Monday, July 16, 2018

Catching Up: A July Life List

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. We were in Alaska last week for 8 days and before that I can't even tell you what happened.  That was then and this is now. WEATHER this week is sizzling at 105, 107, 101, 98, 96, and 95. I like it hot, thank you very much. MY FAVORITE MOMENTS FROM LAST WEEK are too many to recount but for my memory's sake I'm going to say the story my sister-in-law told that involved a dirty toilet seat is right up there. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to lose my breath. I also went on a horse trail ride (a first for me) and it was exhilarating. Such a great week.  WHAT'S RIGHT IN THE WORLD I'm home now. I love traveling but I am always so glad to get home. I have discovered that I am perfectly happy to be gone for 7 days but more than that is too long. This Alaska trip was 8 days. WHAT I'M RESISTING My eating went off the rails a bit on this vacation so I need to reel it in starting today. I'm just going to re-zoom. WHAT I'M THINKING Honestly, I am not looking forward to going back to work this morning and weeding through hundreds of emails and piles of paper. I'm tired. WHAT MY FUTURE HOLDS I have a couple of photo shoots this week. IF THIS IS MY LAST DAY ON EARTH I would have to say that I have squeezed a lot of fun out of the last couple of weeks. Yesterday was off the charts with the horse ride and then a hike through a small cave in Naches, Washington. I was overly tired by the end of the day but it was so worth it. There is no time like the present to do fun things. An old lady once told me the best advice ... don't put things off as one day your health will prevent you from doing them. Best advice ever. Enjoy your day and enjoy your life, wherever you are. (PHOTOS from Alaska trip) love, susan

Monday, June 18, 2018

Things I'd Do If I Had An Endless Bucket of Time: Part 1

I have a good friend who works in the trades which means she works when there is work and she sits it out when there isn't work. I think it would be hard to adjust to that life, for me, after working a steady 8 to 5, for 35+ years. Ever since I can remember, I've gotten up on Monday mornings with a sense of "oh crap, I wish I had had time to (fill in the blank)". She suffers from it too and then when she does have the long periods of time off, she is paralyzed with making decisions about what to do. I get her. I was thinking about it last night and this morning and decided to write a list of things I think about doing on Monday mornings when instead I'm getting ready for work. This list is a work in progress and I'll be adding to it as I think about it this week.
  • Clean the inside of my car (and his car)
  • More food prep ... fill the freezer with individual lunches
  • Pull weeds
  • Wash windows
  • Stop and pick up trash on my street
  • Brush my dogs more often
  • Make birthday cards for friends
  • Write a letter
  • Reorganize a cupboard
  • Visit a coffee shop I've never been to
  • Walk through the art gallery I've never visited in town where I have lived for 10 years
  • Go to Fred Meyer's and walk every isle and take the time to see what's there
  • Read a book from cover to cover in one sitting
  • Make a decent breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the hubs
  • Write
  • Invite a friend over for lunch
  • Go to the library
  • Walk around my neighborhood
What would you do if every day was Saturday? Maybe it already is for you ... how do you keep yourself busy? Is there a trick to it? Do you get up and shower right away and get ready for the day or do you ease into it? Do you keep a schedule or is everything random?  I'd love to hear from you!  love, susan

Closer to July than June: A Life List

Weather numbers this week are 79, 89, 93, 93, 92, and 91. Definitely something to look forward to. My favorite moments last week included seeing these two guys bending over a tractor. The only thing missing was a piece of grass for them to chew on. I love men. I love crusty old men with weathered faces and craggy voices and stained jeans. These two. Nice guys. My other favorite moment was brushing my friends' dog and leaving piles of undercoat on their lawn. There is something deeply satisfying about de-shedding dogs that cannot be explained. My dogs hate having it done to them. What's right in the world is that we spent a whole weekend without TV. You should try it sometime. What I'm resisting is being a total nag to my hubby. I have a big list of to-do's for him and he has his own resistance. This is and always has been a delicate matter in our marriage. What I'm thinking is that my friends' place out in Onalaska is the perfect refuge and I think it would be a great place to go by myself sometime for a retreat. I sat on their porch and stared out onto the lovely acreage, listening to the wind gently blow through the trees and thought 'what a lovely place to go and just write'. What the future holds is two rescue dog shoots this week, picnic lunch with a friend, dentist appointments, and a concert in the park on Thursday. If this is my last day on earth, I don't want to be remembered as a nag. So I'll use all my other skills I have tucked under my belt to light a fire under the hubby to do at least one thing on my honey-do list. I'll let you know how that turns out. (grins and sighs)   love, susan
Note: Ever since I turned 40, I've had this skewed way of looking at things. Up until I was one day past my 45th birthday, my thought was I was closer to 40 than 50. That's how it is when you don't have as much time to waste. Hence, the title of this post.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Another June Life List

