Saturday, September 29, 2012

Up Up and Away (Saturday Upside)

We hit the ground running this morning and by 4:30a.m. I had my second load of laundry washing and oatmeal bars baking in the oven along with a pot of coffee brewing. Shortly thereafter we headed out to Prosser for the annual balloon festival.  We made it in time to find a spot to park and watch as the balloon people filled their colorful nylon beauties with hot air.
It is something you should not miss if you ever get a chance to see it. We first watched the launching of balloons when we lived in Arizona. Once we saw it done, we have looked forward to each time we have a chance to go. There is something really happy and magical about the process. The people who show up for balloon festivals are just about the happiest people I've ever seen. You have to really want to be there to get up so early and go.  I always get a little giddy as all the balloons start filling up. I'm still amazed at how quickly it happens. They seem so close together when they are on the ground but it makes no matter. The balloon people are polite and patient as they wait their turn to let go of rope and half-dozen people holding the balloon from reaching its potential.
This year, we made our way over to the river so we could see them drop down and give photographers great shots of them catching a reflection in the water. There is still a lot of smoke in the air from the Ellensburg fires so my shot is kind of murky. I couldn't count how many balloons went up but my best guess is 40. Crazy, huh?
After that excitement, we decided to take a trip to the Humane Society as my friend who came with us wanted to know where the new shelter was located. My husband suggested we just go there. What a great guy! On the way, I told them there was  dog show this weekend so we dropped by to see what was happening there. Cute pooches E V E R Y W H E R E ! This coonhound wanted to sniff my camera.  After watching a little obedience and rally, we headed to the Human Society to oogle over some cats & dogs.
It's been a GREAT day and it's only noon!

love, susan

Thanks to for the great
idea of posting a Saturday "upside". Everyday has its upsides!



Friday, September 28, 2012

The Cleanup

Yesterday I went on a fascinating tour of the company projects. We left our building at 7:30a.m. and returned just in time for the end of a catered lunch the company provided for a safety meeting that we missed because of the tour. The company was so nice to have the caterers stay until the 11 of us returned. Very classy operation, don't you think? 
This tour was interesting because it is the 3rd time I've been out in "the area" and after doing data entry for a year, I am glad to understand a few of the terms I type in my entries. My job is to enter information gathered by radiological techs into a data base. Interestingly, when the waste from the nuclear plants was dumped 40+ years ago, they didn't keep much for records. 
Gene and I visited the B Reactor a couple of weeks ago (see Einstein Rocked It). Well, today the tour bus took us behind the reactor and I was informed that public tours don't get to go back there. We got to see 2 very deep holes in the ground that have been excavated for removal of chromium. Chromium. Yes, the Erin Brocovich kind of hexavalent chromium! Our guide took a lot of time explaining the process and what will happen next on that particular portion of the project. Eventually, the entire area will be restored. The water you see standing here is groundwater. Our guide told us that the level goes up and down on a daily basis according to whatever the river is doing. Luckily nobody lives within miles and miles of this area. The "area" is secured and when the cleanup is done, it will remain so.


Another part of the tour I found extremely interesting was the Enviromental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF). The dump. It is the most organized area I've ever seen. The lead guy came out and answered all our questions and gave a very good explanation in terms we could grasp, of what happens at ERDF. Basically, tons and tons of radiation soil/waste is brought to ERDF and it is covered up  by high-tech graders. He told us the graders have special GPS's in them and they know exactly how much they have to cover up by the beginning and ending coordinates on a big screen inside their cabs. Wouldn't you love to have that job? The area was meticulous and I was impressed with what a well-oiled machine the entire process seems to be. This area has a special liner laid down that has been tested and they figure it will take 1,200 years for it to deteriorate.
All in all, the tour gave me a lot of things to think about. Continued efforts for cleanup depend much upon money coming out of Washington D.C. Several times our guide said the elections will have a great impact on the future of how this remediation will go.
I know this post may be boring to most but for me, having toured the "area" and learning more about the history of The Manhattan Project is really interesting. If I didn't work out there, I'm not sure I'd really get it.
Do you have an area where you live that is a part of history?
love, susan

