Tuesday, November 25, 2014

101 Words

I snagged this photo at my aunt & uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party last summer. I forgot I was the flower girl in their wedding. I was 5.   Some days I just want time to stand still.  Every day I wake up and feel like I don't have a moment to waste. Tick tock.    Yesterday a friend said goodbye to her mother. She died at 5:00pm, Colorado time. Helen was a mother, an artist and one of the many good people of this world. She lived a long life and left good people in her wake.  
That’s what I want.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Love You

“With my last breath, I’ll exhale my love for you. I hope it’s a cold day, so you can see what you meant to me.
”  -- Jarod Kintz

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Do Nothing

Hang on.  Or let go.

Thank you to my friend "T" for giving me a topic to write about this morning. I've been feeling brain dead the last couple of weeks. I know there are ideas somewhere in my mind but lately I 've been working so hard that all I am doing is simply surviving. It's a temporary situation, thankfully.
"T" is not my only friend who is struggling with decisions. When I look around me, there are decisions taking place about gut wrenching, real-life stuff and it has affected my heart space. Tears have been shed for my friends. Major medical issues, relationships, plumbing problems, employment difficulties. You name it, my friends are experiencing it.  On Sunday I had a real breakthrough when I realized that I've been where all my friends are right now, in those awful transitional places that are hard, super hard and seem like the most horrible situations for them. I've been struggling and feeling their pain and the truth is that its all about the growing pains. Theirs and mine.
I've had all the above mentioned situations and then some. I often wonder when the other shoe is going to drop now because my life has been on smooth for so long. One thing I know for sure, it will drop. How I handle it is different than how I used to handle crisis.
G-d, grant me the serenity to accept the things
 I cannot change, the courage to change the things
 I can, and the wisdom to know the difference
I like this prayer. I use it often as a filter for things going on in my life that are out of control or where I need clarification for what to do next. Sometimes, doing nothing is the action I need to take.
I'm going to leave it at that for now. Think about it.  Have you ever just done nothing, slept on it, decided to not decide, etc.?
love, susan

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Joy Meter = Overload

Today was filled with unexpected surprises right out of the gate.  I got up at my usual work time, even though it was a day off for me, and decided to get dressed and take a quick trip to town to see if I could get a good sunrise photo. It was wicked cold and three shots was all I could stand in the freezing wind.  After a cup of coffee with some like-minded friends, I went home to make breakfast for my sweetheart. He loves the attention and I love crispy hash browns. Win/Win. I decided to make a loaf of orange cranberry bread just to stay on his good side before we took off for a doctor's appointment.
It was the first time I've been to a dermatologist in a long time. Hubby said I'd like him. That would be an understatement. I'd invite him over for dinner in a heartbeat. Great guy. His nurse was equally friendly and I discovered by listening to her that she is a weekend photographer and has taken her skills to the next level by starting a side business. She gave me some great tips and I found her business page on FB. She offered to help with any questions I might have and I'm hoping she'll be a good resource for learning more about my camera.  As it turns out, I need to have two procedures done so I'll be visiting the good doctor and his nurse again soon.
Then, I got to see my fantastic hair designer later in the afternoon. She recently moved to another shop and we had some catching up to do. I love that woman. Not only is she a talented colorist, she is one of the kindest people I know in the Tricities. 
So, meeting with three wonderful people in one day put my joy meter on overload. I've tried all day to not think about having to go back to work for the next three days but there is no avoiding it. Such is life.
How about you.  Did you meet any wonderful doctors and nurses today? Get your hair cut?  Stand in the biting wind?
love, susan

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oh! Happy Day!

This is a writing prompt I received from writer Jacob Norby yesterday morning. I should have known better than to ask him for a prompt. What was I thinking?
But here is the thing. Fear has ruled my world since I can remember. I barely remember what I ate yesterday but I recall vividly laying on a cold, hard floor with my favorite silky blanket in kindergarten, trying to take a nap because that's what the teacher said to do. I hated that cold floor and I feared I would freeze to death. How is it that some memories are burned into our brains like that? A mystery to me.


What am I afraid of?  It's not what you might think.  I am not afraid of dying. I know this because once I traveled on a plane and, while landing, the wheels would not come down. I had just spent a beautiful weekend with my best friend, eating bologna sandwiches and talking up a blue storm. The short trip from Cordova to Anchorage was a part of Alaska I had never seen before and I was the happiest I had ever been. I felt zero fear and in a matter of minutes came to terms with the fact that I might die that day. I believed it then and I believe it now that dying on a good day would be the best way to go.

No, I'm not afraid to die.

I'm truly afraid that if you know who I really am or what I really think, you won't like me. I have opinions. I have a past that I am not particularly proud of. I've made mistakes. Huge mistakes, most of which I have made amends for. The past no longer haunts me.  I have regrets from my past, things I would do differently if I had it to do all over again. Don't we all?

At the bottom of it, what I'm really afraid of is the remaining character flaws that flare up from time to time. I swear, my defects are protected by a steel trap in my mind so as to never be totally eradicated. The good news is that today I'm aware of them and I watch for red flags indicating they are popping up.
Today, it has been thirteen years since I've had a drink. On November 6, 2001, my dad and I were in Tombstone, Arizona celebrating the marriage of my very good friend from Alaska. I had no idea it would be the last time I drank. The night before her wedding, we cracked open the champagne and made a toast. Why I didn't drink more than I did remains a mystery to me today. I only know that my life had gone to hell in a hand basket and I was tired. I have a picture of us on that day and it is classic Susan. I always look good on the outside but I can be dying on the inside and you'll never know it.
I'm fine will be my famous last words.
I don't talk much about my life before I got sober unless it will serve some purpose to help another. It's a sad story of my own making and I choose carefully who I'll share it with. Afraid?  You bet I am.  I'd rather talk about my life now.
Bottom line:  I am less afraid of changing than staying the same. My life has been nothing but better since I put down the drink.  Of course, there is more to it than just that but it was the first step in the right direction. Who knew?
So, to my very good friend celebrating her 13th wedding anniversary, I raise my coffee cup to you! It was one of the best days of my life and I've had many best days from that one until now.
love, susan

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Retirement Dreams

I rarely delete photos. This one did not make the cut from my shoot on Saturday with the king and queen of the homecoming dance. The subjects are fuzzy, however, I couldn't bring myself to delete it. Here is why. 
Do you see the message here?
"Look forward to planning your next event."
Retirement has recently made an appearance on my radar. It happened while on that trip to Montana with my high school buddy in September. She has no idea what can of worms she opened when she asked me, "Susan, when are you going to retire?" It was an innocent question. Honestly, I've really never given it more than 2 seconds thought because I have not considered myself retirement material. My party line is: I'm a much better person when I'm on a work schedule. Sick, I know.  She reminded me that because I had worked in the state system long enough to vest, that I am eligible for 100% paid medical at age 60.  You say what?
I called the peeps in Alaska and heard it from the horse's mouth that, yes, I do indeed qualify to retire. I have a little paperwork to gather up and a few bucks to pay for a break in service but those are minor details.
DREAMS?  I cannot think of anything else these days.  In a phone call to my son last weekend I told him I finally have a 5 year plan.  Have you ever had anyone ask you what your five year plan is?  I've always hated that question in an interview.  Geezus, I don't know what I'm doing next month. Five years? I'm not that girl.  My son, on the other hand, says he thinks about retirement all the time.  Good man!

So, I wanna know.  Do you have dreams? Do you have a 5 year plan?  Tell me about it!

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 ...