Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heard on the Bus Today

I know I already posted today but I really gotta get this down before I forget it.  

I love riding the bus!   And, here's why.  Today, the bus was pretty full as the kids are back in school and many of them take the city bus to get there.  A couple of teenagers got on and sat behind me and I got to listen to their bantering back & forth.  So, one guy is telling the other, "dude, I hate my job", blah, blah, blah.  He went on to say how last week he had to go to court so he called in to tell his boss he couldn't come to work and his boss said, "well, hey, have a good life".  So, he figured he had been fired but when he went in to turn in his uniform (fast food place), his name was on the schedule and he was due to work the next day.  He was all happy about it ... except he really hates the job.  I just kind of chuckled to myself.  It was fun eavesdropping on them. There was also a story about how he had been stopped by the cops for not having his headlights on and one of the kids in his car had a warrant out for his arrest and so the cops pulled him out of the car. It was all very animated .... and entertaining. Not the brightest light bulbs in the box but decent people just trying to get to where they are going.

When I changed to Bus 120  at the transfer station, there were two women sitting near the  front and one was clearly mentally disabled. The woman with her may have been her case manager or caretaker and she was doing her best to the cheer her up about the weather.  She finally broke into song, "dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh ...."   It may not have cheered the disabled woman but it sure did my heart good.

I love being a casual observer of other people's lives.  I don't feel I'm any better or worse than anyone .... I am a fellow traveler ~ just trying to survive and get where I'm going.  I've had the most awesome experiences when I least expect them ......

Purple Boots

Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours."  ~Robert Byrne

I don't know who this Robert Byrne is ... but I like his thinking.  
Tri-Cities is experiencing another winter storm that breezed in last night which will reportedly leave us with another 1" to 3" of snow with rain on top of it.  Freezing rain.  There might not be any worse kind of driving conditions than in freezing rain.  The forecast calls for straight-up rain by mid-day today.  Oh joy.
The silver lining in this cloud is that perhaps the weather will stay warmer and allow us to travel to Portland for Gene's 60th birthday party this weekend. Without a break in the weather, we won't be able to travel through the gorge.  It's a real nail-biter when the weather is like this. I'd like to get older and I know he would too. 

I shouldn't complain about the weather. There are people who have it much worse than we do, i.e., Fairbanks, Alaska.  And, I do have an inside job. Being that it is the last day of November, I should probably be thinking about stuff I'm grateful for.  Here's my short list:

Winter boots:  really cute, purple Sorels ~ I love them.   
A warm, soft scarf: I bought it at the Hospice Thrift Store in Yuma, Arizona. It has a label that says it was made in Italy. Gene hates it. He thinks it's ugly.  I always wonder how it got to Arizona. 
Hot water:  I have a friend who served in the Peace Corp in Belize and she did not have hot water. I've been grateful for it every single day since she told me that.
Walnuts: you've already heard my story about walnuts.
Legs: I worked with an attorney who lost the use of his legs in Desert Storm. I think of him often when I'm feeling lazy and don't want to walk.
Sense of humor: most of the time ... although it's tested once in awhile.
Kids: Between Gene and I, we have great kids and grand kids.
Job: I have one.
Weather: I'm really glad for the 4 seasons. Winter is not my favorite but it makes me appreciate spring & summer all that much more.
New ideas: sometimes I get stuck in old ways of thinking and I love it when I get new ideas.

Well, there is so much more to be thankful for but writing this has really helped lighten my mood about the weather.  I'm especially grateful that November is almost over with but I have a feeling it's going to be an especially long winter at the rate the weather is going.  My boots will get a lot of use this year.  Have a great day!  love, Susan

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out With The Old, In With the New

 I bought Gene a new computer monitor yesterday. I had been planning to do it for about a month now and finally did it. It's his 60th birthday next Saturday, so I used that as an 'excuse' to get it for him. He never buys anything for himself.  I think I did a good thing. Just one day with his new monitor and I can tell he loves it!

I know he won't be able to part with his old monitor. He has history with the old monitor. I can't even imagine how many millions of pages he has viewed on that old screen. She works just fine but once he plugged in the new girl, the old one is now sitting on the floor and will soon join the other old monitors in the computer equipment cemetery he keeps behind cupboard doors in the basement which he calls his office. 