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Phone a Friend

I made a decision last week to text less and talk more. Much easier said than done. It was the result of a ridicuously over-scheduled social calendar that took on a life of its own. I noticed I had my cell phone in hand every moment and kept checking for updates on the happenings. Whatever happened to living in the moment?  So, in an effort to re-group, I texted a couple of my very best peeps on Saturday morning and simply said I was going to be turning my phone to silent for the day and burying it deep into my purse.  I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by receiving texts and not returning them.
This action led to me to think about how our lives have changed so much with modern technology. I have been a resister of it all but eventually got on board because I didn't want to be left behind. Texting is just the latest technology that I adopted about a year ago that has me talking practically to no one. 
I have a friend who actually takes her calls whenever she can. She texted me Monday morning and asked if I was okay. I typed out a long text explaining my reason for silencing my phone but when the text wouldn't send (because I'm in a dark hole at work) I decided to call her on my 10 o'clock break. I had a lovely 10-minute conversation with her.
I will admit that sometimes often times texting is a great way to relay information that doesn't really require a voice. The problem, for me, is that I have actually opted for texting over a real conversation far too many times. What could be any more important than talking with a friend or family member on the phone?
About a month or two ago, I deactivated my FB account. I know I'm missing out on some things by not having it open 24-7 but there were two reasons I dropped out. First, and once again (I've deactivated one time before for the very same reason) I was spending far too much time sitting in front of FB, scrolling up and down the screen looking for something meaningful. I have no will power when it comes to FB.  Second reason: the elections. Need I say more?
I keep telling my friends and family that I'm going to reactivate FB after the elections but don't hold your breath. Just like with texting, I long for those nice conversations that I just don't get when I'm "plugged in".
Call me old fashioned but please, just call me.
love, susan

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life Through a Lense

The sun was a beautiful orange this morning. I've been carrying my camera with me a lot lately and happened to have it at work so I was able to capture it. While this is not a stunning photo, I love how perfectly round the sun is.
My husband drove over and had lunch with me out at the picnic tables where I work. We took a walk on the grounds to discover a beautiful water fountain and pond. I've been working there for a year now and had no idea this pond existed. I gotta get out more often.

And look what I found ...

While there was a lot of really yucky rotting stuff in this pond, I was cheered up by the beautiful lilies. It's hard to see but I also captured a blue dragonfly in the above pic. There were trout in this pond and I'm sure if I sat for very long I'd see a frog or two.
must carry my camera more often!
What do you think you'd see if you took your camera with you everywhere?
love, susan

10 Things I Love About Fall

~Butterflies ~

The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.
                          Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

Crisp nights

Bright moons

  Leaving all the 
windows open

Balloon festival 

                  Fresh tomatoes 

                                  Zucchini bread (my favorite recipe)

                                                Red, orange & brown leaves

                                                                        Warm pink sweaters
                       Soup (Chicken Tortilla Soup)

What's your favorite thing about fall?

love, susan

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Stories We Tell

Mushrooms are a sure sign of summer departing. Yesterday we had our first rainfall which was more like the sky spitting a little than anything.  Still. It rained.  I went out for a walk, looking for a little more yellow and orange in the trees but those colors have not quite arrived yet in our hood.  Soon, no doubt. 

