Jul 30, 2011

How we talk: Colloquialisms and Me

I think I love
Arizona because it
reminds me of
my Eastern Oregon roots.
I'm from a small town in eastern Oregon.  It sets in a small valley with big hills surrounding it on all sides. We have a flat sound to our voice and, when I was growing up, we talked about ranchers and cows and the railroad and the neighbors. Most of our way of talking or explaining anything was related to what we knew.

Now I don't mean we were uneducated. Even though we did not have a public library my family was well read. Book of the Month club and the Reader's Digest Condensed Versions came on a regular basis. Magazines of all kinds came in the mail box. I remember how I would look forward to those. Every gift giving occasion saw a book in one package. My mother ordered a box of books from the state library every summer for me. Still we talked like we were raised in eastern Oregon. Well there was one difference...none of the children in our family ever said the word "ain't" although it was commonly used.

My children were raised with the jargon left behind by our small town experiences. They carry the outdated phrases and images with them around the world. My son talked this summer about using the phrase "steeper than a cows face" during a business meeting in Shanghai, China. He was describing the learning curve for a new technology application they were introducing in their schools. His co-worker from New York laughed out loud. Of course, that brought on a Google search revealing that "steeper than a cow's face" was a colloquialism used in Eastern Oregon. Go figure!

I heard my mother talk about worthless dogs using the phrase "he is not worth taking out in the back yard and shooting." I actually used that phrase in front of my grandchildren without thinking and my grandson caught the words in mid air. When he repeated it in front of his parents, I was in deep trouble. I guess the phrase works better on dogs and milk cows that is does in modern life. I don't say that anymore.

My youngest son did not get the phrase "sleeping like a log" and informed his father he sleep like a "meatball"...all curled up. That same child did not like his bedroom to be "darker that the inside of a cow's belly" and didn't mind telling us so.

My oldest son has gone back to China after a long visit this summer.  His two girls are both learning to speak Chinese and his wife is studying Cantonese. But you can bet that those girls will know about cow's faces and the inside of a cow's belly just like my children did.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Jul 29, 2011

Ari Cohen video from Nowness.com...aging and style!

Ari Cohen over at Advanced Style has done it again.  Here is some wonderful advice from women with a world of experience on how to dress.  "Young people, you too will be old someday.  Don't worry about it!"  I loved that!


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks...lessons in life!

Henrietta LacksImage via WikipediaI was a substitute teacher for many year of my life. Once I had a little kindergartner  that sat in the front row with"Raymond" written in big letters across the front of his shirt.  I called him Raymond for a week before I realized that he was wearing hand-me-downs from his older brother.  His name was really John.  That was when I learned that, next to the air that they breathed, their name is the most important thing in any person's life.  I have never forgotten that lesson. That was the thought that came to my mind as I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Henrietta Lacks was a black woman that died of cervical cancer in the mid 1950's.  She suffered from the sexually transmitted infections called human papillomavirus, the cause of most cervical cancers.  When John Hopkin Hospital removed the cancer they conserved a part of the growth and grew the cells in the lab.  Some quirk of nature made this culture grow an at astounding rate and it has never died.  In fact, the culture became the medium used in the discovery of the Salk Vaccine, AID research and cancer research.

When a culture is used in research of this type it is usually named for the donor so it became HeLa and Henrietta Lacks last name was changed to Lane in the scientific community.  The name became the symbol for the lack of human connection between the person that suffered from that horrible cancer and the scientific community that went on to make use and profit from it's existence. Not only was Henrietta not aware of the cells the researchers were using the family was never allowed to share in the joy of discoveries made because of their mother. Henrietta Lacks became Henrietta Lane and was lost to them for many years.  It was as though Henrietta Lacks was forced to wear an identity that did not belong to her.  The children were never told about the existence of the cells even though they were asked to give blood samples so the hospital could study their body chemistry and compare it with the cells removed from their mother. 

