Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Well, this is a first. I'm going to attempt posting from my phone. I'm in Denver for the week and by the time I get home, New Year's will be old news.

Last night I attended my first ever yoga session. It went pretty well. I enjoyed the peacefulness of the beautiful space it was held in, the dim lighting, the calming voice of the instructor, the music, and most of all that I didn't make a fool of myself while doing basic stretch poses. Read: I didn't fart!

I've been thinking about my 'word' for 2020 and it was so obvious to me about a month ago that I started practicing it by declaring Sundays as a day of rest. Yeah, I know, it's not a new idea.


Many reading this may not have trouble relaxing but it has been an ongoing challenge for me. I wasted time in my earlier years. An astronomical amount of time. Relaxing has not been a word in my vocabulary all that long. When I finally woke up (circa 2001) to the reality of where my life choices had taken me, I was set on a path to start really living vs. being a feather in the wind. There was no time to waste.

I'm just now learning that relaxing is not wasted time. Being a self-admitted slow learner, I'm here to say it is my mission this year to slow my roll and relax a bit.

    . . . . .

We moved to Arizona in October. We have neighbors on both sides of us. My 87 year old aunt to the right, and a sweet older couple from Montana on the left. I have recently become a student of growing older and these people are teachers to me, and they don't even know it.

Aunt G starts her days early, often going to exercise class, then she sometimes drives seniors to doctor appointments or to the store for groceries. She squeezes in some golf dates, and in between she tends a few flowers and enjoys sitting outside (weather permitting) at 4pm daily. She seems to always be in motion but it seems to be at a relaxed pace.

I often spot my Montana neighbor sitting in his easy chair while reading a book. I've taken note that he sits for hours reading what must be riveting words. I marvel at his tenacity in holding down that chair. I want whatever he has for chair glue. I sit down to read and I am distracted in 100 ways. Can you relate to this?

I've given a lot of thought to ways I can practice relaxing. Writing, reading, walking, cooking, a little cleaning, napping, phone calls to loved ones. Rinse & repeat.

The main thing is I need to not fill my calendar with too many things. And, I need to quit thinking of "relax" as a dirty word. Ya know? I have some extremely deep seated ideas that have been hard to overcome. No blame here, just the facts.

What about you? Do you have a word for 2020? Tell me!

love, susan

Friday, December 13, 2019



My aunt turned 87 this week and we celebrated yesterday with dinner at a mutual friends' house. I have been working on my listening skills. It came in handy last night as there were 8 people at the party and 4 conversations going on all at once for about 3 hours. That's a lot of numbers in one paragraph, huh.
This last year I have been challenged after being diagnosed with presbylarynx. Google says this about it: "Presbylarynx is a condition in which age-related atrophy of the soft tissues of the larynx results in weak voice and restricted vocal range and stamina. In other words, it is the loss of vocal fold tone and elasticity due to aging which affects voice quality."
Old lady voice. Let's be real. It doesn't hurt but it is irritating. When I'm in a room full of talking people, I can't really respond if I have to project my voice over other noises. It makes it difficult to call my dogs in. If I had to yell right now to save my life, this would be my last blog post. I went to see a speech therapist last year and she gave me a lot of great advice for living with this condition. Developing the habits I need to keep my voice from getting worse is a challenge. Basically, I'd rather just not talk. So, I listen. It doesn't make the condition go away but the point is that I don't want it to get worse. Plus, I learn so much when I listen.
Back to last night. We heard some great stories from everyone in the room. My cousin and her hubs made a trip to Phoenix recently and there was a great story about trying to catch an old fashioned taxi cab to and from a basketball game (Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona State). Their dilemma was only made worse by them having to see the Oregon Ducks lose a game while being seated in an Arizona State fan club area. If you know any Ducks fans, you'd know they dress in a fashion so that no one can make any mistake who they are rooting for. Can you imagine having to sit with the rival team fans? Me neither. LOL! Later, my cousin's hubs told a story about going out for a walk here in Yuma the first time he visited, not knowing how awful dark it gets and the fact that we don't have street lights out in our neighborhood ... well ... he got lost and ended up sitting at the closed grocery store ALL NIGHT until the sun came up. (I should add here that laughing hysterically also causes me problems with my vocal chords, so I have to keep my laughter in check. Not easy with this crowd.)
We also learned that my aunt's family moved to Oregon from Nebraska due to the great depression. We had a nice discussion about wringer washers, outhouses, and life without electricity. These are the things that stuck with me. There was so much more but lately I am able to hold on to only a certain number of memories.
Well, now I've come to the end of my post. One of my fellow bloggers wrote a nice post this week and it prompted me to sit still long enough to write this. I'm having a terrible time getting back to writing but I am terribly grateful for the times like last night that give me a whole lot of things to think about.
I'll close this with a question: Can you listen to 3 or 4 conversations at the same time?
love, susan

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December: This and That

Hello friends. Just checking in and making sure I still know how to type. I have been a slacker in all things lately, writing most of all. Journaling has gone to the wayside, photography has been minimal. For no particular reason, I've been like a ship with no rudder since we moved to Arizona. At least, it feels that way.
We've been here 6 weeks now. Those first couple of weeks were filled with too many things to do. Besides getting the water and electricity switched over, there was getting our medical records transferred, dental appointments for the hubs, property business, finding a new hairdresser, etc. Every day I've had things to do. I got my library card renewed, found some new thrift stores, signed up to volunteer at Helping Hands, and developed a walking route with my youngest dog.
Remi and Missy
This last week, our old girl, Missy, has gone downhill in health. She's not eating and is moving very slowly. I suspect she is in the process of dying. The best we can figure, she is about 14 years old. She is still drinking water and holding her bowels but last night she threw up at 2am. She is preferring to lay outside by herself these days. I have been remembering an old German shepherd we had when I lived in Fairbanks. He was a great family dog who never strayed from home but when it was time to die, he took off. We never found him. I remember my parents saying that sometimes dogs do that, they go somewhere quiet to die. I'd like to think Missy just wants some quiet time to think about her life and die in peace. Is it awful that I wish for her to simply slip over to the Rainbow Bridge in her sleep? I have bouts of sadness thinking about life without her but I also know this is part of the deal.
This week I have two volunteer transports for Helping Hands. I pick up elderly people and take them to doctor appointments. I am also helping set up a huge yard sale for Helping Hands ... 1,250 tables of stuff. It takes a week to set up this giant fundraiser. They put me in "knickknacks" to help. I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest volunteer there, which is inspiring. Old people helping old people. It's pretty cool! The best part of this organization is that they have a singleness of purpose and they are very good at what they do. I'll write more about that in a post this month.
Well, that's about it for now. I am 13 days away from going to meet my new grandbaby in Denver. Can I just tell you how hard it has been to not be a future tripper? I am not able to share photos just yet because the adoption process is not complete. I can tell you that LP (little person) is thriving and just may be the cutest baby on the planet!
And, oh, the house in Washington sold and we closed early last week. What a relief to check that off the "to do" list.
Final thought before I close ... I've been trying to reel in my thoughts but it hasn't worked so far. I'm glad to be back in the land of warmer weather and blue skies. I am amazed at how busy I have stayed since moving here. I spend a lot of time outdoors watching the hummingbirds come and go. It's all good.
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 ...