Friday, December 29, 2017

Dance Fever

New Year's is perhaps my second favorite holiday with 4th of July being first. I love to dance with my hubby and there are not  many opportunities to do that throughout the year since we are not bar patrons. Our friends put on a big dance for NY's and it's always a good time. I am especially looking forward to it this year since I've shed nearly 40 lbs. of groceries. Over the last 9 years, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with him on the dance floor as I often get overheated and can't catch my breath.
The DJ at our dances is always open to suggestions for songs to add to his playlist. I've been working on that this morning. Here's what I have so far:
  • Get Down Tonight (KC & The Sunshine Band)
  • September (Earth Wind & Fire)
  • Nobody Knows (Tony Rich Project)
  • She is His Only Need (Wynonna)
  • Three Times a Lady (The Commodores)
  • Sail On (The Commodores)
  • Missing You (Alison Krauss & John Waite)
  • Gonna Make You Sweat (C & C Music Factory)
  • Shake Your Booty (KC & The Sunshine Band)
  • Love Will Keep Us Alive (Eagles)
  • Sugar (Maroon 5)
  • Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5)
  • Celebration (Kook & The Gang)
  • Kiss (Prince) maybe not a great dance song but I LOVE IT!
  • Beast of Burden (The Rolling Stones)
  • We Are Family (Sister Sledge)
  • Footloose (Kenny Loggins)
  • Mustang Sally (The Commitments)
What are your favorite dance songs?
love, susan

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Changing It Up

I'm 3 days away from taking a month-long hiatus from social media. I'm not sure now how many years in a row I've done this but I am truly looking forward to it. By the time I get to the place where I know I need the break, I'm already spending way too much time on FB. I had a sweet conversation with a co-worker yesterday who hasn't been on FB for a very long time. She says she reads more national news in her spare time and that makes her happy. And, then another co-worker says she doesn't get invited to some events because she isn't on FB. There is that. Hope my friends don't forget me in a whole month. But, mostly I wonder what I'll accomplish by not staring at my screen constantly.
Anyway, I'm also changing up my weekly life list because I have been a bit bored with my previous format. Everything is subject to change, ya know. I'm also going to focus on reading, writing, and photography in January and try to bring it back here.
Until then, I'm going into 2018 with my new theme word, resist. This word has so many possibilities.
  • temptations
  • too many commitments
  • negativity
  • hoarding
  • consumerism
  • boredom
  • race brain
I'm excited to see where 31 days of change will take me. In the meantime, I hope I can come back here and have something to write about. I've been in a real funk lately. The only way I know to get out of it is to get out of the house and take road trips on the weekends. Drive down a road I've never been on. Have coffee in a store front I always pass by. Talk to people. Change the font. Walk a different route. Move my furniture. Clean out the fridge.
What do you do to get out of a funk?
love, susan

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Weighing In On Sexual Harrassment

Yesterday I had Christmas lunch with several, long-time friends from my fellowship. There were lots of faces I knew and some I didn't. As often happens, a guy I've never met before sat down next to me at our table. Hubby was to my left. It wasn't a few minutes into our first conversation that guy I've never met before put his hand on my shoulder during conversation. It happened no less than 5 times while sitting next to him. Super nice guy. Don't get me wrong. But obviously a super nice guy with zero boundaries. When we got in the car to go home, hubby says 'I don't think that guy knew we're together'. I assured my husband I don't know how he could not know because I did everything in my power to flash my wedding ring, I lovingly placed my hand on my own man's shoulder several times, and we even talked and joked about our anniversary coming up. There is no way that guy didn't know we are together.
Was that sexual harassment? I don't think so. But, I was thinking about it this morning and what disturbs me most is my inaction yesterday. The first time he put his hand on my shoulder I immediately thought 'gosh, this guy is a little presumptuous'. When it happened 4 more times, my thought was 'this guy is a creeper'. I had a super hard time focusing on the many great conversations around me because I didn't know what he was going to do next.
But you know what?
I never said a word to him.
I never asked him to stop.
I felt frozen.
This is really bothering me this morning.
I grew up in a time when girls were taught:
  • Be polite.
  • Speak when you are spoken to.
  • Don't be rude.
  • Don't hurt people's feelings.
Here's what I think today. I don't need to be rude to this fellow if I see him again. I need to educate him.  Here's how the conversation might go: "Look dude, I don't know you and you don't know me. You have now come into my personal space and touched me without my permission. I am uncomfortable even having this conversation. Please stop."
Where I think sexual harassment starts is when I have that conversation and he continues. Or, I have that conversation and he gets butt hurt and makes me pay with the silent treatment. Or, I have that conversation and he makes my life miserable by gossiping or bad mouthing me.
Why do I care? Because what if he just doesn't get it? What if I'm being overly sensitive? What if I'm wrong?
When people talk about the rash of disclosures going on right now over sexual harassment, I think this scenario is how it starts. What kind of example am I being for my granddaughter or my young friends?
What are your thoughts on this matter? How would you have handled it? I really want to hear from you.
love, susan

