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!


WHAT ARE YOU GONNA TALK ABOUT OVER TURKEY?

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.

Missy
Remi
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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bosses Day Life List: Mid October 2017

Leonbergers!
 Looking Out My Window 6:45am and the sun is barely coming up. Our numbers this week are 72, 69, 69, 68, and 62. You may wonder why I list the temps here. Sometimes this is the only time I have a chance to look at the weather report.
 

My favorite senior!
Weekend Review It was a very busy weekend. I sat at the library gardens and waited for people to show up for mini shoots. Thank goodness I have some friends willing to brave the cold wind. Three couples arrived and we had great shoots, walking around the garden and finding great backgrounds. Yesterday, I had a wonderful session with a friend's daughter for her senior photos. I loved this shoot because she was so easy to please and we had a super nice visit. Her grandma died about 10 days ago and they laid her to rest on Saturday. I could really see the influence her grandmother has had on her and it made me smile. We're really going to miss Sharon. In other news, we bought a used leather couch/loveseat/chair and ottoman ensemble. Our friend Tabby was kind enough to bring her truck over and move it for us. I couldn't believe she got all 3 pieces in the bed of her Dodge. The dogs have already claimed their places on each piece. Hubby and I haven't sat together on a couch in many years as we've had chairs only.
 
This couple is celebrating their
Golden Anniversary on this day!
What I'm Learning Build it and they will come. I was not disappointed in the small turnout for photos on Saturday. If the weather had been slightly warmer, I may have had more people than I could handle. We collected $125 for the animal rescue and I feel it was worth my time. I had a super nice visit with two other women who are in the rescue group. I call that a two-for-one day.
 
What I'm Creating I had some photos printed up from my girlfriend week at the beach along with some flower photos my Montana friend had up on her FB page. I'm making cards for her and will get those in the mail to her today.
 
What I'm Reading I'm happy to write that I am back in the habit of reading in the mornings. Right now I am 54% through The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  Fascinating study of habits and a bit about how the advertising business uses the data.
 
What I'm Watching Shameless on Netflix. In our conversations yesterday, my young friend and I were talking about what we're watching on Netflix and when I told her I am watching Shameless, she admitted she is too! Hey, there's no shame in watching Shameless.  It is the story of a most dysfunctional family who don't know they're dysfunctional. The characters have a lot of heart!
 

Abbie claims her real estate!
What's On My Camera I was out a lot this weekend. Fun times! I love the colors this time of year. I could live without the cold temps.
 
A Quote I Want to Share Build it and they will come. ~ from movie Field of Dreams
 
A Peek Into My Week I'm taking photos of a litter of 4 kitties tonight after work. I've got special company arriving on Thursday. Nothing else on my calendar yet.
 
I think he likes the new (used) furniture!
A Final Thought A couple of weeks ago, I dropped by to visit Sharon (mentioned above) to say hello. Her husband had died 4 weeks prior. She was having a difficult time adjusting and my friends said my visit would give her something to talk about. I talked a little bit generically about some of the weird things that happen at my office and it made her laugh. I had no way of knowing it would be the last time I saw her. She died about 10 days later, with failing kidneys and liver. We had no idea. She never complained of pain but she just wasn't quite right the last couple of days before she died. I will never forget sitting next to her on the couch and her putting my hand between hers and telling me thank you for the meal I had brought when her husband died. I'm glad I didn't blow off going over to visit. It is a great example of suiting up and showing up when I say I'm going to. Today, I am a person of my word. If I say I'm going to be there, I'll be there. Are you?


P.S.  It's Bosses Day!
 
love, susan






 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The 5 Minute Life List - October 2017

Looking Out the Window  Blue skies, bit chilly. Numbers this week: 68, 68, 61, 60, and 57

Weekend Review Shot a rehearsal and wedding. Met some really cool people. Got to eat at a local Italian restaurant I've never been to before. Talked with two young photographers and met lots of people with great blue eyes and beautiful smiles.

