Sunday Morning 7/7/2019: Week 8 in Portland

One of the spectacular views of Portland from the aerial tram on the ride down the hill.

What a nice last week we had, even though Brett had to spend a long morning at the dentist on Tuesday to get three fillings done. Otherwise we woke up when we felt like it, took care of errands at our leisure, and other than Brett’s classes we got out and operated on our own schedule – it was wonderful!

The Beatles exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society was full of amazing memoriabilia. Help! is still one of my all-time favorite movies – it never gets old. (I think I’ve seen it over 25 times, and can still quote dialog from it.)
The coat Ringo was wearing in the famous Abbey Road photo.

I have my turn in the dentist’s chair tomorrow morning, although I’m not exactly sure what she’s going to be doing. The last extraction is healing nicely, but there’s a filling that needs to be done on the next tooth over and I’m not sure if she’ll be doing that yet or getting things prepped for the bridge on the bottom. I love my dentist but I wish I had found out sooner that she wasn’t in-plan with our insurance so I could have found someone less expensive for all this work I’m having done. We have paid around $100 per filling out-of-pocket with my dentist while the out-of-pocket for all three of Brett’s filling was less than $100 after insurance! We also paid around $100 for my dentist’s extraction of my lower tooth, while the extraction of my broken upper tooth, a much more complicated procedure, only cost us $43 out of pocket because the oral surgeon is an in-plan dentist. The one thing that keeps me going to her at this point is that so much of the work I’m having done is complicated, and I’m not willing to work with someone new at this point – it’s a matter of trust (and time – Brett’s had to struggle to get appointments with the dentist he’s seeing, and I lucked into the appointment with the oral surgeon because there had been a cancellation). We’ve decided though that next time we need this much dental work we’re heading to Mexico or over to Malta.

