Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cheaper by the Dozen

Today was a stellar day.  Yesterday was gloomy and gray. We got out of the house about 3 in the afternoon and decided to go fill the car up with gas, just for something to do. We thought about going to a movie but quite frankly we just bought a new 40" tv in November and after he hooked it up to the stereo, it's going to be harder and harder to pay $15 to sit with strangers to watch a movie.
The hubby and I are still in the stone ages as we have a working VHS hooked up to the tv along with the DVD player. So we hit the Goodwill store near our place as they are now practically paying their customers to take the VHS tapes away. 5 for $.99!!  We came home with 10 movies. Some of them we've seen, others we have not, and maybe one or two we simply just can't remember.
I plugged in "Phenomenon" last night. I knew my husband would love it. He's kind of a sucker for sappy stories, and I was right. He loved it. I loved watching it again for about the umpteenth time. John Travolta is never sweeter than he was in this flick. If you've never seen it, you should.
Then we decided to stay awake for "Basic Instinct".  I couldn't believe my hubby had never seen it. How can that be? It's naughty and fast moving. I love the character Sharon Stone plays. And how about the big, round cop who played a part in Jurrasic Park? He's so weird!
We didn't get to plug any tapes in today but perhaps "Cheaper by the Dozen" will be a nice Sunday evening watch. Neither one of us has seen it so that will be a treat! Besides, there's nothing on TV worth watching.
Seen any good flicks lately?  Do you have any old favorites?

love, susan
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January in Color

What a beauty!
We ventured out to chase the sun today. Turns out it was sunny all day long at home but that's okay. If we had stayed home, I would have missed this eagle sighting.

It's always interesting when we get ready to leave on a day trip. This morning, I took a trip to the grocery store very early and noted the crisp, blue skies. When I got home all I had to do was mention "let's g..." and he was Ready-Freddy. With no idea which way we would travel, I heated up the thermos, got the coffee brewing and made a couple of lettuce turkey wraps for lunch.

Looks a little like an upside down pineapple, me thinks.
Can you spot the eagle?
We decided to drive down the gorge. At first it felt like a big mistake. As we got closer to the river, the fog was laying low. But we pushed through it and enjoyed sunny weather all the way to The Dalles.

On the drive down the gorge, we spotted the usual long horned mountain sheep/goats (I can never remember which they are). Unfortunately, they hang out where there are no places to stop so I'll never get a picture of them.

Everything is closed on Sundays in The Dalles except for our favorite Thai place. Since I packed a nice lunch, we decided we should pass on the spring rolls. Luckily, we really liked the lettuce wraps I made or I would be kicking myself for passing up an offer for Thai.

When we pulled up to this park (pictured here) to eat lunch, I spotted the eagle in the tree and got close enough for a fair shot considering I have a little point & shoot. He didn't sit still long enough for me to get a better shot.

It has been a most excellent day. The blue sky certainly kicked it up a lot of knotches!

love, susan

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hawaii Dreaming

It's 26 frigid degrees here this morning.
I'm so happy I have photos I can whip out and be transported somewhere else for just a moment.
I shot this photo the first morning  in Honolulu in 2010. We stayed 2 short blocks off the beach but could see this veiw from our room.

I love everything about Hawaii.

I love the warm air.

I love the smell of Kona coffee, fish on the grill, and salt water.

I love how everyone is so laid back and easy.

I love that drivers in Hawaii don't honk their horns.

I love the fresh fruit.

Okay, I'm back now.  Mahalo.

love, susan

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Just Think About It

    "Love is the only force
capable of transforming an
enemy into a friend."
      ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.                    

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Good Food and Friends

May your house be too small to hold all your friends. ~ Irish Blessing

It was a party at my house last night! One of our good friends suggested we serve Hawaiin Chicken Haystacks. What you say? Yeah, I'd never heard of them either. Seems it's a dish she discovered while living in Utah for a short time. I'm guessing it's a "Utah thang" because if I had ever known about haystacks, I would be having them at least once a month. 
I did some research on the net and found several ideas and combined them to make a fantastic crowd pleaser. All I can say is that the combination of flavors just makes you wanna dance. There were 13 of us and I would definitely make this again for a crowd.

Later on, we headed over to Cavanaugh's for karaoke. There was a fun-loving, younger crowd there with quite a few awesome singers. I'm always surprised when I hear really great voices in the most unlikely places. When we got home at midnight, I made another party on a plate before I went to bed. Oh so good! Guess what I'm having for breakfast today?

If you're bored and want winter to pass more quickly, I highly suggest having a party at your place. Food seems to always entice people to get out and visit. It helps to have the best friends ever. We are so rich in them that when they leave, I can hardly quit smiling and I start thinking about the next party. February is always a good month for a chili feed. One of our friends gave us a 3-pot crock pot last year and it's time to break it out. 

