Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Ideas

My imagination has been going crazy lately.  The scavenger hunt yesterday was an interesting study of my nature. Gene nailed it on the head when he said that having a list to complete in one hour kind of took the pressure off trying to take the perfect picture. As much as I'd like to think I'm not very competitive, I certainly wanted to find everything on that list ... which led to me think about doing a theme for my posts in November.

Lists  I was thinking Top 10 lists, To Do Lists, Not To-Do Lists, Top 10 Movies lists, etc.  It's all been done before.  So I started thinking about what it is I'm really enjoying right now in my life.  I came up with an idea to take 5 photos every day of random things in my life and post 'em up.  So my theme for November will be Take 5.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scavenger Hunt Results

The Tri City Digital Photograhy Club hosted a photo scavenger hunt this morning at Howard Amon Park near our house. I met a friend there and this is the result of my scavenger hunt. The items we had to scavenge for were: an acorn, red leaf, yellow leaf, green leaf in the water, object shaped like a letter, object shaped as a number, photo showing texture, repeating pattern, action shot, squirrel, bird, dog, duck, geese, having fun, a crack in the sidewalk, autumn scene, fishing (fisherman/woman or child), pinecone, something round, square and triangle. We had one hour to find all these listed items. The only thing I couldn't find was a goose.
Squirrel eating acorn
It was really neat to meet some new people with similar interests in photo shooting and it didn't start raining until we were finished.  I hope I can fit the best pics on here for memory's sake.  I'm still having a little trouble manipulating my photos in this blog. I'm not sure how many it will actually hold on the page. 

So, there was this group of scuba divers putting their gear on and I got a pic of one of them. Guess what? They were taking pumpkins to the bottom of the river and carving them underwater! I didn't stay to see the results but my friend told me they do it every year. How crazy fun is that?

At the end of one hour, we met where we started and the leader gave us a little goodie bag of treats.  The real treat was when I got home and uploaded the fun pics. 

I'm so glad my friend, Linda, invited me to join this photo club. I learn something new every time I'm out with my camera and I get great ideas from other photographers.
Can you guess which photo fit it's category? 

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's All About My Attitude

Writer's block this morning. Well, not really. You guys might find this boring but it's my life.  Yesterday I was sitting at my desk in cubicle nation and actually enjoying being there. How weird is that? I broke it down last night and realize that I really like (so far) working for the new attorney they assigned to me over a month ago. I still have the "old" attorney and he's a riot! Mr. "Pun", himself. But my new assignment does some different, interesting work. I never know what I'll be doing when I sit in my chair every morn @ 8:30 a.m.

Estate planning
My new attorney puts together wills, health care directives & durable power of attorneys.  I get to meet her clients briefly when they sign on the dotted line as I get to "witness" the signing of such documents. We have people from all walks of life visit our office. Very cool.

Yesterday, I got to work on an Asset Purchase Agreement, Promissory Note, and a Resolution. I haven't done this kind of work in a long time and it weirdly energized me yesterday. Even stranger, it made me think about high school business classes and all the jobs I've had over the last 30 years ~ retail, hospice, banking, mental health, pumping gas at a Chevron station back in the day when there was no such thing as self-serve (now there's an idea for another post).

Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Um, yeah, if you have a ton of "jack", you really should have an agreement.  And there are plenty of people in this area who are monied up.  Pre-nups is a strange concept but if you saw what I see, you'd get it.

Setting up Corporations
My new assigned attorney helps people set up their business.  I like love the idea of being part of helping someone get things going even if it is just working in the background as I do. These are the clients who bring us the most awesome treats during the holiday ~ my favorite form of gratitude.

I wasn't crazy about the idea of being assigned a new attorney but I have to say it has turned out differently than I thought it would.  I was telling some friends last night that I often have to let go of my old ideas about things so I can have new experiences.   For me, it's all about my attitude ... am I going to to contribute to the stream of life today or am I going to suck the life out of everyone with my bad attitude.

The best part? My new assigned attorney likes using Bookman Old Style (not sure if that's the exact name) Font.  Can I just tell you how exciting that is after using Times New Roman for the last two years?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Got China?

So, yesterday I was talking with my Martha Stewart friend at work via email (we work in a "silence is golden" office) about my need for some home decorating advise. She said her heart rate increased and her reply to my email request for assistance was in large, teal colored font so I know she's on my team now. I was telling her how I wanted to buy some things to make a nice table for my son & wife's visit, including perhaps some new dinner & dessert plates. And, then she asked the question that changed my life. She asked if I was going to buy everyday dinnerware or something more for harvest or like China.  China?  Oh crap, I have China!  I FORGOT I HAVE CHINA. 

When my mom died 9 years ago, it took my dad a year or two to start gifting some of mom's treasures to my sister and me.  On one summer trip to North Pole, Alaska, he returned with a large tote full of one of mom's sets of China (she had 2 sets). I got the set I wanted and because we were living in such a small space in AZ, I just left it in the tote. After we moved to our current home, I unpacked it all, washed it and placed it up in this really awesome showcase shelving that has glass doors which separates my kitchen from the dining room.  What a revelation to remember that I have China. It made me giddy just like my friend was when I asked her to help me with some decorating tips. Now, I have a starting point for a beautiful table setting.

The China was a gift my dad gave to my mom from one of his tours while he was in the Navy. My dad served in the Korean war and I think he spent some time in Japan and Korea, although please don't quote me. I'll have to do some inquiring the next time I talk to him.  He doesn't talk about it much, not because he was traumatized, but I think because it was a really long time ago. When he does talk about it, he tells of the bloated bodies that were washed up on shore. He may tell other parts of his story but that's truly the only part I ever remember. (I should have gone into forensics ~ I'm always far too interested in morbid things.)  The China.  Yeah, I'll have to ask dad more about the story of the China ...

The China is now my China. I really love it and it honestly just now made me get a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes thinking about it. It's very beautiful, simple, strong but delicate, very much like mom. She only used it a handful of times that I can remember. She got it out on Thanksgiving and Christmas and the rest of the time it was hidden away. It has sweet, little pink roses and a tiny gold ring around the edges. I remember thinking we were really living large when we got the China out.  It was "Made in Japan". Whew, so happy it wasn't made in China.  I don't really have anything against the Chinese, I just don't like their cheap crap.

