Sunday Morning 8/4/2019: Week 12 in Portland

Summer in Oregon means long, long days. This picture looking out east from the Kohler Pavilion at OHSU was taken just after 8:00 p.m. while Brett and I were out on a walk. The setting sun made the east side of the city glow.

What a busy week we had! There have been doctors’ and dental appointments for both of us, lab work and tests, classes for Brett, meet-ups with friends, and lots of other things going on all week. We’ve thankfully made it on time to every place we’ve needed to be, but it was sort of crazy at times.

With all the medical stuff done, we learned both of are in pretty good shape which is always good news. The cause of my GERD remains a mystery however, and I may have to have a gastro-endoscopy after all to find out what’s going on (possibly a hernia). I am also still at risk for osteoporosis so I will be starting medication for that once again, but otherwise everything is OK, our cholesterol levels are great, and we’re doing everything right. All our prescriptions have been set up for the coming year, although the doctor would like to wean me off the medication I take for GERD. I am miserable without it so hopefully another solution can be found sooner rather than later. I saw the dentist once again last Monday afternoon and got the last filling done and also got started on my teeth-whitening regime (which is going well), and Brett got the last of his dental work done. I got a call that the bridge for my lower teeth has arrived and I have an appointment for it to be installed on August 12. I will go back on the 13th for a cleaning and then I am done (well, all except for paying the bill for all of this work)!

We had pretty great summer weather this past week: Brett caught this beautiful view of Mt. Hood last Thursday on his tram ride down to a medical appointment . . .
. . . and this terrific view of Mt. St. Helens while he was at the lab. By the time we went for our walk in the evening, both mountains were clouded over.

Our big challenge this last month in Portland will be to make sure that we finish up all the food we have on hand right now, including as many of the condiments as possible, and buy only what we need so we can leave with the refrigerator and cupboards empty. I have a feeling we might be eating some pretty strange combinations at times, but we’re motivated and committed to not wasting anything. We’re also keeping lists of everything we need to do or get or see before leaving Portland, from purchasing motion sickness medicine to getting my shoes waterproofed to buying British pounds from the bank. I keep a set of cards on the ledge by the stairwell coming up to the apartment along with my goals cards, and check them every day to see if there’s anything we need to add, or check something off if we’ve taken care of it.

Our “organization center” in the apartment, where we keep track of appointments or other things that need to get done or acquired.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I’m still working my way through Truman and The Path Between the Seas – both are very interesting but very dense with information so they’re taking some time. I know I am not going to get them finished before they have to go back to the library, and since Brett would like to read them too we’ve decided go ahead to purchase the Kindle editions.
  • Listening to: Brett is rustling around in the kitchen getting breakfast started (bacon, scrambled eggs, orange juice, and Chinese dumplings for Meiling and K), Meiling is reading in her bedroom, and K is taking a shower. The kids downstairs were making a lot of noise outside in the courtyard a few minutes ago, but they’ve quieted down again so it’s again calm and peaceful here. The weather is lovely for now with a cool breeze that makes the blinds move and clatter once in a while, but temperatures are supposed to go over 90º today, so I know to enjoy this all while I can.
  • Watching: We’ve got a few more episodes of Father Brown to go, and are otherwise only watching The Good Place, but don’t have many episodes left of that either. Meiling signed us into her Hulu account so we can watch the new series, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

    This week’s pizza, besides being delicious, used up several items/leftovers in the fridge!
  • Cooking: We’re going to have zoodles with meatballs and marinara for dinner tonight. Also appearing on the dinner table this week will be teriyaki chicken and fried cauliflower rice w/vegetables, mabo dofu, and pork chops with roasted vegetables. We’ll be having the sausage and artichoke heart pizza that we were going to have last week because I ended up making a roasted vegetable and feta pizza on a red pepper sauce base on Friday – it was amazing, and used up several things in the fridge. We will of course also continue to enjoy fresh fruit and whipped cream parfaits!
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: We accomplished a lot! I am so happy all the main doctor appointments, lab work and other tests are over though. It was so convenient being able to walk to everything, or ride the tram, because it seemed one of us was over at the hospital for something almost every day. We made it to the farmers’ market this week in between all this other stuff going on – we weren’t entirely sure if that was going to happen or not. I’m proud that I once again got my entire goals card filled in for the week. There are days I really don’t feel like doing some of the things on it, but I prefer to see a check rather than an X, so I get it done. I finished Level 2 of Japanese in Memrise and have started on Level 3. Level 3 is more of an actual language lesson while Levels 1 and 2 were all about learning complicated (and mostly unnecessary) phrases aimed at young travelers.
  • Looking forward to next week: We thankfully don’t have any appointments next week so we’re finally going to go to the Portland Art Museum. They currently have an exhibit about turn-of-the-century Paris, and we’re excited about seeing that. We also would like to stop by the Keller Fountain and need to take care of a few other errands while we’re downtown.