The Lacks family lived with the fear that they too would have the cancer that killed their mother.   They were kept in ignorance because the hospital failed to consider their feelings.  I love that the author, Rebecca Skloot was able to bring the simple tortured life of the family into the conscience of the research community, connecting the two forever.  The HeLa culture is still in use today.  Ms. Skloot weaves a beautiful story about the evolution of knowledge related to the humanity of the family and the HeLa cells still used by researchers today.  Isn't it wonderful when science and humanity come together in one place?  But better than that she gave the family ownership of their part in the story and made Henrietta Lacks a real person in the reader's minds.

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Jul 27, 2011

Cell Phones...a luxury or necessity!

Life of a Retiree:  Do you remember the days when we actually functioned without a cell phone?  It was was a piece of cake...right?  No one got lost.  No one missed getting information.  Back in the day I actually waited till I got home to use the phone and, because I was really progressive, I had an answering machine.  No problem.

Now, if I don't take my cell phone with me the cable service man comes and I don't get his call.  I get lost on the freeway, not because I don't have my cell phone but  because my husband leaves his at home.  I are totally and completely lost without my cell phone.  In fact, I don't even have a land line!

My husband and I took our son to the airport today and used both cars to transport all his families luggage.  As the two of us headed home the agreement was that I would follow him to a place he knew about for breakfast.  It was on 42nd...or was it 82nd?  I really didn't pay attention...I was going to follow him.  Accept we forgot to consider one small detail.  Traffic is terrible at 8:00 am!  We were separated immediate and the gap between us increased with every mile.

I ate breakfast alone at a small restaurant.  Then I set out to find the appliance store he mentioned yesterday.  It is a good thing I was paying attention when he talked about that.  Even with my iphone maps I wandered around in the Hollywood district in NE Portland for 45 minutes.  That is 45 minutes of my life I will never see again.

So back to the cell phones.  I suppose we could function without them again but once we become accustomed to a luxury it is hard to give it up.  Much like my washing machine or dishwasher I don't even want to try to give them up.

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Jul 25, 2011

Cardigans Rule...shopping for summer or fall!

The weather has turned on us. Day before yesterday we were dressed in blue jeans and a cardigan and now we are dressed in shorts and hunkering down as the temperature rises. At least we can be assured that here in the Northwestern United State the temperature will never be hot for very long.

People visit us here in Portland Oregon from around the world to spend a few days in a "European Style" city...or at least what we envision that to be. I think if you were to compare our city's weather with one in Europe the climate would be more like the UK than anywhere else. The grass is green and the trees hang over streets shading the sidewalk and dripping fresh raindrops on those misty days. The saying goes here that Oregonians don't tan they just rust. I think that might be true.

As a result of our ever present cool lingering in the air, we dress differently than people in the Southwest or even on the Eastern seaboard of the US. In the warmer climates corals or aquas are more popular. Blacks, browns and navy blues ever present here in the coolers parts of the nation. If designers decide to give us a respite from those colors a deep maroon, gray or even an forest green might creep in.

But, there are items of clothing that are classics in our closet regardless of what part of the world we live in. The cardigan is a perfect example. There are just so many ways to wear a cardigan and they are timeless. No matter what your age, the style is perfect...or at least I think so. We can dress them up with shear backs or lace inserts at the neck. My personal favorite is the layered look of a cropped cardigan over a shirt with casual slacks. However, I am older so I am aware that this look needs to be worn with some moderation.

Here in the United States we find cardigans in every department store and online.  The the one that caught my eye would work as a winter coat over slacks or a pencil skirt.   I loved the cable knit on the border and the neutral taupe color was perfect. Just give me a beautiful piece or two of costume jewelry and I am good to go.

Can you tell that I am ready to begin shopping for winter? And to think we have only had two days over 80 in a row. I guess it is because I love the winter way of dressing! I might add...I live in cardigans!


Jul 23, 2011

Moving Thoughts! I just want to BE!

Everyone helped move...no matter how small!
We could not have done it without
We are moved...the boxes are almost unpacked and the home is going to be wonderful.  So now I am moving on to other things.  I am looking forward to writing about fall clothes and small spaces and good things to eat.  I just want to be for a while.  No big changes.  No big idea.  Okay?

I will sleep a little, eat, buy groceries and enjoy our family until it is time to go back to Arizona sometime in October. We will eat off real plates again and plant our flowers.  We will sleep late and have coffee in bed.  I will be at my computer more. I feel very content. It really is a relief to have this hurdle behind us.