When I see mushrooms, I think of my son. When he was little, I liked to spark his imagination so I told him that families of little trolls lived under mushrooms. It prevented him from kicking them and smashing them to smithereens. And, it's a myth that really stuck in his head because he mentions it when I see him.  
Which reminds me of the stories my mom and grandmother used to tell me. The one that comes to mind is my grandmother telling me that I would wet the bed if I played in the fire. She had an old cast-iron wood stove. When my sister and I would go to stay with her, my favorite thing to do was stoke the fire. I am, to this day, mesmerized by hot coals. I love to watch them breath. And, it makes me think of my grandmother and her ridiculous but effective antidote for keeping me out of the fire.
A story mom told me was that eating raw potatoes would give me worms. I grew up in Alaska and we pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck. Groceries were high, even then, and I loved eating raw potatoes. Mom would be in the kitchen peeling taters and I'd grab one and the shaker of salt. It was better than any snack food I could think of. More than the high cost of groceries, I know now she just got tired of peeling potatoes and told me that whopper of a story to keep me out of them. I believed it for a long time. Oddly enough, I think of her when I peel potatoes.
Story telling must run in my family .....
I'm sure there are other "stories" but they'll have to wait for another post.  Did your folks tell you a story or two?
love, susan

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Late Saturday Upside

With the help of someone near and dear to me, I learned how to make a collage in Picasa.   I made this collage several days ago but couldn't figure out where to find it after I saved it.  Today I was looking for an old photo and discovered that Picasa makes a special folder where it stores photos that are specifically made into collages.  Who knew?

So, the reason I was looking for a photo was that I happened onto a blog called Recipes Happen. She started a series called Saturday Upsides, inviting people to share a positive blog post on Saturdays. I'm a day late but I wanted to get in on the action, so I hope she'll forgive me for the late entry this time
I'm looking forward to having other Saturday "upside" blog posts I can contribute and to reading what others come up with. What a great idea!  In the meantime, I'm going to check out her blog for some fun new recipes.
A little about my collage photo ... I was in Lansing, Michigan recently and found the architecture of the buildings to be amazing. While there I visited the Oldmobile Museum, the capitol building and walked through Old Town via the river walk.
love, susan


Saturday, September 22, 2012

50 Shades of Gray

Our state is on fire! The smoke is getting worse everyday. I can't imagine what it must be like for the folks in Wenatchee where the fires are burning out of control. Our Canadian visitors said they heard on the news that the fires will not be completely out until the first snowfall. That can't be good.
I took my friend from Canada out on a short photo walk last night down by the Columbia River. Unfortunately, it was not a great day for photos but we enjoyed the walk and I ran into an old friend while there. I love it when I have per-chance meetings with someone I've had on my mind a lot lately.
So far, it has been a whirlwind weekend. My plan is to slow down and take it easy today. I think I'm going to bury my cell phone in my purse after I switch it to silent.  Is that wrong?
I'm noticing the leaves are changing color quickly. Maybe Gene will take me for a car ride so I can snap some more fall photos. Maybe I'll pack a fabulous picnic lunch. Maybe we won't do that at all.
I love it that we have absolutely no plans yet today. But I have plenty of ideas!  love, susan
Smokey sunset moon over Tricities, WA

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frugal Friday

Not a great bargain
I haven't written about this much since last year but I think it's worth revisiting. We run really hard over the summer but now that it's fall, I start thinking the most about being frugal. I believe it's because I have more time on my hands to think about such things. The following are just a few of the things I've done in the last year to attempt to remain a bit frugal. While I'm not perfect at any of these, my goal is always to do better.
Pack my own lunch
Since I've been working at this temp job for a year now, I have really learned to enjoy packing my own lunch. I've watched the women at work find creative ways to change up their boxed lunches. I'm still not all that creative but I receive a lot of comments on my colorful salads and for the most part I really enjoy my lunches. That's not to say I don't still love going out for lunch but with only a 30-minute break, it's not practical. Not only does this make my pocketbook stay healthy, I feel better when I eat better.
Wear what I have.
I'm not a real clothes hound, although I do love to get new things once in awhile. Right now, I have enough clothing for the kind of work I'm doing that I have no need whatsoever to buy new stuff. I still find things when we go 'thrifting' but even then I'm kind of picky about what I bring home. It just gets hard to manage when I have too much stuff. Whenever I start to think maybe I should go shopping, I think about what I have. For example, I took a recent trip to visit my son in the midwest. I had been thinking all summer that maybe I should buy a couple of new outfits for the trip and then my frugal senses took over. Why buy new stuff for a 3 day trip when I have perfectly nice things to wear in my closet?
Eat leftovers.
I've improved in this area but there is still room for more improvement. I've been inspired by a new blog I've been following, CSA-Mom,  written by an attorney I used to work for. I love how she just puts everything together with such confidence, even when she doesn't have all the ingredients listed in a recipe. She improvises. I think I'm going to coin that phrase as I get closer to the new year. What do I have that I can add in to make my meals more interesting?
I realize that much of my frugal ways have to do with food. I started eating oatmeal everyday over a year ago. It literally costs me less than a handful of pennies for breakfast and it's so good for me. If there is a better value for your money than oatmeal, I wish someone would tell me. I spend $50 or less a week on groceries for two people. I can do a lot of improvising with my oatmeal!

