Reflection is in order for this old gray mare. As we have reached our golden years, we are re-engineering our lives and it starting to feel like reverting to our childhood. In which I mean, I entered with nothing and with will leave with nothing, as will all.  And to that end, my husband, the Rayman, and I are in the business of shedding our things. Oh god, our dining room table. Gone. Forty seven pairs of shoes, gone. Even our sleep number bed. Yes, it is that bad. On the flip side of the record, however, is that each article donated, given to the kids, or thrown out, somehow feels liberating. After all, do we own the stuff or does the stuff own us? And through all of this disgorging, I discovered that I was a serial shopper. Or was I?

Great Aunt Ruby collected china from Bavaria. Great Aunt Rachel who married a movie mogel, collected art that interestingly enough matched her harpsichord. My mother who never met an alcoholic she didn’t like, played the accordion which I felt duty-bound to keep on a small brown end table in the den where it hosted dust over the years which I pretended not to see. It seems I became the family member that felt an obligation to preserve and protect the artifacts of life of the dearly departed. And if you suppose that I will not rid myself of these things, you are right on the money. They are some of them, vestiges of love and remembrances. They remain while lesser items have been dispensed with for no good reason other than we are moving from an 1800 square foot house to an 800 square foot apartment which I may name Bare Bones Estate. 

When I was a kid, my Great Aunt Rachel moved to a sleepy coastal town, Cayucos, in California. No more Beverly Hills swank for her after her hus band ran a hose into the car of their garage and perished on purpose. My cousins from Los Angeles came up in the summer and we all congregated at the beach house. While the adults belted down bourbon and water, us kids were busy having the time of our lives. Chris caught snakes in the creek which flowed by the house, ocean bound. Then he let them loose in the house which he only did once on account of the uproar that ensured. Goodie two-shoes, Tony, worked in the yard because his high school job in Santa Monica was tending posies at a garden shop. Katy was funny and shared her humor as we walked the beach and rode the waves before wetsuits were a thing and then we would walk back to the house shivering and blue as avatars. Cousin Jimmy, the eldest who was destined to marry a Communist later, sat around being cool.


From the left, Katy, me, Chris, Tony

In Cayucos, the local custom was to name your house. For all I know, the postman delivered my great aunt’s mail to Old Creeker’s rather than 2508  24th St. The name Old Creeker’s was so perfect and appealing that it has stayed with me all these years later. Even though they were only in their 50s, they took on the mantle of age with hilarious results. More sophisticated names the neighbors bestowed on their abodes were names like By the Sea Shanty, Crow’s Nest, that sort of thing. Old Creekers with it’s double entendre was a more fitting and funnier name to this kid. So, yes, Bare Bone Estate, it may be.

AgIng means cutting back at some point so as to not burden descendants. It invokes human kindness and care for loved ones. It is also a rude awaking when you discover that your dining room table that was purchased in 1980 isn’t wanted by anyone which then makes you wonder why. Which morphs into, “What the hell is wrong with everyone?”; which morphs into self-reflection as you wonder what the hell is wrong with me? I’ve owned it for that long and the dinner parties enjoyed around that table are priceless memories to chew on as we settle in to our apartment. So it was all worth it.

Our children have displayed grace and kindness as they have taken many of our chairs, lamps, tables, and a bed. It makes our hearts sing to know that for at least some time, they will enjoy our gifts and will think of us as they sit down, turn off the light, and make margaritas in the red blender. 


Our room with a view

We hit the wall and decided to take a trip to the ocean, which I miss dearly. With great purpose, we made plans to travel to Newport, OR for a few days of rest, solitude and beach walking if I can get up the gumption.

We chose Newport because of the restaurant, Local Ocean. As of this date, it is our favorite seafood restaurant in our new state of being. Looking over the harbor which is filled with working boats and barking seals, we split a martini and crab cake, a salad, and a seafood stew. It did not disappoint. 

This past week has been another week of opening up boxes to retrieve what we schlepped up here. Once opened, the contents were freed from their bubble-wrap and loose papers and inspected. Much was then hauled off to Goodwill because in some cases, the items in the boxes duplicated what we had in our skinny house. Then a decision was made as to which things would be kept. And that is how it has been going. It is dog work and it helps well up those thoughts like, “What were we thinking?” Or, “Why did we buy all this stuff?” And of course, kicking ones butt was in order. It is hard to realize how much I am addicted to shopping. During Covid, it was my pastime. And before then too. 


