Thursday, November 29, 2012

November in Alaska

Some lucky people have the winning powerball numbers this morning. I read today the winning tickets were purchased in Arizona and Missouri.
Good for those peeps who are holding the winning numbers. I'm genuinely happy for them! I hope it is somebody who will benefit from a few million extra dollars in their bank account.
I drove to the corner convenience store at 6:49 last night to pick up 22 more tickets for another person in Alaska. The store clerk kindly informed me the ticket sales had been cut off at 6:45pm. Could I have bought the winning numbers if I had been there 4 minutes earlier? Yes. There was another guy there who had just been told he couldn't buy a ticket. We walked out the door and I said, "we're such losers" with tongue in cheek. Actually, if you think about it, I was $44 ahead at that point.
Last night I got a text from my peeps in Alaska and they were so happy to have their "virtual" tickets in front of them so they could feel like they had just as much of a chance to win as anyone else in America. I had snapped a pic and emailed it. People from Alaska get excited about different stuff than we do here in the lower 48.  I lived in AK a looooooong time. I get it!
This time of year in Alaska is hard, especially Fairbanks. You've just started sleeping at night because it's so dark and cold the only thing you wanna do when you get home from work is crawl into your warm jammies, drink a hot chocolate and pull the covers over your head and hope it's spring when you wake up. On the other hand, summer time in Alaska can run a person ragged. More than once I visited my doctor in late October feeling totally fatigued and he'd say, "no wonder, when was the last time you slept 8 hours?"  There is something about the midnight sun after a really long winter that makes you just want to stay awake until 3am. You don't want it (sunshine) to end. It's truly a bi-polar experience.
The other hard thing about November in Alaska is that you know it's going to be 6 months until you have decent weather again. Just getting in and out of your car in well below-zero weather is energy draining. Sigh.  The social gatherings are far and few between but you go anywhere anyone invites you just so you can beat cabin fever. The thought of winning the Powerball must leave one dreaming of sandy beaches and living anywhere else but there. Next time there is a mega Powerball, I'm gonna suggest my peeps plan a little earlier to get their tickets and have a Powerball party. Any excuse for a party is fair game in November in Alaska.
So, I'm sorry my peeps didn't win the big bucks but I'm glad I got to be a part of their excitement for one day. Both of them are hair designers in the same salon and I'm certain the fact they were privy to buying lottery tickets was the hot topic of the day. I only wish I had been able to be there to share it with them. Just for one day.
love, susan

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Powerball Megabucks Dream List

Somebody at work mentioned the Powerball yesterday. I've never paid much attention to it because I never buy tickets. I received a text this morning from a family member who lives in Alaska begging me to buy some tickets for her. She says she lives in 1 of 6 states where a person cannot buy a lottery ticket. I will honor her wish and buy a ticket. She assures me if "we" win she'll share the fortune. I'm sure she would too. 
So, I got to thinking just briefly, what would I do if I won a wagon-load of money? Just off the top of my head, here is a quick Top 10 list of some things I would do with a large amount of cash in no certain order of importance:
  1. Quit my job and move us to San Diego on a big piece of land with enough roaming space for us and our dogs to live a life of the rich and famous.
  2. Buy some sheep for my border collie to chase around. Perhaps she'd be happier than she is right now.
  3. Give away a good portion of it. My family wouldn't have to wonder if I was going to share it. I would. But there would be strings attached. It would be college money.
  4. Support my local rescue mission.
  5. Buy a new pick-up truck.
  6. Buy a new electric car.
  7. We'd travel a lot.
  8. Hire a full-time housekeeper and pay her very well.
  9. Hire a land keeper for all the property in San Diego.
  10. Try to not lose my head with all that money.
What would you do with millions of unearned dollars?
love, susan

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Don't Call Me Lazy Whatever You Do

