Sunday Morning 6/9/2019: Week 4 in Portland

The rain thankfully held off until after we left the Chinese Garden on Thursday afternoon.

My time in the dentist’s chair went well this past Monday; in fact, it went much better than expected! I was numbed up to the max, the filling went quickly with no problems (there had been the possibility of a root canal) and the extraction was over before I knew it. There were few to no post-extraction problems either – we rode home on the tram and bus without my having to keep a wad of gauze in my mouth. Pain was also minimal to non-existent. I will go back mid-month to have my crown prep done, and then at the end of the month I will get my new (gold) crown and the second filling. The prep for the new bridge will begin mid-July and I will be finished with everything at the end of July! Well, everything except the bill.

The last of some new wardrobe items I had ordered arrived this past week, so that summer-in-Portland task is done. I had started thinking back when we were in Japan about what I didn’t want to continue to pack going forward, and what I might want to add to freshen things up. Along with finding some great sales in the past few weeks I now have have a wardrobe that’s a little more stylish, one where everything will get worn, and one that will also give me some variety. More on this coming up!

I bought a “new” summer dress this past week at the downtown Goodwill boutique store!

The end of last week was cool to cold here, with temperatures dropping into the low 60s (Friday’s high was 59º). We wore sweaters and sweatshirts, put an extra blanket on the bed, kept a comfy throw over us while we watched TV, and we still felt chilled. However, yesterday it started warming up and the sun came out, and this coming week temperatures are supposed to climb into the 90s (today will be in the 80s)! On the plus side there will be very low to no humidity, so hopefully it should be bearable, especially up here in the hills, and the forest should be cool(ish) enough for hiking. YaYu is already complaining about the humidity in Japan, and I sadly had to remind her it’s just getting started there for the summer. The humidity is the one part of living in Hawai’i I don’t miss in the least.

Finally, don’t forget you can enter Giveaway #2 once a day through June 19 for the chance to win some supermarket favorites of ours from Japan, including three different CookDo sauces and some Kewpie mayonnaise.

This morning I am:

Besides picking up a book I had on hold at the Central Library, I also found another book on the Lucky Day shelf, which along with three eBooks gives me four books to finish in three weeks.
  • Reading: I had three books come off of hold this week, and I picked up a book at the library when I was there so I am currently reading two books at a time, one during the day and one at night. During the day I’m reading Small Fry, by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Steve Jobs daughter. She is a wonderful writer, but it is one of the most bittersweet books I have read in a long time. Her relationship with her father was not an easy one, but she writes about him with love. My current book at night is Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan. It’s about a political sex scandal that takes place in England, and I’m just getting started (had to finish An American Marriage first), but so far so good. I read a short but funny book while I was waiting for Brett at the library: Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? by Patricia Marx (and wonderfully illustrated by Roz Chast). I recognized more than a few of her mother’s aphorisms – my mom and/or grandmother said many of the same things (but less humorously)! Books waiting on deck now are Distant Echo by Val McDermid, and The Unquiet Dead – A Novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan, and I’ve moved to the top of the waitlist for yet another book I have on hold.
  • Listening to: It’s another delightfully quiet morning here. Brett is eating breakfast and reading, and I’ve been enjoying my morning coffee, reading blogs and Twitter, and have my breakfast ready to go. It’s nice and cool this morning, but the sun is out – it’s going to be a beautiful day.
  • Watching: We watched the third season of True Detective this past week which was excellent, and in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day we are rewatching Band of Brothers. It’s my fifth viewing of the series and it’s just as compelling as it was the first time – I’m still discovering things I didn’t catch before. We plan to watch the partner series, The Pacific, after we’re done. Band of Brothers is especially meaningful for me this time because of our visit to Normandy last fall. Tonight we’re also going to start watching the new season of Big Little Lies on HBO.

    Greek yogurt and loads of berries for breakfast – yum!
  • Cooking/baking: I’m eating fat-free Greek yogurt with a ton of berries on top for breakfast this morning, and dinner tonight will be chili-pork sauce over cauliflower rice topped with some grated cheese. Leftover sauce will be served over eggs for breakfasts this week. Also on this week’s menu will be slow-cooker turkey pepper pot, zucchini frittata, CookDo pork & pepper stir fry, and our Friday night pizza (we’re thinking topped with sausage and peppers this week).
    The Lan Su garden was all dolled up with red lanterns for an event taking place there that evening.

