Monday, May 22, 2017

When All is Said and Done ~ End of May Life List

Looking Out My Window Nothing but blue skies and smooth sailing. We are officially into summer weather now. Thank kuriste, as my husband would say. In our parts, we probably won't see rain until October.
 
As I Ponder The weekend was one whirlwind event after another. I did a maternity shoot early Saturday morning, then we drove to Portland to the celebration of life for my stepdaugther's mother. It is a 4-hour drive and we drove back late Saturday night. So glad we went. More on that in a minute.
 
What I'm Learning My photo shoot on Saturday gave me another excuse to keep practicing this photography thing. I am terrible at changing my settings with the changing light. We were out in the open at the beginning but ended up back in the trees and I forgot to change my settings. Dang it. I need to find a way to remind myself to do that every time I go out. Luckily, I got nearly 200 images and some really good ones so I'm not without nice photos to give them but still.
 
What I'm Creating  I planted flowers this weekend and I'm trying some new ones this year.
 
What I'm Reading I finished Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.  There is so much in the book that I highlighted and resonated with. The author is a recovered alcohol and meth addict. She speaks my language. One line from her book that I can get down with is I don't have to decide today that I'm doing this forever. As a matter of fact, I never have to decide that. I do this one day at a time. I am currently on Day 22 without any refined sugar or flour of any kind. Feeling great. The "Free" she talks about in the title of this book is, for me, freedom from that non-stop voice to keep eating.
 
What I'm Watching I never turned the TV on even once last week. Summer is here!
 
What's On My Camera I'm going to share one of my outtakes from the maternity session. Their dogs were wonderful but a bit playful and it was hard to get a everyone looking at me at once.
 
A Peek Into My Week I don't think I have one event on my schedule but the weather is forecasted to be in the 90's so I'll be spending some evenings outside soaking it up.
 
A Final Thought As we celebrated Wendy's life on Saturday, I was struck by how comfortable it felt to be there. I normally avoid funerals, baby showers and Tupperware parties like the plague. This was different. Just three weeks ago, it had been planned to be her birthday party. How quickly things changed and she died. Her daughter decided to go ahead and make it a birthday party/celebration of life. Pictures of Elvis were placed at one table. The last bottle of wine she had purchased the week before sat at another table, and her favorite homemade dinner by her sister of meatballs and spaghetti was enjoyed by many. Dessert was her favorite lemon meringue pie. She would have loved it. We need to celebrate more. And, often.
 
love, susan
 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

529 Working Days

That's right. I've got 529 official working days until I throw in the towel on this work thing. I have been thinking about retirement every single day since my good friends from high school have been ribbing me about it. 

I know I should be happy about it but truthfully I worry that I won't have enough structure in retirement. I've been getting up and going to work almost every day of my life since I turned 18, and even before then. I'm afraid I'll be like a fat kid in a candy store.  Don't have to get up, can stay in my jammies all day if I want. You know what I mean? 

The truth is I really like working most days. It's just that every day as I am walking out to the car, I see weeds that need pulled, I have guilt over not walking my dogs, and lots of stuff that needs to get done. 

I've had two full summers off in my 40 years of work life. One summer when my son was 12, I took a leave of absence to spend 3 months with him. We wrote a list of things we wanted to do that summer. It was terrific. We hiked, took picnics, went to the movies, rode our bikes. When I went back to work in September, I ended up leaving that job. I hadn't realized how stressful it had become until I took that hiatus. I ended up at the AG's office in the most boring job I've ever held. I had to learn how to pace down, which is really not my style. Thankfully, I had a hilarious co-worker who kept me in stitches. Mary, if you're reading this, thanks for the memories! 

Fast forward to my second summer off which turned into a 22,000 mile road trip to Alaska and then across the United States mid-states to West Virginia and home to Arizona via Florida, Mississippi, and the dreaded Texas. Best road trip EVER! Digital cameras were not quite afforadable then and I was too cheap to snap too many images. I'd like a do over on that.

What will I do in retirement? Well, I have 529 working days to think about that. Hopefully, my employer won't read this. They don't pay me for that. 

I've watched 5 women in my office retire in the last two years. I see the angst they suffer as it gets closer. I wonder how I can avoid that?

love, susan

Monday, May 15, 2017

Women Helping Women - A Post Mother's Day Life List

Looking Out My Window Sunshine. Beautiful sunshine.
 
As I Ponder The last 7 days have been a huge emotional roller coaster for my hubby and me. The mother of his children had been on hospice care since Christmas and she reached the end of her life this weekend. It was awful and it was beautiful. More on that in my final thoughts.
 
What I'm Learning Relationships in my life continue to rise to new levels that I never thought possible. At almost 58, I am awestruck by this.
 
What I'm Creating I'm putting together an album of photos I've taken over the last 3 years for a young person who is graduating from high school. In these digital days, hardly anyone makes prints but I'm going to do it because I think she'll treasure it later on in life.
 