What I'm Watching Hubby and I watched Gerald's Game last week. Just as gory as the book. A bit too visual for me. Watched a couple episodes of Ozark. Whew ... what an intense series.
 
What I'm Reading Didn't read much last week. There are not enough hours in the day. I did download Julia Cameron's new book, It's Never Too Late to Begin Again. I now need to carve out some morning time to finish up one book I'm reading before I start this one.

What I'm Creating I'm working on a blog post about a topic that's been on my mind for a long time. I want to let it sit for a bit and polish it up before I post it. The topic is So You Think Eating Healthy is More Expensive Than Consuming Junk Food. For reals.
 
What's On My Camera I snapped 1,007 times at the rehearsal and wedding this weekend. I do not have permission to post any of those photos but I did do a dog shoot last night so there's that.
 
A Quote I Want to Share “Photography is a love affair with life.” ~ Burk Uzzle ~
 
A Peek Into My Week Quick dog shoot last night. I have nothing on my schedule this week. Weird.
 
A Final Thought I fired up my Twitter account over the weekend. I've never been one to use it but at the urging of a friend, I decided it might be helpful to have a newsfeed that is one of my making, one that I can filter better than FB. Although it may appear on the outside that I'm apathetic to what's happening in the U.S., that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm just about ready to get into action now that summer has passed and I have some time to devote. Whatever your bent is, don't sit on the sidelines. Action is needed. Kind action. Now.
 
love, susan

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Already? ~ A Life List

Looking Out the Window Blue skies and sunshine. The numbers this week are 65, 67, 68, 70, and 76.

Weekend Review Well, I was on vacation last week and arrived home late Friday afternoon. My friend Kathy from Juneau stayed with me over the weekend and we visited the state fair in Yakima and then saw a little bit of the dog show at the park yesterday, shopped, and hit a movie. We spent the entire week at Lincoln City, Oregon with another friend we went to high school with. I wish I had written a post while I was there but it was the furthest thing from my mind. It feels too late to write about it now but I'll post my three favorite photos here.

What I'm Learning It is totally possible to go on vacation and not eat like a pig. Between my girlfriends and I, we have lost 95 lbs. since our reunion a year ago. We were all in losing mode so this made it easy to not have crappy food in the fridge or while out to lunch. I also learned that it takes a while for the mind to catch up to the body in that I needed help buying new britches. My pants have been pretty saggy and when I went to buy new ones, I still had a fat mindset. Girlfriends tell the truth and I even got a couple of photos of what my baggy backside looked like. Who knew? Thanks to my friends, I'm in right-sized pants today.

What I'm Creating Hmm. Oh, I started writing in my new journal that my lovely step-daughter gave me the last time we visited in August. I love starting a fresh, new diary, don't you?

What I'm Reading I dragged a book all the way to the beach but never opened it. Hoping to get back on schedule this week and finish A Man Called Ove.

What I'm Watching I didn't watch anything this last week except CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. Did you see that hot, new soccer star they featured last night? His name is Christian Pulisic and you can watch the 13 minute segment here.  Moms, you are gonna want to pinch his cute cheeks, trust me on this!

What's On My Camera  Well, I've never done this before but I'm going to place a link here to my FB photo album of my beach trip if you care to look at it.  Otherwise, here are my favorite 3 images.

A Quote I Want to Share
A bad day at the beach trumps a good day at work. ~ Susan Arthur

A Peek Into My Week Dog pics on Wednesday, wedding rehearsal and dinner Saturday, wedding shoot on Sunday.