Greeting cards.
I still make my own greeting cards. About 3 times a year, I stop into my local WalGreens when they are having a photo print sale (10 cents or less) and print 100 photos. Many of them are duplicates and some of them are personalized. I try not to send the same ones twice but I'm sure it happens. Who cares? In the end, the most I spend on a card is 20 cents, plus the 44 cent stamp. I mail lots of cards so this has been a big savings for me, not to mention I have so much fun making them.
This last year, I started collecting gift items and placing them in a plastic tub. I can't tell you how many times it has saved my bacon to reach in the tub and pull out a quick gift as I'm heading out the door to a birthday party or maybe coffee with a new friend. Ideas for gift items is expanding but I started with 5 bars of beautiful homemade soap I bought from an acquaintenance who is trying to break into the soap making business. I added a couple of magnetic note pads I picked up at the dollar store and candles. I have another tub with an assortment of gift bags and tissue. Add a homemade card and I'm out the door.
 Use What I Have.
This year I have been vigilant about using up products I already have on-hand. I have cleaning products that I've owned for over 10 years now. It's time to use 'em up instead of buying new ones. Amway may be a dirty word to some but they make some great concentrated products that seem to last forever.
Think Twice. I spend a lot of time walking around with an item in my hands or cart and often times end up putting it back after thinking twice.
Make lists.
When I keep a good running list of things I need to do and buy, I am more likely to stay on track. One of those magnetic note pads from the dollar store comes in very handy on the fridge.
Barter/Trade Services.
I have a friend who is a dog groomer. She needs a notebook/portfolio put together for when she has a table at dog shows or other events. I am putting it together for her in exchange from some dog grooming services. She trades grooming for lattes with a local coffee grinder. Small businesses do it all the time. Why shouldn't I?
Make One Thing.
We attend a lot of potlucks and get-togethers with friends. This year I made an effort to stick to one or two items that I can make consistently to take to such things. This year it has been baked beans and brownies. It's easy to keep those two items stocked in my pantry and it saves me time and headaches for trying to think of what to take. Am I sick of making them? You betcha. Got any new ideas for me?

I love new ideas. If you have a frugal way of doing things, I hope you'll share it with me. 

love, susan

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Real Songbird

Have you ever heard of Eva Cassidy? If not, you are in for a real treat. I hope you will take 4 minutes to listen to this. I promise you have never heard a more beautiful voice.

A very good friend gave me a CD recorded by Eva Cassidy a couple of years ago. How is it possible I had never heard of her before? Well, apparently she shied away from big record deals. In 1996, she died from cancer at the age of 33 but not before she recorded several albums.  "Songbird" was written by Fleetwood Mac and I'll say Christine McVie did a fine solo of it on their album. However, Eva Cassidy takes it up a notch! If you like this one, you should listen to  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".  Bring Kleenex!

For you there'll be no crying
For you the sun will be shining
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's all right I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you I love you I love you
Like never before

To you I would give the world
To you I'd never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's all right I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score


On another note, I've been watching "The Voice" on NBC between last week and this. We hardly ever have the TV on but I'm so thrilled there is something on that I actually look forward to.  

