Monday, June 19, 2017

Solstice Week: A Life List

Summer is Finally Here Nice weekend weather. The mornings are still cool but it has been warming up to the 80's by afternoon. It's going to 97 today followed by 93, 88, 86, and 84 on Friday. Perfect weather.
Weekend Review Another fun weekend in the bag. We got our passport photos done on Saturday so I can send in renewals on them. Someone asked where we are going. Don't know but at least we'll be ready when we decide. Father's Day dinner at friends' house and a rescue dog photo shoot early yesterday.
What I'm Learning Saying yes to fun events really fills my cup. Learning to say no at my age still sucks but I'm doing it. I say no to things I don't want to do. That's all.
What I'm Creating I boxed up some rubber stamps I no longer use and I'm going to send them to a friend. I also made a pile of birthday cards for work. I'm on the Sunshine Committee and it's my job to give a birthday card to employees. I make them with photos I've taken around the area and I always tape a little mini-size candy bar to the envelope.
What I'm Reading How to Speak Dog. 
What I'm Watching  I watched What the Health on Netflix yesterday. It is an eye opener.  You may be a little shocked when you see it and rethink those hot dogs and burgers.  I'm on my way to vegetarianism.   

What's On My Camera Oh, the dogs! I took many photos of the newest 5 year old lab who is entering rescue this week. She really lit up when another gal brought her dog to the park to join the fun photo session.  Also, I love this image I got of the old Cadillac in front of a storefront mural. A friend called it a trump l'oeil.  I had to look up that work. Google it.
Quote I'd Like to Share  In the next 25 years, one in three people will have diabetes. (From What the Health
A Peek Into My Week Meeting with a friend tonight after work to visit. Birthday party and photo shoot on Wednesday. Gonna pull some weeds.
A Final Thought  97 degrees today.  I love it!
love, susan

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 2017: Life List

Looking Out My Window I see nothing but blue skies. The weather here in eastern Washington has been fickle this spring. The first day of summer is next week. Bring on the 100's, I say.

As I Ponder My days go by so fast I can barely keep up with my own life. I prefer it this way. But once in awhile a down day is needed. I don't know when that will be. I feel like summers are so short that I don't want to waste a minute of it doing nothing.

What I'm Learning I downloaded a new book this week at the recommendation of a friend. Learning about dog language. Did you know dogs can learn/know up to 200 words? I realize as I'm reading it that I don't know which words my dogs know but that we have to spell a lot of things around our house like w-a-l-k and s-q-u-i-r-r-e-l.

What I'm Creating I've been planting a little bit and out taking photos as much as I can. I took a road trip to Spokane with my photo-walking buddy on Sunday. We had a blast going to the botanical garden and Trader Joe's. We took a picnic and ended up in front of a coffee shop eating our lunches as she had prepared a nice one but left it sitting on the chair at home. She was able to buy a nice little salad and a tin can of smoked trout for her picnic lunch.

What I'm Reading How to Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication by Stanley Coren.

What I'm Watching It's summer! No time for sitting in front of the boob-tube.

What's On My Camera From my cell phone a look at some items I bought at Trader Joe's! The cookies are for the hubby.

What's Happening in My Kitchen I have purposely not written much about the program I've been following since May 1st. I am now on Day 44 of Bright Line Eating. I plan a very simple menu for what I'm going to eat today and stick to it. I've lost 11 lbs. and finding I am enjoying the loss of my obsession for sugar. It has made shopping so much easier and faster. It is a plan for living I think I can stay with the rest of my life.

A Quote I Want to Share  This is from the book I mentioned above:

One must not underestimate the receptive language ability of dogs.
The fact that they are not able to produce human sounds to
communicate with us doesn't meant they
do not comprehend human words.

A Peek Into My Week I don't have anything on my calendar this week and that's okay. I'm up for some random fun.