A Final Thought I'm not going to write about the tragic news from Las Vegas last night. I'm not. But, what the hell? I work in a business where horrible things happen to people every day. Long ago I quit trying to understand what's in the hearts and minds of other people. I only have control over mine. I'm choosing to not focus on the negative but events like this make it a challenge. Call me Pollyanna.  love, susan
 
 





Monday, September 18, 2017

What If: A Life List

  
Looking Out My Window Darkness and rain. This may be the last week my dogs get walked in the mornings. I don't do dark. Our temp numbers are 66, 66, 60, 64, and 65. My friend from Alaska arrives on Saturday and the temps will go up slightly. I'm glad it won't be too hot when she arrives.
 
Weekend Review I'm still processing the information I learned at the TedxRichland talks we attended on Saturday. Nine live speakers and several recorded talks in between. The words I heard continually throughout the day were Community, Truth, Justice, Healing. There were some big take-aways, almost too many. Perhaps the words I heard most were what if and we need to.
 
What I'm Learning I took my youngest dog out to the country yesterday to walk with my friend down to the canal. Remi loves to go in the water. We have been there a couple of times and she likes to wander off into the bushes where I can't see her. We haven't been out there for a year. I'm learning that her training is ingrained nicely. When she got out of sight for longer than I was comfortable, I called her and she would poke her head out and run straight to me. There's nothing a dog owner loves more than a great recall. While we were walking, she would often run up ahead but always came back to check in with me. Love that.
 
What I'm Creating I have no projects going right now. I feel like right now is the season of transition into fall. It takes me a few days to adjust to it. Yesterday, I took two naps. Seasonal affective disorder is no joke. I've learned to embrace it. It is a part of who I am. Slowing down means I'll sit longer in my comfy chair and read or write.
 
What I'm Reading I'm starting a new book this morning called A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Someone left it on the kitchen table at work so I snagged it.
 
What I'm Watching Ozark on Netflix. I'm hooked on it.
 
What's On My Camera Lots of dog photos. I had two dog sessions last week for my volunteer gig and then I was out yesterday with my camera.
 
A Quote I Want to Share
From the TED event schedule
 
Truth is not dead. It is very much alive. Foundational Truths matter now more than ever. Truth is not something you are born with, it is something you choose and create. Truth is not unconditional, unwavering, or absolute. Truth can even evolve, grow, die, and transform, particularly when challenged with new insight. Truth is never afraid of being false.
 
A Peek Into My Week Tonight I'm meeting at the park with friends from my dog training class for a happy dog reunion. Tomorrow I'm going to stop by and visit a friend whose husband died a couple weeks ago. Work. Dogs. Get ready for a week off.
 
A Final Thought In the wake of all the political fighting and separation of people because of it, it was refreshing to gather with like-minded people on Saturday at the TEDxRichland talks. This place where we live is full of interesting, kind, progressive people. We're not loud and obnoxious so it's hard to find them. But, they're here. I'm going to pay better attention to that thought and hang on to it.
 
love, susan

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dogs: Every Day is a Training Day

Seems whenever I go out to do a photo shoot these days, I'm coming home with a lot on my mind. It happened the other night after a great session with a border collie and her mom. Our rescue team got involved because this super nice young woman adopted a 2 year old on the promise of several things which have not turned out exactly how they were presented. Please note: I didn't say the people lied. More on that later. After spending a good 30+ minutes with her and the other ladies from the rescue team, it brought back memories of all three of my own rescues.
 
It's often a nightmare when a dog goes into a new setting. It has been for all three of mine.  Fights, digging, a torn up lawn, separation anxiety, inability to walk on a leash, won't stay in kennel, etc. And, the worst of all is that they don't play together at all. When I see other dogs being playful I am seriously jealous. I've had to accept that my dogs are not the playing kind. Having said that, they have learned to adjust to the pack but it took a lot of work, some blood on the floor, flying fur, and a ton of training.

Here's the deal:  RESCUED DOGS NEED AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD. Sorry, I didn't mean to yell just now. I simply cannot emphasize it enough. Nobody tells you this at the shelter or from the ad you saw on Craigslist. Many releasing shelters are just so happy to make a space for the next one that the virtual door almost hits you in the hiney. And, private adopters are usually happy their Fluffy got a new home. Please don't get me wrong. This is not a put down of shelters or people who need to rehome their dogs. Not at all. They are not in the business of training you or your dog. That's up to you.

