Thursday, December 31, 2009

Grandparents Toy List and a Movie Recommendation...a day with granchildren!

Website: for grandparents, parents and children
Check out The Princess and the Frog...a definite recommendation.
List to Grandma Toys (all found in the kitchen drawers)

  1. Tape measures
  2. Set of measuring spoons
  3. Kitchen pasty brush
  4. Metal measuring cups
  5. Old purse with lots of zippers
  6. Sugar scoop
  7. Copier paper
  8. Old crayons
  9. ....all of these are better than anything they have at home!!!!

Boy do I love being a grandmother....but when my son-in-law suggested that I might keep them forever I was afraid, I was very afraid!  Really, we can do whatever life demands, but somethings are better left to family much younger that I.  There are circumstances where grandparents must take over that job.   My hat is off to any grandmother that begins raising a grandchild/family at the age of 68.  If that is you, you are my hero!

The other day we spent the day with our two grandchildren that are home for the holidays from China.  Their life in Shanghai is lived with the help of two (2) nannys.  So when they come for a visit to my house they are experienced in the ways of aunties (ayi's).  In fact Maddie (6)  commented that I was like an ayi...sorta!  The only difference was I was her daddy's mom and, as I reminded her, in charge just like he is.  OHHHHH dear!

Grandpa and I are good at watching grandchildren play.  I don't have any toys so a couple of purses come out and they get filled with measuring spoons, tape measures and fake candles with tiny batteries.  When you have copier paper , a big can of crayons and scissors for the older grandchild, you are all set.  Or at least we are. 

It snowed really hard on that day.  Maddie had gone to see The Princess and the Frog with her cousins and Amelia (2) took a nap with me.  Then we bundled up and went for a walk in the snow.  Amelia is not a veteran snow lover yet and refused to touch it because at first glance it seemed very "messy".  Her little hands stayed hidden inside a fuzzy purple coat as we stomped down the street toward a snowman being built by a neighbor.  Now, you have to realize, Amelia does not like either the big Minny Mouse at Disneyland nor the Eagle mascot as her school.  I had the feeling that she was thinking that snowman might fall into the category.  We were only going to be an audience for it's building but not an up close touching kind of snowman friend.  After she realized  that the white guy did not move or make any noise we went in for a touch...what a relief.

Amelia sneaking up on the snowman!
Christmas Vacation 2009
We had a friend take a picture of us by the snowman and watched as the builder added carrot nose.  Then we stomped back home to tell Grandpa about our adventure.

Melia finds lots to be surprised by...the front door leads to the street and trouble, the machine on the floor spits pictures out of a slot when you press the button and the tape measure has a button that makes the tape fly back in the hole.  She explored every corner of my house and even consented to go potty in Grandma's Bathroom.

Amelia and the wondrous
copy machine!
Christmas 2009

I don't know if they learned anything but I do know that a day spent with grandchildren is better that any day spent on the golf course...believe it or not!


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tony Wheeler at Lonely Planet Schedule

Tangier, Morocco

 Shanghai, Republic of China

Where will Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet be in 2010?  Check this out.

Tony was one of the first people to write a travel blog way back in the 1990's.  How long ago and far away!  In the mean time the rest of us were traveling and collecting memories.  Who knew we could have been writing a blog, founding a company and becoming a legend in our own time.  I love this guy's blog/website!

Have fun!


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From Crone and Bear It...Why write a new post? She said it perfectly!!!

This is a wonderful blog from Crone and Bear It...a Old Decade worth of thoughts. So I am posting a sign that says:


A New Decade Looms…Can We Stop Being Hyphenated-Americans?

Having said all I really want to say about the past, let’s leap ahead to the future.  After all, we are entering into a new decade.  Does anyone know what we call this one?  The Tens?  The Teens?  Did we ever figure out what to call the first years of the century…the Naughts, the 00’s?  Year naming is confusing.  I can look back and recall something that happened in  ‘76 and just saying that word…Seventy-Six…doesn’t sound odd.  But in a few years we’ll look back and refer to something that happened in ‘10 and I’m telling you it’s gonna sound funny to refer to the year ‘ more.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wanderlust....Thirst for Travel...Retiree's Quest!