Do you have a favorite "sleeper" artist?  Who is it?

love, susan

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blogging, Beaches and PBJ Sandwiches

If you are new to blogging, you might be wondering what you are going to blog about and how often you should blog.  Those are just a couple of the questions I had when I started two years ago. 
I had no idea what I wanted to blog about, I just wanted to write and have a spot for my favorite photos. When I started doing a little research about blogging, I learned that some people like to find a 'niche'.  After a lot of random writing, I still don't really have a niche. However, I did start a totally separate blog to capture all my favorite recipes, and a year ago I started a "365" project which will not be done in 365 days. That's kind of how I've learned to roll with this blogging thing. There are no rules. No expectations. Just photos and fun writing. My best advice for blogging is just do it and see what happens. Once you start, if you are like me, you'll start thinking about blogging as you go about your daily life and you might see things in a different light. I often experience things and think, "I should blog about that".
Having said that, we just got back from our 3rd annual September weekend at the beach with family. We have found heaven on earth at Cape Lookout on the Oregon coast, with this being our third campout with flawless beach weather. We arrived Friday afternoon to fog but it cleared up late in the day and Saturday we woke up to a crystal clear blue sky and bright sun.
On the drive over to the beach, we stopped and ate a picnic lunch I threw together. The remarkable thing was my guy raving over the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had made for him. (The turkey sandwich in his hand was the other sandwich in the lunchbox. It received kudos as well.) It's worth writing about when you haven't had one in a long time. You'd thought it was the best sandwich he ever had. I love that about him. He loves the simple things in life.
We spent time around the campfire and a major amount of time on the beach. The kids and grandkids played touch football and chased Frisbees for hours. There were four of us grandparents who enjoyed catching up with each other.
Leaving early Sunday morning, we took a different route home, heading up the coast to have breakfast at a favorite little coffee place in Garibaldi. From there we drove through Portland and decided to take the Washington side (Hwy 14) home. I love that drive as it is much more picturesque. The leaves are starting to turn yellow. I'm so glad we drove this way, even though it takes an extra half-hour to get home.
I hope you had a good weekend, wherever you are. To us, weekends are like mini-vacations. If you think about it, you could have 52 mini-vacations a year! 
love, susan 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Nice to Me

Last night, after donating blood, my hubby was really wiped out. He said, "be nice to me, I gave blood today."  And, then he showed me this sticker they gave him at the blood bank. This man makes me laugh!
The Red Cross has been calling me from their call center up to 3 times a day to give blood, and I've been ignoring the calls.  I know I should go do it but haven't been able to squeeze it into my schedule.  And the real truth is that I always feel unwell after I give blood. I usually go home after giving blood and crash. It sucks the life out of me.
The last time I gave blood was in early summer at a wonderful blood drive at my friend's work place. They do it once a year and always have lunch bags full of sweet stuff to take home as a "thank you". I hate to admit it but between the goodie bags and getting a rare visit with my friend at his work place, it got me there. I also met up with my high school friend's daughter for lunch that day, it was a triple incentive to go. Oh, I just remembered, they also had drawings for gift cards and I won a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. I was a real winner that day!
The question is, should there always be a "prize" for doing the right thing?  I don't know but it sure helps pry the time and money from my hands. When I was in Michigan recently, we went to the Oldsmobile museum. We were the only patrons on a Saturday afternoon. There was a classic car inside the building they are raffling off. I bought a ticket for $20. I know my odds of winning are not good but I was telling my kids that I'm always way more tempted to give if there is a chance I might get something back. It feels so wrong to say that.  As a side note, the museum is awesome and I think it should be supported. We paid a fee to get in but the front desk person told me they operate on a shoestring.
Writing this post is therapeutic for me. I know there are people depending on us to make sure the blood supply is kept up. What am I going to get back for a day of feeling a little woozy? The knowledge that my blood may likely help save someone's life and a package of awesome Oreo cookies washed down with apple juice.

love, susan

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


"You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."
                                 ~ Laurance J. Pete ~

