Sunday Morning 12/8/2019: Week 2 in Portland

There will be room for all of us on the sofa in our living room!

After a stop at Trader Joes, Brett and I moved over to our long-term rental last Sunday morning, and all I can say is this place is fantastic! It looked good in the pictures but it’s even better in reality. The spacious two-bedroom apartment was built into the attic of a 100-year-old Craftsman home, and you can tell the hosts had a lot of fun decorating and equipping the home for guests. I especially love the huge dining table we have this year as well as the big desk for Brett to work at, and all the room we’ll have to spread out when the girls are here. The house has everything we could possibly need as well because the hosts, a retired couple our ages, have really thought of everything. Every time we see them they ask if we need anything more, but so far we haven’t been able to come up with anything (they stopped by Friday evening with additional umbrellas for us). They’ve even offered to wash our towels and other linens for us (which we will do ourselves though). The neighborhood is nice too, quiet with lots of big, old Craftsman homes sitting on big lots, and we’re not too far away from WinCo, Costco, and other stores as well as the airport (but far enough away that we’re not bothered by jet noise).

I love the BIG dining table! Last year we could barely squeeze the five us at the table in the house we rented.
The master bedroom has its own sitting area with a television. The bed is super comfortable.

We enjoyed some pretty nice weather for several days we arrived in Portland, with blue skies on many days which helped my mood considerably. However, rain arrived on Friday and had continued for the past few days so we’re dealing with that once again. We took care of most of our big shopping errands this past week though so as long as the weather remains damp Brett and I will spend time indoors. We will be getting together with friends a couple of times this week though and I’ve got a medical appointment next Thursday evening.

Lots of blue skies over Portland this week.

The doctor I saw last summer wanted me to stop the medication I’d been taking for GERD when my prescription finished (because it negatively affects my bone density) and I took the last pill a week ago. The heartburn came right back, worse than ever, so I’m heading back to see her this coming week to find out what’s going on (and hopefully new medication). I’ll also be getting a DPT booster and a flu shot, and whatever else she recommends.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: The library took The Guns of August back yesterday. My stomach problems made made it difficult to concentrate this past week so I got little reading done. I’m not sure whether I’ll check it out again or hold off for a while. Brett got me a copy of the fifth book in the Inspector Morse series, The Riddle of the Third Mile, at Powell’s yesterday, but the fourth book, Dead of Jericho, is out of stock everywhere, new or used.
  • Listening to: We’re enjoying another wonderfully quiet morning here. Brett is in the kitchen making breakfast for us this morning (avocado toast and coffee). It’s foggy outside so it’s very quiet out there too (although the neighborhood is regularly pretty quiet all on its own).
  • Watching: The viewing highlight of our week was The Irishman. Just WOW. Superb storytelling, and even more superb acting – Joe Pesci deserves an(other) Oscar for his performance. We also watched The Highwaymen on Netflix (the story of how Bonnie and Clyde were caught) and we binge-watched a very creepy British mystery/thriller, Requiem. We also binge-watched the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and are going to start watching Late Night tonight, with Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson. The house has a 72-inch television and full cable including Netflix and Amazon Prime, so we’re feeling very spoiled.
  • Cooking: Meals will stay simple for us again this week. We’re having stuffed peppers tonight, and other meals this week will include leftover quiche; broccoli & cheese soup with a sandwich of some kind; and teriyaki chicken over cauliflower rice along with some cucumber. We’ll fill in the other nights with leftovers. I am trying to eat smaller portions, and stay away from acidy foods, but there is currently nothing I can eat right now that doesn’t seem to aggravate the GERD.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: We got our big Costco shop done on Thursday afternoon and stopped at New Seasons Market for a few things yesterday so we’re ready for the girls’ arrival (although they won’t be here until the week after this one). The house is stuffed with food right now. I’ve gotten all the girls’ gifts sorted and wrapped, and ordered gifts to take with us to Japan for the grandkids. We stopped at Target on Wednesday and picked up a new spiralizer (third time’s a charm, fingers crossed, etc.) and a couple of other cooking utensils that we can use now but want to take along to use in Japan.
    We already carry a good vegetable peeler and a corkscrew along with us and have now added a silicone spatula, a pair of tongs, and yet another spiralizer. Please send reminders when it’s time for us to pack again so we don’t leave the spiralizer behind.
  • Looking forward to this week: I am getting my hair cut this afternoon and I’m so looking forward to it! I was surprised to get a Sunday appointment, but that’s one of the days the Deva curl specialist works. We’re having lunch with our friend Joan at her home on Tuesday afternoon, along with the nomad couple we met last summer, Chris and Sarah, who are back again in Portland. On Thursday I’m meeting up with another good friend, Elaine, for coffee at our favorite spot so we can catch up and set the world straight once again. While I can’t exactly say I’m looking forward to seeing the Dr., I do want to find out what’s going on with my stomach and hopefully get some new medication!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: Moving into our current Airbnb home has been a very good thing – Brett and I are still pinching ourselves that we got this place. We had dim sum with our long-time friend Sylvia on Thursday and had a great time catching up (and a good meal too). Sylvia is from Hong Kong and had just returned from a family visit, so we got to hear some about the situation there. Getting together with friends is always the best part of coming back to Portland!
    We always let Sylvia order the dim sum – she started our feast with shrimp har gow, pork shu mai, and beef cheung fun.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: We’ve finished almost all of our food shopping (just need to buy more produce after the girls arrive) and we are well under budget – we have been super strict about sticking to our shopping lists. I ordered both our grandchildren’s Christmas gifts and received free shipping for both gifts as well as Cyber Monday discounts of at least 20%.
  • Grateful for: I’m very grateful I could get in so quickly to see the doctor this time – last summer I had to wait nearly two months for an appointment! As always, I’m extremely thankful for our good medical insurance (Medicare and TricareForLife) that covers everything with little to no out-of-pocket cost. 
  • Bonus question: What’s on your Christmas list this year? I remember that when I was young I could always come up with a long list of things I wanted for Christmas and was always puzzled when my mom and grandmother would both always say they didn’t have a list because they didn’t need or want anything. Who couldn’t come up with a list for Christmas? Well, this year I have a very short list with just four things on it, and I had to struggle a bit to come up with these: an Amazon gift card that I can use to purchase books for my Kindle; a J. Jill gift card; a Coldwater Creek gift card, and a pair of silver hoop earrings because I have lost yet another pair. I made a list because the girls insisted and because we do a Secret Santa gift swap each year ($35 or under). Like my mom and grandmother, I really don’t need or want anything else this year other than time with Brett and the girls.

