Sunday Morning 12/15/2012: Week 3 in Portland

A wintery day in Portland with some blue skies. I wish it could have lasted but rain and gloom arrived toward the end of the week.

Brett and I enjoyed a lovely, laid-back week – lots of sleeping in, lazy days, wonderful get-togethers with friends, good food, but things are going to change this week because beginning on Wednesday . . . the girls start to arrive! Meiling arrives after 10:00 Wednesday night, WenYu arrives at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, and YaYu comes in after 10:00 p.m. on Friday. We are more than ready for their arrivals, and so excited we can hardly stand it! We did get to spend time with Meiling this past June for her graduation, and YaYu was in and out of Portland on either side of her time in Japan for the summer, but we haven’t see WenYu for almost a year so are greatly looking forward to being together with her again. As far as how we’ll be spending our time, we’ll pretty much go along with whatever the girls want to do.

I had another rough week as far as my stomach troubles go, but I saw the doctor on Thursday evening and I’m trying some new stuff and hoping to get things turned around. The doctor’s main concern is that what I’ve experienced since I stopped taking the PPI on December 2 is not normal. An E-consult was set with a gastroenterologist – he has already reviewed bloodwork (which was normal), symptoms, reading my chart, etc. and will eventually make a recommendation, and in much less than time than I would have spent waiting for a regular appointment. So far all that I know is that several things that could be causing the issue have been ruled out (bleeding ulcer, Hep C, bacterial infection). My doctor feels the gastroenterologist will be ordering an endoscopy before we leave Portland to see if he can find out what’s going on. In the interim, she prescribed Pepcid to help with the symptoms. Brett and I stopped at Winco on the way home from the doctor’s and picked up a package to carry me over until my prescription arrives, and I felt almost immediate relief when I took the first one but unfortunately, it only lasted a few hours before the pain was back with a vengeance. It’s helping more each day though, and I can take it indefinitely as it does not cause the problems the other medication does. I am not used to being or feeling unwell so hopefully what’s going on can be diagnosed and a solution found soon. On the plus side, I found out that for all the scones, clotted cream, and jam I ate over in England (as well as the shortbread, etc.) I had only gained six pounds from what I weighed  this past summer. I’m taking that as a win.

This morning I am:

