Sunday Morning 6/2/2019: Week 3 in Portland

When a tree falls in the forest . . . . In Portland, it is quickly covered with moss! The English ivy looks beautiful, but it’s an invasive species here and has taken over much of the forests in the city.

It’s now just the two of us again. YaYu departed for her summer adventure in Japan this past Thursday morning, and it’s taken us these past couple of days to get used to her absence. We know she’s going to have a wonderful time there this summer (and would have been completely bored here with us). I had a long conversation with her yesterday – she was getting ready to learn how to pick up C from school. She’ll be doing it for the first time on her own tomorrow and is nervous.

This is apparently going to be My Summer of Dental Work. After having lots of x-rays taken and an exam done by my dentist last week, beginning tomorrow I will be having (in order of the work being done): a major filling, an extraction, another filling, a crown, bridge prep and new front lower bridge, cleaning and whitening. The extraction will be in my lower front in preparation for the new bridge, so for the next six weeks I am going to have a gap there while it heals – lovely. However, my old bridge is 30 years old and old technology, and it’s frankly a miracle it’s held on this long. In the time between tomorrow’s filling and extraction and getting the bridge installed, the crown and the other filling will be done. Other than the cavities – my first ones in nearly 50 years – I knew all of this was coming and it’s finally time to deal with it. We are expecting the bill, even after insurance, to be quite high – we’ll receive an estimate tomorrow. I will be glad however to have my teeth in the best shape possible when we head overseas again.

English ivy doesn’t just stay on the ground either – it overtakes the trees as well.

Brett and I were going to go see the Starlight Parade last night, the opening event in Portland’s annual Rose Festival. The parade is a celebration of all that is weird and wacky in Portland and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my back had other ideas so we ended up staying home – there was no way I could have stood for that long. In the 20+ years we lived in Portland we never made it to the Starlight Parade, so we were very much looking forward to going, but in the long run I’d rather my back feeling better than worse.

The Clown Prince of Portland float in the Starlight Parade. (photo credit: Pamplin Media Group)

Finally, there are four more days left for the obi giveaway, so four more chances to win (please enter on the original giveaway post). Giveaway #2 will be announced on Thursday, and the winner for Giveaway #1 on Friday.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished reading All You Can Ever Know, by Nicole Chung. She was adopted as an infant, and writes about her experiences and feelings growing up in a loving white family (she is ethnically Korean), and in a community where she was “different,” then searching for her birth family (her adoption was domestic, so not the same hurdles as it would have been if the adoption had been international). Her reactions and feelings about her adoption and meeting her birth family are compelling and emotional. Today I’m starting An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and after that I have another Val McDermid mystery to read.
  • Listening to: It’s quiet now, but earlier it sounded like one of the families that live in our condo buildings was getting ready to go on vacation of something. We could hear what sounded like the dad and the kids getting the car packed to go somewhere out on the street side of our building (the courtyard side is quiet though). The kids were very excited which made me wonder where they were going! Inside though it’s quiet – Brett is reading while eating a bowl of oatmeal and I’m up on the sofa, writing.
  • Watching: We finished up all the available episodes of Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before YaYu left – we all loved them both and are looking forward to upcoming seasons. Brett and I have been watching Chernobyl the last few days, which we found extremely sobering – I knew the accident was bad, but I had no idea how bad until now. The final episode will be tomorrow evening. Last night I watched all three episodes of The ABC Murders (starring John Malkovich) on Amazon – it was very well done.

    Even though I’m avoiding starches, Friday night is pizza night. We made a bacon blue cheese burger pizza this week, which was fairly low carb – 32 gm per slice. And for dessert . . .
  • Cooking/baking: We are going to have zoodles with meat sauce tonight – our new spiralizer has arrived (we left our old one back on Kaua’i by accident). On the menu this week will be pork chops, fried cauliflower rice, teriyaki chicken, and pizza on Friday evening. I’m not sure what we’ll be having the other two evenings although I’m dreaming of another Cobb salad.