I'm starting Day 4 of a four-day holiday and it has been good.  Lazy is more how I would describe it except that I hate the word "lazy". My mom used that word  to describe me more than once when I was a kid and I held hold a longtime resentment over the use of the word. It's one word, early in our relationship, I asked my hubby to never say to or about me although he does so with tongue in cheek. I think he is the best equalizer for some of those old emotions I still carry around and I know he loves me enough to call me lazy in a good way, softening the sound of such a judgmental word. He always has his best boyish grin on his face when he says it to me lovingly, as in "won't you make me some pancakes? Don't be so lazy". You will never hear me call others lazy except the cat. Mr. Kitty is the poster child for lazy and would be considered a rock star among his peers. I'm taking lazy lessons from the cat. I think someday I might actually be able to lean into the word and wear it like a badge but I'm not quite there yet.
The day after Thanksgiving, we ventured out to do a little thrift shopping. We laughed in the face of 100's of insane black Friday shoppers at the mall. I found 3 really nice pair of slacks and a couple of turtlenecks at my favorite little thrift store all for $12. It was half-price day. Score! I didn't even try them on there. Lazy? No. For half-price I decided I would just put them back in the donation box I keep handy if they didn't fit. The thrift store is one I support and the money goes to a great cause. After a little shopping, Gene let me take him to lunch at Olive Garden with the generous gift card my co-workers at Hanford gave me on my last day. He enjoyed the eggplant Parmesan and I may actually get him to go back to OG sometime because of it.
We took a semi-annual trip to Blockbuster Video to rent 4 movies. We searched the wall looking for something new but ended up in the middle of the .99 cent movies to find four really great old movies:
  • High Fidelity (one of my favorite John Cusak films)
  • The Departed (This movie lost me several times but I loved it)
  • Fractured (Ryan Gosling is sooooo cute in this, Anthony Hopkins not so much)
  • Fatal Attraction (Gene couldn't remember if he had seen this before)

Watching four movies in 24 hours may be a record for us. I have to tell you that I'm in love with that Lazyboy chair I picked up a couple weekends ago at an estate sale. I fell asleep off and on throughout the movie marathon but not for long.
Yesterday, day 3 of our stay-cation, we ventured out in the afternoon to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. I didn't really want to go but was feeling a bit trapped inside and needed some contact with the outside world.  We headed out to the country to see our friends' new miniature burrows. They tell us that the mini burrow is a freak of nature. I don't know anything about that, they are just the sweetest things with fur.

We came home to eat dinner and resume the lazy position in front of the tube. I slid in another old movie I had on hand ("Money for Nothing" w/John Cusack) but didn't make it to 8:30 before I decided I had to get to bed. Had to rest up for my last day off.
I could get used to being lazy.  Can we just call it something else?
love, susan
P.S.  Saw the above car being towed yesterday. Thought of my dad when I snapped the pic. I'm sure he'll know exactly what model and year it is. All I know is that it was covered in a lot of dust and I'll bet it's worth lots of dollars and many stories.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Past

Thanks to my blogging friend over at Reel Focus, I am able to recall a Thanksgiving from the past that always makes me chuckle and gag a little.  I'm sure everyone has funny stories from holidays past but this one always comes to mind first.
My favorite story is the year we spent Thanksgiving dinner at my then brother-in-law's house some 20+ years ago. He cooked a beautiful bird and the family all brought the trimmings. We ate and ate, watched football and went home. The next day, he kindly invited us over to eat leftovers. 
A little background on my first hubby's family. They love to eat. My
mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was a fabulous cook and my
f-i-l was a cook in the army. They knew how to feed people and
with 6 kids, that skill came in handy. When I met my
first husband, they were always trying to feed me as I
was underweight scrawny and didn't quite fit in. I literally
learned how to eat and cook better because of them. I
learned how to throw things together, how to store food and how
to feed a crowd. There was never a time when I would go to
their house and not find something sitting on the stove
to eat. With a large family, sitting together for dinner was
impossible but it was comforting to know I could go there and
be fed. Oh, how I miss that lovely red-headed
woman who was my second mom.
Fast forward to the day after t-day at my brother-in-law's place. The weather in Fairbanks was probably right at minus 20 degrees F and he always had the wood stove stoked. He loved keeping his house right at 78 to 80 degrees. The day after t-day was no different. We arrived and settled in to visit and munch on leftovers. He had left the turkey out on the stove (covered, of course) overnight and I remember thinking it looked a little bubbly but I was too young to know what that meant.
Do you see where I'm going here?
We enjoyed all the leftovers, great conversation, played cards and poker and then headed home to nestle into our beds.
The next day, my then-hubby and I woke up sicker than sick. We didn't really put it all together until we started calling other family members.  My poor brother-in-law wasn't going to take the blame but when the dogs displayed the same exact symptoms, there was no denying we had food poisoning. And ohhhhh were we sick!
While it wasn't all that funny then, we often referred to it later on in situations where we were going to be spending holidays at his house. We were always careful to rib him gently about it ... he was a little sensitive.  I am continually amazed by the events in my life that stick in my mind.  I can still see that bird bubbling in the roaster as clear as that day so long ago. We're lucky we didn't all end up in the hospital!
How about you? What stories do you have from holidays past that need telling? 
Don't let your memories go untold.
love, susan