~ * ~ * ~~ * ~ * ~~ * ~ * ~
Our friend, who's name I shall not say, to protect his innocence,  is a kick in the pants. Every time we've been out motorcycling with him, this is the same pose he gives me when I raise my camera. I don't know why he does this, he just seems to be compelled by some unseen force.  I guess he thinks this is his best side. (She chuckles.) 
love all our friends. We are rich in them. We have so many we couldn't fit them all in this big, old house we live in. They are short, tall, fat, skinny, loud, quiet, opinionated, humble, sweet, crabby, abrasive, rude, sensitive, intelluctual, simple, beautiful, flawed, educated, street-smart, lesbian, straight, religious, atheist, young and old. Did I leave anyone out? 
Not all of  them would love each other if put in the same room together but for the most part there is a common tolerance among them. I'm glad for that.
While on our recent long motorcycle ride, the above-pictured character asked me to ride up front of the pack (8 riders) right behind him as he lead us home. I am not a natural born leader; I prefer to ride in the back but I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and was able to keep right with him at 70 mph. It felt great to be out front and my fear quickly faded away. I knew that if I couldn't keep up, he would understand and not a derogatory word would ever leave his lips. He's a good friend that way. I think it takes one to know one.
that's all .....
love, susan

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mt. Rainier - 392 Miles

Yesterday was the coldest ride I've ever been on. We headed out to Mt. Rainier at 8:00a.m. When we stopped at Naches to fill up the gas tanks, I was seriously considering taking my jacket off and riding bare armed but something in the back of my mind said "No, just wait."  Well, it was super foggy and cold when we got to summit. Our plan was to ride to Sunrise Lodge and although everything in our good senses told us to turn around and go home, we forged on. When we arrived at the top of Sunrise, it was cold at 40 degrees. I actually thought it might start snowing.  I have to say it was a first for me ... riding in such frigid weather. But what are ya gonna do?  Call your mama? My fingers were frozen and I was cold to the bone when we parked the bikes. We all packed picnic lunches and by-God we were going to eat them. I was so happy I had a thermos full of steaming, hot coffee.  Our friends paid $3.50 a cup for coffee in the lodge.
 Luckily, the wind died down and we saw some blue sky poke through the clouds, which warmed us enough to enjoy lunch together. The thought of getting back on the bikes and riding back down the summit was something I just kept pushing out of my mind.
I made a pact with myself that I would not complain if the weather turned out to be 90 degrees driving back into TriCities.  It wasn't 90. I'm not sure it was even 70 today. I think fall is blowing in.
Our only view of Mt. Rainier today. :-(
Anyway, it was a super fun day despite getting so cold. We never saw Mt. Rainier except for just a small window of it through thin clouds that cleared for just a minute. There was fresh snow on it and it was at eye level. I was glad to get out of there.
Everyone made it home safely and this likely will be our last big ride of the season. If the weather holds, maybe we'll get one more but I'm staying away from anyplace with "Mt." in the name.
How did you spend your Sunday? 
love, susan


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Einstein Rocked It

The Manhattan Project is something I know very little about. After our tour of the B Reactor today, I know little more than nothing. I have never seen anything quite like the innards of a nuclear reactor and I was a little awestruck by it.
Note: The tours are hard to get on and I had put in for two seats back in March. I stayed up late one night so that at 12:01a.m. I could click on the dates we were available to go and we won two seats for today. The tours are done April through September and very limited. We were not disappointed in this tour.

