Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stop It!

A friend recently posted on FB that she thinks she is a little over booked in her life. Oh, how I can relate to that. I wrote a blog post 7 years ago about a "to stop doing list". As I read that old list, I realized that I have the power to change my mind about what I'm going to do and what I'm not going to do. Seven years ago, I wrote I hated gardening. That's something that may change. Since then, I have spent more time looking at the dirt in my back yard and dreaming about days to come when I may have time to put my hands in it and grow something. Or not. It's a fleeting thought.
Every year around this time, I hear friends and co-workers chatting about decorating for Christmas and all the shopping they've got to get done, blah blah blah. I don't have one piece of Christmas decoration at my house, not even a candy cane. Don't get me wrong. I love seeing other people's decorations. I love to take one evening to drive around the famous neighborhoods to look at lights and sip hot cocoa while holiday music plays in the background. I just don't care about decorating my own space. And, I gave up Christmas shopping a very long time ago. Cash is king, don't ya know? You couldn't pay me enough to go to the mall this time of year.
Anyhoo, it got me to thinking about my stop doing list and so here is my 2017 version.
To Stop Doing List
Holiday baking. Zero. Nothing. Not even fudge. In the past, this has been easier said than done. I do love baking cookies and sweets in December but my new eating plan for life does not have a place for this. Instead of the one day I go on a baking binge, I think I'll put the hubby in the car and drive to Walla Walla for a cup of coffee at my favorite cafĂ©.
Saying yes. This is something that is a constant struggle. I get overbooked and then exhausted. My cure for this is to sleep on a calendar decision. I don't make excuses. No is a complete sentence, no explanation necessary. See 'feeling guilty' below.
Hanging onto junk. Another constant struggle. I'm still in the process of getting rid of stuff I don't want or use. I recently placed a box near my dryer for depositing clothes that no longer fit or that I don't wear so I can launder and take to thrift store.
Using plastic bags at store. I've learned from my Portland peeps that just because the store clerk has a bad habit of placing a single item in a plastic bag doesn't mean I have to accept it. NO MORE PLASTIC BAGS!
Reading books or watching shows I don't like. I have this terrible habit of continuing to read a book or watch a movie even if I'm not into it. It's a commitment thing. I tend to be a rigid, 100% in-or-out kinda girl. Such a waste of a good life.
Feeling guilty for saying no. Gotta stop that. See 'saying yes' above.
Ignoring the signs of burnout. I learned last year that I have a huge red flag at work when I am experiencing burnout. I start scowling and using the word fuck a lot. I start thinking everyone is stupid and have zero tolerance. I'm going to stop ignoring the signs and be proactive about self care. Luckily, no one has been injured by my burnouts ... yet.
That's enough stop doing to last me all of 2018.  How about you? What are you doing that you wish you weren't? Can you stop doing it? What would be on your stop doing list?  Tell me!
love, susan

Monday, November 27, 2017

Survived November, Hello December: A Life List

The Weather It's dark. Temps this week are 53, 50, 51, 47, and 46. Gray skies almost every day. I hate winter.
Weekend Review Four day weekends are the best. We spent T day with friends and their family. Lots of laughter and joy. I woke up Thursday morning feeling a deep sadness about loved ones who died in the last 6 months. First holidays are hard. I slept a lot this weekend. I read and watched Netflix. Got all the laundry caught up. Changed the sheets and took 4 boxes of junk to goodwill. Sat with my dogs and enjoyed every minute of down time. Sometimes that many days off is hard for me but not this time. I got to talk with my stepdaughter twice over the weekend and it was one of many highlights of my days. Love that girl.
What I'm Learning I'm not sure I learned anything new this week. Weird.
What I'm Creating I am making some changes in my pantry. This always upsets the hubby but he knows this about me so he adjusts. I'm adding big containers that will hold beans and rice from the bulk section. I've got some Tupperware coming that will fit nicely and will be adding various nuts and grains to the mix.
What I'm Reading I picked up A Man Called Ove to finish reading. I started this book many, many weeks ago but got distracted. Gosh, it's a good book!
What I'm Watching I'm finally at Season 7 of Shameless. Hoping to finish it up this week and start a news series called Godless on Netflix. Truly the only thing good about winter is Netflix.
What's On My Camera Not much. I didn't take it out this weekend. Really just not feelin' it right now. The photo above is probably from 1989(?) taken of my son and my mom. My mom would have been about 53 in this photo. I'm older than that now. That feels kind of strange. (Queue Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time:  life gets mighty precious when there is less of it to waste...)
A Quote:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
A Peek Into My Week I have nothing on my calendar this week. This is rare and typically I'd be a little panicked about that but I'm not.
A Final Thought I'm pretty sure my bed has a magnet in it. Last week I spent several nights sleeping no less than 10 hours a night. Some nights I woke at 3:00am and couldn't get back to sleep. It is a pattern than develops every year right after we set the clocks back. When it's dark by 4:30pm, I just want to pull the covers up over my head and sleep until March. I'm glad I have a job to look forward to 5 days a week or who knows how long I'd sleep.
Gotta go for now. love, susan

