Saturday, September 24, 2011

Calling All Cow Lovers

We went out for a motorcyle ride today and this is the only photo I took.

The thing is, we traveled a route today that was really beautiful but not very picturesque. We rode over a mountain pass and ended up at about 4,200 feet but it never cooled down. Everything was dry and the landscape  was blonde.  I couldn't bring myself to pull the camera out to take photos of endless rolling hills of dry wheat. I loved the ride though! I especially loved the stop we made where Gene took off his boots and socks and laid in the grass to cool off. I loved laying next to him under a tree and just feeling so grateful for the sprinkler on the park grass. The slight wind blew a mist over us that was truly life-saving.

The reason I took this particular photo is that I read on my son's blog recently that he really likes cows. I think it's uncanny because I really like them too although my son and I have never been around them much, being raised in Alaska. He lives somewhere else now and I wonder if he sees many cows there.  These are things I think of when I'm riding. You would too if you rode where we rode today. Oh gosh, an idea for another post: things I think of while riding. You wouldn't even believe the things that go through my mind while I should be carefully scanning both sides of the rode for deer and cows. 

Back to cows.  I think it's their beautiful, soft eyes that attracts cow-lovers.  I've heard some people say cows are stupid. I'm not sure why anyone would say that about a cow. I've noticed while out riding that cows are smart enough to go stand under a tree for shade when it's hella hot. I've also been witness to mama cows crying non-stop for hours when they are separated from their calves. They're smart enough to go with the rest of the herd. I think I'll mention all these things the next time I hear someone bad-mouthing cows.

love, susan 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

365 Day Project

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a 365 day project. I watched as a whole lot of people started theirs last January.  I know I could have jumped on the band wagon and started a project anytime but decided to wait until this January 1 ... because ... well ... I'm a little OCD.  

I follow a really cool blog called 365 Less Things.  I wish I had thought of that. The woman who writes this blog posts a photo of one item she is shedding every single day.  My hat is off to her. Her blog was responsible for helping me separate myself from my old clarinet from high school. I tried to have it refurbished but it would have cost a couple hundred dollars to get it into working shape. I sold it to a nice lady at my yard sale for $5 this summer. I said "good riddance" to it as she drove out of my driveway.

I could do a 365 photo project but I don't want to. I want to do something different. What is it ... what is it??? 

All ideas will be entertained!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plan of the Day

POD.  That's code for Plan of the Day at my current, temp job. Everyone meets at 6:45 a.m. in the file room for a short meeting to plan what direction we're going as a team. Pretty cool idea, me thinks. Sometimes there isn't any plan but just a few minutes to "check-in" as human beings. 

Week or so ago, one of the women in my office told us at the POD that her brother had received a phone call on Saturday night to get on a plane to Seattle (I think?) because someone had died and they had a set of lungs to transplant to him. I'm sure that wasn't in his plan of the day when he woke up. I checked with her last week and he's recovering famously. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. 

This morning I woke up and decided I needed to start sitting in front of my light box again. For those who don't know me, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I won't bore you with all the details of SAD except to tell you that it sucks and it's just something I live with and try to manage without medications by sitting in front of a special light box for at least 30 to 45 minutes daily. I think the fact that I slept 12 hours on Friday caused my husband to take his life in his own hands by asking if I had started to sit in front of the light yet.  My reaction was the best indicator that it is time. I got very defensive about it. That's my sign. 

So my plan of the day when I woke this morning at 4:00 a.m. was to clear off my desk and fire that baby up. I got a letter written to my good pen pal in Katy, Texas and then proceeded to hit the treadmill.  It turned out to be a fabulous day.

Do you have a POD when you wake up?  Do tell!

love, susan

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farmer Talk

Alberta peaches.  That's what the farmer guy said these are.  I wouldn't know an Alberta peach from an O'Henry.  But I know now that our farmer (I like calling him our farmer)  told us today that he has a different variety of peaches "coming on" about every two weeks.  Coming on, in farmer speak, means the fruit is ready to pick.

We drove out in the country about 20 miles from home to buy two boxes of peaches at a surprisingly low price of $16 a box. It felt like stealing.  A co-worker told me where to find our farmer and I reveled in driving out not only to get the peaches but to shoot the breeze with him for a short time. He wore a baseball cap and spit chew on the ground every once in awhile as he told us a bit about his business and the fishing trip he took to the coast last weekend. 

I love country folks. They keep it real. When I asked him if he had a webpage, he was kind enough to not laugh at me.  Silly me.  What farmer needs a webpage when they have the same customers coming back to buy their fruit for years and years.  As we were leaving, he said, "be sure to keep my number". I said, "you're going into my 'contacts'", but I'm not sure he knew what I meant. I thought about telling him that he'd be on my blog page tonight but decided I just needed to keep our relationship simple. He grows the fruit, I drive out to buy it.  Love that.
Not all the peaches are ripe enough to use yet so I picked out the ready ones and they are now freezer jam. Earlier today, I threw together a peach crisp for Gene. He has lost so much weight since I've been watching my diet that it's scaring me. 

