Jun 30, 2010

Vacation Planning...off to Mexico We Go!

Portland, Oregon at night...Convention Center Towers!  Our current location!
Mazatlan, Mexico
Dragon Boat in ChinaImage by Always at Home via Flickr Shanghai, China
Mediterranean Sea from Benalmádena Pueblo, Spain
Three Word Wednesday
 hassle, inject, wealth
   Where oh where to begin...can I help you plan a vacation?  Maybe not but I can let you know how we do it and you will need to take it from there.
     We are in the process of planning a 50th Anniversary vacation to Mexico.  It is one of those "is the cup half full or half empty" kind of decisions.  Don't get me wrong, we have done this many times and with the wrong attitude, it can be a hassle!  The half empty part?  It takes time and planning to get it even halfway right.  On the half full side...we get to take time to plan and study to get it even half way right!  We think a lot of the fun is in looking forward to the vacation.
     Believe it or not, our tastes do match up with our money...we do not need is a big injection of wealth into our bank account.  To our credit, we were smart enough to buy a time-share vacation exchange 15 years ago and we have been reaping the benefits ever since.  Our agreement with World Mark is the real estate value time-share and can be willed to our children...a double plus in my book.  
     So now the fun begins.  We are taking a good hard look at Manzanillo.  The temperature is about the same year around in this city and because of it's location, we are closer than we would be in Ixtapa or other more southerly resort locations.  We will be in Tucson when we take this trip.
    My husband researches weather, restaurants, locations of resorts...he is just a fanatic when he begins the hunt.  I love it...it is a no-brainer for me!  
     We try to keep the tasks in order when we do this sort of thing...first we will have to buy back into RCI, check on availability of resorts, book what we like and THEN we will look for the best airfare.   There are a few things that I have come to believe when it comes to this sort of thing:
  • Sometimes, talking to a real person works a lot better than a computer search.  I have had agents for World Mark help me find some great hidden resources.  Taking the time to do this could save us money and discomfort if we are armed with the correct information.  I believe that I will never know if I don't ask a real person what they can do for me. 
  • It is not always about the money.  Paying more may be paying less in the end.  I do think of time and discomfort in money terms.  A hard bed, bad food or midnight travel is just not worth the money you save!  We are too old for pinching our pennies.
  • The shoulder of the season...those times of the year just before and after high season...can be the best travel dates.  We have always traveled on the shoulder. This time we will go in November no matter what...but we are celebrating 50 years of marriage and this may be a time when we will just go for the prize. 
  • Don't whine!!!  No one likes a whining traveler.  Merchants and local will be cross with a whiner.  We love to just sit back and watch.  We have been in Manila, Philippines where the delicate should not go. This kind of travel has made us tough and we have gotten very humble when it comes to judging the way the rest of the world lives.   We love a cold beer in a very small restaurant with no walls and no floors.  I don't eat food what is not cooked...steaming hot is good.  I am even less likely to drink out of a water glass.  I have seen too much!  But we don't whine about inconvenience or cleanliness.  It is not ours to judge.
  • I always see a trip to the airport as an opportunity for an adventure...we will drive to a city, park the car and travel from there.  The savings could be substantial if you are in a place where the commuter flights add up.  You just need to weigh the +'s with the -'s.
  • I like Lonely Planet travel guides.  If we are going to Europe, we buy Rick Steve's books.  Other books are great but smaller the better so far as I am concerned. 
So let the adventure begin...I am on a diet and I will change the color of my hair.  Who knows maybe I will do henna this time.   I love to go...well almost anywhere.  It is so much fun! Travel for me is injecting a wealth of experience with no hassle...life is good.

b

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Jun 27, 2010

Small Space Living, Life Swap Thoughts + pictures by a 2 year old!