Our “living” room in the skinny house. This room had 5 rows of boxes, 5 boxes high before we attacked it.


Like the look of the book

A book of plates


Two of the boxes we lugged up here were filled with old books that I have been custodian to for years, handed down through the generations, I have been keeping this books. For what? It is a grand example of fearing to part with things my elders left behind. Five volumes of Ancient History books with one full book of “plates”, plates being pictures of antiquities. Rationalizing that these books might be valuable, kept me from defrocking the tomes from my bookcase. I kept them for decades. They were, after all, from Cambridge. Arriving in Portland, I reached out to three bookstores that claim to deal in old books and my feedback from Powells was to bring them in…but warning me of their appeal, “Someone might find them of interest” thereby alerting me to the vagrancy of supply and demand in our capitalist system. Another bookstore suggested I give them to Goodwill. So much for value. So the plan has been hatched to give them to Goodwill. Good riddance I say. You books have had your way with me for far too long. Begone with you…

And that is one example.

Of course, many of the things we brought here are not duplicated in the skinny house, so for those things a space must be created. Oh, my. Have any of you played Connections in the NYTimes where they give you 16 words and you have to decide what four words have in common and you do that four times. If you make a mistake, it is strike one and you have three chances then to get four groups of words that have something in common etc. Well, that reminds me of what I’m doing in real life as I unpack and assess and compare and contrast. 

So on and on it goes until the inevitable crack-up occurs asI sit for a glass of water. And when I sit for a glass of water, I yearn for the ocean. 

Rayman tries to be helpful but he can’t lift more than ten pounds and he can’t drive yet following his pacemaker placement in his chest last month. He, after all, is not the one that bought the portable salt and pepper grinders that fit neatly in a brown leather pouch (about 4 inches in height) that I whipped out at Local Ocean last night. No, his purchases fall into the categories of wine and clothes. The wine grew more valuable because we had five cases sent up through a company that does such things at the price of around $650. But what was the choice? No other plan to move them worked so we forked out the big buck for the move. Thank you Mary Kay and Jay for helping us. 

The salt and the pepper grinders had been lost for years and yet because of moving, they were discovered. A slight smile parts my lips now. It is a hoot. And there are plenty of other examples of conspicuous consumption but I will stop with the grinders, as how can I improve my own point?

Today, we may do nothing. Or something. We are resting. Beau is with us providing the needed laughs and giggles as he licks his chops and sniffs all things around him. His influence cannot be overstated. 

Before we left Portland, I wandered the neighborhood with Beau for his morning walk. Here are some pictures of spring teasing us. Whenever the place heats up to 50 degrees of more, many people throw on their shorts as a way, I suppose, of saying, “Take that cruel winter, spring is coming!” I think cooking some asparagus to celebrate the coming of spring is a better idea. But Portlandia is Portlandia and I am learning how to appreciate her. She has problems like any other place with homelessness and wigged out people occupying underpasses and such. She is also very fun and filled with many fabulous restaurants, mostly ethnic in brick buildings and food trailers alike. She celebrates roses every year with a parade, take that Pasadena. And she has great bridges that span the Willamette and Columbia rivers. And the rivers have water in them, take that Salinas. The Rogue and the Klamath are up here too and yearning to be free. Some dams are coming down and I hear the salmon are happy about that. The farmers not so much. Seems there are always some oxen to be gored.

Starkly yellow and happy

Flowers and shadow


Daffodils singing beneath the budding tree

I’m done here. Time to get going. More to come.


Recalls happen. Just so happens we have two recalls. One for the Honda and one for a neighborhood. Let me expound. Before I expound, this is a blog I forgot to publish. A bit dated, Feb. 13 to be exact.

Did I mention it is cold outside today? And foggy? I know this because we had to take the Honda in for the recall which I appreciate. A big corporation finding a problem and fixing it can be a beautiful thing. So off we drove, Rayman leading the way with me following behind,,,unable to backseat drive. It turns out following the Rayman in morning traffic is fun. Like when he signaled he was turning left but turned right. Or when he drove into the Ron Tonkin dealership for Chevrolet instead of the Ron Tonkin dealership for Honda. Or when he left the house, drove a half-block, pulled over, signaled me to cozy up next to him so he could tell me he forgot his driver’s license. 