When my son was here this weekend, we briefly talked about how we switched from dial up to DSL while he was living with us in Yuma. It was a difficult sell to Gene but I suspect he'll never go back to dial-up. Do they even have dial-up?  I'm hoping he'll never go back to his old monitors. I think the new one will be much easier on his eyes.  I get it that we should use things until they are worn out but his eyes are really strained a lot these days and I'm hoping the new screen will be gentler on them.  

In the meantime, I still have one of those very old monitors on my home office desk. It works just fine and I can't really justify buying a new one just yet. My computer is very old and I fear one day it will be crashed when I sit down to write. But until then, it has some sentimental value to me. Justin left it for me when he went off to college in Flagstaff. He was laughing about the wide, clear tape we have on it to keep the sides from falling off. It is pretty ugly but it's totally functional right now.

Well, I know this post was a lot to do about nothing.  Back to a 5-day work week.  Yikes!!!
love, Susan

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kitties & Kiddies at the Humane Society

I took a couple of  little videos when we were at the Humane Society yesterday.  I'm posting my favorites.  Enjoy!

Cross Deep Fried Twinkie Off Bucket List

We were sitting around Friday talking & JP said he has always wanted to try a Frinkie. So we took them first to the mall to walk around just to stretch our legs & then over to my favorite Hot Wingz place. The deep fried twinkie was everything he'd hope for and more. I had a couple of bites too ~ well worth trying.    Then Amanda said she really wanted to pet some kitties & puppies so instead of going to Corporate America (Petsmart), we visited our local Humane Society & spent 45 minutes there just petting animals. I've never seen Amanda look happier!   While there, one of the ladies there asked Gene to volunteer on Saturday, Dec. 11th to be a Santa Claus at the shelter. They do a fund raiser where people bring in any of their pet animals they'd like to have photos taken of, with Santa, and the proceeds 100% benefit the Benton Franklin County Humane Society. Gene said yes!  It's only a 1-1/2 hour job and I'll go and be his helper. The lady told us  (after Gene said yes) that people bring their chickens, bunnies, rats, and last year they even had a baby wallaby brought in. I saw the photo!

After all that excitement, we came home and JP took a long nap and when Amanda went upstairs to wake him up she slipped & fell down a flight of stairs. Luckily she just has a bruised bum and her toes are a little sore.

We took them to the airport this morning and you are reading the writing of one very sad mama.  I don't think I'll ever be happy saying  goodbye. This last 4 days has gone by way faster than I thought it would but it has been more awesome than I could ever have imagined. I got to know Amanda better and got to have a little alone time with both Justin and Amanda.

So, we're waiting in the lobby at the airport, and this really sweet older lady starts talking to me.  She is dropping her daughter there to fly home to Colorado.  She had the most beautiful smile (she reminded me of my Aunt Elsie in her younger days) and she explained that she and her husband had moved to Tri-Cities 4 years ago when their son died of colon cancer. They wanted to be near the wife he left behind and their two daughters.  When my kids got up to the TSA gate, the tears started flowing like a river. I tried to hold them back but I just couldn't.  That same sweet lady said goodbye to her daughter and she walked right over to me and put her arms around me.  It was the sweetest. most beautiful gesture I've ever experinced from a total stranger and I hugged her back as if I was hanging onto a life-line and told her thank you.  

I can't believe they have been here and are now gone.  We'll be seeing them in about 6 months when they graduate from NAU. I love having something to look forward to.  There's a lot of life between now and May and I intend to savor every minute of it. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Left-Overs Have Never Been This Good

 Have you ever had left-over turkey breast fried in bacon grease?  Don't judge!  It's so awesome, it should just be called "awesome refried turkey breast".  Justin came up with the idea because I had fried some bacon and we wanted to somehow slip some turkey into our sandwiches and he said "I wonder what this would taste like"?  So, I had a wheat roll with fat free cream cheese, cranberry sauce, bacon fried turkey breast, and a little horseradish to top it off.  A new kind of yummy-ness.

We played two rounds of "Sequence" and then Amanda mentioned something about playing "Rummikub" with her brother. We have that game & have never played it so I dusted it off and we played. I won two games. Beginner's Luck, no doubt.
 We ventured out yesterday to see the movie "Unstoppable" which stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Very good, action packed movie.

