Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"What I Love" February

February, although technically still considered winter with its weird, cold weather and dark days, is the "love" month. I was looking back at my blog from last year where I wrote several posts in February about a few things I love.  Seems like it cheered me up back then so I think I'll try it again. 

For grins and giggles, here are the posts from February 2011.  If you are new to my blog, I hope you read something that makes you smile.  Just click on the link.  I'll see ya tomorrow!

love, susan


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Never Can Say Goodbye

I do a lot of thinking when I'm sitting my at desk working. Lately I've been jotting things down on a little notepad so I can move it from my head to paper, trying to form a little more space for other things.

The other day when a co-worker announced she and her husband will be traveling to China to pick up their new baby in 8 weeks, I told her a brief version of how my sister and I came to be adopted. She asked if I remembered being adopted and since I was only 18 months old, the answer is no. 

However, some years ago when I was working for an attorney who represented the Dept of Health and Social Service with the Dept. of Law, I read a study about the effects of moving children from home to home in their early years. While very small children can't say the words to express what happens to them when they are taken from one situation to another, I don't think anyone could doubt that it effects them.  I am living proof.

I never can say goodbye. Hey, did you just think about Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 singing that song right now? It has been my theme song my whole life!

I can remember back to about age 5 or 6. My folks would take us over to see my favorite grandma for the weekend. I loved her so much that even now there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. When we visited, there was nothing more important to her than paying attention to my sister and me. She was love with skin. 

On Sunday afternoon, about an hour before I knew we had to pack up the car and head back to Roseburg, I would go missing. I hated saying goodbye and my emotions would just overwhelm me and I was embarrassed to have my family see me crying. I could not turn it off.

I am still that way today, although I am not quite so embarrassed by it. Do I have abandonment issues?  You bet I do. I wish I could keep all the people I love in one place so I never have to say goodbye. But since that's not possible, it's the best I can do to pick up the phone and call or write a letter.   

In closing, I never say goodbye.  See you again soon .....

love, susan

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Road Trips

February is stacking up to be a month to look forward to. I've planned a weekend trip over to see my good friend, Jane!  She moved to Seattle a couple of months ago from Alaska and it's been on my to-do list to get over there to see her. It has been a very long time since I have been to Seattle so I'm really excited about going. I'm taking the Greyhound over and back.

A long President's Day weekend means we'll be going somewhere. I have my pet sitter all lined up and now if the weather cooperates, we most likely will go to the coast. I'm not sure I've ever been to the Oregon coast in February but if it is even half as beautiful as it was in November, it will be spectacular.

Some things to look forward to .....

love, susan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sweater

Did you ever hear somebody say something and you just knew there was so much more you had to know about it? Do you ever see an object and wish it could tell you all the stories it holds?  Well, that's exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago in a brief moment. 
She wore the sweater to work one day. I overheard her say she knitted it for her husband. He wore it when he went out to minister to folks in the winter time. I was afraid to ask more but I pushed past that fear and sat down with my co-worker to ask her about "the sweater" and the person she lovingly made it for.

He was her best friend and husband. She told me they did everything together. They spent many years traveling all over the United States spreading the gospel, often times in very cold places.  They owned a fruit farm and spent many years working side-by-side, day after day. I got the sense they had a lot of fun together. 

She had knitted him a different sweater than the one I saw her wearing that day at work. The first one was superior in its warmth but she explained he had given it away to a man he had been working with who had commented how much he liked it. Her husband took off the sweater and gave it to him.

A couple of years ago, he had to go in for surgery and the doctor discovered he had a disease that had laid dormant many years. He was sick for nearly three years before he died. When his life was nearing the end, she told me she opened the bible and read to him from Revelations.  She told me she was there, holding his hand the moment he died and it was beautiful.   She knows he is in heaven.  He spoke of heaven before he died.

She only kept the sweater and his large collection of hats after he died.  Whenever they would go into town to do business, he would negotiate having the merchant throw in a hat, saying "well gee, I bought all this stuff, the least you could do is throw in a hat". She laughed when she told me that. I imagine she was there when he got most of those hats and each of them would have a story to tell if hats could talk.

He was her second husband. She never expected to find her forever best friend. We agreed that not everyone does but we're really lucky when we do!

love, susan

Go There

I know I said I was going to try not using the word "hate" in 2012 and we're only 24 days into the new year, but here I am hating winter.

Gene has been busy moving all my photos off my virus-ridden computer onto a little laptop a good friend gave me. I pulled this picture from our Hawaii photos. It was taken two winters ago.  Sniff sniff. 

I've been dreaming about Hawaii lately. 

A very long time ago, I worked in the mental health field with a therapist who gave me a lot of good ideas and among them was this technique for remembering things. Ironically, I cannot for the life of me, remember what he called it but I want to say it is something like anchoring.  

How it works.  When I go places and experience things I want to remember forever, I close my eyes and try to capture all the things that my senses are picking up. When I snapped this photo, we were standing just off a street in Honolulu. The smell of dinner grilling at the local restaurants was in the air and people were standing politely along the beach front to share this sunset. I was there.

During the dark, cold months of January and February, I'm really glad I still have my mind to take me to those places that are warm and sunny. I'm grateful I took this photo and even more grateful my husband was able to pull my photos off my sick computer. I would have survived if he hadn't but this morning I'm especially enjoying the memories of that trip and it brings a smile to my face.

love, susan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remember Me?