Monday, December 25, 2017

Last Week of 2017: Christmas Day Life List

Looking Out My Window We had a white Christmas this year. I felt genuinely happy for all the littles that got to wake up in eastern Washington this morning to a blanket of fresh snow. It is beautiful and was still snowing this morning. The numbers this week are 27, 28, 31, 34, and 38 so we'll have that snow for a few days.
Weekend Review We went to our friend's place Saturday night for dinner. Loved that! I need to return the favor now. I forget they are dog people. We don't have many people over any more because three dogs is just a lot for people who are not dog people. I bought furniture this fall so I even have a place for them to sit when they visit. We didn't make it over to Portland because the weather got severe yesterday and, boy, are we glad we made the decision to stay home. Freezing rain in Portland is treacherous. We spent today down at the club with some great friends. Fun conversations and hugs. When we got home, I went out and played with the dogs in the snow. They LOVE the snow. One of my friends asked me yesterday if my dogs get cold in the snow. As a matter of fact, they don't. Two of them are double coated but the little scrappy one, Remi, should be cold but I have never once seen her shiver. She's different, that one.
What I'm Learning I pushed past some fear this week and made a decision to move forward on something. If it works out, I'll write about it. If it doesn't work out, I'll write about it. More is always being revealed.
What I'm Creating Nothing. Carving out time for naps and Netflix.
What I'm Reading Received a new book in the mail I just started called Big Love by Scott Stabile. I will try to write a review when I finish it.
What I'm Watching I watched two movies this weekend, Talladega Nights and Rumor Has It. Also finally finished Shameless. Time to start a new series. Any suggestions?
What's On My Camera Dogs.
A Quote
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”  Pearl S. Buck
A Peek Into My Week I have tomorrow off which will make 4 days off for me. Super nice to have this break. I have nothing on my calendar this week and I'm okay with that. It's nice to have a break from this busy life.
A Final Thought This week I've been practicing being a good listener, just getting back to some basic beliefs about the world. It's all good.

love, susan

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Day to Be Celebrated: Winter Solstice

I photographed him last August.
To me, he is the poster child for winter.
Happy Solstice day everyone. I woke up surprisingly cheerful this morning. Today is the shortest day of the year, in case you didn't know. Change is only 24 hours away. 
Tomorrow in eastern Washington, we will gain 3 seconds of daylight and it gets better from there.

Did you know today:
Fairbanks, AK will enjoy 3:41 hours daylight
Yuma, AZ will enjoy 9:59 hours daylight
Kennewick, WA will enjoy: 8:36 hours daylight
I found some nice quotes for this first day of  winter. Enjoy today wherever you are.

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" — J.B. Priestley
"The pine stays green in winter... wisdom in hardship." — Norman Douglas
"My old grandmother always used to say, 'Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever." — George R.R. Martin
"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, 'Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'" — Lewis Carroll
"Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness." — Mary Oliver
love, susan