After it came up in conversation yesterday, we decided to go out today to the my favorite Hot Wingz place because they have Deep Fried Twinkies on their menu and that seems to be on Justin's bucket list so, why not?  I'll be recording it digitally. Stay tuned!

This morning JP made his special french toast for us this morning and we pulled out a huge box of photos so Amanda could see her betrothed when he had a lot more hair.
So, we're off to the mall to do some window shopping and hit the deep fried twinkie deal.  It's been snowing since we got up and it's a beautiful day.

More later ..... love, Susan

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nancy, This Is For You!

The kids got here right on time yesterday. They were hungry so we fed them zucchini & banana bread and deviled eggs to keep them happy until dinner at 6 p.m. We were so tired of cooking that we made an executive decision together to skip the mashed potatoes. The stuffing turned out beautiful & we saved room for pie.

Had pie for breakfast this morning while I finished  making pumpkin rolls and Russian Tea Cakes. I have a beautiful fresh fruit salad in the fridge that I forgot to bring out so we'll be having that today with turkey sandwiches and maybe some curry fried turkey rice tonight. Mmm ....

I got to spend some alone time with both JP & Amanda yesterday just catching up and looking forward to playing some Sequence with them today and just hanging out. The weather outside is frosty but we might take a walk around the block to stretch our legs ... maybe or maybe not.

 We're thinking about maybe renting a movie or get in the car and hit the theatre today or tomorrow, or not. Just enjoying some down time and hearing all about their school and future plans.

Missy has fresh people to beg from.

She got the raw entrails from the turkey yesterday and nearly bit my hand off before I could give them to her.  And, look at her here ... she is almost smiling! She loves Thanksgiving.

I'm off to shower and get ready for whatever today brings.  Love having my kids here and feeling so relaxed for this 4-day weekend.  More later ....  love, Susan

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm on a Pink Cloud!

 I'm up early and have one apple pie out of the oven, two pumpkins pies baking and a pie crust ready for delicious pecans.  I texted my baby this morning at 5:30 a.m. Washington time to make sure he is on the road and an hour later I got a text back that they were 1 hour out of Phx. I guess they are flying out of Mesa, which Gene said is 4 hours from Flagstaff. Yikes, they're going to be tired.

So, yesterday I was a little worried that I wouldn't make good pies but I've discovered that baking is kind of like riding a bike. Once you learn how, you never forget.  

I bought this really awesome pastry cutter at the antique show in Walla Walla a month or two ago. This is the first time I've used it and I can't help but remember what the woman said who sold it to me. She said, "you're pie crusts are going to be amazing!"  I've never heard of "Formay" shortening but I can tell you that this pastry cutter is truly awesome and I thought about all the hands that have held it before me. I hope I do those pie makers proud.  
 So, I've got the pies under control. I have the eggs boiled for deviled eggs.  Gene went to the store last night and bought some mayonnaise for my eggs. We never use mayo for anything but I'm craving deviled eggs. I was surprised to learn there are no milk products in mayo. This is good news because Amanda will be able to eat the eggs, if she likes them.   

Thankfully, there are people willing to work at the store today so if I find I'm missing something, and I'm quite sure I am, I can send Gene to the store again.

In the meantime, I am walking on a pink cloud today.  I have saved my excitement until today because it's just torture when you are looking forward to a day to arrive. Every day in between the 'knowing' and the 'actual' day gets longer and longer.  I've learned to live one day at a time and not wish my days away.  But, I gotta say I am almost tearful at the thought of hugging my son today.  I miss him terribly and I'm going to catch up on the hugs.
I'm also really giddy about having Amanda in my kitchen, helping me with whatever she'd like to help with.  Some of my most precious memories are about spending time in the kitchen with my mother-in-law, Adelle. She was the most fabulous cook. She taught me a lot of things over 20 years of being part of her family and most of all she gave me confidence to try new things.  I was thinking of her this morning.  I was also thinking of my Grandma Walker, who taught me the trick to excellent pie crust is to use ice cold water.

Happy T-Day everybody!   More to come ....

love, Susan 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday - Take 5

The only blue sky I saw was early this morning while waiting for the bus. I love the frost on the trees.

We have big trees here.

This scene is so surreal after the 63 degree weather just 10 days ago.

There was steam coming off the river this morning.

Train number 16!

