Jul 31, 2010

Hobbies...amazing things to do during retirement!

Photography...Odgen Canyon, UT
Fall Crush Wine Tasting Event, Carlton, Oregon...a very cool hobby!
I cannot tell you how liberating it is to do something just because you love doing it.  My hobby is blogging.  I don't need anymore money really.  If I do make a little money when you click on an ad from Adsense, it is just icing on the cake.  That is what retirement allows you to do.  It gives you the freedom to spend the day learning to do something new and you don't have to quit your day job to do it.

Golf...my husband's favorite!
Take my husband for example.  He loved his job for 32 years but never missed it for even one day when he retired.  He has taken up golf as his retirement "job" and he pays attention to it as though he could make a living at it.  His mind and his health are dependent upon him "working" at getting better.  That is what I am talking about.

So what will you do when you retire? Let me tell you the day can get scary boring and the winter nights are very, very long.  If you sit down to rest for all the day you have actually chosen to make "resting" your hobby.  If that was your A choice go to B in a hurry.

I have tried to define for my own satisfaction the meaning of the word hobby...I had always thought it was something we did for fun or recreation but retirement has made me take a hard look at that definition.  It just seemed that it should be more  serious or something.  Then I realized... I am having too much fun...I cannot think of this as a job!  I have decided that a hobby is just that...a hobby and should remain a pleasure day after day...even if I don't have a day job to escape from. 

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge...travel, my favorite hobby!
So I went on a search for things that I might like just in case I get tired of writing and I was amazed at how long the list of hobbies was...and even more amazed at how many of things on the list I would like to try. There is a website called NotSoBoringLife.com that has posted the Worlds Largest List of Hobbies and that is where I found some dream hobbies for myself.  For example:
  • paper making
  • rocking aids babies
  • wine making
  • yoga
  • geochaching
  • postcrossing
Geocaching and Postcrossing are hobbies that a blogger named Erika Jean loves.  Both of these appeal to me...the first is about finding treasure with a Global Positioning System and the other is about getting postcards in the mail from far far away.   If you love to hike and own a GPS the first one is for you.  If you don't mind buying a few stamps and putting in a little effort you will love the second.  I want to give both of these a try one day.

The World Largest List of Hobbies  honors those everyday or quirky things that people may do...visiting with  neighbors, playing poker, yoyoing, throwing boomerangs, watching movies, reading, cloud watching and even dumpster diving.  I laughed as I went through the list.  However, if it floats your boat and makes you happy, who am I to say no to it.  It is your hobby.  Have some fun.

My husband and I have several things we do together...golf, travel, photography, wine tasting, crossword puzzles...just to name a few.  You are reading my favorite personal hobby...blogging is something I do that keeps my brain alive.  The paths I travel down to find the information I want are fascinating.  I am also a multimedia artist but for now I am giving it up.  If I don't love it I  find something else that is equally as satisfying.  Who knows, I may be a dumpster diving boomerang thrower at heart and just don't know it yet!

Have a wonderful day!

Hub:  When Retirement is a good thing!

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Jul 28, 2010

Downsizing Green...an attitude adjustment! Living small with beautiful reused things!

I have never been willing to live without beauty.  My husband knows that, even if an item serves a perfectly logical purpose, I will have no part of it if the item is ugly.  Even my kitchen tools are beautiful, hard won, inexpensive and useful.  Living small does not mean living a cluttered, messy and dysfunctional lifestyle.  I guess that is why I love websites like Apartment Therapy and all that is related to it.  Re-nest is the branch of that site that I find myself visiting more and more often.  The tag line for the website is abundant design for green homes.  They are finding ways to create beautiful green small spaces.  I love the idea.

A friend said she was finding it hard to visualize moving to a smaller place.  I had been talking about moving to a smaller condo here in Oregon as soon as real estate takes a turns for the better.  She thought she could not imagine how I would ever part with all my beautiful things.  I remember feeling puzzled...what "things" was she talking about?  Was it the furniture or the glassware or the bedstead?  What did she see of mine that was so precious? The fact is we would never continue to live in a place that did not fit our lifestyle or even worse cause a burden or problem for my children?  I know she would make the same decision if she saw the need. 