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mini Dreams

It happened today. I found my people!
When my son gave me this car (Mini Cooper S), we had a nice talk about all the little bells and whistles. I had forgotten it has heated seats until a couple of weeks ago when I was complaining about being cold. He had to remind where to locate the button for that great luxury.
On the front of this car, there is a little round magnet holder called a grill badge. He had a couple of magnets to choose from but I chose the heart one. "It's a Mini thing, mom". He told me that I'll probably start looking at all the grills on Minis to see what badge they have. He was right. I have yet to see one here but I think that goes with the territory. We're a little weird behind the times on this side of the mountain.
Having a Mini Cooper was never my dream. It was his dream. But when he said they were downsizing and wanted to give me the car, I was thrilled to pieces. I had sold my motorcycle last spring after making the decision that I didn't need to be riding any longer. My son thought having a convertible might be just as fun as motorcycling for me. Some will debate this but I believe he was right. Besides having the top down, the two best things about this Mini is she flies like the wind and corners like nothing I've ever driven before. I love this car.
So about today. Another Mini driver waived at me. Not the kind of wave where you put your whole hand up to say HEY, I'M HERE, LOOK AT ME!  No. This was kind of like a motorcycle wave. A cool wave. Like, "hey, I know how you feel in that Mini". It was an electric-blue racing-striped coupe, kind of like a little brother to mine. I was thrilled but kept my head and gave a cool wave back.
Now I feel like I've been inducted into the Mini Cooper Club. Every morning on my way to work, a smoky colored Mini and I cross paths at about the same intersection. Dude, I'm waiving tomorrow. The cool wave. The kind where you don't take your hand off the wheel but you lift  a couple of fingers and maybe even tip your head in a knowing way. Cuz, now I know the dream. And, maybe, just maybe, this side of the mountain will be a little less weird and a little more friendly. Keep spreading the love, Mini people!
love, susan

Monday, December 18, 2017

Three Days to Solstice: A Life List

Looking Out My Window The weather is warm today and the rest of this week. The numbers 53, 53, 44, 39, and 34 I can live with. This weekend I wore long underwear both days and still was frozen to the core.
Weekend Review I got out Saturday and did three dog shoots for the rescue. All super nice dogs. The puppy pictured here is 6 weeks old. The lady with the big smile is a fairly new friend who I've met through rescue. She is pretty much love with skin, that one. I love this photo soooooo much. I see things, you know. That smile is the smile of a woman who is smitten. Sunday, I had lunch with my chosen family. Loved that!
What I'm Learning Boundaries. I'll just leave it at that.
Bear's feet hardly touched the ground at this session.
Can you say high energy?
What I'm Creating I've got nothing going on right now. I'm in winter mode which means way more chair time. I did get every bit of laundry done this weekend and even got everything put away. It was a goal for 2017 to finish laundry to the point of putting it all away. This weekend was a first but I say progress, not perfection.
What I'm Reading Oh, I have 3 books going right now. Nikon D3200 for Dummies, A Man Called Ove, and Slaying the Dragon. I am having a terrible time trying to focus on any one thing. Race brain. If you have it, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't have race brain, I can't explain it.

Bouncer needs someone to love!

What I'm Watching I'm in the last season of Shameless. I'm hoping to see the animated Pixar film Coco sometime over the holiday, even if I have to go by myself. Looks like something to be seen on a big screen.
What's On My Camera  Dogs dogs dogs!
A Quote for You
A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
Show dog moves!
A Peek Into My Week I'm in survival mode. After Thursday, we start gaining light.
Final Thoughts This week I'm suiting up and showing up and that's about all I can promise. Gray skies have got me sunk into the mire. I'm doing everything in my power to keep my head above the water line. Friends who show up for me are like that Spirograph that Santa brought you when you were 8, just really special. I feel giddy when they answer my call to gather. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you!
love, susan


Friday, December 15, 2017

Day 231: Observations of My Journey on Bright Line Eating

Today marks the 231st day since I made the decision to change my eating habits.
Starting Weight: 185
Current Weight: 148.8
Goal: 140
I've been hovering just under 150 lbs. for a few weeks and thankful I haven't had a gain. A person has to hang on to something positive. There have been plenty of positives on this journey, for sure.
Some observations I've made in the last couple of months have been not small ones.
Snoring. I've quit snoring. OMG! Nobody is happier than I am except maybe the hubs. Not only did I often wake myself up but I have no idea how many times he couldn't sleep because of it. It was so bad that I dreaded going on my annual girlfriend trips as I sure didn't want them to hear my snoring.
Inflammation Gone. My frozen shoulder pain has completely disappeared. I hadn't connected the dots until I saw a family friend who happens to be a massage therapist. She had seen me in March and I had complained about it then. The pain was so intense that it would wake me up out of a dead sleep along with the snoring. I was a mess. I could not move my arm and had to physically lift it with my other arm to roll over. When I saw her at the beach in September, she asked me about it. When I told her it was completely gone, she asked if I had seen a physical therapist or chiropractor about it. Nope, nobody got time for that. I told her I had no clue why it quit hurting. She reminded me that I had completely eradicated refined sugar from my diet.  Sugar is an inflammatory, did you know that? It's the only explanation for it. Huh! I am now a believer.

