Sunday Morning 5/26/2019: Week 2 in Portland

Looking out east over Portland, watching the traffic cross the Ross Island Bridge. Our former home was a little off to the right, out of the picture.

What a difference a week makes! Last weekend I was dragging, and felt like my head was stuffed with cotton. I had absolutely no motivation to do anything. But, I slept through the night for the first time last Sunday and woke up feeling refreshed and like my old self. Although I’m going to bed earlier than I usually do (around 10:00 p.m.) and waking up much earlier too, I’ve slept through every night this week, so I guess I’m over the jet lag, the fastest I’ve ever recovered.

We cross several bridges on our hikes through the forest, with the lovely sound of water running underneath.
Love, love, love my new trail shoes. I have a wide foot and these shoes give me plenty of room. The cushioned soles are pretty amazing too.

We’ve had a very productive week. Brett and I have been hiking or walking almost every day, either on trails in the nearby forest or in the city. I’ve actually felt like cooking in the evenings, I’ve been reading up a storm, and have taken care of all sorts of little jobs that I just didn’t feel like doing up until now. We turned the rental car back in last Tuesday and have either walked or used public transportation since, including a trip over to Trader Joe’s in NW Portland. I had a bone density test done this past Thursday and walked to and from the clinic in the Kohler Center at OHSU (with seven flight of stairs each way). We’ll have a real test of the system though when I go over to the dentist’s office next Tuesday – it’s located on the far east side, and the bus and tram ride over is estimated to take over an hour. Our motto this summer though is if we could do it in Tokyo, we can do it here!

Waiting for the streetcar in downtown Pioneer Courthouse Square, “Portland’s Living Room.”
And here comes our Max tram to take us to the NW neighborhood! Our round-trip ride cost us just $1.25.

We’ve been enjoying pretty nice weather too – some rain, some cooler temps, but also quite a bit of sunshine. It’s been warm enough to have the windows open on some days, and Portland is lush and green all over, especially so in the forest. My new trail shoes are very comfortable, although I can tell I will eventually need some thicker socks if I am going to walk longer.

Finally, don’t forget to enter the current giveaway for the brocade obi from Japan! You can enter once a day until June 7 by leaving a (short) comment on the giveaway post even if it’s just to say hi. The more entries, the greater your chances of winning.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: Because I’m still waiting for a library book to come off of hold, I downloaded The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú, voted one of the best books of 2018. Cantú writes about his experience working for Customs and Border Patrol as an agent in the southwest, and why he finally decided to leave the agency. It’s an amazing piece of writing.
  • Listening to: I’m enjoying a very quiet morning – Brett is up and reading, but YaYu is still sleeping and it’s very quiet outside (which is one of the things we like about where we’re living this summer – it’s a very quiet community). After a rainy day yesterday we were hoping for sunshine today but can’t tell yet whether that’s going to happen or not.
  • Watching: We watched one of my all-time favorite movies on Netflix last Wednesday evening, Kung Fu Hustle. It’s a very different sort of Chinese kung fu movie with lots of humor and laugh-out-loud moments (but also has great fighting sequences). Since we finally have access to Amazon Prime, YaYu and I have started binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Brett and I are watching Fleabag.
  • Cooking/baking: We’re having scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning once YaYu gets up (she and Brett are also having toast and jam with theirs). Dinner tonight is mabo dofu served with steamed rice – cauliflower rice for me – and a cucumber salad. Other things appearing on the menu this week will include beef Polish sausages with fresh sauerkraut, chili shrimp and sweet and sour pork, chicken in Thai curry sauce, and Cobb salads.

    My index cards are a big help in keeping me motivated and making sure I stay on track with my goals.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I got all sorts of little things done that I just had no energy nor motivation for last week, like creating my checklist cards, sorting through all the hotel toiletries we brought back so we can use them up; getting my compression socks and a couple of other things ordered, renting a car to get YaYu to the airport next week, taking some hikes through the forest, and walking through the OHSU campus a couple of times.
  • Looking forward to next week: Two of our three girls are taking off in different directions this coming week: WenYu will return to Massachusetts following a successful term abroad in Cyprus, and YaYu will depart for her big summer in Japan on Thursday morning. I will miss having them with us for the summer, but am so proud of both of them for their initiative. I’m looking forward to taking some more walks/hikes in the forest (including one with my good friend Joan), weather permitting, but mostly am excited about being able to relax and not have to rush around and run a lot of errands and such except to see the dentist – I am not looking forward to the trip over there and back.

    The iconic post-modern Portland Building is undergoing (much-needed) renovations, and Portlandia, the second-largest copper repoussé statue in the U.S. after the Statue of Liberty, is still under wraps for the summer.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Nothing particularly stands out – it was just a great week all around. I especially loved getting back into downtown Portland, and over to the NW Nob Hill neighborhood.

