Monday, July 31, 2017

End of July 2017: A Life List

LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW There is not a cloud in the sky. We are going up to 109 this week. Hello scorching hot summer. For some unknown reason, the hubby decided to turn off the automatic sprinkler system. I noticed yesterday the lawn was looking crispy but when one of my favorite flowering bushes in the herb garden was looking very droopy I decided to investigate. Now is not the time to conserve water.
WEEKEND REVIEW My weekend went to the dogs. Saturday we drove out to a park to sit under a shade tree and watch the air show. We saw an F-22 do all kinds of amazing maneuvers in the sky. I loved it. Later in the day, I attended a picnic put on for the volunteers in the dog rescue group I am involved with. There were 5 dogs in attendance along with about a dozen women dedicated to helping animals any way we can. On Sunday, I drove out in the orchards to a friend's house to photograph her English Bulldogs. I spent an hour, mostly at ground level, shooting fun images for her. I sent her the images and within a half hour I received a phone call from her. She said the photos way exceeded any expectation she had and that she was sure her husband would be in tears when he sees them. This really made my day. I was super happy with the work I had done so it was reassuring to get that call. I took naps on both days as the heat really drained my energy. I was hardly indoors all weekend except for the naps.
WHAT I'M LEARNING During the picnic for the rescue team, I realized that I can be a part of something and just do my part. I don't have to do other people's tasks. I think that's where burnout happens. This has taken me a long time to learn.
WHAT I'M CREATING I'm still working on creating better space in my home. Actually, freeing up space so I can create. It has been a slow process eliminating stuff that accumulates in every nook and cranny. I cannot stand it.
WHAT I'M READING I haven't picked up a book in weeks. I've been too busy doing other things. I miss reading and as soon as I get my office back in order, I'm going to start a new book. I cannot sit in chaos and be peaceful enough to read. Plus, I'm spending a great deal of time outdoors. I have listened to a few podcasts, that's always fun. My daughter-in-law gave me a long list of podcasts she listens to so I've got some choices now.
WHAT I'M WATCHING I tried to start a new Netflix series called College Friends last night but found myself too distracted to pay attention to it. Summer is not when I want to be sitting in front of a TV screen.

A PEEK INTO MY WEEK I've got some fun stuff lined up for a couple evenings. Tomorrow night we're driving out to Prosser to watch a border collie demonstration of Frisbee tricks and other fun things. I've got a puppy shoot on Wednesday, lunch and coffee with two friends this week.
A FINAL THOUGHT I made a new friend last week while I did a photo session out in the country. Made new friends at the picnic on Saturday. I've been thinking a lot about the theory of six degrees of separation. Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 and popularized in an eponymous 1990 play written by John Guare. Have you ever heard of it? It is fascinating to me.
Hope you have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, will ya?
love, susan


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Off-the-Chart Monday

My daughter-in-law. I love this girl
with all my heart.
Yesterday was a work day but I was off, visiting with my son and daughter-in-law from Michigan. They were here for exactly 24 hours. We crammed in a whole lot of visiting and managed to eat out twice. The funny of it was we ate at a Mexican restaurant that is less than half a mile from our house. In 9 years, we'd never been there. We get a little stuck in a rut. 
In these images, we're at my very favorite, nicer place called Frost Me Sweet. My daughter-in-law picked it from a line up she had on Yelp. These people are serious foodies. She is lactose intolerant so it helped that their menu easily included things she can eat plus a couple of gluten-free, dairyless desserts. And, wine for lunch!
My son and love of my life!
I quit drinking almost 16 years ago so I feel a little-lot out of touch with what's happening on the alcohol menu. When they brought her THREE glasses of wine all at once, I was schooled on ordering a "flight" of wine. All I know is that ascetically it was art for my eyes and senses. Dude. I drank wine out of boxes. A conversation ensued about adult juice boxes. 
I enjoyed this visit. It is rare that I am off work and not traveling somewhere else. To spend the day with these loves, at home, was off-the-charts joy for me. They drove their car from Michigan to gift it to me. When they said they were only staying a day, at first I wondered how we were going to catch up in 24 hours. We did it. It was perfect. Just like that flight of wine. Beautiful. Just right. And, enough.
Today, I go back to work and I'll look forward to the next adventure. Tomorrow night I'm driving out to the country to photograph some spaniels for a nice dog lady. We have an invite to a party Friday night. I'm certain I have something on my calendar for the weekend.  Life is so good.
love, susan

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Can Die Happy Now

We drove out to The Gorge Amphitheater (near George, Washington) Friday night to hear John Mayer. If you are not a fan of JM, it's all good. I wasn't a huge fan until last year when I started walking everyday and tuned into him on Pandora. When I'm walking my dog, I'm in a zone where I am able to hear only the music piping through my headphones, keeping my thoughts from scattering into a million pieces. He didn't sing it Friday night but one of the songs that hooked me on this phenomenal singer/songwriter is I Don't Trust Myself Loving You
No, I'm not the man I used to be lately
See, you met me at an interesting time
And if my past is any sign of your future
You should be warned before I let you inside...
The pinnacle moment of the evening, for us, was when he and his two equally talented band members belted out Stevie Ray Vaughn's Caught in the Crossfire. They could not have ramped up this song any more than they did. From there, he gave his guys a break while he switched guitars and played a couple of acoustic tunes that made me love him even more. Like, a serious John Mayer crush.
There is something about him that I find completely irresistible. I'd have to say first it is his songwriting. When I hear the lyrics, I think I understand him. Secondly, he is awkward and I really dig that about him. When he came onstage Friday night, he simply said good evening and started playing. I think he's a guy who isn't really all that comfortable with stardom and just wants to write and sing. I hope he always keeps it real.  In the meantime, I feel like he is going to go down in music history as a great guitarist. He'll be 40 in October. I can't wait to see what he brings to the world next.
I'm not one to spend hard earned money on frivolous things like concert tickets but I'm glad I made the impulse buy this time. I truly can die happy.
Have you seen an artist that knocked your socks off?
love, susan

