Monday, October 16, 2023

You Made My Day, Dude!

A couple weeks ago
while I was driving back to Portland after spending the night on the Oregon coast, we came up on some road construction where a flagger was stationed. The very long lane of traffic behind us was flowing but I could see a guy in the opposite direction trying to turn across my lane and I stopped to let him go before the flagger had time to put his stop sign up toward me. The flagger was a young guy and as he turned around and saw I had stopped, he looked straight at me, pointed his finger, and yelled YOU ROCK! It totally made my day, dude.

Earlier that day, I had attended an AA meeting where I was one of four people in attendance. I really needed that meeting, and God knew I really needed it to be small. Those old weathered guys were so welcoming and it got my day off to a good start. 

Last week, I traveled to the Tricities to spend a couple of days with some great friends. The first night I was there, we attended their homegroup meeting and I saw a girlfriend I was hoping to run into while there. She didn’t see me when she first entered the room and I watched as her eyes skimmed over me 3 times before it registered with her that yes, it was me. Her smile, laughter, and tight hug remain with me as I write this. She told me she never goes to that meeting. 

That night after the meeting, while I was standing outside catching up with old friends, a guy who heard I was a visitor in the meeting walked up to me and gave me a thumb drive with all the speakers from the weekend AA roundup that had happened the week before I was there … what a great gift. 

Before all of this, I had stopped to get gas in Oregon where they passed a law that now allows you to pump your own gas. Before I could get out of my car, a really nice guy came flying out the door to pump gas for me as he complimented my smile. He said even though the cashiers are not required to pump gas any longer, he likes to do it … and I let him! We had the nicest conversation and that was the beginning of another great day as I picked up my cousin for lunch at the beach.

Today I woke up and experienced some pet peeves that I kind of stewed about for awhile. I wrote another post about that but it will never see the light of day. Man, there is so much good in the world, why would I dwell on the negatives? I don’t know … sometimes I just do. But I don’t need to spread it.

That flagger dude is how I want to be. I want to catch people rocking it! It’s easy to see what’s wrong in the world but wouldn’t be better if we pointed out the good instead? I don’t know … call me Pollyanna … you wouldn’t be the first.

love, susan


Monday, December 19, 2022

I’m Still Standing


I’m toast. It’s late in the day as I draft this. The thought of reviewing my year kind of makes me want to vomit. If I had written when I got up, it would be a different post. I’m dog tired at night but I’m going to write anyway.

I started this blog twelve years ago. Life was different then, nothing like it is now. There was so much great life in between. I am grateful I have documentation of those times. His illness has paralyzed me.

My husband has Stage 6 Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Life has gotten weird, super sad, and tiring. By day’s end, I start to feel really sorry for myself. I don’t start the day that way. I get up early so I have an hour to myself and hit the day running on good energy but the disease is sucking the life out of both of us. Dementia takes no prisoners.

I should have blogged this year but I didn’t. I have felt paralyzed. What little creativity I had is buried under sad thoughts and exhaustion. But I’m going to try to get something down here because I need to. I need to document this life. The good, the bad, the ugly. Someone reminded me recently that this too shall pass … that thought is a double-edged sword. 

This time of year I try to think of a theme word I can latch onto. I searched my previous posts and found theme words I have tried to live by:

2013 Develop | 2014 Move | 2015 Create | 2016 Improve | 2017 Reveal | 2018 Resist | 2019 Embrace | 2020 Relax | 2021Ask | 2022 Pause | 2023 Thrive

2022 is a blur. I’ll get to the good stuff but first I want to tell you the signs of caregiver stress:  Feeling overwhelmed and constantly worried. Feeling tired often. Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep. Gaining or losing weight. Becoming easily irritated or angry. Losing interest in activities you use to enjoy. Feeling sad. Having frequent headaches, bodily pain, or physical problems. I have experienced all of these signs at one time or another this last year. I have cried a river of tears and every waking moment is spent thinking about this horrid disease. But I’m still standing!