This is what I mean by the attitude adjustment.  Truly, I have never been a hoarder of personal possessions and I don't feel validated by the fact that I have this or that.  We are still using things from my mother's and grandmother's house for heavens sake.  Our generation are the original founders of the reuse, reduce, recycle movement.  We have been married for 50 years!   I give things to my children with no string attached and they are free to burn them if they see fit.  I truly don't care.  I would never keep a broken or chipped item just because it has a memory.  Stuff is stuff!  But I do think that a lot of retirees that need to down size face the problem of letting go of their past.  My husband and I are very lucky in that we are willing to visit books at the library,  have never invested a great deal in our furniture and keep our memories in the picture box not the cupboard.

Yard sale chairs, dining set 45 yrs. old, lamp shade from Antropology sale table, mirror was my grandmothers, curtains 10 years old...just for a start!  Finding these things was a lot more fun than having them...that dining set is a bear to dust!

Living Terrariums from Tiny Terra

Re-nest is based on the concept of green living and recycling....well almost anything.  Today I saw an article from them featuring a light bulb terrariums from Tiny Terra.   A terrarium is a micro-climate created by putting a cloche over a plant either in the ground, on a hard surface or inside a container.  In this particular case the terrarium was a light bulb!  One of the tags on the article was "creative reuse"...and creative this is.

Crate and Barrel Vase...perfect for a small terrarium!  Anton Vase  $16.95
My plants under glass!
I have one of these little micro-climates on my dining room table this summer.  I used what I already had, a bell shaped cake saver I purchased at Crate and Barrel several years ago, to cover the plants.   The vase I found on their website today would work every bit as well.  Plant your small plant in a glass bowl or a stemless wineglass.  Put a few pebbles in the bottom of the dish/glass then save enough soil from the plants container to fill the bowl and add your plant.  I have a Wire Plant in one container and a delicate Begonia in another.  I watered them just enough for them to be damp,  placed the planters on a glass table round and covered them with the cloche.  I have not watered them again all summer.  Steam gathers inside the cover and that steam provides the needed moisture for the plants.  It is a Biosphere III anywhere I want to place it in my house.

So living small, simply and with the right attitude can be a beautiful, stylish way of living.  All we need to do is readjust our attitude to fit the space.  Check out Re-nest and Apartment Therapy for more ideas.  I think you will find them as inspiring as I do. 

Have a wonderful day.


You might also like:  Inexpensive Retirement Ownership...Living in a Park Model
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Jul 24, 2010

Portland, Oregon home brewers stumped over law...keeping Portland Weird!

Mainstreet Homebrew Supply Company
We have bumper stickers here in Portland that says "Keep Portland Weird!"  I don't know how really weird we are.  We do allow people to keep and even rent chickens inside the city limits. I find that unusual.   But weird did come to mind right away when we began talking about the new ruling by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on home brewers and their right to compete in our state fair or even share their brew.  They would like for us to live up to the letter of the law and home brewers don't agree.    I began to think...maybe we are just a teeny tiny bit strange.

OREGON BREWERS FESTIVAL...a little background!
The Oregon Brewers Festival is back in town...Portland Metro area young people are learning to drink good quality beer...again.  Those of us that are not that young know good beer and we love this festival too. Yesterday this advanced aged beer lover headed downtown for an afternoon of relaxed tasting along with a horde of young people from around the metro area.

Because my husband is a home brewer, I am interested in the micro-brew scene and several blogs I have written recently talked about micro-breweries and Portland's propensity for all things beer.  It has become big business so our brew fest is a big draw for brewers from across the country.  Up until now the brewers have lived in peace it seems, sharing knowledge and applauding each others success.  Micro-breweries compete annually at our brew fest on the Willamette River water front in Tom McCall Park.

Even home brewers were included in the love fest that spread around the state like wild fire.  Supplies are readily available and home brewers have become so sophisticated that it is hard to tell the micro-brew from the "homemade stuff".  We were operating in a free wheeling style and have been for quite a while.  Our Oregon State Fair in Salem attracted sophisticated home brewers to compete for ribbons and a little money.  If you love to brew beer, this was where you could go each August and strut your stuff.  Everyone was happy until someone blew the whistle.  Note:  It is not legal to brew wine or anything else without a license from the state but beer was exempted from that law.

