Monday, December 31, 2012

January to December 2012 ... A life very well-lived

 
I'm so glad I started this blog almost 2 1/2 years ago. While trying to find photos to place here, I was amazed by how quickly the time has passed this year and horrified by the thought that I could hardly remember that it was just this last year that I shot these moments in time. I tell myself it's because we are doing so much and it would be hard to remember every single moment.  So often I regret not having taken more photos. Developing a habit of carrying my camera with me as often as possible has been the best remedy for memories fading faster as the days go by.
 
Here is to another year come and gone ... one day at a time
  
 


 


 


 
 








Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Old Year 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Happy Old Year!
Goodbye 2012 ~ you were good to us!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Deleting Posts

Shoot. I deleted a post I wrote this morning.  Phooey. Didn't mean to do that.  Oh well.  Here are the pics.  I'm too tuckered out to recreate the writing. I was only trying to delete my old "drafts".  Note to self: be more careful next time.



 






Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 9 Things That Bring Me Joy

Mama’s Losin’ ItI found another writing prompt over at Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Seems like I need a lot of prompts these days. It's a phase, I keep telling myself.  I have lately been void of those constant running thoughts where ideas come from.  I think I need a vacation or better brand of coffee.



Joy (noun)
 a deep feeling or condition of
happiness or contement

This is by no means an exclusive list of things that bring me joy, just what comes to mind at 4:40a.m.

One
  • A hand-written letter in the mail. Over the last two years, I've been writing back and forth with one of my little cousins and teaching her how to Zentangle. I have two other great pen-pals, one in Texas and another in Utah who I enjoy sharing letters with.
Two
  • A good, steaming hot cup of coffee. Coffee lovers know what I'm talking about here. There is nothing better. It should really be number one on my list. I tried to quit drinking coffee last year. It didn't work. I'm powerless over everything about coffee. Love the aroma, love the flavor, love the kick, love the conversation over it. Joy? Oh yeah, I get it in liquid form every single day. As I review my list, I note coffee got the longest narrative.
Three
  • Watching my hubby dance. He really gets into it and watching him experience the joy of dancing makes me wanna dance too. New Year's Eve is coming and we'll be kicking up our heels.  Mustang Sally, you better slow your mustang down!
Four
  • Being invited to dinner. I love, love, LOVE to go to a friend's house for dinner. I love having someone else cook and learn about what they like to eat and their family traditions, etc.
Five

  • Sunshine. Even it's at -50 in Fairbanks, Alaska, although I prefer my sunshine at 75 degrees above zero, thank you very much. If one can have sunshine every day, it makes life worth living.
Six
  • A good deal. I love thrift shopping and scoring a real find. Lately, we've been attending estate sales and finding sturdy, old furniture. I could write a whole new blog on thrifting.  Hey, maybe I will in 2013.
Seven
  • Cooking shows. I could watch them 24/7.
Eight
  • Throwing the frisbee to my dogs. Is there a better joy than watching your dog's tail wag?
Nine
  • Writing. Thanks for the prompt Mama Kat. I needed it.
 
love, susan
 

     

Monday, December 17, 2012

It Was Nothing

Beauty after the storm.
A rare experience of a moment at daybreak, when something in nature seems to reveal all consciousness, cannot be explained at noon. Yet it is part of the day's unity. 
                             ~ Charles Ives ~
 
********************** 

We rose up after a nearly sleepless night of high winds to discover a tree downed in our driveway. 

We were happy.
 
We hated that tree anyway.  


I walked on down the road to catch the bus, fearing the entire way that a huge limb would come flying and hit me in the head and kill me or, worse, render me paralyzed the rest of my life.

Gene cleaning up the mess

Our area survived constant winds last night with gusts this morning up to 70 mph. Many trees suffered and there was property damage.
Flags displayed at half-staff to honor the little
children in Newtown, CT
The rest of the day was very windy but clear blue skies made it seem alright.

No reports of injuries. Compared to the news lately, it was nothing.

love, susan

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What's Up? An Upper

              
(Reposted from an email I received from a friend)
 
This is the only word in the English language that could be a noun, verb, adj, adv, prep.              
                       