1 Degree

I want my money back. This weather was not in the brochure. Even long-time Tri-Citians are saying it's going to be a hard winter with a start like this.  Yesterday, one of my attorneys, Mr. Pun, just had to tell me what the temps are in Cabo San Lucas. He's going there next week. Don't hate. That's what I was thinking.

When we lived in Yuma, we never used our heater. We did have some cool mornings but we had a propane oven and my favorite way to warm up the house a bit in the mornings was to make corn muffins for my honey. He loves it when I do that.  Today .... I have an orange-cranberry nutbread in the oven for him.  Made with love.

I actually have two bags of fresh cranberries in the fridge and I bought a 3 lb. bag of walnuts a week ago at Costco. They cost as much as steak! And, last year I bought an orange zester that I've hardly used. Sounds like a recipe for good bread, huh.  I've made this recipe just once and it is really yummy. He's going to be surprised when he wakes up!

So I was looking at that 3 lb. bag of walnuts and it took me back a lot of years. I've never bought a 3 lb. bag of walnuts before.  I hardly buy walnuts at all. We were pretty strapped for money in my growing up years (notice I did not say poor) and things like walnuts and fresh cranberries were not on the grocery list.  We got soda pop on very rare occasions like New Years and well, there were just a lot of things that we learned to live without.  I've found in adulthood, it's been hard to shake some of that old baggage. I never put walnuts in my fudge, ever. Ah, you don't need 'em.  I never put nuts in my cookies, ever.  But now I have this 3 lb. bag of walnuts and by golly I'm going to use them.

I always get a little (okay, more than a little) emotional this time of year. The holidays are not always happy, happy, happy for everyone.  I love the baking part.  I definitely love that my son and his wife are arriving tomorrow.  But, I'm always thinking about the folks that don't have it quite as easy as I do. Over the years, I've talked out loud about it but it doesn't make it easier. I think about the families right here in my own town who may not have any heat in their house this morning, or enough milk to put on the kids' cereal before they head off to school.  I try really hard to not dwell on it ... but when I have a 3 lb. bag of walnuts sitting on my counter, I feel like the richest person in the world.  Funny how those walnuts took me back to my childhood days. We survived a long time without walnuts but we always had milk on our cereal and mittens and boots and heat in our house. Thank you, mom and dad!

My wish is that nobody has to be cold or hungry this morning.  Whew ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Public Transportation Rocks!

Nice, warm, cozy bus!
Gene and "Missy" walked me to my bus stop. It was freakin' cold standing there for about 5 minutes waiting. There is always a little wind here. But I had my "Cuddle Duds" on (all cold-blooded women should have a pair of these) and a turtleneck under my sweater and I was toasty all day.
They had to keep kicking the ice off the tire-well.


Definitely need to keep the parking lot clear at The Mall.
 I was lovin' my bus driver today.  I heard them say that 4 buses were hit by cars yesterday. It was just as bad today.  Very slick.

This truck's signage really cracked me up this morning. 

I was wondering where all the graders were. Guess The Mall probably pays them big bucks to keep the lot clear. There's a lot of $$ to be spent!

A blue sky would make this picture perfect.

It's fun riding the bus and watching the countryside go by.  I've missed riding ... I think I'll do it again tomorrow.

Bus Pass = $1.25 Peace of Mind = Priceless

I'm riding the bus to work today. I'm busting my pride & ego and saying it outloud ~ I was truly frightened driving home from work yesterday. It was some of the worst driving conditions I've ever driven in, including all my days living in Alaska.  I have driven in ice fog so thick that it gave meaning to the word disoriented. I have driven on solid ice with rain coming down to add to the slickness; definitely not fun. I have driven in blinding, side-ways heavy snow. And I have driven in torrential rains with inches of water standing on the pavement (Arizona).  But I've never driven while it was snowing and had my windshield wipers ice up, rendering them useless and have heavy snow icing up my windshield.  Yesterday, I literally had a small space at the bottom of my windshield where I could barely see the tail lights of the truck in front of me while I was rolling down the 4-lane highway. Thank goodness everyone had the good sense to slow down to about 30 mph. I had no place to pull over to get the ice chunks off my wipers so I just kept talking to myself outloud, "please, please, PLEASE just let me get home".  

