Portland, Oregon: The crew moved my ancient website over to this new platform over the weekend. It isn’t quite situated as I would like yet at all, but at least the recipes are up and My Readers will be happy to have that database accessible again. During the past week or so, I have been afraid to post anything here, worried the staff would be in the middle of transferring something, and my blog post would end up on the moon or Jupiter instead of on the World Wide Web. They will continue to “tweak” this blog and get it up and running enough so I can take over again… and pay them.

I can’t tell you how much DT and I have accomplished over the past week in our continued purge! We are getting so organized, and are continuing our KonMari-ing method of gathering items (photos, framed art, keepsakes) to one specific location. Once all items have been gathered – then we can sort, purge, gift, scan, or shred. This route is working very well with us. Do this stuff now, peeps, so your kids won’t have to. Also, read this book: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. No, we are not dying. Not even ill. This book (a very quick read) can prepare you for what is inevitable as we head into the golden years. Empty those boxes. Gift your keepsakes. Have a freakin’ garage sale already. Best lesson learned from this book? It is okay to keep a box of “stuff” that means everything to you (love letters, old photos, memorabilia, hand prints, whatever). Items you can’t part with, but will maybe mean nothing to your heirs. That’s okay. Keep your box, but put a note inside that states it is just my memories and please destroy (or not) after I am gone. Anything not in your will (like jewelry, art, Grandma’s tea service) needs to be tagged or written down in a list – with a few copies in circulation so Vicky and Vincent are not fighting over the rocking chair at your funeral. That would be tacky.

Okay, depressed much now? Do not be. Get rid of all that crap in your garage and attic. Emptying closets “sparks joy” and what could be better than that?

Finding this:

Four cute kids

Fun to come across this photo in my mother’s hope chest, circa 1960s. Eldest (me, far right), #2 Rick (top center), then #3 Renee and #4 Ken holding the ball. #5 (Steve) not yet thought of? By the way, those bangs are back in style and worn by countless Portland hipsters. Trendsetters!

Men of Oregon

Or this classic – snipped from a dusty old newspaper. This had to be from Dave’s senior year – Terry Williams, Peter Spir, Rudy Chapa, Dave Taylor, Alberto Salazar, Don Clary, Matt Centrowitz. True Men of Oregon. He’s still friends with them all.

As the eldest, I did acquire the bulk of the family photos from my Mom after she passed away. Just when I thought every photo in this house had been scanned, we realized we had a ton of photos that needed to be removed from frames and professionally scanned, and then… we kept coming across additional photos during this purge. These photos are being gathered in one box and – when we have found every single photo in the entire house – they will be shipped to a professional scanner (we use DPS Dave, and can’t recommend him enough), and eventually beamed-up to a cloud or two… and an auxiliary hard drive. Photos of our families will be sent to each sibling on a thumb drive. Then, we can wipe our hands, knowing every sibling has a copy of every photo and it will no longer be our burden. Whew.

Cara

Our niece, Carla, was in town for a few days. She has completed her basic Marine training on Parris Island, artillery training in San Diego, and graduated from the military photo-journalism school in Maryland. Carla has been stationed to Okinawa for the next several years, reporting on anything that needs to be documented (let’s pray it’s not much) for the Marines. Go, Carla!

Notice the surface of our deck looks a little splotchy in the above photos? Guess what? It is time to have the deck resurfaced. Again. I swear it seems we do this every month, but in reality, the crew only comes every two-or-three years to sand and re-oil our Port Orford Cedar decks. They were half-way through with the process, but we begged them to take a break, put the furniture back on the deck, and let us have a meal with our niece. The noise and vibration is mind-rattling… and let’s face facts… our minds are rattled enough these days. After a few hours of the numbing humming, we realize we have headaches. I can’t imagine how the workers even deal with the vibration and noise – though they wear ear and eye protection.

Since our evening with Carla and Renee, the deck and railings have been sanded smoother than smooth. Then the wood was oiled (Eucalyptus oil, of something, I think?). They have also painted the gutters, pressure-washed the driveway and a whole buncha other stuff.

In other handyman news, Shirley and Martin spent the night a few weeks ago and were the first visitors to use the newly remodeled bath in the guest suite. Notice the light fixture (above, left)? This is how we presented the bathroom during their visit. A few days after they left, two strange rectangular tubes showed-up: the shades for the light fixture! We never noticed they were missing. Shirley and Martin didn’t either. Looks better now.

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I’ve tried a few new recipes (we still must eat and are quite hungry after working all day on our tasks). Pictured above, Spicy Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumbers and Feta, from The New York Times, and then an idea I saw on the internet somewhere about heating refried beans in a skillet, and topping the beans with cheese and anything else you desire. (I desired pico de gallo from the grocer.) The hot skillet is placed on the table, with tortillas and assorted taco-ish condiments, for a make-it-your-own-self taco bar. It was fun, easy, vegetarian, cheap and delicious.

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I will leave you with some news from Los Angeles. The kids went to Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende for about ten days.

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Lucy, Lisa, Leo and Lenny in Mexico City

They returned to LA last week and finally moved into their new house. They felt both earthquakes. We were FaceTiming with Lisa and Lucy during the 7.1 Friday night. Lisa is a fairly calm girl. She was born/raised in SE Asia, which I feel gives a person some-sort of natural sea-legs in the earthquake department. (So so so so many earthquakes in The Philippines, and so many big earthquakes in Taiwan.) Lisa didn’t stay on the phone long with us during the 7.1 – she knew it was going to be a doozy. Poor Lucy was in the bathtub! Lenny and Leo were walking down the block. Being over 100 miles from the epicenter, they are all fine and sustained no damage to their (brand-new!) house), but it is always a good reminder to be prepared.

Be prepared, and clean out your attic.

Until my next update, I remain your “sanded and stained” correspondent.

PS: Please forgive any odd oddities from this site until I get my hands back on the steering wheel.

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