Paul worked at the
reactor for 38 years.
While driving out to the reactor, we had a history teacher on board the bus who narrated the entire trip. She was really pleasant and I learned a lot on the way out. When we got to the site, there were 5 smiling men standing at the entrance, waiting to give us a very well-orchestrated tour. Normally, something so mechanical would lose my interest in about 10 2 minutes but I enjoyed every bit of information they gave us. I think the reason for this is the man who gave us the tour had been employed by DOE from the time he got out of college until he retired in 1988. He was so knowledgeable and talked in terms that even I could understand.  I mean, really.  Who understands how nuclear power is made? He broke it down so I got a general idea of how the reactor works to make the plutonium from uranium. If I been paying attention in Mr. Henderson's science class, I might not be so dumb in this area. It is nothing short of amazing. I love watching people who love  their work! 
30,000 doughnuts a day!
Another interesting tidbit that I remembered from a visit to a local museum (CREHST) were the facts about what it took to build the Manhattan Project, the labor, the building of a city in a few short months, and the loyal dedication of those involved in the project. I am especially impressed with the amounts of pie & coffee they made and served daily.  900 pies? Of course, they had to make 1,000 pounds of coffee to go with it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that the Russians still send someone on an annual basis to take photos of the flanges which are removed from the water pumps. They take those photos back home and compare them with previous years' photos to make certain we Americans are not running this nuclear reactor. Where can I get a job like that?
Oh, and the other thing that impressed me was that Albert Einstein had written a letter President Roosevelt, encouraging him to move forward in the development of nuclear fission here in the U.S., promoting Dr. Fermi's work in the area of nuclear fission. From that letter, the ball got rolling. I had no idea Einstein had so much clout!
What an interesting tour.  Do you have interesting history where you live? Have you checked it out?
love, susan

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Am I Blue?

Aren't they beautiful!
I'm a little late in posting this but my sentiments remain the same. In July, I went blueberry picking with Nancy and we had a ball. Neither of us had ever been to a U-Pick blueberry place before but I gotta tell you that it is the way to go if you are looking for premium "blubes".  It was pretty hot by the time we arrived at 10:00a.m. and it only took us 30 minutes to pick 5 lbs. of berries. It didn't seem like too much until we got home and the thought hit us, what are we gonna do with all these berries?

Picking goes faster with someone to help
We made fruit pizza twice and mixed them into a fresh raspberry crisp. The rest I froze in ziplock bags. I'm still enjoying them with my oatmeal every morning. I have one more bag and will have to wait a lot of months to get some more. I now have the idea that one cannot have too many blubes. They are super good for you. I would eat them everyday if I could.

My favorite way to eat frozen blueberries is to add a lot of them to a small amount of yogurt. If you add enough, it will cause the yogurt to start freezing and it is almost like eating ice cream. You should try it just once. I've also seen people put frozen blueberries in a tall glass of milk.
Best of all, I won't drive past the blueberry patch without thinking about that great weekend we spent with Nancy. I love seeing where we live through the eyes of visitors. There are still so many places to see here that if I live here another 10 years I doubt I'll get to see everything.
What would you do with 5 lbs. of blueberries? Do you have a favorite way you like to eat them?
love, susan

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midnight Cheddar Cheese

"Time spent with cats is
never wasted."  ~ unknown ~
First, I did not get a cat. But if I was going to, it would have been this one.  He was found last weekend along with two siblings out on a country road in the middle of freakin' nowhere.  A good, dog-loving friend of mine was out for a ride on Friday night, looking for a place to take a photo shot of the full moon and couldn't believe her ears when she heard kitties.  How is it possible that of all the places to be, that 3 kittens would be where she stopped? Some questions don't have answers.  
All I know is that she did what I would have done; got down on hands and knees (in her jammies, I might add), in the dark and rounded 'em up. Don't tell me you would have left them there. But somebody obviously did. There were no houses within miles.
Gene and I went over to see them the next day. Luckily, my friend has friends in the animal business and a local cat lady agreed to take them. I don't have any doubt they'll be placed. Friendly cats have a way of weaseling their way into one's heart. Dogs do it to me all the time. Weasels. I'd have a house-full if I could. Cats, not so much. However, I have to say, this one wouldn't have taken up much space. And cats are sure a lot lower maintenance than the lowest of the low-maintenance dog. Score one for cats. 
This is one of the siblings.  There was also a Calico but I couldn't get a decent photo of him. The cali was the least social but he was a beauty.
This little one laid on his back in Gene's arm and seemed quite content to be there. My husband is a cat whisperer. Really, he is! Since my friend found them around midnight, I temporarily named this one "Midnight". It's bad when you name them. Know what I mean?
The kitty above got a one-day name of "Cheddar Cheese".  I love cat names. They always have meaning. Unlike dog names.
So.  What would you do? Would you have left those kitties out there in the middle of nowhere to become coyote food? 
love, susan