It's very cold this morning and I think the snow has subsided. It's beautiful and expected to stay cold all week. I love the brightness of new snow and the way my house feels so warm when I first walk in from being outside. When I lived in Fairbanks, I experienced some extreme weather and it always made me feel like a proud sourdough, although I wasn't really old enough to be a 'sourdough'. There is a comradery that happens when you live in a frozen land. You don't pass by vehicles that are broken down on the highway, it could mean a cold death for those stranded.

Yeah, I think I'll let the bus driver shoulder all the road stress for me today. By the time they get to my street, the bus is usually overly warm and I always have my pick of seats.  I've been chiming that I should start riding the bus again. I truly enjoy riding it. It means I have to shake my booty a little quicker in the mornings but the payoff is a very relaxing ride to work and definitely saves $$ on the gas budget.  So, in a way, this weather has a silver lining.

It might be a long winter .... I think I'd better stock up on bus passes.   love, Susan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Storm 2010 - more pics

Fall - just 2 weeks ago

Winter -- today
 I wish I could figure out how to get my photos side-by-side where I want them.

This winter storm is a doozy. More photos to come! It snowed all day and the roads are treacherous but I made it home.
My new boss. Note to self: arrive a little after the boss on snow days. She's good with the shovel.

I'm inside while taking this pic. Ooooh, baby it's cold.

They grow big apples in Washington.

This Ain't Arizona! Take 5

Winter has arrived.

Procrastination rears its ugly head.  I gotta get those baskets in.

I was born barefoot.

He'd make a great Santa Claus, don't you think?

Our neighbor, Larry, gave us this shovel 2 years ago. Nice guy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Interesting Weather

It was just a light dusting of snow when I walked into the grocery store tonight and when I came out it was doing this .... and it's still doing it as I lay down to sleep.  Can we say SNOW DAY tomorrow? Please, please, please!!!!

I Hired a Housecleaner!

I'm sure my mom would have rolled her eyes at me, if she was alive, to hear I hired someone to come help clean my house.  I don't care.  I have no pride when it comes to asking for help. I think it's money well-spent and I should do it more often; hire someone that is.  I hate housework. The thought of being a full-time housewife makes me shudder. There is hardly anything domestic about me except that I live in a house. I hear other women, when asked what they did last weekend, say "oh, I went to the movies and did housework".  Really?  I don't get it. 

Listen, my house is not filthy.  You need to know this. It's dusty, and sometimes the dishes pile up. As a matter of fact, there is a big pile in the sink right this minute from the fury of cooking from yesterday afternoon. We cooked curried fried rice and a double batch of Speedy Oatmeal Cookies before we ran off to the Gratitude Banquet last night. We stayed after dinner and helped clean up the church hall, which got us home about 11:30.  I actually know people who would have had to wash the dishes before they could get a good night's sleep.  We're not those kind of people. I did not inherit that gene.  Neither did Gene, apparently.

I bought an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner about this time last year.  I love "her".  Her name is "Ruthie".  I have a  friend who recently bought a Roomba after I had been selling the virtues of it to her.  I saw her yesterday and asked her how she liked it. Her eyes actually lit up when she started talking about her Roomba.  "I totally get it", I told her.  If I had to give up everything in my house, "Ruthie" would be the last to go. With two animals shedding hair and dander, I don't know how I lived without the Roomba.

I'd love to have a full-time housekeeper but that's not going to happen.  In the meantime, I'll treat my friend very well today, who is taking time out of her Sunday to come help me tidy up my place before the kids get her. Shari is my hero today.

Just so you know, I'm not going to ask her to clean my bathrooms.  Ick.  I'll do my own bathrooms. And my bedroom is off limits too. Okay, well, those dishes in the sink are calling me.  "Suuuuuusssssaaaaannnn".  I hate it when they start talking.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love is a Verb

We are up early this morning as we're going to help set up banquet tables for the 23rd Annual Gratitude Banquet. We haven't been to it since we moved here but we've got tickets for tonight.  It seats 500 people and we know a fair share of them.  So what's on my mind this morning is gratitude, unity, purpose, love, service. I feel the need to break it down before I leave my house this morning. There will be a lot of personalities showing up to set up and I am shooting for a great experience. We're meeting at Starbucks before we go to the church for set up at 8:00 a.m. I'm really excited about it!