I’m pretty sure he was discombobulated because of yesterday’s trauma. Half our life is stored in a POD in north Portland (PDX). We drove and drove through the industrial section of town and discovered PDX has a port! We knew and yet…very interesting, nonetheless. We drove to the POD storage area and visited our POD. Foolishly we forgot to remember where our pink slips were as well as our passports so we were on a mission. For those that have never had a POD before, let me describe them a big rectangular box. When you open the door, it’s like a garage door in that when you slide it open. the door slides up into the top of the POD on the inside. After you open it, you exclaim, “HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIND ANYTHING.” The POD was stuffed with stuff. After some consideration, we climbed into the POD by using a ladder that was sitting on the top of the pile (that was very helpful). You can probably imagine the scene. I went first and almost fell off the boxes that were stacked at the front of the POD. Then Rayman hoisted himself aboard emitting moans and groans as he inched toward the interior. Here he is.


Thank goodness he didn’t have his camera because my yoga pants started inching down my legs and by all accounts, my plumber’s crack was exposed for all to see. Luckily it was misting and no one was around as I tried to right myself. Huffing and puffing was heard. Lest you forget, we were on the ceiling of the POD and had I fallen out, I’d probably be in traction right now…or worse. No telling about the Rayman. I disembarked first so was there to help him pry himself loose and inch his way down to the awaiting ladder steps.


Today was a good 10 degrees colder than yesterday, even with the fog. However, the fog lifted, the sun came out and the temperature rose a bit. So after we picked up the car at Ron Tonkin’s Honda dealership, we headed to Vancouver, WA to visit our boxes and furniture that are currently hanging out at our kids’ garage (as a reminder, we rented two PODS).

What about recall number two? We are looking for another house at a couple of golf course communities for 55+ people in the suburbs near Beaverton. Our reasoning is that it would be a great place to meet new friends. One of the communities is located in King City, OR. As we drove around Sunday looking at the neighborhood, we discovered that King City is having a recall election. Every other house had a Vote Yes to Recall signs or Vote No to Recall. Whoa. That turned us off. Neighbor against neighbor is not going to enhance personal relationships in a positive way. We nixed that place. 

With any luck at all as spring approaches, we should find a house in the golf community of Summerfield which is located in Tigard, OR south of Beaverton. It is a community centered around a 9-hole course which has water, sand, and old people driving around in golf carts. It appeals to us.

You are probably wondering why we don’t stay in PDX. PDX proper has a huge amount of three story houses. The bottom floor is underground with windows at roughly dirt level. Middle earth has the kitchen, dining room, living room usually. The top floor has bed and bath. And garages are unusable for a variety of reasons. The streets are not wide enough in most instances for two cars to pass each other because of all the cars they park on the street because of their unusable garages. So in two words PDX houses are too big and garages are too small…oh, and streets are very narrow. 

In the suburbs, the homes are younger, many don’t have basements at all, and many have garages. When it is 35 degrees out, wind blowing, and sidewalks slippery, a garage is more than nice to have. It is to our way of thinking essential. 

That’s all folks. I’m trying to decide if I should discard by newly cooked garbanzo beans. I’ve cooked them about 3 hours are they still aren’t perfect. Luckily we found Dungeness crab at Costco for $6.99 a pound, uncleaned and uncracked so we will have that tonight instead of the soup I had planned. 

Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday. With hearts aflutter, I bid you a fond adieu.





Beau at the park with a moss-ladened bole.

Hello, dear readers!

It snowed here this morning, in our neck of the woods. We walked Beau anyway. His sniffing proclivities made it colder, but Beau must do what Beau does. This climate forces us to “just get use to it” and that’s okay. Joy is discovering that we won’t melt if it rains and won’t freeze if it snows. We will, however, slip and slide and fall down if an ice storm intrudes. These are all key learnings. Buying the right clothes has helped. Most of our clothes are from Costco. They sell all manner of flannel, raincoats, gloves, some hats…thank you, Costco. LLBean now provides us with flannel-lined pants, Vermont Country Store provides us with sleep shirts for the Rayman. Small clothes investments writ large, I say.