Prompt 96: Wanderlust

Thanks to Tammie Lee of Spirit Helpers for this week's prompt, wanderlust.

(bottom right hand corner) 
People's Plaza

Shanghai, China

do we search the earth
wanderlust desire
looking for ourselves
in exotic places.

We are retired.  We have been trying to satisfy the wanderlust that lurked deep in our hearts for all of our working lives.  The journey has taken us to far flung places...Manila, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Malaga, London, Madrid, Seville, Shanghai, Beijing...we have looked in people's faces, bargained for their treasures and returned home only wanting more. 

What is that thing called wanderlust?  My grandmother was born on the cusp of a new century riding in a carriage drawn by horses.  Her home was a canyon that held mines and brothels.  The railroad was the one built by her father.  Even though she never traveled to far away places, she lived with her hat hung close to the front door.  If she heard the word "go" she would always be ready before the driver could find his coat. 

Maybe the lust for travel is a genetic link that caused men and women to search and explore the far corners of the earth.  Maybe we are descended from Magellan or Cortez.  Maybe....

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas reduced to a 4 minute imovie! Stop Action Movie Animation example!

I have heard that time passes for an individual in relationship to our size.  If you are a small child you need to nap more because the morning seems like eight or ten hours.  A grown adult, on the other hand, can go for 12 hours without sleep.  Christmas past is forgotten when you are young because it is such a long time between the holidays.  Grown-ups feel that gifts need to be purchased in January because "Christmas is just around the corner!"  No is just the way it is!

I feel that acceleration of time mostly with my technology toys.  Things change so fast it is hard to keep up.  Year before last we started the tradition of taking pictures of our family adding one person at a time...we called it "Build a Hug!"  The lead up to the final photo was as fun to look at as the final picture.  The first year we even had to crop one grandchild in because he was not in the photo frame!  Sigh!

Final Xmas Video

This year we set the computer up and videoed the whole process from beginning to end.  Little grandchildren passed out packages, each family member stepped into the middle of the floor to be the center of attention and then we all voted to rip open our present ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  We knew that we were going to be able to see the video over and over and watch different people with their prizes.  Then we took a video of the "Build a Hug", this year starting with my husband and I.

Below is a video my daughter-in-law put together of the family putting up their Christmas tree in their home in China.  In this case they set up their Mac laptop and let it run the whole time then edited out my son taking down the lights to rehang them and other oops incidents. 

We could have used a website SAM Animation (create stop action movies) if we had chosen to and the computer would have taken a picture every 10 seconds for the whole evening.  Either way the 3 hour party is reduced to about 4 minutes!  Here is a movie of Maddie making cookies using the SAM Animation application.  The video was posted on vimeo because You Tube is often blocked in China.  For me it is just a world blogophere reality check!!!

Maddie Makes a Cake from Andrew Torris on Vimeo.

I occasionally have trouble wrapping my mind around what we can do today if we own a computer.  The very fact that I am here talking to you out there in the blogosphere still gives me chills.

This grandma will go take a nap now...Christmas makes me feel like a child again!



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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Spider...built a nest in the water heater...see, I told you I needed an iphone!!!

Iphone photo 
taken on 
an early morning walk
Christmas 2009

I carry my iphone like a western gun slinger.  The holster on my hip is a part of every outfit.  It serves so many purposes I cannot imagine a day with out it.

The plumber came last week to fix the water heater in the crawl space.  The problem was a tiny spider and the web it had built in the gas jet while the heater was turned off.  It turns out spiders love gas.  The repair man could not see the fitting even though the space was lit so he pulled out his iphone and turned on the flash light app.  I could just hear him telling his wife See...I told you that phone was just necessary!

When I hang pictures, I use the level app tool and when we travel I use the map to navigate cities and towns.  I find restaurants, phone numbers and take pictures. 

Was it hard to learn...well no!  If Amelia (age 2) can do it, so can I.  I may be old but I'm not through having fun!