I love this image too...but most condos
 (Orenco Station, Hillsboro, Oregon)
 will not let you hang things on the siding! Sigh! 
SMALL SPACE LIVING     
      I have rediscovered the joy of living in our condo.  The small space here requires some self control...we cannot possess every goody in the world.  Still, we managed to find a condo with three outdoor areas...plenty to satisfy our need for plants in pots and then some.  We also found a place with only two bedrooms, no family room or laundry room.  Because the space is used so wisely we have a large kitchen open to a spacious dining area.  We also have a loft office area that is just the right size with a small laundry area tucked in a hallway.  The bedrooms are very roomy and we have two complete baths.  We have eliminated a great deal of furniture over the last 9 years we have lived here.  When we down sized, we managed to cram a great deal of stuff in this space.  Over the years we have weeded out and learned to live with a great deal less.  Small space living fits us so perfectly that when we go to Tucson to live in the winter, our small park model does not feel cramped.  All the necessities are there and that is what we are all about these days.  
A mint plant chandelier!
     I love the post at Apartment Therapy this week about high impact potted plants.  Because I have rediscovered houseplants this summer, it fit right into my state of mind.  This image from Martha Stewart shows how to keep edible plants within easy reach. Mint plants strung together are Martha's version of a chandelier.   You will find instruction at the link. Remember, mint should always be in a pot unless you want your garden overrun with mint.  It is very invasive and can be hard to eradicate.  But isn't this too smart...mint for your ice tea hanging in a pot right over that chair you will sit in as you lounge and drink?
Apron from Anthropology
A WEEK IN THE LIFE....
This kitchen needs some straightening up!
How tall is MOM?
     My granddaughter loves to take pictures...she is two!  So, when she gets a grip on my camera, her mother follows her around and she snaps the memory card full of images. She loves to look at the screen on the back and see what she has captured.  Last year, when she was one, I posted her picture of the inside of her nose.  This year her skills have improved a great deal...she actually knows which way to point the camera. 

LIFE SWAP
     The ideal life would be one that when asked, "if you could swap lives with someone, would you do it?" you answered "no". I will admit that there have been times when life has seemed just too hard but it has never, never occurred to me that I might want to swap lives with someone. I guess I have always felt that my life was of my making and, if I were to swap with someone else, it would still be mine.
      I just told my husband that I felt like I was on vacation...had we gotten in the car and gone somewhere? But then we are retired and, believe it or not, I wake most morning thinking what can we do today that is fun!  I am not talking about spending money or traveling to Spain...I am talking about walking to market or planting a flower or even caring for a grandchild.  I joke about cleaning the bathtub for the 4000th time but actually I love to do that sort of thing.  We have to admit that it is nice to do a job and see something shine when we are done.  Most of what we do does not give us that satisfaction. No life swap for me, thank you. A house swap...well that might be an option.  


b

Posted on Sunday Scribblings...Life Swap  

Jun 25, 2010

Summer Hostess Gifts + more...some on the cheap!

     One of my favorite websites comes from out of Canada. Style At Home.com is very cool. True we have a lot of great stuff in the states but when it comes to style, I think Canada may be the place to start looking. As I was roaming around today looking for what was up with our northern neighbors, I found a few items I want to share but with a few twists.
     We all know life is about eating, sleeping and shopping…not necessarily in that order. Here is what I found:
Black on White Tea Towel...I would buy these!
Tea Towels…I know,   most people think of these as left over bits and pieces of cloth kept in the bottom drawer laying unused because we all seem to have a dishwasher. But the thing is I love beautiful towels in the kitchen. They are like curtains! These little towels are printed black on white and sport some very trendy  images. “Ferm LIVING’s tea towels will match almost any kitchen, maybe adding a little retro kitsch.” When you go to the website you will find they are available in the states even though the website is European. 