  • Reading: I finished the sixth in the Inspector Morse series, The Riddle of the Third Mile, and have downloaded the ninth in the series, The Jewel That Was Ours. I realized the books are not written so that they have to be read in order (well, except for the last book in the series), so I went with what the library has. I ordered a used copy of the fifth book, The Dead of Jericho, from Amazon for 99¢ – it should arrive before Christmas. Mysteries, even convoluted ones like the Inspector Morse ones, are about all my brain can handle right now.
    We got our Pittock Mansion mugs out of storage when we were at Joan’s. I love having my morning coffee in these mugs, and we’ve decided to take them along with us to Japan this time.
  • Listening to: Although it’s not raining right now, it is gloomy and damp which is helping to keep everything quiet outside. We both slept in late this morning, but Brett’s rustling around in the kitchen now while he fixes coffee and makes breakfast. The only other noise is the sound of the heater blowing – it’s cold outside. In just a few days the noise level is going to ratchet up a bit as the girls arrive – I can’t wait!
  • Watching: We had another week of binge-watching good shows and movies. We started out with Season 3 of Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton, and then watched the movie Marriage Story. That was difficult to watch at times but the acting was absolutely superb. Scarlett Johanssen deserves the Oscar for her performance. Then it was back to comedy with Modern Love, a great series on Amazon. Brett and I watched White Christmas last night, and once WenYu arrives it will be time for our annual viewing of Love, Actually.
  • Cooking: Brett and I will be finishing up odds and ends through Wednesday (soup, sandwiches, etc.) but on Thursday I will be preparing Meiling’s favorite recipe, stir-fried broccoli & tofu with spicy peanut sauce. Friday we’ll have hot turkey sandwiches with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy; and on Saturday I’m going to make vegetable curry (Japanese style) along with rice. We have lots of things on hand for breakfasts from cinnamon rolls to quiche to breakfast sandwiches and the girls will nibble on leftovers and such for lunch (more like eat us out of house and home), and Brett is planning to take the girls up the road to the fancy doughnut shop one morning.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: Not my accomplishment, but Brett got all of our tax paperwork lined up for YaYu’s financial aid for next year (the FAFSA was done back in October) – now all we have to do is wait until July of next year to hear how much she has to pay now that she’ll be the only one left in college. I got my prescription refills ordered so I will have enough medication to get me through until we’re back in the U.S. in May, and I also got written prescriptions that I can carry along in case I lose my medication or something else occurs where I need refills (U.S. prescriptions cannot be sent overseas through the mail). I got a flu shot as well as one for pneumonia and my DPT booster and still have the sore arms to prove it! I am also due for the shingles vaccine but the clinic was out of it, so I am going to try and get it from the navy when I’m in Japan. We got our summer clothes out of storage when we were at Joan’s (to have for Hawai’i) as well as our Pittock Mansion coffee cups – they were a good purchase and we are enjoying getting to use them!
  • Looking forward to next week: I just can’t wait to be together with the girls again and hear more in detail about what they’re doing, etc. They all make me so happy!
    Joan provided a beautiful spread for our tea last Tuesday.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: I got a great haircut last Sunday – I was very pleased with the experience and the result. We had a delightful lunch/tea at our friend Joan’s house on Tuesday afternoon – she prepared so many good things to eat – and we enjoyed great conversation with the other guests. It would be hard to pick a favorite thing I ate that day, but Joan’s curry tarts with chutney were pretty amazing. The scones and clotted cream she served brought back some good memories as well. On Thursday I had coffee and a pastry with my friend Elaine – she and I met back in 2005 when her daughter and YaYu were in the same Mandarin Immersion kindergarten class and we’ve been setting the world straight ever since. Another friend, Pat, came over to our place on Friday because I was feeling too under the weather to go out, and we had a great catch-up as well. Brett learned how much his military retirement cost-of-living raise will be for next year (not very much), but between that and our Social Security increases we are happy – every little bit helps. We sent YaYu a surprise “Finals Week Care Package” full of all sorts of fun treats to get her through the coming week (lucky WenYu did not have any finals this term!). The packages were a fundraiser for the Bryn Mawr lacrosse team, and YaYu was very surprised and happy with all the goodies she got.
    This is what approximately $36 worth of yen looks like – a nice gift from YaYu!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: The package of 25 Pepcid tablets we bought at Winco cost nearly $12 (ouch), but with the doctor’s prescription and mail delivery from our pharmacy, going forward we will pay around half of that for a 90-day supply – yeah! I paid nothing for the used book I ordered from Amazon because I had exactly enough credit left in my account to cover the entire cost of the book plus shipping fees. We got our annual rebate back from our insurance company – $96.65 this year (even though we don’t own a car, we carry an affordable non-owner policy that covers us whenever we rent a car or use a car-share service (like we did with Zipcar last summer). I had forgotten we put away some yen over at Joan’s that YaYu gave us when she got back from Japan last summer and we were surprised to discover it totaled over ¥4000! It’s mostly coins, but I know we’re going to appreciate having it, especially during the first couple of weeks we’re there. We continue to stick like glue to our shopping lists, eat all our leftovers and not throw away any food.
  • Grateful for: I was deeply touched by the many comments I received on the “10 Years a Blogger” post and cannot say thank you enough for all the continuing support, now and over the past 10 years, that I have received from my readers. You are all simply THE BEST!
    Hanging an ornament on our little wooden advent tree each day in December was a Christmas tradition for us for more than 30 years. We got the tree for our son when he was eight, then the girls took it over, and now our grandchildren are carrying on the tradition.
  • Bonus question: Does your family have any special Christmas traditions? Christmas time used to be a lot more complicated, with decorations and stuff, but we still keep our Christmas morning traditions. Our children have always been allowed to open their stockings before waiting for Brett and I to get up and before we start breakfast (although this year Brett and I have put a fun twist on the Christmas stockings). Brett usually gets up first and makes hot chocolate for the girls, with whipped cream and marshmallows, and coffee for the two of us. Before opening presents, we have always have our traditional breakfast first: toasted bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, fresh fruit (often berries), and orange juice. Our son decided on bagels when he was eight years old, and that’s what we’ve had ever since. I asked a few years ago if I could fix something else for breakfast and was about strung up, so bagels, cream cheese, and salmon it still is. After we’re done, we open our presents. Meiling serves as our “elf” these days and chooses a gift for each person to open (our son did this before passing the duty on to Meiling), and we open presents in order from oldest to youngest, one at a time so everyone can admire each others’ gifts (if the grandkids are with us they start first though). When we’re done we all pitch in to pick up wrapping paper, etc. and then relax until it’s time to eat. Over the years we’ve attempted to add other traditions but after over 40 years these are the ones that have remained consistent, no matter where we are.