    . . . I had a mixed berry parfait (whipped cream and fresh berries) – extremely low carb and DELICIOUS!
  • Happy I accomplished this week: We helped YaYu pack and got her safely off at the airport – she had an easy if long flight and arrived in Japan on time and is settling in. I filled in all of this week’s goals card – having to check things off motivates me to get things done, and I’m also someone who hates to see things go unfinished! I hurt my back earlier in the week and didn’t think I would get much walking done, but somehow, except for Monday, when my back was at its worse, by the end of each day I had walked at least a mile and a half! I’m taking it slow though so that I don’t re-injure my back again.

    My goals card was all filled in (except for Monday’s walk when my back pain was at its worse).
  • Looking forward to next week: The OHSU farmer’s market opens on Wednesday afternoon and we’re planning to go and see what’s there. We may also go to the main Portland farmer’s market on Saturday, down in the Park Blocks by Portland State University. Brett and I want to visit NW Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden this week, and later today we’re going to ride the aerial tram down and back up as well as walk around the neighborhood at the bottom of the hill. We’re planning to take at least two more hikes through the forest this week (but hopefully more) – it is so wonderful to be in there. Of course, everything is dependent on the weather. If it rains we’re pretty much stuck inside but so far it looks like a good week ahead.

    My favorite flowers: peonies!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We spent a wonderful morning on Friday catching up with our friend Joan – we thought we’d visit a couple of hours and instead spent nearly five hours chatting away (which included a short walk in the forest). I picked up a small bunch of peonies, my favorite flower, at Trader Joe’s this past week. They’re slowly blooming, which is fine with me because the longer they last the better. Brett started his calligraphy class here yesterday and had a very good first session! Although we spent a lot of money last week we are now well stocked for the summer and shouldn’t have to go back to Costco, Winco or Target at all – our shopping will now be limited to small trips to Trader Joe’s and the farmer’s market, or we might have food delivered from New Seasons. I ordered a pair of leggings from J. Jill (on sale) and they turned out to be too big, something I never thought would happen to me these days so I am returning them for a smaller size. I found a pair of lovely, affordable sterling silver hoop earrings made by a local artisan at an airport shop after we said goodbye to YaYu, so that’s another summer goal that’s been accomplished.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This was not a frugal week – we spent A LOT of money on food, wine, and supplies to get us through the summer. We at least ate all our leftovers and did not waste any food, and we put $15.49 into our change/$1 bill bag.
  • Grateful for: There are so many transportation options in Portland, and we’re finding it very easy to get around town without having a car. We can also get free delivery from our favorite grocery store (New Seasons), and we’ve signed up for a car-share service. We’re feeling very thankful to have so many ways to get around this summer without having had to rent a car.
  • Bonus question? What’s on your nightstand? Well, what’s not on my bedside table at this house is a lamp, which I wish was there. Otherwise, there’s a small dish that holds my ear plugs, some lip balm and cuticle cream from Lush, my Kindle because I always read in bed at night, a coaster because I always have a glass of water by the bed at night, my little inu hariko figure, and an inu hariko ema I bought at a temple we visited in Japan. This table has a drawer, and inside I keep my sleep mask and a bag of odds and ends I carry with me (emery boards, tape measure, extra ear plugs, sewing kit, etc.).

I am dreading my time in the dentist’s chair tomorrow, but I know it’s all going to make me better in the end. I will survive. And, the ride over there and back on the bus and tram turned out not to be as bad as I thought it would be, thank goodness. I am really warming to this whole not having a car thing more and more. Our Zipcar pass arrived yesterday and we are logged in, so will have use of a car if absolutely necessary, but otherwise we’re sticking to public transportation and walking.

I’m looking forward to the coming week and hope you are too! I’m also hoping that you had lots of good things happen for you this past week, that you’ve got a good book to read and good food to eat, and that everything else is going well.

31 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 6/2/2019: Week 3 in Portland

  1. It’s so fun to keep up with your life!! I miss the fact that you’re not still down in Kapaa, but this is second best. Glad to see life is turning out great for you both in Portland. Good luck at the dentist. Where to next???


    1. Hi Joy! Although we’ve had and are having a wonderful time on the road, we still greatly miss our life on Kaua’i and plan on getting back there one day for a long visit. Sometimes I still can’t believe we lived there – it seems like a dream now (well, except for the nightmare part with our landlord).

      I will be writing more later in the summer about future plans. For now we’re heading to England for three months at the end of August and are really looking forward to that visit. Then back to Portland for December and the holidays with the girls.