The best thing we did this year was take our last summer road trip to eastern Washington. We spent 8 weeks at a beautiful AirBnb in Kennewick. While there, we had many visits from friends and family. Definitely time & money well spent. We had tacos every Thursday for our Tricities friends, and Gene’s daughter and granddaughter traveled over on two occasions from Portland to stay a few days. My high school bestie flew from Juneau to visit for a whole week. Another bestie flew over from Portland for a couple days. I loved every minute of it. If any of you wonderful people are reading this, you will never know how much it meant to me that you showed up.  The hubs and I both got a light case of covid the end of July, and the thyroid surgery I had scheduled at OHSU in Portland was canceled. With the blessing of my doctor, I have decided to put surgery off for now. The logistics are too complicated. The hubs suffered terrible anxiety during the trip and I knew it would be our last. My step-daughter was especially grateful we had the beautiful space in Kennewick to make our last good memories together and I’ll forever remember them sitting outside just enjoying the beautiful view. It was truly awesome.

When we returned to Arizona, at the urging of family and friends, I hired a home health care agency to bring respite in so I can get out and run errands and escape this nightmare for a couple of hours twice a week. The agency sent a perfect angel to sit and watch movies with Gene. She makes snacks for him and sometimes they sit outdoors and bird-watch.

My goal for 2023 is to survive and thrive. It’s a tall order in the midst of this but I refuse to allow dementia to take us both down. Caregiving is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I am finding out what I’m made of. 

Raising my coffee cup to everyone who is still standing. I’ll be back soon.

Love, susan 💜

Friday, December 10, 2021

You’re Still Here?


Days away from another year gone by. Geeeezus.

I remember when my mind was racing with ideas to write about and today I am lucky if I can hold a thought long enough to follow through. As recently as thirty minutes ago I thought a steaming hot cup of fresh coffee with half & half sounded good but I never followed through on it. 

It dawned on me yesterday that a new year is approaching fast. I don’t think I even chose a theme word last year. If I had, it would have been survive.  We were glad to have 2020 behind us but still holding our collective breath, hoping for a better year. It has been better and it has been worse

My patience has been tested about every other moment this year. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I just pray for bedtime to arrive so I can pull the covers up over my head, sleep, and try it again tomorrow. 

This next year, I plan to pause a lot. 

If you’re still here, reading my words, I hope things have been better in your world. We have a choice about how we see things. I don’t care how bad it gets, I’m still looking for the rainbow.

Pause. Breath. Do the next right thing. Love. Believe.

After all, we are here to walk each other home. 

Love, susan

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Boomer Here, Checking In


Hi all. I’m coming to you from Denver. We’re here for a bit visiting the sweetest baby boy ever. We arrived 10 days ago and have been out every day doing this and that. Two days after we arrived, we were informed we had been exposed to covid a few days prior so I had to find a place to get a rapid test. I couldn’t believe it when I found a clinic across town that performed the negative test on a Sunday. (I think it’s important to add that we are vaccinated and my friend who tested positive was also fully vaccinated.)

I’ve been getting around Denver easily with the help of Google maps. I’m not really much of a city girl but I could be. Denver boasts a 2021 population of 2,862,000 people. It’s a big city but I’ve found it to be super friendly and so easy to get around. Some of the roads are pretty rough but I was reminded by my daughter-in-law that they are nothing compared to Michigan (specifically Lansing) roads.

Driving in the mile high city has been a great learning opportunity for me. My use of Google maps has been limited until about 10 days ago. The best thing I’ve learned is that 1,000 feet is a lot further than I think it to be. I’m learning to trust that lady voice that guides me wherever I want to go in this lovely place. My kids live about 20 minutes away and Google lady has taken us there via a couple of routes. Love that.

I’ve been feeling proud of myself for getting past my fear of driving in city situations. I pretty much just set that fear aside and let technology do its thing. I will probably be doing some trips to Phoenix and San Diego this year and my new found experience will no doubt come in handy. 

Hope all is well in your world. Til next time … love, boomer

Friday, May 21, 2021

Two Years Into Semi-Retirement: Best Advice Ever


This week marks two years since my last day of work. Full disclosure: I tried to go back to work last September but 6 weeks in I realized I could not manage working along with my home life. I came home and decided to embrace my place in life right now, which is caring for my husband, home, and one demanding dog. I quit searching the help wanted ads and started making this “retirement” my new job. That shift in thinking has made a big difference. I’m not feeling anxious and useless today. The days are going by faster than they did the first year of retirement. It’s true what they say ... it’s hard to know how I had time for anything else when I was working for a paycheck. I believe I was expert at squeezing this much <——————-——> into <—-> this much time. Time management is still important to me and I find using both my digital and paper calendar is effective. A friend who retired before me advised to never schedule more than one appointment a day. BEST ADVICE EVER. I still get up at 5am and have a habit stack that keeps me feeling encouraged and good about myself. I am still volunteering with a local non-profit that provides transportation for seniors to their doctor appointments. I truly love doing that. Lately, I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos on cooking and cleaning. I haven’t read as much as I thought I would in retirement but I’m not giving up the idea that I’ll just sit and read a book cover to cover some day soon.