I want to once again say thank you to everyone who entered the three giveaways. I loved and appreciated everyone’s comments. The last prize goes off in the mail tomorrow, but I’m already planning a couple more giveaways after we get back from England!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished When We Were Orphans a couple of days ago, and while Remains of the Day remains my favorite Ishiguro novel, this one was a close second. The download for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography arrived the day before yesterday but so did Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Anna Quindlen, and Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land – three books at once! We ended up buying the Ginsburg biography for our Kindles though as it’s a huge book and there’s no way Brett could finish the hard copy in the time we were given nor could I with the download (and there was no renewal for either form of the book). This way both of us will have it available.
  • Listening to: Brett is rustling around in the kitchen, making coffee and refilling the Brita pitcher, but it’s still quiet outside. I got up very late this morning (almost noon) as I seem to be once again dealing with one of my bi-annual rounds of insomnia.
  • Watching: We continue to watch Father Brown, Big Little Lies, and Years and Years together, but right now we’re also binge watching the third season of Stranger Things. It’s as creepy as ever.
  • Cooking: I’ve got some Crack Chicken going in the slow cooker right now for our dinner tonight. I kept hearing about it, and read online that it was a low carb recipe, but when I looked it up I discovered it’s the same cream cheese chicken I’ve been making for over 20 years except there now appears to be bacon added (and cheddar cheese and green onions sometimes). The recipe will make enough that we’ll have leftovers for at least two more meals this week (lunch and dinner). Also appearing on the menu this week will be chicken lettuce wraps, cabbage rolls, a couple of big salads with shrimp, and our Friday evening pizza (Thai chicken this week).
  • Happy I accomplished this week: I don’t think I accomplished a whole lot this past week other than getting my goals card filled in. I walked/hiked every day this past week except yesterday and I can now climb the seven flights of stairs from the OHSU campus to our apartment without having to stop and catch my breath (although I’m pretty winded when I get to the top). I finally finished listing all the places we might want to visit when we’re in the Cotswolds that I’ve been gleaning from the travel book Slow Cotswolds, so that book is ready to be returned to the library.
  • Looking forward to next week: This coming Friday we are getting together with our friend Joan for an Old People’s Happy Hour at the Chart House restaurant. Happy Hour starts at 3:30, which is when we plan to be there to enjoy some tasty small plates, drinks (alcoholic and otherwise), and terrific views of Portland. I think Old People’s Happy Hours need to become a thing. As Joan says, we deserve to be happy without spending a fortune or staying out until all hours. Otherwise I’m looking forward to a pretty uneventful week.
    The history and culture of Oregon’s indigenous tribes are well represented at the Oregon Historical Society.
    An old, full-size Conestoga wagon was on display, like those that traveled the Oregon Trail.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: It was a great week for getting out and about with pretty nice weather almost all week. We had a fun time riding the tram down off the hill in order to get to the (expensive) grocery store (where we won’t be going again) and we also visited the Oregon Historical Society museum on Friday. We not only experienced the wonderful Oregon history exhibits but a totally FAB Beatles exhibit as well (we couldn’t resist buying ourselves a Yellow Submarine shopping bag). On the Fourth of July we had front row seats on the Kohler Pavilion balcony, and although our view of the fireworks was partially blocked by a large pine tree, the effect of the fireworks through the tree turned out to be quite beautiful. We gorged ourselves on fresh Oregon berries this week, and also scored another lovely $5 bouquet at the OHSU farmers’ market.
    Love our new shopping bag . . .
    . . . and our beautiful $5 summer bouquet from the farmers’ market.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: The tram ride down from OHSU was free, but when I went to purchase a ticket to ride back up I discovered only round-trip tickets were sold. When I told the woman that I lived at the top and only needed a one-way ticket, she gave me a complimentary pass – sweet! Unfortunately our trip to Zupan’s market on Tuesday was not frugal because everything there was very expensive, although I did appreciate the market’s selection of local, humanely raised meats. We received a nice senior discount on our admission to the Historical Society museum. After our museum visit we headed over to the nearby Safeway to buy some Tums (calcium!) and I found a two-pound boneless pork roast with an additional 30% off sticker on the already reduced price for the roast. The original price was $9.88; we ended up paying only $4.14. Berries were on sale this week at the farmers’ market so we bought six pints, mixing up the varieties. We put $6.89 into our change/$1 bill bag, and all leftovers were eaten and no food was thrown out except for a tiny bit of grated Parmesan cheese that had started to develop mold.
  • Grateful for: Both Brett and I are feeling thankful these days for the opportunity to be “tourists” in our old home town, enjoy the summer here, and be able to once again appreciate all that Portland has to offer as well as some other beautiful places in Oregon. This is a great location for us to rest up between travels, reconnect with friends, and we’re grateful we have a few more weeks left to go!
    Oregon berries are at their peak! We bought four different kinds at the farmers’ market last week: strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, and blueberries.
  • Bonus question: What are your favorite fruits? Another questions I’ve probably answered before, but I absolutely love all summer fruits and most tropical fruits. Berries, melons, peaches, plums, cherries, papayas, mangoes, and so forth put me in my happy place. These days though I’m paying close attention to how much of them I eat as they contain a lot of carbs. The only summer fruit I’m not particularly fond of these days are fresh apricots. We had a big tree in our yard when I was little, and while I loved my mom’s canned apricots the fresh ones never interested me much and still don’t. I’ve only also recently become a fan of nectarines and can’t give a good reason now why I didn’t care for them before. This summer I am especially missing the dragonfruit that was so plentiful and cheap at the farmers’ market on Kaua’i. I’ve seen them here for $6 each – no thank you! When I was younger I loved most winter fruits – oranges, tangerines, pears, and apples but not so much these days (although I do love a perfectly ripe Bartlett or red pear).

Finally, our former home on Kaua’i is for rent again – I guess the family that lived there could only manage a year. The landlord still has the rent priced way too high, and now will only include lawn care and trash pickup with a year’s lease (although trash pickup is included in the annual property taxes – he is not charged extra for it). He started out on Craigslist with the same illegal ad as the last time, but someone higher up must have called him on it because we noticed a few days later he had changed the two things that were problematic. Seeing the photos of that house again only made me shake my head – I liked the house and I miss Kaua’i, but am glad we no longer have to deal with that landlord.

