Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Stop Trying

Every year around this time I start thinking ahead about the New Year and things I'd like to accomplish. Somebody told me or I read it somewhere that to make a defined resolution is a set up for failure. For instance, if I made a resolution to drink 8 glasses of water every day, the fact is I will fail. So I started making my resolution list to look like this:

Drink more water.
Read more.
Waste less.
I think you get my drift. I've noticed since I started making my resolutions differently, it seems like the same ones end up on my list and it feels more like a re-commitment to doing those things that I'd like to have happen.  I still want to drink more water. Some days I go all day and a plain glass of water never touches my lips. Other days, I do okay. I resolve to never stop trying.
A couple of my resolutions from years past are still on that list in my mind. Maybe I should type them out and place them on the fridge for a reminder:

Recycle everything I can.
Waste nothing.
Buy used.
Buy less.
Use what I have.
Drink more water.
Treadmill more often.
Quit using the word "hate".
Do one thing to make a difference.
Don't stop trying.

What's on your resolution list this year?

love, suan

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking Ahead

 2012

It's almost time to make New Year's resolutions.  I don't know if I want to really resolve to do too many things in the new year but here's a list of things I'd like to give a shot:

Drink more water.  
Learn to play guitar.  (still need to buy one)
Take "Missy" to at least one doggie class.
Go to a silent retreat.
Take more photos.
Write better blog posts.
Spend more time on the treadmill. (note how this did not make it to the top of the list)
Read more.
Visit Michigan.

Totally do-able!!

What's on your resolution list?

love, susan

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Spotted this rabbit on a day trip to McNary Bird Refuge.

A Year in Review

One of my favorite blogs, The Art of Non-Conformity, is written by a guy who lives in Portland, Oregon. He's a world traveler, author, changer of attitudes, and I'll bet just a really swell human being. He does an annual review of his year on his blog using the following questions:
What went well in 2011?
What did not go well in 2011?
I thought about 2011 today and quite frankly I couldn't come up with anything that did not go well. Really. It was a banner year for me. I hope it's okay to say that. Do you think I should knock on wood right now? Is it bad karma to talk about how great your life is? I don't think so.  I hope it isn't.  Is it?

It started with a one-week fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants trip to Phoenix in February. We had been tossing around the notion that maybe we should get in on some really dirt-cheap housing prices there and so drove through the worst snow storm in Nevada, with only street tires, to get there. About 3 hours into driving around Phoenix, we looked at each other and said, "what are we thinking???"  We cannot leave the green trees for a concrete jungle. That's how it is with us. We just knew. But we had to get it out of our system.  No bueno.  Phoenix.

The first week of May, I said adios to the law firm where I was working in exchange for the perfect summer. And, it was ... a perfect summer. We headed to Flagstaff the 2nd week in May for my son and his wife's graduation via The Arches National Park in Utah. Arches is quite possibly the most awesome place I've ever visited. 

Our summer was non-stop fun, travel, picnics, hiking, camping, motorcycling, and anything else we could squeeze in between. It was so busy that I was ready to go back to work in September.  I found a great temporary job and we've enjoyed two great trips to the beach since I started working again.

I've said it before .... I feel like I'm hanging on to a runaway train in my life.  And, it's fun! I can't think of one thing that did not go well this year.  Perhaps that's the Pollyanna in me.  

I  look forward to 2012.  How about you? 

love, susan

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Four Days Til Solstice

I've noticed that people in Washington don't really give a rip about solstice.  Being a life-long Alaskan, I can tell you that winter solstice is something almost every  Alaskan looks forward to.  It's a date that (if you don't drink yourself to death or go completely insane) gives you hope. December 21st is the shortest day of the year and when you live in Alaska, knowing that you will gain daylight the next day, even if it's only 4 seconds, is something to look forward to. Life-long Alaskans pride themselves in survival.