Embracing this life. 

Love, susan

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Happy Earth Day: Vow to Change


I have a friend who once told me if we all did just one thing that is earth friendly, we could change the trajectory of climate change. I think about that all the time. I try to be a good recycler but I could do better. I’ve recently been feeding my dog canned dog food. I absolutely hate washing out the cans to recycle, so I don’t. Can I tell you how guilty I feel about that? I do. Feel guilty. Now that I have said that out loud, I’m vowing to change that. 

My “one thing” is I try not to drink bottled water. We live in the desert and have to drink copious amounts of water to survive the heat. We have a reverse osmosis installed at our kitchen sink and I run that water into a Brita filter and keep 2 gallons of water going at all times. There is no reason I should need to drink bottled water ever. I have plenty of water containers of every size to carry with me when I go out. I do sometimes forget to grab water on my way out the door, especially in the winter time. Now that it is heating up, I need to develop a habit of preparing water bottles that are easy to place on the counter when I know I’m going to leave the house. 

I also try to think about things I buy to bring into my home. I’m a big thrift shopper and love the idea of reusing items that others have donated. This week I scored two really nice muffin pans at my favorite thrift store. I had been eyeing them and everything was 75% off so they came home with me along with several new-to-me summer tops. My thought is ... why buy new when I can find practically new at the thrift store? When I need a household item, I put it on my mental list and look for it at the thrift shop before I buy new. Having said that, I did buy a new frying pan this year that completely blew my budget but there are some things that just cannot be found used. 

Summing this up ... going forward I shall:

  • Drink water from the tap
  • Wash out those dog food containers to recycle
  • Continue to buy used items when possible
Do you have ‘one thing’ you do to be kind to the earth? Tell me.

Love, susan

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Just One Thing


I’ve had a million thoughts running through my mind this week. On a phone call with an old friend yesterday, we shared a conversation about one facet of growing older ... trying to hold a thought. I want to think our current events this last year have contributed to my inability to keep my focus. But, I’m willing to concede that some of it is simple aging. I’ve always had a mind that races but it seems that my thoughts and ideas barely hit the surface and scatter before I have time to either write it down, or commit it to memory. This really frustrates me. I do write notes for myself but often my ideas come when I’m walking the dog, or in the shower.

My idea for this post came while I was reading an email from a favorite writer/blogger Gretchen Rubin. She and other bloggers have little niche things they post .. hers is 5 Things That Make Me Happy. As I read her recent email and I thought ... I’m just looking for ONE THING ... let alone five. And, then I got to thinking ... lots of things make me happy and they can be the smallest things. 

JUST ONE THING .... this week

  • I transported a talkative woman to her appointment at the Cancer Center this week. Not only was she super interesting to listen to, I learned how one gets cancer in their eyelid. She described the awful surgery that removed it from her lower lid and the hole it left that had to be patched. From here on out, I’m going to take better care to stay out of the sun without sunscreen and always wear my sunglasses.
  • The yellow cactus bloom I caught out of the corner of my eye this week. It only blooms a day or two and then it’s gone. I’m happy I saw it. Photo below.
  • Random texts with photos of my youngest grandson. My daughter-in-law can’t begin to know how happy this makes me. Back in the day, we would have had to wait for a special occasion to receive photos of babies. Technology rocks! (I can’t believe I’m saying that)
  • This week I hand-wrote (copied) approximately 100 journal prompts from images I saw on Pinterest. The act of putting my pen to paper and not having to think about what to write was satisfying. I may never write anything from those prompts but it felt good to just use a little ink.
  • Today I took a close up look at the flowers blooming in my yard. I think these ocotillo blooms look like candy corn. I don’t remember them ever blooming at eye level. What a treat!

I’m always good about telling my friends to find the joy and then I forget to do it myself. This coming week, I’m going to try to pay a little more attention to my thoughts, and find a way to get a few more of them down on paper instead of letting them pass by. I’ll try.

What’s your ONE THING this week?

Love, Susan

Friday, April 2, 2021

Brain Dump


Hello there. It’s me. Here it is April and this will be my first post for 2021 ... if I even post it. You should see how many posts I have started and never finished. 