The fair could have been what caused the uproar...I am not really sure. Maybe the competition at the fair encouraged more home brewers thus cutting consumption at the local brew pubs.   Or maybe home brewers were carrying beer to events sponsored by the micro-brew company.   I know we have carried bottles of beer to location outside our home.  I'm not going to say where but vendors of beer would not necessarily have been happy.  (There may have even been signs but we did not notice them!) No one said anything and I think we were going on the premise that it is better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.  Whatever it was, I suspect that these practices were cutting into the big business revenues.  

So within the last few weeks our newspaper reported that a major micro-brew company wrote to the state asking for a ruling on home brewers sharing beer outside their homes and in competition!   It turns out a very old law that may date back to prohibition bans the transporting of home brewed beer...anywhere.
"Is it illegal to go to your neighbors and let them taste test? By the letter of the law, yeah," said Mark Jaehnig of the OLCC.  But Jaehnig says it's only possible because that's how the department of justice sees it.  Which the OLCC views as a glitch law.  Which home brewers like Neal hope can be worked resolved by new legislation sooner than later.  (Home Brewers Fear Breaking Long-Standing Oregon Law | KEZI
URL: http://kezi.com/news/local/181298)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN...well here you have it folks.  The beer competition at the Oregon State Fair has been deemed illegal and will not be featured this year or any year soon unless the state legislature sees fit to change the old law.   The lawmakers will not be in session until January of 2011.

So I should not take my beer next door and I should not  take a case of it to Arizona to share with friends...not if I am going to follow that letter of the law mindset and am a law abiding citizen.   Home brewers could be asked to tow the line and all things beer in the Portland Metro and around the state may not be a love fest anymore.  What are you going to do?  Darn!

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Jul 22, 2010

Dating at eharmony...a true story about a retired single!

Flying Alone
Did you know that eharmony relationships account for 2% of the marriages in the US every year.  A whopping 236 eharmony couples marry everyday.  Some of their most loyal clients are from the Christian and Jewish community.  This tells me that that key "compatibility" issue is as important to them as they say it is.  If you are thinking about connecting with a woman or man and you are a retired senior that has lost your mate or even divorced, you should read this story about my friend's experience.

MY FRIEND WAS A WIDOW... at the age of 61.  Her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after they retired and within 3 years he was gone.  They had both been vibrant and full of fun.  After their children were raised they began saving for a 5th wheel motor home and had purchased a big pick-up truck to pull their dream retirement home.  Then the dream was turned to dust within a few short weeks.

My friend had not driven across the state, did not take care of the finances or even have a clear picture of how it worked.  Her husband was in the computer industry and a lover of all things tech.  She did not know how to program the audio system in her house so she was left with a great deal of silence after he was gone.  Her life was changed in ways I cannot even imagine.

She was and is a beautiful woman full of energy...she was definitely not ready to stop living.  She grieved for a considerable length of time and probably drank too much wine.  Her daughter wanted her to move in with her but my friend knew she needed to live her own life.

She built a friendship with a widow about her same age and they enjoyed golfing together.  She had a group of "yayas" but still, the nights were very long.  Her new friend remarried and most of her work yaya friends had moved on to retirement with their husbands.   She began to think about dating again but found that there was no one in her circle of friends that could or would help. It was a very hard time for her but I felt the period of time she had taken going through these steps as she learned how the finances worked and even the audio system were essential to her long term happiness.  During that period of time she learned what we all knew...that she was strong, smart and independent.

THAT WAS WHEN SHE JOINED EHARMONY.COM... It took a lot of courage but she started looking for the companionship she wanted so badly and so richly deserved.  Her friends looked on with some anxiety and her children I am sure, were very worried about her mental well being and safety.  After all, none of us could imagine that a senior woman would ever find a man that was not more trouble than she bargained for!  Sorry dear friend...I was very wrong about your ability to do what needed to be done.

After a period of searching and visiting on the telephone with a variety of gentlemen, she agree to meet a nice man from Denver.  She flew out to see him and his daughter hosted her visit.  I think this daughter was worried too.  The man had been very successful and I am sure the daughter visualized a gold digger or something.

In the following months they talked frequently and my friend invited the man to join her for a visit in the condo she owned in Arizona.  He came to stay for almost a month I think.  In the end my friend, a very neat woman, could not stand the man because he was so messy. (eharmony could add this to their questionnaire perhaps.)  He had dribbled food on the carpet, spread crumbs all over the kitchen and it drove her nuts.  Knowing her as I do, I suppose she told him just that.