Weather this week is looking better with the numbers at 76, 84, 84, 79, and 81! My Favorite Moments from Last Week Definitely would have to include the laughter at yesterday's birthday party in Portland. We drove over in the morning to celebrate our grandson's 15th birthday. It was a one day turnaround trip but so worth being a little tired this morning. When we all get together, there is guaranteed laughter. We needed it. Another memorable moment was when a work friend found out she got a promotion. What's Right in the World Well, let me tell you. Visiting with our grandkids yesterday was a confirmation that there are still good people in the world. Our oldest grandson is working a steady job. He is struggling a bit to find an apartment he and a roommate can afford together. This has caused him to seek out a better job. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? The other two kids are thriving in school and they wonderful human beings. It did my heart good to see them yesterday. What I'm Resisting I ate terrible yesterday. Really went of the tracks. But I'm resisting a defeatist attitude and I'm right back on track this morning. What I'm Thinking I don't really want to go to work this morning but I'm working on my attitude. Sometimes just saying that out loud is all I need to change the direction of my thinking. I had such a great weekend and I've got some fun things lined up this week for after work so I say ... let the week begin. What's On My Camera I didn't even drag my big camera to Portland yesterday. My cell does a fine job these days. Got lots of family photos yesterday. What My Future Holds This week I'm meeting with a new mother and her two week old baby to take some photos. I'm not great with baby pictures but I'm willing to try. I'm doing a little research on the internet for posing ideas. If This is My Last Day, Here is My Final Thought I would die a happy woman today. Seeing those kids yesterday was the highlight of 2018, so far.
Grandpa Gene, Blake, Grandpa Frank

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 2018: A Life List

Weather The numbers this week are 77, 80, 84, 89 and 87. I love it! Bring on the sunshine.
My Favorite Moment(s) from Last Week  I attended a birthday bbq for a one year old as a photographer but these people have become friends. I had taken photos of the grandparents with their great Dane a year ago. They invited me inside their home to see how they had enlarged the photos and had them framed. I felt such a sense of honor. Their Dane died a month ago and in a moment I felt the value in taking photos for others. This is exactly why I do it. I want people to have those memories forever. The other favorite moment was watching the 1 year sitting on the cute little 4 wheeler her uncle gave her for her birthday. The smile on her face said it all.
What's Right in the World I've run out of time to do much planting but some volunteer sunflowers are coming up and I'm thrilled to pieces. One is in a spot I wouldn't have thought to plant it but I'm all about random and I'm leaving it there. It's already 3 feet tall.
What I'm Resisting I've got a bad case of race brain.
What I'm Thinking Warning. A rant is about to ensue. We were talking with our neighbor kid across the street last night. He is graduating from high school this Friday. He is a miracle. His mom died about 5 years ago and we worried that he would not have enough support to make it. Quite the opposite happened. Even though he was held back a grade, this kid has excelled! Last year, he got a job at the local dry cleaner, working nights. He works 40 hours and managed to get A's and B's this year. Here's the rant. He broke his thumb sometime over the winter. It cost him $5,000 out of pocket for the surgery to repair it even though he has medical insurance through his work. I asked him why he wasn't on state insurance any longer and he said "because I work!"  Welcome to adulthood and shitty medical insurance. But this does have a happy ending ... that kid is nearly done paying off his medical bill. I'd say he's going to do just fine in life. His mom would be so proud of him.
What My Future Holds Tonight I'm going out to the country to get some rescue dog photos. Wednesday will be a walk with a friend. Friday night I'm helping a friend cut up veggies and prep for the graduation party we're attending on Saturday. Sunday we'll be taking a road trip to Portland to celebrate our grandson's birthday.
If This is My Last Day on Earth Gene, you need to clean up that anti-freeze under the truck. (this would be my last nag)
Hope you are having a fabulous day wherever you are. love, susan