I've been to a lot of training over the course of 30+ years. You'd think I'd know more but I only know a fraction of what there is to learn about dogs and their behavior. Every time I go out with my dogs to walk or play, I am learning something about them and they about me.  Every day is training day. Let me say that again. EVERY DAY IS A TRAINING DAY.
So, let's say you pick up your rescue. You've been given a list of things this dog will do and won't do. The owner has tried their best to put their dog's best paw forward (and sometimes not). While it's true that some releasing owners may tell lies about their dog's behavior, I'm willing to bet that much of the bad behavior you'll see is a reaction to stress.
 
Go with me here: Think about what it would be like to board a plane with your favorite people and somewhere mid-flight your people disappear into thin air. You get off that plane in a foreign country by yourself, where you don't speak the language, you don't know the smells, you are not familiar with the customs and culture. NOTHING is familiar to you. Please. Let this sink in for a minute. This is what it's like for your rescued dog.
 
The best thing I've learned in all my training classes was to give my rescue dog at least 6 months. That trainer said in 6 months I'd have a different dog.  Thank dog she said that to me. It isn't that I would have given up on my K9. What that allowed me to do is stand back and see this dog for the experience she was having. I needed to convey that she was going to be with me forever, no matter what.  And you know what? I needed to know that for myself. I do not give up. I have embraced this idea with each of my three girls.
 
So, I'd love for you to look at your dog(s) and think about what I've said here. Did they have an adjustment period? Are they different today than they were a day ago, a month ago, a year ago? What have you done to assure them you will never give up on them? Have you given up some of your free time and dollars to train them? Have you talked to other dog people to get ideas and ask for help?

Every day is a training day. Say it with me.
 
love, susan



 


Monday, September 11, 2017

Waking a Giant: A Life List

Looking Out My Window It's 6:00am and the sun is barely coming up but the skies are going to be pure blue today and for that I'm sure we are all grateful. I've heard no news on the fires in the gorge as Hurricane Irma has stolen the news. We're going to 90 degrees today. Our numbers this week are 90, 93, 81, 73, and 73. Might have to break out a sweatshirt for my walks this week.
 
Weekend Review I attended a funeral for my good friend's dad. It was a beautiful service full of people who loved him. I enjoyed hearing about his life and seeing the photos they put together in a video. The man was never without a smile. Yesterday, in a rare move, I stayed home the entire day. I've been doing meal preps on Sundays and really leaning into enjoying that process. I napped and read a little. Enjoyed walks with my dogs.
 
What I'm Learning Some people are real assholes. I ran into someone over the weekend who we helped rehome two of her dogs. She is getting ready to move and has two remaining dogs. She wanted to know if we could rehome her scraggly old boy and she'll keep the young, cute one. I know I'm not supposed to be judgmental. Sue me. Sometimes I can't hide my disappointment in people. I don't like this character defect I have of judging people. There, I said it. Now, I'll go work through it while I walk my own dogs this morning.
 
What I'm Creating I'm venturing out a bit in the kitchen with this eating program I'm on. Yesterday I made cowboy caviar and I'm excited to have something a little different in my lunch box this week.
 
What I'm Reading I just downloaded a new book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Just one chapter in so I'll get back to you on it next week.
 
What I'm Watching I'm not watching anything right now. Trying to enjoy the last days of summer outdoors.
 
What's On My Camera Not much. I'm taking a little break from photography this week although I do have a rescue shoot set for tonight. A young border collie. Squeee!
 
A Quote I Want to Share Habits aren't destiny. - Charles Duhigg
 
A Peek Into My Week As I was journaling this morning, I am setting a new goal of getting to work 15 minutes early. I've been arriving later and not feeling good about trying to get a mindset for work at 8:00am sharp. It doesn't work for me. I need to ease into it and get my water glass filled and arrange my desk for a good start every day. Photo shoot tonight, a girlfriend talkfest on Wednesday. Chill week so far.
 