Tomorrow we will go get our cat and bring him to his new home...he is not a good mover so I am sure he is not going to be happy.  But he will get over it and then he will learn to just be too.

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope you have a wonderful summer day.


Recommended Link for Day Laborers:  Hire a Helper (Portland, Oregon)

Jul 20, 2011

What did I do to deserve this? Buying a new house!

This house purchase has turned
into a prickly issue!
Note:  Here is an explanation of what is going on....

I am beginning to wonder what we did in this life or any other life to deserve this!  We have finally gotten everyone to agree that we are good people, the loan is approved and the paperwork has been sent to the title company for closing.  Now...would you believe it...the lender put the wrong amount on the forms and everything has to go back.  Our real estate agent is still hopeful we can close today...why do I somehow doubt that???


Jul 19, 2011

Aging is an Adventure...a post from among the boxes!

We are in the final stages now! We will move out of our condo this week.  My son commented the other day that a house is just walls and floors...nothing more.  A friend of mine has always wanted a "forever house".  She lives in eastern Oregon on near the banks of the Columbia River.  Her view is of the very east edge of the Columbia Gorge and a fishing dock is close by.  They have a beautiful speed boat and a smaller fishing boat.  She is very happy I think.

Shanghai Pedi-cab Driver
by b
We, on the other hand, do not see ourselves in a "forever house" because we don't get that attached to our "walls and floors".  I am at home no matter where I am.  I love the adventure of looking out the window and wondering what is out there.  Once I know about everything, I am ready to move on and learn about something new.  In fact, the first blog I owned was called "At Home in the World!"

So, as my husband and I age, we are still finding new adventures.  We will be going to Viet Nam at Christmas time.  Our son and his wife have invited us to share this trip with them.  We will travel to China where we will stay in his house for a time and then fly to Viet Nam after jet lag eases.  We will take the subway to downtown Shanghai where we love to eat and shop.  I don't think there is much chance I will ever know everything about that huge city so I will never tire of that adventure.

I don't expect to be able or even want to do that sort of thing forever.  I feel myself becoming more contented and at peace.  Aging is an adventure in itself.  I like that a lot!


Jul 18, 2011

Downsizing in Retirement...Stress/Trauma Explained

Tombstone AZ...did they die of gunshots
or were they just trying to buy a house?
In an article published on the AARP website called Downsizing in Retirement Stan Hinden spoke about the trauma and expense of downsizing during you retirement.  We have been going through the trauma of this decision for a month now.  In our case, trauma and expense could very well be a hyphenated word.

When we received an offer on our condo very near the first of July we were elated.  The fact that we had two offers in our hand only made it better.  All we could think was that the black moving cloud was going to by pass us this time.  We celebrated and began to pack in earnest.  All was going smoothly until the inspector came to call.  He found mold in our attic space and, because we are condo owners, we were not allowed to order the repairs.  The only way to resolve that issue was through our HOA.

So we went out to get a bid for more ventilation in the attic and remediation for the mold. We were instructed to take the bids to a special meeting of the HOA board held for the purpose of helping us with the problem.  It was the 4th of July weekend.  On that Saturday we made several calls and finally found a company that had their offices open on the holiday weekend.  Their name, 911 Restoration, led me to believe that they might be our go to people.  We made an appointment and a representative came out on Monday morning, looked the attic over and gave us a bid for $2000.  Because I had asked him if the cost for the remediation could come out of the closing and they had replied yes, I was surprised when they demanded payment upon completion.  We accepted his bid with the understanding that the HOA board would need to approve it first.  Gulp #1!

The roofer actually came out on a Sunday morning and gave us a bid while standing on the ground and taking a quick look at the roof from the upstairs deck.  The bid was for $400 for 7 vents.  This, he told us, would bring the attic space up to current state code standards.  We thought the bid was good and accepted it with the caveat that the HOA would need to approve the work first.  He wanted his money when he completed the work.  AND when we looked at the bid, we realized that the man could not spell! Gulp #2!