Speaking of the Rayman, he is good following his new digital appliance that was inserted into his chest muscle. He can’t lift more than 10 pounds, he can’t drive yet, he is forced to rest and because of all that, getting his procedure done in the middle of winter proved to be fortuitous. Can’t play golf so we are now filling our time charting our future.

As many of you know, we have a 2-story skinny house that is absent a garage. This means we park on the street. Rayman looked out the front window this morning and marveled that he could see both cars; meaning, most of the time one car can’t been seen because it is parked down the street. The reason he was looking is because he wanted to adorn our Honda with our new Oregon license plate. It is very good looking and we are getting closer and closer to becoming full fledged citizens of this wild and pretty world. 

This is is the from of our house. The Japanese maple has very pretty branches in the winter.



Our other car still has a CA license plate because we CANNOT find the title. It is in a box somewhere in the POD that has not yet been delivered. The reason it has not yet been delivered is because we DO NOT HAVE A GARAGE. Which is a great segue into a story or two.


I requested an easy to remember plate. We got what they had. 206 Penguin, perhaps.

While driving around with a realtor looking at property WITH A GARAGE, our realtor said,” Well, no one in PDX parks their car in a garage. Most cars are either parked in their driveways or on the street.” And that is true. However, we need a garage right now so we can eliminate the POD. The kids have a 3-car garage in Vancouver, WA so one POD was emptied into the third stall of their garage. And we are now in the process of having them bring boxes over so we can figure out what we need to get rid of or put away somewhere. Once we complete that task, we will have the other POD delivered to their garage and continue the process. What a chore. 

And about the realtor. We have decided the new plan for our life is to move into independent living in a senior living confab. Here is their website.  And guess what? We must downsize from 1700 square feet to less than a thousand. And we won’t have a GARAGE. Ain’t life great. And to think we all brought this upon ourselves!  Whoooo.


Here is the good news. We won’t be having a GARAGE sale. And I’m not going to list things for sale and deal with all that. If the kids don’t want it, it gets donated. End of story. Really, I don’t mind giving to organizations that help people. I have received help my whole life and I just look at it as paying it forward. It is a win-win.

Funny how life is. We work and work and work to buy things. Consumerism really isn’t our friend in the final analysis. Not that I haven’t figured this out a long time ago. It is just slapping us upside the head now as we pare down so the kids won’t need to do much when we exit, stage left. When we move in, we will also be buying peace of mind. We will not end up by ourselves. Heck, this place even has an indoor pool that I won’t have to drive to in the freezing rain.

Yesterday, I drove to the community indoor pool to do aqua aerobics. I have driven there for years. Yet, I got lost. Our street was closed for a repair, the workers building the four-plex next door had all the parking spaces. It was raining, and here I was in a bathing suit, a heavy kaftan, a turtleneck top, Uggs on the my feet wading and waddling forward to the car with CA plates. And I got lost. Not for long, just long enough to get me thinking affectionately about indoor pools that can be accessed without going outside. 

PDX has us watching Northern Exposure. Rayman and I had never seen the show, so we are finding it hilarious for it’s lack of “me too” sensitivities and racial slurs. No, that is not funny except that it is in a perverse sort of way. Thank goodness we have evolved. We on the left are kinder than that. I can remember during that time when I had a male peer ask me to go get him some coffee. My reply was, “F**k you.” Those were the days. And please don’t judge me. These guys was horrid people that did everything they could do to sabotage me at work. Just saying.

The sun was out yesterday for a bit and we drove into PDX downtown to return something to Pottery Barn, the store of muted colors. In an effort to re-do our bedroom here in preparation for our new digs someday, I BOUGHT a quilt on-line that was a bust. Anyway, on the way back to the northeast part of the city to go to Costco (see a trend?) to re-fuel with help from a gas attendant (even though Oregon did away with mandatory gas station attendants, Costco has retained 9 pumps for attendants and non-attended pumps as well), we followed the Columbia River at water’s edge to return to our humble abode. What a grand river nature has provided. I love that drive. It lifts the spirit. While parts of this world crash and burn because of climate change, the river flows on providing a habitat for the salmon, the sturgeon. And get this…we saw a Bald Eagle on the wing near the river. So cool.