No More Fanny Pack.  I no longer have a flap of creased fat hanging on my belly like an out of fashion fanny pack that causes stinky, itchy sweat. Sorry if this grosses you out but it was a source of terrible embarrassment for me. If nothing else, this one thing was a huge motivator to get this weight off.
Automaticity. This is not a word I've ever used before but it is certainly a concept I've thought about a lot over my lifetime. I have often said that if there was a pill I could take once a day that took care of my fuel for the entire day, I'd sign up for that. I absolutely hate spending any amount of time thinking about what I'm going to eat much less doing the shopping for it. This goes way back to when I had a family to feed and it was my job to figure out something exciting to serve them every single day of the week. It didn't help that my first husband came from a family of foodies. His mother was a fabulous cook. So, I often ran out of ideas and gumption. If it had been up to me, we would have been eating cottage cheese and tomatoes every night of the week and maybe oatmeal if I got tired of that. Working a full-time job and having any energy left to be creative in the kitchen was a stretch. Now, on BLE I have the eating plan I've always wanted. I can eat the same thing every day of the week and nobody complains.  And, I do eat pretty much the same things every day.
Cravings Gone. Of all the things I love the most about this program is that my craving for sugar is gone absent. Oh, it could come back alright. All I have to do is pop a cookie in my mouth or take a bite of pumpkin pie. This is probably the best part of BLE for me and thousands of others who are shedding butt loads of pounds. Once the refined sugar and flour (in every form) was completely removed, so were the constant thoughts of getting more. Within 48 hours of my first day on this program, I was free from cravings. I am now diligent about reading labels.
Carbon Footprint Reduced. My garbage can takes an entire month to fill up before I have to send it to the curb for pick up. The only cans I'm having to recycle are the ones that contain coconut milk (first pressing) I use in my coffee along with cartons of half/half (for my coffee as well). I'm trying to get off the half & half but haven't quite made the leap yet. It's a goal. I do have plastic containers that hummus comes in as well as cottage cheese. I try to reuse those as much as I can but for the most part my shopping is done with some great little mesh bags I bought for fruits and veggies.
Simplicity. Today I'm eating simple, whole foods and I dig it. People ask me if there is a cookbook for BLE. I have no idea if there is one. I don't want to spend any time trying to improve on what is working for me. My diet pretty much consists of black beans, brown rice, apples, eggs, red peppers, hummus, salad, and boca burgers. This plan does not require moving to plant based menus but I chose to do that mostly. I will occasionally have shrimp or a piece of fish.
Clear Lines. One of the tenants of this program is that we don't take a holiday or vacation from the plan. This means no birthday cake, no pie at Thanksgiving, no cheesecake, no stopping for an ice cream cone. This is rigid, yes. The thing is, when I eat sugar, I cannot stop. I'm very clear about this now. If I am to stay on course, I have had to adopt the idea that I cannot eat these things even on special occasions. If I go off the rails, I'm not sure I'll be able to get back on, ya know?
In the end, the best part of this right sized body and freed mind is it that I feel like I have dodged a bullet with Type 2 diabetes. The constant sabotaging voice in my mind has quieted. Oh, she's still in there but she is sleeping. All I have to do to wake her up is slip a bite of cake in. I'll let her sleep for now.
I had hoped that the seasonal affective disorder would have subsided but it has not. Winter solstice is next week and I am suffering the effects of gray skies as much as I ever have. The part that's better is that I'm not making it worse by eating myself into a coma. I still suffer from depression but it is manageable and I know it will pass. I find myself cruising the internet, looking at photos of my beloved Arizona and dreaming about sunny days.
If you are interested to learn more about bright line eating, I suggest you invest $16.97 in the hardcover book written by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free. You never have to spend another dime on weight loss programs. Read it cover to cover. Then make a decision. It has been life changing for me.
love, susan

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 in Review: Theme Word Reveal for 2018

23 days until 2018! It is always in December that I  reflect on the past twelve months and seek a theme word for the coming year. I enjoy looking back because I am so busy that I'm always onto the next big thing and what I did last week is gone from my memory. Blogging helps record that for me. When I started this blog, I had so many ideas spilling out of my mind onto the screen. When I go back and read some of my posts, my favorite blogs are about little observations along the way. This year I feel like I've lost the ability to write that way. I have a ton of excuses as to why this has happened but nothing I really want to put out there. That's what my journal is for. And, dude, my journal has many pages filled this year. I haven't blogged about a lot of things that have happened this year. There have been many joys along the way but there have been some super painful events that I am still trying to wrap my mind around. I tend towards denial as a coping mechanism for life. Alcohol and food are not an option for me. I have an even larger tendency to fold into myself when things aren't all positive and happy.

