Aug 20, 2014

Happy Hour: Enough Already...I want french fries!

The Happy Hour Couple!
Supper time was approaching and I had a pork loin with trimming ready to be prepared. I had tomatoes, greens, cucumbers and apples ready to go. Our garden is a bounty right now and I am working on using every bit of it and have been for 6 weeks or so. It was just as I put on my apron that my husband expressed the desire to go out for "Happy Hour". I was excited. I like going out even if it is just to Home Depot. I am a very cheap date.

But I am not a beginner in this business of marriage. I know that the phrase, "Happy Hour", has two very different meanings. It depends on if you are a female or a male. Here is the way it went:
I was thinking wine and a green salad. 
My husband was thinking beer, sliders and fries. 
I slipped on a slinky long skirt, put on some makeup and jewelry...I was going out on a date.  
My husband got up out of the chair and walked to the his t-shirt and shorts...he was going out to get some real food. Enough with the vegetable already!
He took me to a beautiful restaurant with outdoor seating (good on him). I was impresses. He had managed in some magical way to make us both very happy. I love Happy Hour! Oh, and I love my husband too.


Note: Stanfords here in Portland now serves the Happy Hour menu on the outside patio. The selection very large, the happy hour wine is great and they do have very good sliders. (I'm just saying!)

Aug 18, 2014

Books: Why Do We Reread Books

My grandchildren just amaze me. I learn something from them every time we talk. For example, I learned just a couple of weeks ago why children will reread a book that they love over and over. After all there are so many wonderful things to read it seems a waste to reread anything doen't it?Maddie explained it to me first.

"When the book is done I miss the characters." she said. "I don't want the book to be over." 

Is it as though they have become friends and are a part of her life. Of course she misses them. Why didn't I know that? I have done that over and over. There is a book called The Last Convertible I have reread several times. The character, era and setting appeal to my idea of what a romantic life would be like. Even though the book made me sad, I still keep going back.

Maddie expressed the same feeling. She told about a book she was reading but had stopped. "It makes me sad," she said. "The little girl just woke up one morning and her mom and dad were gone. Can you imagine?" 

Well, yes I can. I listened as her mother talked her through it and I suspect that the book will be finished. I hope so. There are important lessons in life, courage and moving on in books like that and Maddie is just beginning the journey.

My teen granddaughter and I talked about the subject last week. Elena is 17 and she does the same thing as Maddie. She found a book called The Fault in Our Stars and loved it so much she just keeps rereading it. Why? She told me that she just wanted to crawl into the pages she loved the book so much. She did take Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) home
so hopeful she will move on to something else.
I have thought that I would like to reread Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. Not because it is educational or I need to remember the facts. I just want that journey and those people to become real to me again. I would add The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand to a list if I would making one. And this is just a few of my favorite books.

So the question is...What books would you reread if you could?


Aug 16, 2014


I really don't see my city very clearly on a day spent out and about if I am alone. I am lost in my own thoughts. Visitors to the city view things that I see as perfectly normal in a different light.

Take, for example, the fact that young people dress up in costumes, get on our mass transit and go to Pioneer Courthouse Square as someone else. I see it as perfectly normal but if you are from another part the country or the world, you may see it as beyond weird.

This last week we had visitors from out of town and we took the Max Line downtown to see Saturday Market and shop at Nordstroms. Pioneer Courthouse Square was our stop on the Max Line so we waited for the next train there. An event sponsored by some big athletic company was being set up. Just at the edge of the stairs two young girls dressed as English school girls with faces painted white as though they were about to appear in a Johnny Depp movie were waiting for the action to begin.

My visiting friend turned to me and asked where the play was. When I told her there wasn't a play and that, in Portland, this was just what kids did, she found it very hard to believe. As I think about it I can see why. It is a bit unusual to say the least. When she wrote me a thank you note telling about their trip home, here is what she said:
"At one of the rest stops I saw a girl with full face makeup like a cat...I waited to see if the car had an Oregon plate but it was Washington."
I suspect those people were on their way to Portland or had just moved away.

I asked "what's up?" when the girl boarded in the orange costume at the Pioneer Max
stop. She was puzzled until she realized I was asking why she was dressed like that. She said the Elmo-like costume symbolized the Don't Hug Me...I'm Scared song lyrics and that she did it for fun. Interestingly enough people all around me got out their cell phones and took pictures. They were wondering too. Lyrics from the YouTube video go like this:

Now when you look at this orange,
tell me please, what do you see?
It's just a boring old orange!
Maybe to you, but not to me. 
I see a silly face! (wow!)
Walking around and smiling at me.
I don't see what you mean.
'Cause you're not thinking creatively!
videos produced by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling
I don't know how "normal" this is but I do know that I think I know why these young people do this. Wouldn't we all like to hide behind a mask sometimes. Considering the angst and misgiving teens live with, I suspect that they feel somehow braver and strong when they go out in disguise. The song video, Don't Hug Me..I'm Scared that the teen loved promotes creativeness but I think the title says it all.

