Thursday, January 31, 2019

Why Write?

Four cups of coffee in this morning and I'm ready to take control of the world. I deactivated my FB account for my annual month-long hiatus from that social media platform. I still have an Instagram account but I find I don't spend nearly as much time browsing there. I discovered a setting on FB this morning that shows how much time I average browsing for the week. This week it was 1.25 hours a day. When I see it that way, I cannot afford it. It's a bit like buying a Starbucks coffee every day. I don't think much about it but when I add it up at the end of the month, I want that money back, right? I want my time back. Switching gears now. Stay with me.
Morning Pages.  If you don't know what morning pages are, just Google it. I've been writing morning pages for a quite awhile now but sometimes I get distracted by social media, podcasts, audible books, old fashioned hold in your hands books, and just about anything that will keep me from writing. My goal this month is to get back to morning pages every day. And, step on the treadmill. Are you still with me?
During my morning pages today, I was thinking about a pen pal I used to correspond with often. She was from Katy, Texas. I sent a card at Christmas time and it was returned. She must have closed her post office box. I haven't seen her post on her blog in about a year. I don't know what happened to her. I write about it here and hope maybe she is reading this so she'll know I am thinking of her. I have another pen pal who lives in Arizona now. (I wish there was a font for envy!) Anyway, I placed her name and address in my journal just in case I get hit by a truck today. I'd want whoever reads my journals to send her a note and let her know what happened to meThese are the things I think about when I journal. Call me crazy.
Lastly, I just Googled the words Why write? and here are some most excellent quotes that I can relate to. I have to write. FACT: When I get distracted by other things, I am less happy.
My favorite quote from this site
“Writing eases my suffering . . . writing is my way
of reaffirming my own existence.” – Gao Xingjian
Raising my coffee cup to you this morning and getting back to it.
love, susan

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Upsides: Hello February, I Love You

Despite the gray weather, I had a good weekend. Saturday, I met with a work friend and her two littles at the park for a quick photo shoot. My friend scored mommy points for bringing her kids out in the foggy, cold morning. Some moms wouldn't do that but she knew hers needed to run off a little steam. When mine was little, the school had them out on recess down to -10°. I always felt sorry for the teachers having to bundle up 25+ kids for a 15 minute recess.  Yesterday, I was invited out to a friend's farm to get some photos of her hubby's dogs. She wants to surprise him with photos on his office wall. She gave me a dozen, organic, farm fresh eggs that barely fit in the container. This made my hubs smile big time.  I found a new-to-me hummus at Costco that I really like that's made with jalapenos.  Yesterday, I ran into a friend who is down on her luck. She told me she needed some toenail clippers so I put an extra pair in my purse and ran into her last night to give them to her. We talked about how the little things in life mean so much.  I thought about this a lot yesterday and when I laid my head down I felt grateful.
  • I am at the end of another month of minimizing my belongings. I've made several trips to donate clothes, etc.
  • I've decided to take a 30 day hiatus from FB starting February 1. You can still find me on Instagram @freezerburned2013 and here. Goals: read & write.
  • I finished Gold Dust Woman on audible and going to start a new book today.
  • We're going to a potluck with a bunch of like-minded friends on Thursday after work.
  • 16 work Mondays to go. The retirement paperwork is going in the mail today. It's gettin' real up in here.
  • It's February this week! I love Valentine's Day.  Hearts and love everywhere.
My friend, Val, and her egg-laying chicken. I think Val has the prettiest smile!
She was painting her office when we arrived yesterday. She's a hard-working farm wife. 
I like photos that are real, don't you?

I'd like to thank this chicken for giving me eggs this week.

Dude, if you like hummus, you should try this one.

This is Chewy. He is a love bug! ❤

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Upsides: Happy MLK Day - 2019

These beauties are going to a new home this week.
I love holiday Mondays. All my working life I have made doctor and vet appointments on holiday Mondays. Most doctor offices are open and it's just easier for me to take care of that kind of business when I'm off. Today, I dropped Abbie (the border collie) off at the vet for a teeth cleaning and probably some extractions. I'll have to work a whole week to pay for it but it has to be done. The hubs and I are going to the dentist in a few minutes. Then, maybe I'll talk him into taking me for breakfast and a road trip. It rained all day yesterday and the blue skies are here this morning.
  • The rain has stopped.
  • No work today.
  • We are gaining noticeable daylight.
  • We celebrated our 15 wedding anniversary last week, which means we are in our 16th year of marriage now.

I love my Snapseed app which allows me to
add life to my old images. I think Mary Oliver
would have approved.

Our wedding day on the might Colorado river in Laughlin, Nevada

It's eagle time here in Eastern Washington.