A Final Thought Because I was running all weekend, I didn't get anything done at home like laundry and food prep. I will have to fit that in early mornings every day this week. It reminds that I get to decide how I want to live my life.

love, susan

Monday, June 5, 2017

Stormy June: A Life List

Looking Out My Window Have you ever noticed that it's always sunny on Monday morning after a stormy weekend? I don't think it's funny. Forecast is for sunny and 82 today and 96 on Wednesday. My kinda weather.
Weekend Review We packed a lot of fun in on Saturday. It had been a whole two weeks since our last road trip so we woke up with the road calling us. We ended up in Wenatchee via a segment of road we had never traveled. That's getting rare now that we've lived here almost 9 years and taken a lot of Sunday drives. There is a Salvation Army thrift store in Wenatchee that we love to visit. Their prices are super low and I've found many quality clothing items every time we go. This trip I came home with 8 pair of nice dress slacks, jeans, and 3 pair of capris along with 4 great tops, all at 20% for a total of $35. Hubby found 4 books for $1, and I snagged one of them called Twelve Years a Slave. I started reading it yesterday. He took me to our favorite Vietnamese place for lunch. Saturday night we ended up at our friends' place out in the country. A storm blew in as we were sitting outdoors and I had a horrible allergy attack that left so much histamine in my system I was sick all of yesterday. My eyes still feel like they have gravel in them. But I got great photos while there. It was a full Saturday of non-stop fun.
What I'm Watching I finished the 3rd season of Grace & Frankie. What a great show! Now I can focus on Season 5 of House of Cards.
What's On My Camera Here are my two favorite photos from Saturday. The pano I took with my cell phone. The storm was eerie. The horse image cracked me up! This horse follows me everywhere I go when I'm in the pasture with him. I don't know much about horses and frankly, they scare me a little but I just pretend he's a big dog. He came up behind me and put his nose on my shoulder. Kind of endeared him to me. He's a goof ball.
A Peek Into My Week We're going out to a friend's place tonight after work so I can shoot some photos of the beautiful red headed girl who bought my motorcycle. Tuesday night I'm meeting up with my most favorite friend for coffee, Wednesday I have a lunch date with a friend, and lunch plans on Friday with work friends. Plans are what make life so much fun for me, especially during the work week. I've got a new co-worker starting today so will be training for several weeks.

A Final Thought Dixie (the dog pictured in my last blog entry) found a permanent home over the weekend. I was telling my friend, "T", that we should feel good about the work we're doing with the rescue group. Everyone plays a part in it. Love that. Gotta go now and make a birthday card for my grandson. His birthday snuck up on me. Hope you have a fun week wherever you are in the world.

love, susan

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Am Dixie

Dixie is her name. My friends found her wandering up their busy street about 10 days ago. Apparently her people are not looking too hard for her. She is in foster care now and the group I'm doing photos for will find the best possible home for her. That's what they do.
I'm a bit like Dixie. I wasn't found wandering the streets but my fate was definitely in the hands of kind people early in my life. Perhaps this is why rescuing dogs is important to me. They don't get a choice. They are at the mercy of those who find them and it is up to us to keep them in our network until we know it is safe to let them go.

Today is my 58th birthday, or as someone at work  fondly said, 29 the second the time around.  I like that. I am closer to 60 than 50. Letting that sink in ... just saying it out loud makes me laugh.
Back to mercy.
I was born to a woman who suffered schizophrenia. She had been hospitalized after having three children before me and several psychotic breaks. Once she was institutionalized, she never set foot outside of hospitals and group homes. I met her when I was about 35, and again one more time before she died.
Dixie may never see her people again. I look into her eyes and I think who are you, where are your people, and how can I best serve you?
Scattered thoughts today. In my early years, my birth date was a source of pain. Not because I ever felt abandoned. I never felt that way, not even once. I felt deep sorrow for the woman who delivered me into this world. I wondered if she felt the loss when my birthday rolled around. It wasn't until I met her that I knew for sure that she didn't. The brain disorder and the shitty medication available for the chronically mentally ill didn't allow for that. I find there is a little mercy in that.
Fast forward to today.
I love celebrating my birthday with other people. Today I'm sharing my birthday with a friend's son who is 12. We're going to BBQ and play at the park. I won't be thinking about those sad birthdays I used to have. I'll be thinking about my friends and their kids and how life has a funny way of coming full circle.
I hope Dixie finds people who will love her and keep her like those who found me, past and present.
love, susan

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!