What I'm Reading I'm almost finished with Bright Lines Eating by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. If you are reading this post and you have struggled with a sugar addiction, I highly recommend this book. It is a game changer!
 
What I'm Watching I watched Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime. I liked it. Many people did not.
 
What's on My Camera I shot this photo minutes after our loved one died yesterday. It had been cloudy all day and once she took her last breath, the sun appeared. She was not a sun worshipper like I am. It felt right that the sun shined after such an awful 7 days.
 
A Quote I Want to Share Sometimes all we can do is provide a warm silence to those who are grieving. This was said to me a very long time ago by a hospice co-worker. It came in handy this week.
 
A Peek Into My Week I'm going to enjoy all my waking moments. Life is to be lived.
 
A Final Thought I just came home from a quick trip to Portland to be of service to my stepdaughter as she cared for her dying mother at home. There had been a few other selfless helpers this week, along with her dad and aunt, to ease the burden. My timing was right for making the trip as I am not sure I could have held up under the amount of stress and sleep deprivation these events command. I became the coffee maker, the laundry doer, the grocery shopper, and at the end a helper in one last bed change before it was over. I was most struck by watching her and her aunt's hands as they lovingly held another mother's hand, stroked her hair, kissed her forehead during her last hours here on earth. It seemed no coincidence that she died on Mother's Day. Women helping women. Mothers helping mothers. Being born and giving birth is not easy and neither is dying, most times. We really don't know what we're made of until our backs are up against the wall. I'm so proud of my stepdaughter and her unfailing commitment to see her mother to the end, in a place she wanted to be, under the most trying circumstances. I'll never forget the images of yesterday. And, to the other women helpers who came to encourage, give hugs, make us laugh, cry with us ... every person had a part. I love that.
 
love, susan
 
 
 

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Day, New Week: A Life List

Looking Out the Window Clear, blue skies! We had a huge lightening and thunder storm blow through here Thursday night that was spectacular but it dumped a bit of rain in its path and a cold air trailed it. This week promises warmer temps all the way up to 86 on Wednesday.
 
As I Ponder I have a saying that I learned from my son that has helped me through a tremendous amount of things in my life. New day. That's it. Simple and complete. Sometimes I can drag stuff around like a sack of rocks for too long and it is exhausting. Today is a new day. Blank page. I'm gonna fill it with color and love!
 
What I'm Learning I've been shooting photos for an animal rescue group the last month and it has spurred growth for me. Last week, I was given a short list of shot types they would like to have for images. I printed it and took it with me so I could work hard to get the shots they want. Yesterday I was introduced to a Mastiff! After about 30 minutes of trying to get this girl to lose her frown, her foster mom said that's how they look all the time. Good to know! My thought process shifted and I quit trying to get an expression that was never going to come. I'm a slow learner.
 
What I'm Creating With this new volunteer venture, I started an online folder for all the rescues I'm photographing. The rescue lady said she is hoping to do a calendar this year so she wants me to set aside images that might go in the calendar. Squeeeeee!
 
What I'm Reading Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.  I am a third of the way in and let me tell you that I am savoring every word in this book. Today will be Day 8 with no refined sugar or flour of any kind. I was ready for this change. More on this later. This book deserves its own blog post.
 
What I'm Watching I watched several episodes of Grace & Frankie this weekend. I have fallen in love with this series. There are so many things I can relate to in it and for those of us older women, there many taboo subjects addressed in this funny drama. I LOVE IT.
 
What's On My Camera
 
A Quote I Want to Share From Bright Line Eating ... the state I was left in between fixes absolutely felt like the absence of pleasure .... I would have to go get more to escape.  Not to get high, but to get normal. When we look at food, it's the exact same story.
 
A Peek Into My Week I've got a lunch date with a long-time friend. She has invited me to her house for a home-cooked lunch. It will be nice to have her undivided attention. We rarely see each other and it is always in the company of other people. I'm hoping to get some flowers put in and spend some time outdoors with my dogs.
 
A Final Thought I am taking a different approach to things this week. Attitude is everything. I am continually surprised by the events that cause me to grief. I'm having some growing pains but I'll survive them ... with grace and dignity. I'm grateful for the good friends I have who help me through.
 
love, susan

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day, May Day ~ Life List

Looking Out My Window We are going into the 90's this week. My kind of weather. Too bad I'll be sitting behind a desk but the good news is that it is perfect weather for being outdoors after 5.
 
As I Ponder I had a great weekend. Saturday was spent all day at the dog adoption event at Columbia Park. I picked up Buddy at 7:30am and he was with me until 2:30pm. He was the best dog ever! Lots of dogs were adopted at the event and there certainly was interest in Buddy but he won't get to go home with just anyone. The screening process is rigorous, as it should be. He deserves a one-time, forever home. Photo below.
 
What I Am Learning I've been suffering insomnia all winter and it appears it won't be going away anytime soon. I think this is my new normal. As long as I can catch a second wind late in the afternoon, I can keep going. It helps to have plans in the evenings. Once I sit down, it's over.
 