I've discovered since we moved to Washington, after a 7-year stint in sunny Yuma, Arizona, that the Alaskan in me comes out in the winter time.  I have been thinking about December 21st for a couple of weeks now. This will be my fourth winter here in Eastern Washington. While I love living here, I could do without the long winter.  I know just a short time ago, I wrote that I was happy to see winter arrive because we ran hard last summer.  I'm over it now.  I want summer to come back.  Soon.

This time of year is always busy and I have a full December calendar.  January, not so much. We don't have any trips planned. There are no parties. It's very much like living in Alaska without the -50 weather. Just gotta hang on and watch the days grow longer.

love, susan 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hey Mouse!

Our supervisor at work gave us each sweet little figurines for Christmas. Mine is a little mouse with the hugest ears and the body is the shape of a pear. My card reader is not working or I would post a photo of it for you.

Opening that little mouse gift reminded me that my nickname in high school was "Mouse".  I said it out loud yesterday and someone asked me why that was my nickname.   Here's why.

Until I was in my mid 30's, I had ears that stuck out like a mouse. I was born that way and I suffered all through my school years into adulthood with those ears. My hair is quite fine and although I tried to wear it in a style that hid those ears, I didn't do a very good job of it. I remembered in the flash of a second the pain of being burdened with such a physical flaw.  I hated windy days because I felt terribly exposed. I hated that I couldn't wear my hair very long or pull it back in a pony tail like my friends. Those mouse ears were something I thought about every single day of my life.

I always wanted to have cosmetic surgery to fix those ears but it was expensive so I could never quite justify having the surgery done. Long story short, I ended up scheduling another medically needed surgery (breast reduction) with a cosmetic surgeon and asked him if he could do something with my ears while I was under the knife. He gladly said he would do it and at half-price since I was already on the table. While the breast reduction was awesome to have done, I was extremely happy to get my ears "fixed". The recovery for the ear job was much more physically painful than the breast reduction.

Surprisingly, it took over a year for my psyche to register the fact that I now had perfect little ears. I liken it to those who have gastric by-pass surgery and lose weight quickly. The mind has a hard time catching up with the fact that our physical appearance has changed.

I have all but forgotten that I had mouse ears and huge, back-breaking boobs at one time. One of the things that came up for me yesterday when opening that gift was the memory of how cruel kids can be and even some unthinking adults. While I know my friends' nickname for me was a term of endearment (my close friends were not bullies), I am certain they never knew how incredibly painful it was having mouse ears.

It's easy to think that our off-handed comments are funny or witty but I write this post for myself. I am as guilty as the next person to make an unthinking comment and opening that gift yesterday reminded me that I need to choose my words thoughtfully. I'd rather not be the cause of some one's feelings being hurt.

love, susan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Birthday

Gene celebrated his 61st birthday on Sunday. We took a drive out to Naches, which is 12 miles north of Yakima, for a late lunch compliments of his daughter.  Her instructions were to take him to dinner, so I did!  It's a long 90 mile drive for lunch but so worth it. Being retired means he is home a lot so getting out for a drive always makes him smile. 

We love this little cafe we found a couple of years ago. They make the best Reuben sandwich and I love their hamburgers which are hand-formed and nestled on a homemade bun. Everything they serve is totally homemade.  Worth the drive!!

On the way home, I spotted two bald eagles near the river. We also saw a lot of red hawks perched up high, hunting for food. I call them "fatties". They don't seem to be starving this time of year. I felt like a fattie after eating everything on my plate which included sweet potato fries!

Happy birthday, Gene! You are the love of my life! I can't imagine how boring the last 10 years would have been without you. Your wanderlust was contagious and I've been infected with it deeply. You are showing me how to age gracefully and you've shown me that every day is like a birthday. I love how you wake up smiling and laughing even when it's hard to get moving sometimes. What a great life we have! 

love, susan 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Winter Vacation

Soft, colorful gray skies. Warm breeze. Aqua colored sea foam. Sea lions with whiskers and cute smiles. A bridge like no other. The Sea Hag Restaurant. Salt water taffy. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus standing on the corner in Depoe Bay collecting dollars for kid toys. Sunrise. Glassblower in shorts. Cheap motel. Sea lions barking into the night. Lighthouses. Workers on the dock. Sunshine. Microwaved popcorn. Movies on HBO. Sunset. Good sleep. New friends. Old friends. Family. 
It was good!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Green Eyed Monster

I cannot believe it's Thanksgiving ... again ... already. My daughter-in-law and I were conversing on FB the other night and I've been thinking about them all week. 

