Monday, May 19, 2014

On a Happier Note

My last post was cleansing ... pun intended. Today, I decided to talk about something more joyful.
I finally got my friend and her baby's daddy to agree to let me shoot some photos over the weekend. They are both busier than me so I'm glad we were able to carve an hour out to meet at the park for a quick photo session.
I was so nervous. I'm not a professional photographer and don't pretend to be but I do love photography and learning about my camera. Anyone who will sit still long enough for me to capture them is a hero in my book.
The timing was hard because we met during full sunlight (5:00pm) and although light is everything in photography, too much of it is hard to work with. I got 70 photos and although there are better, more focused ones than this, the pose is what I think got the most likes out of the 40-some I posted. Matt is adorable and although I love all the pics that show his face, this image shows his personality more than any of the others, me thinks. At first, I felt a little frustrated that he wasn't looking at me when I started shooting but when I got home and saw this image on the screen, I realized that I have to step out of the way and let the picture be.  This pose was her idea and it worked. He adores her and their baby, who is due to arrive in July.
I posted the pics on FB and was thrilled at the comments people left for her. Her sister (a professional photographer) asked me to take their family pics when they visit this summer. What an honor!  Another friend said she's going to call to ask me to do their family pictures.  I couldn't be happier about that.
Learning to get comfortable taking people pictures is where I am at right now. My step daughter is a pro photographer and when I asked her how she got into it, she said, "just like you are doing right now .... practice with your friends"
I've been asked to be the photographer at a friend's wedding in mid-June. I am nervous as hell but I said YES!  The wedding is at 2pm so I'm going to need all the practice I can get between now and then with outdoor lighting.
Do you have a craft you are getting better at? What do you do to push past your fears? Leave me a comment.  I love hearing from you!
love, susan

Saturday, May 17, 2014

There, I Said It

Funny how some things trigger memories.
I was cleaning the stairs today and couldn't shake the dejavu.  I've been here before. Cleaning stairs.  Not these stairs, although I have cleaned these ones a few times.
When I was in high school, we lived in a great old two-story house that my folks rented for $100 a month. My sister and I had our own bedrooms.  Mine was always a horrible mess, hers was immaculate. I hated cleaning then as much as I hate it now.  Mom would just tell me to keep my door closed so she didn't have to look at it. It was the topic of conversation with relatives. Such a shameful example of a girl.  Lazy slob.
We had assigned chores which included setting the table, washing and drying dinner dishes, cleaning two bathrooms and dusting and polishing the stairs. My sister always did her chores right on time but I dragged mine out as long as I could, resenting every moment of it. I had better things to do. I still feel that way. I resent doing housework.
There, I said it.
While I was cleaning the stairs today,
 I remembered those wood stairs from 1975.
And, how I felt.
That was a long time ago.
Fast forward. 
Last week, someone posted a question up on FB. What is one thing you would tell your 12 year old self? I couldn't think of a thing until today. I would tell her that her mom was full of shit when she said "no man will ever have you because you are such a lousy housekeeper."  I'd tell her that her mom hated housework just as much as she does and her mom is only making her to do it because she's tired from working a 40 hour work week, shopping, cleaning, paying bills, checking homework, laundry, making dinner and all the other million things real women do. I'd tell her to get used to people stereotyping women.  I'd tell her that when she grows up, things are not always going to be fair and that people are still going to stereotype her.  I'd tell her that expectations are a set up for resentment.  I'd tell her it's perfectly okay if she'd rather be doing anything but housework.  I'd tell her that if someone only "wants" her for her domestic skills, she might wanna think about going it alone. I'd tell her it's not nice to call someone lazy.
Words spoken are hard to take back.  I've all but taken the word lazy out of my vocabulary.
Have things changed much since 1975?  Not really. I rarely dust. I clean my oven maybe once a year. I just ordered new reflector pans for the stove top because they are so ugly they are beyond cleaning. It's been two weeks since I changed my sheets. 
Go ahead, judge me.
.... this is just a bit of my truth.  Dude, I'm just getting started.
love, susan

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Making Plans

This week has flown by. Early yesterday morning, a friend texted to see if we could get together after work. We made plans to meet for dinner. It sure made my day go faster and it was way more enjoyable knowing I had plans later. Hubby had taken off on a motorcycle trip with our funny friend pictured here. I wasn't sure if he'd be back last night but he rolled in while I was out having dinner. He had plans of his own.

