Tag Archives: Oregon

Summer Has Finally Come to Oregon

I love my little home, all 888 square feet of it. When you stand in the living room you can pretty much see the whole house. There’s the guest bedroom, there’s my bedroom, there’s the bathroom, there’s the kitchen, and off the kitchen is the laundry room and garage. That’s it, there aint no more.

I started laundry last night and finished it this morning. Then I swept, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, rearranged a few things, then ran to the store because I had invited my folks over for veggie burgers. My little home is pretty spotless and uncluttered and I have windows open and fans going. It’s a lovely early summer day. I feel really lucky.

This house is not without its challenges, in particular the mortgage each month, and the overgrown trees and shrubs that need to be taken out or seriously trimmed, but I bought myself a battery powered lawnmower and I “mow my weeds” like a boss. That reminds me, I need to plug that in tonight. The battery weighs more than the mower!

One challenge is telling myself that I don’t have to have the yard perfect in a year, or even five or ten years. I can keep it under control, more or less. But most people can look ahead to a day when they can put money into a long awaited project. I can’t see that happening for me. Except maybe a small project if I get a tax refund. That’s another time when having a life partner can make things easier. You can plan those projects together and make your home your own.

But I looked for so, so many months until I found this place and I know that it was meant for me. The inside was refinished and is almost all new. New kitchen cabinets that silently close. New subway tiles. A decent aggregate type counter top and the vinyl floors in kitchen and bathroom aren’t bad. I don’t like the carpet in the living room and bedrooms, but at least it was new carpet.

I didn’t have to do much — I paid for two new windows in my bedroom because they were the old metal ones and the rest of the house had replacement windows. I bought a used washer and dryer. Then the old fridge that came with the place died and I had to buy a new fridge. I didn’t really mind because the old fridge was the only old thing in the kitchen.

Because I’m a “creative type” I love to set things up to be pleasing to me. Small, uncluttered vignettes that just make me feel good to look at them. I bought a brand new couch and living room chair — had to wait six weeks for it to be made in Portland. It may be the last couch I ever buy. There are certain things I don’t like to cut corners on.

But I can walk around my house and point at all the things I bought at thrift stores, both in the USA and England. I can recall where I bought stuff — I really loved living in England, except for the poverty, mental torture, and missing my family back home. I could have stayed there forever if my ex could have only found a way to make some money.

I could have probably found a job, but I was never there legally. He never had the means to sponsor me.

Ironically, the vicar who married us in London has become an Instagram friend and she’s nearing retirement and has invited me to come to her home anytime. They will be moving to a village not far from Stonehenge. That’s the part of England that Christianity came to very early on. I really hope I can go. I’d rather use a tax return for that trip than take out a tree in my yard. Priorities!

So my parents came and we ate and they left. I washed all the dishes and here I sit. I played some David Bowie and whistled loudly as I washed the dishes, not worrying about what anybody thinks of that.

I’ll get together with them again tomorrow for Father’s Day — I’m making tacos at their house. I bought dad a sweet little yellow bird feeder with seed for small birds. I invited my sister but she hasn’t responded if she can come or not. Don’t get me started on that.

My life is pretty simple. There are few outings. I’d like to do more, but I’m such an introvert and I am pretty socially awkward. It’s a good thing that I just love being in my home, puttering around, or watching something on Netflix and I’m comfortable just being alone. When the clock hits 9:30 or so, I brush my teeth and go to bed. I know, I’m a wild woman.

But I’m pretty contented and it’s all mine.



I Am Addicted

I am absolutely addicted to the pool and I am in heaven when I’m in the water. What a revelation this is! I’m not happy on Sundays when the pool is closed but I know my body needs one day of rest. It makes Mondays all the sweeter.

I went to the deep pool today, about 40 minutes before class started. When the other students and instructor came, I didn’t feel like doing the class thing so I got out, went to the bathroom, squished my swimming cap on and went to the lap pool.

I hadn’t been in the lap pool for several weeks. I am intimidated by it because, well, it’s long and once you commit to a lap, it’s a long way to the other side. I didn’t have the stamina when I first began going to the pool, but today I noticed I have definitely gotten stronger.

I am certain I got a lot of aerobic exercise today. I do two laps (one up and one back) in the front crawl then I switch to an easier stroke like side, back, or just kicking with the little floatie board thing. I alternate an easy stroke with a challenging one and I keep going that way.

The main thing is, except for adjusting my goggles which I just can’t seem to adjust to fit me, I don’t stop moving. I was in the lap pool for about 45 minutes and then, when I saw that my class was ending, I switched back to the deep pool where I just did a lot of stretching and floating and stomach exercises.