Still. Good things have happened.
  • Trip to Hawaii (one week)
  • Started to volunteer photography for dog rescue
  • Weekend trip to Mt. Hood with wonderful women friends
  • Nashville trip
  • Started new eating plan for life
  • Visit from my son and beautiful daughter-in-law (they gave me a car!)
  • Girlfriend trip to Lincoln City (one whole week!)
  • Trip to Lincoln City with the hubs (one whole week!)
  • My doctor proclaimed I am no longer obese in November (lost 35 lbs)
  • 4th Annual birthday celebration with hubby and good friend
  • Got a standing station for my desk at work (game changer!)
Three whole weeks of vacation! When I see it in writing, it amazes me. I need vacation more often these days. Our next destination is Fairbanks, Alaska in July for a family reunion. I am very much looking forward to that.

The trip to Hawaii was the last time we'll go there. While I was able to relax and enjoy the sun, we've become bored with it.

That trip to Mt. Hood was the last time we would share laughter with a sister who lost her battle with breast cancer. I was there the day she died in May. I'm still grieving. I hope she knew how much we'd miss her. She looked so good in April that I was in total denial that she was dying. See? I think it's a super power, this denial thing. 

I've always wanted to spend a week at the Oregon coast and I got to do it twice this year. How lucky am I? Both weeks we had fantastic weather. I think we'll do it again next year. Even if it had been raining, I would have enjoyed being there. Hubby and I enjoyed it far more than the Hawaii trip.

My volunteer gig afforded me a chance to meet new people and up my photography skills. There have been some challenges with that. One word: Cats. I fall in love with all the dogs I meet. It is rewarding to see them find forever homes and have had a small part in helping that happen.

The Nashville trip holds a special place in my heart. I loved everything about Nashville and would definitely go again. People are so nice there. And, it's very green. We had some touching, raw conversations while there that changed me forever.

My new word theme for 2018 I think will be resist. It came up last week while I was journaling and it has been on my mind a lot so I believe I'm supposed to adopt it. Last year my theme word was move. I feel like I leaned into that word as much as I could. Move(ing) meant more than just in the physical sense.
Enough about me. What happened in 2017 for you? Do you have a theme word? If you don't, what would it be if you did? Tell me!
love, susan

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

5 Minute Post

I have 5 minutes until my lunch hour is over so here is the 5 minute version of a blog post today.

I am seriously tired of working. It seems to be getting worse every day. I stand at the door to leave every morning and it takes everything I have to keep moving. I just would rather not.

Seasonal Affective Disorder has kicked into high gear. Bedtime has been before The Big Bang Theory theme song comes on.

I always feel this way in December. It will pass. Don't worry.

Meeting friends tonight after work to cruise downtown at the local shops and get a little Christmas cheer.

That's all.

love, susan

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stop It!

A friend recently posted on FB that she thinks she is a little over booked in her life. Oh, how I can relate to that. I wrote a blog post 7 years ago about a "to stop doing list". As I read that old list, I realized that I have the power to change my mind about what I'm going to do and what I'm not going to do. Seven years ago, I wrote I hated gardening. That's something that may change. Since then, I have spent more time looking at the dirt in my back yard and dreaming about days to come when I may have time to put my hands in it and grow something. Or not. It's a fleeting thought.
Every year around this time, I hear friends and co-workers chatting about decorating for Christmas and all the shopping they've got to get done, blah blah blah. I don't have one piece of Christmas decoration at my house, not even a candy cane. Don't get me wrong. I love seeing other people's decorations. I love to take one evening to drive around the famous neighborhoods to look at lights and sip hot cocoa while holiday music plays in the background. I just don't care about decorating my own space. And, I gave up Christmas shopping a very long time ago. Cash is king, don't ya know? You couldn't pay me enough to go to the mall this time of year.
Anyhoo, it got me to thinking about my stop doing list and so here is my 2017 version.
To Stop Doing List
Holiday baking. Zero. Nothing. Not even fudge. In the past, this has been easier said than done. I do love baking cookies and sweets in December but my new eating plan for life does not have a place for this. Instead of the one day I go on a baking binge, I think I'll put the hubby in the car and drive to Walla Walla for a cup of coffee at my favorite cafĂ©.
Saying yes. This is something that is a constant struggle. I get overbooked and then exhausted. My cure for this is to sleep on a calendar decision. I don't make excuses. No is a complete sentence, no explanation necessary. See 'feeling guilty' below.
Hanging onto junk. Another constant struggle. I'm still in the process of getting rid of stuff I don't want or use. I recently placed a box near my dryer for depositing clothes that no longer fit or that I don't wear so I can launder and take to thrift store.
Using plastic bags at store. I've learned from my Portland peeps that just because the store clerk has a bad habit of placing a single item in a plastic bag doesn't mean I have to accept it. NO MORE PLASTIC BAGS!
Reading books or watching shows I don't like. I have this terrible habit of continuing to read a book or watch a movie even if I'm not into it. It's a commitment thing. I tend to be a rigid, 100% in-or-out kinda girl. Such a waste of a good life.
Feeling guilty for saying no. Gotta stop that. See 'saying yes' above.
Ignoring the signs of burnout. I learned last year that I have a huge red flag at work when I am experiencing burnout. I start scowling and using the word fuck a lot. I start thinking everyone is stupid and have zero tolerance. I'm going to stop ignoring the signs and be proactive about self care. Luckily, no one has been injured by my burnouts ... yet.
That's enough stop doing to last me all of 2018.  How about you? What are you doing that you wish you weren't? Can you stop doing it? What would be on your stop doing list?  Tell me!
love, susan