Overall, I’m enjoying the calm of being back in Portland, of being in familiar territory, so to speak. I like knowing my way around and the convenience of having a car again to get to places, although we did fine without one last summer. We’ve already been talking about coming back next year, but with the intent of going through all the stuff we have in storage with the girls and letting them take the things they want, and then downsizing the rest even more. We neither miss nor have deep feelings these days about most of the stuff we kept. We’ll see though – it will depend on whatever we finally come to a decision about the keep traveling/settle down divide we’re currently working our way through. 

That’s a wrap for this week! It was a good one for us, and I hope a good one for everyone else as well. Here’s to another week of good food, good times, good friends, good books, and good health for everyone as the holiday season approaches.


33 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 12/8/2019: Week 2 in Portland

  1. It is so terrific you two are enjoying being “home” in Portland and in a terrific Airbnb. Even better is how well you are staying under budget. After being nomadic it is always good to be in familiar territory, although you love to travel! I cannot think of a better time than being home for the holidays with your girls.

    I knew Maisel series 3 was due in December but had not paid attention to when. Thx for the heads up we love that show too! We recently finished the most recent Doc Martin series which we thoroughly enjoyed.

    Re your GERD, I get how awful it is—and everyone is different—I know that. My younger son has issues with it and so have I. Like you I read recommendations along with OTC meds. I wanted to get off of those so more reading helped me to target what might help. Thinking I had nothing to lose I made a couple of changes—eating supper/dinner by 7 pm since I tend to be an early riser—therefore earlier to bed plus nothing acidic or really powerful at supper like tomato sauce or raw onions or fresh garlic, or pizza, as well as very little fried foods. It has worked well for me. However, I get that we are all different, and sometimes we eat later so I refrain from an earlier bedtime. Hoping you get relief from the major discomfort, burning in your throat and coughing —I have!

    I also applied the “what have I got to lose by trying something different known to work” for my afib. The American Heart Association had a study that showed losing 25% of your body weight could affect in a positive way the number of incidents of afib. So I started the online WW program using their app in April 2018–and slowly lost weight. When I got to that 25% loss yes, there was a positive correlation to fewer afib episodes. I do take the required meds tho on one have cut back with the doc’s permission. I am still following WW with about 15-20 to go to goal. Apparently going slowly in my case has finally worked! I have truly internalized the process.

