Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 ~ MOVE

Move is my theme word for 2017. I choose a new theme word at the beginning of each new year. My words in the past have been minimize, develop, create, and improve. I think all of these words have helped me shape a plan for the new year. I need to physically move more. After giving it much thought, my plan is simple. I need to walk more, add steps to my day. I can do this.
Here are a few more ideas from the definition of the word 'move'. If you are reading this, I hope it gives you a little inspiration. love, susan


verb (used without object), moved, moving.
1. to pass from one place or position to another.
2. to go from one place of residence to another:
3. to advance or progress: The red racing car moved into the lead.
4. to have a regular motion, as an implement or a machine; turn; revolve.
5. to sell or be sold: That new model is moving well.
6. to start off or leave: It's time to be moving.
7. to transfer a piece in a game, as chess or checkers.
8. (of the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces; evacuate.
9. to be active in a particular sphere: to move in musical society.
10. to take action; proceed.
11. to make a formal request, application, or proposal: to move for a new trial.
verb (used with object), moved, moving.
12. to change from one place or position to another.
13. to set or keep in motion.
14. to prompt, actuate, or impel to some action: What moved you to do this?
15. to arouse or excite the feelings or passions of; affect with emotion (usually followed by to): to move someone to anger.
16. to affect with tender or compassionate emotion; touch
17. to transfer (a piece in a game) from one position to another.
18. to dispose of (goods) by sale.
19. to cause (the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces.
20. to propose formally, as to a court or judge, or for consideration by a deliberative assembly.
21. to submit a formal request or proposal to (a court, a sovereign, etc.).
22. an act or instance of moving; movement.
23. a change of location or residence.
24. an action toward an objective or goal; step: a move toward a higher tax.
25. (in chess, checkers, etc.) a player's right or turn to make a play.
26. a play or maneuver, as in a game or sport.
Verb phrases
27. move in, to begin to occupy a place in which to live or work.
28. move in on, Informal.
29. move on, to approach or attack as a military target: The army is moving on the capital itself.
30. move out, to leave a place in order to start or continue a planned march, maneuver, journey, etc.: The troops will move out of the encampment at dawn.
31. move over, to change or cause to change to another position, especially to make room for another: to make space by moving over.
32. move up, to advance to a higher level.
33. get a move on, Informal. to begin; act: We'd better get a move on before it rains.34. make one's move, Informal. to act, especially to assert oneself at an opportune time.
35. on the move, busy; active: on the move from morning till night.36. put moves on, Slang. to make sexual advances toward. Also, make a move on.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 - The Year I Was to Improve

For those just now joining me, this is my annual review of the last year.  At the beginning of each new year, I choose a word theme for the next year that I want to incorporate into my life in all possible ways.  For 2016, I chose the word improve. I'm not sure it was the right word for me this year. I chose it and then never thought about it much. You can say I was a bit side-tracked for 365 days. For the record, I'm finding it harder to stay focused these days. There is a lot going on in my life and the lives of people I care about.
  • TRAVEL  Last year, besides the annual trips we took to the Oregon coast for reunions, we did a lot of Sunday drives. Since discovering Manito Park in Spokane, we've been up there a couple times. Sometimes we'll drive 100 miles to visit a favorite thrift store and take a picnic lunch. These short trips are as wonderful as the longer drives. I like the undivided attention we give each other in the car. My annual girlfriend trip to a Montana hot springs will remain my favorite week of the year. I loved every minute of it and especially soaking in the hot springs pool.  If I were to say my friendships have improved because of trips like this, it would be an understatement.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY  I got out a few times with my photo walking buddy and also on my own to improve my skills. Recently, I've been working on a project to organize my thousands of paper photos that I've been storing in tubs. It's time to send some of these photos to people who will really enjoy having them. I've had a camera in my hand since I was 13 years old. Sometimes I feel a great responsibility to make sure events are documented. Through FB, I invited anyone who was willing to sit for photos to short sessions around town. I picked up quite a few new locations. I feel like my skills have improved a bit over the year. I definitely had fun with it. 
  • DOG TRAINING  This year, I found a new dog trainer who has helped me with some issues "Remi" is overcoming. Perhaps they are my issues. She is a much better walker and she is riding in the car better. Dogs just want a job.