My house is definitely too small to hold all our friends. I feel a twitch of sadness that I can't invite them all over at once. If I was rich and famous, I would have the biggest house ever and there would be no one left off my invite list.
Peace out everyone. Enjoy the day!
love, susan
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Friday, January 18, 2013


Seems like it has been a really long week. Would you agree?
I made doctor appointments for Monday as we have the day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I'm regretting that decision. We should be going somewhere ... anywhere.  Luckily, we have another 3 day weekend next month and it shall not be wasted on appointments.
I started "Abbie" in a canine good citizen class and we had our 2nd date with the trainer and other CGC candidates this week. We are in a super nice group of people and dogs. This experience is much different than when I took "Missy" for her CGC two years ago.  "Abbie" is much more confident and although I think "Missy" is a super smart dog, "Abbie" is a very quick learner too and it's big fun taking her even after working all day.
When I get home from work, especially with this cold weather we've been experiencing, I just wanna put my jammies on, eat til I'm overstuffed and sit in the Lazygirl chair til I pass out.  No can do on Wednesday nights! What the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this class?  No matter.  I decided to take a 30 minute nap on Wednesday before the 8 o'clock class. By the time we got home, I was ready to go for another 8 hours.  "Abbie" has that affect on people. Can you say H I G H   E N E R G Y?
This week in class, we learned how to do puppy push ups. You sit your dog and then tell them down, then sit, then down, then sit, then down.  You give them a treat at varying times during the push ups so they don't get stuck on 2 downs and an up.  Random treating. Keeps 'em guessing!  "Abbie" is game! And after an hour of a very active class, she was dog tired (love that expression!) when we got home. That's kind of rare for her.
Anyhow, it's Friday. Finally. Having a party tomorrow night at my house for about a dozen friends so will be busy picking up stuff from the store and getting ready for it. January is not my favorite month so I find things to look forward to and make the time go by. It's already the 18th, can you believe it?
love, susan 
p.s. these shots were taken in August or Sept. Oh how I miss the sun!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Finding Joy

Last night I looked out the office window before I left work and the sky looked like it was on fire with the most beautiful red sunset. I headed to the bus stop and tried to catch a photo of it but the little camera I bought for my hubby is not really a great camera for anything but daytime pics.  No matter.
I got on the bus and thought it was going to be a lonely ride home but when the other buses arrived I realized I couldn't have been more wrong. My bus filled almost to capacity with the most interesting, lovely people.
Last to get on was an old man who had two small dog kennels to hike up the two stairs onto the bus. Inside the kennels were a mom and dad dog along with three chihuahua/pom mix puppies. I didn't know one could bring animals on the bus and I held my breath, thinking the bus driver was going to have a hissy fit, but he didn't. Love that!
The old man took one of the puppies out and let a young boy hold it for a few minutes before he tucked the baby dog back inside the container. This action then caused a wonderful exchange of dog and cat stories between several people (I just listened) which got us all the way to the transit center where the old man struggled to get himself and the two kennels back down the stairs off the bus.
All the while that conversation was going on, I noticed a teenage couple snuggled up together on the aisle across from me. Nothing unusual about that except he had the most beautiful, natural carrot red hair and she had a nice crop of dyed turquoise hair. You should have seen it!  I secretly wondered if their hair color was part of their attraction to each other? They were just so sweet!
I had a really busy day at work yesterday and it was a super nice surprise to get on the bus and witness such kindness among strangers.

love, susan

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hawk Eye

Gene asked me to snap a pic of the paper mill. It's Boise Cascade. I think it's disgusting and fowl smelling. It ruins what would otherwise be really beautiful real estate. I guess the mills have to be somewhere. On the upside, I found the steam coming off the chimneys fascinating.We took a road trip to Walla Walla today just to get out of the house. Even though we've been to the aviary park a dozen times, it's fun to stop by and say hello to the birds and squirrels. Today there were a couple of different exotic birds that I could spot from way across the parking lot. Can you believe this yellow?
When I got home, I was thinking how in the world do exotic birds survive the cold winters here? They do have nice bird conduminiums but still!

When we stopped at the aviary park, the ducks started quacking and heading towards us. I don't know what spooked them but this group right here took flight right over my head.  I closed my eyes and hoped I wouldn't get splatted. I didn't.
I will leave you with the rest of my favorite pics from today.
Can I just tell you that I was thrilled beyond thrilled to find a hawk that would sit still long enough to get a photo? I am intrigued by hawks. They are eating good right now because all of the many we saw today were really plump.

The squirrels are eatin' good too. They came right up to us and I eventually went back to the car and got an oatmeal cookie to share with them.
All in all, it has been a super good day.
Hope yours was too!

love, susan

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's All About My Attitude

It's a little frosty out this morning. I get up with the chickens and sit in my comfy Lazygirl every morn and read for awhile. Since today is Saturday I read a little longer today and waited for the sun to make her appearance. When I opened the blinds, I discovered a heavy frost has fallen and decide to slide into my warm house slippers and grab my camera. Missy and Abbie followed me outside to snap a few pics. I was surprised and so happy to see my dogs rolling around as if the hard, cold ground was giving them a massage. The sharp, frozen blades of grass must feel good to them because I swear I saw them smiling.