To say I’ve been in a slump would be an understatement. Slump. Strange word. I’m not even sure if that describes my status. I’ve been busy enough. I’m not laying around doing nothing. It’s just that not a lot of things have sparked joy lately. But, I’m not unhappy either. My definition of slump is that in-between joy and boredom place. Ho hum. Whatever. Ya know? 

This week I had the thought that I would like to go just one whole day without talking about covid. I tried that yesterday but then I was complaining to my friends on Marco Polo (cool video app) about “it” and had to laugh at myself. I laughed hard! I can’t even make it 5 minutes after my vow to not talk about it. Covid, covid, covid. 

I’m coming up on my 2 year anniversary since I quit working. I tried to go back to work last September but only lasted 6 weeks. Turns out my home life needed a whole lot more attention than I wanted to admit. If there is one thing I know about myself, I’m not a quitter. It was hard to admit that I couldn’t do it all. When I came home after that last “last day”, I made a promise to myself that I would stop looking at the help wanted ads. I would stop wishing I was somewhere else. I would make my home life my “job”. 

I’ve been journaling a lot the last couple of months. At the end of every entry I have been writing these words ... JOURNAL * READ * DO DISHES * MAKE BED * WALK THE DOG. I recently added DRINK WATER. All of these are actions I resist on a daily basis even though I enjoy either the action or the results. As I sit here writing this entry, I think I’ll add BLOG to my habit stack. I’ll try. There, I said it. 

Gotta go for now. I have an 8am appointment for my car and I haven’t done any of the actions in my habit stack. 

Love, susan

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 ... A Year of Embrace


Photo credit: Amanda Smith
(My grandson making his way to what he wants)
Every December I choose a watchword for the new year and review my previous year’s word choice. Last year, my word was embrace. It was a perfect word for what was to become a measured period of time. 2020 will be easy to remember in years to come. Did I embrace it? Mostly, yes. Even the pandemic. But truthfully, I’ve come to despise all things Covid. 

2020: What I Embraced

Trips to Denver. Friendships. Helping on local campaign for sheriff. Slowing down. Zoom. FaceTime. Chair time. Walks with my dog. Podcasts. Netflix. Hulu. Sunshine. Good food. Phone calls.

2020: What I Let Go

My friend, Linda, died in April. My border collie, Abbie, died. Facebook. Old ideas.

. . .

My watchword for 2021 is ASK.

Do you have a watchword for 2021? Tell me.

Love, susan

Monday, December 21, 2020

Winter Solstice 2020 thoughts .... I survived

Honest to Pete, I feel like I can hardly hold a thought in my head these days. So, I went out to the internet to snag some writing prompts for this post. Why not? Here they are .... 

The overall theme of the past year was a bit of gloom and doom. Everything was looking good until March arrived with the pandemic. My watchword for 2020 was “adjust”, and adjust I did. It seemed like I had to change my attitude on a daily basis. I did this by limiting my time watching the news and making the best of being stuck at home. Overall though? I’d choose the word survived as the theme.

Some of the most profound moments of 2020 involved time with my newest grandson in person and on Facetime. Spending time with friends. Just everything. It all seems profound.

What did you prove to yourself that you are capable of? I have not shied away from making decisions this year. Sometimes I have to sleep on them a couple of nights but then I have been able to get into action. Decision paralysis just might be in remission now.

What did you learn about what you need to take care of yourself?  This may sound petty but dude, I gotta get pedicures way more often than I have been. My feet get so dry they crack, and then I feel it every time I walk. Oh, does this question want me to go deep? Okay. Naps. I need naps and I take them. 

What did 2020 show you that you don’t want? I don’t want to keep running around like a chicken with my head cut off. This whole retirement gig has been harder than I thought it would be but I’m getting there. I definitely don’t want to spend countless hours scrolling FB, so I deactivated it after the elections. I don’t think I’ll go back for quite awhile, if ever. I hate to say never but it could happen. I don’t like the way I feel when I spend my precious life scrolling, judging, and having internal conversations about what other people are doing. Screw that.

What new parts of yourself did you uncover? What did these parts or part have to teach you? Hmm. I am not as patient as I would like to be. I started waking up in the morning and asking patience to enter my mind before I even let my feet hit the floor. When I’m my most patient self, love is mirrored back to me and I just feel better about the world. What’s the hurry, I ask myself constantly.