Last year on this very day, I was baking pies and getting all my food prep done so I could enjoy my son and his lovely wife's visit. This year, her mom will get the pleasure of their company. Read: I'm so jealous. 

However, we are heading to Portland to spend time with Gene's family and meet some new extensions of his daughter's family. Love that!

Last year, we had a wagon-load of snow fall. This year, the forecast is for a balmy 64 today. in Tri-Cities. Of course, it will be raining in Portland and on the coast.  And, it's a tropical day in St. Maarten where my dad and his Nancy are visiting for another 10 days. Lucky schmucks! Read: I'm jealous.

Not much else to write about today. So I guess this is where I will wish you all a peaceful, easy T-day. I can't help but think about those who are alone today, those who don't have enough to eat today, those who have no roof over their heads, those who are jobless, those men and women who are serving in another country. If you see someone who needs help today and every day, I hope you find it in your heart to do what you can. 

love, susan 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thinking of You

Today I hit the jackpot! When I looked through my stack of mail, there were two hand-written letters from friends. You could have knocked me over with a feather! You have no idea how much it means to me to hear from you. Let me tell you.

One letter writer commented she didn't know how I had time to write hand-written letters. I have to admit that I don't send letters in the summer ... ever. Now that I am back to spending a good part of an hour daily in front of the happy light, I'm writing a lot more and it's so therapeutic for me. I've pretty much gone through my Rolodex and written to everyone I can think of.  The other envelope I  received was from a friend who is not much for writing letters but her note warmed my heart just the same.

I don't know what you all do with letters you get from friends, but I save mine. I have a hanging folder labeled "Cards & Photos from Friends and Family". After I read your letters, I drop them in the hanging folder and I pull them out once in a blue moon to look at and treasure. I don't keep cards that have simply been signed unless they are particularly funny. Gene and I had a conversation about this recently. He's saved every card anyone has ever given to him. He doesn't keep them all in one place so it's like Christmas for him when he looks in a drawer and finds cards he stashed away. He found one the other day that is so personal (it was not from me) that I can't share what was written but I can you tell that it was touching. He left it on the counter for me to read and I cried.

My grandmother died about 4 years ago, or was it 5? When I traveled to her home-town the following year, my aunt handed me a ziploc bag of items my grandmother had kept in her drawer. Among those treasures were letters and photos I had mailed to her throughout my life.  I was surprised to receive them back. The first time I opened the ziploc bag, I had to close it quickly. It was so painful. It's still painful to this day. 

Listen up.  If you are not sending hand-written letters to people you love, they won't have anything tangible to hold in their hands should you leave this earth before them.  When I see my grandmother's hand-writing on a letter she wrote to me, it's like time travel. I can picture her sitting at her dining room table with her white-lined writing tablet, an envelope and a stamp. She always wrote two pages and her letter always included a weather report. I miss her very much.

To my friends who took the time to write me recently, there is no gift I would treasure more than your letters. I truly mean that.

love, susan 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Less is More

The other day my friend Jane wrote on her blog about how much she loves house plants. I used to love houseplants but when I lived in Arizona I didn't keep any because we lived in a small space and, quite frankly, I didn't want one more thing to take care of.  I still don't want another thing to care of.   Read: less is more.  However, I do have this sturdy little ivy.  It started out as two leaves coming up through a crack in the driveway near the garage door. I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and thought, "now there's a survivor!". It was a year ago in the heat of summer. I pulled it out and showed it to Gene. He made me promise I wouldn't plant it anywhere on the property. Ivy really takes over and can be very hard to get rid of. So I stuck it in this "garage sale special" ceramic pot and forgot about it. I water it maybe once a month.  I figure if it survived out there by the garage in the dry heat of summer, it should feel lucky to get a sip of H2O when I get around to it. I move it occasionally from my bathroom to my office. I can live with one houseplant as long as it does not get to be high maintenance.