    1. I thankfully like our dentist (and wish she wasn’t located so far away), so I’m pretty sure it will all go well.

      Zipcar is for those days/trips/errands when we really need to have a car!


  2. Laura, sorry about all your dental problems. I too am going through the bridge thing. I have never had one but my lower front tooth was fractured below the gum line and had to be extracted. However I never went any time without a tooth, they made me a plastic temporary which sat right down in the space where the tooth had been, made the healing process minimal. That was about 2 weeks ago and then I go back in two more weeks and they do something, can’t remember what and then 2 weeks later I get the permanent bridge. Our dental insurance is pretty good, but my out of pocket was about $2,000.00, Ouch!!

    Glad you are enjoying Portland. Our LeeAnn works at OHSU in a building right at the bottom of the tram. She is in Neurology as a Medical Assistant. She really likes it. She is going to PSU at night, and her goal is med school to be a physicians assistant.

    Sorry you missed the parade. We didn’t go but in past years have attended many. It is a very interesting and fun event.

    I will be thinking of you this week while in your dental process. I am a white knuckle patient and would rather do most anything else.


    1. I am going to have the two lower front removed (one is from the old bridge). One of the teeth holding the bridge has been completely damaged though and has to go. I’m figuring all of this is going to cost us around $3000. Ouch is right.

      I’m OK in the dentist chair as long as they give me enough Novocaine. I keep reminding myself that I won’t be there forever.


  3. I have spent over a thousand dollars on my teeth, so far, in 2019, and I have to see an Endodontist next week because the dentist says my tooth is dying… sigh. My teeth are terrible……genetic. So, I can sympathize. I have dental insurance but it only pays 50 percent. Love the photos of Portland!


    1. We have better dental insurance now than we did last year, but it still only covers 50% of bridges and crowns. Thankfully our dentist does not charge as much as some others in the area do, and her work is superb.


  4. I hate the dentist, especially the thought of extractions. I feel my anxiety rises even reading about your upcoming work.

    Love how tidy your bedside table is. And live the pattern on your kindle cover. I must tidy my table. It seems to collect stuff like paperwork and electronic cords.

    How lovely to know your daughter will connect with her niece and nephew.


    1. I have had two previous extractions, and I nearly passed out during both, so it’s the procedure I am dreading most. I OK otherwise as long as I’ve been numbed up enough. Our family dentist when I was a child decided one day give me a filling without anesthesia, and when I screamed he slapped me! I told my mom and none of us ever went back. I want enough Novocaine to where I can’t feel anything for hours.

      I just bought the Kindle cover – my old one fell apart right before we arrived in Portland. I had it for four years though, which was a pretty good run considering how much it was used.

      YaYu is still figuring things out – she has called every day with questions. Monday there is her first day on her own though.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s so fun to read your blog. I very much enjoy it! I’m glad you are able to get your dental work done while you are “home” for the summer. Wondering if you ever got your deposit back from your place in Hawaii? What a nightmare that landlord was!


    1. For as much as I wish I wasn’t having all this dental work done, I’m glad we’re here and it’s being done by a dentist I trust (her hygenist is another story though – she’s very rough and has nearly pulled off crowns and my old bridge in the past).

      We did eventually get all but $200 back of our deposit, so I call that a win. I don’t think he wouldn’t have paid it though if Brett hadn’t accidentally dialed him when we were in Italy.


      1. Oh, good, I’m so glad to hear you got most of your money back. It’s probably worth the $200.00 to never have to deal with him again. From your reports it sounds like the people there in Hawaii are very kind people. Unfortunately, you just got stuck with a bad apple!


  6. Dental work–the bane of the retiree. Hope all goes well and doesn’t bother you too much. So love reading about Portland. We lived there for seven years when we were first married (and I lived there for a year or so in the 70s) and go back frequently. Powell’s is always a stop and in December we went to the deli nearby, which was wonderful. The Rose Festival used to have a fair along the waterfront, and my husband lost our son (my DH calls it “being separated”) for quite a while. My big memory of the Rose Festival. New Seasons is wonderful, isn’t it? My favorite grocery store when we visit.