Where was ‘home’ in 2020? Home has been in this awesome leather chair that I moved into my dining room area. Living in a small house, I needed “my” space where I could read, write, and hit Zoom meetings comfortably. I used to think home was in the car, going on road trips, being with people but 2020 has crushed that. 

What thoughts or mantras supported you? Slow down. Do what you can. Only one appointment a day. Sleep on it. It can wait. Don’t procrastinate. Eat well. It’s okay to say no.

How did you support others? Phone calls, FaceTime, homemade hand-written cards. I’ve been volunteering at a local non-profit that transports elderly care clients to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and food bank. 

Prompts for looking forward to the year ahead...

Who is the person you are stepping into 2021 as? Confident caregiver Susan.   

What incredible experiences would blow your mind in 2021? This is a difficult prompt for me. I am not much of a future tripper or a dreamer. But, if I could just make one wish it would be that everyone be not just a little, but a lot kinder to each other. Let’s make America kinder in 2021, okay?

What do you know for sure about what you truly want for the upcoming year? What would make you feel like the year, when all is said and done, that it was a success? I want to remain healthy. If I get to the end of 2021 without any major illness or medical emergencies, I’ll breath a sigh of relief.

Okay. There’s my thoughts. What are you thinking about on this shortest day of 2020? Tell me.

Love, Susan

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Currently .... FIND THE GOOD!


Hi. It’s me!  Long time, no see. Not gonna lie, Covid has been the bane of my existence for awhile. It hasn’t been all bad but definitely has been responsible for my lack of blogging. It’s been a job just staying positive every day. For the longest time, I have felt I don’t have anything upbeat to write about. Why add more gray to the world? 

But, I am coming around.

One of the bloggers I follow always did a weekly “Currently” update and I copied her format for a long time. It came to me recently (in the last 5 minutes, honestly) that I certainly can come up with enough positive current events to write about. So here goes. Paula, if you are still out there and still have me on your blog roll, this one is dedicated to you!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW ... we have sunshine nearly every day here in Yuma, Arizona. We did get our first rain (since March) last Wednesday night. The numbers for this week are: 70, 64, 68, 66, 67, 69, etc. Sunny, sunny, sunny. 

PONDERING .... life in general. As hard as this year has been for many friends and family, I cannot complain. I have had it way, waaaaay worse. I’ve woken most days looking for the good, and there is plenty of it to be found. If I ever get a tattoo, it will read find the good and it will be on the inside of my left forearm where I can’t escape the message. FIND THE GOOD 💜

WATCHING ... this week I watched Under the Tuscan Sun for the umpteenth time. It never gets old. I started watching the series Lie to Me on Netflix. Have you seen The Queen’s Gambit? It is binge worthy.

READING ... my Alaska, book-loving friend sent me a new book by Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) called Frontier Follies. It is a series of short stories from her life on the ranch in Oklahoma. Very uplifting! And, I just love the feel of a new book, don’t you? I am also listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, which is super interesting.

PODCASTS ... here is a list of podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. I am attracted to a certain kind of interviewer and captivated by the sound of their voices. 

    Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (interviews with fascinating humans)
    Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris (interviews with legendary meditation teachers)
    WTF with Marc Maron (interviews comedians, actors, writers, musicians, etc.)
    Literally! With Rob Lowe (interviews guest from movies, TV, sports, music and culture)

THIS WEEK ... I am volunteering in the office at Helping Hands. This organization transports clients to doctor appointments, assists with grocery shopping, pick up from food bank, and other crucial activities. Covid has curbed its services a bit but there is still a lot of work to be done.


    Cruise control ... Ninja air fryer ... iPad

EMBRACING .... last year I chose this word, embracing, as my watch word for the year. What I am embracing right now are all things up close and personal. I deactivated my FB account a month ago and after about a week of detoxing from it, I discovered I had time for other things I had let go to the wayside. I actually sent out Christmas cards this year. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I have been sending hand-written cards to someone very dear to me and she has been sending cards in return. I have had so many in-person phone conversations during this pandemic, how cool is that? I am embracing this pandemic and finding the good.


    “The house doesn’t lose things” ~ Caroline Fergen (friend and former co-worker)

Hope you have your best week ever 💙

Love, susan

You Made My Day, Dude!

A couple weeks ago while I was driving back to Portland after spending the night on the Oregon coast, we came up on some road construction ...