11/11/11 8:00 a.m. ~ Richland, Washington
The weather today is a bit nippy at 18 degrees and the fog seems to be hanging on longer than I think it should. I'm going to be wearing lots of layered clothing today.  

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Year Ago in November

I was just looking at my posts from one year ago. This time last year we were getting ready for the kids to come for Thanksgiving. We took a random trip to Spokane but ended up in Idaho.  It happens.

A year ago, we were having really nice weather and just in time for Thanksgiving, we experienced a snow storm.

Why am I rehashing the past? Because I have no news. I feel like such a slacker.

Here a list of my blog posts from November 2010. It was a very good month! Hope you'll take a peek.




love, susan 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Photowalk

My friend Linda, Sassy Sara and me
I had a great day yesterday. My friend, Linda and her dog Sassy Sara, and I, went on a photowalk over at the McNary Dam. Originally, I thought we were going to the bird refuge but I was really glad we ended up at the dam.  Gene and I visited this place in late August when the leaves were still green and the spiders were still alive and making great webs on all the steel fish ladders. 

2 of 6
We saw a herd of 6 deer as soon as we got out of the van. I wasn't sure how good my pics would be since they were at a pretty good distance but discovered when I got home that some of the deer were bucks.

We strolled around the area where there are great walking trails and since the weather was a bit nippy, we had the entire area to ourselves.  Sassy Sara is still in training so it was good for her to just be able to walk with us without the distraction of other people. I set my camera up for a timed photo and she just could hardly sit still as witnessed by the puppy kiss right at the moment of the shutter opening.
Looking up!
I like this photo of looking up through the center of a tower. I would have never thought to shoot a pic like this if I hadn't seen someone else from my photo club do it.  Even so, it's not exactly lined up perfectly but I like the blue sky and scattered clouds. 







Whirlpool
While this may not be a very exciting photo to look at, I will forever remember the wonder of hearing this little whirlpool making a wet sucking noise. I heard it before I saw it and I went investigating to see what could make such a unique sound. The creek was flowing hard enough to cause it right next to the path. It would spin for quite awhile and then it would just disappear. I am easily amused so I waited long enough to see it reappear. How many times have you seen something like this in your lifetime?



Me and Sassy Sara
You have no idea how much I hate having my photo taken but it was fun to sit with Sassy Sara. I had to firmly hold on to her jowls to keep her from squiqqling so much. Puppies are like that.  Isn't she just the cutest??
What a fantastic day it was.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.


If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Just Call Me Pollyanna

I went dancing with my awesome husband last night at the annual Halloween dance a few hundred friends attend every year. We spent a good part of the day helping with set-up and stayed to help clean up. The DJ kept playing classic rock & roll while we were folding chairs and tearing down the decorations. It was such good music that, at times, we dropped the cleaning and continued to dance.  It's weird how one can get a 2nd wind when John Cougar Mellencamp is belting out "Hurt So Good". 

Yesterday, I had an idea for today's blog post  but I ditched it soon after we got home from the dance last night.  The topic was going to be about how hateful we've become in this country. I decided I didn't want to spend my entire Sunday thinking like that. The truth is I really like being a Pollyanna  and I make no apologies for it. 

I read a post my very good high school friend wrote this week and couldn't quite push it out of my mind. She had an experience she shared eloquently on her blog and it reminded me of how precious every waking moment is. I'd rather talk about love than hate any day of the week.

Having said that .....

Where am I going with this? I've got stuff to say about the hateful things going on in this country but it makes me feel "down-to-the ground" sad to think about it. I've decided to sit on it for a while and mull it over. When I write about it, I want it to be thoughtful and for it to come from a loving place.

