Category Archives: Portland

Hannah and Sugar

What is courage? What does it really mean to be brave? These are the essential questions in this sweet little book for young people, Hannah and Sugar. Hannah is afraid of dogs. Something happens to change that  in this award winning book by Oregon illustrator/author, Kate Berube.

I can so relate to Hannah! I’ve always had a fear of dogs, but as I grow older, I find myself wanting to experience that very special relationship I see between my friends and their dogs. Maybe someday I will learn about my own fear of dogs and become a dog person, like Hannah.


What Happened to May?

What happened to May? It just flew by for me in a rush of travel, gardening, visits with family and meeting with old/new friends, 5k races, and unfortunately, spending evenings being completely sucked into the news of the day. It was overall a lovely month and especially nice to have some sunshine and warmth arrive after such a long winter and wet spring!

During May, both my reading and blogging took back seat to all the other activities. However, I did manage to finish reading 4 books, two of them mysteries by Donna Leon, and I’m getting close to the end of my rereading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings.

Welcome June! I’m looking forward to getting back to my books this month and to being able to read them on the front porch!

A Day in My Life: A Blogging Event


My blogging friend, Trish, (Love, Laughter & a Touch of Insanity) is hosting this 2nd annual blogging event. Last year, I so enjoyed reading about people’s lives, but didn’t post about my own. This year, I’m sharing a day in my own life, and will once again enjoy reading about yours!

Two and a half years ago, I retired after teaching for 27 years, and my husband and I moved to a small town in Oregon. The following is my account of a pretty typical day in this retired teacher’s new life.


5:00am:  I wake up at this time no matter what. Inner clocks are incredibly difficult to reset, and even though I’m retired and could sleep-in as long as I want, this is the time my body says to get moving, so I get moving!

5:00-5:45am:  Wake, make a big pot of tea, and read (currently reading my first book by Ann Cleeves, A Bird in the Hand).

tea pot

5:45-6:15am:  Work on my Bullet Journal. One of the joys of retirement is getting up each morning and being able to set my own agenda! Our first year of retirement was pretty unscheduled — footloose and fancy free! Recently, I decided that I needed a little more structure to my day, so I set up my bullet journal and spend time each morning and each evening planning my day and then reflecting on each day. I love this! I’m much more efficient with my time, so I’m getting more reading done, more knitting, taking more long walks, remembering to send birthday cards on time, etc. I’m still setting my own agenda and enjoying my days even more! Delightful!

6:15-7:00am:  This is time usually spent on the computer reading, answering, and sending emails, and catching up on social media. I do a lot on Facebook, which is a nice way to communicate with my Mom and family, and friends and relatives that live near and far.

7:00-9:00am:  I ate breakfast and then got ready for my morning exercise activity. On Mon/Wed/Fri, I go to exercise class at the gym 3 blocks from my house. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I meet a very special exercise buddy. My new friend, Gloria, is an 81-year-old runner! I meet her twice a week to walk/run on the hills near her home. I walk, she runs! Because my legs are long and I have a long walking stride, I can keep up with her (most of the time) while she runs. She’s been running for 40 years, and she has become my mentor as I learn to challenge myself and my body more and more. With her encouragement, I have signed up for a summer’s worth of 5k challenges. Portland Parks and Recreation sponsors 6 summer 5k walk/run events, each one at a different local park. My first ever 5k walk will be on May 15th. Gloria will run and I will walk. What fun! Can’t wait!

9:00am:  Back home, shower, get ready for the rest of the day!

9:15-10:30am:  Housecleaning, laundry, menu-planning. It’s been so rainy recently that I haven’t been out in the yard doing some of those morning tasks, but that will change very soon. Today, I swept the front porch to get ready to put out some potted plants soon.

10:30-11:30am:  I signed up for a Craftsy class on “Designing Edible Gardens,” so this morning I spent an hour working on that class. I take notes in my Bullet Journal, where I keep track of all  the planning I’m doing for our 2016 vegetable garden.


11:30-Noon:  Prepare lunch. Today’s lunch was a “rice bowl”… brown rice, stir fry veggies (no oil!), cubed tofu, mandarin orange slices, some slivered raw almonds, and 1/4 cup orange sauce. (Warmed it all up in the microwave.) A simple, but very healthy and satisfying lunch. Two years ago I was overweight, pre-diabetic, and taking 2 blood pressure medications as well as a cholesterol-lowering medication. My new doctor referred me to the Healthy Living department at Kaiser Permanente where I met with a doctor and his nurse who have changed my life! They gave me the information and support needed to change the way I eat.  I have worked hard to change old bad habits and establish a new and healthier lifestyle by eating a completely plant-based diet. The health benefits for me have been enormous. I’ve lost 25 pounds and Kaiser no longer classifies me as obese or pre-diabetic. I no longer take blood pressure medications or cholesterol-lowering medication. “Food is my medicine.” And along with losing weight, I have become much more physically active. I go to exercise class three mornings a week, and meet with my running friend twice a week, so I have a good 1-hour/5 days a week exercise routine. I also go for long walks with my hubby, and ride my bicycle and go hiking when the weather permits.  Simply put, I am feeling better than I have felt in years!