UP             
Read until the end... you'll laugh.

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is
"UP."
It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand
UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP
?

At a meeting, why does a topic come
UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP
the old car. 

At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir
UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP
excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed
UP
is special. 

And this
UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped
UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of
UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP
to about thirty definitions. 

If you are
UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP
with a hundred or more. 

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding
UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now. . . my time is UP
!

Oh. . . one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?
U

P
!
Did that one crack you
UP?
Don't screw
UP. Send this on to everyone you look UP in your address book. . . or not. . . it's UP to you.

Now I'll shut
UP!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moderating Comments

I had to change my settings so that I can moderate any comments left on my blog.  I love hearing from most of you but the last two days I've had replies to my posts that had nasty links in them from anonymous replies.  I cannot tolerate that so if you comment, I will post it as soon as I check my emails daily and approve the comment.

Best Bosses


A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.  - Charles Erwin Wilson

I receive writing prompts weekly from  Mama's Losin' It.  I love her ideas but nothing has really grabbed me quite like the prompt I saw this morning.



What did you learn from your best boss?
 
I've been working for a really long time and I've had a few best bosses. Here is what comes to mind today.
 
Jan .....
Back in the day, customer service was a priority. Can you even imagine? We were taught that no matter what we were doing, if a customer walked into our department we were to approach them with a friendly smile and helpful attitude. We were true salespeople. The customer visited us because they were seeking something and our job was to help them find it. I loved it. It wasn't about making commissions; I worked for minimum wage. She taught me about heartfelt helpfulness. She will never know how her guidance helped form my love for serving the public.
 
Tom ....
I worked for a Japanese guy named Tom who always had a smile on his face and never said a negative thing. He taught me the art of talking with the customer. There was also Linda, who taught me to pick up the ringing phone by the second ring. That advice has stuck with me through 30+ years of working. We sold a lot of gold and silver at the bank and made good friends with our customers. Those two people were instrumental in forming my idea of what a good boss should be. They led by example. I have forgotten many things over the years so it is a telltale sign that they made an impression so much that I remember their names.
 
Jane ....
She taught me that I could do anything, even twist a wrench and put together my own desk and plug in a computer. She was always positive and encouraged a "can do" attitude. She was a hard worker and never said a harsh word to anyone. I like that in a boss.
 
Ginny ....
I worked with a team of therapists who provided outstanding service to the public in the mental health field and she was the team leader. We were on the cutting edge of moving the service model from individual counseling sessions to brief group therapy. It was a difficult transition and Ginny pulled it off with her winning charm and gentle mannerisms. She was a good listener and she had a way of garnering ideas from everybody and put ideas in action. She made work seem like fun ... a key element for being a good boss, in my humble opinion.

Susan ...
Not me, another Susan. I had the opportunity to work with her recently and she taught me, by example, on a daily basis to be kind and find solutions. Her supervising style was such that I just really wanted to go to work everyday and be a part of the team. I learned how to "push back the push back" in a way that is kind and effective. Love that!

How about you? Tell me about your favorite bosses.

love, susan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter on the River

Another weekend here and gone.
 
I shot this photo yesterday when I was supposed to be on my way to the store. It was really brisk at 7:00a.m. but I had to get out of my car and seek the sunshine.
 
Friday night we gathered with some most excellent friends down by the Columbia River to watch the boat parade. We've lived here 4 winters and had never made it to see the Christmas parade on the river. The wind was blowing and I had on three layers of coats, a silly looking hat and gloves. Just five days earlier it had been 61 degrees. Friday night it was in the 30's but felt like 20's. The weather is a bit fickle here.
 
There is a lot of money in the TriCities and you really know it when you see the yachts moored nearby. When we first moved here, I worked for a local attorney  who owned one and he always took the staff out for a cruise one Friday afternoon in June. I got to go once before he died unexpectedly. I had never been on a yacht before and doubt I will ever be on one again. It was lovely. I hardly see a yacht without thinking about that day in June.
 