In the meantime, if you are reading this I hope you have a warm roof over your head, food enough to keep you and your family from being hungry,  enough money in your pocket so you don't have to worry where your next meal is coming from, peeps who love you and a sense of hope that things will be alright.

love, Pollyanna

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mt. Rainier from another view

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way."  ~ Dr. Seuss


We took what was probably my last ride of the season yesterday. We traveled a road we had not been on before. I saw deer, hawks, feral kitty cats, turkeys, and Mt. Rainier from a different place.

It was a cool ride. Yeah, it was fun but it was really cool, as in cold.
I'm so glad I didn't miss seeing this beautiful view!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A City So Nice They Named It Twice

"Our senses are indeed our doors and windows on this world, in a very real sense the key to the unlocking of meaning and the wellspring of creativity." ~ Jean Houston

We drove to Walla Walla, WA and  stopped at Pioneer Park Aviary to say hello to the birds.  We inadvertently drove through the Whitman College campus.  The campus is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! Any student would be lucky to attend school there just for the walk through the gorgeous grounds in between classes. 

We drove right past this open window and headed to the bird park but I couldn't leave Walla Walla without backtracking to snap a photo of it. I noticed after I got home that the vines have actually overgrown the parts of the windows that don't open. 

I'm not sure how many times we have been to Walla Walla but every time we go, I see something different. We parked downtown and walked up one side of the street and down the other. There are wine tasting places all along main street along with bistros and sidewalk cafes. I thought it was interesting that people were actually sitting outside eating lunch as the weather is turning colder. It was a beautiful fall day.  Here are a few of my other favorite photos from the trip. Hope you enjoy.




 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thai Food To Die For


I mentioned to my husband yesterday while on a road trip that I have been in a writing slump for a couple of weeks now. He suggested I look up "writer's slump" and do some writing about it.  Nah.  Who cares? Not me.  And, probably not you either.

We headed to The Dalles, Oregon early in the day with one goal in mind: to visit the Salvation Army thrift store without the constraints of time or having our dog with us. In the past, we have only spent 15 or 20 minutes in this store and discovered they have so many treasures it left us wanting to come back. Yesterday was a perfect day to do it.

Armed with a thermos of coffee, cash hot out of the ATM, and the camera we headed down the road. The above photo is the only one I shot. I must be having "photo slump" too because he practically had to pry me out of the car to take it.

The real treasure of the day, besides the really sweet, heavy cotton sweater I found for $3.49, was Montira's Thai Cuisine.  If you are a local person reading this blog and you love Thai food as much as we do, you should put this on your "places to eat before I die" list.   My recommendation is the Pumpkin Curry but I suspect you wouldn't be disappointed with anything you order there.  I regret I didn't take my camera into the restaurant to snap a quick one of the beautiful presentation. It would not have done justice to how wonderful it tasted.  We will be going back.


love, susan

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Calling All Cow Lovers

We went out for a motorcyle ride today and this is the only photo I took.

The thing is, we traveled a route today that was really beautiful but not very picturesque. We rode over a mountain pass and ended up at about 4,200 feet but it never cooled down. Everything was dry and the landscape  was blonde.  I couldn't bring myself to pull the camera out to take photos of endless rolling hills of dry wheat. I loved the ride though! I especially loved the stop we made where Gene took off his boots and socks and laid in the grass to cool off. I loved laying next to him under a tree and just feeling so grateful for the sprinkler on the park grass. The slight wind blew a mist over us that was truly life-saving.

The reason I took this particular photo is that I read on my son's blog recently that he really likes cows. I think it's uncanny because I really like them too although my son and I have never been around them much, being raised in Alaska. He lives somewhere else now and I wonder if he sees many cows there.  These are things I think of when I'm riding. You would too if you rode where we rode today. Oh gosh, an idea for another post: things I think of while riding. You wouldn't even believe the things that go through my mind while I should be carefully scanning both sides of the rode for deer and cows. 