The meeting of the HOA board was set for the following Thursday and we were to prepare a letter for the board so they could be aware of the problem before the meeting.  We did that and included the bids along with the letter.  When we walked into the special meeting we were surprised to find a room full of people.  For some reason I did not realize how involved the condo owners were. I wondered if there was going to be a problem.   This is the way the discussion went:

HOA Chairman:  We are going to keep this meeting very informal so the audience can be allowed to have their say in this matter.  The matter is now up for discussion.
HOA MEMBER #1:  I am sorry but I cannot even consider this action unless we have at least 3 bids.
HOA MEMBER#2:  But these people will not be able to move if we delay to get three bids.
HOA MEMBER#1:  I don't care!
HOA MEMBER#2:  OH!  Well Member #3, didn't you have this type of work done on your condo.
HOA MEMBER#3:  Yes I did and the cost was about the same as this bid.
HOA MEMBER#2:  Well "b" (that's me) how did you locate this roofing guy.
ME:  He was recommended to us by another roofer that could not do the job for us.
HOA MEMBER#2:  I was just wondering because this roofer cannot spell!!!  Do you think he will do a good job?
ME:  I sure hope so! Gulp #3!
BOARD CHAIR:  I need a vote by each person.
#1 NO
#2 Yes
#3 Yes
#4 Yes
#1  I only voted no because the roofer cannot spell!

In the end the HOA agree to allow the repairs AND volunteered to pay for them. We called the roofer and the mold remediation companies with the good news and told them that they could bill the property management group the HOA used after they had completed the work.  They both said NO & NO!  We worked out a backup plan where we would pay the bills and the HOA would reimburse us.

The contractors both came on schedule and did a beautiful job.  We were delighted.  We paid for the work out of our own pocket and submitted the bill for reimbursement to the management company. Then we waited for the $2400 check to arrive in the mail.  We waited and we waited.  I called the management company and was assured the "check was in the mail!"  We waited but still no check.  Finally the management company called me back and said the check was returned to them...they had put the wrong zip code on the letter.  Gulp #4

We drove across town and retrieved the check.  Now, today after a long day on the phone with banks and loan officers, it appears the house may be ours.  Keep your finger crossed.

This saga does not even tell you about Social Security offices without a fax machines and answering machines that hang up on you without warning.  It does not tell you about our state retirement system that promises paper week in a few day and took two weeks to actually do it.  It doesn't talk about a system of laws that is so full of catch 22 situations that you cannot protect yourself.

Let me tell you though...I am not going to be denied.  Karma took a backseat in this process and we took control of our own fate.  It was hard but I do believe it is going to work!

The stress of this whole thing has had us both pacing the floors. My heart has skipped about every third beat.  The word "trauma" does not even come close to telling the whole story.  If two people as financially sound as we have been have this much trouble, my heart goes out to those people that have suffered big setbacks in this financial downturn.  Banks are so hard to satisfy and the days when you were judged on your reputation are gone.  Just shoot me if I ever consider doing anything like this again!

Thank you for listening.