I was very happy and surprised by the reaction I got to this past week’s post from my old blog, I’m Losing It Here. It’s been interesting to go through the old posts and see what I was writing back then (I’m shocked though by how bad the photos were. They were beyond abysmal. All hail the iPhone!). What stands out is how much we learned going through the experience of ridding ourselves of so much debt – it truly changed us forever. I’m planning to share around one re-post a week to share our story and how we got where we are today.

We have an exciting, busy week coming up but I have a couple of posts ready to go, including another “Back to the Future” installment. I also plan to post next Sunday but after that will be taking the week after off for the holiday. In the meantime, here’s hoping that your week included lots of good food, good friends, good books, and all sorts of good things happening for you! And here’s to a great week coming up!


12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 12/15/2012: Week 3 in Portland

  1. Oh I long for some rainy weather. Nothing but smoke and heat and bushfires here.

    We also open presents one at a time. My husband’s family open all at once. Hate the greediness of that. And you don’t get to see the gifts. All over in a flash.

    No good about your stomach. Hope you get a diagnosis soon. Can’t treat what isn’t diagnosed. The govt has stopped allowing doctors to prescribe a certain indigestion/reflux medication without seeking approval as it may mask a different issue.


    1. I think the weather dichotomy is like the curly hair/straight hair dichotomy – we want or desire what we don’t have. What’s been going on in Australia however is horrific and beyond the pale. Hopefully things will straighten out soon where you are though and everyone will get some relief. Portland remains gloomy much of the time but there seems to be a bit more sunshine and blue skies here than we saw in England.

      I am feeling better – the Pepcid is helping. I still long for a full night’s sleep, one where I’m not having to sleep sitting up.


  2. I feel your excitement at the arrival of your daughters, I bet they are super excited for it all too! Even if they enjoy their colleges and new job….the break will be nice. I can’t remember exactly when I started reading your blogs…..i think it was when you were pretty close to moving to Hawaii.

    In Between unpacking and homework i am watching castle rock season 2 and it is very different than I had expected.
    A great week for all of you!🎀


    1. I can’t wait to see the girls but I wonder if I’m ready for the level of busy that comes along with them. I love it, but it’s been a year since I’ve had to cook for all of them, clean up after them, etc. I’m excited to get filled in on all that’s going on in their lives, although they all do a pretty good job of keeping us caught up.

      I have not heard of the series Castle Rock – I will check it out!


  3. The anticipation of the holiday is building here, too. We alternate Christmas with some of our grandkids and this is our year. It will be hectic but big fun. We open gifts one by one, too, although it can be challenging with little kids. Their parents are good about keeping things under control (mostly…lol) and Christmas morning is usually Papa’s waffles. One of my brothers is the “Christmas dinner house”, so we’ll be going there in late afternoon. I share your anticipation of the coming weeks!

    Meanwhile, between cleaning and shopping, I had an annual holiday dinner with a good friend and former co-worker which I always enjoy. We’re doing a shopping day together tomorrow followed by dinner with friends. I need to bake a bit, but I’m putting it off until the kids arrive, as our grandson loves to help me. We start with everyone’s favorite – ginger snaps.