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's December This Week ... Yo!

  • Go to our annual dinner at Frost Me Sweet with hubby and D & T to celebrate their birthdays
  • Get through the entire month without baking sweets
  • Reflect on 2017 ... write blog post ... what worked, what didn't
  • Think of a theme word for 2018
  • Write every day in my journal
  • Read a book
  • Finish Season 7 of Shameless
  • Start a new series on Netflix
  • Finish up that photo project from last winter (a few straggler photos to organize)
  • Annual lunch with friends
  • Rest
  • Relax
How about you? Got December plans?

love, susan

Monday, November 20, 2017

Turkey Trash Talk: A Life List

Hey everybody! I love that it is Thanksgiving week. I have 4 days off and I can hardly wait. Instead of my usual weekly life list, I'm going to shake it up a bit and see if I can find some topics to talk about at our upcoming t-dinner.

Can we talk about dogs? OMG, I could talk dogs all day long. My border collie is going through an adjustment period as I've taken her off kibble and feeding her real food. I've done a little research on it and hoping I'm doing right by her.

Can we talk about cars? My car is still in the shop and I'm hoping to hear from the dude before t-day that she (her name is Clementine) has been repaired. After consulting a friend, I've decided to keep this car until all the repairs add up to what the car is worth. It's a bit like gambling but I do love that car.

Can we talk about the weather? This morning while my husband was bringing me to work, he says, "oh, I forgot to check the weather".  I said, "oh, it's going to be in the 50's".  He says, "oh, I was talking about Yuma, Arizona". I said, in my worst sarcastic tone, "who cares about Yuma, Arizona"? I think I hurt his feelings a little.  But geeeezus ... don't talk to me about Arizona when there is rain coming down and gray skies. I will hurt you.

Can we talk about Shameless on Netflix? The writers are seriously messed up in the head. I love that. When Frank (played by David Threlfall) dry humps the ground on the grave of his recent dead lover, I found myself gasping and laughing at the same time. Who thinks up these things? Somebody's son or daughter. Think about that for a minute.

Can we talk about the birthday party I was invited to shoot on Saturday? I got to spend 2 hours with a lovely family celebrating their dad's 80th birthday. The guy doesn't look a day over 65. He still works. And, he told me he and his wife go to Yuma, Arizona in the winter. I'm not hating on that but feels like people are rubbing Arizona in my face right now. Would you agree?

Can we talk about the movie we saw yesterday? Hubby took me to see Wonder at the theater. We both cried. People .. go see it. It is a real upper!


love, susan

Friday, November 17, 2017

5 Years!

Today I am celebrating 5 years at the same job! Nobody is more surprised than I am that I am still in the same work chair at the county attorney's office. What most don't know about me is that I always have a low level of restlessness and discontent goin' on under the hood. But that has not bled over into my working life for many reasons. Oh, there have been corporate employers where I've moved around a bit because I'm truly a former serial job hopper. I usually get bored out of my mind at about year three. Not now.
There is nothing boring about the job I do every day. There are some Fridays when I swear the events of the week have sucked the last ounce of life out of me. Then I wake up Monday morning and can't wait to see what happens when I arrive. Every day is a bit of high drama in the lives of other people. Real life drama. I don't take that lightly.
I've heard it said that if you were sitting at table and everyone put their problems down to share, you'd undoubtedly take your own back. That's what this job has done for me. It has given me perspective.
I'll admit I am on the jaded side at times but I rarely let that show. Each person who comes to my front desk is unique in that it is often the first time they've every experienced the legal system. I dig that I can be the warm, caring person who helps them to talk to whoever they need to be talking to, and if I can't help in that way, I have a wealth of resources under my belt to point them in the right direction.
After all, isn't that what being human is about? Helping others.
It's the best gig I've had for a long time. I hope whatever it is you do, that it fills up your cup!
love, susan

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid-November 2017 Life List

The Weather The numbers this week are 54, 55, 55, 52 and 51. Some rain maybe. My least favorite weather.