I think tomorrow I will make a peach pie and then decide what to do with the rest of them. We'll be having some peach smoothies and maybe a fruit pizza before the week is over. 

Everything's just peachy!  love, susan


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life is a Beach - Part Two

Anyone remember Charlie's Angels?
My head is still at the beach.  That's the beauty of a nice little vacation. It's not like I have to come back to the same old grind right away. Don't tell my boss.

Pictures help. I will probably go through my beach pictures 50 times and try to keep alive the things that mean the most to me. 
Short on time today but here are a few more of my favorites from the weekend.


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

We just returned from another world. The beach. We spent about 48 hours there and it took me a little while to come down to earth when we arrived home yesterday. 

There is something special that happens when family and friends gather at Cape Lookout on the Oregon coast. It's like nothing else matters for a while. No television, no bad news, no rushing traffic. Only the sound of the ocean and smell of bbq hamburgers and bacon. Dogs running with reckless abandon. They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth but I would argue that point. 

Fog on Saturday morning
When we arrived on Friday it was a shock to the system to get out of the car to foggy, cold dampness. We knew the forecast for mid 80's the next day could change in a heartbeat. But it didn't. We woke up Saturday to a bit of fog but we spotted blue skies in our early morning walk at low tide and it turned out to be another perfect day.

After breakfast, we headed from camp to spend the day playing badminton and chasing Frisbees for hours. There was only love.  The kids, our grand kids and their neighbors/best friends, were transported to another world too as there was no fighting and no tears. Only fun and laughter and a very competitive game of badminton. 

After spending the day in the sand, we marched back to camp to bbq and rest for a minute. After dinner, we headed back down to take a long walk during low tide and to watch the sun set. 

Cousins. Friends. A dog. And miles of beach.
It does not get better than this.

Settling back into camp after the long walk, we roasted marshmallows and sat down to write a few new camp songs. Ghost stories were left untold this year. Perhaps we've outgrown them. Watch for "On the Beach" and "Free the Wang" on YouTube. We expect they will go viral.  Not.
Waking up Sunday morning was bittersweet. It was the end of a lovely weekend but for me it was the continuing realization that weekends like these are ones our grand kids are going to remember forever.
Yeah, it took me a few hours to bring my head back here to reality. On the trip home, we turned on the radio and heard some snippets of the memorial of 9/11. I turned it off. I wasn't ready to come back yet. 

Back to the real world.
love, susan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Five Minute Post

Yes, that is snow behind the flowers! Photo shot at Mt. Rainier
Ten hour days are kicking my butt but I'm determined to squeeze every bit of the minutes I have to accomplish what I can.

One of the women I work with is a single mom with 5 children. She told me yesterady she is also taking 3 classes. I admire people who can squeeze the life out of everyday. Talking with her made me feel kind of like a slacker. 

I never made it on the treadmill yesterday so I decided this morning I had to get back to some multi-tasking. While the coffee is brewing, I cleaned up the kitchen. I poured my coffee and sat down to check my email and FB. Told myself I'm gonna write a quick post while I enjoy my coffee and then hit the treadmill for 30 minutes.  The walking really boosts my energy level so I need to do it.

Hope you have a fabulous Wednesday.  Don't forget to stop and smell the roses flowers.

love, susan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beach Bound

Cape Lookout
Just a quick note before I get on the treadmill this morning.

What a fantastic 4-day weekend. It doesn't get a whole lot better than this one but we are headed to the beach this coming weekend and the weather report is forecasting 82 on Friday and 88 on Saturday with clear skies. 

Come on, Friday!

love, susan

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mt. Rainier Trip

Mt. Rainier
We ventured over to see Mt. Rainier yesterday with a group of friends. The weather could not have been more perfect. I broke one of my own safety rules on the last leg of the trip by shedding my leather jacket. It was in the high 80's, perhaps even reached 90 by 4:00 p.m. and I thought I might faint from overheating.
We could see Mt. Rainier for over a hundred miles before we reached it.  Embarrassingly enough, when we got to the stopping place where I snapped this photo, I asked my friend, Dorothy, "is this Mt. Rainier"? Okay. Seriously. It looks way smaller up close than when you see it from 100 miles away. How can that be? An optical illusion, I suppose. Let me just say it and get it out of my system.  It ain't no Mt. McKinley.  But the surrounding area is so beautiful that it makes up for it's lack of grandiosity.

Flowers and a field of snow
I can hardly believe we have lived here 3 years now and this is the first time to visit Mt. Rainier. We will definitely be going again with camping in mind. There are hiking trails everywhere and we only scratched the surface of the area. With it being a holiday weekend, there was a huge amount of traffic but I noted that people were very polite and not in a hurry to run us over. There are quite a few places to park so even with the increased traffic, we were able to find places to park 8 motorcycles.