I know it will make my dad happy that I'm using the China.  I wish I would have thought of it a couple of weeks ago when he and Nancy were here. I would have served the chicken tortilla soup in the China soup bowls and perhaps I would have heard stories about the China and his tour in Korea and Japan. 

As I'm proof reading this post, I know I've capitalized China probably incorrectly but I've done so because it has meaning to me and the capitalization is so the reader will know this is not just any old set of dishes.  It's "The China".   love, Susan

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Note to Self: Don't Go Crazy

Justin & Amanda (NAU 2008) Picture taken at Bif's Bagels
Only one month until they arrive for Thanksgiving. I don't get overly excited about much ... I'm a "one day at a time" kinda girl but I'm finding myself thinking fairly often about my kids coming to visit now that it's getting closer. They made plans back in July and it just seemed too far away back then to think about. I've noticed that time flies when you're busy doing life. Honestly, my life never used to be like this.  I used to wish away a lot of my days but it's not like that anymore. When I knew my kids were coming home for the holiday I was thrilled to pieces but I knew I had to live between that time of knowing and their arrival. In the past, I looked forward to an event and that's all I thought about and the days, months, and even years slipped by. This life I have today is really awesome and I don't want to wish any of it away.

So, what I've been thinking about seems silly, for me, but I think I need to act on it.  I haven't made a real Thanksgiving dinner in about 11 or 12 years. I used to love to be the hostess for holiday dinners and then something happened and I lost my spark along with a lot of other things.  I ended up in Arizona and sat around the beautiful, outdoor dinner tables with my aunts & uncles, dad and Nancy, cousins, and snowbird friends. I remember the first time Gene and I ate Christmas dinner together at my Aunt Glenva's house. It was outside, the sky was clear blue and we were in short sleeve shirts. He couldn't wait to call his daughters who live in rainy Hillsboro, Oregon and tell them how he spent Christmas day.  I'll never forget that first winter Gene moved to Arizona. Every morning he would wake up, peek out the window and then lay back in bed and laugh like a hysterical mad-man because the sky was once again blue. He often got on the phone to his daughters to rub it in about the weather. I don't think he ever quite got over the fact that Yuma, AZ is the sunniest place on earth.  Okay ... back to dinner.

So, I've been thinking that I'd really like to have a nice dinner table set for Thanksgiving.  A tablecloth, pretty napkins, etc.  I don't have any of that kind of stuff because we always go somewhere else for dinner. I'm not a decorator but I have a friend at work who I swear is related to Martha Stewart. I think I'll hit her up for some free advice. I want our table to look nice.  I want to be selective about what I buy to set the table with  because perhaps I'll use it again next year for whomever might come to dinner. I think having a few years off from hostessing is long enough ... it's probably time I give that a try again.

I haven't seen Justin and Amanda since last December, when Justin walked in ceremony to get his undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University. I flew to Phoenix where dad and Nancy picked me up and we spent a couple of days in Flagstaff. I cannot believe it was just less than a year ago. Watching him graduate was truly a dream come true for me. We're planning a road trip in May with a stop in Flagstaff to see both Justin and Amanda graduate from their master's programs. It seems like a million months away but at the rate my life is flying by ... but really, it's just around the corner. But I'm not going to think about that right now.

They'll be here in 30 days.  Thirty days!  

Note to Self: do not go crazy trying to make everything just right.  Make plans but don't plan the outcome. Enjoy the process. Live your life between now and then ~ don't miss a minute of it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Much To Do About Nothing

The weather is changing here this week. We have had crazy wind for 24 hours now and it brought in some chilling cold weather. I had to turn the heat on last night ... that's how I know. Gene said the mid-west is getting ready for a huge storm. He watches the weather channel ... a lot.

I drove to the park yesterday on my lunch hour just to get out of the office and found these fatties down by the river. If winter is coming, I wonder why they are still here? Maybe they stay all winter and I just don't know it. I don't usually leave my office when the weather gets worse. I secretly wish we could just skip the lunch hour and leave work an hour early but my co-workers would beat me to death with a stack a papers if I said that outloud.  Well, they'd probably give me a dirty look at the very least. (giggles!)

My friend at work has a niece who is living in France this year, going to high school and learning the language. She writes on her blog that the schools in France go on strike every once in awhile. The most we can hope for here is the electricity will go out for a couple of hours. "Ladies, get out your flashlights ... you can still file".  (laughing out loud ... this has never happened, but I'm imagining it could today with this fierce wind)

Today I'm going to go visit my hair stylist, Melissa, to get a trim. Hairdressers. She's a sweet, young person. I had a dilemma last year because I have another hair stylist, Misty, in the same salon and one day she was deathly sick and asked Melissa to cut my hair when I came in. Big mistake. I really liked Melissa's work but I'm loyal and I was torn about going back to Misty. I told Melissa about it and she suggested that I alternate. Now, how sweet is that? No "cut throat", bitchy, hair stylists in this salon! Last time I was in, Melissa told me Misty was moving to Seattle. I felt a sigh of relief. But when I called yesterday to make an appointment, Misty's name is still on the voice mail directory.  Maybe Misty didn't move to Seattle like she was supposed to. I wouldn't blame her, it rains far too much there. (giggles)

I titled this blog correctly, didn't I?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Love It When He Takes Me to Dinner

We took a late drive yesterday to Naches which is 12 miles on the other side of Yakima. The fall leaves are out and I had a hankering for some home-cooking, just not mine. There's a sweet little restaurant called the Sticky Fingers Bakery in the little, one-horse town of Naches. Gene got a Reuben sandwich and I ordered a sinful, sirloin burger. The breads are homemade. I snapped a few pics along the way as that was my real reason for wanting to get out. I didn't get the greatest shots yesterday but it was fun nonetheless.

Gene liked this tree
We stopped in Prosser for just a minute to take a photo or two along the river, just off the bridge. We love to go to Prosser on Saturdays as they have a neat little Hospice thrift store but we were too late this day as they had already closed. 

Prosser, WA - famous for its wineries
Apples. Not sure what kind but we think maybe Pink Ladies

We drove back on the Old Naches Hwy. Nice road for m/c next year!

Teapot Dome Service Station (see info below about this National Historic Place)
The Teapot Dome Service Station was built in 1922 on what later became U.S. Route 12. The building has a circular frame with a conical roof, sheet metal "handle," and a concrete "spout." The station was intended to be a reminder of the Teapot Dome Scandal that rocked the presidency of Warren G. Harding and sent Interior Secretary Albert Fall to prison for his role in leasing government oil reserves in, among other places, Teapot Dome, Wyoming. The unique service station continued operation as a full service gas station.