A Final Thought I was in Whitehorse, Yukon with my dad when the planes hit the towers on this day 16 years ago. We were traveling back to Arizona after spending the summer in Alaska. My mom had died in March and my life was a train wreck. My dad and I were both trying to piece back together some semblance of how life would be going forward. When the planes hit, we were getting ready to leave Whitehorse and I remember stopping at a restaurant on the way out of town. They had the radio turned up for everyone to hear the news. I don't remember ever being so frightened. As we drove closer to the American border, our Canadian friends had placed huge American flags up in their yards and on store fronts. I'll never forget that. I'll also never forget how, as a nation, for awhile we cared about each other like no other time I can remember. Where did that go?
 
love, susan



Friday, September 8, 2017

Sack of Rocks - One Bad Decision

This was not a good week for a teen who made a bad choice throwing firecrackers into a tinder box forest near Portland, Oregon. A large portion of forest is now on fire and not under control. As you read this, people with asthma are suffering. Animals are perishing. One home has burned and people have been evacuated. We lost the sun over here nearly 200 miles away. It is affecting tens of thousands of lives across Oregon into eastern Washington and beyond.  One bad decision.  Go here for news on it: Oregon Live
 
Who hasn't made a bad decision before? Rhetorical question, really.

On my walks in the smoky haze this week, I thought of Captain Joseph Hazelwood.  Remember him? The guy who was drunk at the helm while trying to navigate the Exxon Valdez through the straits in Alaska and ended spilling a shit-ton of oil in the sound? Yeah, that guy. That one bad choice changed the lives of thousands of Alaskans, killed a lot of wildlife, changed the land, and left a huge mess for residents to clean up. People whose lives depended on fishing in the area were bankrupted. Who knows how many divorces, suicides, and mental health issues were created from that one bad decision. I lived there. I witnessed much of it firsthand.
 
I cannot begin to imagine the longstanding repercussions of this disaster. I don't think anyone will know the depth of it for quite awhile. We don't know how long it will be before we see the blue skies or breath fresh air. We don't know what that area of the gorge is going to look like when the smoke clears. We don't know how many people will be displaced because of it. We don't know a lot of things.

What I do know is that a lot of people are perplexed by the one bad decision of this young person whose action has caused a lot of grief. That's a big sack of rocks he'll be carrying for a long time. I think about how that teen must be thinking "if only I had not thrown that firecracker ..." I wonder if he would take back his action? If only.

Have you ever burned down a forest, or spilled a million gallons of oil in the most pristine places? Have you ever made a super bad decision that felt like you had burned down a forest?
 
love, susan


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Labor Day 2017: A Life List

As I look out my window it is pitch black. We are losing light faster and faster. I am having to wait until about 6:20am to take dogs for a walk. Soon, they won't get a morning walk at all. I always dread that day. The entire Columbia Gorge is filled with smoke from horrible fires that started by someone with fireworks. They closed a section of the highway completely down.
 
Weekend Review We didn't do much over the weekend as far as running around goes. I took a nap all 3 days in a row. The hustle of a busy summer finally caught up with me. I had a photo shoot Friday after work. It was my last one for the August project. Yesterday, I met up with a couple to photograph their 3 month old baby girl. We also drove to Walla Walla just to get out of the house. I packed a lunch for myself as hubby had already eaten before we left. We stopped at the Goodwill store and I bought a pair of capris one size smaller as my pants are starting to look baggy. I've lost 23 lbs. since May 1st. I've plateaued. Feeling really great though and happy to have finally found an eating plan that can work for the rest of my days.
 