    Out for a hike in the woods after dinner with our favorite oldest daughter and her guy
  • Thinking of good things that happened: We had a great visit with Meiling and K on Saturday! I fixed dinner and breakfast here at the apartment, and we took a hike together in the evening as well as caught up on what’s happening back in NYC. I had a wonderful time having lunch and talking with friends Elaine and Sylvia this past week, and feel very blessed to have both a part of my life. We got our OHSU online accounts reactivated, and were able to learn the results of our tests in a day or so, and that everything was normal. I have lost some weight, although not anywhere near as much as I hoped this summer. We picked up lots more berries at the farmers’ market again this week as well as peaches and some figs!

    Our haul from the farmers’ market this week. The eggplant and zucchini were roasted for dinner one night, and leftovers appeared on our pizza on Friday.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We had four no-spend days this past week. 2) I once again was given a free pass to ride the aerial tram back up the hill after a medical appointment. 3) We ate all our leftovers and didn’t throw away any food. 4) I was prepared to pay both times, but my friends picked up the tab for lunch both times which was a lovely surprise. 5) We put $3.35 into the change/$1 bill bag, and got a refund check for $10.66 from the electric company on Kaua’i (a year after we closed the account!).
  • Grateful for: I’m very, very thankful for our continuing good health and for our health insurance (Medicare and Tricare-for-Life) as well as our dental insurance. While we’re still paying quite a bit to the dentist this summer, our insurance has covered more than half of the expense I have incurred. Of all the benefits that Brett earned from his time in the navy, our insurance benefits have been the most valuable and we know we are fortunate to have them.

    A neighbor’s garden in our condo complex would be about as much gardening as I want to manage these days.
  • Bonus question: Is there something you wish you enjoyed but you don’t? That would be gardening. I love beautiful gardens, love eating fresh vegetables from the garden, but greatly dislike the work and experience of gardening. I put the blame for this squarely on my dad’s shoulders – he made gardening hard work and drudgery for me and my siblings starting at a an early age, and there was no joy, fun or pleasure to be had in the experience and that has stayed with me my entire life. Any attempts I have made at gardening have been with the weight of those memories on my shoulders. I have had successful small vegetable gardens, but mostly everything I have tried has been a failure because a result of my own lack of effort or lack of desire for the experience. On the flip side, I have somewhat of a green thumb when it comes to house plants, and I love growing and caring them. My dad couldn’t grow a houseplant to save his life and had no interest in them. My mom, on the other hand, would take plants that were on their last legs and nurse them back to health and make them flourish, and I learned a lot from her.

It’s exciting to think that this time next month we’ll be in England and beginning our exploration of the Cotswolds – we grow more excited each day! Our plans for what we’re doing after England have been set as well, at least as much as possible for now, and we’re very excited about those as well. There will be a post up about our plans on Tuesday.

I hope you all had a great week, and had loads of good things happen for you. Here’s to a wonderful next week for all of us!

A recent summer portrait of the grands – can’t wait to see these two again!