    Kitchen Kaboodle on NW 23rd was my first employer when we arrived in Portland 27 years ago. I left with lots of quality cookware and utensils (that I still have) thanks to the generous employee discount and several sales incentives.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) YaYu asked to stop at Goodwill last Monday and we bought a nice vase for 99¢, a gorgeous black velvet shirt for me for $9.99 that I couldn’t resist, a summer cotton shirt for $7.99 for Brett, and a paper towel holder for the apartment kitchen for $4.99. 2) We have not thrown out any food this week except for one package of Trader Joe’s hamburger rolls which were covered with mold after just a couple of day in the fridge (grrr) – everything else, including leftovers, has been used up or eaten. 3) I signed up for a free month of Amazon prime and saved $7.68 in shipping fees on my order of compression socks and a couple of other things we needed (now I just need to remember to cancel it at the end of the month). 4) I reserved a rental car for next week to take YaYu to the airport early in the morning – the cost was just $6 more than an Uber ride and we have the car for 24 hours. 5) We put $8.46 into our change/$1 bill bag.

    We’re living within easy walking distance of the OHSU campus this summer, with its hospitals and many clinics. I love the way the new buildings fit in with the old.
  • Grateful for: I am beyond thankful for the medical care we’re able to receive because of Brett’s military service. Between Medicare and our military insurance we no longer have any out-of-pocket charges, and here in Portland we can access clinics and be seen by doctors at the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), which provides some of the best healthcare in the city and state. We also now have even better dental insurance now than we did in the past and also vision care (finally!) through the military.
  • Bonus question: How does it feel to be back in Portland? I told Brett the other day that except for the long dreary winters I could easily live here again. I love being so close again to friends. I also love all the green, the stores, and everything the city offers, but I don’t think I can deal with the cold, wet winters again – it was very depressing last winter. I am enjoying being on the west side (of the Willamette River) this time, up in the hills for a change – the views! – so we’ll see how that goes through the summer.

I am still unable to comment on any Blogger platform for some reason. I thought it might have been a Japan problem, but I’ve tried to comment a couple of times this week and my comments still vanish into the ether when I submit them. Also, I now get notices that several blogs and websites I read are “not secure” and I’m not sure what that means either.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day for remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country, and for saying thank you for that service and that we remember you for a debt we still struggle to repay. Veterans Day is for thanking those who got to come home from their service; this weekend is one of remembrance for those who didn’t.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great late spring week, that lots of good things happened for you, and that you’re looking forward to the week coming up.  And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!


22 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 5/26/2019: Week 2 in Portland

  1. Love Mrs. Maisel! Binged it too fast and am now waiting for the next season…a long wait.

    Sounds like a great place to land in the good weather season! Familiar, fun, and friends. Can’t beat that.

    What kind of shoes did you get? Do they have a removable insole? They look really comfy. My feet are demanding more supportive, comfortable shoes most days, and I also put an orthotic in most of them.


    1. We have Seasons 1 & 2 available now, but only a month of Prime so we’re trying to quickly get through both before that goes away.

      The hiking shoes are made by Altra. The local store where I bought them (Foot Traffic) had two versions: the regular ones and the ones I got with more cushioning in the soles. They are very comfortable. I haven’t checked the insole, but I seem to have enough arch support.

      I am really liking being back in Portland this time, especially being on the other side of the river. It’s a nice change.


  2. Glad you are over the jet lag and settling into life in Portland. Which shoes did you purchase? I have a wide foot and it is always a challenge finding good shoes. I have found my feet like Brooks Ghost.


    1. I can’t believe I recovered this quickly from jet lag – it usually takes me several weeks to get back on a regular sleep cycle.

      The trail shoes are made by Altra ( – I got them at a local running store. The box says they are “foot shaped” and they are – my toes are not cramped at all and they have good arch support.


  3. I’m a lover of lists and like the idea of putting them on index cards. With all my clutter I will lose them though.

    Portland looks very beautiful. I think I’d love a wet cold winter. Just one. And only if I wasn’t working so I could have an enforced slow season.

    Are you’re trail shoes white? They look very light coloured. Nice but I’d be no good with light coloured walking shoes. Just wrecked my Nikes by gardening in them. A bugger as I have gardening shoes. Just forgot to change.

    I can’t comment on Blogger either. I created a google account which worked on some but not all so I posted anonymously. Such a bother the Blogger WordPress war.

    As is that I can’t access Mrs Maisel.


    1. I got started with the index cards one summer when the girls had loads left over from the school year. They were easy to turn into a place to check off what I needed to get done each day, and didn’t take up a lot of space. I just chose a spot where I could easily see them and get into the habit of going over and checking things off.

      The trail shoes are light gray. They will probably get quite muddy when we’re in England, but we have a washer in the house we’ve rented, and if they become irredeemable while we’re there I know where to go to replace them.

      I’ve contacted a few Blogger people and we’ve come up with some work-arounds, like blogging anonymously and then signing my name. What a pain though. I would like to know though what is up with the “not secure” notice for so many sites I visit though.