Cloth Napkin Suggestion



Ideas for Hostess gifts   I  think that a simple hostess gift never goes out of style. Even our family loves a little gift in return for a dinner gathering or a barbeque. The website had 10 wonderful ideas. I have taken those that I really liked and suggest alternatives.    For example:
  • They suggested beautiful cloth napkins. I would bring the hostess paper napkins…Tuesday Morning has some of the most gorgeous paper napkins at a very reasonable price.  I personally love this type of hostess gift...thoughtful but not over whelming.
  • Another suggestion was a Williams-Sonoma ice cream scoop at $20. While we may be able to afford this option, I am sure something a little more reasonable could be found and decorated with raffia and a tag.  Target as some wonderful products. What a clever idea! 
  • They also suggested Linen Waters. In case you didn’t know, linen water is  scented water you place in a spray bottle and use as moisture when you iron linens. The product they suggest cost $22 per liter at Lothatique. But I found a website that tells how to make your own.  
Linen Water at $22 per bottle
Sprinkle on sheets or other linens to freshen.  Spray onto linens before ironing.
1 teaspoon (100 drops) lavender essential oil
5-10 drops peppermint, spearmint or rosemary essential oil (optional)
2 oz. 80+ proof vodka
24 oz. distilled water
Pour essential oils and vodka into a bottle, cap and shake to emulsion.
Mix with distilled water.
The mix will cloud, and eventually separate.
Shake well before each use.
  • The last idea that caught my eye was a collection of grilling rubs…now this seems just perfect. Their suggestion was the mini set sold by Williams-Sonoma and the cost was $22. However  Barbeque Smoker Recipes.com posted this recipe along with some others that could be bottled and given as a gift.  Attaching the recipe is always a winner.
Ingredients:-
1 tsp of:-Cayenne Pepper
• Salt
2 tsp of:-
• Dried chili flakes
• Paprika
• Ground black pepper
4tsp of:-
• Muscovado (soft brown) sugar
Method:-
Just rub it on your chicken. Skin on or skin off if you’re going to be really healthy, it’s just as good either way. You can use it on other meats as well.
Sometimes I forget the simple social graces in the rush to get things done.  Our informal lifestyle doesn’t help at all. Next time I am invited to a party I am going to make the effort to let the hostess know how much I appreciate the invitation.

b
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Jun 22, 2010

The Evolution of Blogging! Why and How

Lights in Kowloon ChinaMy husband took this picture in Kowloon, PRC

     Blogging has turned out to be a wonderful thing for me.  I began several years ago on a whim while my husband and I were visiting China.  I wanted to share my experiences with children/grandchildren...it was slicker and a lot faster than a postcard or letter.  The results have been an ongoing journal that included interests, stories, and letters.... and the list goes on.  I am not sure whether the original aim lines up with the outcome but, for me, the effort is very rewarding.
     The simplicity of starting this process has become easier with the passing years and the learning curve is not a steep climb.  It simply requires a little (or a lot) of your attention every few days.  Your posts don't need to be long or complicated...all they need to be is a reflection of your personality.  When we retire and the years pass, we become more aware of the legacy we will want to pass on to our family.  I personally would love my family to visit to my old blogs (there are three of them now) and read about what I loved, hated, and found interesting enough to write about.  I want them to read the fiction and savor the stores about themselves.  It is important to me for them to understand what I was all about.
     In the beginning,  one blog was more than enough.  Then my life style changed and I added a second and then a third:
  • It Crossed My Mind  (originally Barbara's Travels) is a personal blog that contained stories, poems, and diary like entries. It was my first blog and the description at that time was a quote from Confucius...A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Retire in Style Blog is a later blog that I began writing as a way to share those things that effect the life of a retiree.  Originally intended as a place to vent about life in a condo and neighborhood associations, the blog has evolved into a retirement lifestyle dialogue. Travel, restaurants, recreation, products I like, home maintenance, photographs and things to do in Portland, Oregon + Tucson, Arizona fill the pages.
  • Just Give Me the Facts is a blog I began during the Obama/McCain race for the presidency of the United States.  Once in a while a big rant is good for the soul.  It is not all political.  I want this blog to remain in place and I add to it occasionally.  I want my children to reflect on my opinions...good or bad in their view. 
    
     In the end though, the pleasure I get from going back and reading what I have written will be enough.  I never realized how compelling a journal could become.  I would recommend it for anyone...just go to blogspot.com and follow the steps.  Really is not that hard.



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Jun 20, 2010

MIX Portland's Magazine of Food and Drink...Must have!!!