Back to cows.  I think it's their beautiful, soft eyes that attracts cow-lovers.  I've heard some people say cows are stupid. I'm not sure why anyone would say that about a cow. I've noticed while out riding that cows are smart enough to go stand under a tree for shade when it's hella hot. I've also been witness to mama cows crying non-stop for hours when they are separated from their calves. They're smart enough to go with the rest of the herd. I think I'll mention all these things the next time I hear someone bad-mouthing cows.

love, susan 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

365 Day Project

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a 365 day project. I watched as a whole lot of people started theirs last January.  I know I could have jumped on the band wagon and started a project anytime but decided to wait until this January 1 ... because ... well ... I'm a little OCD.  

I follow a really cool blog called 365 Less Things.  I wish I had thought of that. The woman who writes this blog posts a photo of one item she is shedding every single day.  My hat is off to her. Her blog was responsible for helping me separate myself from my old clarinet from high school. I tried to have it refurbished but it would have cost a couple hundred dollars to get it into working shape. I sold it to a nice lady at my yard sale for $5 this summer. I said "good riddance" to it as she drove out of my driveway.

I could do a 365 photo project but I don't want to. I want to do something different. What is it ... what is it??? 

All ideas will be entertained!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plan of the Day

POD.  That's code for Plan of the Day at my current, temp job. Everyone meets at 6:45 a.m. in the file room for a short meeting to plan what direction we're going as a team. Pretty cool idea, me thinks. Sometimes there isn't any plan but just a few minutes to "check-in" as human beings. 

Week or so ago, one of the women in my office told us at the POD that her brother had received a phone call on Saturday night to get on a plane to Seattle (I think?) because someone had died and they had a set of lungs to transplant to him. I'm sure that wasn't in his plan of the day when he woke up. I checked with her last week and he's recovering famously. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. 

This morning I woke up and decided I needed to start sitting in front of my light box again. For those who don't know me, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I won't bore you with all the details of SAD except to tell you that it sucks and it's just something I live with and try to manage without medications by sitting in front of a special light box for at least 30 to 45 minutes daily. I think the fact that I slept 12 hours on Friday caused my husband to take his life in his own hands by asking if I had started to sit in front of the light yet.  My reaction was the best indicator that it is time. I got very defensive about it. That's my sign. 

So my plan of the day when I woke this morning at 4:00 a.m. was to clear off my desk and fire that baby up. I got a letter written to my good pen pal in Katy, Texas and then proceeded to hit the treadmill.  It turned out to be a fabulous day.

Do you have a POD when you wake up?  Do tell!

love, susan

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farmer Talk

Alberta peaches.  That's what the farmer guy said these are.  I wouldn't know an Alberta peach from an O'Henry.  But I know now that our farmer (I like calling him our farmer)  told us today that he has a different variety of peaches "coming on" about every two weeks.  Coming on, in farmer speak, means the fruit is ready to pick.

We drove out in the country about 20 miles from home to buy two boxes of peaches at a surprisingly low price of $16 a box. It felt like stealing.  A co-worker told me where to find our farmer and I reveled in driving out not only to get the peaches but to shoot the breeze with him for a short time. He wore a baseball cap and spit chew on the ground every once in awhile as he told us a bit about his business and the fishing trip he took to the coast last weekend. 

I love country folks. They keep it real. When I asked him if he had a webpage, he was kind enough to not laugh at me.  Silly me.  What farmer needs a webpage when they have the same customers coming back to buy their fruit for years and years.  As we were leaving, he said, "be sure to keep my number". I said, "you're going into my 'contacts'", but I'm not sure he knew what I meant. I thought about telling him that he'd be on my blog page tonight but decided I just needed to keep our relationship simple. He grows the fruit, I drive out to buy it.  Love that.
Not all the peaches are ripe enough to use yet so I picked out the ready ones and they are now freezer jam. Earlier today, I threw together a peach crisp for Gene. He has lost so much weight since I've been watching my diet that it's scaring me. 

I think tomorrow I will make a peach pie and then decide what to do with the rest of them. We'll be having some peach smoothies and maybe a fruit pizza before the week is over. 