Moon over Richland

 I couldn't believe my eyes on our trip back when the moon started rising out of the horizon about 5:00 p.m. This photo does not do it justice but I was in a moving car. I love the little scratch of cloud moving across the moon.  It was the cherry on top of the cake as far as road trips go!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

4 a.m. - Who's to Blame

I am a walking clock.  It doesn't matter what day it is, I wake up at approximately 3:55 a.m., just before the &#*%$@! alarm clock sounds the most hideous noise known to mankind. It happened this morning, which happens to be Saturday and I didn't even have my alarm turned on. I don't know why or how the internal clock that belongs to me works but I don't wear a watch and you can ask me at any time during the day or night what time it is and I come pretty darn close to knowing every single time.

When I sit every day, October thru March, in front of my light box, I use a little timer to click off 30 minutes at a time in front of it to make sure I get enough light. I instinctively know when to turn my head and look at the timer and turn it off or reset it before it makes its horrible beeping sound.  My husband thinks I'm a little OCD (obsessive-compulsive disordered) and he says it like it's a bad thing. (giggles)  I'll admit I am pretty rigid about a lot of things but it has served me well in many instances.  I'll name 'em if you force me to. (giggles again)

I'm a morning person. I always have been and I don't see any signs of that changing. I was thinking about my Grandpa Walker this morning when my alarm clock did not go off but my internal clock woke me up.  Grandpa used to get up with the chickens, too. He'd get up and start cooking side-pork and coffee. When I'd get up to those wonderful smells, he was always sitting in the same chair, smoking his Camel cigarettes. He kept cartons of Camels in a little telephone stand that was painted aqua-blue-teal and he'd let us "tap" the packs for him before he opened them. I never was a smoker but I loved the smell of tobacco when he opened up a fresh pack. He always wore the same dark colored cotton, collared, button-up shirts and work boots and if my memory serves me right, he never tied his boots. Or maybe he didn't wear boots at all. I wish I had written these memories down sooner, darn it.  Anyway, I don't think he ever slept-in a day in his whole life. If there is anyone to blame for my early morning rising, I'd pick him. Or, I could blame it on Grandma Walker ... who let me start drinking coffee when I was about age 9. She had these fancy little china cups with saucers and there was always more cream (the real stuff, right smack out of the cow they kept in the little barn out back) and sugar cubes in my cup than should have been but I developed a love of coffee right off the bat. Yeah, maybe it's her fault. (giggles)  I can't see a box of sugar cubes on the shelf at the store without thinking of Grandma Walker. There is nothing quite like taking a cube of sugar and letting it melt in your mouth or watching it dissolve as she poured a little coffee in my cup ~ Grandma knew that and it was among the great pleasures of going to visit her.

Grandma & Grandpa had daily routines and once the salt-pork was done, Grandpa would put it on a plate and make greasy eggs.  Grandma would get ready to go to work at the post office and if we were there on the weekend, sometimes she'd let us come visit her on Saturday. She had an old-fashioned postage machine where the envelopes would sit at one end and she'd let us turn the handle that caused the envelope to pass through the stamper. That post office is still there and it looks exactly the same as it did when I was 9, or at least it did the last time I was in Grand Ronde a couple of years ago.  I think I need to go there ... again ... soon.

I think I'll add that to my "to do" list. I know I can fit that into my busy schedule and while I'm there I want to go see my cousin Tommy's daughter in "The Nutcracker".  Tommy's wife read my blog titled  "Ethyl" and told me their daughter has a part in the local production which will be playing in McMinnville in December.  What a perfect way to spend a weekend ~ seeing "The Nutcracker" and visiting old places that mean so much to me.

These are things I think about at 4:00 a.m.

Love, Susan

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flea Bag Cat Will Travel

Meet Mr. Kitty. He hails from Vale, Oregon and has been a member of our family since the early 2000's. I can't remember exactly what year it was but it was early in my relationship with Gene. We were hanging out in an old trailer park that had hook ups for motorhomes in Vale for a week in early September one year. There were 42 cats & kittens (I counted them) running around that little park. Mr. Kitty won Gene's heart early in the week as Gene would sit outside with his turkey-ham breakfast and this little orange fluff-ball did just about anything to get a piece of ham. When it was time to pull up and leave, Gene said "do you suppose we should take this kitten with us?"  I said "really"??? So, we contacted the trailer park "cat lady" and she was happy to let this kitten go. She didn't really own any of the cats but she told us that locals knew she fed them and at night new ones would appear to be dropped of there. The majority of them looked sickly and this kitten was no exception. We rolled down the road and the first day we discovered he was a host to a million fleas. Living in Alaska all my life, I never experienced fleas and I found it quite disgusting. So we bathed kitty and in the process discovered he had horrible ear mites and a respiratory cough. Poor kitty.  Well, we had to keep rolling, so we just did the best by him we could.

I need to back up here because I don't want to leave out the part about Vale, Oregon. Wait, I have to back up even further. We had bought a Yamaha Virago motorcycle while we were staying in Hillsboro. We had taken the motorhome there and had no real transportation so we bought a motorcycle to get around on and as we traveled home, Gene rode the m/c and I drove the m/h. While sitting in Vale, Oregon for a week, we rode that m/c over to a meetings in Nampa and other little spots. As we rode through the onion fields, I remember the most wonderful aroma of onions as the farmers had just unearthed them and they lay out in the fields drying a bit. I don't really know what process they go through but it was a first for me and I just felt hungry for spaghetti or something yummy because of the sweet smell of sun-baked onions. Funny how you remember certain things about trips. I know Gene will remember something entirely different when he reads this and it will be something I have completely forgotten.  Anyway, we also stopped one day and had lunch in Idaho, which was just a short ride from where we were camped. The place where we ate was called Yadira's, which was also the name of one of my co-workers in Yuma. Great Mexican food for being so far north of the border!

So, we roll out of Vale with a new kitty and I'm driving the m/h while Gene rides his m/c down the road. I can't tell you how distracting it was to drive that m/h knowing I had a precious little kitty on board running around doing God knows what. It's amazing I didn't have a wreck.  We headed towards Pahrump, Nevada to see our friends Ed & Marlene. We hit a torrential rainstorm just outside of Pahrump and I wasn't sure we were going to make it but Gene plowed right through that water on the road as if it was nothing. From Pahrump, we headed home to Yuma in 110 weather. To this day, I believe my husband is made out of steel. How he rode in the blazing hot sun is beyond my comprehension. We stopped alot and I pumped him full of Gatorade. We were much younger then and I don't think we'd try that today.