    There were lots of memories as we walked around old Chinatown after visiting the garden. I think we ate at every restaurant there at one time or another, but they’re all closed and gone now, or moved over to SE Portland.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Besides getting that dental experience behind me, Brett and I also made two trips downtown. One was to pick up a book from the Central Library about slow traveling in the Cotswolds, and the other trip was to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Northwest Portland. I filled in everything on this week’s goals card and walked every day except for Wednesday when my back was acting up again (Brett took a four-hour hike through the forest that day though), and Friday, when it rained. We missed going to the OHSU farmers’ market on Tuesday because I got the day and time wrong, but we found out exactly where it was held and the correct time so we’re definitely going this week.

    When we were downtown we stopped at Pioneer Square to check out a flower festival currently going on, and spotted this familiar guy, Umbrella Man (actual name is Allow Me).
  • Looking forward to next week: Other than Brett’s calligraphy class on Saturday and the class’s summer barbecue potluck afterwards, we have no appointments or errands this week. Our time is our own, which is always lovely (I am looking forward to the barbecue though – we’re going to take a prepared noodle salad from New Season’s market). We’ll see how it goes here in the heat, but we’re thinking about maybe visiting the Oregon Zoo later in the week, with a side visit down the hill to the Japanese Garden and the International Test Rose Garden (the zoo train makes a stop where we can get to them). We also need to make a trip over to Trader Joe’s in NW. I’m hoping to get a LOT of reading done so all the books I have checked out can be returned on time.

    Looking good in his new-to-him sports coat. We almost missed it as it had been pushed behind other jackets. WenYu says he looks like a “wise cat” in this picture – LOL!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: At the Chinese Garden I ran into a former colleague of mine from my teaching days and we had a lovely, long chat to catch up. Then, yesterday morning there was a knock on the door and it was another good friend who had come to visit – we ended up chatting and catching up for nearly four hours! We heard from all the girls this week – Meiling is getting ready to graduate (next week!), WenYu is still waiting to hear one way or another about an internship but is also applying for other work, and YaYu is settling into life in Japan and had gone out into the neighborhood on her own for the first time this past week. She went with our son and family out to the Atsugi base yesterday so they could get some American stuff at the commissary and she thankfully had no issues sponsoring him onto the base. Brett and I stopped in at the downtown Goodwill store across from the Central Library last Tuesday – Brett’s been wanting to add a sports coat to his wardrobe, and we found a Burberry(!) one that fit like it was tailored just for him (I also found the summer dress there). The downtown Goodwill is one of their “boutique” stores, and carries designer and other higher-end items (but of course has higher prices than a regular Goodwill store).
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We had a fairly low spend week, and we’re once again below our $50/day average for the month. At the Chinese garden we got both a senior discount and a military discount on our admission which saved us $4. Brett’s sports coat and my “new” summer dress were both things we were looking for this summer, so we’re very happy that we found such nice ones at Goodwill for such low prices. We continue to do a good job of using up leftovers and things we have in the fridge so there’s no food waste. We put $10.28 into the change/$1 bill bag this past week.

    Another jar of mugi-cha begins its steep on the counter.
  • Grateful for: I am so thankful these days for the giant package of mugi-cha (roasted barley) tea bags I found at Costco in Japan. It is my favorite summer drink and the package contains enough to get me through the summer. I make it every other day in a half-gallon jar – all I have to do is put two teabags into cold water, wait three hours and it’s ready! I find it more refreshing than iced tea, but it has no caffeine so I can drink it at any time during the day (a good thing because I finally have settled into some normal sleeping hours).
  • Bonus question: What is your favorite type of book? I love, love, love reading mysteries and police procedurals, including ones written about true crimes. I especially like fictional ones that are set in Great Britain or Ireland, or outside the U.S. However, I also enjoy novels about the human condition (like An American Marriage or Anatomy of a Scandal) and also books about social history and historical events both famous and not, especially those centered on World War II, and books about healthy eating and nutrition. The types of books I don’t like include romance novels, science fiction, and self help, but I’ll generally read just about anything if it’s well written.

When I wrote the title for this post I had to stop and think, have we really already been here for four weeks? It seems like we just arrived the other day. We’re still enjoying living up in the hills – I’ve already told Brett that if we ever came back to Portland, this is where I’d want to be versus over the east side. The Marquam Nature Park and its forest trails are pretty much my idea of heaven.

Once again, I hope all of you had a great week, got lots done and also had lots of good things happen for you. Here’s to next week being a wonderful one!

26 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 6/9/2019: Week 4 in Portland

  1. I love the Chinese garden- had tea in the tea house for the first time in March. It was a lovely treat!

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    1. We skipped the tea house this time because of the weather (didn’t want to get stuck downtown in the rain) but have eaten there before and it’s a lovely experience.