      I’m surprised you can’t get Amazon Prime Video there – we were able to access Netflix when we were in Sydney. It’s a terrific show – you would love it!


  4. About those TJ’s hamburger buns that turned moldy after 2 days: If you go to TJ’s and tell them what happened, they will refund your money – even if you don’t have the receipt. That has been my experience!


    1. I would have returned them (and we have the receipt!) except that we don’t have a TJ’s anywhere near us, and without a car this summer getting to one is a planned outing rather than just hopping in the car. I had them in the refrigerator too, but should have put them in the freezer, which is what I’m going to do from now on.

      Looking forward to getting together soon!


  5. Everything looks so cool and green: sweltering here in Florida and no rain in sight for at least another week! Agree with you about the Tricare for Life and Medicare – I finally turned 65 & no copays has been great. And can’t say enough about finally being able to be part of FEP dental plan like you said: we went with higher level with NO limit and it is great! Thank you & your husband for your USN service, my husband (USMC), all our service members & veterans, and especially on this days all those who never made it home. Always enjoy your log.


    1. The green of Portland has always been my favorite thing about the city, and walking through the green forest just feeds my soul (although I am really, really out of shape for all the ups and downs on the trail). We had rain yesterday and it was COLD, for me anyway – I had forgotten about that part of living here.

      To your husband: Thank you! There have been some interesting discussions online recently about what to say to veterans and those serving, and most say a simple thank you is enough.

      I think we must be on the same dental plan – it’s wonderful. Haven’t use the vision plan yet but it’s coming up. As we both wear glasses, we’re happy to have any vision insurance but this plan is supposed to be very good.

      P.S. I was able to get rid of the extras 😉


  6. I love your documentation of your travels, all of it!!
    And yes you know Memorial Day can sometimes get lost in barbecues and the summer feels, but it is important.
    I can’t believe sometimes that my 100 year old grandfather fought in WWII and was a POW. He knew many who didn’t make it home and ya know what? Im not sure what his thoughts are each veterans day, but he is very sharp and could share stories for hours of his time in flight school and being shot down by the Germans….times have changed so much since then. He does not like our current administration in the least I do know that!!


    1. Thanks! I have enjoyed writing as we’ve traveled around, and also enjoyed going back through them to relive some of the experiences and think again about what we’ve seen and done.

      My dad was a veteran of both WWII and Korea; he saw ships hit by kamikaze when he was stationed in the Pacific, and some other horrible things during the Korean War, but nothing as awful as being captured and held as a POW. Our next door neighbor growing up was also captured in Germany – I remember him being furious about the show Hogans Heroes. He said there had been absolutely nothing humorous in that experience.

      I’d like to think my parents, veterans and lifelong Republicans, would find the current president crass and vulgar, and not worthy of leading the country. I believe they would also be shocked by the direction things are going as well.


  7. Portland is beautiful. Very hot here 101 degrees when I got in the car this afternoon and no rain for a while now and nothing in sight. The lawn is starting to crunch when you walk on it.
    I will turn 65 in November and am looking forward to Medicare. I currently pay $734+ per month for health insurance and that will become a supplement. I was upset recently when I got a statement, I paid $40 to see an ARNP and the insurance paid $7 There is no vision or dental coverage for retirees from my former employer and I am already out over $5000 for dental this year. I am hoping for better coverage come November.
    My parents have medicare and Tricare but I am not aware of dental or vision coverage for them. Can you refer me to a website so I can research their eligibility.
    Please thank Brett for his service and yours too.
    p..s. The hiking trail looks wonderful, so green. More pictures please.


    1. Vivian, when I read what others pay for insurance I am both saddened and horrified. Sometimes I still can’t believe we don’t have single payer, government sponsored insurance in our country, like Medicare for everyone. LOTS of other countries have it, and people receive excellent care and aren’t going broke paying for it. We have been very happy with Tricare, and with Medicare, and combined they work very well for military retirees.

      Here is the link to the Tricare page about the new dental and vision insurance for military retirees: Hopefully your parents wont have any trouble signing up – it’s very affordable.

      We took a hike through the forest again today, a bit longer than the other time, and it was so beautiful. I feel like I am “forest bathing.”


    1. Blogger and WordPress seem to have these little tiffs now and again. This one seems to be lasting longer than usual though. For now I going to comment as ‘anonymous’ but sign my name to the comment.


  8. Hi. Quick question for you – is your dentist insurance through the military? My husband is also retired military. Thanks! Susa


  9. I love seeing all of your travel photos, but the ones of Portland might be my favorite! We got married there in 2014. We visited Kitchen Kaboodle while there (I am a kitchen accouterments junkie lol). Thanks for listing your reading list. I’ve just made a couple of holds on some of your list.


    1. Thanks! Isn’t Kitchen Kaboodle wonderful! I learned so much when I worked there, but there were temptations around every turn. We bought some of our furniture there as well.


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