I didn’t want to get out. Even when I dragged myself out and got into my flip flops, I kept wanting to jump back into the water. By the time I am in the shower I am sad it’s over.

Who knew? Who knew that I could wake up every day with one thought on my mind: getting into the pool and exercising.

Now that I’ve ventured back to the lap pool things will get more serious. I look forward to the day I can do three laps in the front crawl and then four and then more. Wow. What does it feel like just to swim laps for an hour?


As a kid in southern California we went to the beach a lot. And the beaches in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach are not for weaklings. You can venture in at one lifeguard station and after a bit of body surfing and playing in the water you realize the current has taken you eight lifeguard stations away. Getting into and out of the water is a skill due to powerful waves and I’m so grateful that I never let it scare me enough to keep me out of the water even though it was challenging at times.

In the summers I would go to the high school pool as many days a week as my parents would give me the .25 to get in. I’d stay for hours just playing in the water and then walk home weak and starving.

When my P.E. class focussed on swimming I secretly liked it while my friends complained. I paid attention to the coaches when they taught us the strokes and to this day it comes back like riding a bike. I’d never be able to teach someone to swim, it’s totally automatic to me.

If one of the coaches had seen potential in me, I’d have had another life. I wish they had!

But it’s ok. I had the life I had. The coaches didn’t single me out for anything. I didn’t make cheerleading squad. But my love of water has remained.

When I left Southern California and moved to Oregon in my early thirties I soon became very depressed and stayed that way. I never knew why. I’m sure there are many reasons for it. But one of them that I didn’t think of at the time is that I gave up a culture of outdoors and water and I never replaced it with anything up here. A shame, since there’s plenty to do in Oregon, you just need to plan it a bit mostly due to weather.

I had my mushrooms on toast today and over-salted it so I didn’t enjoy it. I tend to go in spurts with what I eat in the morning and today I knew my long run of mushroom toast was over for the time being. I bought some good greek yogurt and some granola and plan to start that tomorrow. It’s a challenge for most people to come up with a protein rich meal first thing in the a.m.

Interestingly (to me) I am also very excited about adding a land-based exercise after the first of the year. I have a lot to choose from (thank you, city) so I am very lucky.

Yesterday’s experience with the scale was really baffling to me. As I mentioned, the first a.m. weigh in was 238 and I was ecstatic. Then two hours later, after only coffee, it was 240. Then two hours later, after breakfast, it was 242. Geesh. If it’s 242 then I won’t be so thrilled about the slow rate I am losing.

I know, I know… I’m supposed to be losing it slow. You lose it slow and it will stay off. I know. I don’t care. I’m so super motivated and I know if I were younger the weight would be melting off. Nothing melts off when you’re 56.

I’m going to resist weighing again until next Sunday. I really, really hate plateaus and I don’t want to pull my hair out wondering what I’m doing wrong, when I know damn well I’m doing very well, the best I can, and can’t do much more.

It’s just that I feel different so I want to look different.

I’ve been reading about muscles and protein lately and I would like to avoid, when I do get most this weight off, looking like a shapeless skinny older woman. I want muscle and strength.

I am gathering that when you work a muscle and it feels sore (but not damaged) then that means your muscles have tiny rips in them and as they heal they become stronger than before. I might be full of shit, but I think I read that somewhere.

Some people online say one should eat or drink something rich in protein within 30 minutes of a hard workout to optimally encourage muscle growth. I’m pretty bad at that. When I leave the pool it’s about 11:30 or noon and, while I am hungry, I either don’t know what to eat or don’t feel like eating. Often I’ll do some errands and when I get home it feels too late for lunch. I may drink a meal replacement drink, or just have some peanut butter pretzels and a prune.

And always water.

I have a theory that during my many years of taking many medications, the only thing that saved me from having a lot of long term side effects was the fact that I drank tons and tons of water. Of course I drank more water then because some of the medication made me terribly thirsty. Now I drink water for enjoyment and because I know how good it is to keep things moving inside the entire body.

Today I allowed myself to consider what might happen if my husband and I do not reconcile and I thought well, in time I’ll find someone who is also into physical activity, someone who’s interests compliment mine, someone who wants to explore the beauty of Oregon. And even though the mere idea of looking at another man seems inconceivable to me now, I enjoyed the idea of it for a fleeting moment.

Moments like that are rare, since I just don’t know how 56 year old women find men of substance, but I don’t have to think about that now. I’m not nearly ready.

I need to make some female friends first, something I’ve never been very good at. I am hoping that I meet a wider range of women when I begin my yoga (or whatever class it is) after the first of the year.

Oh, and today I will add scuba diving to my list of things I want to try. Some place warm and exotic.