Found this random door out in the middle of nowhere
while on photo walk.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Holding Space for Others

Yesterday was a full day. One of the women in a big circle of friends I see on a regular basis had written on FB that she wanted to start a book club in 2019. A couple of mutual friends jumped on that and we had our second meeting yesterday. The starter of the group wasn't able to attend but those who could show up, showed up. I've learned a lot about group dynamics over the years and it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately due to several circumstances that have happened over the last year. I am an observer and a thinker. Bottom line is that we had a great conversation about the book we're reading this month called Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. One person skipped a couple of chapters, one person quit reading this book altogether, and another just didn't have time to read more a couple chapters. I'm not here to review the book. But, some interesting thoughts bubbled up while deep in conversation with my women friends yesterday that I want to share.
Writer's Grace I admitted to the group that I DID NOT want to read this book when they announced it was the chosen one.  I read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised that I found things I could relate to. I decided to read this book with what I dub writer's grace. People, it's fucking hard to write a book. This book is her story. Who am I to judge her? I changed my attitude and I believe it helped me get through it with the most open mind I could muster. In the end, I thought it was slightly sugar coated but as we discussed in book club, publishing a book is difficult and there is such a thing as a target audience (tribe). I am not her tribe but I managed to find something to take away from her experience and honor her efforts. Isn't that what we're here for?
Take What You Want, Leave the Rest This is a cliché that has served me well for lots of years now. I feel like everyone I cross paths with has something to teach me. Sometimes it is a characteristic that I want to study more, or it's a behavior I find appalling and I strive to "not be that way". It doesn't matter, I embrace it all and feel like every day I am in this huge classroom with y'all. Besides coming together to talk about the book, I was impressed with the commitment the other women in this newly formed club made to show up at 9am on a Saturday morning for coffee. Holding space means a lot to me and apparently to others.
Encouraging Other Writers Turns out one of the women in the book club is a writer. She's been trying to get back to a manuscript she has in the bag, so we talked about encouraging each other. Just that simple interaction prompted me to keep a few notes in my memo app so I could write this today.
BONUS YESTERDAY: After book club, I photographed this beautiful German Shepherd rescue and then I went on a photo walk in the afternoon with my photo buddy. We went in search of American Bald Eagles and we were not disappointed when we came upon a mature and juvenile eagle sitting together. It was gift from the universe!
After all this, a friend gave birth to her baby late in the day. I received a photo of her beautiful baby girl and I couldn't help but think the day was maybe the best one I've had in a very long time. If every day was like yesterday, I might die from over-happiness. It was right up there on the scale!
DO YOU HOLD SPACE FOR OTHERS? Do you go into it with expectations, or do you wait to see how it is all going to turn out? Do you ever read a book you don't really want to and later decide you're glad you didn't count it out? What are you reading right now?  Talk to me!
love, susan

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Upsides: 19 Mondays to Go

Love this message!

The hubs using the noise cancelling earphones
his daughter gave him for Xmas!
Last week I received a call from the records department for State of Alaska, confirming the certified documents I ordered to complete my retirement packet are headed my way. Those should arrive this coming week, and I think I'll have everything I need to wrap up my application and put a stamp on it. The next step will be waiting for a return letter that confirms my retirement is set to go with a start date. I figure I'll have to work the first week of June, and since there are two Monday holidays between now and then, I only have 19 to go. I've never hated Mondays. I don't hate them now. But, I do look forward to warmer weather and the thought of growing some tomatoes and peppers, and having the time to give them the care they deserve. This weekend, I bought a book called How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie Zelinski. I believe I am on the right track!
  • We've had very little snow so far this winter.
  • The hubs is using his new headphones (read: political b.s. silenced)
  • I survived a trip to Costco on Saturday.
  • I made a new dish called Coconut Curry Garbanzo Beans that was a big hit.
  • I am back on the Bright Line Eating band wagon ... finally.
  • Yesterday, I napped with reckless abandon. #screwguilt
  • Did I mention I only have 19 working Mondays to go?
Nineteen Mondays to Go!

How about you ... what upsides can you think of?

love, susan

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Upsides

I'm posting this from my cellphone, which is annoying to do. So, keeping it simple.

Not one cloud in the sky today.
I'm dog sitting for two cute dogs.
Had lunch on Saturday with my pregnant friend. 
Met up for coffee with my new book club girls.
20 Mondays to go. Yes, I'm counting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Time Off: It's Like Birthday Money


Missy vying for her piece of my "time" pie
I had the greatest day off  celebrating the new year. Laundry got done, a few blinds got dusted, a nap was had, a lackadaisical coffee date with a friend, and a meet up with several like-minded friends at the end of the day. Dogs were loved on, the hubs got a fabulous home-cooked stir-fried lunch, and I finished listening to The Poisonwood Bible on audible. 🌟  I often have a difficult time in my time off ... so many things I want to do but troubled by figuring out how I want to spend my precious days off ... kind of like a kid with birthday money and not sure how she should spend it. 🌟 At the end of the day, I smiled because I felt like I really leaned into the watchword I chose for 2019 ... embrace. Embrace the here and now, embrace my friends, embrace my life. Most of all, I am learning to embrace the struggles. There is much to be learned. 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 ...