  • We got lost quite a bit this year. Those kinds of events are happening to us more often. One of us has dropped the ball on checking the map before leaving. Even taking the map seems to be problematic for us. This could improve.
  • I completely dropped the ball on minimizing my household items. I'm still buried in stuff that needs to go live somewhere else. A new resolve with this!
Perhaps the word improve wasn't such a bad choice after all. Ideally, what happens with choosing a theme word is that it stays with me. I try to incorporate it into everything I'm doing. Past years words have included minimizing, develop, create, and improve. For 2017, I've chose the word move. I've given it a lot of thought. Recently, a 91 year old volunteer for the local police department is giving up his position. Because of hip problems, he can't move quite as well as he would like. 91 and still moving. Lesson learned. Not only do I want to move more physically, I want to move my ideas into motion. I want to move excess crap from my life. I want to move my dogs. You get the idea.

Do you have a theme word for 2017? What will it be?
love, susan

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Last Week of 2016 Life List

  • Looking out my window I woke up at 2:00am and there was an inch of snow on the ground. This morning it is almost gone with the wind. Zero dark thirty and I gotta go to work again.
  • As I ponder Our weekend was far more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. You know those moments around the table where you are laughing until tears spring from your eyes? That's the kind of weekend it was.
  • What I'm learning I am far more competitive that I think I am. My son and daughter-in-law have turned up the heat on the Fitbit challenge. Last night my dil told me she won't allow herself a glass of wine until she walks 10,000 steps. I get her!
  • What I'm creating I'm still working on that photo organization project. It was a mistake to start it but now I'm committed. What a mess. I'm not a quitter though so I will see it to the bitter end.
  • What I'm reading "Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey" by Jane Goodall (the monkey lady).
  • What I'm watching Absolutely nothing. No time, people.
  • What's on my camera Last Friday, I photographed an adoption. It was one of the best minutes of my week. I also caught this photo of my dog, Remi, on our trip home from Portland. It was her first long road trip. She was anxious for most it but settled down the last 30 minutes before arriving home.
  • What's happening in my kitchen I haven't been home since Saturday so I'm going to have to be creative tonight. I received a cookbook for Christmas that I am totally stoked about.  "The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook" from America's Test Kitchen. My 2017 goal is to make at least one new recipe every week. It's a lofty goal, I know. That's how I fly.
  • A quote I want to share "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." ~ Neil Garman
A final thought People surprise me.
love, susan

Friday, December 23, 2016

Bitter Sweets

Cactus surviving the snow.
Christmas week is always a bitter sweet week where I work. Co-workers are extra anxious for well-deserved days off, the dockets are small so we are able to catch up our work, and sometimes it is the only week of the year that I can completely clean out my inbox. Sweet.
Then there are the everyday stories of domestic violence and loss. Bitter. Inevitably, someone always needs a furlough at the last hour during Christmas week when the entire courthouse is short staffed. Yesterday was no exception. While all the t's were crossed and i's dotted, there was a little chink in the process. Luckily, one of my super awesome co-workers did her magic and the furlough happened without a further hitch. I watched the face of a mother go from very stressed to one of complete relief when she knew that we were going to take care of business for her. These are goose bump moments for me. Sweet.
All week my co-worker and I have had a lot of fun calling out "It's a Non-Denominational Miracle" every time something good happens. It's been a joke between us as we work in a government office where truly there is a separation of church and state, as it should be. Finding the good in what can sometimes be a very depressing work environment is what keeps me going. And, there is always something and some way to find good. We even said Merry Christmas a few times to those who wished it to us.
Last night, or rather early this morning, I woke at 3:00am due to insomnia I have been suffering through. I picked up my phone and learned that my former sister-in-law died last night after a two year battle with cancer. We've known her death was imminent for about 3 weeks now and I've used that time to reflect on my life, her life and our life as we knew it. Her death is bitter sweet. She had reportedly been in a lot of pain for a long time. I think most of us fear that. She is gone but will never be forgotten.
Today is a new day. I'm off today but I'm getting dressed and going to witness an adoption this morning. I've never attended one and since I was adopted myself, I'm excited to be on the other side watching this event. I photographed this family a couple weekends ago and can tell you I had goose bumps when I drove away. Such a good feeling.
I believe in the power of people to do good. It is all around us and it is infectious. Whether or not you believe in miracles, I hope you have the most wonderful denominational or non-denominational weekend. I hope the magic of Christmas blankets you in love and understanding for all others. I hope your bitter sweets are recognizable and that you find the good in everything.
love, susan 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Only Two Days to Solstice: My Life List