    Of course everyone is different!


    1. I am willing to try anything at this point to calm down my stomach. It’s been AWFUL, to the point that I have had to sleep a couple of nights in a chair because I had to sit up straight to get any relief. I was tested last summer for a bacterial infection that can often cause severe GERD, but that came back negative so now who knows? Hopefully the Dr. will have some new ideas when I see her this week. We’re only here for a short time too, but I can go to the navy base clinic when we’re in Japan if things continue to get bad, or even go out in town (with my son or DIL along to translate) – Tricare covers us all over the world, and Japan has excellent medical care. But, fingers are cross for possibly a new medication this week, or at least some new techniques to calm things down. I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas though in today’s comments.

      The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was great, but once again left lots of loose ends in the final episode. I’m already looking forward to Season 4.

      The owners have now completely decorated the outside for Christmas and it’s lovely. It’s going to make Christmas here even more special!


  2. That Airbnb looks amazing and perfect for gathering your family over the holidays. Nice!

    Like you, I have a hard time coming up with a list when requested, and I now understand my parents better. Actually, not just on the gift front, but on so many other things. 🙂

    I have suffered from heartburn for years and have gone through periods where I swear everything I ate made me miserable. In addition, every med I tried (Zantac, Prilosec, etc.) gave me headaches, the first side effect listed for most of them. Over time, I’ve figure out the worst food offenders, but I still struggle with it off and on. The only thing that seems to help me is eating small portions, chewing sugar free gum after I eat (to aid digestion) and keeping Tums Smoothies handy (I hate the hard ones). It’s a miserable thing to deal with, and I’m convinced it’s gotten worse as I age. It appears to run in my family, as we had a whole discussion at Thanksgiving dinner about which of the next generation had gotten that gene vs eating whatever they want with abandon. I hope for your sake that they can help you find a solution. It’s not fun!


    1. This Airbnb is so wonderful – so much space! One thing I discovered is that I need to sit up more – I’m a “sloucher” and that aggravated the GERD. But there’s no rhyme or reason that I can figure out yet why it flares at some times and not others. I’m careful with what I eat and drink, but for example, yesterday I had two cups of coffee with no problems, no pain. Then this morning, one cup set things off and I was miserable no matter what I did or how I sat. We travel with TUMS Smoothies -they’re the only ones I’ll take too. These days I’m carrying a jumbo container in my purse – I had to buy it when we were at Target because the reflux was so bad (for who knows what reason). Everything seems to have the ability to set it off but there’s no consistency. All symptoms currently point to a hiatal hernia, especially the fact that the GERD came on very suddenly and then wouldn’t go away. Hopefully the Dr. will have some answers on Thursday.

      I cannot tell you how much I struggled with that list! All I really want is a big Amazon card for Kindle books, but the girls said that wasn’t enough. Lucky for me though they usually find other things that I enjoy that aren’t on my list (instead of a J. Jill card, they buy me something from J. Jill) so I’m always surprised.

      I can’t wait for them to see this house! And, for us to all be together again. Just 10 days to go!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. FWIW, after several tests to rule out other things, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. And I really feel it if I overeat or eat the wrong thing. But at least once you figure out what it is, you can work around it. (I have that same giant bottle of Smoothies in my bedside table and a purse size for daily outings. ha!)


      2. The Dr. really thought from my symptoms that I had a bacterial infection but that came out negative so we’re back to square one. I’ve already made some changes – no more slouching, no more sugar or sweet foods, eat more slowly and chew more carefully, etc. Nothing really works yet though. Thank goodness for TUMS though – at least I know I am getting enough calcium these days (for which my bones are grateful).


  3. It looks like you’ve settled into a comfortable place, which makes life so much more enjoyable. Hopefully you’ll soon find a little relief with your stomach problems as well.
    I like that small spiralizer, what a great little tool to have! Bring on the veggies, right?


    1. This place is extremely comfortable (not just a pretty face LOL).

      We love that spiralizer, and were so happy to find it in Target. It’s super easy to use. The trouble with us, is that we keep things (too) organized so we put the spiralizer away and then of course forget to check that cabinet before we leave. I think remembering to pack the other utensils will jog our memory with the spiralizer this time, or at least I hope so!

      My stomach is not my friend right now – hopefully I’ll get some answers/solutions this week.


