Sunday Morning 7/28/2019: Week 11 in Portland

We were expecting cooler temperatures out at the coast, but it was sunny and hot both days. We saw a whale while we were checking out this view south to Newport from the Devil’s Punchbowl!

What a great week we had! Our getaway out to the coast was everything we hoped for and more – it was so wonderful being by the ocean again. The weather was perfect, we saw and did almost everything we had planned and ate some great food, and the B&B we stayed at exceeded every expectation. Time was our nemesis though – even though we were there midweek, because of the abundant summer visitors everything seemed to take a bit longer than expected, from finding places to park, to the occasional traffic slow downs on Highway 101, to waiting in line at several places, and we ended up having to leave to go back to Portland before visiting Cannon Beach (which would have been crazy with crowds anyway).

It’s almost hard to believe that we have less than five weeks to go in Portland (we fly to England on August 31). Our break here has also been everything we hoped for, but we are feeling a bit restless and ready to move on. We’ve asked ourselves again and again while we’ve been here if we could live here again, but even though the weather has been great this time and we’ve loved staying over on the west side of the city, and have done fine without a car, we know what the gloomy winters are like and remember how we felt about that last December when we were here. Portland has also become quite expensive (gas costs more here than it does on Kaua’i!). We love, love, love this city but we know we would become unhappy again if we came back permanently. 

One thing we figured out from the trip though was that if we ever buy a car again it will be a Prius. The car was very comfortable, Brett said it handled well and was easy to drive, and the gas mileage! Our two-day drip covered over 350 miles and only used around a half a tank of gas (mileage was around 56 mpg). We’re sold!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m still working my way through The Path Between the Seas. As with every David McCullough book, there’s so much detail but it’s fascinating. I never knew, for example, that the French tried to build a canal in Panama first, and what a failure that turned into (for many reasons) or that for a long time Americans were convinced Nicaragua was the idea location for a trans-Central American canal. I finished one of the Andrea Camilleri mysteries and was getting ready to start a second but another David McCullough book, Truman, came off hold from the library so I’ve started that so I can get it back on time – it’s huge.
  • Listening to: It’s another typical quiet Sunday morning here. Brett is rustling around in the kitchen and listening to a show on his iPad, but otherwise it’s nice and quiet. Yesterday we woke up to the sound of rain which was a surprise, but it was gone by the afternoon. It’s quite cool this morning though – delightful to me, but chilly for Brett.
  • Watching: We normally don’t watch TV, but it’s been fun having it this summer. We’re almost to the last available episode of the Father Brown series, and we finished all of the Midsomer Murders episodes this past week, so we’ve been looking for something new to watch in the evenings. We watched an episode of The Good Place last night and will see how it goes. We sadly did not get to see the last episode of Big Little Lies last Sunday because HBO had disappeared from our cable lineup! We read the synopsis of the episode so know what happened but it would have been far more satisfying to have been able to watch it.
    Ripe peaches and strawberries were available at the farmers’ market this past week!
  • Cooking: I’m fixing stir-fried pork and cabbange for our dinner tonight (using one of the last CookDo sauces we brought back from Japan) which we’ll have over cauliflower rice. This week we’ll also be having Thai curry chicken, Cobb salad, tuna melts (open face for me), and our Friday evening pizza (sausage and artichoke). We plan to stock up on more berries and peaches at the farmers’ market and continue enjoying fruit parfaits for dessert as long as we can!
    Parfaits with all the fruit!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett got us to and from the coast without going over our Zipcar alloted time and mileage which was quite an accomplishment. We took a couple of very winding and loopy back roads to save miles on the way home, but the scenery more than made up for it. Before we left for the coast I found a decent airfare and schedule for YaYu’s trip over to England in October and purchased those tickets. I also booked two (very affordable) walking tours for us to take with her in London: one exploring the Notting Hill neighborhood, and the other a special behind-the-scenes look at the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. We’re also going to visit Oxford the day before YaYu leaves, and I reserved a B&B there for night so we can get her on the train to Heathrow early in the morning. I filled out my goals card for the week, only missing two days of Japanese study while we were out of town.