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday Regrets

Sunday afternoon. It's been a great weekend. I packed a lot of events into it.  Today I had a nice conversation with my step daughter on the phone. We both suffer this awful dilemma of wanting to stay home to get some chores done to a nagging thought that summer is short and we should be out enjoying it ... chores can wait ... no, they can't ... yes, they can.
This weekend I wrote a short list of what I wanted to accomplish and what events I would be attending. For the most part, it went down how I thought it would. Still. I'm out of weekend and feeling like I could use just one more day off.
It's always been this way with me. In my adult life, I have had two summers off where I wasn't working at all. I was able to enjoy the time off but as soon as the end of summer was nearing, all I could think about was getting back to work. Kind of like a horse headed to the barn. That's how it is with me.
At the very least, I have food prepped for my lunches this week and clean clothes in the dryer. The bed hasn't been made yet. And, I didn't walk the dogs this morning. Oh, well.
So many things to do, so little time.
How do you deal with Sunday regrets?
love, susan

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why Fly When You Can Drive

This is going to be a quick post before I clock back in today. I am a little out of sorts since I was on vacation last week. I know I'm always saying this but it's true that my life is like hanging onto the end of a runaway train.

Last week, we left early on a Saturday morning for a long road trip to Yuma, Arizona. "Why Fly When You Can Drive" is our motto. It's only 1,209 miles one way. Two hard days of driving each way. We've done the trip so many times it really doesn't feel that long to us.

Dirty or stained? You be the judge.
The bed photos here are of the nightmare motel we stayed in Saturday (White Pines in Ely, Nevada) after driving 12 hours. Of the two, we decided to take the burned hole bed. I slept in my clothes and it wasn't great sleep. I ripped them on Trip Advisor. Problem is that there isn't any service out in the middle of Nevada so I wasn't able to check the ratings prior to stopping. Lesson learned.

That's a burn hole.
All in all, the trip was really pleasant and it was good to be on the road with the hubby. He's lost a lot steam this last year and I did a lot of the driving. I don't mind it though. It's pretty much a straight shot south from Boise to Yuma. Driving through Vegas is never fun. I like to just say I survived driving through that city.

The one thing I know for certain is that sometimes it takes a 2,400 round-trip drive to think about things that I don't seem to find time to deal with on a normal day.  Things as in you-can-read-about-it-in-my-diary-when-I'm-dead kind of things.

Do you love a good road trip?  love, susan

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Just One More

In a couple of days, it will be one year since the mother of my hubby's girls died. She left us on Mother's Day. For me, it was one of those experiences that I won't forget. Bittersweet. Heavy on the bitter. Sweet on the sweet. I think of her often and after writing to my stepdaughter this morning, I feel the need to write here.
Regrets are a funny thing. It sometimes takes me a while to figure out what my regrets are. Today I am regretting I didn't get know her just a little better. I knew a few things about her. She loved everything Elvis. She loved her cats. She loved politics. She loved to needle my hubs when we'd get together for family holidays. He was always a good sport about it but it was slightly uncomfortable for me. The things that drove her crazy about him are the same things that drive me crazy. I  can't help but laugh about that.
The sweet was that the Christmas before she died, I had gone out to the car with her to bring something into the house and we had a chance to have a few minutes alone. She asked me to watch over her family and I promised I would. She was the kind of woman I strive to be. The sweet came in her last 24 hours on earth when I was able to be there to help wash her body before she would slip into the arms of death. It had been a very hard week getting to death. Her last day was the very worst, not what we expected. The sweet came when I saw people show up to honor her life the following weekend. We laughed, we cried, we hugged. She would have loved that.
Just one more hug. Just one more time to hear her infectious laugh. That's what I'd wish for. I think of her often and hope she knew how much she was loved.
Today I will try to hug a little longer. Listen a little better. Slow down just a titch. That regret that I didn't know her better? I'll try a little harder with those around me. It's all I can do.
love, susan