What I'm Creating I had my camera out on Saturday and took some photos for the rescue team I recently got involved with. Love love LOVE taking photos of dogs. I've created a folder in my OneDrive for this organization and perhaps later on I'll do something creative with all my favorite photos. I have about a dozen or more black and whites hanging up at my friends' doggie daycare and have been receiving a lot of interest from people wanting their dogs photos taken. I had some business cards made up and my friends will hand them out. At this time, I am not interested in shooting for $$ but I put on the card "Will Work for Coffee". I hope I collect enough coffee cards to get keep me in tall lattes for the next year. Barb, if you are reading this, that's progress for me!
 
What I'm Reading Just downloaded a new book called Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free. I'm not going to talk much about it here but I'll say that today is Day 1 of a 30 day commitment to cutting flour and sugar completely out of my diet. I'm taking it one day at a time. I'll get back to you on this at the end of 30 days.
 
What I'm Watching The only show I watched this week was CBS Sunday Morning, which happens to be the only program I will purposely watch. They featured Hall & Oates for their musical guest. Loved it!
 
What's On My Camera I feel like I'm coming alive again after a seriously long, hard winter. I'm keeping my battery charged because people are ready for pictures. 
 
A Quote I Want to Share
It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.  ~ Proverb quotes 
  
A Peek Into My Week I am going to watch a friend at her first day of doggie training on Wednesday. She is adopting a hound dog! I'll get photos and bring them back here for next week. It will be nice to go to class and have my hands free to take pictures. I am having lunch today with a friend at work who is leaving for another job. My co-worker who sits next to me is going to move to another position after this week. I'm going to try to not be sad about it but I adore her and will miss her bright light every day. I have photo shoots set up for next weekend, both days. I love having plans!
 
A Final Thought Need more coffee, please.
 
love, susan

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Makes Your Soul Smile?

On my recent trip to Nashville, I learned a bit about the music industry that I may have not otherwise learned had it not been for my friend Caroline's husband, pictured below. We got to sit in his recording studio Mainframe Recording Studio for about 20+ minutes and I wasted no time asking for answers to many questions. I hope you'll enjoy my take on it, and more importantly, I hope you'll think about what it is you do every day that makes your soul smile.
 
PART I:  THE CONSOLE pictured here is connected to many wires and microphones that feed into the computer. There are so many knobs & slides along with multi-colored lights up on the screen that it is intimidating to the naked eye. Remember back in the day when they recorded music in tracks? From what I could gather it is still done that way except it is all computerized. It wasn't until he took me into the actual recording room that I finally connected all the dots. The thing that helped the light bulb go on for me was when he showed me where  the drummer sits in a completely different room with microphones positioned to pick up all the beats from the various sized drums and symbols. It makes sense to me now that if the drummer were in the same room with the other musicians and singer, those microphones would pick up the drum sounds. No bueno!
 
While I didn't get to see any recording going on, I could picture it in my mind. From beginning to end, if I have this right, a musician gets onto the recording schedule, the players show up, they make the music and then Nathan masters all the sounds so that what you hear is what the musician imagined it to be. It is the collective effort between artists that is fascinating to me.  I asked questions as quickly as I could think of them, sensing that he was itching to get back to his work. I asked Nathan if he is perfectionist and he unequivocally, without pause, said "no". I was not surprised by this. He is an artist who has polished his craft. He has been doing this work on this side of 30 years.
PART II: THE MUSICIAN dropped by while we were there the next day. You see, Nathan's studio is also his home. He lives and breaths this business. He works every single day. When he is not recording and mixing, he is drumming at various gigs and always with the band at church twice on Sundays. Tom Shed, musician, promoter, (see his interview with Veteran's News Now) and an obvious dear friend to Nathan and Caroline, stopped in to say Hey while he was in town from his home in Florida. Tom has two CD's out and was recently featured in a local Nashville entertainment magazine. He had appointments with some people in Nashville but took the time to drop in to the studio to catch up with Nathan. I took the opportunity to ask as many questions as I could fit into the limited time we had.
 
The first thing I noticed about Tom is he is left-handed. I have a theory that the most beautifully gifted people are lefties. Sue me if I'm wrong. Tom came to tell Nathan that he is on his way to Europe for a few engagements there. Why go all the way to Europe, I asked. Well, it turns out that the music industry is completely different there and his music is being played and he's going with that. If I heard him correctly, DJ's in Europe have creative license to play more than just top 40. Here in the United States, not so much. Tom is a singer/songwriter who wants to get the story right. He writes about true life. At the end of my grilling, he brought out his guitar and sang Davey's Cornet from his CD with the same name. As we parted ways, Caroline said, "hope to see you at church" and you know what? He was there!

MY TAKEAWAY  Being in Nashville for a couple of days was enlightening. There are bars all up and down a street or two where one can walk in at any time of day and find someone singing, relying only on tips to survive in a city that is growing by 100 people a day. The fact that a recording artist and a singer/songwriter are still doing the deal and smiling about it tells me that it is more than 'work' to them. It is a way of life.
 