I love the sound frozen grass makes when I step on it. I love the dryness in the air this morning and the chance to draw a heart on my car window. The air is clean and quiet. I have a busy day ahead so I need to go forward with the right attitude.
I think I've reached it.

love, susan

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

She Says I'm Fat

Abbie and I attended our first dog training class together last night. It's hard for me to know if she has had any training in the past, as she is a recently re-homed dog, but I highly suspect it. She knows how to sit, come, and sometimes down. And she really knows how to bark. Drives us crazy.
So, my trainer lady, whose tutelage we have been under before, says to me "She's too fat."  I knew she was gonna say it before I entered the room. I should have laid down a $5 bet with my husband.
Truth is ... she is too fat.
She was too thin when she came home with us in July. She had just dropped a litter of puppies and was under nourished. We was makin' up for lost meals! My trainer advised to cut her food down to 1/2 cup morning and night. I slept on it and this morning I did just that. I realize that it doesn't matter how much food we give these dogs, they look at us like we're starving them. So what? Having them be overweight is killing them.  Killing them physically and really, if you think about it, mentally.  Wait a minute!  That's how I feel. A correlation?  I think so. Perhaps I should cut my meals in half. That's not bad advice.
I better start walking the dogs more too .... they need it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Abyss

"Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss
nature leads, or you shall learn nothing."  
 Thomas Henry Huxley
I have fallen in to the winter abyss right on schedule. It's always this time of year that I start to really drag. I don't want to get dressed, I don't want to go outside, I wanna eat potatoes and chocolate all day. Ugh.  Today, my poor husband was once again a reluctant participant on my roller coaster ride. I toodled around the house and mentioned going for a ride and then changed my mind. And then changed my mind again.  I'm glad I forced myself to shower and get dressed. We took a ride to my very favorite "go to" place when I can't think of anywhere else to go. McNary Wildife Refuge. There was nothing to write home about but it just felt human to get outside for some fresh air.  Winter.  It too shall pass.

In other news, yesterday I had a good hair day and just had to record it!

love, susan

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

These Boots

I love the idea of buying stuff used. There was a time when I used to turn my nose up to buying other people's stuff, mostly clothing. I had a "rule" to absolutely never buy used shoes or boots. But then one day I realized that this was my mother's rule, not mine. Funny how other people's way of thinking can have such a profound effect on us. I just now wonder what kind of "thinking" I imparted on my son that might weight him down from doing or thinking something he might otherwise do or think. Mom always said that buying used shoes would be bad for my feet. Yeah, I can understand that if the shoes in question were worn a lot. But what about those shoes and boots that a nice woman bought and got home with and decided she just didn't love. I have those shoes. You know what I'm talking about. They were such a good deal and I can wear them next summer with my jeans. And then ... they just don't feel good after a few minutes. And yet there they sit, on the shoe rack, hoping to be picked the next time I wear those jeans. They may sit on the rack for 2 or 3 seasons but a voice in the back of my head says, "Susan, you're never gonna wear those horrible shoes."
I have to admit that I've hung onto those kinds of shoes for far longer than I should.  Right at the moment, I'm thinking of a brand new pair of heels I just had to have, sitting in the box they came home in, taking up useful space. My thinking is that surely I have a friend who would treasure them. The truth is, I probably don't have a friend whose feet would slip into the shoes like Cinderella. The shoes need to go.
I recently attended an estate sale at a house where the woman had 7 closets chuck-full of clothes. Her husband, they told me, was a local university professor. I could tell by their dinnerware and variety of wine glasses that they entertained a lot. Her clothes closets were filled with everything from casual summer wear to blingy dresses to business attire. And there were shoes and boots. I never fancied myself as much of a boot girl but over the last 3 or 4 years I've acquired quite a few pair. I like the short boots. I don't really have the figure anymore to wear tall boots with tight jeans tucked in. I never did wear them like that but I'm here to tell you that if I could do my life over, I'd wear skinny jeans and tall boots every single day of the week. 
So, I'm at this estate sale and I'm sitting on the floor trying on some short boots. There were boxes upon boxes of them. I found a pair that fit as if they were made just for me. Of course, there were two pair of the same boots, a pair in black and a pair in brown. Which to buy? Here's where those old voices come back. "Why do you need 2 pair? What if you get home and you hate them later on ... then you've got 2 pair taking up space?", etc.  Turns out, I bought the brown pair and I have regretted, almost every time I've put them on, not buying the black pair. I tell myself that some other chica is out there enjoying those black boots as much as I would have. And, I think about the woman who once bought these boots for herself. Did she love them as much as I do? Were they practically brand new when I found them because she had so many other boots to choose from or did she hate these boots but never quite got around to giving them away to a friend or the thrift store. 
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 ...