Jul 16, 2011

Moving Advice - How to Keep Costs Down

    In a blog post I wrote back in February, I spoke about aging in place.  Should we AGE IN PLACE or Are There Other Choices? was the title of the blog.  I wondered at the time if I would know when the time had come to find a home that reflected my age and not my youthful dreams.  We wanted to make the move to a one level home when we could enjoy the move and getting to know new people.  The thoughts I was mulling over in my head back in February must have taken root.  We are making the move and we are very excited about the choice.
     Back in 2001 we moved into a multilevel condo with soaring views and three beautiful deck for my plants.  During those ten years we made this our home, watched our grandchildren grow up and enjoyed a beautiful retirement lifestyle.  It has been a very happy time in our lives. Then this last spring I fell on the golf course and twisted my ankle severely.  We were in Arizona at the time so I was able to heal in our little park model.  Still, I was given a taste of what it might be like to live for a length of time with limited mobility.  It was a wake up call for my husband and I.  We both knew that the time had come.  When we came home to Oregon, we listed our home.  It sold at the beginning of July.  We will move this next week.
Moving Tips
    The last time we moved our choices were limited...you hired a mover or you rounded up a bunch of friends and family or you moved yourself.  We chose to use a mover that time.  The process of moving has changed since those olden times 10 years ago.  I guess I haven't been paying much attention. Now people are doing things a lot differently.  They are learning to save money on the moving costs because a whole world of new resources are available now.  This is what we found:
Angie's ListImage via Wikipedia
  • Angie's List:  This a service that provides rating and listings for local service providers.  Member join in order to get access to the list but service providers do not pay to be listed. Getting on Angie's List is a major thing for service providers. You can find everything from a painter to a dentist and then read so see what others have said.  
"Before Angie's List, selecting a service provider was like throwing darts blind folded. Those who report on Angie's List have helped me make informed, logical, educated decisions. I am truly grateful."
- Nancy B., St. Paul, Minn.
"When I had a problem with a service provider, Angie stuck up for me, and I got action immediately. I wish I would have called earlier!" 
  • Hire A Helper:  We need some help with a few very heavy furniture pieces that are in our upper level.  When we looked for movers we found a website called Hire a Helper.  They have a list of movers, day laborers or cleaning services.  This website not only allows you to hiring a mover online,  it also has a section for people looking for work.  I really liked the review and rating system.  We hired movers for three hours to move large pieces of furniture.  This service does a lot for charity and 1% of their gross revenue goes to the International Justice Mission.
  • Boxes:  We bought one large bundle of moving boxes from Costco.  The boxes were called Scotch Moving Kit for around $50.  It included bubble wrap, tape and 25 boxes of assorted sizes.  We also bought a bundle of small boxes from Uhaul.  Uhaul will take any boxes back you do not use.
  • Pods:  We have having a Pod delivered the day before our mover come.  These portable on demand containers can be rented by the month or in some cases for only two weeks.  The company will set the container in the location of your choice and you load it at your own pace.  They then come and drop the Pod at your new location and you can unload without worrying about an extra charge from your movers.   Our family has used this service before when they were having hardwood floors installed.  The containers served as a storage unit in their driveway while the work was being completed.
  • Moving Trucks: We will use a moving truck from Uhaul to supplement the Pod.  There are a number of different companies renting moving trucks.  What amazes me about these trucks is how reasonable they are.  Uhaul, Penske and Budget were the companies we compared online.  We are going to use Uhaul because they have a location close to us.  We will also rent a hand truck from them.
  • Movers:  Why didn't we use a moving company?  We had a bad experience with movers last time so we are trying to do this on our own with our young family's help.  I can only advise you to check references carefully, buy the insurance that they offer and be available to watch the move itself.  We were told by our home owners insurance the move was covered.  When movers broke one box of antique china, the insurance company refused to pay citing movers negligence. Just check the options our carefully. 
     The fact that we can actually find people to work for us on a short term basis is a wonderful change from the situation 10 years ago.  When so many people are unemployed we were delighted to find that someone had been ingenious enough to gather people together that want to work even for a day.
     I will let you know how this goes.

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Jul 10, 2011

Backroads in Oregon...let's go to the drive-in movies!

Link:  A drive-in movie near you on Drive-In Movie.com!

Would you like to be a time traveler? Remember when we went to the drive in movies? Sometimes I long for those days gone by. We lined up along the side of the street to get admitted so we could get the best spot halfway up right in front of the screen and waited for the sun to set.  The national anthem played first and then everyone honked their horn in appreciation.  Dates snuggled together on the bench seat in the front of their cars and families sipped sodas and small children curled up to sleep on the back seats.  I can just smell youth and hay drying in the field next to the theater. It was lovely!

Believe it or not we traveled back to that time last night.  We had the drive-in movies experience one more time.  The drive-in movie is up and running for the summer in Newberg.  My daughter described it all as "very exciting" when she encouraged us to join our family for the experience.  

I think the drive from Hillsboro over to Newberg is one of the most beautiful in the Willamette Valley.  We leave Hillsboro going south on 1st Street and travel through the beautiful Jackson Bottom wetlands and some of the most beautiful farm land you will ever see anywhere in the world.  On your left Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson can be seen in the distance.  But the best is yet to come.

