Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Stop Trying

Every year around this time I start thinking ahead about the New Year and things I'd like to accomplish. Somebody told me or I read it somewhere that to make a defined resolution is a set up for failure. For instance, if I made a resolution to drink 8 glasses of water every day, the fact is I will fail. So I started making my resolution list to look like this:

Drink more water.
Read more.
Waste less.
I think you get my drift. I've noticed since I started making my resolutions differently, it seems like the same ones end up on my list and it feels more like a re-commitment to doing those things that I'd like to have happen.  I still want to drink more water. Some days I go all day and a plain glass of water never touches my lips. Other days, I do okay. I resolve to never stop trying.
A couple of my resolutions from years past are still on that list in my mind. Maybe I should type them out and place them on the fridge for a reminder:

Recycle everything I can.
Waste nothing.
Buy used.
Buy less.
Use what I have.
Drink more water.
Treadmill more often.
Quit using the word "hate".
Do one thing to make a difference.
Don't stop trying.

What's on your resolution list this year?

love, suan


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking Ahead


It's almost time to make New Year's resolutions.  I don't know if I want to really resolve to do too many things in the new year but here's a list of things I'd like to give a shot:

Drink more water.  
Learn to play guitar.  (still need to buy one)
Take "Missy" to at least one doggie class.
Go to a silent retreat.
Take more photos.
Write better blog posts.
Spend more time on the treadmill. (note how this did not make it to the top of the list)
Read more.
Visit Michigan.

Totally do-able!!

What's on your resolution list?

love, susan

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Spotted this rabbit on a day trip to McNary Bird Refuge.

A Year in Review

One of my favorite blogs, The Art of Non-Conformity, is written by a guy who lives in Portland, Oregon. He's a world traveler, author, changer of attitudes, and I'll bet just a really swell human being. He does an annual review of his year on his blog using the following questions:
What went well in 2011?
What did not go well in 2011?
I thought about 2011 today and quite frankly I couldn't come up with anything that did not go well. Really. It was a banner year for me. I hope it's okay to say that. Do you think I should knock on wood right now? Is it bad karma to talk about how great your life is? I don't think so.  I hope it isn't.  Is it?

It started with a one-week fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants trip to Phoenix in February. We had been tossing around the notion that maybe we should get in on some really dirt-cheap housing prices there and so drove through the worst snow storm in Nevada, with only street tires, to get there. About 3 hours into driving around Phoenix, we looked at each other and said, "what are we thinking???"  We cannot leave the green trees for a concrete jungle. That's how it is with us. We just knew. But we had to get it out of our system.  No bueno.  Phoenix.

The first week of May, I said adios to the law firm where I was working in exchange for the perfect summer. And, it was ... a perfect summer. We headed to Flagstaff the 2nd week in May for my son and his wife's graduation via The Arches National Park in Utah. Arches is quite possibly the most awesome place I've ever visited. 

Our summer was non-stop fun, travel, picnics, hiking, camping, motorcycling, and anything else we could squeeze in between. It was so busy that I was ready to go back to work in September.  I found a great temporary job and we've enjoyed two great trips to the beach since I started working again.

I've said it before .... I feel like I'm hanging on to a runaway train in my life.  And, it's fun! I can't think of one thing that did not go well this year.  Perhaps that's the Pollyanna in me.  

I  look forward to 2012.  How about you? 

love, susan

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Four Days Til Solstice

I've noticed that people in Washington don't really give a rip about solstice.  Being a life-long Alaskan, I can tell you that winter solstice is something almost every  Alaskan looks forward to.  It's a date that (if you don't drink yourself to death or go completely insane) gives you hope. December 21st is the shortest day of the year and when you live in Alaska, knowing that you will gain daylight the next day, even if it's only 4 seconds, is something to look forward to. Life-long Alaskans pride themselves in survival.

I've discovered since we moved to Washington, after a 7-year stint in sunny Yuma, Arizona, that the Alaskan in me comes out in the winter time.  I have been thinking about December 21st for a couple of weeks now. This will be my fourth winter here in Eastern Washington. While I love living here, I could do without the long winter.  I know just a short time ago, I wrote that I was happy to see winter arrive because we ran hard last summer.  I'm over it now.  I want summer to come back.  Soon.

This time of year is always busy and I have a full December calendar.  January, not so much. We don't have any trips planned. There are no parties. It's very much like living in Alaska without the -50 weather. Just gotta hang on and watch the days grow longer.

love, susan 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hey Mouse!

Our supervisor at work gave us each sweet little figurines for Christmas. Mine is a little mouse with the hugest ears and the body is the shape of a pear. My card reader is not working or I would post a photo of it for you.

Opening that little mouse gift reminded me that my nickname in high school was "Mouse".  I said it out loud yesterday and someone asked me why that was my nickname.   Here's why.

Until I was in my mid 30's, I had ears that stuck out like a mouse. I was born that way and I suffered all through my school years into adulthood with those ears. My hair is quite fine and although I tried to wear it in a style that hid those ears, I didn't do a very good job of it. I remembered in the flash of a second the pain of being burdened with such a physical flaw.  I hated windy days because I felt terribly exposed. I hated that I couldn't wear my hair very long or pull it back in a pony tail like my friends. Those mouse ears were something I thought about every single day of my life.

I always wanted to have cosmetic surgery to fix those ears but it was expensive so I could never quite justify having the surgery done. Long story short, I ended up scheduling another medically needed surgery (breast reduction) with a cosmetic surgeon and asked him if he could do something with my ears while I was under the knife. He gladly said he would do it and at half-price since I was already on the table. While the breast reduction was awesome to have done, I was extremely happy to get my ears "fixed". The recovery for the ear job was much more physically painful than the breast reduction.

Surprisingly, it took over a year for my psyche to register the fact that I now had perfect little ears. I liken it to those who have gastric by-pass surgery and lose weight quickly. The mind has a hard time catching up with the fact that our physical appearance has changed.

I have all but forgotten that I had mouse ears and huge, back-breaking boobs at one time. One of the things that came up for me yesterday when opening that gift was the memory of how cruel kids can be and even some unthinking adults. While I know my friends' nickname for me was a term of endearment (my close friends were not bullies), I am certain they never knew how incredibly painful it was having mouse ears.

It's easy to think that our off-handed comments are funny or witty but I write this post for myself. I am as guilty as the next person to make an unthinking comment and opening that gift yesterday reminded me that I need to choose my words thoughtfully. I'd rather not be the cause of some one's feelings being hurt.

love, susan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Birthday

Gene celebrated his 61st birthday on Sunday. We took a drive out to Naches, which is 12 miles north of Yakima, for a late lunch compliments of his daughter.  Her instructions were to take him to dinner, so I did!  It's a long 90 mile drive for lunch but so worth it. Being retired means he is home a lot so getting out for a drive always makes him smile. 

We love this little cafe we found a couple of years ago. They make the best Reuben sandwich and I love their hamburgers which are hand-formed and nestled on a homemade bun. Everything they serve is totally homemade.  Worth the drive!!

On the way home, I spotted two bald eagles near the river. We also saw a lot of red hawks perched up high, hunting for food. I call them "fatties". They don't seem to be starving this time of year. I felt like a fattie after eating everything on my plate which included sweet potato fries!

Happy birthday, Gene! You are the love of my life! I can't imagine how boring the last 10 years would have been without you. Your wanderlust was contagious and I've been infected with it deeply. You are showing me how to age gracefully and you've shown me that every day is like a birthday. I love how you wake up smiling and laughing even when it's hard to get moving sometimes. What a great life we have! 

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 ...