So, we get home with this flea bag cat and get him to the vet right away. The woman at the counter wanted to know what his name was.  In unison, we said "Kitty".  The receptionist said, "well, the least you could do is call him MISTER Kitty" and that's how he got his name. He was given antibiotics & an appt. for neutering. The vet said he would probably always be a sickly cat but I'm here to tell you that he never suffered another problem with respiratory illness again.  He recently acquired a mess of fleas. We're not sure if the the dog had them first or the cat but we've been diligent about treating them.

I know this is a long story about a silly cat. Writing has truly brought to the forefront of my mind some of those things that really mean a lot to me. I never knew Gene was such a cat whisperer. Mr. Kitty adores him and vice versa. Me? I'm a dog person and the cat knows it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perspective Comes When You Least Expect It

I had my hand x-rayed yesterday during my lunch hour at Urgent Care. Ever since I fell on it during a fun roller skating session on Saturday, it has bruised and gotten extremely sore.  I'm able to type but when I try to grip the steering wheel or pick up a pan, it is very painful.  The doctor said it's not broken but because I'm not just sitting and letting it heal, typing and other uses will cause it to take longer to heal. It's just a sprain.  Whew, it hurts! Wah, wah, wah.

So, I doubt I'll ever be roller skating again. I can't afford to lose use of my hands nor do I want to be injured. There are just some things that should be left to younger people. And let's face it ~ I'm getting older.  I don't really like the idea of getting older but the prospect of not getting older is even less appealing.

We visited a friend in the hospital last night. He's 60 and dying from lung cancer. He said he's obsessed with the cancer, it's all he thinks about now.  I thought about that last night when I was laying my head down.  I'm so grateful for my health today, more so when I see others suffering.  My hand doesn't hurt nearly as bad.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

She Had Me At Hello

I know I'm a little crazy about my dog. I lived nearly 10 years without one and I feel like I'm making up for lost time. I just finished reading a post by one of my favorite new blog sites, Pioneer Woman - where she wrote about one of the dogs on their ranch who is a rescue.  I want to write about something happy this morning.  Writing about Betty Boop  yesterday left me feeling sad for a good part of the morning.

MISSY 2009
This is what Missy looked like when we adopted her from the Human Society. I looked at a lot of dogs before I found her. The first day I saw her, she was in a middle kennel with crazy, outrageously barking dogs on either side of her. She sat quietly in the front of her kennel waiting for me to come over and give her a look-see while the two crazy dogs on either side jumped up & down like jumping beans as if to say "pick me, pick me!"  Missy looked up at me with her big, human-like brown eyes and she had me at hello.  I was on my lunch hour so I asked to take her outdoors to walk around the building. I was going to rule her out if she behaved badly but she stayed on my left side and walked as if she knew what she was doing. I took her to a grassy spot and she took care of her business and looked up at me as if to say "did I pass this test?"   Not wanting to be impulsive, I took her back into the kennel and said I would return the next day. I kept my end of the bargain and again took her for a little walk and she never missed a step walking next to me.  I filled out an application and the kind lady at the shelter said she had 5 applications sitting on Missy and that she would base her decision on what would be best for Missy. Incidently, she had been brought to the Humane Society with a litter of pups. All the pups had been placed.  Missy had to be spayed before she would be placed so it would be about another 10 days before I would know.  I went back and walked her several of those days so the kind lady would see my face and know I would make a life-long commitment to this K9.  It worked. It was no surprise to me when the kind lady called me and said I was chosen to be Missy's new person. Woohoo! 

Gene went with me to pick Missy up as we had to do it on my lunch hour. He admitted later that he was really surprised that I had chosen Missy. Truthfully, she was looking pretty bad with her coat blown out from her pregnancy and she was very thin. Her ears kind of stuck out and she truly wasn't the prettiest dog in the place but oh, those brown eyes

Missy and I started "Canine Good Citizen's" class within a couple of weeks of her adoption. I wasn't sure we were going to be allowed to stay in class because she was so scared of people and she barked constantly throughout the class. Lucky for us, we had a very talented and experienced trainer (Alison) who told me to hang in there with Missy, that she had seen lots of rehomed dogs go through the same stuff. Alison was so right.  We passed that CGC class and moved on to agility and now we are in Rally Obedience class.  Missy is not the same dog I brought home a year ago.  She is, by far, the smartest dog I've ever shared space with. There isn't anything she won't do for a treat.  And her beautiful coat grew in and there isn't a day that goes by when we're out walking that I don't get "gosh, what a beautiful dog" from somebody we pass.  Just look at her now!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Betty Boop is Gone But Not Forgotten

Everyone called her Betty Boop. Her real name was Betty Ethridge and I met her almost 10 years ago in Yuma, Arizona. She was our neighbor and friend. She was everybody's friend. Betty was married to Walt and I often made a mental note of how Walt looked at Betty.  I always wanted a man to look at me the way Walt looked at Betty.  Walt loved Betty more than life itself.  Did you ever meet a couple and you couldn't say one name without the other?  That was Walt & Betty.  I've often told Gene that he's my "Walt" and I sure hope that I'm his "Betty".

Betty was blonde, tall and slender and she always wore yellow. She was a terrible cook and I sometimes thought maybe she did that on purpose, as in "oh, don't let Betty cook".  She tried though! I'm not talking out of turn here ... she knew she couldn't cook and she was okay with that. You have to love a woman who is okay with herself.  She had other gifts.  Betty loved to tell jokes.  She had a favorite one that involved Mother Green.  I can't tell it here because it's Rated R and the real truth is I don't remember the whole joke, only the punch line. She could remember jokes and only told the funniest of the funny.  Betty also could dance. I met her late in life but I'll bet she and Walt tore up the dance floors back in Missouri and Kansas City when they were younger.  I recently watched a home video I made of Walt & Betty in Yuma. Walt was playing "Kansas City" on his guitar and Betty was shaking her booty with my dad. "I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.  They got a crazy way of loving there and I'm gonna get me some."