When we visited The Ryman and The Grand Ole Opry for shows, there were many artists who are in their late 70's still suiting up and showing up. Why do they do it?  I suspect music is in their blood. 
 
What is in your blood?

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

W is for Waffles #AtoZChallenge

Our grandkids used to come spend a week at spring break and another week in the summer at our house. I loved it because we could get crazy with cooking things they chose. This day, we made waffles with store bought cinnamon rolls. You can see they met his seal of approval.
 
The grandkids are now teenagers and we've fallen off the radar for awhile. I'm glad I have images from the times we've spent together. I've always known that time flies and tried to make the most of our visits. Still ... I wish for some of those days back.
 
Do you have photos of special moments with people? Do you ever go back and think about those days?
 
love, susan

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for Vino on the Vine #AtoZChallenge

Washington and Oregon have been made famous for their wines. Before I moved to Washington, I had never seen a grape vine. There are miles and miles of grape vines in our area which makes for fun photography. It's exciting to watch them grow in stages throughout the summer and capture the rich colors in the late fall. In some places, the air is thick with an aroma that reminds me of my childhood and Welch's grape juice. There are dozens of wineries here and it has become a huge tourist trade.
 
Do you have an industry that has made your state famous? Do you have a favorite wine? Do you love Welch's grape juice? 
 
love, susan
 
 
 
 

There's No Place Like Home: April 2017 Life List

Looking Out My Window The wispy clouds are providing a backdrop for a beautiful sunrise. We're expecting big winds today but at least it is not raining at the moment.
 
As I Remember  Last week was spent in Nashville with two wonderful friends. It's hard to watch time fly at my age but I am keenly aware of it so I try not to waste a minute of it on negativity or doing things I don't want to do. I found myself enjoying 5 days with people who love life and were not afraid to talk about it. I love those conversations where tears flow, then laughter, then more tears. It's a truth that is hard to find in friends.
 
What I'm Learning I don't travel by air very often and feel like I am way behind the times with paperless tickets. I booked my trip in two legs but discovered I could have done it all in one reservation so that I didn't have to confirm twice and could get just one boarding pass. I tried to use my phone as my boarding pass but because I had screen shot the wrong leg of the trip, it was a fail. Luckily, I had a paper boarding pass for back up.
 
What I'm Creating I have done nothing too creative the last week but I did get to "interview" two guys in the music business last week while in Nashville. One guy is behind the scenes recording/mixing music, the other is a singer/songwriter who has been in the business many years. I hope to write about those interviews soon before I forget everything I learned. Between the two, I have something to say.
 
What I'm Reading I tried to read on the airplane but could not focus. I started Alec Baldwin's Nevertheless: A Memoir.  
 
What I'm Watching On my travel home from Nashville, I rented a tablet and watched Why Him? A very funny comedy starring James Franco and Bryan Cranston (from Breaking Bad). A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter's Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question. Loved it!

What's On My Camera

From Nathan Smith's recording
studio. I loved the equipment!


Taken at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
in Nashville
My favorite friend photo of this trip!
(L to R: Kathy, Caroline, and me)



My rhodi bloomed while I was gone
but still are hanging in.

Quote I Want to Share:
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”
 ~ Thomas Merton
 
A Peek Into My Week Well, I don't have a lack of work on my desk. We're going into the busy season at the prosecutor's office. Spring brings out the criminal in people. We're having dinner tonight with an out of town friend (Kristin) we haven't seen in far too many years. On Saturday, I am walking a foster dog in the Annual Pet Adoption Day at the park. Great event that usually adopts out 40-70 dogs in one day.
 
A Final Thought I really enjoyed my visit to Nashville. The most memorable thing about it is the politeness of people there. It is truly contagious. On this short visit, I could picture myself living there. I loved everything about it. I could see making another trip there but I would go in May next time. We got rained on, and not just drizzle rain (it was the kind that flows in the streets), for 3 days so I didn't get a chance to photograph places I might have otherwise. I'm back to work and have lots to do here at home and while I always love traveling to other places, there is no place like home.
 
love, susan

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for Unlimited Love #AtoZChallenge

This image was taken at our local annual pet adoption day. I got some great shots that day but this one gets me in the feels every time I scroll past it. There was a couple looking at this dog to adopt. This moment that I captured is, to me, priceless. They ended up adopting this little one. Who wouldn't?
 
Do you have dogs? Can you relate to this image?
 
love, susan

Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Trips #AtoZChallenge

Earlier in this blog series, I mentioned I love Spokane. This was taken at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, one of my favorite day trips. There is so much see in and near this great city that I think we could go every weekend and find something new. Besides Manito Park, the downtown area is fun to explore with its tall brick buildings and beautiful landscape. The restaurants and cafes offer great city cuisine that I don't find  where we live. They also have a Trader Joe's, which I try to visit every time we go. I never turn down an offer to drive to Spokane for the day.
 