10 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 8/4/2019: Week 12 in Portland

  1. Funny you should mention gardening. Our home is on just over an acre of land, and the huge gardens were a joy to me when we moved here 15 years ago. The past two years I’m just about over the constant weeding, mulching and watering. We’ve decided it’s time to downsize, and for me, the yard & garden upkeep is a big part of it. I will miss the plants I love and the success I’ve had with many of my favorites (for example, my peonies had blooms this year for the first time), but honestly, it’s hot as heck outside today and the weeds are taking over. Again. Vegetables aren’t really an option unless we fence because the deer are everywhere in this semi-rural location. There are so many gardens I can appreciate in the area without spending my retirement weeding. (You can see you’ve touched a nerve there, and it appears you share that aversion. ha!)

    Glad you got a good review from the medical community, and it’s nice to have the dental work done before you take off again. I’m really looking forward to your time in England. We will travel there in the next couple years, but not this year, as moving is going to be a big time & money commitment.

    Wonderful pic of your grandkids. So cute!


    1. The garden issue is one of the reasons both Brett and I would like to live in a condo – someone else will do the work! We had yard service when we lived on Kaua’i and would most likely pay for that again if we did ever buy a house (it was included in our rent before though). I love the look of a nice garden, but have no skill nor interest in taking it on these days.

      I am glad all of this medical stuff has been done as well, although I hope the doctor can discover the cause of the GERD. Otherwise, all is good for another year – both of us were particularly pleased by our cholesterol levels. They were well below 200.

      I love that picture too – love the expressions on their sweet faces. Can’t wait to see them again!


  2. Oh a cliff hanger! i will be looking forward to Tuesday to see what’s up! 😊

    i share your pain in with regard to being long distance grandparents. We are 2500 miles away from ours currently. We will see them in three weeks, and then again three weeks later. Our current modus operandi is to stop in for a visit at the start and end of each of our trips that heads east. That has been helping to keep the frequency of seeing them up, and the cost of getting to them down.

    And I also share your case of wanderlust! We have been home since April, our longest stretch since retiring eight years ago, and I am ready to pick things up now that we are settled and done with remodeling our new-to-us home.


    1. The long-distance grandparenting is hard, especially so because of the time difference! Our DIL is great about sending photos and videos though, and we keep somewhat up-to-date through our son’s Facebook posts that often include stories involving the kids. It is hard though – we loved it when we were there and so close.

      We are so ready to go. I’m a bit grateful that we have the next few weeks to tie things up here, and be sure we’ve gotten everything taken care of, but still feeling more and more ready to move on with each day.

      Big news on Tuesday!


  3. Wonderful portrait of the grandchildren.
    If you like fresh vegetables, look at getting an earthbox. The original store is in Ellenton, Florida but is also available thru mail order. Once the box is set up there is no weeding or anything else except adding water every 2 or 3 days. My mother used to have buckets of grape tomatoes, too many egg plants to eat etc.


    1. The Earthbox sounds like something that would work for me! There are just a few things I especially like to grow (tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant and basil), and this might be the way to go without taking up a lot of space. I especially detest weeding (thanks, Dad) and will put it off until way after things are out of control, so a set up where I do not need to weed would be ideal.


  4. Favorite thing to do with figs: slit them most of the way open, stuff in goat cheese, wrap with prosciutto and grill until the cheese is warm & gooey and the prosciutto crisp. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar if you want before eating. Yum!


    1. OMG – this sounds so DELICIOUS!! It’s just the sort of thing we love. But . . . we do not have a grill this summer (and miss it). I have copied the recipe though and will definitely be trying this later. Thank you!!!


  5. Gardening (as in growing vegetables, etc.) doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Just keeping the weeds at bay in my yard is too much as it is. I wish I had the time and patience for it, but the earthbox looks like a nice alternative so I might try it. I’m in a house now and I do my own yard work, but I plan to move to a condo in two years because it’s just too much work as I get older and I’d rather spend time on other things.

    I’m thinking of taking a trip to Kauai in December. I’ve always gone in the spring or summer, so would you say December is a good time to go?

    Looking forward to your big announcement!


    1. Growing vegetables interests me a lot more than growing flowers and other plants, although I do like them. I’m with you on condo living though – no exterior maintenance! I’d rather spend my time on other things as well.

      Kaua’i in December is usually nice, but it can be crowded, especially the closer you get to the holiday season. Early December would be lovely though. Temperatures will have cooled off a bit and the humidity won’t be too bad either.


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