I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to the one coming up, and that loads of good things happened for you too!

26 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 7/7/2019: Week 8 in Portland

    1. We are heading out to the coast in a couple of weeks, just for an overnight stay, but we will be driving up through your town on our way home to Portland. We have our fingers crossed for good weather, but our room has a fireplace so if things are not so good we’ll be OK.

      So sorry that I still cannot comment on your blog, but I do read everytime there’s a new post.

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  1. i have just found your blog although I can’t remember what led me here. I am so glad to read about your daily lives and more exotic adventures. When I get time, I’ll go back and read your older posts.

    I have been retired since 2008, and at 69, you’d think I’d be full of an adventurous spirit. I’m so glad I was able to travel a great deal between 1985 and 2011, because it is so much more difficult now. My MS has progressed to the point that I need walking assistance (rolling walker, electric scooter, regular walker, etc.) both inside and out. My husband is 86 and not in the greatest of health (although he thinks he is), so it is a pain (both literally and figuratively) to get everything planned, packed, and ready to leave, so the thought of going anywhere now is exhausting. Also, what do we do with our cat?!

    Thus, your blog: It is both a treasure and a source of jealousy for me. I can live vicariously through your adventures, but I am jealous that I can no longer do what you are doing.

    Thanks for providing me with so much pleasure.

    BethB from Indiana, retired teacher and school librarian

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    1. Thank you for this lovely comment – I’m so glad you found me, even if you don’t remember how.

      We feel very blessed to be able to travel now, although in our case it’s mean adopting a completely different retirement lifestyle. Hopefully our health will hold out for a few more years so we can see some more – there are so many places we still want to see.

      Will be thinking good thoughts for you and your husband, and hoping you still have one more adventure in you!

      I have some strong Indiana roots – my dad was born and raised in Westfield, and I spent many happy summers there on my grandmother’s farm or in town with my aunt and uncle (that was when Carmel was just a wide spot in the road). I have several relatives still living there.

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      1. I grew up in Anderson, left after college to teach elsewhere, and finally returned for good in 1990. We’ve lived in Noblesville since 1996, and I worked for eighteen years in the Hamilton Southeastern schools. Small world, indeed. I was last in Portland in 1969 on one final family trip when my sister and I were too old to be traveling for a month with our parents!

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  2. Would love to see that Beatles exhibit. The shopping bag is really cute!

    We finally got a break from the oppressive humidity today and it’s glorious weather. DH helped pull weeds this morning (we both decided 1 hr/day is our limit) and the gardens are starting to improve.

    I too love all berries and it’s fresh strawberry season here. I bought 8 quarts at a local farm and we’ve had pie, shortcake, parfaits, and I made two batches of jam. The smell alone transports me back to my mom’s kitchen. We always had a big bowl of them in the fridge and lived on shortcake for weeks around the 4th every year. Great memories. It’s almost raspberry season, too, and then blueberries. I love them all! I love apples in fall and eat one every day almost all winter. Add caramel and I’m in heaven. I think I can still get a few more quarts of strawberries in before our season ends, and will look for them tomorrow. 🙂 Your berry haul looks amazing.

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    1. We weren’t sure what to expect with the Beatles exhibit, but they had put together some fascinating stuff, including handwritten playlists from Liverpool days, clothing, tickets, and of course lots and lots of Beatles tchotchkes, like figures, lunchboxes, clothing, etc. It was a trip down memory lane. There were also a few pieces of clothing from other artists of the era, like a suit that James Brown wore, or one of Mary Wilson’s dresses from when she was in the Supremes.

      Strawberries are fading out here, but we may still be able to get some this week. I’m planning to get more blueberries and raspberries this week. I didn’t make anything with them – we just ate them plain. We’re also planning to pick up a box of peaches when we head to Costco later in the week – can’t wait for those! They have a lot of carbs, but they’re good carbs!