My camera did not do well in the dark but I hope you can get an idea of how these yachts look all lit up, cruising down the river, admired by thousands of onlookers. I'm not sure I'll want to stand out in the cold to watch them again but I told my husband that we owe it to the yacht owners to come out to see them, even if they can't see us in the dark. It must be a tremendous amount of work to string lights on a boat in the cold.
 
The best part was sitting in the car, warming up and listening to the banter between my good friend and my hubby. She has an infectious laugh and he loves to tease her. It was totally pitch black when I turned around from the front seat and shot these pics. I'm surprised I didn't permanently blind both of them. I can't remember what he said to make her howl but it was probably naughty. Good times! 
 

I'm working for the weekend now. Only 11 more days until the shortest day of the year and then we will start gaining sunlight. Can I get an amen?
 
love, susan
 
 

 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunshine Sunday

On my way to the store very early this morning, I noticed some pink sky in the East and followed the road past WincCo and found the sun.
 
Days have been really gray recently and it is increasingly difficult to not want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. Yesterday I didn't have the will power to stay upright and spent almost all afternoon in bed. My hubby was so sweet to go buy a pizza to pop in the oven. I ate and tried to watch a little TV and dozed off in the lazygirl chair. Woke up this morning to an aching back from too much down time.
 
When I got done buying groceries, half of which consists of every kind of chocolate chip you can think of such as mint, white, peanut butter, I decided to waste $6 running the car through the carwash. It was looking pretty bad. I can stand dirt on it but the bird poop was making me gag everytime I got in it. The kid who took my money and sprayed my car with some chemical smiled when he realized I gave him an extra dollar. He said, "is this for me?" As I was cruising through the wash I wish I had given him more. It's Christmas time, for pete's sake. He was funny too. I said, "guess I should roll my window up." He said with a smile, "window up or down, it's your choice." Love that kind of wit, especially from a young person.
 
Since I've been home and put the groceries away and made a trucker's breakfast for my hubby, the skies have turned gray again. I'm so happy I saw the sun today even if it was momentarily. I hope it comes back ... and soon.
 
 
 
love, susan


Friday, December 7, 2012

Butter Sugar Milk Eggs

I just finished reading this book. It took me forever. Not because it's not a good book. I just have a hard time sitting still to read these days. It's a guilty pleasure.
 
This one is written by a woman who's husband suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to be placed in a care center. She is left to live her life with her three dogs. She chronicles her thoughts as she moves through the transition of a comfortable life with her husband to living alone.
 
Near the end of the book she writes how she starts seeing artwork in a different light and begins buying up pieces everywhere she goes, an obsession of sorts. She admits she is not an artist herself and describes how she is more comfortable with words. She writes, "I'm comfortable with words, it secures me to have a pen and notebook even if all I'm writing is butter sugar milk eggs." 

I can relate to that.

I have started my annual winter letter writing campaign. I sit in front of my light box and write one or two letters every day.  Today I read the end of this book instead. So here I am. I felt like I need to write something ...

butter sugar milk eggs
 
love, susan

 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photo Journaling - December 1, 2012

I bought my hubby a new little digital Nikon CoolPix camera for his birthday and gave it to him early. I promptly took possession of it and snapped some pics of our day. I'm amazed by what a little $79 camera can do these days along with a little editing in Photoshop. The CoolPix is the perfect size for slipping into a pocket of his leather jacket.  Do you have a favorite camera?
Prosser, Washington




Prosser, Washington


Prosser, Washington

Abbie in B&W
Missy in B&W
Potluck dish
 
"Gilligan" the Parrotlet (he resides at The Penny Pincher
Thrift Store in Richland)


 

Upside Saturday: Take It Easy

I spent the last evening of November 2012 with my hubby and a couple of my favorite people, eating yummy Mexican food at a local joint with a father/son Mexican duo playing "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Take It Easy" by the Eagles at our table side. I loved their Latin influence to such American iconic songs. I've stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. I know what the Eagles were singin' about.

I love times like these. Last night was really special. We sang right there in the restaurant along with our own private musicians and laughed a lot. My closest friends know me well and knew I needed to sing and laugh.

It was a long week for me. My new job is kicking my butt but every day gets just a little better.

