Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Winter Vacation

Soft, colorful gray skies. Warm breeze. Aqua colored sea foam. Sea lions with whiskers and cute smiles. A bridge like no other. The Sea Hag Restaurant. Salt water taffy. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus standing on the corner in Depoe Bay collecting dollars for kid toys. Sunrise. Glassblower in shorts. Cheap motel. Sea lions barking into the night. Lighthouses. Workers on the dock. Sunshine. Microwaved popcorn. Movies on HBO. Sunset. Good sleep. New friends. Old friends. Family. 
It was good!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Green Eyed Monster

I cannot believe it's Thanksgiving ... again ... already. My daughter-in-law and I were conversing on FB the other night and I've been thinking about them all week. 

Last year on this very day, I was baking pies and getting all my food prep done so I could enjoy my son and his lovely wife's visit. This year, her mom will get the pleasure of their company. Read: I'm so jealous. 

However, we are heading to Portland to spend time with Gene's family and meet some new extensions of his daughter's family. Love that!

Last year, we had a wagon-load of snow fall. This year, the forecast is for a balmy 64 today. in Tri-Cities. Of course, it will be raining in Portland and on the coast.  And, it's a tropical day in St. Maarten where my dad and his Nancy are visiting for another 10 days. Lucky schmucks! Read: I'm jealous.

Not much else to write about today. So I guess this is where I will wish you all a peaceful, easy T-day. I can't help but think about those who are alone today, those who don't have enough to eat today, those who have no roof over their heads, those who are jobless, those men and women who are serving in another country. If you see someone who needs help today and every day, I hope you find it in your heart to do what you can. 

love, susan 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thinking of You

Today I hit the jackpot! When I looked through my stack of mail, there were two hand-written letters from friends. You could have knocked me over with a feather! You have no idea how much it means to me to hear from you. Let me tell you.

One letter writer commented she didn't know how I had time to write hand-written letters. I have to admit that I don't send letters in the summer ... ever. Now that I am back to spending a good part of an hour daily in front of the happy light, I'm writing a lot more and it's so therapeutic for me. I've pretty much gone through my Rolodex and written to everyone I can think of.  The other envelope I  received was from a friend who is not much for writing letters but her note warmed my heart just the same.

I don't know what you all do with letters you get from friends, but I save mine. I have a hanging folder labeled "Cards & Photos from Friends and Family". After I read your letters, I drop them in the hanging folder and I pull them out once in a blue moon to look at and treasure. I don't keep cards that have simply been signed unless they are particularly funny. Gene and I had a conversation about this recently. He's saved every card anyone has ever given to him. He doesn't keep them all in one place so it's like Christmas for him when he looks in a drawer and finds cards he stashed away. He found one the other day that is so personal (it was not from me) that I can't share what was written but I can you tell that it was touching. He left it on the counter for me to read and I cried.

My grandmother died about 4 years ago, or was it 5? When I traveled to her home-town the following year, my aunt handed me a ziploc bag of items my grandmother had kept in her drawer. Among those treasures were letters and photos I had mailed to her throughout my life.  I was surprised to receive them back. The first time I opened the ziploc bag, I had to close it quickly. It was so painful. It's still painful to this day. 

Listen up.  If you are not sending hand-written letters to people you love, they won't have anything tangible to hold in their hands should you leave this earth before them.  When I see my grandmother's hand-writing on a letter she wrote to me, it's like time travel. I can picture her sitting at her dining room table with her white-lined writing tablet, an envelope and a stamp. She always wrote two pages and her letter always included a weather report. I miss her very much.

To my friends who took the time to write me recently, there is no gift I would treasure more than your letters. I truly mean that.

love, susan 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Less is More

The other day my friend Jane wrote on her blog about how much she loves house plants. I used to love houseplants but when I lived in Arizona I didn't keep any because we lived in a small space and, quite frankly, I didn't want one more thing to take care of.  I still don't want another thing to care of.   Read: less is more.  However, I do have this sturdy little ivy.  It started out as two leaves coming up through a crack in the driveway near the garage door. I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and thought, "now there's a survivor!". It was a year ago in the heat of summer. I pulled it out and showed it to Gene. He made me promise I wouldn't plant it anywhere on the property. Ivy really takes over and can be very hard to get rid of. So I stuck it in this "garage sale special" ceramic pot and forgot about it. I water it maybe once a month.  I figure if it survived out there by the garage in the dry heat of summer, it should feel lucky to get a sip of H2O when I get around to it. I move it occasionally from my bathroom to my office. I can live with one houseplant as long as it does not get to be high maintenance.

11/11/11 8:00 a.m. ~ Richland, Washington
The weather today is a bit nippy at 18 degrees and the fog seems to be hanging on longer than I think it should. I'm going to be wearing lots of layered clothing today.  

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Year Ago in November

I was just looking at my posts from one year ago. This time last year we were getting ready for the kids to come for Thanksgiving. We took a random trip to Spokane but ended up in Idaho.  It happens.

A year ago, we were having really nice weather and just in time for Thanksgiving, we experienced a snow storm.

Why am I rehashing the past? Because I have no news. I feel like such a slacker.

Here a list of my blog posts from November 2010. It was a very good month! Hope you'll take a peek.

love, susan 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Photowalk

My friend Linda, Sassy Sara and me
I had a great day yesterday. My friend, Linda and her dog Sassy Sara, and I, went on a photowalk over at the McNary Dam. Originally, I thought we were going to the bird refuge but I was really glad we ended up at the dam.  Gene and I visited this place in late August when the leaves were still green and the spiders were still alive and making great webs on all the steel fish ladders. 

2 of 6
We saw a herd of 6 deer as soon as we got out of the van. I wasn't sure how good my pics would be since they were at a pretty good distance but discovered when I got home that some of the deer were bucks.

We strolled around the area where there are great walking trails and since the weather was a bit nippy, we had the entire area to ourselves.  Sassy Sara is still in training so it was good for her to just be able to walk with us without the distraction of other people. I set my camera up for a timed photo and she just could hardly sit still as witnessed by the puppy kiss right at the moment of the shutter opening.
Looking up!
I like this photo of looking up through the center of a tower. I would have never thought to shoot a pic like this if I hadn't seen someone else from my photo club do it.  Even so, it's not exactly lined up perfectly but I like the blue sky and scattered clouds. 

While this may not be a very exciting photo to look at, I will forever remember the wonder of hearing this little whirlpool making a wet sucking noise. I heard it before I saw it and I went investigating to see what could make such a unique sound. The creek was flowing hard enough to cause it right next to the path. It would spin for quite awhile and then it would just disappear. I am easily amused so I waited long enough to see it reappear. How many times have you seen something like this in your lifetime?

Me and Sassy Sara
You have no idea how much I hate having my photo taken but it was fun to sit with Sassy Sara. I had to firmly hold on to her jowls to keep her from squiqqling so much. Puppies are like that.  Isn't she just the cutest??
What a fantastic day it was.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

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 ...