Monday, May 7, 2018

Susan, the Volcano: A Life List

Weather This Week I like the numbers: 83, 87, 77, 72, 73, and 81 on Saturday. Yeah, man! My Favorite Moment(s) Last Week Last week seems so long ago. That happens when I have a great weekend. I received a text from a friend early Saturday who needed a photographer to take pics of her son and his girlfriend before prom. I said yes, and we had a ball. There's nothing easier than taking photos of beautiful people. The hubs and I went to a horse clinic (training) yesterday at a friend's place out in the country. It was a lot of fun and I got some fantastic (IMHO) shots. I also removed many items from various closets and 86'd them forever. I can see the floor of my closet for the first time in 10 years. Never again will I allow crap to creep in. I'm done with living that way. I hate clutter. What's Right in the World I woke up not so angry today. I've been in a funk all week, which was not sitting right with me. Morning pages (journaling) today nailed it. I'm not willing to stay in the battle of wills any longer. What that means is I have a right to live in a space that doesn't make me feel insane. What I'm Resisting Food struggles seeped in a bit with that taco crawl last week and week before. Not horrible but I am back on the horse again and feeling good about it. I have an annual physical tomorrow and looking forward to getting my blood work done. What I'm Thinking Road trip soon. We haven't been on one in a very long time and I am so ready to do it. This week I have the added bonus of driving 4 hours to the west side for training on Wednesday and over night. Thursday is going to be a long day. I'm up to it though. What the Future Holds Time will tell. If This is My Last Day on Earth I hope my last words are not bitter ones. I've been angry for the last week and I never feel proud of myself when I succumb to it. I am a self-described volcano and I blew last week. Letting off a little steam shouldn't hurt so much. Forgive me if you were in my path.
love, susan

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Moments of Clarity: That Moment in Nashville and Many Others

That moment in Nashville I talked about in my bullet points yesterday ... yeah about that. I have had a few moments of clarity in my life and Nashville was one of them. My friend and I were laying around after a day of playing tourist, just talking and catching up with each other. I don't know what led to me saying it out loud but I told her I was tired of carrying around this extra bag of groceries in my gut. I was so uncomfortable all the time. I tried concealing my weight gain over the years by always wearing layered clothing, as if that could hide it. Ugh. Anyone who has extra weight knows what I'm talking about. It was hard to admit. She listened. She didn't tell me what I needed to do. She told me what she did to shed some pounds. She shared her experience.
I've had many other moments of clarity. Sometimes I chose to ignore them. Like the time I married someone, ignoring the nagging voice in my mind that it was the hugest mistake I was about to ever make. Yes, I did that. Or, the time I agreed to be the designated driver and ended up drinking and driving my friends home. So dumb. Oh, here's a good one. Once when I was a teen, I stuck my finger in the beaters of a hand mixer because I wanted to know what would happen. My mom was horrified and I was immediately sorry I had done it because I wasn't sure how to get my finger out of the beater. I can here her voice saying, Sue, what were you thinking?, to which I replied, "I just wanted to know what would happen." I have the slightest scar on my finger from that decision  all these years later to remind me to not be so impulsive. Luckily, I escaped those bad decisions. The clarity of the moments remain.
I haven't stuck my hand in a beater since then. Bad decisions have still been made. I have a mind that never shuts off. I've learned to stop making snap decisions. I sleep on good ideas for a long time these days. I don't share a lot of my ideas with others because I don't necessarily want to hear their opinion. I hold out for hearing experience. Your experience matters to me.
Tomorrow perhaps I'll write about some good decisions I've made.
Have you had moments of clarity? Tell me about them!
love, susan

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

One Year: I Am Free

I only have 10 minutes to write this post before I have to get in the shower so I'm going to make a bullet point post. Today is my one year anniversary of making a decision to change my eating plan. I wrote some notes about this journey that I'll leave here to maybe explore in further posts.
  • That moment in Nashville when I admitted to my friend that I was miserable in my own skin
  • Bought the book "Bright Line Eating" by Susan Pierce Thompson, PhD.
  • Read the book
  • Made a decision to try this program for 30 days
  • Cleaned out my fridge and cupboards
  • Bought fresh food to make a clean start
  • Started my journey on May 1, 2017
  • In July I saw the movie "What the Health" and decided to go plant based
  • Learned that food is fuel, not entertainment, not a drug
  • Sugar craving disappeared after the first 48 hours
  • Journaled every day including my food plan for the day, made my bed, read something uplifting
  • Didn't freak out, learned that I won't starve to death
  • Have replaced cow's milk with almond milk and canned coconut milk for coffee
  • Tried new things like tofu in my pho (Thai noodle soup)
  • Eat two apples every day
  • Plan ahead when I travel
  • Doctor took "obese" off my medical chart
I'm down 30 lbs. and struggling to get the last 15 off. I've decided to read the book again and make a new 30 day commitment to follow the bright lines that I know works for me.
I am free from the constant craving for sugar. I never thought it would happen. During one episode of a relapse, I had one little old chocolate covered cherry at a potluck we attended which led to eight more going in my pie hole. Screw that. It was a hard lesson to relearn something I already know. I cannot successfully eat sugar in any form without it flipping on a switch in my brain.
May 1, 2018 is going to be a good day!
love, susan

Catching Up: A July Life List

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. We were in Alaska last week for 8 days and before that I can't even tell you what happened.  T...