Everything's just peachy!  love, susan



 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life is a Beach - Part Two

Anyone remember Charlie's Angels?
My head is still at the beach.  That's the beauty of a nice little vacation. It's not like I have to come back to the same old grind right away. Don't tell my boss.

Pictures help. I will probably go through my beach pictures 50 times and try to keep alive the things that mean the most to me. 
Short on time today but here are a few more of my favorites from the weekend.

Enjoy.





Monday, September 12, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

We just returned from another world. The beach. We spent about 48 hours there and it took me a little while to come down to earth when we arrived home yesterday. 

There is something special that happens when family and friends gather at Cape Lookout on the Oregon coast. It's like nothing else matters for a while. No television, no bad news, no rushing traffic. Only the sound of the ocean and smell of bbq hamburgers and bacon. Dogs running with reckless abandon. They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth but I would argue that point. 

Fog on Saturday morning
When we arrived on Friday it was a shock to the system to get out of the car to foggy, cold dampness. We knew the forecast for mid 80's the next day could change in a heartbeat. But it didn't. We woke up Saturday to a bit of fog but we spotted blue skies in our early morning walk at low tide and it turned out to be another perfect day.

After breakfast, we headed from camp to spend the day playing badminton and chasing Frisbees for hours. There was only love.  The kids, our grand kids and their neighbors/best friends, were transported to another world too as there was no fighting and no tears. Only fun and laughter and a very competitive game of badminton. 

After spending the day in the sand, we marched back to camp to bbq and rest for a minute. After dinner, we headed back down to take a long walk during low tide and to watch the sun set. 

Cousins. Friends. A dog. And miles of beach.
It does not get better than this.

Settling back into camp after the long walk, we roasted marshmallows and sat down to write a few new camp songs. Ghost stories were left untold this year. Perhaps we've outgrown them. Watch for "On the Beach" and "Free the Wang" on YouTube. We expect they will go viral.  Not.
Waking up Sunday morning was bittersweet. It was the end of a lovely weekend but for me it was the continuing realization that weekends like these are ones our grand kids are going to remember forever.
Yeah, it took me a few hours to bring my head back here to reality. On the trip home, we turned on the radio and heard some snippets of the memorial of 9/11. I turned it off. I wasn't ready to come back yet. 

Back to the real world.
love, susan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Five Minute Post

Yes, that is snow behind the flowers! Photo shot at Mt. Rainier
Ten hour days are kicking my butt but I'm determined to squeeze every bit of the minutes I have to accomplish what I can.

One of the women I work with is a single mom with 5 children. She told me yesterady she is also taking 3 classes. I admire people who can squeeze the life out of everyday. Talking with her made me feel kind of like a slacker. 

I never made it on the treadmill yesterday so I decided this morning I had to get back to some multi-tasking. While the coffee is brewing, I cleaned up the kitchen. I poured my coffee and sat down to check my email and FB. Told myself I'm gonna write a quick post while I enjoy my coffee and then hit the treadmill for 30 minutes.  The walking really boosts my energy level so I need to do it.

Hope you have a fabulous Wednesday.  Don't forget to stop and smell the roses flowers.


love, susan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beach Bound

Cape Lookout
Just a quick note before I get on the treadmill this morning.

What a fantastic 4-day weekend. It doesn't get a whole lot better than this one but we are headed to the beach this coming weekend and the weather report is forecasting 82 on Friday and 88 on Saturday with clear skies. 

Come on, Friday!

love, susan

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mt. Rainier Trip

Mt. Rainier
We ventured over to see Mt. Rainier yesterday with a group of friends. The weather could not have been more perfect. I broke one of my own safety rules on the last leg of the trip by shedding my leather jacket. It was in the high 80's, perhaps even reached 90 by 4:00 p.m. and I thought I might faint from overheating.
We could see Mt. Rainier for over a hundred miles before we reached it.  Embarrassingly enough, when we got to the stopping place where I snapped this photo, I asked my friend, Dorothy, "is this Mt. Rainier"? Okay. Seriously. It looks way smaller up close than when you see it from 100 miles away. How can that be? An optical illusion, I suppose. Let me just say it and get it out of my system.  It ain't no Mt. McKinley.  But the surrounding area is so beautiful that it makes up for it's lack of grandiosity.