It is starting to snow again, and as I look past the window to our fence, I see a squirrel running up the tree bole, so brave he or she is gathering food on this cold afternoon. 

Book Update:  my PhD editor tells me he is a day or two away from sending me my new and improved book. Before I hired him, I had no idea he was moving from San Diego to Eureka this past month. I’ve been waiting for oh, so long. This is good news. It guarantees more work on my part but I’m anxiously awaiting the new and improved draft. I’m atwitter.  

I’m done here. More to come.

P.s. check out the re-do of Shogun. We are enjoying it. Oh, and if you haven’t watched it, Northern Exposure. It is silly. And it was filmed in WA not far from here!

Hiccups Happen




We sold our lovely home in Morro Bay and this set off a chain of events. Morro Bay was in the 60-degree range with a slight breeze as we backed down the driveway. And away we went. Off to the Northwest.  What on earth were we thinking? 

This substack /blog is a result of our move. Hey hiccups indeed happened and they were served up with a bit of irony and hilarity in the process. After all, we are in our late seventies and shouldn’t we be staying put? In Morro Bay we had friends but no family. We were established. We were comfortable and happy. There is no finer place to live than the central coast of California. Why oh why did we leave?

My husband, Rayman, teases that I like to move every ten years. He isn’t wrong except that he insinuates I’m part gypsy. However, in my own defense, there has always been a reason and he and I have always decided together to pull up stakes. So there is that. Leaving that aside, the other caveat is that while moving is a bitch, it has always ended up providing new adventure that include hiccups. And so it goes.

So, off we drove that mild winter day in December. Went headed to the great Northwest; specifically, we headed to Portland, Oregon aka Portlandia. The name sticks. Portland is a great city with trouble just like every other great city. It isn’t perfect. It’s no Morro Bay. However, we had spent the past 5 summers in a second home up in Portland and we had grown accustomed to its charms. The kids live across the mighty Columbia in Vancouver, Washington. We were close. The move made sense to us.

The day after we arrived, a blizzard blew in. Oh, my. I had never been in a blizzard. The closest ever to a blizzard I had come involved going to mountain to ski. Here’s the deal. At the end of the ski adventure, a trip home was all it took to leave the snow. Did I mention that skiing terrified me? As I skied down the trails, I worked hard not to get to the bottom of the ski runs. This resulted in strong legs because traversing the hill a100 times to avoid going fast takes work. When the day of skiing ended, I was ready for a piece of meat washed down with a glass of burgundy before I catapulted myself into bed. It was exhausting. But I persevered until one day I fell down on a flat run and couldn’t get up. That did it for me. No more of that foolishness. That was all I knew of snow.

Locked down in Portland because of an ice storm that followed the blizzard was our how we spent our first week in Portland. And that is how I decided I should try this substack business. I had time on my hands and was eager to write. So, here’s the deal. I will publish this post on my blog and on substack just for the fun of it! Incidentally, the name of my substack is Hiccups Happen.

Our doggie, Beau was shocked and unaccustomed to this new environment too. We drove our two cars up and the only one Beau could fit in was the Honda SUV CRV XYZ. On the floor of the car because every square inch of both cars were loaded with our stuff. Poor guy. This picture was snapped when we stopped at a strip mall to have a conversation with our broker about investing in a few CDs so the proceeds from our house would gather some interest. That was fun. Beau seemed interested too.



It was fun caravanning. I listed to Bach and Mozart because Rayman doesn’t favor longhairs and this offered me a perfect opportunity to indulge. He was probably rocking out to the Eagles. While alone, we were still together. Nice. The Oregon coast is beautiful, was beautiful. Plenty to look at during the journey north.

About those hiccups. Rayman lost his electric toothbrush somewhere. Our safe that holds our precious things was accidentally packed in a POD and when we finally caught up with it as we unloaded POD #1, we discovered we didn’t have the key to open the safe. Brilliant. Where is key? Don’t know. You would think that wouldn’t happen to our safe. Think again. When you are up to your ass in alligators, you forget about draining the swamp as the old saying goes.

 We also cannot find our financial files or our passports. That will keep us in the country. Hoping to find the passports before the election in November. We may need to move to Mexico. Just sayin. That wall swings both ways, doesn’t it?