I like that young people do this. It brings the creative vibe that this city possesses alive. It is very alluring.

Anyway, Portland rocks. Keeping this beautiful city weird makes us more tolerant of all cultures and lifestyles. In fact, it may keep the city young and vibrant. Isn't that wonderful.

Have a wonderful day.


Aug 14, 2014

Off My Chest: On Jealousy and Keeping Score

I would like to say that getting older gives one the grace to avoid keeping score in life. You would think that our minds would explode with all that tallying and counting and feeling neglected or hurt or smug. But never really goes away for many people. I try very hard to avoid going down that path.

On taking paths, I need to have you look at a blog post I read this morning written by a mother that is sending her child off to college. Beginning a new life usually requires some help from someone you love and this mother had some of the best advice I have ever seen...we could all use it no matter our age. A new beginning needs a new attitude and some gumptious courage. In The 12 Things Fangette Needs for College inspired me to rethink the qualities I need to embrace in my life that is continually changing.

During my retirement life I have moved several times and entered into new communities of people both here in Portland and in Tucson, AZ. The life in our Arizona RV resort has been compared to a college campus like place because even though we all have other lives, we come together each year in a new beginning of sorts.

In her article Jacqueline Tierney DeMuro talked about fearlessness, courage, selfishness (in a good way), humor, common sense and a moral compass. The dialogue she included after each headers is beautiful. The one I like the most was "Put on you big girl pants!" She said, "Put them on every day and go out into the world and behave like an adult." That is where the keeping score come into play.

See, even grown up retired wise older people can to hold onto a piece of their child like behavior. They go out into the world every day and expect the world to treat them as though they are very special. While they are grumbling and complaining to their children or on the golf course, they forget that what they say or how they behave sends ripples out into the water of life. But that is not all. They are unhappy with what is happening to them AND they are jealous if someone else is not unhappy. What they do not only alters the course they are taking but it also affects everyone around them. Behaving like an adult is very hard even as we get older.

Her advice regarding selfishness seems to follow. "keep in mind that your time and your energies will be important.... Keep your guard up for people who will look to squander those things." We all know that the people that don't own a pair of big girl pants (let alone 2 pairs like DeMuro recommends) will suck the life out of those that are willing to pour effort into their deep hole of need. I had this happen in my new life in Arizona. There was not enough time or even money to fill the pit I found in that person's life.

Don't take my word for it. Read this article, send it to a college bound student or even someone just retired starting a new life. It is amazing how similar those two stages in life are.

Thank you Jacqueline Tierney DeMuro for a great blog post.

Be well and have a great day.


Aug 13, 2014

Dining Out: Let's NOT Talk About Money! Let's Have Some Dessert!

I think it is very interesting how we older people are willing to talk about money in front of our friends. We will actually say things out loud that we thought we were only thinking. Bless our wee cotton socks...did we just say that?

For example, we will take one look at the bill after dinner and grumble about how much the coffee or dessert costs. When we take a look at the menu, the first thing that comes out of our mouth is "this is a lot more expensive that the place up the street"...out the waiter and other patrons can hear. Forget about the lovely possibilities for food...just tell me how much that cup of soup is please!

English: A dessert with pudding, fruits and ch...
Expensive dessert or a money pit? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes I beg people to leave the subject alone but all I get is "oh Barbara!" and to think that I even say "please". Then I find myself doing the same thing.

See, I was taught that money was a very poor topic of conversation. We didn't talk about it even though it was on our mind. My poor father bit his tongue and paid the bill. He was very good about that...and so is my husband. I, on the other hand, may spill the beans and mention how much things cost. It is not good.

This is how we should handle case you are interested. We could pick a restaurant based on the food and how many $$$$ the rating tell us it might be. Then, we could order what we can afford. We should revel in the experience and make the most of the occasion. Once we pick the restaurant and are seated, no mention should ever be made of the price tag.

I cannot tell you how many times we have celebrated with our family (college graduation, rehearsal dinner, vacation, anniversaries etc.) and went home to think about what piece of furniture we could have purchased with the money we just spend on a meal! But would we have changed anything...I don't know. I am the one to complain. Still, once in a while, not every time, but just occasionally it feels good to just enjoy without using a coupon. I need to get over it.

I am just saying. So does money come up in the conversation on a date or a special occasion in your family? How do you handle it?

Have a wonderful day.