The climb out of the valley on the winding Bald Peak road is dream like.  On a clear day you can see across the valley sometimes toward the east and sometimes on the west.  While you are only at an elevation of a little over 1600 feet at the top, the valley floor is only 174 feet above sea level.  The vista just takes your breath away.

In 1931 the state of Oregon acquired a 16 acre parcel of land and created a little jewel of a Oregon State Park at the top of the mountain.  The state calls it Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint. They are not fooling.  It would be the perfect place for a picnic on a hot summer day.  When we drove by yesterday, I dreamed of bringing a picnic and stopping at one of the wineries just north of the park on the way from Hillsboro.  I would buy a bottle of wine to go with my lunch.  A lawn chair, a book, and my camera would come along too.  This would be the perfect spot for some quiet time.  After a bite to eat especially if I left late in the afternoon, I could wander on down to Newberg and get in line on Highway 99 in the outside lane heading east to wait.  I would slowly move with the other movie goers toward the turn on Portland RD, find a spot on one of the humps in the vacant lot and wait for dusk.  

If you are going to the movie, you need to line up early. Bring a Frisby or a football or a beach ball.  A lawn chair and a small table for a game of cards will work too.  Snacks in coolers, lots of children, blankets and a jacket might be good.  Even a sleeping bag if you like. You can kill a little time. When it is dusk the movie will start.  No one is in control of the hour.   Sit back and watch a flick…you could be a time traveler.  Nothing has changed since that little drive-in opened in 1962.

The road is twisting so the drive is slow. It will be very late when you get home. Don’t hurry.  You will not regret it.


Highway 99 Theatre is open on Fri-Sun.  Get there early...the drive-in fills quickly.  We arrived at 6:30 for the movie at dusk.  Oh and you cannot save a spot...they check on you!!!  It is so "1962" again!
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Jul 9, 2011

Do You Believe in Fairy Tales? Moving reality!

Have you ever known someone that moved quickly?  Their house was sold for cash, they found a new house in one day and the movers came in, packed for them and took them to a new house.  Does this ever happen or is it just an urban legend floating around out there like smoke in the air?

I love those stories.  It is so much fun to hear a good fairy tale but don't expect me to believe.  I am funny that way.

Condo Memories!
How about the "Karma" stories?  Do you believe that somethings are just meant to be and others not?  Do you roll over when things go badly and shrink in fear of what might happen next?  Bad Karma and change is frightening.  But let me tell you, you can overcome it.  I know.

We are moving.  There is only one more line to be signed before we are totally committed.  And it has not been easy.  A buyer made an offer and then the inspector found that our condo building was not perfect.  They wanted to hold us responsible for the whole 10 building complex.  The buyers representative was even doubtful about writing an ammended offer with the demands.  Thankfully, we had an experienced Realtor working for us.  She didn't even blink.  She just forged ahead.  Write it up! she told the agent.  We responded, worked with the HOA board and resolved the problem.  We are very near to an agreement.  I don't know if it was her tenacity or our unwillingness to roll over and give in to "Karma" but we have managed to over come a big obstacle. This is not a fairy tale move.  This is just plain hard working reality!

We are packing and visualizing this next step in our lives.  We are making the move to overcome the physical obstacles of a condo three stories high.  The move is not a necessity prompted by illness or injury. We did not want to wait until it was.  We are both feeling positive about this new path.   I still walk about in the condo space gazing out at beautiful views and mountains in the distance.  I will miss the lofty space but a change is good. We like to think that this is going to be fun.  We will have a tiny yard and a very light space.   Life is good! We will move in a little over 2 weeks.  This is no fairy tale...this is a true story.


Jul 7, 2011

How to Move! Tips gathered from experience! +Info Links

We are in the process of packing to move...we hope.  Even though there are a few problems with the sale, the closing is is scheduled for July 22.  Talk about being the pickle in a sandwich...this has got to be it.

So we are putting things in boxes, sorting out and disposing of unused or wanted clothes.  We are trying to simplify our lives and make this move easier. We have moved in cars, farm trucks, pick-up trucks, u-hauls and moving vans.  There has been the dorm room to apartment rental move, apartment rental to small house rental move, small house rental to small house purchase move.  Moves up and moves down only to move back up again!  For most of those moves we have used old stuff from family or bargains I have found.  We have very few valuable things.