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  2. I’ve been to the Chinese garden. What a wonderful place! It wasn’t in such a great neighborhood though. I remember talking to an employee of the garden and she said a lot of businesses in that area had closed and were abandoned. I was there in 2016, so I’m hoping it has improved since then. I also took a tai chi class at the garden and had some tea. I’d love to go back.

    What is Brett’s secret to looking so young? Seriously, he looks at least 10 years younger than he is!

    Is YaYu going to bring back more mugi-cha? You’ll need to stock up for your next adventure!

    Glad to hear your dentist visit went well.

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    1. The Old Town area has always been a bit run-down and sketchy, and still is even with the Garden there and new businesses going in, but I’ve never felt threatened or scared when we go. The Garden is definitely a must see in Portland, and although it was beautiful when it opened it is even more so now – it really is aging gracefully.

      Brett has ALWAYS looked young – he is the second oldest among his siblings yet looks the youngest of all of them. Good genes, I guess, although I tell him that one day he is going to wake up and the good times are over and he will look as old as the rest of us!

      I am going to ask YaYu to bring back more mugi-cha!

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  3. I am glad your dental work has been easier than expected! I just finished reading Walking to the end of the World: 1,000 miles Camino de Santiago by Beth Jusino. I like mysteries and I enjoy reading books by Randy Wayne White and Janet Evanovitch because they make me laugh. I just returned from 2 weeks in England and Wales. Enjoyed one week in an historic stone cottage near Stow on the Wold. This air bnb rental was simply perfect in a wonderful quiet village to explore the Cotswolds. We bought a membership to the National Trust which gives you free entry to over 300 properties in the UK. There are so many unique estates and gardens to walk through. You are going to love it there!

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    1. I have ready a few books by Janet Evanovitch but have never heard of Randy Wayne White – I will check him out!

      We are staying fairly close to Stow-in-the-Wold, less than 10 miles away in Blockley, so I’m sure we’ll get down there. Thank you for the suggestion to purchase the National Trust membership – visiting estates and gardens (well, those that are open while we are there) is one of the things we are looking forward to.

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  4. That Dress! Wow! What a great find. I usually don’t comment on clothes, not a huge part of my life, but that is the perfect travel dress. The coat- another great find.
    “Four Weeks?” Time is flying.
    I did not know that area of England is called the Cotswolds. My, ancestral, family is from that area.Following your slow travel should be insightful to me. That is the one place I would like to spend some time if I can ever get someone to travel with me overseas again 🙂
    Happy Sunday.

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    1. I have been working at revamping my wardrobe and the dress was a fabulous find. I’m going to have some posts up in a couple of weeks about the subtractions and additions I’ve made, but you can skip those if clothes aren’t your thing ;). The dress was a completely accidental find but fits right in and now I’ve got something special to wear to Meiling’s graduation ceremony next week.

      My ancestors on both sides all come from England (and a few from Scotland) but I have no idea where they come from – all my relatives who would have known that are gone now. I guess I could join Ancestry or some other site and find out before I go. The most direct relative would have been my great grandmother on my maternal grandmother’s side who immigrated here from the UK – most of my ancestors came to the U.S. much earlier (like with the Pilgrims).

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    1. I used to post recipes – maybe I will start again! Here is the recipe for the chili-pork sauce. It’s great for burritos, but is also good over rice, or eggs (in breakfast burritos!):

      Chili-Pork Sauce

      1 pound boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
      1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
      2 4-oz cans diced green chilis (unless you like things extremely spicy, avoid jalapenos)
      1/2 thinly sliced large onion,
      1/4 cup flour
      salt & pepper
      vegetable oil

      Place flour in a bag, add salt & pepper to taste. Heat oil over med-high heat in a large, heavy saucepan, and add onions. Shake pork cubes in flour and add to onions. Saute the pork and onions until the pork is brown and onions are soft. Add the tomato sauce and *three cans of water* and then stir in the diced chilis. Add a bit more salt & pepper if desired. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for around an hour or more until sauce has reduced by at least 1/3 and has thickened.

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  5. Lovely dress, what a great find. Have to agree with WenYu’s apt and funny description of Brett.

    The fearful anticipation of dental work is nearly always worse than the reality. But still I hate going to the dentist.

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    1. I am thrilled with the dress, which was an accidental find – the only reason I went into the store was to see if there were any decent sports coats for Brett. The coat and his new beard do give him the look of a college professor, at least in the photo.

      I agree about the fearful anticipation when facing dental work, but that’s now shifted to fearful anticipation of what we’re going to have to pay for all of this!

      It looks like you’re currently enjoying some nice weather in Sydney – the temperatures there are about the same as they are here right now. The heat was beastly when we were there!