12:30-2:00pm:  Running errands. Fred Meyer, car wash, JoAnn’s for some crafting supplies, and Best Buy to pick up a new exercise tracker to help me do some serious training for my summer of 5k races!

2:15-3:00pm:  Home again. I sat in the recliner, put my feet up, and called my Mom on the phone. I talk with my 96-1/2 year old Mom every day. She lives 800 miles away, but we bridge the distance by having long conversations about health, happenings at her retirement home, and about what we are currently reading. We never get tired of talking about books!

3:00-3:45pm:  Stayed sitting in that recliner and worked on my current knitting project while listening to my current audiobook, In the Wet, by Nevil Shute.

3:45pm:  Stood in the kitchen looking out the greenhouse window at the flock of little birds, the Scrub Jays, and the Acorn Woodpeckers that frequent our bird feeders. I could never get bored looking out that window. There’s a lot of bird (and squirrel and cat) drama to enjoy!


4:00-5:00pm:  The Grandboy and his daddy arrived. I was honored with an invitation to join his Minecraft world for awhile!


5:00-6:00pm:  I set the table while hubby cooked dinner tonight. He cooked a totally whole foods, plant-based meal for us — Cuban Black Beans. No, he hasn’t given up his meat or cheese (or pastries), but he has been very supportive of my plant-based needs. He likes to cook and bake, so he usually fixes 2 or 3 meals a week (yes, I’m spoiled!). Today, he fixed this one, which is one of our favorites!

6:00-6:30pm:  Dinner.

7:00-8:30pm:  We cleaned the kitchen, and then sat down to watch some TV. We chose a new Nature episode with David Attenborough. Love, love, love David Attenborough!


8:30-9:00pm:  Planning and reflection time with my Bullet Journal.

9:00-10:00pm (or so):  Reading in bed until too tired to read anymore. I love this!



** My “retired” days are busy and I love that. Although this has been a day where I mostly described my solo activities, my husband and I do many things together.  When we retired, we started a wonderful tradition of going “exploring” on Wednesdays. We call it our “Wandering Wednesday,” and it started as a way to get to know this new area we moved to. We visit historical sites, botanical gardens, libraries and bookstores, wetlands and forests. We post photos on Facebook for our family and friends to enjoy, and it’s become a delightful highlight of our week.

** I love my new focus on physical activity and healthy living. It just feels so darn good!  A number of years ago I read Reeve Lindbergh’s book, Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age — and Other Unexpected Adventures. In that book, she said that 60 is the “youth of old age.” I am closer to 70 now than to 60, but I feel more youthful today than I did when I turned 60. Although I haven’t always been good about this, I know how important it is, at any age, to take good care of yourself. My mother is a wonderful role model for aging gracefully and healthfully, and I hope I can do as good a job of moving into my elder years as my mother!

**  This is a new stage of life for me that comes with many, many changes, but the one thing that has remained constant is my passion for reading! With retirement, comes much more time to enjoy my books. What a luxury to be able to sit down and read on the front porch or in my favorite indoor spot at any time I want!


My favorite reading spot…

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read about “my day in the life.”  Although I don’t post or comment as often as I used to, I still love the blogging community and enjoy visiting your blogs. I love to hear about what you are reading and what is happening in your lives.

Thank you, Trish, for hosting this annual event!


Murder By The Book: A Bookshop

Murder By The Book
3210 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97214

While in Portland this week helping take care of the Grandboy, I visited a wonderfully creative bookshop, called Murder By The Book. It’s a small shop located in east Portland in the middle of a unique neighborhood with all kinds of interesting and unusual shops. It’s just the kind of independent bookshop I love to find, and this one specializes in mysteries and thrillers, which I love.

For a small shop, it had a great inventory of both new and used books. But the best things about the shop were the names of their sections. They like “punny” names, and so I chuckled my way through the whole store. “Shot On Location” was the section which “featured detectives from other cultures, foreign & Native American.” “Through A Glass Darkly” featured classic and modern noir. “A Site for Sore Eyes” was a bookshelf holding their large print mysteries. The “Once Upon a Crime” section held historical mysteries, and “The Game’s Afoot” held all their “Sherlockiana.”