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Randomly Written


I woke up happy and grateful today. It's raining and it's all good. I dug out my raincoat last weekend and found my umbrella yesterday. I don't like rain but we need it here right now and it beats snow.
When I was a little girl, we lived in Seattle for two years while my dad went to airplane mechanic school. I loved having an umbrella and was mesmerized by watching the raindrops drip from the edges of it. Funny how some memories are branded in our brains like that.
We have a lovely invitation for dinner at one of my dearest friend's parents' house tomorrow. We're going! I love love love being invited to dinner. We've only spent one T-day in Tri-Cities since we moved here. I'm glad we're going to take it easy and just hang. I'm tired and need rest. Easier said than done. I'm going to make a list of movies to rent and hope for torrential rains to keep us indoors.
My new job is insanely busy. So far, so good. Just learning the ropes and my way around the courthouse. Super nice people. Fast paced. Reminds me of my days in Yuma, Arizona. I get an hour for lunch and since I'm riding the bus to work now, I'll have time to sit and read each day. Going to finish up that book series ("Wicked") my darling daughter-in-law gave me in August. Five hours a week to read will be a super treat!
Well, gotta get moving and get on with my day. Happy day to you wherever you are.
What are your plans for the holiday weekend?  Do tell!

love, susan

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hodge Podge News

I'm no Martha Stewart. I know I have said it before but it bears repeating that I don't have a decorating bone in my body. However, I have friends who do, thank goodness. We're getting ready for a big banquet this weekend and I am on the decorating committee. This is good for me. I was a little nervous about it but I signed on just to be the helper, not the idea maker. My friend said she had some good ideas that would cost us next to nothing. I have another friend who had a garden full of decorative gourds.

I picked up an entire trunk load about 3 weeks ago and stored them in the garage until last weekend.   I thought I'd better get busy washing the dirt off them. It took me the better part of Sunday afternoon to get them washed and dried. In addition, I had a wagon load of fake flowers we picked up at Michael's for 70% off that I cut from the stem to place on the tables with the gourds.  This doesn't look too bad, does it? My friend may or may not be at the banquet hall Saturday morning to direct me in decorating. I've decided to not worry even a second about it. It is what it is.

In other news, we ditched our furniture last weekend by hauling it across the street to our neighbor's house. Sadly, his girlfriend of 20 years died of cancer about a month ago and her family came over and completely gutted the apartment. It really needed gutting as she was a hoarder, bless her heart. They left him with one sad old recliner. I was having a very hateful relationship with my furniture and got the bright idea to give it to him. He was so happy to take it.

So last weekend, we attended an estate sale and I spotted this blue Lazyboy chair. I sat down in it and had to have it. I waited til the next day when everything went on sale for half price and snatched it up for $25.  It was barely used and in super good shape. As you can see, my cat loves it too. A lazyboy in a Lazyboy. Perhaps someday when all the animals are gone, I'll have some nice furniture. But not right now.  Our newest addition, Abbie the-wild-border-collie, loves to rub her face all over the edges of the chairs.  I don't know why. I personally think border collies are not quite right in the head. She belongs in an insane asylum! But I love her nonetheless.