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  3. The Beatles exhibit sounds like fun. Zupans–yummy bakery items and fun to explore. Did you see the balsamic vinegar locked up in a case? Regarding fruit, it’s got to be berries of any sort. That picture makes me drool!

    A couple of places we enjoyed in the Cotswolds were Dyrham Park, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, the pub on the hill (Mount Inn) in Stanton and the Stanway House (Jacobean manor house), Stow-on-the-Wold, the Cotswold Falconry Center and Batsford Park near Moreton in Marsh, and Chipping Camden. Bath would make a fun trip–the costume museum, the museum at the Royal Crescent, walking along the tow path, watching a cricket game and trying to figure out when the heck is going on, the Roman baths of course, attend Evensong at the church if the choir is singing, the Guilty Pleasures food tour. Hhmm, that was more than a couple of places–sorry about that!

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    1. I love going to Zupan’s and looking at all their wonderful stuff, but it’s just too expensive for a regular shopping venue. We used to go every Friday evenings when they had the store in Belmont – they had amazing samples and we made those our dinner!

      Thanks for all the Cotswolds suggestions! We will be staying within 3-4 miles of Chipping Campden (my favorite name) and Moreton-in-Marsh, and I took lots of notes about those places. We are planning to do a driving trip through Wales and Cornwall later during our stay, but will start with a couple of days in Bath before picking up our car. Every day I get more and more excited about our visit!

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  4. Love following your travels! Saw you plan to settle in So CA. Many of our friends are leaving CA because of the high cost of living, very high state taxes, gas taxes, extremely liberal government, high rents, food, and medical/dental care. Many friends are going to NW Nevada (no state taxes)- Minden area or Prescott, AZ. Rents in OC are going up due to housing shortage. Hoping this will fit into your budget so you can enjoy the beach life after your travel adventures slowdown a bit. All the best and safe travels.😀

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    1. Brett and I have realized there is no “perfect” place for us to settle – if someplace is affordable there are issues with the weather but if the weather is lovely it’s unaffordable. We’ve decided though we want sunshine, low humidity and the ocean nearby – those are the things most important to us, which is why we are looking at SoCal (also easy for our children to come visit). We live a very minimal, pared down life these days, spend very little except for travel, and don’t require a big house – a small apartment, even a studio, would be fine. We’ve seriously looked at Arizona and Nevada but could find no enthusiasm for living there. We made life in expensive Hawai’i work for us, and know we can do the same in California with just the two of us.

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      1. Laura, we are still in the los 70’s here, and it has been glorious. It’s hard to put a price on the outstanding weather of S. Orange County, and once here, you’re sure to discover an unending array of free or low cost thing to do. It’s truly a slice of paradise.

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      2. The weather in S. Orange county is pretty much perfect, and then there’s the ocean as well. We learned to manage with the high cost of living in Hawai’i; we can do the same in San Clemente or nearby. We want to be able to walk on the beach in the evening, and yes, take advantage of free or low cost activities . . . just like we did in Hawai’i.

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    2. I live in Pasadena. I have dealt with higher taxes, except property taxes since moving to California in 1988, I call it the price of living in a great climate with many conveniences. I wouldn’t choose South Orange County, but to each her own. I don’t think people who retire and leave SoCal realize how much of a change they face.

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      1. Small world – I grew up in San Marino, but then moved to San Diego where I lived for many years. But, our (extended) family had a beach house in San Clemente, and I fondly remember the weather there. I can’t say I’ve always wanted to go back to SoCal, but these days it has what we’re looking for. And, just like Hawai’i, there’s a “paradise tax,” the price paid for living in a great climate and near the ocean, and as you say, many conveniences.

        P.S. Although I remember it fondly, I don’t think I could live in Pasadena again.