What I'm Learning The dog photo project in August taught me a few things about photographing dogs.
  • Dogs really hate the camera. This was a huge "aha" for me. Even my own dogs won't let their ears up when I take their pics.
  • Give it 10 to 15 minutes for dogs who've never met me to sniff me out and figure out if I'm okay. I get down on the ground and their level and let them sniff and lick and bump my face with their noses. Just charging in and taking photos doesn't work. That's going to be super useful information as I continue to photograph dogs for the rescue team. 
  • I've learned that people love their dogs more than anything else and when we're shooting, it's all about the dogs. I've not met a vain dog person yet. Love that.
 
What I'm Creating I'm still minimizing my household goods and trying to create a better living space. Right now it seems worse than when I started but it is because I'm saving boxes of stuff to put in a charity yard sale that's coming up this month.
 
What I'm Reading I am re-reading Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. Now that I've been following her plan for eating since May 1, it is time to go back and look for things I missed the first time I read it.
 
What I'm Watching I watched two episodes of Ozark on Netflix. We watched a couple of movies over the weekend but can't remember the titles.
 
What's on My Camera Lots of dogs!
 
A Quote I Want to Share
 
NOT MY FOOD Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.
 
This is a mantra from the BLE program that has served me well.  Donuts on the table at work? Not My Food. 
 
A Peek Into My Week I have zero plans on my calendar this week. I'm okay with that. My summer has flown by and now it is my time to chill a bit.
 
A Final Thought A close family friend lost her ex-husband and father of her three beautiful girls to suicide last week. It really took the wind out of me for a bit. I'm sad as hell for his daughters. I've known too many people who have taken their own life. Pain that no one can see eludes a lot of people. Not me. I've never felt suicidal but I can understand how people get there when depression and physical pain is left untreated. I don't want to leave this entry on a sad note. The good news is that one of the best dogs I've ever met got adopted last week by a family with a young teen boy. The photo of their meeting was priceless. I cried when I saw it. I love happy endings, don't you?
 
love, susan
 
 
 






Thursday, August 31, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Total Eclipse: Life List

Looking out the window, that eclipse was something. I didn't buy special glasses for it but friends at work offered to let me look through theirs. It was pretty cool. Even more so was the reaction from one young co-worker who was giddy when she first saw the eclipse. It seemed to bring a lot of joy to everyone in my office and I really dig that.

Review of last week I had photo shoots every night last week. I'm donating proceeds to the animal rescue group I shoot for. People have been super generous and they all seem to be very happy with the work I've done for them. It has been joyful for me but I am tired and will be glad for a little break in September.

Scary kitty.
Remi patiently waiting for a walk
I was hardly home last week except to grab a bite to eat, change my clothes, say hello to the hubby and dogs, and out the door. I never watched the news or saw one program. No big deal. I know stuff is going on. I'm enjoying the break from it.

Yesterday we took a trip to Boulder Cave near Naches, Washington. It was big fun.

River Park in Hermiston, Oregon
Vegetable Pho



Speaking of breaks, I'm getting excited about my annual trip with my high school buddies at the end of September. This year we are meeting up in Lincoln City, Oregon for 6 days. There is plenty to see in the area so I'm sure we'll use those days up quickly. Art galleries, glass blowing studios, aquarium, people watching, etc.

A peek into my week reveals 4 photos shoots are lined up. Everyone so far has shown up. I have one person on my calendar that might flake out. Tonight I have no shoots and I think I'll just rest.

Hope you have a fun week.  love, susan


 
 
 

Monday, August 14, 2017

August Fires: A Life List

Looking Out My Window It's 5:51 and the sun is barely up. This is the time of year this ex-Alaskan notices the darkness creeping in minute by minute every day. The smoke from this summer's fires was whisked away by the gentle winds yesterday which also blew in cooler weather. It's only going to be 83 today and then 87, 91, 89, 94.
 