Gratitude:  I'm so grateful for this life of mine. Sometimes I forget how bad it was just 10 years ago. While I don't dwell on the past, I don't wish to shut the door on it as my experience can and has helped others.

Unity: I learned about this a long time ago from a good friend in Yuma. Suit up & show up and see what happens. My best experiences have happened when I didn't want to say yes but I did anyway and I got the prize!  Friendship, understanding, love, a true sense of belonging ~ all things I yearn for.

Purpose:  I have this little prayer & meditation practice that my good friend, Cindy, gave me a long time ago. I don't read it every day but when I get the squirrels running around in my head, I pull out this sheet of paper that reminds me to sit for a quiet moment in the morning and one of the questions I am to ask is: What is my purpose?  How can I enhance my usefulness to others today?  I ask that my thinking be divorced from selfishness, self-seeking, self-pity, resentment, fear, dishonesty and from thinking wrong motives.  It works.

Love:  That's what it's all about.

Service:  I never am a better person than when I'm doing service work. 

Having said all of that, I'm taking my coffee cup and heading out the door to see what happens today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turning 60

Taken in Coeur d'Alene, ID at the park (Nov. 2010)
Gene is having a birthday two weeks from tomorrow.  He is turning 60. I know he can hardly wait to ride the Benton Franklin Transit for free.  That's all he's talked about since we moved here. (tongue in cheek)  He'll have to visit the bus station to get a "ride free" pass and then he can be like others I see who proudly wear that pass around their neck & cruise around on the bus for free. I don't know where he'll go but I hope he gets the pass. He earned it, damn it.  

The older I get, the more I understand why they hang that bus pass around their necks.  Last week, I was in town for a Wednesday night committee meeting and I got home about 8 o'clock, after having been up since 4 a.m. When I got up to go to work the next morning, I was panick-stricken when I couldn't find my purse. Turns out I left it in the car overnight. I never leave my purse anywhere.  Okay, so with my purse found, I go out to start the car and my mind flashes back to the night before and I couldn't remember if I had picked up my leather bomber jacket from the meeting I was at. I called Gene on the cell phone to have him check the closet for it. Even though I was describing it, "You know, Gene, the brown bomber jacket that used to be yours and now I wear it all the time ....".  Silence. He says, "well, there's this leather jacket with big pockets on it hanging in the closet".  I lost my mind.  Literally. I wasn't mad at Gene, I was mad at myself for not remembering if I had worn the jacket home.  I cried all the way to work. What has happened to me?

What an awful feeling to not be able to remember things. This blog has helped me bring up some great old memories and it feels like some of them were just yesterday. But the brain is a funny organ. I don't really understand how I can remember the words to "Little Green Apples" by Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell from over 30 years ago but can't remember if I wore my jacket home from the night before.  I wish someone could explain that to me.  Back to turning 60 ....

Well, Gene, if you're reading this, I promise I'll take lots of pictures at your 60th birthday party in Hillsboro.  I'm right behind you, honey. You were the same age I am now when I met you. I'm glad we get to grow old together.  Some days it's really hard ~ I get it.  For me, it's hard to accept sometimes. But you seem to do it so beautifully.  You just get more and more handsome. What's up with that?  love, Susan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter Abyss

Dec. 2008 - Richland, WA
We have snow in the forecast for Saturday. How can that be? Just last Sunday it was 63 degrees.  I'm not ready, in my head, for snow. But it will likely come and it'll be okay.  Last year, we didn't get much snow but at this time of the year I was anxiously waiting to travel to Flagstaff for Justin's graduation. A week before graduation, in mid-December, Flagstaff had a huge dump of snow that made the national news.  (I wish I could find my digital photos to insert but I wasn't all that organized with my pics last year). When we got there, we stayed in a little timeshare condo that Nancy and dad had. It was so cute & warm and we really enjoyed the couple of days in Flag with the heavy snow. As we were leaving on Sunday, another snow storm was blowing in and we stayed ahead of that storm to get me to the Phx airport. 

Snowy weather always makes me want to stay home and bake cookies. I've been thinking about baking all week and while I need to get my house cleaned really well this weekend, I gotta find some time to bake. Baking always takes me to a wonderful place in my mind.  I need that right now. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (see SAD for more info) and since moving here from AZ, it has relapsed.  Yesterday was a tough day, for no particular reason other than the skies have been gray and I just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head and cry. I get this overwhelming sense of gloom and often times sit on the edge of tears this time of year.  It's nothing new for me, I've been like this my entire life. I know it will pass and I just tell myself to hold on and get out those cute purple winter boots! Still .... I look forward to spring.