Have a great day.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sushi and Me....Portland, Oregon Metro Area Restaurant Scene

I love raw fish!  Up until a few years ago I would have never said that.  In fact, for those of us that were raised in the United States, it is somewhat of a odd taste.  Then I discovered sushi.  Here in the Portland Metro area all the malls both big and small have a sushi restaurant.  Some have more than one.  We are picking up chop sticks and using them as though we were raised in the far east.  Izakaya (sake) bars with their small plate menu are also very popular.

Here in the Orenco Station area we have a new sushi restaurant on our  main street.  Yaki Restaurant and Sake Bar was added to our neighborhood during the time we were gone to Tucson this fall.  This business also has a location in downtown Portland.  That means we can now walk a couple of block and have the choice of five different cuisines.  American, Indian, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.  A wonderful wine shop that has been in business for 7 or more years sits next to our Starbucks.  Then the New Seasons grocery boasts a deli with hot wok food as well as the normal deli food.  In the summer outdoor seating graces all of these restaurants.

In spite of all these choices we are seeking out the sushi more and more.  Within less than a six mile radius from our front door we can choose from 5 or more different Japanese restaurants.  If we travel a little further and go to down town Hillsboro, one of the best izakaya (sake) style bars in the region is located in the basement of an old Carnegie Library.  Syun Japanese Restaurant happens to be rated as the Best of City Search.  When you visit the bar, you can purchase your own bottle of sake and the bar will store it until your next visit.  We know of people that come out to Hillsboro to drink out of their very own bottle of sake and have dinner when they visit from San Fransisco!  The fact that the sushi is some of the best only adds to it's charm! 

On the City Search site mmorely2 wrote about other Izakaya (small bites) bar locations in the area.  His list of 5 locations includes Syun: 
Portland's small plates scene is changing, moving on from Spanish-style tapas to embrace izakaya, a sort of Japanese drinking establishment where free-flowing sake is accompanied by savory foods. Bites range from hand-cut ramen served in steaming broth to salty smoked anchovies and prawn meatballs. You can find this new trend taking place everywhere from a rehabbed old library building to a slick lounge, and best of all, it's cheap.
You will usually find a sparkling clean restaurant, some with rotating bars featuring small plates choices.  Many are strickly vegetarian if you prefer your food with no raw fish.  Dipping sauces are included.  The trademark for the senior life style is finding a great value.  When you add the fact that this way of eating is very healthy,  it just seems to me sake bars or Japanese restaurants should be a natural choice.  My husband and I love them.


More about our Orenco Station Condo

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Monday, December 21, 2009

I Would Chose the Sunset Path Monday Poetry Train

One Single Impression

which road will you chose?
how will life greet you in
the years to come.

we are expected to go
this way or that
but what if.....!

would you want to
remain youthful
always feeling the uncertainty?

or would you chose to
fly to the ends of
the earth?

and then when that
day came and the
junction arrows

pointed toward
the completion
of your day

or the ever lingering twilight
would you chose?


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gratitude can overcome pain...really!

Illustration of the pain pathway in René Desca...Image via Wikipedia
Living with pain is a part of the challenge of being alive.  The old joke was the patient saying to the doctor "When I raise my arm like this it really hurts!" and the doctor saying "Don't raise your arm like that!"

I have many friends that have lost strength in arms, hand, legs and in their body core because it hurts when they move this way and that.  I found last year after joining a Curves program that strength can be regained and skills that were forgotten can be relearned.

As a result of this I have come to the conclusion that avoiding the pain is not a good thing.  I think that if you are not injured by a movement that may cause a little pain,  you should just get up and move.  Divert your mind when you get out of bed by thinking about what you are grateful for and then get up and moved.  You will find that you do not remember the small pain, your body gets stronger and you feel better.

When you turn over in bed, lead with your arm and leg.  Do the same when you get up from a chair...with the arms out and one leg a little back.  Follow your head to a standing position.

Above all do not avoid pain.  Gratitude will get you through.