Weekend Review I had 3 days off and I crammed a lot of fun events into it. I finally got my neighbors out for a family shoot by the river. Poor baby's hands almost turned blue from the cold air but she didn't complain. Got cute pics! Also, photographed a rescue dog. Had coffee with a friend, helped other friends with a house project, watched movies, took dogs to the park, cooked, napped, drank too much coffee, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Learning I will not be taking Abbie out to catch the Kong ever again. She gets too stiff and sore and can't move within hours of playing. I feel horrible about it but that's just how it is with us old girls. I felt the same way after helping last weekend on a house project for a friend. Cleaning one little bathroom about did me in.

Creating I have to think about this. Well, I started back to writing my memoir. I'm still in high school so far. It's a big project that may never be complete but it won't get done if I don't stay at it. It was kind of fun thinking about my first kiss with Doug M. at logging camp. There was alcohol involved, whiskey to exact. I was only 13.

Quote I Want Share
A kiss….
….. is just a kiss….
Until it’s all you reminisce.
Then the memory becomes your

most treasured possession.
 ~Ranata Suzuki~

Peek in My Week I got nothing. Project Winter Slowdown.

A Final Thought I watched a documentary called Herion(e) on Netflix last weekend that was both depressing and uplifting at the same time. It is about the epidemic of overdoses in Huntington, West Virginia and how the town is battling it. The first female fire chief is making a difference there. I thought it was well-done. I'm truly in winter mode already. Darkness arrives about 4:30pm so by the time I get home all I can think about it getting into jammies and under the covers. Only about 18 weeks to spring. I'll make it. And, oh, the Mini Cooper is at the car hospital. Her diagnosis is not quite here yet. It is likely not good news.

love, susan 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gratitude Month: A Life List

Weather Numbers The temps this week will be 44, 42, 48, 50, and 52. We had snow all yesterday but it didn't stay long. I'm cold.
Weekend Review I dog/housesat for my good friends who have 5 dogs. They inherited two of them recently when D's parents died within 6 weeks of each other. It has been hard but I admire them for doing the deal and adjusting. I very much enjoyed the quiet time with their dogs while I sat and watched an entire season of Shameless on Netflix. I don't often sit still but this provided the greatest excuse to do just that. Besides that, I also did two photo shoots on Saturday that were big fun.
What I'm Learning It was a bit stressful at work last week as my supervisor's last day was Wednesday. Change is a part of life and when I really examine situations I find I am way better when things are changing. I used to have a life that was boring and predictable. What I've learned over the past decade and a half is that I am a way better friend, worker, wife, mother, and all-round human being when things are changing.
What I'm Creating I'm gearing up for winter photo shoots. I hate being cold more than just about any other feeling so I'm starting to look more at indoor shooting. I'm not great with faux light but after this weekend's shoot with some kitty cats, I've decided I need to give up some of my old ideas and think about investing in some indoor lighting that I can transport easily.
What I'm Reading It's Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron
What I'm Watching I watched a whole season of Shameless this weekend and two movies ... Pretty Woman and Must Love Dogs.
What's On My Camera Lots of dog photos from the weekend.

A Quote I Want to Share
One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing.
It doesn't turn off and turn on.
It's on all the time. ~ Annie Leibovitz

A Peek Into My Week I don't have anything on my calendar yet this week. We're off Friday. Maybe I'll take hubby to the movies.
A Final Thought Sixteen years ago today, I was 24 hours past my last drink. My very dear high school friend was getting married on this day and I had decided to take a different path in my totally self-destroyed life. It is by far the best decision I've ever made for myself. I've only looked back on it so I could clean up the wreckage I had made and make amends to all people I hurt along the way. Today, I look back on it only to share those parts of my life with people who will benefit from my experience. I am grateful for all of it ... even the hard times. Maybe 2018 will be the year I write the book.
That's all. 
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 ...