But she was not discouraged and she started from scratch.  She again found a man that fit her personality.  He was very neat, had a great deal of money, and had a family in the area.  He was moving from California to be closer to them.  They traveled together, found companionship in Arizona and had lots of plans to go places.  He owned her dream retirement RV... and even a motor cycle.  She was dancing on air.

Then the other foot dropped.  A friend and his wife came to visit in Arizona...they were very old acquaintances.  There was friction between the two women from the beginning I think.  They managed to get along for a full week before my friend lost her temper over the whiny, demanding behavior of the new/old queen bee in the relationship. My friend is not the type of a person that will be run over.   The relationship did not survive and she was again alone.  The eharmony points of compatibility may not take into consideration that we all come with some luggage. I don't know.

THE HAPPY ENDING...  I have always thought that these two failed efforts were what prepared her for the friendship that was right under her nose all the time.  A gentleman at the country club we both belonged to had lost his wife and wandered around like a zombie for what seemed like years.  After a time he returned to normal and several of her friends saw the opportunity to get these two nice people together.  It was not easy but it actually did happen.  Remember the luggage will always be there. They don't live together all the time and probably will never marry.  But they spend most evenings together and share their meals.  They travel a great deal, spend the winter golfing in Arizona and own a time share in Mexico together.  eharmony had served it's purpose.

I love that my friend is happy.  If I am ever in her shoes, I hope that I too will have the courage to do what she did and be proactive about finding companionship.  I think there are pros and cons to dating services but they are worth at least considering.  We are living longer and staying active. There is no reason to pull the earth over our mortal bodies when we are left alone.

Just a thought!

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Jul 21, 2010

How To Live in a Condominium or YOU'RE TELLING ME I CAN'T DO WHAT?

Someone comment to me the other day that I was living the good life.  I paused for a minute before I realized I really was.  I live in a beautiful condominium located in the award winning neighborhood called Orenco Station here in Hillsboro, Oregon.  I love our life, location and amenities.  But is has not always been that way.  It has taken several years for us to get truly comfortable with condo life.

Living in a very small space is not easy...especially if you are a boomer moving from a 4 bedroom 4 bath house and 2500-3000 square feet to a much smaller condo unit.  All you are doing is downsizing, right? I actually thought getting rid of the "stuff" would be the hardest part.  Silly me...!

This is how it will go if you decided to do what we did.  It will turn out that living in a building owned by everyone in your condo group from the paint out is very trying and it has nothing to do with all that stuff you have crammed in the garage that needs to be given away.  What you are about to face after owning a home that you could paint and hang things on, is a life with no control.  There are rules, lots of rules.   A condo association can make your life very miserable.  If the officers of the association administer the CCandRs as a document written in blood by someone that actually cared about how you would live in your condo, you will find that the rigidity of their view leaves you absolutely no room to breath.  It is very difficult, at least for us, to see their point of view.  If your association CCandRs are imported from California and adopted by the builder as ours were, you will find that the language may not apply to your situation.  When our association was actually formed, none of us saw the implication for using this document. We did not take the time to dissect the forms before we signed off on them.  It was an error on our part.

Let's say you have just moved in and you love those beautiful hanging baskets. They sell them at our local farmers market on Sunday.  You buy one and want to hang it outside on the deck.  Can you do that?  NO, not without written, documented official permission which you probably won't get We are not even allowed to put a hanger that fits over the railing and does not require screws.

Or you want to put a flag hanger on your unit so you can display decorative flag or even the United States Flag but the association will not let you drill a hole in the wood trim because the CC&Rs forgot to provide for this.  What can you do if the people on the association do not interpret the rules to allow for any of these things?  Even the law of the United States says that you should be able to do this. In fact neither one of these things are allowed.  Damage that could be caused by any one of these things will cost everyone.  That is the facts of condo life.  We came to understand the reason for these rules. 

What if you have always loved to garden and want to fritter in your flower bed but the association sends people around to inspect and then puts plants in front of sprinklers in unbalanced arrangements that makes your investment look shoddy?  Remember you do not get to tell them what to do and you cannot move the plants.  What if the landscape service is competent but not interested and you are not encouraged to take ownership in the common property?  It can happen. The simple fact is that the planter bed does not belong to you but to everyone.  What you do affects the value of every one's property.  We have learned who to call to get part of these problems addressed.