My kids are coming next week so I'd better do double time in front of the light box.  Gotta go for now! 

love, Susan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tragedy in San Diego

Yesterday I was following a story out of San Diego where a motorcycle group was out on a ride Saturday from SD to Winterhaven (near Yuma)  (story from AP) to celebrate their group's 10th anniversary. Some asshole driving 100+ mph passed the group of a dozen bikes on a straight stretch and the car in the oncoming lane lost control trying to get out of the way, rolled his car and smashed through the middle of the biker's formation, instantly killing 4 of the bikers and the car's passenger. The speeding car driver has not yet been found, they think he may have slipped over the border into Mexico. The bikers left behind kids and very traumatized biker friends.

When I see stories like this I always get a little sick feeling in my stomach because I know every time we roll our bikes, we are at the same risk. Gene and I are as careful as two motorcyclists can be and yet we've had a couple of close calls. When it happens, I'm always a little shaken and reminded that I need to be my most alert self when I'm out riding. No time for daydreaming when I'm holding on to handle bars. Even so, things like what happened in SD can happen to anybody.

My friend at work, Becky, is also a rider. She said she hoped they were having fun before they died. I totally get what she means. Life is to be lived.  I love riding. I know some day I'll have to give it up due to old age but for right now it brings me such freedom & joy and it reminds me of early years when I rode a snowmachine in high school. There's just nothing quite like having the wind in your face and the road so close you can almost touch it.  I'm with my friend ... I hope those who died felt the rush of wind in their face and the beautiful sunshine & blue sky and the rush of the road coming up to meet them before they perished. 

Four wheels move the body.  Two wheels move the soul.  ~Author Unknown

Last night I went to bed thinking about the remaining bikers in that group. I can't even imagine their horror at seeing their friends scattered over the highway, much less having to get back on their bikes and ride home.  It's not a good thing to have any kind of trouble rolling around in your noggin' when you're on a bike. There can't be anything worse than what they witnessed ... and yet they rode home that day.

I wish those bikers left behind by this tragedy only peace & love.

love, Susan

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Calm After the Storm

We had high winds here in the Tri-Cities last night. The news said we could have up to 70 mph wind gusts but I don't think they got that strong. It finally quit blowing around 3:00 a.m. and when I let Missy out this morning at 5, I saw twinkling stars in the morning sky.  I love the calm after a storm.  It's 6:45 a.m. and I just snapped this pic outside my front door. Mother nature took care of the leaves on our tree and I'm glad I didn't spend any time raking leaves off the lawn last weekend as she took care of those, too. Although I loved watching the storm roll in yesterday as it made a gorgeous sunset, I love a clear, blue morning sky even more.  I predict it's going to be a good day.  love, Susan

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

The kids (Justin & Amanda) are coming for Thanksgiving this year. I've thought about dinner ... but not too much. I'm not into making myself crazy these days. However, it doesn't hurt to write things down ~ so isn't this blog the perfect place to do that?  Here's what's on my mind ... so far .... for dinner, which is ten whole days away.  All ideas will be considered ~ so if you have one ~ please comment.

Roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, wheat dinner rolls, biscuits for Amanda, whole cranberry sauce, ham roll ups, black olives & green olives. Dessert: berry pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie.

My sweet daughter-in-law is very allergic to milk so I'm keeping that in mind as I plan my menu. She is going to help me prepare dinner and I'm really glad for the help.  I've already started using soy milk in my morning breakfast oatmeal.  It's not bad!

Beyond Thanksgiving dinner, I'm thinking I should have my freezer stocked up with Justin's favorite holiday cookies & breads. Here's what I'll be baking next weekend:  Russian tea cakes, pumpkin rolls, zucchini bread, fudge, oatmeal cookies and perhaps some caramel corn.  Amanda assures me she likes all food so I'm hoping she'll dig right in when she gets here.

I can hardly wait!  Let the countdown begin.

Indian Summer - Take 5

63 degrees today in Tri Cities, Washington.

It does not get any better than this.

Can you see the moon?

Can you see the moon now?

My favorite subjects.

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 ...