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  5. Hi! Your comments on dental costs were interesting. We changed plans in January, and our dentist in AZ wouldn’t accept it. It’s administered by Providence which was an unknown to him. Many folks I know are being turned away by doctors if they have Medicare; one person told me they don’t accept out of state Medicare (I gave up trying to explain that Medicare is a federal program.) So tomorrow I’ll try to find a new dentist here in Central Oregon that won’t bankrupt us😜 If you are serious about going to Mexico for dental care, I can arrange a really really good rate to stay nearby 😉 and recommendations on where to go there; although one of our friends commented that rates are going up there too. Bye😜

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    1. That’s so weird about not accepting Medicare because it’s “out of state.” Our healthcare system is a MESS – it really is time to get serious about it, but I’m afraid we’ve allowed the horrible system we have become too entrenched and trying to change it will take years and years of Herculean effort.

      I read an interest article a couple of weeks ago about why dental costs are so high – can’t remember much of it but it made sense. Brett’s dentist said Portland is a horrible place to try and set up a practice because of the dental school being located here. You’d think all these dentists around would mean prices would be lower, but no.

      I’ll get in touch if we end up going to Mexico. Their prices may be going up, but they’re still nothing like they are here.

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      1. FWIW, we have friends who relocated from the Midwest to Scottsdale and are also having a horrible time finding doctors. It’s ironic given the Mayo Clinic being there, too, but apparently if you have a serious medical problem (he had cancer and had great care), it’s fine, but once you need a PCP or routine care it’s like pulling teeth to find a doc that will take new Medicare patients. It sure opened our eyes on that visit!

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      2. That’s both interesting and scary to hear, although we heard the same thing when we moved to Hawai’i but didn’t have a problem finding a doctor there. I don’t know if it helps that our supplemental insurance is Tricare – it picks up everything that Medicare doesn’t, so doctors/hospitals get paid no matter what. We don’t have any out-of-pocket expenses or co-pays any more. This is something we’ll have to investigate further wherever we end up settling.

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  6. Strawberries are over here. Blueberries and cherries are on their last legs (although mine have not ripened). Tomatoes and peaches are next. I canned lots of syrup this year for the grands, and some whole fruit for us. The rest of July is a travel time for me. Hope we both have good weather for our adventures!

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    1. Strawberries are winding down here are as well, but I so happy to have gotten to eat so many this year – Oregon berries were missed. Will load up on the blueberries this week – I forgot how huge they are here! I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of fresh tomatoes in the market – local peaches are just starting to show up.

      Yes, fingers crossed for good weather for the rest of this month. I am already dreading August though – it gets HOT here in Portland (but no humidity, thank goodness).

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  7. I love watermelon and fresh peaches, which are grown nearby. My mom”s fig tree is about to have a huge amount of ripe fruit on it. Berry season has been over down here. Love hearing about your travels. I was at the Alabama Gulf Coast, and northern Florida a couple of weeks ago at a work conference. It was gorgeous. You are so right, the coast is beautiful and it is expensive. That is the trade-off. There is no perfect place. I would like to live on the Alabama Coast or northern Florida, but I don’t want to spend the money . Lol.

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    1. Oh, I love watermelon and peaches too. I look forward to them every year. And figs too. We always had a fig tree in our yard – it was the first thing my mom planted when she moved to a new house. She made fig jam and had all sorts of sources for extra figs – once she stopped her car when she saw a giant tree loaded with figs, and went right up to the front door and asked if she could pick some (we kids were super embarrassed), and they became another annual source for her.

      You are so right that there is no perfect place. There are trade offs wherever you live, and we’ve accepted the trade-offs we’re willing to make in order to have those things we do want, or that are important to us, like more sunshine, the ocean nearby, and no humidity.

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  8. Oh, I have been enjoying fresh tomato sandwiches for we ks now. The tomatoes are grown by local farmers so they are so delicious I love summer and I love to swim so it is a win in my book. Yeah, we do have terrible humidity. I really appreciate the person who invented the air conditioner. It makes life so much more pleasant down here!

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    1. Brett loves tomato sandwiches as well and is eagerly looking forward to their arrival at the farmers’ market. The best tomatoes I ever had came from Indiana – they were just on a whole different level from anything I’d ever had before. It must have something to do with the humidity.

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