When the windows on your unit need replacing, and they will, the association will tell you what you can put in and you will pay for it.  You will also pay extra if the money for a new roof or repainting is not in you association bank account.  It can amount to thousands of dollars.

The list of no-nos goes on and on.  Screen doors, flags on the buildings, planter boxes, garbage can placement, exterior light replacement,  and fixture cleaning...these are just a few of the things that have been a problem or controversy. In our case, even the placement of a mail box for a handicapped resident was ordered removed at the owners expense.  The hoops you need to jump through are many and very, very real!  We have learned to pay close attention to procedures and the needed steps to get things done

It has taken us almost 10 years to get used to this type of living.  We made the move so we could travel without worrying about over grown lawns and exterior issues.  In our case we got a lot more than we bargained for.  So just keep in mind...a condo is not an apartment.  The manager will not come and fix stuff.  They do not wash windows or sweep the sidewalk.  A management company has you by the throat and will call/email or fine you for "being naughty"!  We have not been fined but we are not dead yet!  I expect that we will be before this is all over. But we are learning and in the end we have fallen in love with our condo again.  As we have gotten to know our neighbors and management company employees the process has become easier.  The benefits outweigh the problems.  We are totally at home.  Finally!

Have a great day.

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Jul 16, 2010

RV Travel...When the slide out slides out on the freeway! Yikes!!!

Image take with iphone
2008, Rincon Country RV Resort
Tucson, AZ

When the slide out slides out on I-5 in the Siskiyous Mountains of southern Oregon, you need to know what is wrong! We didn't so I just kept getting up and sliding it back in...all the way to Portland.

So here is the deal. When we took a corner a little too fast, the cargo shifted in the basement and a release for the clutch was bumped. So what was holding the slide out in did not! Check where yours is and be aware of what to do. It will save you a lot of grief. We have a wedge for the inside now that will keep the slide out in place no matter what but we are more aware of how we load the cargo bay.

Just thought you would want to know.


Jul 14, 2010

Northwest USA Travel...the OREGON COAST belongs everyone!

My husband and I just returned from a 5 day vacation at the beach here in Oregon.  Even though I raised my family in the era of Tom McCall, I still marvel at all he was able to accomplish for our state.  Access to our beaches is so complete we have come to take it for granted.  In the 26 miles between Lincoln City and Newport there are 9 state parks with parking and beach access.  The Central Oregon Coast from Lincoln City to Florence has a total of 37 state parks available for the public use.  It is amazing...or at least I think so.

My family playing on the beach!
The state of Oregon had a wonderful governor named Tom McCall during the 1960's.  He was a forward looking and determined son of rural farmers and was raised in a small remote community called Burns Oregon.  Among his many legacies the best remembered were his push to get a 55 mph speed limit during a gas crisis, a bottle bill (1971) that taught the rest of the nation about recycling and the expanded rights given the public to use our beaches.  Anyone that chooses to visit the Oregon Coast has the right to walk on it's beaches.  Tom McCall saw to that!
That beach belongs to the public.  Access is only a few miles away!
In June, 1967, after months of stalling, the Oregon Legislature passed House bill 1601, which guarantees public access to the state's beaches and establishes a state easement on all beaches between the low water mark and the vegetation line. The bill expanded upon an almost-60-year-old law that decreed public ownership of beaches between low- and high-water lines, but still allowed for privatization of the "dry sands" area between the high water line and the vegetation line. In 1966, a coastal motel owner barricaded the beach above the high water line, and the need for further protection was discovered. McCall's bold response set the tone for the rest of his administration. 

When we left Lincoln City yesterday we took Hwy 101 north toward Tillamook, home of that famous cheese you see in the grocery.  As you travel north on this road you will notice a turnoff labeled simply Three Capes Scenic Loop.  If you turn west and choose the side trip you will not be disappointed.  The drive is not a long one and there are many 'escape routes' heading back toward the main road.  When I was trying to compare this drive with one we made in California along the Big Sur, I could only think that California should be so lucky.  Lofty views punctuated with easy access to one after another gorgeous beach...some even allow your car on the beach.  Motels are plentiful but they do not control the beach. 