What's on my mind is two more days to the shortest day of the year. Time to do a year-end review of my life and that is only two weeks away. What's really on my mind is ... here she goes ... I'm tired of the name calling that has become the norm this political year. I am so disgusted with some of the words used to describe my political bent by so-called friends and family. If you think this is whining, you're one of those people I'm talking about. Stop it. You look uneducated when you talk this way. Please. Just stop. It's on both sides of the aisle. It's not just the other side. Did your mama raise you to talk about people this way?

See that white finger? This is what Raynaud's Syndrome
looks like. This is my hubby's finger that turned
completely cold just sitting in the house. Very painful.
What I learned this week is that heat pumps cannot keep up with extremely cold weather. Our temps dropped down to minus 4 on Saturday. Our indoor temp can barely hold at 53. Luckily, we have an oil radiator heater that kept our bedroom toasty warm. The weather will pass this week and we'll survive. Also, my hubby learned on Google that he can massage his finger to get the blood flow to it when it goes cold. (see photo) He has Raynaud's Disease. This is why we no longer ride motorcycles.

My weekend was interesting. I housesat for friends who are moving to the west side. They have three dogs, seven birds, and two chickens. We have had frigid weather so the water container kept freezing and I had to go out and change it a couple of times so the chickens didn't dehydrate. I know zero about chickens and I worried a lot about them. While I trekked in the snow out to the coop, I liked imagining I was a farmer's wife taking care of the morning chores. I am up before the chickens. This qualifies me, right?

A peek into this week
  • Survive this cold weather
  • Squeeze 40 hours of work into 32
  • Attend an adoption on Friday morning
  • Attend a potluck Friday afternoon
  • Maybe travel for Christmas depending on weather 
Happiness isn't having what you want, 
it's wanting what you have.
One final thought I miss Arizona.
love, susan

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pre-Solstice December Life List

As I Ponder the dwindling light it occurs to me it is only 9 more days until the winter solstice. Often it is only those who have lived in constant darkness who mark this important day.

The Weather is wintery today. Snow is coming down lightly and I will be taking the bus to work this week. It makes for a pretty backdrop for Christmas.

What I'm Learning When taking photos with a two year old, it pays to get down on the floor to their level. My best shots of a weekend session were done flat on my belly. I love clients who let me be myself so I can do what I need to do to get the job done.

What I'm Creating I'm still working on a project to get my old photos in order. It's a mess. This morning I woke up and decided to commit to working on it a little every day. I'm separating photos into envelopes with family names. My goal is to get some of these photos out to people who might enjoy having them in their collection and reducing my collection a bit.

What I'm Reading Still reading "This is Not the Story You Think It is". I was outside most of the weekend and didn't get much reading done. So many fun things to do, so little time.

What I'm Watching We decided to start a new series on Amazon Prime called "Goliath". It is really good! Billy Bob Thorton plays a washed out attorney who takes on the case of a lifetime and what follows is chaos and mystery.

What I'm Hearing My old dog Missy taking in relaxing, deep breaths as she settles in for the day.

What's on My Camera Oh, so many things. I got out over the weekend and did 4 shoots!
Tamales my friend gifted
 us with!

Happening in My Kitchen We're leftover kind of people. I make stuff on Sunday and we try to be a little creative during the week with items that are easy to heat up. This morning before work, I made a package of Bear Creek Cheesy Potato soup. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend it. We're not ones for package foods but this soup is incredible. It is thick and not overly salty. Paired with a salad, it is an easy Monday night supper. I will take it for lunch once or twice this week. Also, my friend gave us a dozen tamales so we'll have those with a salad one night. Friends invited us out for dinner on Thursday. Bam! Dinner problems solved.

Peek into My Week  I'm just going to work and keep chiseling away at that photo project at home. The short days and terrible weather make keep me pretty close to home.