Flowers and a field of snow
I can hardly believe we have lived here 3 years now and this is the first time to visit Mt. Rainier. We will definitely be going again with camping in mind. There are hiking trails everywhere and we only scratched the surface of the area. With it being a holiday weekend, there was a huge amount of traffic but I noted that people were very polite and not in a hurry to run us over. There are quite a few places to park so even with the increased traffic, we were able to find places to park 8 motorcycles.

This trip was 350 miles and my tailbone was feeling it by the time we rolled into our driveway at 6:30 p.m. I put 750 miles under my belt this weekend and that's a record for me.

TAKE-AWAY: My take away from this weekend is that I have learned that a lot of things really are mind over matter. Perseverance. Mom used to tell me that but like many people, until I experience it for myself it doesn't mean much. I had a couple of uncomfortable times yesterday where I thought my tailbone was going to split in two but what was I doing to do? Keep riding.   love, susan
 







   

 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Easy Riders

Summit between Enterprise, OR and Clarkston,WA
Yesterday, I rode in almost 3  states (we skirted Idaho for 88 miles but never crossed the border) on the longest ride ever on my motorcycle. 395 miles. I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

We left Richland at 10:00 a.m. and met up with a good buddy on our way out of town. We left our house with a plan but it changed. That's how we roll. With a thermos full of coffee, a container of zucchini bread and a full tank of gas we headed towards Elgin and ended up in Clarkston,  WA and then home 12 hours later.

I love this photo our friend, Doug, snapped. Gene and I visited this very same summit 10 years ago almost to the day when we began our relationship. It is only coincidence that we ended up there yesterday but I couldn't help but think about all the fun we've had from then until now.

I learned some new things yesterday. First, I have way more tenacity than I give myself credit for. If I had given it too much thought, I would have balked at the length of this trip. I was a frozen popsicle by the time we rolled our bikes into the garage last night but I'm an Alaskan ... I am Ford tough.

I learned from Doug how to put my hand up over my eyes to shield the sun so I can see the road when riding directly west at sundown. Can I just tell you that I couldn't see anything except Doug's red tail lights. My stupid photo-gray glasses didn't get dark enough to be effective. It was scary but at least I've been riding long enough to feel very comfortable riding one-handed.

A must-have for long distance rides
Doug showed me some of the tricks he keeps in his saddle bags. I was impressed with the baby wipes for those times when a biker simply can't find a good rest room. He had all kinds of cool stuff in his bags and now that I have bags on my bike, I just gotta go shopping. 

I learned that women can be in the lead. At one point in our ride yesterday, the guys couldn't decide who was going to take the lead so I rolled my wrist and went around to lead them for a time. It felt good! After a while, they encouraged me to lead and it broke the trip up a bit to move positions. You need that when you are on a long ride like this.

Doug and Gene
I learned that some people are just easy to ride with.  I would ride with Doug again any day of the week. He obeys the laws and he doesn't mind pulling over to take a break. Among several pull-overs, we stopped twice to eat and once to get a fancy coffee and harass the counter girl. She was a good sport.

We are heading out for another long trip tomorrow to Mt. Rainier with a large group. It will only be 340 miles tomorrow. I'm glad I got a trial run and know that I can do it. Tomorrow, we'll have the sun at our backs the entire day. What a relief.  Doug will be riding with us and I'm sure it will be every bit as fun as yesterday. I just hope my muscles get over the torture I put them through yesterday. 

Oh, I learned one more thing. Taking two Tylenol before I hit the road works wonders. I need to put some in my saddle bag because I could have used two more before the day was over. I'm convinced that is the only reason I could sit on that bike so long.

love, susan