View from Pelican Pub and Brew...Haystack Rock
We stopped in Pacific City for lunch at a little brew pub called Pelican Pub and Brew.  The pizza was mediocre and the beer was $6 for a pint but the view was second to none.  On up the road at Oceanside we found several very promising looking restaurants and I wished we had waited to eat.  That is one of the things that will happen when you travel down a new road.  We did the hard part for you!

Come on over and see us sometime!


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Jul 13, 2010

Recipes for Heart Healthy Meal...Cooking TV

I watched Cooking TV this morning as I drank my first cup of coffee...this show always inspired me.  The French Food at Home hostess, Laura Calder,  prepared a meal using halibut, roasted carrots and a side with chickpeas + olives to accompany a halibut steak cooked in browned butter.  This particular recipe fit with all those diet restriction I should be observing.  A perfect combination of legumes, fish, olive oil, and vegetables!  I will make extra so we can have some wonderful leftovers.
Halibut with Brown Butter, Crushed Chickpeas with Olives and Roasted Cumin Carrots
French Food at Home with Laura Calder (check out the website for full informaton)


  • For the chickpeas
  • 1 cup or 14-ounces dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • For the carrot
  • 8 slender carrots, with tops
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed, lightly crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the halibut
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) halibut fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Have a wonderful day.

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Jul 9, 2010

Oregon Beach Scene...Newport, Oregon!

One sunny day at the Oregon Coast is worth
one hundred anywhere else.  They are that rare
and wonderful!
July, 2010

One of Newport, Oregon many boat basins.
One day is never enough! Cape Foul Weather near Otter Crest was the first geographical name Captain Cook gave to a location on the coast line.  Winds  blow over 100 mph here during winter storms. 

 One man wearing Zazzle shoes with fishing floats printed all over them. Stephany's Cafe, Newport, Oregon
  • One cool car with two proud owners. Nye Beach, Newport, OR

One picture is worth a thousand words!  Otter Crest from Cape Foul Weather, Or.  
One beautiful hotel located on Nye Beach called Sylvia Beach Hotel.  The hotel is named after Sylvia Beach,  a promoter of independent writers during the early 20th Century.  The hotel is designed for book readers with each room taking on the identity of an author.  The Sylvia Beach Hotel has a particularly beautiful coastal panorama which includes the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. This view is to the north and is enjoyed by the majority of the rooms. It is a book lovers hotel.  No TV, internet or telephones at this hotel.  They are full most of the time the receptionist told me. The restaurant called Table of Contents features Chapters instead of courses at the family style meals. 
One pretty baby with one very proud daddy. (Deport Bay, Oregon ) 
One last sunset!
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Jul 7, 2010

Backroad to Oregon Beach Weekend Vacation...Lincoln City & Newport

Image via Wikipedia
Beach and tide at Lincoln City, Oregon.
We will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary with our family at the beach this weekend.  The Oregon coast has always been a favorite with out family.  The weather will be around 68 degrees (high) on Saturday and Sunday.  Fog might roll in and out, the water temperature stays about the same the years around...around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.   A trip to the beach here can require warm coats and hats year around.  We will go to Lincoln City where we have rented a very large house.  There will 19 of us in the house on Saturday night.  An occasion like this calls for a gathering of all our family so every grandchild and child will be with us on those days. 

We are renting the house through a business called Cottages by the Beach.  The reservations were made in the early spring because we were planning on going after July 4th.  Here in Oregon summer does not come until then and never has. Any rental for families after that holiday will fill very early. 

We will travel down the back road from Hillsboro to McMinville, Oregon taking Hwy 47 from the Cornelius turnoff.  Hwy 47 takes you through some wonderful wine country...who knows we may stop in Carlton and buy a bottle of wine or two.  In McMinville we will turn onto Hwy 99 and head west toward the beach.  We will stop at Spirit Mountain Casino for lunch and then drive over to Lincoln City and on south to Newport.  This is a beautiful drive all by itself and a round trip can easily be made in a day. 

The Pacific Ocean is not a gentle ocean.  (Tide Table for Lincoln City, Oregon). Riptides cut along the beach and the outgoing tides are extremely strong.  I have a great deal of respect for it's waters.  The unaware are caught every year by sneaker waves and rolling logs or the outgoing tide.  But, let me tell you, the draw of this beautiful place is undeniable.  We are life-long Oregonians and we have seen the ocean at it's best and worst.  But even on a stormy day people travel to it's shore just to watch!  In some places a 15+ ft waves are very unusual.  On the Oregon coast, waves that high arrive on schedule during winter storms.