Monday, November 27, 2017

Survived November, Hello December: A Life List

The Weather It's dark. Temps this week are 53, 50, 51, 47, and 46. Gray skies almost every day. I hate winter.
Weekend Review Four day weekends are the best. We spent T day with friends and their family. Lots of laughter and joy. I woke up Thursday morning feeling a deep sadness about loved ones who died in the last 6 months. First holidays are hard. I slept a lot this weekend. I read and watched Netflix. Got all the laundry caught up. Changed the sheets and took 4 boxes of junk to goodwill. Sat with my dogs and enjoyed every minute of down time. Sometimes that many days off is hard for me but not this time. I got to talk with my stepdaughter twice over the weekend and it was one of many highlights of my days. Love that girl.
What I'm Learning I'm not sure I learned anything new this week. Weird.
What I'm Creating I am making some changes in my pantry. This always upsets the hubby but he knows this about me so he adjusts. I'm adding big containers that will hold beans and rice from the bulk section. I've got some Tupperware coming that will fit nicely and will be adding various nuts and grains to the mix.
What I'm Reading I picked up A Man Called Ove to finish reading. I started this book many, many weeks ago but got distracted. Gosh, it's a good book!
What I'm Watching I'm finally at Season 7 of Shameless. Hoping to finish it up this week and start a news series called Godless on Netflix. Truly the only thing good about winter is Netflix.
What's On My Camera Not much. I didn't take it out this weekend. Really just not feelin' it right now. The photo above is probably from 1989(?) taken of my son and my mom. My mom would have been about 53 in this photo. I'm older than that now. That feels kind of strange. (Queue Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time:  life gets mighty precious when there is less of it to waste...)
A Quote:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
A Peek Into My Week I have nothing on my calendar this week. This is rare and typically I'd be a little panicked about that but I'm not.
A Final Thought I'm pretty sure my bed has a magnet in it. Last week I spent several nights sleeping no less than 10 hours a night. Some nights I woke at 3:00am and couldn't get back to sleep. It is a pattern than develops every year right after we set the clocks back. When it's dark by 4:30pm, I just want to pull the covers up over my head and sleep until March. I'm glad I have a job to look forward to 5 days a week or who knows how long I'd sleep.
Gotta go for now. love, susan

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's December This Week ... Yo!

  • Go to our annual dinner at Frost Me Sweet with hubby and D & T to celebrate their birthdays
  • Get through the entire month without baking sweets
  • Reflect on 2017 ... write blog post ... what worked, what didn't
  • Think of a theme word for 2018
  • Write every day in my journal
  • Read a book
  • Finish Season 7 of Shameless
  • Start a new series on Netflix
  • Finish up that photo project from last winter (a few straggler photos to organize)
  • Annual lunch with friends
  • Rest
  • Relax
How about you? Got December plans?

love, susan

Monday, November 20, 2017

Turkey Trash Talk: A Life List

Hey everybody! I love that it is Thanksgiving week. I have 4 days off and I can hardly wait. Instead of my usual weekly life list, I'm going to shake it up a bit and see if I can find some topics to talk about at our upcoming t-dinner.