One summer several years ago, Gene and I traveled across the United States in a pick-up truck and we stopped in Gallatin, Missouri to visit Walt & Betty. It was in August and the weather was sultry. I remember sitting out front and listening to the tree frogs sing at their place. They took us down to the local historic prison and we had lunch in Jamestown, an Amish community. On the morning of our departure, Betty made french toast for us. The fact that I can remember what she cooked should speak for itself.  I'll leave it at that. (giggles)

When my mom died, Betty offered to be my surrogate mom.  I was honored. She put her arms around me and I knew she loved me as if I were her own. 

We got the news of Betty's death in a card hand-written by one of Betty's dear friends who lives in Kansas City. She said she had found my address while going through Betty's "recent mail, Christmas cards, and address book".  I can't remember the last time I wrote to Betty but it wasn't soon enough, I know that. I try to write notes to people in my rolodex a time or two every year but sometimes the days and months and years get away from me.  Even though we haven't seen Walt & Betty in a long time, we think of them often and sometimes when I look at Gene, I can't help but think of them.  Our hearts ache for Walt.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Another Awesome Weekend

I think these two should cheer up, don't you? This is Grandpa Gene and Ava.  Jeremy, Cathy, Brevin, Ava, Blake and Jasper came to visit us this weekend. They haven't been to our house since last year and if the truth be told, I was shell-shocked when I got home from work on Friday night. Not shocked that they were here, but shocked at how the noise level rises to near war-time decibels when they are all in the house together. For one moment, I thought about turning around and going back to work! But I didn't, and within hours I was right in there with them laughing and screeching and having a ball! It's always like that when they come. They are little human energy packets. And they are always stoked when we see them. We're stoked too but it just takes us a few minutes, okay, maybe an hour or two to set our peaceful, quiet lives aside and just enjoy their being-ness. They are growing up so fast that we hate to miss a moment of fun with them.
Brevin is 12 now and he's at the boy-man stage where he still enjoys walking to the park and climbing up on the big rock and sliding on the really cool wire pulley thingy at Howard Amon Park, but I suspect in another year or two he won't be caught dead on it. **sniff sniff**  His voice is changing and he's so tall and handsome. We're sure to lose him to some cute chica and we'll be old news. The younger ones still love sitting with Grandpa.

Jasper came to visit this weekend, taking a break from his freshman year at college.  He is Jeremy's oldest son who was adopted at birth and raised in Washington and Canada. Jeremy & Cathy met him over a year ago but this was the first time we got to meet him. He's an awesome human being and we hope he'll consider us extended family and know he's always welcomed at our place. Being adopted myself, and having found my birth family, I can say with first-hand experience that you can never have too many people to love you and care about you and vice versa. Welcome Jasper!!!

Saturday morning we got up, ate a big breakfast and then walked to the park. Walked home, bbq'd hamburgers and shuffled everyone into cars and headed to the roller rink. Everyone skated except Grandpa. I fell and did some damage to my left hand and thought I had broken my wrist but it seems to be getting better. Sad to say, that was my last roller skating for the rest of my life. I can't afford to hurt my money-makers. I did have a lot of fun though and it brought back floods of memories of taking Justin and his cousins roller skating in Fairbanks, Alaska in the cold winter months when there wasn't much else to do. Anyway, after skating, we tried to get them to carve pumpkins but they just weren't all the interested in that activity so we made fried chicken and Cathy put candles on the last half of Jasper's belated 18th birthday cake (the first half was consumed on Friday night!) and then played a great game of Taboo. Blake did really well and he can be on my team any day of the week! After that, Cathy popped in a movie and by 10:00 p.m. everyone was bushwacked. We packed a lot of fun into Saturday but hopefully some great memories were made for these kids. I know I'll remember it, at least all week, while my busted up wrist is healing.  Awesome weekend!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Will Work for Cookies

Cubicle Nation. This is where I live during the daylight hours. Look, I even have a nameplate. That's for when they finally drive me over the edge of insanity, I'll remember where I'm supposed to be.  I've been working for 30+ years now and I have to say this is the smallest space I've ever spent my workdays. As you can see, I'm cut off from the rest of my office peeps, which is maybe a good thing because I honestly like them all and I'd really rather exchange recipes and visit with them about things other than legal stuff. As you can see I have lots of little post it notes up above my computer screen. I have a hard time remembering just exactly how to type out a cite Smith v. Jones, 128 Pac. 2d. p.1068, (1962) (this may or may not be right, I need my notes!!) or I have these certain words that my attorney dictates that I can't understand what he's saying so I have it written in front of me to remind me 'oh yeah, that's what he's saying'. He likes to use the word effect a lot and I always type it wrong, ie. affect v. effect, so I have the definitions of those 2 words up there on the post-it notes. It doesn't help that I have the definitions in front of me, I still get it wrong, but he's very forgiving.  Another word my attorney likes to say is kindly.  I love that word.  I knew we were going to be a good team the first time he dictated a letter and in it he says "Would your office kindly return the conformed copy ...."  Who wouldn't love working for someone who uses the word kindly? I mean seriously! In this world of cold, rude people ... a little kindly kindness goes a long way.  Another word my attorney uses is "accordingly". I love that word too. It just sounds so ... well ... legal-like and proper.  When I worked for criminal attorneys, accordingly was not even in their vocabulary. Hmmm .. I wonder why not?   Civil work uses monied ($$$) words.  Criminal work is simple ... fast ... good enough .... get it filed.  Civil work is carefully thought-out, elegant, polished, drafted, redrafted and revised accordingly.   I also have a little sign up there in my cubicle that says "Will Work for Cookies".  There's a story behind that. My boss orders these scrumpious, little spicy flavored cookies, individually wrapped, called Biscoff and one day he gave me one to try. I am hooked now. I seriously will work for cookies.  He orders them once or twice a year and he always gives me a handful to put up in my cupboard behind the post-it notes. They never last very long in there, you can't eat just one. Our senior partner, who died suddenly and unexpectly last May, really liked Biscoff too and when he found out where my stash was, I had to move them.  I'm typically not a selfish person but those cookies are tiny little things and DRR was a mountain of a man and I knew one little cookie wasn't going to cut it for him.  Halloween is fast approaching and I can't help but think about DRR. The last two years I've been at this office, on Halloween at about 4:00 p.m. he would sneak up behind the secretaries with a big, hairy mask on and reach into his jacket for a Hershey's candy bar. It was always just slightly melted. Last year, we forgot to tell Caroline, our newest legal assistant, about DRR's hairy mask and when he snuck up behind her at her cubicle, we were all witness to a little scream of fright and then, of course, DRR's laughter. Bosses Day is coming up next week and it just won't be quite the same without DRR.

