom and my cousin; I’ll cook and I’ll sing and I’ll visit with friends.  I’ll take four days to step away and be my very own battery charger.

And come Tuesday, when the Wurlitzer starts cranking out that old familiar tune, maybe I’ll smile the smile of the invigorated and not the one that’s frozen and spent.

Do you make it a point to put yourself in time out?

..::..

*for more info on Grand Rapids’ very own 1928 Spillman Carousel, 1 of only 3 to have been produced, click here

Categories: Growth, Home, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

It’s time

It’s time for Purposeful Nothingness.

An absence of schedule.  Lack of obligation. No particular place to be.

Naps.

No socks, clocks or conference calls in sight.

Toes will wrinkle from hours in the pool and books will give evidence of wee ones’ splashes.

Finches will fatten at the feeders and squirrels will squander the sprinklers.

It’s time for summer nights under the stars, talking, laughing, singing, living.

It’s time for shared glances, twirly skirts, golf dates and date nights.

Every year, hubbs and I take a week off to do all of  the above …and this year?

It starts this afternoon! 🙂

And I am THIS happy about it! (google.images.com)

# # #

Happy Independence Day!

God Bless America, my home sweet home!

Categories: Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Patriotic, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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