There are a few things I have learned as I traveled "around the block of experience."  Just in case:
Moving Van?
Image by Andrew Torris
  1. When you hire movers, always buy their insurance.  Your insurance may say they will cover it but we learned the hard way that their exclusions were our problems.  A box of china  was crushed by careless movers and my insurance company would not pay!
  2. Check on the movers carefully.  If you are storing items, insurance becomes more important that ever. 
  3. Buy a package of boxes ( at Costco) that are sized correctly.  This makes loading a van easier.
  4. Don't assume that bedding, towels and clothing are lighter.  Those boxes can be very, very heavy.
  5. Mark all boxes carefully.  Note what order you want them taken into the new house.  Some things can be left in boxes for a few days (or until you move again!).
  6. If you are moving with your partner or husband try to pack together. Both people should know what is in each box. This can be a stressful time and cooperation really helps.
  7. I like to downsize before I move.  I do not want to do any sorting when I move into the new house.
  8.  Pack suit cases as though you were going on a trip so you have the necessities on those first days.  
  9. Accept that your storage areas and garage is very full of things. Allow room for those things.
  10. Remember, when you think you are through packing, you still have a lot to do.  I once forgot how much room our gardening supplies could take up.  What looked like a pickup load turned into much, more.
We are not young and we are eating an elephant just one bite at a time.  The trick is to take it slow and easy.  Gulping does not work.

Just a thought.

Jul 6, 2011

How big is your kitchen? Finding happiness in simple things.

Interesting Links:
In this Golden Age of Aging
Elle Decor:  Kitchen Design
The Kitchen:  Margaret Roaches Vibrant Green Kitchen

We are moving (I hope)!  We have lived in a multi-level home for 10 years and we are ready to move to one level and maybe do a tiny bit of gardening.  The house we have chosen that may be ours (if there is a closing and a buying on the same day) is in a 55 and older community of about 20 homes.

The house is designed with plenty of room to move about.  There are double doors into the bedroom and the den. I think the kitchen is big enough for a wheel chair bound person to function.  Now, we are very agile and frisky so we don't need a kitchen designed for a wheel chair and I woke this morning with visions of stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops spinning in my brain.  I was actually visualizing a remodeled space.  I was on a roll.  See, this is why I love Apartment Therapy!  The website always brings me back down to earth.  While there is some kitchen articles on this website that are about those WOW spaces, there is always a good mix of creative people living in small spaces.

This morning I noticed at article called Margaret Roaches Vibrant Green Kitchen.  Margaret lives in an ordinary space, the photos showed a kitchen that was not well lit or glamorous.  But the thing is, Margaret is a gardener...her beauty lies outside her kitchen door.

After reading the article and reflected on the reality of how we live, I came back down to earth.  My kitchen in our new house will be beautiful, not because of the stove or refrigerator, but because we live there.  The food, friends and family will make it shine...no appliance can do that. Thank you Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn.

How big is your kitchen...and would you really be happier if it were bigger, a different color or fancier...really?  Take a look at Small Cool Kitchens 2011 


Google Search:  Margaret Roach - home

margaretroach.com/ - Cached
MARGARET ROACH, former editorial director for Martha Stewart, blogs at nationally acclaimed awaytogarden.com, and founded the blog network ...

Jul 4, 2011

Learn to be old...be true to yourself!

ME:  Wife, mother, teacher, retiree, blog writer....no more no less!
I submitted an article to the AARP blog editor the other day.  It was very hard to write because I was attempting to be more professional and newspaper like.  It was a terrible article even though I struggled for days to make it perfect.  I was trying to be someone I was not.

First of all, I am 69.  Who I am is pretty much set in stone.  The molding part of my personality happened about 68 years ago.  Oh I try to make a minor improvement here and there and always have.  But, let me tell you, changing a major pattern in my personality is very near impossible.