Pok Pok Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon. T...A description of Pok Pok Thai Restaurant was in the last MIX magazine recognized as having a great patio.  The Oregonian voted it the restaurant of year in 2007  Image via Wikipedia
THEOREGONIAN NEWSPAPER
    The Oregonian, Oregon's newspaper, is surviving as it always has.  It is delivered to doors in communities throughout the state.  I lived in Eastern Oregon from 1941 to 1959 and the paper came to our door even then.  We used to have two Oregon newspapers...one Democrat and one Republican.  If you went to visit a home and saw the newspaper on the couch you would know where their political sentiment were.   The Oregonian was the Democratic publication and The Journal the Republican.  The Oregonian's owner bought The Journal newspaper in 1961 much to the disgust of it's loyal readers.  After publishing both papers for several years, the Journal fell out of favor and the state was left with one major newspaper.  
     In a time when newspapers are closing their doors completely, the Oregonian has morphed into a new entity...while the print edition is still delivered to our door, an online version called OregonLive.com allows us to stay abreast of news all day.  There is no charge for OregonLive.com so they must depend on advertisers to stay up an running.
MIX MAGAZINE
    For the last year or so they have been printing a magazine called MIX Portland's Magazine of Food+Drink. The promotion that the Oregonian has done for the magazine has been, I think, nothing short of genius.  In our trendy neighborhood, the magazine was delivered at our door by some mysterious person at no cost.  I don't know who else got it but our local grocery carried the magazine on it's racks.  Then it came in the mail for several months.  This last month it actually was included in our newspaper.  This magazine is not one big advertising puddle of nothing like so many city magazine are.  I keep each issue and will subscribe to the magazine now because I simply cannot do without it!
     The last issue had a list of places to eat and drink with outdoor patio seating...isn't that what we are all looking for in the summer.  We keep it close at hand for reference.    It also included recipes for salads that made you want to lick the pages.  One recipe went like this:
The Smokery stall at the Saturday Portland Farmers Market sells an insanely delicious smoked salmon that's good all by itself on crackers, or in a salad with whatever produce looks best that week -- including fennel, cucumber, or in this case, green beans and cherry tomatoes.


  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, mashed to a paste with the side of a chef's knife
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they turn bright green and are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain the beans and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the green beans, cannellini beans, olives, tomatoes, chives and salmon in a large serving bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the garlic and red wine vinegar together. Slowly whisk in the oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss gently with your hands. Serve at room temperature.
-- Ivy Manning
     I could only think that even if I didn't want to make the salad, which I do, I would want to make a trip to the Portland Saturday Farmer Market to buy that smoked salmon.  MIX has made the little city feel very intimate.  
      If you are from out of town you can go to the OregonLive.com website for the magazine and get a lot of great ideas for recipes or even a future a future visit.
      I  need to go now...the Sunday paper is calling...I love big paper day.  I will read all that cool Sunday stuff that we all enjoy so much.  I hope you find the information helpful or just interesting.

b

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Jun 19, 2010

Yes, You Can Brew Beer! Links to Information!