Can we talk about dogs? OMG, I could talk dogs all day long. My border collie is going through an adjustment period as I've taken her off kibble and feeding her real food. I've done a little research on it and hoping I'm doing right by her.

Can we talk about cars? My car is still in the shop and I'm hoping to hear from the dude before t-day that she (her name is Clementine) has been repaired. After consulting a friend, I've decided to keep this car until all the repairs add up to what the car is worth. It's a bit like gambling but I do love that car.

Can we talk about the weather? This morning while my husband was bringing me to work, he says, "oh, I forgot to check the weather".  I said, "oh, it's going to be in the 50's".  He says, "oh, I was talking about Yuma, Arizona". I said, in my worst sarcastic tone, "who cares about Yuma, Arizona"? I think I hurt his feelings a little.  But geeeezus ... don't talk to me about Arizona when there is rain coming down and gray skies. I will hurt you.

Can we talk about Shameless on Netflix? The writers are seriously messed up in the head. I love that. When Frank (played by David Threlfall) dry humps the ground on the grave of his recent dead lover, I found myself gasping and laughing at the same time. Who thinks up these things? Somebody's son or daughter. Think about that for a minute.

Can we talk about the birthday party I was invited to shoot on Saturday? I got to spend 2 hours with a lovely family celebrating their dad's 80th birthday. The guy doesn't look a day over 65. He still works. And, he told me he and his wife go to Yuma, Arizona in the winter. I'm not hating on that but feels like people are rubbing Arizona in my face right now. Would you agree?

Can we talk about the movie we saw yesterday? Hubby took me to see Wonder at the theater. We both cried. People .. go see it. It is a real upper!


love, susan

Friday, November 17, 2017

5 Years!

Today I am celebrating 5 years at the same job! Nobody is more surprised than I am that I am still in the same work chair at the county attorney's office. What most don't know about me is that I always have a low level of restlessness and discontent goin' on under the hood. But that has not bled over into my working life for many reasons. Oh, there have been corporate employers where I've moved around a bit because I'm truly a former serial job hopper. I usually get bored out of my mind at about year three. Not now.
There is nothing boring about the job I do every day. There are some Fridays when I swear the events of the week have sucked the last ounce of life out of me. Then I wake up Monday morning and can't wait to see what happens when I arrive. Every day is a bit of high drama in the lives of other people. Real life drama. I don't take that lightly.
I've heard it said that if you were sitting at table and everyone put their problems down to share, you'd undoubtedly take your own back. That's what this job has done for me. It has given me perspective.
I'll admit I am on the jaded side at times but I rarely let that show. Each person who comes to my front desk is unique in that it is often the first time they've every experienced the legal system. I dig that I can be the warm, caring person who helps them to talk to whoever they need to be talking to, and if I can't help in that way, I have a wealth of resources under my belt to point them in the right direction.
After all, isn't that what being human is about? Helping others.
It's the best gig I've had for a long time. I hope whatever it is you do, that it fills up your cup!
love, susan

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid-November 2017 Life List

The Weather The numbers this week are 54, 55, 55, 52 and 51. Some rain maybe. My least favorite weather.

Weekend Review I had 3 days off and I crammed a lot of fun events into it. I finally got my neighbors out for a family shoot by the river. Poor baby's hands almost turned blue from the cold air but she didn't complain. Got cute pics! Also, photographed a rescue dog. Had coffee with a friend, helped other friends with a house project, watched movies, took dogs to the park, cooked, napped, drank too much coffee, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Learning I will not be taking Abbie out to catch the Kong ever again. She gets too stiff and sore and can't move within hours of playing. I feel horrible about it but that's just how it is with us old girls. I felt the same way after helping last weekend on a house project for a friend. Cleaning one little bathroom about did me in.

Creating I have to think about this. Well, I started back to writing my memoir. I'm still in high school so far. It's a big project that may never be complete but it won't get done if I don't stay at it. It was kind of fun thinking about my first kiss with Doug M. at logging camp. There was alcohol involved, whiskey to exact. I was only 13.

Quote I Want Share
A kiss….
….. is just a kiss….
Until it’s all you reminisce.
Then the memory becomes your

most treasured possession.
 ~Ranata Suzuki~

Peek in My Week I got nothing. Project Winter Slowdown.

