Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Try New Places

Go someplace once a year where you've never been before.  That's a quote I saw on a photo recently.  My husband and I live by these words and I want to share just a little of my experience in hopes that you will be inspired to go someplace you've never been.
I shot this image one morning right outside our hotel room. What you don't see is the woman in the car closest to the curb started talking to us (in English!) while she was stuck in this very large traffic jam.  Seems the teachers there in Mexico City have been striking a lot and on days when they are protesting it makes the traffic worse than it already is. The driver rolled her eyes when she was explaining it and we laughed. MC is crammed-packed full of friendly people just like her. Who knew?
I believe fear is one of the biggest reasons people don't visit new places. It doesn't matter if it is a foreign country or a restaurant. For me, I fear wasting time and money.  We have our same old favorite standbys for eating out. No matter how many times we tell ourselves we've got to try something new, when Friday night rolls around and we decide to eat out, we end up either at one of two places. As far as foreign countries go, fear of a language barrier, fear of danger, and for me fear of bad food may be reasons to not go. I am dying to put more stamps on my visa! I would definitely visit MC again but why? There are so many other places to go.
Fear of people is another thing I think a lot of us suffer from. Someone once said to me, "Susan, don't you think everyone has fear of people"?  So it stands to reason, if I am afraid of you, perhaps you are afraid of me. Maybe, just maybe, if I crack a smile and extend a handshake we can find something in common to talk about.  See these dogs? Notice the little white dog trying to get out of his leash? Fear.  Once he did a little sniffing and realized the other dogs weren't going to rough him up, he quit resisting.
I'm a big fan of having favorite places to go when I need to just be surrounded by the familiar but I gotta tell you that nothing in the world makes me feel more alive than a little conquered fear of the unknown.
love, susan

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Three Minutes ... GO!

I've got winter brain. So many ideas and things to accomplish and so little focus.
Does that ever happen to you?
Last year, I took an online writing course. I enjoyed it very much and kept a few takeaways from it that I think are essential for writing  ... one of which is to get some chair glue. It has been difficult time sitting still. I'm restless.  Another great takeaway I've not been able to quite accomplish is making a space for myself that allows me to sit in my chair for any length of time. My office is always a mess.
Whenever I need something to write about, I go over to Mama's Losin' It and find a prompt.  I can't tell you how many posts I've written and deleted. I'll try this one and see if it makes the cut.
Ten Things I Can Do in 3 Minutes
1) Shower.   Yes, I can!! I learned how to take quick showers when I was traveling with my dad back in 2001 in the RV. After that, hubby and I took a long trip across the U.S. and often times showered in campgrounds where you pay for a 5-minute shower.   I'm a bit of a tree hugger so saving water is at the top of my list for reducing my carbon footprint.
2) Make a phone call.  Remember the egg timer when you were a kid? Keep it short. Who makes calls these days anyway. Right?
3) Throw together lunch. While I try to put more thought into it, if I haven't put 5 lunches together on Sunday night for my work week, I'm grabbing fruit, yogurt and whatever leftover I can scrounge at the last minute.
4) Pick up dog poop.  Seriously.  I know exactly where all three of my dogs poo. They are creatures of habit.
5) Make a cup of homemade hot cocoa. If you use NestlĂ©'s, you are missing out on one of life's great pleasures. It's so easy to make and so much better when you make it with real milk, cocoa and sweetner. 
6) Create a greeting card. I make my own. Sorry Hallmark. Card. Ink. Stamp. Bam!
7) Change gears. Actually, I can do this in far less than 3 minutes as evidenced by our getting in the car for a Sunday drive with a destination in mind and change our minds by the time we hit the first stop light.  Love that!
8) Type 225 words. That's 75 words per minute. Thank you, Mrs. Pryse, for being the absolute best high school business teacher in the world. I've been able to make a living from this one simple skill.
9) Fill the Kong with peanut butter.  For my dogs. They love me for it.
10)  Edit a blog post. Save. Preview. Publish.
How about you?  What can you do in 3 minutes?
love, susan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Portland traffic on Friday at 5
In the past, winter has always been a time for slowing down for us but that doesn't seem to be the case this season ... so far. We took a nice trip over to Grand Ronde, Oregon last weekend to celebrate one of my favorite cousin's 50th birthday. It was to be a surprise party but he wasn't surprised. I love that about him. He just couldn't feign surprise but he was super happy we all came and that's what counted. I reunited with relatives I haven't seen in 20+ years. A super nice day.
All of November I've been playing the Minimize Game. It started on the 1st and the object of the game is to minimize my household belongings by the number of the day. By the end of November, my household will be minimized by 465 items. I've kept up and it has been a blast! No item is too big or too small to count. I imagine by the time I get to November 30, I'll be throwing out recycling rubber bands and paperclips. No matter. It has really opened my eyes to the junk I allow to come through the front door and the stuff I hang onto for no apparent reason.
My next project, which I hope to start in December, is to make copies of all important documents and photos to place in a portable file carrier that I can quickly pick up and take in case of an emergency. I also want to put together a box containing non-perishable food items and water for the same purpose. It will likely take me the entire month of December to get it together but these kinds of projects tend to help me focus on something rather than the cold, dark days.
What do you do to make the winter days bearable? 
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 ...