Another 15 miles east of Spokane is the lovely town of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which is a sweet little town to visit. Both cities make for a nice Sunday drive.
 
Have you ever been to Spokane or Coeur d'Alene? Do you have a favorite go-to place? Let's bring back the Sunday drive, shall we?
 
love, susan
 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for SuddenlySusan #AtoZChallenge


Hi everyone, that's me! My hubby and I were out on a motorcycle ride this day in 2008. We live in eastern Washington where I love the hot, dry weather in the summers. I remember how it felt when he shot this photo. There was a slight wind blowing wonderful, hot air in my face. Behind me is the Columbia River gorge. When we got home, my hubby pointed out the animal carcass that was 3 feet from me in this photo. Eeeks!
 
By now, you may (or not) have wondered why I named my blog Freezerburned. I grew up in Alaska and left when I was 42. I've never had the urge to go back. I hate being cold and never want to feel that cold again. SuddenlySusan is an old nickname but it is one that says a lot about me.
 
Can you guess what kind of animal that was? Do you have a story in you? What's the story behind your blog name? Do you have a nickname?
 
love, susan


Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for Rest Stop #AtoZChallenge


This is Starvation Creek on I-84 in the gorge, not far east of Portland. My hubby and I like to make a rest stop and bathroom break here on our way home from visiting family. This place has provided me many opportunities for photo images to add to my files. There is a nice trail we can walk to stretch our legs before we continue the 4 hour trip home. In the 8+ years we've been driving to Portland, we never pass by this beautiful place without stopping. It is an unspoken rule.
 
Do you have favorite places where you love to stop? Do you have driving rules?
 
love, susan

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for Quote #AtoZChallenge

Oh, the things you find when you visit the cemetery!
 
I love this quote.
 
My photo walking buddy and I often have no idea what we're going to shoot when we go out together. The idea of photo walking came from the local digital photography club we belonged to. They held a photo scavenger hunt in the park once. Ever since that event, my mind was opened to the possibilities of what I can see when I go looking.
 
What is your favorite quote? Do you find great quotes in odd places? Have you ever been on a photo scavenger hunt? Idea: It would be great thing to do with the grand kids who have cell phone cameras!
 
love, susan

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for Pure Joy #AtoZChallenge

This image is from an afternoon trip we took to the country for a visit. It is not often I am envious of other people's material things but I'll admit I felt jealous over the acreage these dogs enjoy every day. I have 3 dogs and it takes a concerted effort to get them to a wide open space to run. Sometimes I feel like I've cheated them out of a very good life for that reason alone. Otherwise, they couldn't have it any better. When I do take my dogs out, I wonder if they later dream about running free like this image.  I would.
 
Do you have a place for your dogs to run? Do you ever have guilt about not getting them out enough?  Have your felt envious of other people's stuff?
 
love, susan

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O for Orange #AtoZChallenge

Our local library has a beautiful community volunteer garden. We had lived here 3 years before I heard about it. It has become one of my favorite local locations for taking photos of friends and is where I shot this image. The colors change with the seasons. This winter some friends wanted to do outdoors photos there because we had an unusual amount of snow. They all dressed up in their Sunday best and met me at the garden. The session was fairly quick because I don't cold much any more.
 
There is so much see in this world when I take the time to stop and investigate.
 
Does your hometown have a community garden? Do you have a favorite place you like to visit locally that maybe you didn't know about for a long time? Are there places you haven't visited in your town or city but have always wanted to? What keeps you from going?

love, susan





Monday, April 17, 2017

April Showers and All That ~ Life List

Peeking Out the Window It is raining this morning. Sure glad my lawn got mowed yesterday. It is looking lush right not but by July it will just be a memory. The forecast says it will be 72 here on Wednesday. I'll be somewhere else.
 
As I Ponder My weekend was full of big fun. We drove out to the country to visit some friends who just acquired three miniature ponies. Squeee! They are in need of socializing and I am the right girl for that job. One of them followed me out into the arena and eventually let me place my hands on her so I could give her face and ears a nice massage. Heaven! I got to use a de-shedder on another one of the ponies. Pulling shedding hair from animals is such a satisfying task. I could do it all day.
 
What I'm Learning Saturday night I did a prom photo shoot for my friend and her friends who are graduating this year. There were 18 of them! I asked my friend Ashley to come be a second shooter and since she is also a senior and goes to the same school, she knew almost everyone's names. This proved to be valuable as it was like herding cats. We each got about 250 shots and some really nice ones emerged. Having help is something I'll keep doing.
 
What I'm Creating Last night I made a skillet lasagna from an old Cook's Illustrated magazine. I haven't made a new recipe in a long time. It turned out great and will be even better today, I'm sure. It made a lot so I froze 3 containers for lunches later this month.
 