Just a Sunday thought...if a movement hurts, move anyway.   If a movement could injures you, don't move.  It is as simple as that.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to Retire! Tuscon, AZ -> Portland, OR Life Style Information

Deviant Art
Oregon Beach Sunset

So you want good information on buying a new home or moving to a new location. I think you might wonder what cities have to offer and how much housing might cost.  I cannot give you all the information you might need but I can send you to some links that might help you find what you want.  That is what this blog is all about.  Come back often or subscribe to the link so an email will be sent to you when a new blog is posted.  Go back through the archives to find information on RV Travel, park model living and condo Portland, Oregon AND in Tucson, Arizona.  Travel with me around the world.  Take a few minutes and read!


Today I found a Twitter page called LocalMoTuc that invites you to ask questions about Tucson, AZ.  You can also subscribe to other cities on their home page and maybe get some of your questions answered.  If you are a Twitter user, this might be a good one to follow.  The site is fairly new so we may have to wait a while for it to get up a running but just put create a list. and then check back occasionally. I have lists for bloggers, family, tech twits and even the news.  While I like to follow my twitter account, some tweeter post too many time every day!  Please be sure and check the links in the sidebar.  Follow me on Twitter!


Here in Portland the weather is very Christmas like.  We are back home in our condo for the Christmas holiday.  Tucson <-> Portland is the perfect combination for Snow Birds.  It works for those that live in the south and travel north in the summer or those of us that escape to the south in the winter.  Bicyclist, golfers, hikers all find the perfect combination in these two cities.


If you are looking to buy in these cities you will find life in Tucson very affordable. Senior citizens/boomers are in 7th heaven when they arrive from the cold, cold north.  The sun shines....a lot.  RV and mobile home parks provide the perfect second home.  Recreation is the name of the game for retirement living and we think we have found the perfect place.  We live in a resort called Rincon Country East where we own a small park model over looking the desert and the mountains.  I know for a fact that you can own one of these little jewels for less than $9000...a lot less.  CALL  JACK TAM for more information. [(520) 955-3673]

Here in the Portland Metro area the prices on home and condos are down because of the economy.  We own a condo (more information here) a short walk from a light rail transit...just far enough away so we cannot hear it.  We will need to sell soon because we are aging and our condo is a three story unit.  It is so beautiful we hate to sell but we will probably move to a one level condo or loft in the area.  (email for more information).  The unit next door is for sale at a little over $310,000 furnished.  We will sell for less than that I am sure!!!


So tonight I will fix my world famous spaghetti sauce and maybe a batch of Tom and Jerry mix.  Condo neighbors can come and have a cocktail or we can wander out to our neighborhood restaurant for a martini.  I can buy a few groceries at our beautiful New Seasons grocery store and pick up my mail in the ajoining mail room.  I may pick up a bouquet of flowers for my table and a beautiful bottle of wine.  The walk through our beautiful neighborhood will be good for me.

Did I mention...I love my life!!!


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Senior Life Style...Traveling Home for Christmas

Deviant Art

We will be traveling again tomorrow.  The plane will take us to Portland Oregon.  The rains will greet our arrival and probably stay will us until we return to Arizona in three weeks.  I have packed winter clothes so I will not have to dress like a clown and in my closet at home I have cashmere coats that will keep me warm.

We will take one computer and turn our wireless internet on as soon as we arrive.  Our family will be our focus for three weeks.   I will cook, shop and then at the end we will return to our little house in the desert.  Then the cactus wren will sing it's song for us and we will be glad to be back home.   Until then our beautiful home in Oregon will be our nest.

Have a very Merry Christmas and God be with you all.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Spider Webs of Life

 Devian Art 

If an aging spider were to spin its web
Across my mind
let it be a blanket of
warm remembrance.

If an aging spider were to make a home
In my shoe
Let it be a spider that
Loves adventure.

If an aging spider were to come
To live by my side
Let it be a book spider
Spinning words in the air.

If an aging spider were to
Whisper in my ear
Let the words be
A plan for life to come.

Beautiful loops of
Fanciful dreams
Spun by a aging spider
Just for us.

Writing and poetry are hobbies that I began to pursue after I retired.  Come and join me.


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