This trip was 350 miles and my tailbone was feeling it by the time we rolled into our driveway at 6:30 p.m. I put 750 miles under my belt this weekend and that's a record for me.

TAKE-AWAY: My take away from this weekend is that I have learned that a lot of things really are mind over matter. Perseverance. Mom used to tell me that but like many people, until I experience it for myself it doesn't mean much. I had a couple of uncomfortable times yesterday where I thought my tailbone was going to split in two but what was I doing to do? Keep riding.   love, susan



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Easy Riders

Summit between Enterprise, OR and Clarkston,WA
Yesterday, I rode in almost 3  states (we skirted Idaho for 88 miles but never crossed the border) on the longest ride ever on my motorcycle. 395 miles. I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

We left Richland at 10:00 a.m. and met up with a good buddy on our way out of town. We left our house with a plan but it changed. That's how we roll. With a thermos full of coffee, a container of zucchini bread and a full tank of gas we headed towards Elgin and ended up in Clarkston,  WA and then home 12 hours later.

I love this photo our friend, Doug, snapped. Gene and I visited this very same summit 10 years ago almost to the day when we began our relationship. It is only coincidence that we ended up there yesterday but I couldn't help but think about all the fun we've had from then until now.

I learned some new things yesterday. First, I have way more tenacity than I give myself credit for. If I had given it too much thought, I would have balked at the length of this trip. I was a frozen popsicle by the time we rolled our bikes into the garage last night but I'm an Alaskan ... I am Ford tough.

I learned from Doug how to put my hand up over my eyes to shield the sun so I can see the road when riding directly west at sundown. Can I just tell you that I couldn't see anything except Doug's red tail lights. My stupid photo-gray glasses didn't get dark enough to be effective. It was scary but at least I've been riding long enough to feel very comfortable riding one-handed.

A must-have for long distance rides
Doug showed me some of the tricks he keeps in his saddle bags. I was impressed with the baby wipes for those times when a biker simply can't find a good rest room. He had all kinds of cool stuff in his bags and now that I have bags on my bike, I just gotta go shopping. 

I learned that women can be in the lead. At one point in our ride yesterday, the guys couldn't decide who was going to take the lead so I rolled my wrist and went around to lead them for a time. It felt good! After a while, they encouraged me to lead and it broke the trip up a bit to move positions. You need that when you are on a long ride like this.

Doug and Gene
I learned that some people are just easy to ride with.  I would ride with Doug again any day of the week. He obeys the laws and he doesn't mind pulling over to take a break. Among several pull-overs, we stopped twice to eat and once to get a fancy coffee and harass the counter girl. She was a good sport.

We are heading out for another long trip tomorrow to Mt. Rainier with a large group. It will only be 340 miles tomorrow. I'm glad I got a trial run and know that I can do it. Tomorrow, we'll have the sun at our backs the entire day. What a relief.  Doug will be riding with us and I'm sure it will be every bit as fun as yesterday. I just hope my muscles get over the torture I put them through yesterday. 

Oh, I learned one more thing. Taking two Tylenol before I hit the road works wonders. I need to put some in my saddle bag because I could have used two more before the day was over. I'm convinced that is the only reason I could sit on that bike so long.

love, susan

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I started my new job yesterday. Although I am working for a temp agency, it is contracted to the Department of Energy.  The government. I spent 4 hours in the morning watching a computer screen, moving through about 30 sub-topics with a little quiz at the end of each. I learned a lot about Beryllium! I also learned a lot about safety and it seems to be the number one focus of the training.
I had to find something interesting in an otherwise "boring as hell" environment. The place where I went for the orientation was a huge classroom which was mostly empty because there are big layoffs pending this month. The lady at the desk where I had to get my badge said I was lucky to get a job out here.

I finally made it to the job site at 1:30 p.m. and found a group of very nice, older women who warmly welcomed me to my cubicle. The nice thing about these cubicles is that the walls are only about 4 feet high so I won't suffer claustrophobia like I did in my last job. I have two big flat computer screens on my desk. My trainer demonstrated how I will be copying and pasting from one screen to the other. Love it! In true government fashion, I will be indexing piles and piles and piles and piles of paperwork, one single paper at a time into one system and then taking that information into another system. 

THE GOOD PART: The ladies in my office gather in the center of the cubicles at a table for lunch.  Lunch is my favorite hour (1/2 hour here) of the work day. At my last job, we had a kitchen with a table but I could hardly ever get anyone to join me for lunch at the table. Everyone just took their lunch back to their cubicle. It was a culture I could not change. Yesterday, one of the ladies told me they like to gather at the table to share lunch and I was genuinely excited about it. I expect to learn some new things about the Tri-Cities, recipes, grand kids, etc. I don't expect we'll be talking much about Beryllium. Yay.
Well, I'm up at 4:00 a.m. today and have to leave for work at 6:10 a.m. I still have to exercise, iron some clothes, shower and get out the door.  Hope wherever you are that you have your best day so far!

love, susan 

You Made My Day, Dude!

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