It was busy when I went in, but the staff was friendly and loves to give tours of their store. I didn’t have much time to spend there, but next time I’m in Portland, I intend to stop in again and thoroughly explore this welcoming and humorous bookshop.

This is my second independent bookshop I’ve enjoyed visiting for the Independent Bookshop Reader’s Challenge.


I so admire and enjoy the works of Lois Lowry! And this weekend I had the opportunity to see the Oregon Children’s Theater production of her book, Gossamer. I reread the book in preparation for seeing the play, and loved it even more with this reread. And the play was a wonderful interpretation of the book, adapted for the stage by Lois Lowry, herself.

Gossamer is a story about the healing power of memory, dreams, and imagination. It’s a courageous book that takes on the issue of abuse (both child and spousal abuse), and it is very honest in the presentation of those episodes. But it focuses sensitively on the healing process — the small steps that are taken, and the emotional support from people that care, that eventually lead to recovery.

Synopsis from the Oregon Children’s Theater web site:

We meet Littlest One, a Dream Giver, as she learns how to gather memories—touching human’s possessions, gathering fragments of the past and weaving them into wonderful and comforting dreams. Littlest is a curious young student and is constantly asking questions, exploring her world, and questioning who she is. Littlest and her teacher, Thin Elderly, are assigned to the house of an old woman who is providing foster care for a young boy who has been abused and neglected by his parents. It is in this house that Littlest first encounters Sinisteeds, creatures who bring nightmares to humans. When the Sinisteeds gather together as a horde and invade the boy and the woman’s dreams while they sleep, Littlest and Thin Elderly must bestow healing dreams to protect them from the damaging nightmares. Together Littlest and Thin Elderly discover the power of love. 

The Oregon production was done with great heart. The creativity of set design and lighting added another dimension to the story, and the actors did a wonderful job. It was a very moving experience for me, and for the families in the theater. so if you have the opportunity to visit Portland, Oregon, in the next few weeks, don’t miss it!

Sunday Stroll

My friend, Nan (Letters From a Hill Farm) has been posting about her Sunday strolls recently, and I’ve loved reading about them. The Sunday Strolls were actually started by Aisling, at The Quiet Country House blog, and everyone is invited to participate and share photos of their gardens and their walks. Both blogs are lovely, and I especially enjoy visiting them every week to read about their Sunday strolls.

B and I spent this weekend in Portland, Oregon, visiting the Grandboy (we hadn’t seen him for 6 weeks!). It was a lovely weekend, and included a wonderful Sunday Stroll today past beautiful homes and gardens and a farmer’s market, so I wanted to share some photos from that walk around Portland with our favorite little person.

Pilgrimage to Powells

B and I just returned from an extended weekend in Portland, a joyous break from the intensity of work. The four days included a family wedding reception, a graduation celebration, and quality time spent with family. Great Grammy even got to meet the Grandboy for the first time! What a lovely weekend!

While in Portland, we also made a group pilgrimage to Powells Bookstore. Powells is an institution in the Portland area, and an incredible experience. It was the first time my mother, almost 89, had been there, and she was overwhelmed, to say the least. She looked around and then turned to me and asked, “Where do I start?” Exactly!

Powells takes up a complete city block in downtown Portland. And you have never seen so many books! To get an idea of how huge it is, click here. They have both new and used books on the shelves, and the genres are housed in different rooms like the Rose Room, (children’s books, education, sciences, natural history) and the Blue Room (literature, poetry, small press, classics), etc. It’s called the City of Books, and be prepared to spend more than just an hour wandering around. It’s a destination all on its own!

My brother went in with a list, which was such a good idea. When we go, however, we usually wander around and serendipitously find books we’ve always wanted but never found, which is also a delightful way to shop there. Purchases? I bought one book (a new world’s record for me at Powells): Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry. Brother bought numerous Stephenie Meyer books. Mom bought A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And husband bought three Kundera books that he hadn’t read yet.

Now it’s back to the grind this morning … and my final 2 weeks of school!

Walking Shadows

Happiness is going for long walks with the Grandboy and taking a good look at the world through his eyes. Everything is of interest! …Bird sounds, other people walking by, cats sitting on front porches, leaves on the ground, cars zooming by, kids yelling and playing in their yards, and shadows!

It was too cold and breezy in Portland today to go for our usual Grands and the Grandboy stroller walk, so this photo from our walk three weeks ago will have to do.

What a delightful first Thanksgiving with the Grandboy!