What I'm Reading/Watching I only turned the TV on once this weekend to watch my all-time favorite show CBS Sunday Morning. I especially love the musicians they have every week. They interviewed Ricky Martin and it was wonderful. He is better than ever! I have a book picked out for my long plane ride to Nashville this week.
 
What's On My Camera Now that the weather has warmed up, I was out 3 times last week. Everything else goes to the wayside when I'm in photographer mode. This is a good thing!
 
A Quote I Want to Share 
“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
– Zig Ziglar
 
A Peek Into My Week  Nashville, Tennessee tomorrow!
 
A Final Thought I just finished a dog training course with a great group of dog handlers. Every time I came home from class, I reflected on how all of us, including our dogs, gained confidence each time we attended. On another note, I'm flying out tomorrow to meet a friend in Seattle to spend the night and then we're flying to Nashville together. I hate flying, not because of the actually flying but because of all the things electronic these days and passing through security. I always feel like cattle. Ugh. I lose sleep over it. I'll feel better when I'm in the seat and that plane is pointed east.
 
love, susan



N for Not Forgotten #AtoZChallenge

This is my friends' dog, Hercules, who died at a much too young age. I had seen him probably a week before he took ill and the vet just couldn't save him. I was honored and glad that I had images of him when they asked so they could choose one to place on the little wooden box urn with his ashes. You can see he was a beautiful example of the beagle breed. I love this image because I feel like I can see right to his heart through his beautiful eyes. And, you should have felt how soft those ears were. Gone but not forgotten.
 
If you've kept up with my A to Z so far, you can see that documenting life is important. Do you take photos for other people? 
 
love, susan

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M for Married in Michigan #AtoZChallenge

This photo was taken one night while I was taking a walk with my son and my lovely daughter-in-law in old town Lansing. There was a wedding reception going on in the building to the right of this car where the window was the full face of the store front and we could see the wedding party dancing. My son was horrified that I would even think about lifting my camera to take their picture so I relented and just captured the car instead. When I look at it, I remember that walk with my kids. It was a really special trip.
 
Do you have moments in time that you remember vividly? Do you have a photo of it?
 
love, susan
 
 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Lady Rider

Yesterday, I sold my motorcycle.
 
I know it was the right time to do it. I have been thinking about giving up motorcycling for two years now. I rode twice last spring and she has sat in the garage since then. A friend had posted online he was looking for a ride for a friend so I mentioned I was selling mine. She sold quickly.
 
As a goodbye to a very good part of my recent life, I wrote a letter to the young lady who is beginning her riding life. It felt good to pass on what I've learned from great biker friends on the road.  Oddly, I don't feel sad about giving up something that I truly loved doing. The time feels right for me. If you are one of my biker friends reading this, I thank you for all the wisdom you've imparted on me.

Dear Lady Rider:
 
I am thrilled you are just starting your journey on the road with this motorcycle.  This bike has taken me all over the state of Washington and a bit of Arizona. The best part of riding is the friends you’ll meet along the way. Bikers are the best people on the planet and now you are one!
 
This bike has a smaller gas tank than some of the people you’ll be riding with. My advice to you is to always top off the tank before you start out on a ride. Make sure you know what the plans are for your ride of the day so you can figure out where you need to stop for gas.  There is no light that comes on when you need to make the switch to your reserve tank. Make sure you always reset your trip meter so you’ll know exactly how many miles you have on a tank. You’ll get approximately 145 miles out of the main tank and when it is empty, you’ll have to reach down with your left hand and move the switch to the reserve tank. Robert will show you!  PRACTICE this before you need to do it on the road. Practice just moving your left hand down and finding the switch so that if it happens to run out of gas, you’ll feel confident about switching the tank to reserve. You MUST remember to switch it back when you fill up. Second advice on gas is fill up at the end of your ride so you are ready to go when someone calls and says LET’S RIDE TODAY!
 
Some things I’ve learned over the years are things other bikers taught me. I’ll try to remember a few here to pass on to you but I sure don’t know everything so listen when you are out with your biker friends. They know things!
Y   Start out riding around the block, use your signals, figure out your brakes. Then turn around and ride the other way. Just keep making your circle bigger and bigger and soon you’ll be out on the highway. It’s okay to be scared. Practice, practice, practice!
Y   Have your eyes open for gravel. Gravel is like ice. The first time you slip on it, you’ll know what I mean. The first time it happened to me coming out of a parking lot, I slipped and my first instinct was to put my foot down on the ground. Big mistake. It hurt. But I didn’t go down. J
Y   You’ll likely have bees fly up your sleeve or down your jacket. You must be a tough girl and grit your teeth. There is no room to panic when you are on a motorcycle. I’ve been stung a couple of times, once on the neck. That is nothing compared to what it’s going to feel like if you go down from panic.
Y   Carry a hoodie in your bag for times when you think it is warmer than it really is.
Y   Always wear your leathers even when you think it’s too hot. Summer time is for vests. BUT, if you happen to go out without a vest, never wear a shirt with buttons.  Tuck your shirt in or it will be flapping in the wind and you’ll be mad at yourself.
Y   Never ride when you are tired, hungry or distracted by chaos in your life. You need a clear head that is focused on the road. Before every ride, I always said a little prayer to the motorcycle gods to please let me have a clear head, a safe ride and good weather.
Y   Weather.  Always check the weather before you go out on a ride. You do not want to get caught in wind and rain. But if you do get caught in bad weather, constantly assess the situation and don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sitting it out for awhile”. There is no shame in that.
Y   RIDE YOUR SKILL.  A local guy said this to me one time when I was going out with a huge group (18 bikes!). What this means is … don’t get cocky or follow the crowd if they are doing stupid shit. You’ll find people who want to take risks. You do not have to follow them.
Y   Carry cash in your pocket just in case your credit/debit card doesn’t work at the gas station. Shell is famous for letting you fill up once and then at the next stop your card won’t work. Also, bikers stop a lot for lunch!
Y   Carry a bottle of Gatorade and a snack in your bag. Summer heat is brutal and you want to stay hydrated and not let your blood sugar get low. J
Y   Most of all, have big fun!