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lies I Tell Myself: Day 79

This is a friend inspired post. You know who you are. I'm not going to out you here but I want to thank you for your brutal honesty. I am on the same path you are.
DAY 79
I started a new eating plan on May 1st. It is working for me and I realize that if I am to get this excess weight off and keep it off, I am going to have to live by this plan the rest of my life. To date, I have shed 17 pounds. This week I have hit a plateau. I've been thinking a lot about the lies I have been telling myself for about 15 years. These lies are often advocated by well-meaning people. Once the words are spoken, they roll around in my brain and all of a sudden these lies become good ideas. I feel like I need to recognize them every time they crop up and smash them right in their tracks.
  • You can have just one bite of that birthday cake. It's not going to kill you.
  • It's a holiday. It's a party. It's a funeral. It's a wedding. It's a potluck. It's Tuesday.
  • You're almost 60, who are you trying to impress?
  • You're a grandma. Grandmas are supposed to be fluffy.
  • What difference does it make, you're gonna die anyway.
  • Eat the ice cream, life is short.
  • You can get back on the wagon tomorrow.
  • One little bite is not going to kill you.
  • It's no use, you're never going to get this weight off. (This is the worst lie)
  • If you eat slowly, your brain will tell you it's full.
  • I have to eat in between meals, I'm hypoglycemic. I'm going to die if I don't eat right now.
  • It's rude to not eat what is offered to me.
  • I have a terrible sugar addiction.
  • I overeat on a regular basis.
  • I do not want to die fat.
I have no idea if I will be able to stay on this path, but I'm no quitter. I have decided to do this one day at a time. I've made some big changes in the last year and a half that have stuck and stayed. There is no reason this won't work for me.
What big fat lies do you tell yourself?
love, susan

Monday, July 3, 2017

Donkey Days of Summer: Life List

Looking Out My Window There is a smoky haze making the sunrise a beautiful pink. A fire started out in the Hanford (nuclear cleanup project) area on Thursday and is still burning. With fireworks going off now, there will undoubtedly be more fires. It is HOT HOT HOT right now. Our temps starting today will be 94, 96, 102, 103, 104, 101, and 99! Hot and smoky.
Weekend Review It was a fun one. I can't remember what I did Saturday but yesterday's fun started at the dog park in the early morning. Some friends showed up and we had a great time shootin' the shit and watching our dogs play hard. Remi never stopped running after the Kong the entire 1 1/2 hours we were there. I got some great photos and I never wanted to leave. Later in the day, I drove out to my friend's farm for the 2nd Annual Ass Shaving. She has three donkeys who get shaved by our dog groomer friends. I got to brush them while they shaved. There were six of us and we had the best time shaving and talking. I love weekends like this one.
What I'm Learning Well, one of my dogs got out of the fence that got left open once again on Friday. She was gone about 1/2 hour before I realized it. When I started out to the car to go find her, she came running down the street. I'm glad she didn't go far. I'm learning to not lose my mind when this happens. Someone in our household keeps forgetting to shut the gate.
What I'm Creating I haven't been terribly creative this last week. I started a month long minimize group on FB and we're collectively cleaning up our areas by eliminating the number of items that corresponds with the day. Today, I'll find 3 items that will leave this house one way or the other.
What I'm Reading I never opened a book or a magazine last week. Work is sucking the life out of me right now and I don't have the brain power to focus on reading.
What I'm Watching Same with TV. Oh, I did watch a wonderful interview that Jane Pauley did with John Mellencamp yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning. That's a guy I'd love to know. Great interview!
What's On My Camera It was a fun photo weekend.
Quote I Want to Share from Jane Pauley's interview with John Mellencamp:
JOHN MELLENCAMP: I am available. I am available to ideas. I am available to free thinking. I am available to thoughts. I am not in a box. Now, I used to be when I was a kid when I was writing songs like "Hurts So Good" and "Jack & Diane." "I have to write a song that's -- no. I can't go over that. That-- that song took a wrong turn." Now, nothing takes a wrong turn. There's no wrong turns to make. These paintings. There's no wrong turn.
I may walk up to a canvas and think, "I'm going to do one thing," and it turns out to be something else that surprises me. And I'm thrilled to death when that happens. When I'm not thrilled to death is when I labor over something and try to force it into being something that, you know, I think it has to be. But that's not art.
JANE PAULEY: So now creativity is about finding out what it wants to be.
JOHN MELLENCAMP: That's right. Letting creativity be creative as opposed to trying to control it.
A Peek Into My Week Work today. Play tomorrow. Who knows what will happen the rest of it?
A Final Thought I'm running out of time.
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 ...