Ah, life in a cubicle.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No Free Lunch Today

Oh rat finks.  I got a 92% on my test this morning for the online class I'm taking.  I had a plan and it worked, mostly.  I answered all the questions I was sure I knew the answers to and then I wrote down the numbers of the ones I needed to open my book for.  I only had 4 that I had to look up. I feel confident I answered those correctly.  Then, I went back over the 25 questions and it was the very first question that mucked me up, I'm certain.  Of course, I'll never know because this crazy online class test doesn't tell you which one you missed.  Where is the learning in that, I'm left wondering.

My friend, Becky, promises to buy me lunch with a test score of 100%.  Who doesn't love a free lunch?  But more than that, I love the challenge.  I sat on that first question for the last 5 minutes of the timed thirty-minute test.  I've always heard that you should go with your first answer but then I questioned myself. I scoured the book to find an answer but there was nothing clear cut.  Common sense should have kicked in but instead my head said "this is a trick question ... they are trying to trick you into thinking it's a 'common sense' answer".  That's how my head works.   Dang .... no free lunch for me today!  Maybe next time. 

On the bright side:  92% is better than the 84% I got on the last test.  I'll take it!  signed ~ Pollyanna

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Day

"New day, mom."  That's what my son used to say to me on a regular basis as we took long walks in the early morning while living in Yuma, Arizona.  I love it that he gave that to me.  That's how I'm feeling this morning.  New day.  Yesterday started out not so great but it got better. I'd been dragging around some stuff that was really eating my lunch and after talking it out I'm feeling much better this morning. 


This photo was taken in Las Vegas when Justin and Amanda went there with some friends on a break from school in 2008. I love it that he has an extremely fun side to him. I can hardly wait to see his handsome face & Amanda's beautiful face for Thanksgiving.  If you're reading this son, I heart you!  Thank you for being you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Meltdown:  the process or state of irreversible breakdown or decline: the community woman is slowly going into meltdown.

Oh, yeah, that's what I had early this morning.  I feel better now.  All survivors are listed in good condition. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

The World Needs a Hug

Ever have one of those days where you just feel uninspired?  Today was like that for me.  The thing is ... I know it won't last ... as least I hope it won't last.  This is the kind of day where I just feel like getting out my card making stuff and spreading it all out all over the kitchen table and just making a big mess with it.

This morning I received an email from my old friend, Rose, who still lives in Anchorage.  She used to be a therapist/counselor but she escaped that life-sucking career and now she's buying/selling stuff.  I don't know what kind of stuff but I'll bet she's doing really well at it.  We used to do some garage saling back in the day and that woman could spot a bargain a block away!  She told me she is getting ready for a trip to France next month so she must be doing okay. We used to get together about 3 times a year for all-day crafting. We invited our favorite crafty friends from the mental health center where we worked and they'd bring their favorite stuff over to my house. We'd set up tables and literally craft for a solid 8 hours. They always brought food and so we could snack all day and just create.  We came up with some of the most awesome ideas during those "sessions".  My friend did talk therapy but her real specialty was art therapy.  I don't think she was analyzing us while we crafted but now that I think about  it .. maybe she was! (laughing out loud to myself)  Nah ... she was too busy creating.  I remember one time we were crafting right before Valentine's Day and we had this stamp that was of a water faucet and she came up with this idea of having little hearts coming out of the faucet instead of water drops.  I wonder what a shrink would make of that?

It was awesome to hear from her today.  It's been over 10 years now since I moved away from Alaska and even longer since I saw her in person.  She was a really good friend at that time in my life and I miss those fun friendships I had when I worked at the mental health center. There was a group of woman there who really cared about each other and we had a great team of people providing the best community mental health care . It's the first place I had ever worked where people hugged each other on a regular basis.  When I left that employment I went to work for the state and the first time I hugged a co-worker afterwards I felt like the biggest weirdo ever!  My co-worker got all stiff and gave me the strangest look so, of course, that never happened again.  I didn't work in a friendly place again until hospice.  Now there's a bunch of huggers for ya!  I miss that.

I'm really glad I started blogging because it's helped bring up some of those old memories and it's provided a place for me to record them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Never Waste a Step

Justin's great Grandma Palmer (trivia: whose last name provided Justin's middle name ~ Justin Palmer Smith) used to say, "Never waste your steps".  After now living in a house with two separate flights of stairs, I think of Grandma Palmer almost every single day as I run up and down these steps no less than 100 times a day and I totally get what she meant by those words. 

When Gene traveled to Tri-Cities to find a house to buy, it never occurred to me that there was a really important item missing on the "must have" list for buying this house. You see, there is no bathroom on our main floor.  One must choose to climb stairs before commencing their business or one can choose to fly down stairs and save the climbing for afterwards. The bedrooms and all the dirty laundry are on the top floor, and the washer/dryer are in the basement. And when the dirty laundry becomes the clean laundry, there's another two flights of stairs for every laundry basket.

I've been thinking a lot about never wasting my steps pretty much ever since I turned 50 ... which was slightly over a year ago.  I mean this in a literal sense because my knees started aching ever so much more after we moved here but also in the not-so-literal sense.  Sometimes when I'm thinking I should go to the store, my second thought is could I live another day without going to the store?  There were times this last summer that we were running so much that I didn't make it to the grocery store for almost 3 weeks at a time.  We could pretty much live on the food we've stored away for a few months without having to make a trip to the store.  Do I want to live on canned chili and powdered milk?  Oh, hell no!  But I have to admit that sometimes it's kind of fun to see how long I can put off those things I hate doing so much, like going to the grocery store.  I have come up with some pretty funky ideas for dinner and there's always a can of peaches to top it off!