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      1. It is scary that in winter it is so mild. Scary because what will next summer bring!!!

        I laughed at the move of cause of fear. So true! Mr S has needed implants. We only gets one a year. So it is covered by our private health insurance.

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      2. Getting one procedure done per year would be ideal, but all these problems occurred or at least came to a head at once – ugh. Plus, we have new insurance this year and discovered our dentist is not in the plan so can charge above and beyond what the insurance will pay. We have no idea right now how much over her charges will be, so can’t even guess at what the total will be, which is frankly quite frightening. But, I will have lovely teeth when she is done!

        It just seems that summers are getting worse everywhere, with no way to know how much worse it’s going to be the following year after suffering through each one.

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  6. Glad your dentist appt went well. I have to go to Endodontist in a week…. sigh. Love your pictures of Portland. It has been rainy and in the upper 80’s here in the deep South, which is actually cool for this time of year.

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    1. Fingers crossed that all goes well for you at the endodontist. I have been to one many times – I call myself the “Queen of the Root Canals” as I’ve had so many. There’s a wonderful one that I saw in Portland, but hopefully our paths will never have to cross again.

      Your temperatures sound better than the ones in Florida. We lived in Southern Maryland for a couple of years while Brett was in the navy, and the humidity there was brutal (but we had A/C). I remember days when it felt like you could cut the air with a knife.

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  7. You sure had great luck at Good Will. And so happy for you that the dental work was fairly easy. I’m a big fan of multiple needles/numbing up front, as I have really sensitive teeth. Hope the rest is just as easy!

    LOL. I just picked up that Roz Chast book this week when I came across it in the library here. She cracks me up and her humor is so spot on. My favorite type of book is probably memoir, but I love a good novel about the human condition, too. Not a huge fan of horror or mystery, as they tend to keep me up at night. I have Digital Minimalism out right now and it’s due soon and no renewals because there is a waiting list, so I need to get into that fast. My books all tend to come out at once for some reason.

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    1. I could not believe the price for that Burberry jacket or how well it fit Brett – not sure if it had been part of a suit or originally a sports coat, but it was definitely a find. The dress was an unplanned purchase, but I love it and it fits right in with my other things.

      I do like horror books, but will only read them if I know I have blocks of time because once I start I want to read right through without stopping. I remember staying up all night to finish both The Exorcist and The Shining because they were so scary (I kind of want to read The Exorcist again though). Sadly, what’s going on in the real world these days tends to be far more horrifying than any fiction you can find. There really are monsters among us these days.

      When we were on the road I bought a few books rather than wait for them from the library just because they tended to arrive in clumps and I knew there was no way I could ever get them read – we were just too busy (and tired).

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  8. Love love love the dress! So fun to read about your adventures here in Portland. I need to get back to the Chinese Garden, it’s been a few years. And you will definitely have to visit the Japanese Garden while you are here, the new buildings are really beautiful. And the Rose Garden is in FULL bloom right now, went through there on a run yesterday!

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    1. The dress was a serendipitous find – I had not planned to buy anything but it was cute and the price was right. I’m going to wear it to Meiling’s graduation next week.

      We’re going to see the gardens later this week, after a walk around the zoo. Hopefully it won’t be too hot.

      I will send you an email and hopefully we can set up a meet-up!

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  9. Love the new clothes. So glad your dental work went well. I am very afraid of needles so my dentist tries to do as much as possible without giving me shots and when shots are necessary he is very gentle and works at keeping me calm. ( I have an extreme reaction to needles)
    If you still have access to Amazon Prime, there is video series on the Cotswolds that you might find interesting.
    I read science fiction/fantasy almost exclusively.

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    1. I’m glad the dental work went as well as it did too, although the bills are starting to come in and it’s kind of scary for how how much we’re going to owe. My dentist has a good technique for giving shots – I never feel a thing.

      I’ve been working on revamping my travel wardrobe, and will have a post up in the next couple of weeks about the changes.

      Is that the Footloose series? We watched it when we lived in Hawaii and it’s why we decided to stay in the Cotswolds.

      I’ve read some good science fiction but I don’t go searching it out.

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    1. I just hope it’s not too hot that day to enjoy it. It’s really is a gorgeous but peaceful place to visit – we’re really looking forward to visit. We have to include it with a trip to the zoo though because there’s sadly no bus transportation up to the gardens.

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  10. Glad to hear your dental work went smoothly!

    Great job on the new clothes finds! Your berry breakfast looks so delicious.

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    1. It is such a relief to have that part of my dental work over and done. Not that the future work will be any less stressful, but this was the worst of it and it’s over.

      Berries are in season here and we are gorging ourselves!

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