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lovin' September

We got out for a couple of rides this weekend. Yesterday's ride was really nothing to write about but it was 190 miles. Gene went on a long ride Sunday with friends, which I now regret not going on. Sometimes I just don't want to go and it has been my experience that it's best to listen to my gut feeling. Still .... I got to listen to how much fun it was and that I really missed the best ride of the summer.  Go figure.
We hit the road yesterday morning with a lunch box full of healthy snacks, a frozen bottle of Powerade and water with no set plans on where to go except north. We ended up near Ellensburg and with the increased holiday traffic, decided to turn around and ride home through Royal City. In an effort to find something interesting, we turned off to follow a sign that said "Wildlife Viewing" and followed it for about 8 miles. While it was a beautiful side-trip, there never was another sign and if you can call a rogue cattle dog viciously chasing a motorcycle "wildlife", it's the only proof we saw. We did see an interesting sign for the "Cattleman of the Year" hung up on someone's ranch. If that rancher had been standing out there, we surely would have stopped to talk with him/her.
I get to go back to work this morning. I'm glad I got out to ride yesterday. Although the thought of riding in holiday traffic was heavy on my mind, the thought of sitting at my desk today and wishing I was riding overpowered bad traffic and I'm glad it did. It looks to be another beautiful pre-fall day out there. Luckily, it's only 3 days until I can get back outdoors.

What'd you do on your holiday weekend?

love, susan

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Six Word Memoir

From a Poets & Writers email I received today, this prompt piqued my interest:

Creative Nonfiction Prompt
As the old story goes, Ernest Hemingway was once asked to write a six-word story about himself. This is how he responded: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Write a six-word memoir about yourself. For inspiration, check out Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoir Project.

I thought I'd give this a try.  Will you?

I'm making up for lost time. 

love, susan

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August, I Will Miss You

Awesome road trip yesterday! We rode 268 miles on one of my favorite routes. Tricities to La Grande, Oregon via Elgin and Tolgate. The trip had us climb up to 4,000 ft. and stop at a viewpoint. This time of year it's cool enough in the morning to keep our leather jackets on going up the hill. Coming down on the other side of the summit meant we had to shed the safety of those jackets and ride bare-armed, risking road rash vs. falling over from heat exhaustion in upper 80's weather. Soon, the weather won't be an issue and we'll be riding in the absolute best riding month. Gotta love September!
So were riding along on uneventul day until we came around a corner and spotted this very old mountain sheep on the road. I couldn't believe my eyes. As we got closer, we slowed way down and I realized he wasn't going to move out of the road. Very odd behavior for this type of animal. We drove past him and pulled off the road and tried to get him to go back up the hill he came down. Not only did we not want to see him killed, he was big enough to do some serious damage to any car or truck, much less a biker. As Gene walked toward him, I could see he wasn't going to move. We think he was injured and very disoriented. I stood at the corner and waved to traffic to slow down and eventually he sauntered up the hill a bit. It was a weird sight to see.
We stopped in Elgin for lunch at a local spot. A shirtless young man walking his husky/shepherd mix pointed us to the better of two places to eat. He reminded me of Alaska is so many ways. He was right on about the diner. Gene had a big bowl of clam chowder and I had a perfect 1/2 chef's salad.

We drove right through La Grande without stopping. Farmers were burning their fields and it was a smoky, hot mess. We took a back road off the highway to a viewpoint and stayed long enough to snap 2 pictures and move on. It was gettin' warm. We haven't done a lot of riding this summer, for various reasons but I suspect September will see us making up for lost time. As much as I love summer, fall comes in a very close second. The peaches are ripe, the morning air is crisp and life is good. 
Not a bad start to a 4-day weekend!
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 ...