Currently, our living room is a disaster area. Traffic cones might improve the place. POD # 1 contents included lots of our stuff along with furniture the kids wanted. Their furniture is now in their house. Our stuff is in their garage. Our house in Portland doesn’t have a garage which is not unusual for Portlandia. Most of the older homes here have garages that you can’t use because the garages are small and the driveways don’t have straight lines that would allow a driver to park a car by driving straight in. Matched with the problem that cars are so darn big now compared to the model T that they won’t fit in the garage. So people park on the streets which are so narrow, only one car can advance at a time. 

Here we are and now it is time to start thinking about getting to know our new state of Oregon. This state boasts Crater Lake, many extinct volcanic mountains, deepest gorge in North America. It has fabulous rivers including the Columbia Gorge, the Willamette, the Deschutes, the Snake, the Rogue are the famous ones. There are many more. Waterfalls. They do not rival the Yosemite falls but there are many to see here. Sand dunes and a rocky shoreline beckon. We are contemplating some trips to discover these things. Because hiccups always happen when you venture out, there will be much to report. Oh, and powwows. Planning on a doing some powwows this summer. With lots of reservations up here, the opportunities abound for Native American experiences.

See you soon!!

It will be a hoot.


Well, now we’ve done it. It’s Saturday morning and the snow god has raised his head inn Portland (PDX). The wind is howling, the trees are whipping around as if they are telling the birds not to land, the squirrels not to invade. Snow is swirling about, the flakes are big as marbles yet light as a feather. Our bright red Weber barbecue offers a splash of color that is shocking, everything else turning white.

I must say I’m impressed by the ferociousness of the scene. This feeling will diminish if the lights go out which is a distinct possibility, isn’t it? The neighborhood hardware store may see us today. We might need stuff. And it it continues, which it surely will if predictions hold weight, we may spend the day and night under down comforters as we worry about the tree in the neighbor’s yard falling down.  You can actually see what way the wind blows.

Are we prepared? In a word, no. However, this too shall pass. If it gets too bad I.e. no power, we can find a hotel. And as I ponder the storm, why does PDX have a homeless problem? This is not a good place to live under an overpass. 


One thing PDX and the state of Oregon have is water. On our way over the pass that separates the ocean from inland, we followed a river, full to its banks with water hellbent to reach the Pacific Ocean. It was quite lovely to see the difference between then and now, California v Oregon. Everything is green here because of the life-affirming rain and snow. Now rather than worrying about the cows in a field of stubble, the cows braving the heat in a field with not a tree for shade, I can worry about the lambs and the llamas freezing to death.

Speaking of lamb, there are three lamb shanks in the refrigerator that I will cook if the power stays on. So there is that.

Rayman just retrieved one of our wicker chairs. It got blown off the porch and onto the stairs leading up to the front door. Then he let Beau out in the backyard and Beau seemed mystified at first and then scrambled back in to the comfort of the house. Not sure how we are going to deal with the “walk”. 

It suddenly strikes me life will not be ordinary here. And that is okay. I’m grateful for the opportunity. Tamara, our daughter-in-law came for dinner last night. Ryan, number one son, is in Utah having his own winter experience on the slopes, skiing down snow-clad mountains. He will have a hard time returning home with this weather. And then I remember the time we took him and a friend skiing in Utah and we stayed one night on the way in Elko, NV which was 37 degrees below zero. It was a trip for the ages.

Yesterday I spent time on the computer arranging DMV appointments, changing addresses, and all that comes with a change of venue. We emptied three suitcases, dusted out drawers, rearranged clothes. The one thing we really screwed up was losing track of our important papers. Where they are is a mystery. A mystery of moving. POD 1? POD 2? They clearly are not here and, of course, we need them. POD 1 arrives on the 15th at the kids house. Unloading in this weather will not happen if I have any say in the matter. Although I suppose one could argue that snow is better than rain for a cloth couch. We’ll see. 

Rayman seems happy. “It is what it is”, he remarked when I asked him if he was happy. And who can forget our first RV trip? I’ll put in the info in case you did forget that debacle. It was a hoot.

Oh, and then there was this trip (just click the link) : snowed-in

More to come as Mother Nature does her thing.

Comment to my email please. Thanks for reading!!!