I like having some plans. My summer calendar is filling up with fun trips.  I had finished making reservations for a trip to the beach in July when I realized we'll be going to the Oregon coast three times between now and mid-September. I felt giddy instantly as each trip will involve different family members and to different beaches. Something to look forward to.

And, then there is today. I am meeting with some friends after work to celebrate the college graduation of someone special to me. Her accomplishment is something I've only thought about but never acted on. Glad I have something planned to get me through the day.

Next week I'm going to my friend's house to house/pet sit for two weeks while she goes on a cruise. I look forward to that as I'll get to spend some time with her fur kids, feed birds and maybe feed the snake. Not sure yet how often their snake eats but I suspect it can't go two weeks without a little something. It will be a first for me.  I'll document that with photos and get back to you on it!

In the meantime, I started a new training program with my little "Remi".  She has been with us a year now and was the most horrible walker I've ever had at the end of a leash.  I found a cool blog that gave me a little training tip so I made plans to get her out every morning for a walk and some training.  This is week two and I must report that she is a different dog. I'm using a clicker and reward system which was my last hope for her. I'm not a quitter. 

Well, my plan was to keep writing but my employer has other ideas so I'll wrap this lunch time post up in a bow. I plan to enjoy my afternoon here at my keyboard. 

How about you?  Got plans?

love, susan

Monday, May 12, 2014

First Trip of MC Season ~ 100 Miles

We took out first motorcycle trip of the season this weekend. It was a shorty to Hermiston and from there along the river towards Walla Walla and back home. Exactly 100 miles.
We left in such a hurry that I didn't get a chance to fill the thermos with coffee so we stopped at Safeway to share a super tall, hot cup of go juice to keep us alert. And, of course, the famous Safeway cheese-jalapeno bagel. My husband is addicted to Safeway's version of this fat pill. The bakery lady was just putting out fresh donuts so we added a maple bar on top of it.  Well, don't you know the salty, hot, cheesy bagel made the maple bar stand up and take notice, washed down with a nice blend from Safeway's partner Starbucks. Not a fan of Bucks coffee but will drink it when forced. 
On our way out of the store, we ran into a gal we know who runs in our circles. Haven't seen her in about a year but she greeted us with the biggest hugs and a little chit chat on such a lovely Mother's Day. She talked about graduating from college and a possible move to be closer to her grandkids.  What a super nice coincidence to run into her. It made my day!
On the way home, we took a slight detour to my favorite spot, McNary Bird Refuge. We spotted 10 turtles sitting on a log and this sweet little swallow sitting just outside of the viewing house. It sat here for the longest time on this branch, swaying in the wind. The birds are definitely coming in now and the sound of their music is sweet. I shared with Gene that if I should die first that I'd wish for my ashes to be left on this refuge. Kinda morbid but I felt the need to say it out loud.
I missed a called from my son but we finally connected. Besides my husband, he is the sweetest man I know.
It is notable that I "unplugged" this weekend. I started Friday night right after work. I texted my closest friends to let them know I was setting down my electronic device for a weekend to give my BEST, best friend some undivided attention. Note to self: must do that more often.
Well, it's back to the salt mine today. I don't mind going to work when I've had such a great weekend. I need the rest! I'll be working hard but thinking about the next adventure. Where to go next .....
What did you do last weekend?
love, susan

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Penpal 101

Last night I was messaging with the daughter of a friend and she agreed to be my penpal so this morning I sat down and wrote her a card.
I got to thinking about it and I wonder if it is hard for people to start a penpal relationship.  It never has been for me but I've been writing to my friends and acquaintances for a very long time.  So I came up with a list that I think would be helpful for anyone who wants to be a penpal. 
I hope you'll try it.  I've been on a mission to bring back hand-written letters. I've never stopped writing and I hope if it is something you used to love doing that perhaps you'll just write one card to either a family member or maybe an old friend.  It's never too late to start.
If you are just beginning with someone you don't know well, here is an idea for getting the conversation going. Please, by all means, take what you want from this and leave the rest.
Dear (penpal):
I am happy to add you to my penpal list! I have a couple of people in my life who like to write. It's always fun to get mail. I love lists so here is my list of questions for you.  This will be fun!
  • What is your favorite band?
  • Where do you want to travel?
  • What is your main study in college?
  • What is your favorite thing for dinner?
  • Do you have a dog?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Do you have many penpals?
  • Is this too many questions?
  • Will you write me back?
Truly yours, susan
Do you have penpals?  What do you write about?
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 ...