    1. Meant to ask–which Val McDermid books do you like?. I’ve only read the Karen Pirie series. Tried to watch the Tony Hill series on TV, but it was too psycho for me so I wondered if the books would be hard to read. Noticed she has two other female characters.


      1. I’ve been reading the Tony Hill series so far, and can see where they would make for some weird television. Book-wise though they’re OK. I’m not sure if her newest book is in the Karen Pirie series or not – it’s the one I’ll be reading next.


    2. I’m curious now where you lived in Portland. I went to school at Lewis & Clark for a while, and when we moved back we started out in NE (Boise-Elliott), then lived in the Rose City Park neighborhood for 10 years, followed by nine years in the Woodstock neighborhood.

      I’m pretty sure we’ll make it to Powell’s eventually, although we don’t buy books any more. It’s still a lot of fun to look around there. though.

      The Rose Festival fair is still going strong down on the Waterfront. The girls loved to go when they were little. We also always watched the Jr. Rose Parade (because it was near our first house), and when we lived in Boise-Elliott we were close enough to walk to see the big Rose Parade.

      We just ordered a few things from New Seasons and are having them delivered . . . for free! It’s the one store that isn’t convenient for us to get to from where we are living, so this is a great solution.


      1. We don’t buy books either for ourselves, but love to browse and this last trip bought Christmas gifts. Thinking about where I lived brought back memories. The first time was in the Hawthorne neighborhood a couple of blocks from the Bagdad theater, then a house on Belmont street (SE), then an attic room in a house in the NE. Can’t remember the streets, but it was one of those post war houses. In the 80s, we lived at 33rd and Tibbets, a few blocks up from Powell Blvd. My bike was stolen off the porch while I was inside making a phone call , then someone stole tools from the little detached garage, then someone stole the windshield wipers off the car and we moved to the First Addition neighborhood of Lake Oswego. Sorry about all the reminiscing!


      2. I am familiar with all the places you mentioned (esp. Hawthorne, Belmont, and your last address in SE). Smart move over to Lake Oswego after that! That’s too bad about so many things getting stolen. I guess we were lucky – the house next door to us in Woodstock was broken into once, but we never had any issues. Our car was broken into when we lived up in Rose City though.


  7. Ouch…I just finished a little crown drama myself. Good luck! And I really liked An American Marriage…hope you do too.

    Our neighbors are Canadians who use the home as a cottage, and when they left this week they brought over a bouquet of peonies from Trader Joe’s because they couldn’t take them home and wanted someone to enjoy them. What a treat! I have two young peony bushes in my garden that have buds this year for the first time (it’s their third year). Woo hoo! Might have to stop by TJ’s before they bloom, as they’re just little tight buds so far.

    I hope YaYu has a great summer in Japan…I’m sure once she gets into the routine it will be a great opportunity for her to bond with her nephew and niece. Fun way to make money. 🙂


    1. The crown alone would be bad enough, but I am absolutely dreading the extraction and the bridge. It will all look and function well though when it’s done. I am so glad none of this fell apart on the road other than the broken tooth on our way back to the U.S. (that’s where the permanent crown is going).

      I never saw peonies growing up, but fell in love with them when I first went to Japan as a college student. I also love iris of all kind, but not as much as peonies, and they don’t look as good in a vase. Three years was how long it took for our peony bushes to start producing flowers, but once they did – wow! And, they got better and better every year.

      She’s going to do OK – she called me this afternoon (her morning there) and she was busy doing housework. After that’s done each day she’ll have several hours to herself before she has to leave to pick up her nephew. I think she’s going to have a good time, but right now she feels overloaded trying to figure everything out. EVERYTHING is new for her.


  8. I feel for you. I broke my upper front tooth in January. I am having an implant. When the dentist extracted it he took the broken tooth and glued it back together and then glued it to the side teeth for the past several months so I would not have a hole. I got a temporary tooth a couple of weeks ago and thought I would have the permanent one this past Thursday but they just took impressions so I have to wait another month. The temporary looks so good no one can tell it’s fake but I still can’t eat normally for fear of breaking it. That means no sandwiches, hamburgers or anything that requires using the front teeth. (almost everything seems to require the front teeth). Good luck with all your repairs.

    I hope YaYu has a great time in Japan. That is a fantastic experience for her.