I had all the information.  I love the research part writing.  I was trying to writing an article that described the unique qualities of an organization called TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and the online TED Talks program.  I talked about the positive impact of people sharing their knowledge.  I talked about the prestige and intellect of those who attended or presented.  People like Jane Goodall, Aubrey de Gray and Bill Gates were mentioned.  All the key ingredients were there but the thing that was missing was ME...the real me.  My voice could not be heard.

I do believe there is a lesson to be learned here.  In Hamlet William Shakespeare wrote "This above all: to thine own self be true".  I have always thought he had it so right...the rest  "must follow, as the night the day."  That piece of wisdom is as true today as it was when Hamlet was first performed.  As we grow old we need to remember we were gifted with  unique qualities at birth.  There is no subtracting or adding.  We are what we are.  We can learn new skills but any piece of art or writing will reflect what is true.  As Shakespeare would say "Thou canst not then be false to any man." I have decided to rejoice in that!

Just a thought.


Note:  I urge you to head on over to the AARP website and read the article about TED (that I did NOT write).  It is wonderful.  AARP, TED and William Shakespeare can teach us a thing or two.
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Jul 3, 2011

Style, the Mirror and a Pose!

In my minds eye!
Style from Pendleton

I love fashion blogs.  Ari Cohen's Advanced Style has a found a place my heart.  Aging divas from around the world read Ari's post and love his eye for finding stylish older women.  He knows what women of an "advanced age" know.  A girl never feels old until she looks in a mirror.

What I might really be wearing.
Duster from The Tog Shop
Imagine a world without a mirror...suppose at the age of 66 you were denied the use of a reflection of yourself and all you ever saw was what was reflected in the back of your eye.  How would your life be changed?  Would you look in other's people eyes for a reflection of yourself? Maybe you would see yourself in the expression on a child's face or a smile from a passing strainger.

I think we would somehow continue to think of ourselves as younger.  We would wear clothes as though they we hanging on a mature but beautiful woman's body.  Style for us would be what we saw on a woman of a beauty walking down the avenue. We would live as though she lived in our body.

I could never pose like the ladies on Ari's blog.  That bent leg or tilted head is not my style.  Maybe he has a way of making his models feel coy and shy.  I have never been either so it would take a wizard to transform me.

I have a few pictures of myself that are truly the way I see myself...neck slim, hair shining and a clear relaxed smile.  If all the mirrors in the world were gone tomorrow I would live with that image in my minds eye. Life would be good.

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Jul 1, 2011

Moving On....will the family and our ghost be happy?

In a perfect world it would all go...perfectly!  We would list our home and the buyer would come with cash, no questions and pay to have us moved out.  But we all know that the world is not perfect. At least not where I live.  Of all the things my husband and I have done since we were married 50 years ago, moving has got to be the most difficult.

I remember the first apartment...the one I would still be living in because I did not know how to move.  I was barely 20 years old.   Now we are planning for what I hope is our final move.  The house we have found is perfect and we will not get too old for it.  Our condo is going to a good owner so whatever ghosts that live with us are not throwing a fit....yet.  We have sorted and disposed of most of our junk already so the move should not kill us physically.  Still....

There are things that I just hate to do.
  1. Fill out and sign forms
  2. Wait
  3. Worry
  4. Decide
  5. Work hard
  6. Talk about finances
  7. Sort
  8. Clean top to bottom
  9. Face a deadline
  10. Worry (again)
When you are the member of a family, you know that everything you do has an effect on everyone else.  It is true in our case too.  We will move closer to our daughter (is that good?).  Our grandchildren only know us in this place.  Will they mind a new "grandma house"?  Are we being financially wise?  Will the move be a burden to our family?  Will the move kill us!!!!

It will all be fine.  We are very excited to be getting a home that has no stairs.  The house is the same size as our condo but it has a tiny fairy garden in the back and is landscaped front yard.  I will have an office so I can continue to write for you.  We will have a great room layout with no division between the kitchen and living.  I will also have a desk in the kitchen.  We will over look a tiny green space and our neighbors will all be retired.  We will be able to walk across the street to a neighborhood with walking paths.  We are within walking distance of the downtown here in Hillsboro.

It all seems good right now.  The ducks are all falling into a row and, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we will be moving by July 26th.  YIKES!!!  Keep your fingers crossed for us!


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