  • Looking forward to this week: Meiling and her boyfriend will be arriving on Saturday for an overnight stay before heading up to Canada for a week’s vacation with K’s parents! We can’t wait to see her (and K) again. I also have two lunch dates with friends next week and am really looking forward to both of those as well. I see the doctor tomorrow morning and will find out whether my low carb lifestyle this summer has had any affect on my weight, and will get set up for my annual mammogram and cholesterol check, and get my prescriptions renewed for the year as well. Brett and I may visit the art museum this week, but we may also wait until the following week – we’re not sure yet. 
    The Channel House B&B in Depoe Bay sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean. Each room or suite has a private deck or balcony with a jacuzzi. A scrumptious breakfast buffet of freshly baked pastries, fresh fruits and other goodies is included each morning.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Fresh Oregon peaches showed up at the farmers’ market this week – they have been so sweet and good! And, there were strawberries available again too! While we thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our getaway the best part was our stay at the Channel House B&B in Depoe Bay. It was a dream come true for me as I have wanted to stay there forever, but it was either too expensive for us or we had kids along before so it never happened. Soaking in the jacuzzi out on our private deck while we sipped wine and watched the sun set was an absolutely sublime experience, as was falling asleep to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks below. The breakfast in the morning was pretty wonderful too. We loved getting to spend time once again in Manzanita, and Brett was thrilled to once again enjoy a big dish of Tillamook ice cream (old-fashioned vanilla and Oregon strawberry). Our apartment was actually cool when we arrived back in Portland, a nice surprise as we were expecting it to be stifling.
    We found the chidori plate on the left in Manzanita; the one on the right we bought in Japan.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We spent very little during our getaway other than indulging ourselves at dinner on Wednesday night. The only purchases we made were some cheese, sausage and smoked salmon in Tillamook, and some salt water taffy for the girls and a small Japanese plate from another favorite shop in Manzanita – we bought it because it goes with two we bought in Japan. We had to throw out a bag of coleslaw mix that went bad while we were away, but otherwise we ate all our leftovers and made some headway using up the condiments in the fridge. We put $6.41 into the change/$1 bill bag.
    So thankful to be blessed with Brett as my partner.
  • Grateful for: He makes me coffee every morning; he carries the laundry up and down the stairs to the laundry room and then helps me fold it when it’s done; he does the dishes and cleans the kitchen at night; he does all the driving and tracks the balances on our Trimet cards; he tallies our spending every day and checks our walking distance; he takes care of all sorts of odd little errands; and he stops and listens whenever I want to talk about our future or make plans. I’m so very thankful (and blessed) for everything Brett contributes to make my life easier and more meaningful these days!
    Scallops cooked in garlic butter with fresh, lightly steamed vegetables = the perfect seafood meal for me!
  • Bonus question: What’s your favorite seafood? I love, love, love shellfish of all kinds (and am thankfully not allergic to any of it). Lobster and king crab are okay, but I am a bottomless pit when it comes to peel ‘n’ eat shrimp. I always felt sorry for those places that used to sell “all you can eat”  because I could do some major damage to their supply. I love oysters (both raw and cooked), mussels, and clams too. When we lived in Maryland I couldn’t get enough steamed blue crab when they were in season – I would love to eat some of those again some day as well as some soft-shelled crabs. Although I hated them as a child, I now love scallops, and also like squid and octopus. As for fish, I prefer white-fleshed seafood and also love ahi, but am not a big fan of salmon, although I do love it smoked (actually I love just about anything smoked). My favorite fish dish these days is grilled fish tacos – yum! It’s kind of strange but I don’t care for fresh-water fish (trout, bass, catfish, etc.), and never have even though I’ve tried to like them many times.