Weekend Review I took Friday off and I packed a lot of fun into the last 3 days. This summer we've not traveled anywhere and I am enjoying sticking closer to home, although I'm not home much. I had lunch with a friend on Friday, two photo shoots back to back on Saturday evening, a photo shoot early yesterday morning, and volleyball and bbq in the park with lots of friends. Here it is Monday morning and time to get back to work.
 
What I'm Learning The hubby and I went out to dinner Saturday night to P.F. Changs as a friend had given me a gift card in exchange for a photo shoot I did for her. This is not a place I would normally go but I checked out the menu beforehand and found items I could fit into my eating plan. It was the first time I have ever ordered an entrĂ©e from the vegetarian section. Luckily, I had tried fried tofu a very long time ago when my son ordered it and let me try it. I have been eating "clean" since May 1 and I thought ordering the vegetarian dish would be okay but whatever they used in the spicy sauce definitely affected me. I woke up with super puffy eyes and bloat. An experiment I don't need to repeat. The dish was wonderful but I paid for it all day.
 
What I'm Creating I've been doing more video shoots for the dog rescue gig. I've not ever used the video on my phone before and I definitely have never done a YouTube video but I'm working on it now. Having fun with that!
 
What I'm Reading Not one single page this week.
 
What I'm Watching Hubby and I sat down and started watching Ozark on Netflix last night. Not sure I'm going to like it yet but will give it one more episode. It is shot in that kind of dark cinematography that I do not care for. If the series continues that way, it will be the reason I stop watching it.
 


What's On My Camera  Dogs.
 
A Quote I Want to Share Love trumps hate.  ~Susan Arthur
 
A Peek Into My Week Three photo shoots this week. Dogs. Work.
 
A Final Thought So many thoughts about what's going on in the United States. My job is to keep loving people and spreading joy. I refuse to be part of the problem.
 
love, susan

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Nod to Glen Campbell and All My Other Boyfriends and My Awesome Co-Worker

Image result for glen campbell and bobbie gentry little green apples album cover
I love my new co-worker. She is 25 years younger than me but she knows a lot about things that many people her age don't.  The other day we were talking about Glen Campbell dying.  I asked her if she had heard the song he wrote before the Alzheimer's got bad.  She had not so I sent her the lyrics. Here they are in case you are wondering. Grab a tissue first. Seriously. Go grab a tissue right now before you read this.

I'm Not Gonna Miss You
I'm still here, but yet I'm gone
I don't play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you 'til the end
You're the last person I will love
You're the last face I will recall
And best of all, I'm not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you
I'm never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You're never gonna see it in my eyes
It's not gonna hurt me when you cry
I'm never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I'm not gonna miss you
I'm not gonna miss you
Songwriters: GLEN CAMPBELL, JULIAN RAYMOND
© BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
For non-commercial use only.
 
Sorry. I know these lyrics hit you in the feels. I'm glad he wrote them. It it likely most of us will know someone or be someone with Alzheimer's. These words are comforting to me.
 
Okay, so I was telling my very cool co-worker that when I was a teenager, I had a major star crush on Glen Campbell and could imagine my life being married to him. He married Tanya Tucker instead. Whatup with that? She said Richard Gere was her major crush. MINE TOO! Which led me to ask her if she had ever seen American Gigolo. She hasn't but I made her promise she'd watch it. This led to a conversation about another star crush I had for a long time (but am way over it now) on Mickey Rourke. Before I tell her who I'm talking about, I describe him being a real looker in his day but nowadays he's looking worse than rough. She knew exactly who I was talking about.  She's actually seen 9 1/2 Weeks!  Girl went up 100 points on the coolness scale. Her exact words, "9 1/2 Weeks is the original 50 Shades".  Yes. Yes, it is.
 
I've got other star crushes. Don't even get me started on John Cusack. Or, Sean Penn. But for today, I'm fondly remembering my first real, imaginary love. I've forgotten a lot of things but can remember lying around in my bedroom at age 15, staring at a record cover of Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry, listening to them singing Little Green Apples. (heavy sigh)
 
love, susan