A Quote I Want to Share  The body knows how to die. (unknown)  When I worked at hospice, I learned this from a nurse. I don't remember their name but it was explained to me that as much as the body knows how to be born, it knows what to do when it is time to die. I am comforted by this knowledge.

One Final Thought At one of my photo sessions this weekend, the people have a Rottweiler that is the sweetest thing on four legs. She warmed right up to me and I was honored to have her sit on my feet and lean into me as if we were one. I love dogs like that.

Bye for now.  love, susan

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mid Week Life List

LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW: Winter finally arrived. We had a skiff of snow yesterday and a big storm blowing in tomorrow which reportedly will bring more snow. It will make a nice picture.

AS I PONDER: This has been a hard week for some family members. It has been a reminder that we're not promised any tomorrows. This is my life. I need to live it the best I can today and not put off doing things.

WHAT I AM LEARNING: A lot of memories have been bubbling up lately. I don't know what that's all about but I'm learning to just let them be. I don't need to analyze it or be sad. I feel lucky that I can still remember some things.

WHAT I AM CREATING: I snagged a new pen pal this week. I made a nice greeting card and wrote a note to her. I used photos that I've printed and mounted on a background. Since it is Christmas season, I wrote my note in red and green pen.

WHAT I'M READING: I started a new book called This Story is Not What You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson. 

WHAT I'M WATCHING: I'm in Season 7 of Californication. I just want to finish it and move on. So many things lined up but I have to know how this ends.

WHAT I'M HEARING: The heater fan is running non-stop these days. Our temps are to go down into the teens next week. I long for the quiet days in between heater and a/c.  

WHAT'S ON MY CAMERA: I've been going through piles of old photos, trying to get them organized. 

 Aunt Elsie and Grandma W. 
My cousin and first hubby
My son's pizza delivery car
My brother-in-law and his beautiful family

Maybe these photos are why I've had so many memories bubbling up for the last two weeks. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN: Last weekend I made a slow cooker full of 13 Bean Soup that might be the best soup I've ever made. Or, I was just hungry for bean soup. I made a batch of fudge even though I told myself I wasn't going to make sweets for the holidays. The hubby needs to gain a little weight!

A QUOTE I WANT TO SHARE: When in doubt, don't.  - Susan Arthur

A PEEK INTO MY WEEK: Dog class tonight with "Remi". I don't have any photo shoots lined up for the weekend but hoping someone will humor me and want to go out in snow for photos. If not, I'll take the dogs out.

A FINAL THOUGHT:  Bonnie Raitt sang life gets mighty precious when there is less of it to waste on her Nick of Time album. Truer words have never been spoken.

How's your week going?

love, susan

Thursday, December 1, 2016

BLT Flashbacks

This photo was taken in the late 70's. I remember it like it was 5 minutes ago. Lately, I've had the weirdest memories bubble up. It's disturbing and wonderful at the same time.

Today, I had a strange one and feel the strong need to write it down.

When I met my first husband, I was working at a department store in retail sales. We met at a disco night club and were pretty much inseparable after that first dance. He was unemployed at the time, still living at home, and collecting unemployment checks. I can't even remember what kind of work he did but he drove a brown, Ford 4x4 and he was a fairly good dancer. Two qualities I'd still put on a wish list if I had to make one.

Since he was unemployed, he used to pick me up at lunch time and we'd drive down to C&J's Drive In for the absolute best BLT sandwich. I only had 30 minutes for lunch so I think he probably called it in and we'd run down to eat and get me back to work on time. I loved that. Today, I can picture all of it. The brown truck, the road to the drive-in, that beautiful BLT sandwich, and that hubby with his brown, curly-permed hair. I was crazy about that guy. As time went by, I hurt him deeply. I still bear the guilt of that even though he forgave me ... more than once.

I wrote earlier this week that my emotions are running the gamut. I wasn't kidding. Stuff like this has been coming up on a regular basis. It's hard for me to ignore it. I swear, I don't know where it comes from. I'm not into morbid reflection, I'm really not. But if I could only have the BLT memories, that'd be super. That's not how it  happens.

You know how they say if you do LSD that it will get stored in your fat cells and later come out of hiding and you'll have a flashback? That's what memories feel like sometimes. Like they've been sitting dormant for a long time and something in the brain shifts and they pop up out of seemingly nowhere. 


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...