Kind of a slow news day.  This is my last day of work at my temp job.  I took a permanent position with the county and will start on Monday. Thanksgiving is coming and I feel so grateful for a whole lotta things in my life.

love, susan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Random Veteran's Day Thoughts

We woke up to thick fog this morning. I decided to grab my camera so after my Sunday morning shopping spree I could venture towards the river to see if I could shoot something interesting.
<<< ----  Look what I found.             
I have never stopped at our local Veteran's Memorial, which is located on the bank of the mighty Columbia River. But today, there wasn't a soul in the park and something tugged at me to get out of the car.  Ah, peace and quiet.
I could hear the leaves falling.  Have you ever heard leaves falling? I could almost cry thinking about it. It's gotta be really quiet to hear winter's calling card. 
My dad, who is 80 now, was in the United States Navy. I'm not sure he was quite out of high school when he enlisted. He spent time in Korea and helped pick up bloated bodies off the beach. I'm sure he did a whole lot of other things but that's the only part I ever remember. I wish I had listened closer when he talked about his service.  My mind is always stuck in high gear and there is usually a lot of noise in the background and I sometimes find it hard to listen. I'm thinking about you today, dad. And I'm thinking about our friends, Doug and Glen, who served in Vietnam. And thinking about my uncles who have served. And thinking about my friends Sandy and Heather who served in Desert Storm. My cousin Greg, who served in Vietnam. And thinking about those whose names escape me. And those I don't know. In the quiet minutes at the park, I thought of you.    

A little further down the park, I snapped this photo and decided to edit it to gray. It's pretty dreary, huh. 
Do you?

I just want to say thank you to all Veterans who have served or are now serving our country.  
love, susan 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Dog Day Afternoon in November

Halloween is past and these rejected pumpkins caught my eye as we drove past them near Hermiston, Oregon yesterday.
It got up to a balmy 67 degrees by late afternoon and is forecasted for 68 today. Not bad for November!
It was a good day to take the dogs (and cat) out in the front yard and toss toys and just hang.

Abbie with her scrappy face!

Missy loves to roll in the grass. What joy!

Missy and Mr. Kitty on the hunt

Mr. Kitty

I love wearing them out

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back in the Day

We had 60 short and tall trick or treaters last night. I gave out bags of popcorn so I could count how many I had left and do the math (minus the one I ate).

My favorite thing last night was hearing gleefully over and over from the little princesses and Harry Potters, "oh I remember this house, you gave us popcorn last year!" It made me really happy that they liked the popcorn and that they remembered.

I don't remember a whole lot from my childhood but I recall we dressed up and went out into the night to score candy with our pillowcases in hand. We didn't go home until they were at least half full. That was back in the day when moms made popcorn balls and homemade cookies for Halloween.

When my son was little, my mom made elaborate costumes for my sister's kids and he got to wear the hand-me-downs as he was the youngest. They were great costumes and back then I was thin enough that I could wear the bear costume she made for the oldest kid. I secretly loved putting that costume on and driving to my job at the bank. That was back in the day when people actually got dressed up in costume at work and enjoyed the festiveness of it. How many times do you get to see a grizzly bear driving a pickup truck?

I saw a witch or two at my work place yesterday and wish I had worn my "doctor coat" and blingy heart earrings from the party we attended on Saturday night. I went as "Dr. Love" and handed out Hershey Kisses along with prescriptions for hugs, etc. My hubby mohawked his hair in honor of a good friend who wears her hair like that everyday. It was a hoot!

I love it that snagging popcorn from my house is part of somebody's memory now. As I go along in life, I realize that everything we do and say is subject to another's memory. Every interaction I have with others, whether it be human beings or animals, matters.

Be kind always.  

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 ...