L is for Love With Skin #AtoZChallenge

As part of my series in the A to Z Challenge, here is L.

This is my friend, Rosemary, with some of her reasons for living. When we get invited to go out to her place, I always take my shooter and I am never disappointed with my takes. She is a great subject because she doesn't pay any attention to my lens and just carries on with the business of feeding and loving her animals. As you can see, the love is mutual.
 
Who is your love with skin?
 
love, susan

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for Kids #AtoZChallenge

This post is in my April series of A - Z Challenge.

Kids Spell Love: 
T - I - M - E
 
When I'm carrying a camera, I see things I may miss otherwise. Most times I go out in the world with zero expectations about what I'll find to shoot. It's better that way. Keeping an open mind and a ready camera is best when looking for messages. This may have been taken on a long road trip, or a Sunday drive. I don't remember.
 
Do you go on Sunday drives?
Where do you go?
Do you pack a picnic?
Do you take pictures?
 
love, susan

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J is for Japanese Garden #AtoZChallenge

We're halfway through the A - Z Challenge and this is perhaps my favorite photo in this series.

My favorite destination these days is the Manito Park gardens in Spokane, Washington. Pictured here is the Japanese Garden, which is one of several themed patches of beauty in this park. When I visit any botanical gardens, the Japanese garden is always my favorite, followed closely by butterfly houses. This image was shot on a clear September day. I wish you could see the rest of this park ... you'd be amazed! Just writing this makes me want to get in the car and go tomorrow.
 
Do you have a botanical garden near where you live?  Have you ever visited a botanical garden?  
 
love, susan

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for In Lansing, Michigan #AtoZChallenge

I know.  My "I" is a stretch.

I've only been twice but I love the capital building in Lansing, Michigan. It is set dead-center of a street where I can go stand in the middle of a mini garden to shoot a pic. This one I took on our last trip there in May, after having dinner with our kids at a downtown watering hole. I wish you could see the inside of this historic building. It is worth half a day to venture through. I'd like to think most capital buildings are worth seeing.
 
Have you been to your state's capital building? Did you go inside? Did you think about all the laws that are made there, and how it must feel to have that for a work place?
 
love, susan

Almost Mid April Haven't Finished the Taxes Life List

As I Look Out the Window the sunrise is promising a beautiful day. It's still colder than usual in the mornings but gradually warming every day. Too early to plant but it won't be long now until it's safe.

As I Ponder My week has already started out at a full run. I leave next week for my Nashville trip and have many things to do before now and then. I wish not to stress over any of it. Perhaps today I should make a list of to-do's.

What I'm Learning I got hit hard with allergies last Thursday. I suffered all weekend until a good friend turned me on to a peppermint essential oil she whipped up for me. I place a drop under each nostril and it truly does have amazing healing power. Mostly, it cleared my head. I hate taking chemical for such things so this new cure interests me.

What I'm Creating I took my dog out over the weekend to do a little agility. I'm trying to create a better behaved dog. Working with her makes it easier to have her in the house. She needs the mental stimulation. I also went out to a friend's house last night for a photo shoot with her animals. My friend is an artist and wanted some frames she could use to draw her fur babies. Fun was had!

What I'm Watching Saturday was a movie marathon day as my allergies kept me down. We watched 4 movies: The Untouchable, Take, and I can't remember the other two. Also, we are a couple episodes into Grace & Frankie on Netflix ... loving that!

What's On My Camera Now that the weather is better, I'm getting more time outdoors. This is from my shoot last night out at the farm. 

A Quote I Want to Share
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm - Henry David Thoreau
 
 
A Final Thought There may not be enough coffee in the world this week as I zip through it. Work is getting busier with spring and drunk drivers. I like to be busy but wanna stay on top of things. New day. Woke up with a good attitude and hoping it lasts me the entire week. That's all.

love, susan

Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for He Who Humors Me #AtoZChallenge

My hubby is a great sport when it comes to having his picture taken. I discovered this location near the airport where the backgrounds are colorful and run down. I wanted to test it before I took a family there for a photo shoot. Since this day, I've taken quite a few people to this great location for a shoot. I keep thinking I should start a file listing my favorite locations but haven't done it yet.
 