Edited copy of Image:The Brewer designed and e...We are a little most sophisticated than this!  Image via Wikipedia
     My husband brews homemade beer.  I help him drink it.  It is a plan that has worked out pretty good for us.  Since Portland Metro is the micro-brew capital of the world (maybe) it was only natural that sooner or later my husband would give birth to the idea that he could brew beer himself.  Our children were always at a loss for gifts and they saw an opportunity for many years of gift giving.  This is a beautiful plan that came together....it was so perfect.  Every birth should be as perfect of this was.    Now we are all enjoying the results.
        Here in Hillsboro the go to location for everything beer is Main Street Homebrew & Bread Supply Company.  They have anything you will need to brew beer,  Not only does my husband get quality supplies, the owner gives very good advice when he needs help.
    So I am here to tell you that brewing beer is not hard.  You can do it!  You can go online and learn everything you need to know as well as places to order supplies.  Every person that ever has brewed beer loves to talk about it so there are many discussion site available too. 
LINKS
BACKGROUND
     My husband and our children brewed their first beer in a warehouse over in Tigard.  It has been at least 13 years ago.  Someone one had the idea that if they set up enough carboys and big kettles for brewing they would come.  And so they did...come that is.  The family set up an appointment and went to the warehouse where they purchased ingredients and learned to brew their own beer.  The rest is history.  We have been enjoying the fruits of this lesson in brew ever since.
     Back in the beginning the kitchen was our lab.  Our children bought my husband a starter set of equipment at Costco for his birthday.   We brewed, sanitized, stirred poured and waited...all in the kitchen.  When the brew had fermented for the allowed amount of time we added the sugar, bottled the beer using a syphon and clamped lids on the bottles.  The we put the beer in the garage and we waited for the brew to self carbonate.
    The first bottles we opened of that homemade beer were served with a cheese soup.  It was a crisp fall day and we had gone with our family and friends to pick pumpkins.  It must have been October.  I remember the beer was a little young but we could not wait.  We raised the glasses in a toast and took a sip.  The look of surprised around the room was something to see.  OH MY GOSH!  THIS IS REALLY GOOD! came out of mouth and we all cheered.  My husband was a little insulted I think.  Still who knew we could make this wonderful brew at home.
     Since that time he has purchases coils for cooling, beer brewing books, a conical fermentor and equipment I cannot not even name or explain but have seen in use.  We even have a special refrigerator with a carbonating system like the one used to give you soda pop at the fountain.  I think he found these on Craigs List second hand. The result is draft brew served in our garage.   He will brew a batch with our daughter-in-law in July.
    If you are interested at all, buy a starter kit and give it a try...it really is fun and the cost for a bottle of beer will pay for you equipment or we tell ourselves it does.  PLUS, you will be the most popular people on the block!  How can any of this be a bad thing?

b
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Jun 15, 2010

Beer Lovers Dream Come True...Portland, Oregon

The Little White Shed
    I am not an expert on the craft of brewing beer but I do know what I like.  My husband brews beer in the garage that faces the alley behind our condo.  Living with a beer maker definitely makes you more aware of all those things that go into beer...hops, yeast, malt, time, equipment, fermentation and most of all the nuances that result from using all these things in different ways.  I began drinking beer with all these things in mind many years ago.
WIDMER BEER
     Here in Portland Metro Area we have some wonderful brews.  The Widmer brewery on the eastside of the river is among the best and they have come out with a new beer in honor of summer called Sunburned Blonde Ale.  This beer is bottled and you can expect the same quality and taste from every bottle you buy.  When we travel we love that we can get a crafted beer even in locations that don't know Millers from rootbeer.  I think the microbrew beer at their Gasthaus Pub is wonderful. 
WHY THE McMenamin's BREWPUBS?
     When we are home we gravitate to our local brewpubs.  The Portland area seems to have one on every corner.  The story told is that the McMemamin brothers began brewing in their coop at Oregon State University in the 1970's...and that they never did graduate.   They still run their first location in Corvallis.  Since that time it seems you can find a McMinamins in every mall in town. There are over 60 locations now.  Their beer is brewed on site and each beer has a flavor all it's own. They were the first brewers to add fruit to their beer when they introduce their Ruby Ale.  The key ingredient is raspberries.    A Hefeweizen up on Murray Hill will taste different than the beer brewed at Cornelius Pass Road House (Washington Country) .  You can buy bottles of beer...they fill the bottles from the kegs as you watch.  There is no bottling line.  I have never seen this beer in the grocery store...never.  You can tell I am a McMenamin's fan.  This is a culture of business that is very unique.
     These brew pubs are located at historic sites around the city and state.  In addition to their mall locations they have taken abandon schools, hotels, a ballroom, a fraternal lodge rest home, an old farm house, a country tavern and the Multnomah County poor farm and given them new life.  They boast movie threaters, dance venues, outdoor seating and even a very small golf course.   They are all extremely successful.  
     We live very near to Imbrie Farms here in Hillsboro.  The old Cornelius Pass Road House was their original pub on this site and they have since built a new restaurant they call Imbrie Hall.  During construction they made an effort to replicate the appeal of their older locations.  They also brought in old buildings that they use as event buildings, the brewery and a white shed they use as a cigar/whiskey shack (photo above).  Whiskey was added to their line several years ago.  The six-acre estate is planted to lawn and arbors guide you to unseen parking lots and spaces for wedding etc.  The quirky charm of the whole place brings us back again and again.
    These brewpubs have very small bars and the remainder of the buildings are family friendly, serving great food.
     Rooted in the former pioneer farming mecca, now the high tech haven of Hillsboro, this former six-acre farmstead is today a colorful oasis with buildings and barns that date to the mid-1850s.
     Here you'll also find one of McMenamins' top-producing breweries, and the modern-day Imbrie Hall Pub (built from the timbers of Portland's historic Henry Weinhards brewery). You may also enjoy the cozy wee bar known as the Little White Shed, along with plenty of outdoor summer seating