    I also enjoyed Modern Love, especially the older couple and the episode with Dev Patel. So sweet. For some reason, I haven’t watched S3 of Mrs. Maizel yet. I think I’m saving it because I fly through it so fast. haha We are also going to watch The Irishman as soon as I can corner my DH for 3-1/2 hours.

    Hope they can fix your stomach troubles…no fun!


    1. The first time we tried the oldest to youngest order for present opening, our grandson burst into tears so we knew that wasn’t going to work. So, grandkids go first for now, at least until they’re a little older.

      I love to bake with my grandkids! We especially like to make brownies. Our apartment this time will have an oven, and if it works I’m looking to doing some baking with the kids. I’m actually going to bake something for the girls while we’re here – the house has mixing bowls, baking pans, measuring cups and even a hand mixer – so I’m going to make a coffee cake one morning for breakfast.

      My two favorite episodes of Modern Love are the same as yours, but I also loved the one about the doorman.

      The diagnosis is really getting narrowed down to a hiatal hernia, although my doctor still isn’t convinced that’s the problem. I’m happy though they’re ruling out everything else. I am getting better, but it’s happening very slowly (too slowly for me).

      Have a wonderful time with your friends and family!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clearly the countdown is on for the arrival of the girls! Your excitement is infectious!

    We will see DH California relatives in the near future. We are looking forward to hugs and conversation. And we also see our grandgirls too!! The holidays no matter how one celebrates are, in my opinion, all about family.

    So happy your haircut was what you hoped it would be. Photos?

    And happy you have a doctor on your side trying to determine what is going on with your digestive system. That is critical…and hope for answers for you soon.

    Congrats on only a 6 pound gain after all those luscious cream teas, scones etc. I would think the major walking you two did really helped.

    I gained, during our recent holiday, 12 pounds in 8 weeks and have lost 5. However the remaining 7 are “fallout” from Thanksgiving & other holiday goodies. Am so looking forward to the end of the temptation that January 1 will bring.

    Thx for the update, looking forward to hearing about your family reunion and the holidays.


    1. We are really excited about this week – I feel almost like a kid knowing there’s a trip to Disneyland coming up!

      I was very surprised that I only gained 6 pounds – I was sure it was more. We did walk a lot while we were in Blockley, at least until we got to the last three weeks when the weather basically turned us into slugs. I’ve been a better eater since I got here. The stomach issues haven’t dampened my appetite, but I am making an effort to eat less, and fewer carbs as well. I’m also looking forward to our time in Japan because we have to walk there, rain or shine, and we do a lot of stair climbing as well. We always drop a few pounds every time we visit.


  5. The excitement is obviously building up and is indeed infectious. We are grateful to have most of our kids and grand kids close by and celebrate with them- when we have our family around, we have everything, that’s how I feel.
    I hope the doctors will get at the bottom of your stomach issues and you’ll feel better soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the family time and the Christmas break. You’ll be so busy that you won’t even notice the dreary weather.


    1. For a change, I’m hoping the next couple of days pass quickly. Two of the three girls’ flights come in pretty late at night though, so that will make a long day to get through. I’m thankful we’re living close to the airport. We are ready for them though – there’s room for all, and the house is full of food ready to be eaten. And of course, there’s Christmas! We always have a good day.

      My stomach is feeling better, albeit slowly. The new medication is helping. I’m wondering if I’ll hear from the gastroenterologist this week or if not until after Christmas. I’m glad things are being ruled out in the meantime.


  6. Joan’s spread looks yummy! Enjoy the time with the kids.

    Hope the docs figure out your stomach troubles soon. It’s amazing that they can do so much electronically now. My health insurance even has a telemedicine option now for minor issues so you can ‘see’ a doctor online instead of going to a germy office. I haven’t tried it yet, but was tempted last week when I had a sore throat.


    1. Joan’s food is always good, and the tea that day was no exception. I happily took her up on her offer to take some of the curry tarts home with me!

      I still haven’t heard any more from either my doctor or the gastroenterologist, but things are slowly turning around and getting back to normal, and every test so far has been negative.


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