Do you have favorite places you go to take photos? Do you have a favorite spot where you write or make art or read?
 
love, susan
 
 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G is for Get the Shot #AtoZChallenge


The Saturday Market in Pasco, Washington is a great place to go for colorful shots. I truly love to capture people randomly but I'm still a big scaredy cat when it comes to asking permission to take a stranger's photo. So, I stand back with a long lens. 
 
What is it about your craft that scares you? 
 
love, susan

Friday, April 7, 2017

F is for Flight #AtoZChallenge


Every April, the pelicans fly in for fishing at a levy near my home in Eastern Washington. I never tire of traveling out to Horn Rapids to watch them eat and fly. I didn't realize how magnificent these birds are until I saw them form a ballet in the sky. My favorite scene is when they come in for landing. By this time of year, the temperatures are perfect for bird watching and definitely a welcome sight after a long week at the office.
 
I'm grateful to have a hobby that takes me outdoors to see the wonders in this world. Sometimes I have to shoot a hundred frames to get one good shot. I don't mind.
 
What is your favorite hobby? Tell me about it!
 
love, susan
 


Thursday, April 6, 2017

E is for Evening Shoot #AtoZChallenge

This is a young friend I've been photographing for two years. She loves to find new locations and took me to a sand dune near my house last fall to shoot senior pics. How I have lived here for 8 years and did not know about this spot is beyond me. We had been shooting all afternoon and this was our last stop in a race against sundown. I love how this one turned out. It doesn't hurt that she is the cutest thing on two legs.
 
This day reminded me how important it is to have friends of all ages and from all walks of life. They know things.
 
What have you learned from your friends? Do you find new places where you live and wonder how it escaped you?
 
love, susan


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Day Trips #AtoZChallenge


 
 
This image is from a day trip my buddy and I took to Spokane. She hadn't been up there for at least 20 years and I don't need much of an excuse to get in the car to go. We visited the riverfront in downtown Spokane as well as Manito Park, Trader Joe's, and the downtown U.S. Post Office (great old federal building). She loved going to Trader Joe's maybe the most.

On this day, we went into the old post office to see what kind of photos we could capture. This post office has those original vintage mailbox doors with gold colored combination locks on them. They don't make them like that anymore.

This photo conjures up great memories of that day.
 
Do you ever take day trips?
 
love, susan
 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for Cemeteries #AtoZChallenge



My photo walking buddy and I visited several cemeteries in October one year. It may seem odd to some but we're always looking for new ideas and since Halloween was upon us, the thought didn't seem too far fetched. We had a blast!
 
I've always been intrigued by morbid things. The most frightening thing to me are the tall statues at cemeteries that seem to be looking right at me. I still get the chills when I view this one.
 
Did you ever watch Dark Shadows back in the day? Do you ever visit cemeteries to read the old head stones?
 
love, susan

Monday, April 3, 2017

First Week of April ~ Life List

Outside it is almost light at 6:15am. The mornings are still crisp but the temperatures are climbing into the 60's here in eastern Washington. The tulips are almost blooming.
 
As I Ponder My life has gotten busy all of a sudden. We were out every night last week doing something. I don't mind. I'd rather be busy.
 
What I'm Learning I finished all my posts for the April A to Z Challenge so now I can sit back and read a lot of other blogs. Saturday was the first day for posting and I added several blogs to my reading list. In the past, I've tried to write my posts the day it was due and it was a struggle. Much better to be prepared ahead of time.
 
What I'm Creating I've been outside every day cleaning up the old, dead leaves and trimming down the dead stems on my herb plants. I'm dreaming about what I'll plant this year.
 
What I'm Watching We finished Season 2 of Better Call Saul (loved it!). I started Frankie & Grace, which looks like it is going to be good. The first episode had me laughing and crying.


What's On My Camera We went to Pendleton, Oregon yesterday on a Sunday drive. We took a short walk on the river front because it is still slightly chilly. I got 3 shots with my camera and called it good.
 
 A Quote I Want to Share
Spring is nature's way of saying 'Let's Party'. ~ the late Robin Williams
 
A Peek Into My Week My hubby has to do a stress test this morning. He had a heart attack 3 years ago and I'm glad this doctor is pro-active with his treatment. The nuclear stress test is the best technology available to give the doctor a look at the heart and arteries. No caffeine for 24 hours.
 
A Final Thought I'm getting pretty jazzed about my trip to Nashville in a couple weeks. My step-daughter suggested I look at Pinterest for ideas about restaurants and things to do while there. I never thought about looking there but it was a great suggestion. You can find anything on Pinterest! Who knew.
 
That's all.
love, susan