MY FAVORITE BEER
     I happen to love McMenamin's Hefeweizen. It is a wonderful summer beer. I began drinking it over twenty years ago. The beer is usually unfiltered and back in those day the yeast actually settle down in the glass like strings. For several weeks now I have been ordering the beer at the McMenamin's Pubs around town. The first sip is the proof of the taste of the beer. The verdict in....Cornelius Pass Road House beer serves the best Hefeweizen around. I get cloves in every sip and the flavor is just subtle enough to linger on the back of my tongue.  I may be ruined and will not order it anywhere else...at least for a while.  The thing is, when the beer is brewed on site using specific ingredients, the recipe or even the weather may change the flavor.  That is why a microbrew is so incredibly different from any bottled beer!
MICROBREW CAPITAL?
    Portland may not be the microbrew capital of the world but we are not complaining!  Good is good no matter how big.  Stop on by and see us sometime.

b
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Jun 13, 2010

A Drive in the Country...back roads near Portland, Oregon

Her friends called her Sweet Sarah!
     Location:  Portland, Oregon Metro Area...20 miles west from the center of the city.
     Area:  Scholls  at the corner of Hwy 210 and Hwy 219.  This corner is a slow down and stop location.
     Business:  Smith Berry Barn and The South Store Cafe
     Day:  Saturday in June
     Weather:  Sunny and Warm
     Mission:  Buy plants for the garden
     This beautiful lady sat at a table adjoining ours as we ate our lunch and listened to a band called Beyond the Grange (contact Lee Thompson at 503.628.1920). Don't tell me we don't know how to be stylish...isn't she beautiful?  When I asked if I could take her picture one of the other three ladies at the table leaned over and said "She is our Sweet Sarah."     

Beyond the Grange
A wagon full of beauty!











ON A QUEST
        We are having two days of sunshine in a row.  The planting can finally begin...here in Oregon at least.  When the sun shines, it is a requirement that we take a leisurely drive in the country...it might be the best good time of the whole year. We could not believe it...no rain and it was Saturday...the perfect day to go shopping for garden plants.
Smith Berry Barn
    
This year we drove out on Hwy. 219 from Hillsboro going south through the countryside.   The drive takes you past Jackson Bottom Slough, nurseries and lush clover fields.  When the sun shines this is heaven on earth.
     We stopped at Smith Berry Barn where we purchased our plants.  I could only think that it was a good thing I didn't live any closer.  I would be so tempted by all the goodies both on the inside and the outside of this beautiful store.  We bought herbs, garden plants and flower for my daughter's yard and flowers for the containers on our deck.
     Then we dashed across the road to The South Store Cafe.  The sign on the building said EAT and the cafe sign said SCHOLLS.   
 Location:  Located about 20 miles southwest of Portland on the corner of Scholls Ferry Road (Hwy 210) and Hillsboro Hwy (Hwy 219) across from Smith's Berry Barn.
Garden Sandwich
     Our sandwiches were some of the best we had ever eaten.  I had a Garden Sandwich that actually had slices baked sweet potato along with tomato, cucumber, red onion and spring salad greens. The special for the day was a brie, bacon, turkey cucumber sandwich that turned out to be the star at our table.  People going out were suggesting what they had eaten so all of the selections must have been wonderful. 
      If you are looking for a outing on a beautiful day around the Portland area, this is the perfect afternoon drive.  You will not be disappointed.

b

Jun 10, 2010

Cancer or Valley Fever...a diagnosis FINALLY!