Our time in Portland has moved along at a nice pace, but I’m wondering now if it’s going to start feeling like the days are flying past. We’ve done almost everything we wanted and planned to do while we are here but things always seem to crowd up at the end, whether it’s getting something done or seen or using up the food on hand. We’ll see.

I hope this past week was a great one for everyone, and that you have plenty to look forward to in the week coming up!

12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 7/28/2019: Week 11 in Portland

  1. I love the picture of the two of you and your tribute to Brett. He sounds like such a great partner.

    Peaches are ripe here, too, and I’m about overdosing on (local) blueberries. My favorite farm market, which is seasonal, opened this week. Fresh veggies and fruits are SO much better. Yum!

    I love most seafood, although I found out I was allergic to lobster after my third try and the same results. I just couldn’t believe it – thought I had the flu, ate something bad, etc.etc. Nope. It was lobster. 😦 But I really love scallops, shrimp, ahi tuna, fish tacos, and every fresh fish I’ve ever tried in Hawaii. I grew up eating salmon and lake trout from Lake Superior, so they’re “home food” for me when I can get them. Oh, and whitefish from the Lake is good, too.

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    1. I had issues with oysters when I was pregnant, and ended up in the emergency room twice after eating them (cooked both times, too). But I’ve eaten them since with no problem. The variety of fresh fish available in Hawaii was amazing but also so, so expensive. Same for the fish in Japan. I would eat more except for that, and the fact that the oceans are now getting dangerously close to being overfished, and I am not crazy about farm-raised fish. I wish I liked salmon more than I do, but still prefer most other fish and seafood over it.

      Can’t wait to get back to the farmers’ market tomorrow to stock up on more berries and peaches! We haven’t had much melon this summer, but that’s mainly because it’s difficult (and heavy) to carry on public transportation!

      We were surprised the picture of us turned out – we were staring into the setting sun and couldn’t see a thing. We just smiled and hoped for the best!

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  2. Not a big fan of seafood. Fried shrimp is good but I don’t have it very often. Best fish I ever had was at a restaurant in south Florida. Sea bass. I think because it was so fresh it didn’t taste fishy. My grandmother made wonderful fried catfish but haven’t had it since she died many years ago. No one has been able to duplicate her cooking because she didn’t have any recipes, I tried lobster once but didn’t like it. Never had scallops, octopus. I was forced to eat an oyster when I was young. We were at my great aunt’s house and she made an oyster cocktail. My mother felt it was only good manners to make the attempt to eat food that someone had made for you. I managed to get one down and she also ate one (she chewed hers). Good manners were observed but I have never had another oyster.

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    1. We ate a LOT of fish when we lived in Key West. Our next door neighbor loved to go fishing but no one in his family liked fish so he gave it all to us! Plus, it was the on the menu everywhere so we enjoyed it all. That sea bass probably was very fresh because truly fresh fish doesn’t smell or taste “fishy,” it smells more like the ocean.

      I’ve had the same experience being made to eat foods I didn’t like – it’s not pleasant. I was pretty good about trying everything, but there were times . . . .

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  3. I am so happy you have enjoyed your stay in Portland, but I am super excited about following your adventures in England. I’m in Alabama and right now it is Hot with a capital H! Lots of fresh fruit is ripening though-watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe and all the veggies will be ready soon.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! We’ve had a very good stay for here this summer, and know we will come back again but not to live full time. The weather this summer (so far) has been wonderful – I almost can’t believe we haven’t hit a true hot spell, but are pretty sure it will arrive some time in August. Portland does not handle hot very well.

      Best melon ever comes from the south. I’ve had cantaloupe and watermelon there that tasted as sweet as honey and that melted in my mouth – so unbelievably good.

      We’re super excited about visiting England!

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  4. I live in catfish Country, surrounded by catfish farms, so, of course, I like it. Ditto with peanuts, pecans, etc. I LOVE Gulf Coast shrimp, oysters, , mussels, crab claws (they are little blue crabs), crawfish (Cajun influence on coast and somewhat inland down here). I do not really like salmon, probably because I am so used to other fresh fish here and it has to be transported thousands of miles to get here.

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    1. Crawfish are the one shellfish I’m not crazy about, and after eating tasty blue crab in Maryland and king and dungeness on the west coast I found stone crab in Florida to be sort of meh. I loved the shrimp in Florida though, and as I said, I could really do some damage at the all-you-can-eat places. I do not order seafood in the midwest or any place it has to be flown into. I’ve tried catfish a few times but it’s just not a favorite. I’ll eat it if it’s served to me but won’t go out of my way to order it.

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      1. Catfish is only really good if fresh. I usually am able to get it within a couple of hours after being caught. I don’t like it if it has been frozen for any length of time.

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  5. Those parfaits look heavenly. And now we’re going to have to check out the B&B whenever we get to the coast again. I went on a city walking tour in Oxford a couple of months ago that was wonderful. The guide was a fairly recent graduate so she had anecdotes about her experiences there and, of course, all the wacky traditions. Lots of fun things to do and see in Oxford. The first time we were there (fall), nobody was punting on the river, but in the spring, we saw a bunch of people doing it. Oh, and just a note, if you get sick and need medicine, prescriptions are free if you’re over 60, even if you’re not a resident. The doctor visit was not, but at $109, it wasn’t too bad.

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    1. We try to have a parfait every day – healthier than eating cookies, cakes, etc. Sometimes they’re big, sometimes not so big, but always full of fresh fruit.

      Thanks for the information about pharmacies, refills, etc. We are making sure right now that we will have enough of our prescriptions to get through our time in England, but this is good information to tuck away. BTW, we plan to take a student-led walking tour in Oxford, and there’s a pottery shop I want to visit there as well. Brett and I will probably stay for a second night and tour the Ashmolean on our second day before heading back to Blockley (museums are not YaYu’s favorite thing).

      The Channel House was wonderful, better than expected and worth every penny!

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