There is a restaurant in Lincoln City called Mo's!  The original restaurant was opened in Newport Old Town during the 1940's and a trip to the beach is not complete unless you have stopped in to eat some of that wonderful chowder in one of their locations.  We will spend two nights in Newport before we drive up to the house and the celebration.  I am hoping that Mo's will be a lunch stop for us in Newport.  If not we can always get some of the chowder in Lincoln City.   I am including Mo's recipe for Oyster Stew.  Yaquina Bay at Newport has some of the best oyster beds found anywhere (I think).  While the oysters are not huge they are so flavorful.

Oyster Stew
One serving.
3/4 cup whole shucked raw oyster for each stew
*Place oyster in saucepan with just enough water to cover.
*Bring to boiling point and remove from heat.
*Larger oysters can be cut into bite size pieces, small oyster leave whole.
*Save broth for stew
1 1/2 cups whole milk or Half and Half in sauce pan
1/4 cup oyster broth
Add cooked oysters
*Bring to boiling point but DO NOT boil
Ladle into a buttered bowl and ENJOY

I will posting pictures and more information on our return.  For now I have Gone Fishing!

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Jul 5, 2010

What's for dinner? Let's talk about Mexican + grilling for a minute.

Photo from Yelp...carne asada at Peppers!  By Fuey S.

Food is on my mind.  After a weekend of specially prepared meals I need to talk food.
  • We ate Mexican food this noon at a  little restaurant here in Hillsboro, Oregon call Peppers.  It is one of our favorite stops for good Mexican food.  The ambiance is nothing to write home about...scuffed floor, kitchen totally open to viewing...but the bathroom is very clean and the food is just wonderful.  It fills everyday at noon.  There is a little bar and outside eating but the patio is next to 10th Street and very noisy.  City Search gave it 4.5 stars and Yelp gave it 4!
  • We had a bbq rib "throw down" yesterday.  My son did his on the barbcue all day by piling a small mound of charcoal in the corner of the grill and placing a rack that held the ribs off to the side.  When the coals turned white  and began to be finished he added more charcoal.  I put mine in the oven for 3 hours at 300 degrees and put them on the grill with wood chips to get a little carmelization.  He made his own sauce I used bottled.   We both used a rub.  I mixed chili powder, brown sugar, salt and celery seeds.  They were both wonderful but his had a smoked for such a long time they had that delicious smokey flavor.  I vote for on the charcoal all day!
  • We had salmon on the grill on Saturday.  We purchased a whole salmon at Costco on Friday.  A whole salmon put on a cedar plank and grilled until the top just bubbles is so perfect.  We place sliced lemon inside too but it is great without that step.  I think it takes a little longer that way. 
  • I found out last winter the left over fajitas make wonderful tortilla soup.  Add the seasoned meat/vegetable combination to chicken broth and gather the toppings.  You are good to go!!!
We had a great 4th of July...I do love this country.  Have a wonderful week.

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    Jul 4, 2010

    Retire In Style...Happy 4th of July!

    When Old is Good!  If the seat cover were denim it would be perfect! 
    The Sunday CreativeI have been over at a website called Owning Cristina.  It is July 4th and the only thing I want to do today is send you over to look at all the images she has posted of American Flags.  I think you will like them.  The Post was called Red White and Blue
    Happy 4th of July!

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    Jul 3, 2010

    Metro Portland Restaurant Scene...McMenamins at it's best & Worst!

    St. Helens, OregonImage by Always at Home via Flickr Artwork at St. Helen's location.
    Want to know what I LOVE to do more than anything else?  I love to eat at a beautiful restaurant in the evening.  I want to get dressed up and be treated as though I really matter to the waiter.  He (always a he in my dreams) needs to look deeply into my eyes and ask we how I want my martini.  I dream about it a lot.