  

Tucson from Suguaro National Park
    Link from earlier post:  Fatal Mistake When Choosing a Physician
      Valley Fever is one of those infections that can show up in an x-ray looking like a deadly  cancer growing in your lungs.  My husband should know.
Anatomy of the respiratory system, showing the...   










     He left Arizona sick and could not even drive for the last of the journey.  He should not have been driving at all but I am clueless and he did not complain.  We arrived back in Oregon on May 1.  That was a Saturday.  On the following Monday I took him to the doctor.  He had an xray that showed pneumonia.  It has been five weeks now.  After three doctors, 2 x-rays, a cat-scan and a bronchoscopy he finally has a dignosis.   Yesterday we received word that he indeed had a fungal infection and not the lung cancer that the Pulmonologist suspected.
    We had been in Arizona for 7 months living in our park model.  During that period of time my husband played golf several times a week...in bad weather or good.  This was a very wet winter with lots of wind.  It turns out these conditions are perfect for the spread of the Valley Fever fungus that lives in the soil of Arizona and California.   
   Did we learn anything from this experience?  Well yes, as a matter of fact we did. 
  • We learned that a good primary care physician is very important when you are older. 
  • We learned that it never hurts to learn as much as you can.  
  • We learned that, while doctors have their opinions, they will test for something because you have a strong suspicion about your illness.
  • We learned that one test for a condition may not be enough...the blood work came back negative for Valley Fever. 
  • We learned that, when you travel from one region to another, doctors are not necessarily well informed about illnesses common in another region.  
  • And last but not least....we learned that a bronchoscopy is not a fun procedure. Neither my husband or myself have ever smoked...after seeing the results of digging around in your lungs to find out if you have cancer, I am very grateful we did not add that to our health threatening habits. 
     My husband is now under the care of a specialist that will see him again in a month.  He is feeling much better and we can now go on with our lives.  He will not be taking any medications...anti-fungal medications are not good if the person can fight the infection off without them.  That medication is reserved for Aids sufferers or others with extremely weakened immune systems.   After five weeks of worry we are at least able to look into the future and see that there is one!
     Be well.  I just thought you needed to know.
b
   
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Jun 7, 2010

Fashion for the Silver Haired Set....finally getting some attention!

     I was invited to join  Lookville a while back.  Lookville is a website that deals with fashion and style.  Members post a style, either a picture of them self or one taken from another source, and invite comments or advice on the appropriateness or stylishness of the picture.   This website just appeals to my love for beautiful clothes.  I posted a look and posed the question "Is it possible to be fashionable after a "certain" age?" along with a look taken from More magazine.  As a result of this post I received comments from a number of women varying age from 19 to mid sixties.  It seems that woman do speak the same language when it comes to style.  The common theme resonated with me...looking beautiful really has nothing to do with our age.  Attitude and elan do count.  It is all about pulling it off!
Image from Advanced Style
     One of the women that commented or offered advise referred to a blog called Advanced Style: Proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.  The writer of the blog, Ari Seth Cohen, has a wonderful eye for what becomes fashionable as we become older.  The New York Times had this to say about Cohen:
As the founder and editor of Advanced Style, a Sartorialist for the superannuated set, he chronicles the stylish and often eccentric get-ups of a crowd that’s largely ignored by the fashion system. “My eyes have always been drawn to older people,” said Cohen, 28. “And from a style point of view, I find them more interesting because they are of an age where they don’t have to impress anyone and can wear what they want.”
     I was so taken with the images of older men and women dressed beautifully and sometimes as outlandishly as a rapper or a disrespectful teen.  The blog is just delightful.  I for one have bookmarked the website and will follow it as faithfully as I follow Paris Breakfast, another favorite of mine.  Both of these blogs lets the reader get a glimpse of the lives people living in cities where fashion reigns.
     When I started this blog, I set out to bring value to the notion that being "ignored" by the fashion industry and those people that work in the interior design business is simply not good business.  Every item of clothing or interior designed for retired people should not be centered around a wheel chair and a ramp!  
    Have a wonderful day!