There were really no downsides to this week although I will say that my rosacea got really bad by yesterday. Rosacea hurts. For those who don't know what rosacea is ... it's a breakout on the face that results in really red cheeks accompanied by broken blood vessels and little rash-like pimples. It usually lays dormant until a couple of things occur. For me, stress causes the worst outbreaks. While I didn't really feel outwardly stressed at my new job, I clearly was because my face started hurting early in the week and I've had the worst outbreak I've ever experienced. My face feels like it's on fire and I get little pin-prick sensations throughout the day. Worrying about it doesn't make it any better. The other cause is from spicy food, which I try to avoid when I'm having an outbreak. Of course, I couldn't resist the hot salsa on the table last night so today my face is fairly red. Taking hot showers doesn't help. Caffiene should also be avoided for those suffering from this ailment. I'd like to say I didn't drink coffee today and took a cool shower but it wouldn't be true.
 
The best I can do to cure it is to "take it easy ... don't the let sound of your own wheels drive you crazy". We have no plans for anything other than a potluck gathering which will be fun and the rest of the weekend should peaceful and easy, giving my face a chance to right itself. 

"I get a peaceful, easy feeling. And I know you won't let me down.
Cause I'm already standing ... on the ground."  ~ The Eagles ~
 
love, susan

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November in Alaska

Some lucky people have the winning powerball numbers this morning. I read today the winning tickets were purchased in Arizona and Missouri.
 
Good for those peeps who are holding the winning numbers. I'm genuinely happy for them! I hope it is somebody who will benefit from a few million extra dollars in their bank account.
 
I drove to the corner convenience store at 6:49 last night to pick up 22 more tickets for another person in Alaska. The store clerk kindly informed me the ticket sales had been cut off at 6:45pm. Could I have bought the winning numbers if I had been there 4 minutes earlier? Yes. There was another guy there who had just been told he couldn't buy a ticket. We walked out the door and I said, "we're such losers" with tongue in cheek. Actually, if you think about it, I was $44 ahead at that point.
 
Last night I got a text from my peeps in Alaska and they were so happy to have their "virtual" tickets in front of them so they could feel like they had just as much of a chance to win as anyone else in America. I had snapped a pic and emailed it. People from Alaska get excited about different stuff than we do here in the lower 48.  I lived in AK a looooooong time. I get it!
 
This time of year in Alaska is hard, especially Fairbanks. You've just started sleeping at night because it's so dark and cold the only thing you wanna do when you get home from work is crawl into your warm jammies, drink a hot chocolate and pull the covers over your head and hope it's spring when you wake up. On the other hand, summer time in Alaska can run a person ragged. More than once I visited my doctor in late October feeling totally fatigued and he'd say, "no wonder, when was the last time you slept 8 hours?"  There is something about the midnight sun after a really long winter that makes you just want to stay awake until 3am. You don't want it (sunshine) to end. It's truly a bi-polar experience.
 
The other hard thing about November in Alaska is that you know it's going to be 6 months until you have decent weather again. Just getting in and out of your car in well below-zero weather is energy draining. Sigh.  The social gatherings are far and few between but you go anywhere anyone invites you just so you can beat cabin fever. The thought of winning the Powerball must leave one dreaming of sandy beaches and living anywhere else but there. Next time there is a mega Powerball, I'm gonna suggest my peeps plan a little earlier to get their tickets and have a Powerball party. Any excuse for a party is fair game in November in Alaska.
 
So, I'm sorry my peeps didn't win the big bucks but I'm glad I got to be a part of their excitement for one day. Both of them are hair designers in the same salon and I'm certain the fact they were privy to buying lottery tickets was the hot topic of the day. I only wish I had been able to be there to share it with them. Just for one day.
 
love, susan
 
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Powerball Megabucks Dream List

(Credit: mcaspets.org)
Somebody at work mentioned the Powerball yesterday. I've never paid much attention to it because I never buy tickets. I received a text this morning from a family member who lives in Alaska begging me to buy some tickets for her. She says she lives in 1 of 6 states where a person cannot buy a lottery ticket. I will honor her wish and buy a ticket. She assures me if "we" win she'll share the fortune. I'm sure she would too. 
 