I don't know why this has been on my mind so much lately ... maybe it's the aching knees or maybe it's the change in seasons.  Or maybe it's because I should have gone to the store this morning. But I still have about 2 cups of milk left in the gallon jug and plenty of eggs to make it til next week along with grapes & celery and one old head of purple cabbage in the fridge.  I think I'll skip the store and use that time to make some home-made bagels today while the laundry is finishing up and I'm bustling between floors in this big, old house.  It'll give me a chance to think about Grandma Palmer and my dearly departed mother-in-law, Adelle, who would be so proud of me for making home-made bagels, while I'm doing something useful and not wasting my steps ....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Buy One, Get One Free

Buy one, get one free.  That's why we got into the car and drove to Walla Walla today to check out the antique show. Gene found a 2-for-1 coupon for the $6 admission on Facebook. Not only did we find a great little antique show, but as we were rolling into Walla Walla we followed a truck pulling a trailer that was carrying a red "Diamond T" truck and I said to Gene "I'll bet there is also a car show happening alongside the antique show".  And, we followed that Diamond T all the way to the fairgrounds.  I've never, ever seen a Diamond T and this one was a beauty. I should have snapped a photo, huh!  By the way, the photo posted here is one I shot at the very first rest stop right at the turnoff to Prescott.

I bought an awesome cheese/veggie grater at the antique show.  It makes really big grated food and it's one of those "odie but goody" kind of antique items you just can't hardly find anymore. I also bought an antique pastry cutter and along with it I got to talk to a really super nice old lady wearing a pink hat who assured me I was going to make the best pie crusts ever now that I'm an owner of a real pastry cutter. I told her I had been using ... she finished my sentence for me ... a knife and fork as a pastry cutter.

After we left the antique & car show, we decided to hit St. Vincent De Paul's thrift store to see what kind of treasures they had waiting for us. Gene left empty handed but against my own rules, I bought two awesome pair of boots, a red vest and a beautiful navy colored suit. I don't like to buy used shoes but these looked as if they had hardly been worn.  At $3.75 for each pair, I could bend my own rule, right?  We slid over to the Goodwill but found it lacking compared to St. Vincents. We spotted a Thai restaurant and decided to split a meal and had, by far, the worst food we've ever had.  We stopped at Fiesta Food on the way home for an increbile meat sale which filled our freezer and Gene bought me an ice cream cone there that was to die for.

It has been a fabulous day ... so far!  My honey knows how to treat a girl to a great day!

Sheep Herder Lady

She was digging in the trash barrel when we pulled into the parking lot somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada.  We had stopped to stretch our legs at the beginning of our vacation trip from Yuma, Arizona to Oregon.  While Gene took care of his business and stopped to talk with a tired motorcyclist, I caught her out of the corner of my eye and wondered where she belonged.  I had just filled our Ford Escort with a couple of boxes of groceries for the camping trip, so I took out a bag of fresh red grapes and offered them to her.  She was best described as an old lady, probably in her 70's, with wrinkles so deep they must have had a story.  I can still see her stark, blue eyes but it was her smile that warmed my heart. She said "thank you" and I asked her if there was anything else she might need, offering that I had more fruit if she cared for it.  She told me what she really needed were some coffee grounds ... enough to get her through until her check came.  I offered her a whole unopened can of Yuban but she kindly said no, she didn't need that much, just a couple of scoops. So I found a ziploc and granted her wish.  In return, she told me she had once been a sheep herder. Ah, the wind and sun had made those wrinkles so deep and pronounced on her beautiful face.  She pointed across the highway at a small shack and indicated that's where she lived.   As I said goodbye to sheep herder lady, I noted that her hands were dirty but her nails had pretty pink polish on them.  This was day one of our trip that summer ... I'll never forget that lovely lady.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I don't really understand how the mind works, but I know when I have something rolling around in my head I need to put it on paper or tell it to someone.  Ethyl came to my mind yesterday ~ so here is the story of Ethyl.

When I ended up in Yuma, Arizona in 2001, I met a friend of mom & dad's named Ethyl.  She was their old high school friend and she lived just down the street from us in the Foothills of Yuma.  Ethyl was a wonderful woman with a great laugh, a sparkle in her eyes and a wonderful whiskey voice. She loved everybody and everybody loved her.  She was a fabulous cook, the life of the party and she loved going shopping at the flea markets and Mexico. She was a mother, a grandmother and a good friend to many.

Ethyl died in December, 2002.  She had just made arrangements for me and my aunts Cindy and Glenva and good friend Evie and maybe even Betty (but I can't remember) to go see "The Nutcracker" at the local high school.  Ethyl had never seen "The Nutcracker" and she told me she had wanted to see it her whole life. I was really looking forward to spending time with some of my favorite people.  She died suddenly about a week before the show.   We went anyway ... but with heavy hearts. I thought about Ethyl through the entire show and about how close she came to seeing something that she could have gone to see year after year but never quite made it.

I always think of Ethyl this time of year and the lesson she left me by her sudden death.  Don't wait to do the things you want and can do now.  Use your good china.  Burn your favorite candle.  Go see "The Nutcracker" if you've always wanted to see it.  Really, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

30 minutes at a time!

This online class is going at a rather fast pace but perhaps all classes do. I haven't taken a class in a long time and I'm having to figure out how to pace myself.  I use a timer to read in blocks of 30 minutes and have discovered I can read a whole chapter in 60 minutes.  It takes me another 30 minutes to complete the homework if it's just one assignment.

I'm finding it challenging to chisel out time for this and other things I want to do. Today I had to skip my morning walk with Gene and Missy to finish up an assignment I have to turn in today.  I'm hoping by the end of this class, I will have a good idea about pacing myself should I decide to take another class.  My friend at work, Becky, has been taking two classes at a time while working full-time.  I'm not sure how she has time for anything else but I'm watching and learning. 

All in all, I'm enjoying this experience so far.  I'll be taking an online test tomorrow morning.  I took one last week and scored an 84% on the test.  I have a trick up my sleeve for this week's test and I can hardly wait to see if it will work.  I'm shooting for a 100%.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chilly mornings .... or ... what to love about winter!

Summer is now officially over. I had to wear a hoodie this morning on our early morning walk. We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and could see frost from "Missy's" breath the whole walk.  There are some things I love about winter so thought I should list them here for when I start complaining about the cold & darkness, maybe I'll look back on this list for a reminder.

Sweaters:  I love my winter sweaters. My favorite hot pink one is coming out of storage this weekend.
Parties:  there always seems to be some kind of social function about every other week in the winter.
Hot chocolate:  who drinks hot chocolate in the summer?
Chilly mornings:  I love snuggling up to Gene when I crawl into a cold bed. He likes it, too!
Winter food:  I love making soup and chili and bread and cookies and ....