b

 
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Jun 6, 2010

Note: Never buy real estate in the Willamette Valley, Oregon on a sunny day, buy a computer before visiting the Apple store and get old!

HEADLINES IN OREGONIAN

 Don't tell me newspaper people don't have a sense of humor.  The last week the Oregonian here in the Portland, Or. metro area ran this as a headline:

Dear Rain,

We give.

Sincerely,
Portland 
     I have a very good piece of advice for you...IF YOU ARE FROM OUT OF TOWN, NEVER, NEVER BUY A PIECE OF REAL ESTATE IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY ON A SUNNY DAY!  We have been home from Arizona for 5 week now.  It was nice for two weekends in a row.  But it rained steady the rest of the time.  Now it has rained so much my daughter's cherry tree tipped over in her back yard...very close to the house.  She does not live on a hill or in a depression.  It has just rained so much that any tree even near to being tippy will fall over.  They fall on the freeways, people's houses and in the woods. There is a price to be paid for our beautiful countryside.  We know that it rains a lot but, if you are from say Arizona, you might not.  Just thought you would want to know.

A VISIT TO THE MALL
As you may or may not know, I am a Apple computer user and have been since the beginning, of the Apple computer I mean!  We currently have 3 of them in our house, an iphone and several we have given to grandchildren.  I have a hard time figuring out why anyone would go through the pain of using a PC.  But then that is just me.  When google announced last week that it would be going away from the Microsolf operating system I could only think what took you so long?  
The fun begins very young!

Grandmother getting ipad help!
     That bring me to our visit to the Apple Store in Washington Square in Beaverton, Oregon.  This is a stop we make anytime we are in the area.  I just want to see what is going on.  The new ipad is causing quite a stir in the neighborhood...that is just a given.  But what interested me more than anything was the cross section of people standing at the counter just giving it a whirl.  Both young and old are finding this new computer toy interesting.  One click to what I need always works for me!


THOUGHTS ON AGING
   My husband has not been well since we returned home.  A bout with a nasty bug has left him sapped and complication have been detected.  We have gone to a specialist, had a proceedure done at Portland Providence Hospital and now we are waiting.  This, I suppose is the lot of retired people.  Illness happens.  Sigh!
   We ventured out today for the first time since his little visit to the hospital for breakfast.  I love this part of our life.  A man and his wife sat near us and I noticed a walker to the side and wondered about their age.  Is that the way I am suppose to look? I cannot tell if people are 90 or 65 anymore.  I cannot even visualize what a woman of 68 (my age) is suppose to look like.
    Much to my delight the man stopped by our table and struck up a conversation.   So we were treated to his life's story and yes, we loved every minute of it.  The lovely lady had been his wife for 65 years.  They had married at 17 and called Christmas Valley their home. We will not be moving there anytime soon...well never!  But he loved it.  Isolated in the south east corner of our state, locked in the basin that allows no water to escape to any ocean and covered with sagebrush and cheat grass, this place takes a special person to find it's beauty.  I could tell he was a very special man.   His parting words were You've got to have fun!  All I could think was, Amen.  Even when you are sick you still need to find the fun in the day.  We are trying!

    I had been collecting things for you all week.  Bits and pieces of my life to share with a kindred spirit...that would be you in case you were wondering.   They were in a bag somewhere inside a drawer deep in the recess of my mind...and I thought I had lost it.  It was really kind of sad in a lot of ways. Thankfully I found the bag in a locked drawer behind the name of my high school principal!
   
     Have a wonderful week.  I hope you find something that interested you here.

b



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