So, I got to thinking just briefly, what would I do if I won a wagon-load of money? Just off the top of my head, here is a quick Top 10 list of some things I would do with a large amount of cash in no certain order of importance:
 
  1. Quit my job and move us to San Diego on a big piece of land with enough roaming space for us and our dogs to live a life of the rich and famous.
  2. Buy some sheep for my border collie to chase around. Perhaps she'd be happier than she is right now.
  3. Give away a good portion of it. My family wouldn't have to wonder if I was going to share it. I would. But there would be strings attached. It would be college money.
  4. Support my local rescue mission.
  5. Buy a new pick-up truck.
  6. Buy a new electric car.
  7. We'd travel a lot.
  8. Hire a full-time housekeeper and pay her very well.
  9. Hire a land keeper for all the property in San Diego.
  10. Try to not lose my head with all that money.
What would you do with millions of unearned dollars?
 
love, susan
     

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Don't Call Me Lazy Whatever You Do

I'm starting Day 4 of a four-day holiday and it has been good.  Lazy is more how I would describe it except that I hate the word "lazy". My mom used that word  to describe me more than once when I was a kid and I held hold a longtime resentment over the use of the word. It's one word, early in our relationship, I asked my hubby to never say to or about me although he does so with tongue in cheek. I think he is the best equalizer for some of those old emotions I still carry around and I know he loves me enough to call me lazy in a good way, softening the sound of such a judgmental word. He always has his best boyish grin on his face when he says it to me lovingly, as in "won't you make me some pancakes? Don't be so lazy". You will never hear me call others lazy except the cat. Mr. Kitty is the poster child for lazy and would be considered a rock star among his peers. I'm taking lazy lessons from the cat. I think someday I might actually be able to lean into the word and wear it like a badge but I'm not quite there yet.
 
The day after Thanksgiving, we ventured out to do a little thrift shopping. We laughed in the face of 100's of insane black Friday shoppers at the mall. I found 3 really nice pair of slacks and a couple of turtlenecks at my favorite little thrift store all for $12. It was half-price day. Score! I didn't even try them on there. Lazy? No. For half-price I decided I would just put them back in the donation box I keep handy if they didn't fit. The thrift store is one I support and the money goes to a great cause. After a little shopping, Gene let me take him to lunch at Olive Garden with the generous gift card my co-workers at Hanford gave me on my last day. He enjoyed the eggplant Parmesan and I may actually get him to go back to OG sometime because of it.
 
We took a semi-annual trip to Blockbuster Video to rent 4 movies. We searched the wall looking for something new but ended up in the middle of the .99 cent movies to find four really great old movies:
  • High Fidelity (one of my favorite John Cusak films)
  • The Departed (This movie lost me several times but I loved it)
  • Fractured (Ryan Gosling is sooooo cute in this, Anthony Hopkins not so much)
  • Fatal Attraction (Gene couldn't remember if he had seen this before)

Watching four movies in 24 hours may be a record for us. I have to tell you that I'm in love with that Lazyboy chair I picked up a couple weekends ago at an estate sale. I fell asleep off and on throughout the movie marathon but not for long.
 
Yesterday, day 3 of our stay-cation, we ventured out in the afternoon to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. I didn't really want to go but was feeling a bit trapped inside and needed some contact with the outside world.  We headed out to the country to see our friends' new miniature burrows. They tell us that the mini burrow is a freak of nature. I don't know anything about that, they are just the sweetest things with fur.

 
 
We came home to eat dinner and resume the lazy position in front of the tube. I slid in another old movie I had on hand ("Money for Nothing" w/John Cusack) but didn't make it to 8:30 before I decided I had to get to bed. Had to rest up for my last day off.
 
I could get used to being lazy.  Can we just call it something else?
 
love, susan
 
P.S.  Saw the above car being towed yesterday. Thought of my dad when I snapped the pic. I'm sure he'll know exactly what model and year it is. All I know is that it was covered in a lot of dust and I'll bet it's worth lots of dollars and many stories.