    Alas, in reality, we eat at brewpubs!!! On the plus side, Portland has a gajillion of these pubs so finding a nice location is not that hard.  We ate at the Cornelius Rd. McMenamins (former blogs)  this last week with family.  This is so ideal because on a warm day the children can play on the grass while adults visit at long tables.  On this particular evening it was chilly and raining so we were seated upstairs by an understanding host...we came in last and were seated first!  There was lots of room for a busy two year old to mess around.  People in Oregon are generally not bothered by children scurrying here and there. 
    Gas Light!  Historically McMenamins!
    These people are so creative and their restaurants reflect the owners hippy heritage.  The upstairs seating features a small nook right next to the stairs that overlooks the kitchen.  I stepped over to take a picture of the way they had hung the lights.  This is where a gas flame burns 24/7.  The flame is a nod to their Rock Creek Tavern location that burned several years ago.  That old pub was still lit with gas light and had moss growing a foot thick on the roof.  Flowers grew out of the rain gutters.  They did rebuild the location but it will truly never be the same...great but not the same.  Anyway,  the gas flame just speaks to those of us from the area.  The pipes that held the conduit for the lights were decorated with every kind of pipe fitting I have ever seen.  Those as the small details that just keep me looking around everytime we go in. 

    The Kitchen...look at that floor!
    As for the kitchen...well I made the mistake of looking down.  You need to understand that I am by nature clean...not tidy (much to my husband chagrin)...but clean.  I just don't know how you can look in a restaurant kitchen and still want to eat the food!  I am just closing my eyes.  The food tastes great and it has never made me sick!  Good enough for me.

    We ate out at Syun's Izakaya Restaurant again last night.  This sushi izakaya restaurant is the best in the area.  We had a meal with our family (adults) that was fit to feed an emperor.  Fitting it seems!

    Oh by the way...Happy 4th of July...we love America's Birthday!

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    Jul 2, 2010

    Obesity + Airplane Travel = Trouble!

    If you are obese and planning to fly anywhere soon, you need to read this story.  This is absolutely the truth and just happened yesterday, July 1, 2010.

    Yesterday our family flew in from Tucson, AZ.  When they put their feet on the ground and smelled the beautiful Portland, OR air, they smiled.  Really, there is nothing like the smell of damp air and things growing.  It would have been a perfect little trip.  But here is the rest of the story.

    We're overloaded...YOU get off the plane!!!
    Their flight required a layover in Denver...not a long layover but none the less an unloading  and a reloading procedure was required.  When the take off time arrived they reloaded, sat down and had just taken off their shoes and the shoes of their two young daughters when a stewardess announced that there was a mechanical problem and they would need to return to the terminal. Not a big thing because who wants to fly on a broken plane, right?

    This is where it gets very interesting.  After a 1 1/2 hour wait, they were re-boarded.  They sat down, strapped in, took the families shoes off.  A stewardess came down the aisle as if to check to see if everyone was okay.   She looked each passenger over carefully and then stopped at the seat of an overweight older lady.  "I am very sorry mam", she said, "but we are over our weight limit and we will need for you to get off the plane."  Stunned silence followed the request.  The lady complied with their request...imagine her embarrassment.  The passengers around her helped with her carry on and the plane left Denver with one empty seat but not over the weight limit.

    Now, what does this say about the American public?  If each person on that plane had weighed say 5 lbs. less, the plane could have flown.  If each person had taken a little less in carry-on luggage or stowed luggage, the plane could have flown.  And can you tell me which person should be asked to leave on a plane loaded with only over-weight passengers...say 250 to 300 lbs?  The fact that airlines are so anxious to get paid for extra luggage that they would not limit what their passengers can check so that there is always room for the passengers is nuts.  If they make the commitment to book people on a flight then the human seated on the plane should be the last thing to go.  They were late already...why not off load some luggage and put in on the next flight.  They made the promise when they sold the ticket.  I guess the necessity for something like this is what bothers me.  I am just saying!!!

    Anyway, if you are obese you should be aware that this can happen to you even after you are seated on the plane.  I don't think there is anything that you can do.  If there is, we should all know what it is. At the rate we are going, anyone of us could eventually be asked to get off the plane.    This story made me sad!

    Just a thought!


    Jul 1, 2010

    In the Face of Growing Old...Do You Have The Courage to be Happy?

    Link:  The Courage to be Happy! Sunday Scribblings (It Crossed My Mind)
    This is a post I wrote for It Crossed My Mind.  It turns out getting old is hard. Given that fact, I still think that our life is what we make of it.  If we are unhappy then we choose to be so.  Bad things happen to everyone but the very smart and strong find something to rejoice about in even the worst of situations.  I hope you find something you like in the post.  Just click on the link above.
    Maddie and I
    Shanghai, China
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