A Final Thought I watched a documentary called Herion(e) on Netflix last weekend that was both depressing and uplifting at the same time. It is about the epidemic of overdoses in Huntington, West Virginia and how the town is battling it. The first female fire chief is making a difference there. I thought it was well-done. I'm truly in winter mode already. Darkness arrives about 4:30pm so by the time I get home all I can think about it getting into jammies and under the covers. Only about 18 weeks to spring. I'll make it. And, oh, the Mini Cooper is at the car hospital. Her diagnosis is not quite here yet. It is likely not good news.

love, susan 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gratitude Month: A Life List

Weather Numbers The temps this week will be 44, 42, 48, 50, and 52. We had snow all yesterday but it didn't stay long. I'm cold.
Weekend Review I dog/housesat for my good friends who have 5 dogs. They inherited two of them recently when D's parents died within 6 weeks of each other. It has been hard but I admire them for doing the deal and adjusting. I very much enjoyed the quiet time with their dogs while I sat and watched an entire season of Shameless on Netflix. I don't often sit still but this provided the greatest excuse to do just that. Besides that, I also did two photo shoots on Saturday that were big fun.
What I'm Learning It was a bit stressful at work last week as my supervisor's last day was Wednesday. Change is a part of life and when I really examine situations I find I am way better when things are changing. I used to have a life that was boring and predictable. What I've learned over the past decade and a half is that I am a way better friend, worker, wife, mother, and all-round human being when things are changing.
What I'm Creating I'm gearing up for winter photo shoots. I hate being cold more than just about any other feeling so I'm starting to look more at indoor shooting. I'm not great with faux light but after this weekend's shoot with some kitty cats, I've decided I need to give up some of my old ideas and think about investing in some indoor lighting that I can transport easily.
What I'm Reading It's Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron
What I'm Watching I watched a whole season of Shameless this weekend and two movies ... Pretty Woman and Must Love Dogs.
What's On My Camera Lots of dog photos from the weekend.

A Quote I Want to Share
One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing.
It doesn't turn off and turn on.
It's on all the time. ~ Annie Leibovitz

A Peek Into My Week I don't have anything on my calendar yet this week. We're off Friday. Maybe I'll take hubby to the movies.
A Final Thought Sixteen years ago today, I was 24 hours past my last drink. My very dear high school friend was getting married on this day and I had decided to take a different path in my totally self-destroyed life. It is by far the best decision I've ever made for myself. I've only looked back on it so I could clean up the wreckage I had made and make amends to all people I hurt along the way. Today, I look back on it only to share those parts of my life with people who will benefit from my experience. I am grateful for all of it ... even the hard times. Maybe 2018 will be the year I write the book.
That's all. 
love, susan

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Post Vacation Life List

Looking Out My Window This week the numbers are 62, 60, 59, 51, and 45. Freezing temps every morning. Hello winter. The leaves are beautiful right now and the only reason I'm not complaining.
Weekend Review We headed home from the beach on Sunday after a week-long vacation that tops just about any vacation. My step-daughter and her sister-in-law along with our granddaughter and her boyfriend joined us at the beach Friday and Saturday night. Good times.
What I'm Learning I can still drive 6 straight hours and be ready to drive 6 more. The road truly is my middle name. I drove this entire trip and was no worse for the wear.
What I'm Creating While on vacation, I bought 10 pair of jeans and work slacks so I'll be creating some space for those on the weekend. I need to rid myself of clothes that don't fit any longer. I might even rearrange the furniture.
What I'm Reading I'm very excited about Julia Cameron's new book It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond. She has written this book from her experiences and as an encouragement to those of us who are trying to tap into our creativity late in life. She maps out her 12-week course in creativity tasks. Very excited to finally read this one.
What I'm Watching Last weekend we watched Bad Moms with the kids. It was hilarious.
What's On My Camera Beach photos!

Quote I Want to Share
It is solved by walking. ~ Saint Augustine
A Peek Into My Week So far I have nothing on my calendar but I have a feeling my rescue peeps are going to have something for me to shoot. I'm dog sitting for friends this weekend and will also be taking photos for a dog friend and our neighbors. The leaves won't last much longer so I'm excited to get out.
A Final Thought Indictments handed down this week feel hopeful in untangling the mess our current leader is in the middle of. Grabbing my popcorn and hunkering down to watch it unfold. I close my eyes and imagine what it must be like to work in Mueller's office. Oh, what I would give!
love, susan

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

I have a good friend who works in the trades which means she works when there is work and she sits it out when there isn't work. I thin...