  4. Beautiful apartment and, like I said before, you have put Portland on my list of places I want to visit. So sorry about your health issues. I have to eat very slowly and take small bites. I also do so much better with baked fish or chicken if I am going to eat meat. I can’t seem to handle ground beef, sausage, or fried meat very well anymore. I actually do better with a bland diet of cooked peas, beans, baked vegetables,and rice. I don’t know if that would help you. I hope your doctor can help you feel better.


    1. Also, I don’t want or need presents. Why I need is more time to sleep and less work stress.


    2. Portland is a fun city, and very easy to get around in (it’s mostly laid out in a grid). Public transportation is very good as well, and the downtown area is very walkable.

      Right now I am struggling with consistency – I can eat something one day with no problem, but the next day it bothers me (or vice versa). I am eating smaller portions, eating more slowly, keeping away from sugars and most carbs but I don’t know from one meal to the next what the result will be. The acid just keeps coming. I also haven’t slept well the past couple of nights, although I have found a solution to keep my head raised which helps. Hopefully the Dr. will have some ideas/solutions when I see her.


  5. Wonderful about your apartment.

    I have nothing I want for Christmas. Too much stuff in the house. I told Mr S we are gifting each other the trip to California.

    I just looked for the Dexter book in Book Depositary website. They have a real book for not much. I always look there. Have bought some out of print second hand books from the UK from that site. It’s a really good supplier of books.


    1. Love, love, love this place – we’re already thinking about reserving it for next year.

      I have enough stuff too. Most appreciated these days are things I use all the time, like curl creme for my hair, or moisturizer, etc. Our middle daughter is going to do my makeup this year – it will be a challenge for her but she wants to try and help me find some easy-to-use products that I can carry along. I know no matter what I put on a list, I will be surprised and whatever I get from the girls will be lovely.

      Powell’s book had the Dead of Jericho book available before we left England, but between now and then all their copies have been sold. I really should have looked for it when we were in England, but here I am. I’m going to check out the Book Depositary anyway – I know I’ll find something I’d like to read. Thanks for the suggestion!


  6. Great post! Glad you all found an awesome place to stay! I can relate to the Christmas Wish list issue. As an adult I don’t really need or want anything other than: Good health for my family and myself, Time spent with family during the holidays and Peace on Earth!


    1. Your wishes for the holidays are the same as mine! I guess this year I should ask for a calmer stomach, although that would be kind of hard to put under the tree.


  7. What a wonderful place! That living room area is huge. It looks like it can handle really large families. Like others, I suffered from reflux and was on the proton pump inhibitors for years, far longer than is currently recommended. Sadly, that long term use did result in osteoporosis, which has been really hard to deal with. The reflux went away after I quit eating stuff that it turns out I was allergic to, according to the functional medicine doctor I saw. I’d tried all the other things like losing weight, not eating after 7, low acid food, etc., but it was the food allergy thing that made a difference for me. Hope you find something that works for you.


    1. The living room is not huge, but it’s an open space with enough room for the giant sofa, the big dining table, and the big desk without feeling cramped. The sofa is amazing, although Brett prefers the IKEA Poang chair most of the time (I slept in it a couple of times last week – it’s very comfortable).

      The medication I was taking was a proton-pump inhibitor, and with my being on the borderline for osteoporosis the Dr. did not want me to take it any more because it increases the risk of fractures. I’m hoping there’s another medication that I can switch too because I am currently miserable.

      That the GERD might be a result of a food allergy is interesting, although currently, as I’ve written below, there’s absolutely no consistency between what I eat and whether the GERD acts up. Also, it came on rather suddenly, back when we lived in Hawai’i – I’d never had it before and then all of a sudden it was there and a constant companion. The Dr. wanted to do an endoscopy to see what might be causing it, but I never got it done, and put me on the proton-pump inhibitor instead. Really, really hoping for some answers this week or at least a new path.


  8. Your posts are always so enjoyable and calming for me! I am in the middle of moving…and it is so hard! Reading this right now has been nice, I am glad you and Brett have a great spot to spend with your family for the holidays….you will all be so happy. 🙂
    We are trying to do things simple and nice here this year.
    Anon in mass


    1. I don’t care how well you prepare, a move is always stressful. Brett and I have made many moves (most courtesy of the navy) and none of them ever got any easier. This last time we broke things down into smaller, more manageable tasks and put them on a timeline, which helped some but not competely.