    If you have any rain, please send it our way. No rain for several weeks now and temperatures are in the high 90’s and have even reached 100 a couple of times. My parents A/C broke and their house is like a sweat box. I am trying to clean things enough for them to install a new one. My parents refuse to come to my house. Stubborn, What can you do?

    I hope your back gets better. Be careful and have a great week.


    1. Oh wow, Vivian – you really have had a rough time of it. And I understand about not biting on anything – I haven’t been able to for years because of the old bridge – everything has to be cut into small pieces (including sandwiches) so I don’t have to bite down on anything. Unfortunately for me this time, it’s the permanent tooth right next to the old bridge that has to come out (old bridge damaged it to where it needs to come out) – the bridge tooth will stay in place while the extraction heals. So, I’ll have a hole for six weeks – no smiling, but I’ll live.

      Hopefully by now you’ve been able to make arrangements for a new A/C for your parents’ home. I can’t imagine living in FL without A/C – the heat and humidity there is so much worse than what we experienced in Hawaii.

      Back is still bothering me – I think it’s the sofa that’s causing the problem (comfortable but too deep and soft) and I haven’t figured out yet how to remedy it. Chair doesn’t work either.


  9. Good Monday Morning – this post is inspiring and fun – I just finished reading The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – it was a great read. I think I would like All You Can Ever Know based on your description – I put at least 2 or 3 books on my Kindle every week – but of course only ever get through 2 or 3 a month!
    The peonies are beautiful and one of my favorites – mine are full of buds so I’m getting excited to see them soon in the garden, the lilacs in Rhode Island have just about all passed, except that my dwarf bushes are blooming now – they had a big “trim” last fall. I like your goal tracking cards – I need to see the visuals to keep my own goals moving too.

    Have a great week,


    1. I feel your pain about loading up the Kindle with books! When I get them from the library I can only have them for three weeks, so it’s very motivating to read, read, read! I found out though that the library downloads weren’t the best option when we were traveling as there were too many days when I was too tired to read, so I wasn’t finishing books within the time and they had to go back. But this summer it’s the perfect (and affordable) option.

      Lilacs are finished here, but peonies are blooming now. We missed most the blooming trees in Portland (which are gorgeous), but thankfully got to enjoy them in Japan!


  10. I just love reading your Sunday afternoon posts. Sounds like you’ve had a good week. I hate to hear about all the dental work. I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday and am not looking forward to it, even if it is just a routine cleaning. We are also watching Chernobyl. It is intense. Peter Sagal (from Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me) did a podcast called The Chernobyl Podcast with the show’s creator and it is super interesting with lots of background information. I highly recommend it.

    Also, that parfait looks amazing!


    1. The Sunday posts are the easiest and most fun to write – it’s sort of like “fill in the blanks.” It’s gratifying to know that people actually enjoy reading about my daily goings-on, but those are the things in others’ lives that I’m interested in as well.

      Chernobyl was/is intense. A Russian person wrote somewhere that they got all the details of that period in the USSR correct too, down to the lunchboxes people carried!

      The parfait was nothing more than berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) with a layer of whipped cream between them. Both are low carb, so it was a delicious treat.


  11. I’ve been lucky with my teeth. Not looking forward to that.
    Hubby downloads books to our Amazon account, transfers the books to our Kindles, and then shuts the WiFi off of the Kindle. He the “returns” the book to the library. Sometimes I don’t turn the WIFI back on for three weeks. This really helped me. I asked the librarian. She said it doesn’t hurt them.


    1. I envy people with good teeth – mine seem to be made of chalk or something. I don’t get cavities but have had lots of root canals and such. The bridge that I’m getting now is hopefully the last stop on what’s been a problem tooth ever since I was in the 3rd grade, when I was hit in the face (hard) with the ball when our class was playing dodgeball.

      I know about disconnecting from the Internet so I can keep books longer, but have never had to or wanted to do it. However, I’ve got three books stacked up right now and will probably have to disconnect to finish them. It’s ironic too because I’ve been #1 for over five weeks on the waitlist, for a book that supposedly can only be checked out for three weeks!


  12. Came here from Lucinda’s to see your drinking/fitness card! Love your blog and glad to have discovered it!

    Scary re: the dentist and good luck!


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