We recently opened up a checking account at a local, home-town bank.  I'm slowly moving our business over which has required a couple of trips into the new bank to open the account, make deposits and last week we picked up our new checks and debit cards.  When we walked through the front door, the new accounts lady (Carla) said, "Oh, hello Susan. I'll get your checks".  She remembered my name.  I am impressed by that.

My soon-to-be old bank has no clue who I am nor could I tell you the name of one person in the only branch this huge corporation has in this area, although I do have a favorite teller but I don't know his name. It's not that I'm all that important but it is a huge comfort to me to know that when I need something from my bank, they'll know who it is when I call for help. I have a card with Carla's name on it and she is the one who answers the phone most of the time.

My new bank serves cookies & coffee on Fridays. Gene has offered to come do banking with me every time I go. I love that!  Those folks now how to treat their customers right! 

Customer service is not completely dead. What a relief.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day!

No work today. I heard it on the news, I got it on a text on my phone. All I can say is YAHOO!

I was looking at my blog posts over the last 1 1/2 years and wondered how many posts I have written about the weather. I found quite a few. If you know me, this shouldn't come as a big surprise. My life is ruled by the sun.  I need it as much as food and water and air. I'm not terribly happy when it disappears for days at a time.

So, what does a girl do when she has a snow day?

Well, this morning when I saw the first phone text that we had a work delay until 10:00a.m. I decided to make a batch of  English Muffin Bread.  I have intended to get around to making it and thought I'd better do that before I drink up all the buttermilk. Since I was in the mood, I also made Gene some homemade cornbread from scratch. He's already downed a plate of it and will likely have it again with a bowl of soup for dinner.

Later this morning, we're going to hop on the city bus and head to the mall. I'm not a mall rat but on a day like today it seems like a good idea. I have really been wanting to see a couple of movies so we'll walk around the mall and then hit a show. I love our local bus drivers and especially on days like this. I figure they need some good cheer so we'll give 'em our best smiles as they work hard to move people today. 

And, of course, I'll go out and throw the frisbee to "Missy". She loves the snow as evidenced by sticking her nose down into it and getting all frisky!  Crazy canine.

Time to go dust off those cute purple snow boots and get dolled up for a day date with my hubby!

What are you doing today?

love, susan

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Love You!

On Tuesday, it will be 8 years since Gene and I stood on the bank of the not-so-mighty Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada to say "I do".

Every year we light-heartedly (is this a real word? spell check thinks not) debate what year it was. I went to my file cabinet and pulled out the marriage certificate to verify this year. Yep, it has been 8 years. Confirmed.

It has been some of the best years of my life and I'll  try to give you just a couple of the million reasons why. I hope my entire blog from beginning to end will document the rest of the story. If you are new to my blog, I hope you'll click on some old posts and have a look-see.  Anyway .....

First, I've never met anyone who loves peppermint candy ice cream as much as I do. I remember the day early in our relationship when we were standing in the freezer section trying to find something we both liked. When I put my hand on that pretty pink box of heaven-in-a-box, his eyes lit up. We both took it as a good sign! 

I discovered I had never really seen the world until I started to see it from the road. Gene loves to drive, camp and just see everything. Turns out, I do too. Read: Wanderlust can lay dormant in anyone. One of our favorite memories is while on a road trip to Alaska, we stopped to stretch our legs at Kluane Lake in Canada. The lake was thawing and we stood on the bank to throw rocks at the half-frozen layer. When the rocks would make the icicles separate and float slowly away into the lake, it made the most magical musical tinkling sound. We stood there for probably an hour, mesmerized by the sound, the blue sky and the vastness of that lake.  Later on, we decided all new couples should take a road trip together to see if they are compatible. One should really know how their partner behaves after spending 500 mile days on the road, sometimes not getting a shower for a day or two. Seriously.  Relationships are not for those faint of heart.

Long story short, we have done more adventuring and fun things in the last 10 years than I could have ever imagined. Every weekend is like a mini-vacation. I can't say I have ever been bored since we've been married.

The photo in this blog was taken recently on our trip to Wenatchee, WA. We stopped for lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant. It was fantastic!  Who knows? Maybe someday we'll visit Vietnam.  Anything is possible.

Happy Anniversary, Gene!  I heart you!!!

love, susan


Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Song At A Time - Make a Decision

January is a tough month for me. All of December's poor eating and the lack of sunlight culminate into a very lazy, fatter, grumpy Susan. Getting on the treadmill is a major event in January. All the justifications for not getting on it come rising to the surface. I will not list those reasons here in hopes that some day they will just go away, i.e. I don't need to keep reminding myself of all the lame excuses I have for not exercising.

The one thing that does work for me when I do slip on my socks and tennis shoes and fire up the treadmill is that I make a decision to walk at least until the end of one song. Then I make the decision to walk through one more song. It works for me. Today I was able to walk through 19+ minutes of songs. Woo hoo. That may not seem like a big deal to you but it's a start for me!

The song choices make a difference.  Nora Jones?  I don't think so.  Allison Krauss? For walking? No!  Here is my playlist today:

Thunderstruck - AC/DC 3:50 minutes
Back in Black - AC/DC  4:28 minutes
1,2,3,4 - Coolio  4:26 minutes
Black or White - Michael Jackson  3:22 minutes
Life in the Fast Lane - The Eagles 4: 45minutes

I should be walking at least 30 minutes but I just can't (read: won't) do it right now. I'm happy to say I even went in the same room with my treadmill.

How do you get and stay motivated? 

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 ...