      Simple but nice for the holidays is the way to go!


  9. My husband had stomach trouble for many years. He took medication and the same thing happened to him. So, he went back on the meds. However, our chiropractor suggested he do a food sensitivity test. It is a blood test done with a finger stick. The company is Bio Tek. He came back with antibodies being formed for many common foods: dairy, gluten, eggs, bananas, pineapple, to name a few. He cut these out of his diet and has stopped taking the medication. He does not have any stomach trouble at this time. It has been 2 years.


    1. I think this food sensitivity/allergy thing is very interesting and I am definitely going to ask the Dr. about it. I know I can’t eat lettuce for that reason but possibly I’ve become intolerant to other foods? I don’t know but I’d like to know. The whole thing though is driving me nuts. Hopefully there is a simple answer that just hasn’t been tried yet.


  10. My husband heard about Maisel at work and checked it out (he prefers to watch in original language) but I’m not as big a fan as he is. It’s funny but the swearing…makes my ears burn!


    1. She does swear a lot. I maybe don’t notice it as much because I’m married to someone who was in the navy for 22 years, where swearing is a high art. Brett’s not that bad either, but the things I heard over the years – yowza!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I too love your Sunday postings. They are both enjoyable and inspiring. So happy that you two are sailing into lots of family time, first in Portland, then Tokyo.

    I purchased a spiralizer last year, and I have much enjoyed it, though I need additional ideas other than simply spiraling yellow squash to use in place of pasta? And reading continues to be our preferred evening activity, particularly with Pandora playing classical holiday tunes in the background. No singing songs though, because I can’t read if there is singing going on!

    Our coastal December will be, quite literally, non-stop. We have been here two years now, and our efforts to get involved in our new community has definitely paid off in spades! In addition to the traditions we established when we first moved here (Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade, kayaking on Christmas morning) we are now adding visits to the San Juan Mission Christmas lights festival, tothe Ritz to see the custom gingerbread house, and to Nellie Gail to see the holiday lights.

    I look forward to hearing about your Portland holiday activities as the month progresses. ☺


    1. I love writing the Sunday posts too. I used to actually do them all on Sunday, but these day I put the outline up on Wednesday and then fill in as the week goes along (otherwise stuff I want to write about falls through the cracks), and finally polish it up on Sunday morning. It’s a lot less stressful this way.

      You really do have a full month with all your holiday activities! I would LOVE to see the San Juan Mission lights – I imagine they will be beautiful. Portland does a boat parade – maybe we’ll try again this year although previous tries usually failed because of the miserably cold, wet weather. We’re waiting on the girls now to see if there’s anything they want to do or see.

      I cannot read if there is ANY kind of distraction going on, including soft music. Neither can Brett, and we can’t figure out how our son could not study unless he had music on (including all the way through law school). He didn’t get that ability from us.


      1. I just want to add a plug for this part of OC, in that you may not have been back for a while – and that is that traffic is so easy here, it’s a joy to get around via surface streets and PCH. Just something to keep in mind as you continue to think about where you may eventually land.


  12. Your excitement of coming back to “home base” of Portland comes through. There’s nothing like catching up with friends whom you have known for a long time plus being someplace that you know like the back of your hand. Then add in the excitement of spending the holidays with all three of your girls!

    What about taping a reminder message inside your suitcase: 5 KITCHEN UTENSILS want to travel too! Also putting a reminder message in your phone for the day before you leave. I’m finding the reminder messages I put into my phone to be so, so helpful LOL!

    I’ve had occasional heartburn but after reading, “The Science of Skinny” by Dee McCraffrey I have a better understanding of how the gall bladder and liver work to produce bile, which in turn can cause heartburn. Essentially it’s all about keeping the bodies PH level in balance. I know nothing about GERD, but it sounds awful, so this book might be a total dud for you.

    Have a great week!


    1. We are happy to be in Portland, but after a few trips back know that we could not live here full-time again. I just can’t deal with the winters, and it’s also gotten very expensive here. But, PDX will always hold a piece of our hearts, and we love to see our friends and visit familiar places.

      I hope I can get some answers from the doctor tomorrow. The past few days have been miserable, to put it mildly. Whether it pertains to what’s going on with my stomach, “The Science of Skinny” still sounds like an interesting read – I’m going to see if I can get it from the library.

      As soon as I get off the computer I am going to make a sign and tape it to the refrigerator: 5 KITCHEN UTENSILS. Thank you!


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