Well, I gotta get back to work now.  Which reminds me ... I love having an "inside" job when the weather is crappy outside. 

Monday, October 4, 2010


Dad and Nancy were over yesterday. I didn't realized my dad had started growing a beard! Geez ... I just saw him in August and he didn't look like this!   He used to grow beards when we lived in Alaska.  One time he went north to work on the pipeline and when he came home he was sporting a much scruffier looking beard than this one.  I think this beard makes him look younger and I really see a resemblance to his brother, Uncle Spike.

When they arrived at our house yesterday, "Missy" went balistic as Nancy had rollers in her hair, covered up with a nice scarf. She has seen Nancy before, but not like that!!  I had to put "Missy" outside for the afternoon. Once Nancy took the rollers out of her hair, she was alright in "Missy's" book.

So .... because this blog is helpful for me to record parts of my life that I sometimes forget, I want to go on record that we played 6 games of Sequence (card game) and Nancy & I partnered up to win two games. I won't mention that there was a lot of table talk between our opponents.

Gene is taking Nancy on the thrift shop circuit today and then he's going to make some of his world famous chicken curry rice for us tonight.   And, maybe a couple of bonus rounds of Sequence.  Game on!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Make Plans ~ Part 2

  • So ... yesterday my dad and Nancy left the west side of the state to head over here to chase some sunshine and visit with us before they start their snowbird trek to Arizona.  I received a call from Nancy about 4:30 p.m. and they were stuck in Umatilla, Oregon at the Tesoro station.  Seems when my dad gave the keys to the young man to fill up his diesel motorhome, the gas station jockey filled it with gasoline instead.  Well, technically it didn't get all the way full, only 70 gallons.  Dad had gone inside the station to use the facilities and when he came back out noticed the error.
  • Nancy called to say they'd be delayed due to the amount of time it was going to take to pump all the gas out and replace it with diesel.  You see, Oregon has this funky law where you can't pump your own fuel. (Personally, I love driving through Oregon and knowing a person has a job because of this law.)   Putting gas in a diesel rig is a mistake anyone could make if you are young and inexperienced or just plain old having a bad day.  The last I heard from Nancy was about 8:00 p.m. and they were finally rolling down the road towards Tri-Cities. 
  • We'll see them today sometime. It's all good Tesoro made it right by not letting my dad pay ($331) for the entire tank of diesel fuel they finally pumped in.  Yeah Tesoro!  No harm was done and I'll get to remind my dad and Nancy that it actually "pays" to come visit us.  
  • They were laughing about it last night.  What a great attitude!  Stuff happens.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Make Plans But Don't Plan the Results

Yes, that's my motorcycle and my man up there on the back of a tow truck.  We headed out for a little scoot this morning and got about 30 miles out when I ran over a small chunk of wood.  I said to myself "I sure hope that doesn't cause me any problems".  About 5 miles down the road my ride started feeling a little wobbly so I pulled over to find my tire was going flat.  We hobbled back to a gas station and after trying to keep air in it, decided to call roadside assistance. While waiting for them to show up, Gene ran his bike home and brought the car back. When he got back he talked to a motorcycle guy who lives right around the corner from us.  He may have found a new riding buddy. 

Okay, well, being the Pollyanna that I am, here's the upside of plans gone astray.  I did't get hurt.  My bike is still in one piece. It wasn't raining. We met some nice people while waiting at the gas station. We were not in the middle of nowhere. I got home in time to shower and go on to my next plans for the day. 

Gene and I were talking on the way home and the truth is we have always been very lucky with our road mishaps and, trust me, we've had our share. But we also reasoned that we've had more than our share because we spend an inordinate amount of time on wheels ~ tires are bound to go flat or blow.  So, I count this morning as just another experience in adventure that I can tuck under my belt.  The tow truck driver got to chit chat with a nice old guy and we didn't have to pay a dime out of our pocket for the tow home.  Shoot ~ I call that a pretty good day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Haines, Alaska

I ran into a friend last night who gave me a poster-size photo of Haines, Alaska she had taken in June of this year while she and her husband were there on an Alaskan  motorcycle trip. She'll never know how much that photo means to me.  I sat and looked at the photo last night which seems to be taken from the road where you get off the ferry and head into town.  It's a panoramic and I can almost see the little four-plex where my family lived a short time when I was just starting high school 30+ years ago. To the right of the photo is a clear view of main street which leads down to the boat dock. It's been a super long time since I've been to Haines but this photo takes me right back. Some of my most cherished memories come from those high school days. I don't remember a lot of things but I spent a lot of time walking around Haines with my peeps and I know every inch of that place in my mind. We used to spend a lot of weekend nights at the rec hall (or was it called the teen center?) which had a pool table and was "the place to be" on a Friday night. Before I could drive, my sister and I had to walk everywhere and I'm guessing it was at least a good 2 miles from our house to the pool hall. Sometimes people would pick us up but often we would walk in 2+ feet of snow to get there.
In Haines, everybody knows everybody. I can picture many of the characters from those days and I suppose I was one of them.  My best friend, Lisa, had two brothers and they all took turns working at their parents' hardware store located on the corner of Main and 2nd Street.  I spent a lot of time hanging out on that corner. I had a little crush on Lisa's brother.  He still lives there and I believe he now operates Haisler Hardware. After high school, Lisa and I exchanged letters once or twice a year. She married a local guy and they had 4 children.  Lisa died from breast cancer about 8 or 9 years ago.  She was the most beautiful person, inside and out. I can't think about Haines without thinking of her and the many, many "best" friends I had there.

I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska right after high school.  I had never seen a traffic light nor a one-way street.  Fairbanks might as well have been New York City.  I digress.

My high school friend, Kathy, who lives in Juneau asks me every once in awhile if I miss living in Alaska.  The answer is usually no.  I don't miss the long, dark, cold winters.  I don't miss mosquitoes.  I don't miss over-priced, second-rate fruits and vegetables or expensive milk.  But the truth is, I miss the clean air, mountains, and a way of life that is impossible to explain to anyone who has never lived it.  I miss looking out my window to see moose standing in my yard.  I miss those experiences that are unique to living in a place that a lot of people only dream of visiting.

I'm so happy our friends, Dorothy & Bob, got to take their Alaskan trip.  Thank you, Dorothy.  Your gift of this photo is more precious than you'll ever know.   love, Susan

P.S. This is not the photo she gave me. This is downloaded from the internet.

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 ...