Day three of the Epic Portland Adventure

First, it must be noted that I’m sleeping well. Usually, when I’m all alone, I don’t sleep well. I’m just not comfortable. But I am sleeping well. I’m feeling great, being alone. It’s amazing.

I finally made it down to breakfast at about 7:30am. Great breakfast lay out here. Not just waffles and cereal, they’ve got lots of options. I’m really pleased.

I decided to leave about 9am. I was going to go to the store, to pick up lunches and dinner stuff, for when I’m not eating out. Put the key in the ignition and nothing. Car would not start. I was about to freak out when I realized that that would help nothing. I got out, opened my hood and then walked into the lobby of the hotel. I asked, calmly, if they had anyone I could call for help. The front desk staff was great. They found someone for me (a staff member) and found the jumper cables and gave my car a jump. So, when I say that Best Western gave me a jump, you’ll understand what I mean. 🙂 I made a bee line for O’Reilly, where I’d purchased my battery just last November. The gentleman there came out to check it and discovered the problem immediately. My positive terminal was not very well attached. He tightened it up and suggested that when I got home I change it.

I then made my way to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. Absolutely gorgeous. I had my drop spindle with me and decided to find a secluded spot to spin in for a while, to help me find my peace again.


The panels are carvings of the sister garden in China. There was a family with a lovely little girl, about one, that came in a bit later. I had to keep hiding my hand spindle because they were trying to get pictures of her and she was all about my spinning. What a gorgeous smile she had.



And to prove I did have my spinning with me, here is my spindle with some angora/wool blend I’ve been working on.


After I’d centered myself, I started to wander the gardens. I walked into this room, where a peony exhibit was taking place. I cannot even begin to describe the glorious scent that greeted me here, but I can show you a few of the blooms.



There were these really cool rocks, from China, spread through-out the garden.


They are amazing. I took a break and went to the tea house. I ordered Jing Mai Cha (tea), dumplings and Mooncakes with red bean paste (really yummy!)


This the view from where I sat in the tea house.


I tried to go to Mill Ends Park, but could not get there because of some festival that was going on. So, I then set out for the Portland Japanese Garden. I got there, but my car started to overheat with all the stop and start traffic. I pulled over, let it cool down a bit, then tried to drive it with the heater on (cooled it right down). I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, because the car is fine when I’m driving full out. It only happens with start and stop traffic. I’ll have to have it looked at when I get home, but I think I can manage it here.

So, instead of going to the gardens, I came back to the hotel room to let Daisy rest (that’s my car, yes I named it, is anyone surprised?)

I ended up finishing the fiber on that spindle and getting it wound off. Then Tasha contacted me and we went out to dinner at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. It’s my first experience at any brewhouse. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t decide what to try until the nice young server said they have a “try four” option. So I did!


All four were ok, but I really liked the Irish Red and the German kolsch.

These are called Growlers. I’m supposed to drink them within 24 hours. Um, yeah.




GE DIGITAL CAMERATasha and her new beau. He’s a sweet guy, and boy did he get introduced to me quickly. Because, um, yeah, I’m not known for filters after I’ve been drinking. And after that beer, plus a shot of Fireball, I was gone. Just gone.

They brought me back to the room and I’m sitting here, staying sober enough to get this posted, but then I’m going to do my best to drink this beer before it goes to waste. Because that would be wrong. Just very, very, very wrong.





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Day two of Libi’s Most Excellent Portland Adventure

Day two means I finally am in Portland. Before I left, though, I once again found a puppy who needed his ears scratched properly. I don’t know what it is about pet owners?!? Don’t they know how to scratch ears? I mean, these poor puppies and kitties tell me that their owners don’t know how to and I just feel so sorry for them that I have to stop and give them a good skritch!

It was a fairly uneventful drive. Just outside of Boise, I started crossing and recrossing the Snake River. Beautiful valleys. Then a bunch of really dry land. But, then I entered Oregon and started going more northwest. I caught site of the Blue Mountains and it amazed me. They really do look blue. And gorgeous. I made a quick pit stop in Baker Valley, which used to be known as One Tree Valley, ie, it had one tree in it and that’s how the settlers knew where they were. That is, until a vandal cut the tree down. It’s not just modern times that’s plagued by vandals, it seems.

I loved the drive through the Blue Mountains. Lots of curves, lots of turns. Lots of fun. The forests were really thick and I was truly disappointed that Bigfoot didn’t come out and wave to me. I mean, I’m a visitor here, he really should have, you know!

My next stop was to McNary Dam, which I had to stop at because my cube-mate Karen told me I had to!

I first went to the Fish Room, which has observation windows of the steps used by the fish to go up stream. Really didn’t see many fish. They just weren’t running. Had a lovely talk with a gentleman there who said they were running last weekend. Of course. (Yes, Mom, I talked to a stranger.)

I then went to the visitor’s center and that was interesting. You can go up to the fourth floor and go outside and see the fishie water slide. Image

Do you see that white pipe up there? That’s the fishie water slide. They are sucked up from the other side of the dam, before they reach the turbine (eek!), sucked into this pipe and they slide from the dam to the center. Some of them are diverted to be studied, but then all of them end back up into this tube, which then loads them onto the fishie cruise ship for their trip downstream. 

This is what they’re avoiding. I don’t blame them.


The fishie cruise ship takes them through several more dams downstream and off to play in the ocean. When they come back, there is no cruise ship. They have to swim upstream, including up all the fishie steps at each dam. It seems only the young get the fun (water slides, cruise ships), the older have to work like dogs and then die after making babies. I’m sure there’s a metaphor concerning childhood and adulthood in there somewhere.

While driving along the Columbia River, I saw so many of these things.


It seems, to me, a good use of space that’s not really useful for anything else.

A few more shots of this awesome river.


I was going to hike Multnomah Falls, but I think everyone was there. I mean, everyone. I discovered Daisy (that’s my car) doesn’t like the stop and start. She started to overheat, but we talked about it and she calmed down. I drove by and just came straight into Portland. It was a lovely drive and I may try on another day that’s not a weekend or holiday. 

Checked in and unpacked. My room is quite nice and the chair? The chair is perfect for use with my spinning wheel! Did they know that about me when I booked the room? 


Plans tomorrow are to visit the Japanese Gardens, Oriental Gardens and meet up with Tasha. 

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Libi’s Most Excellent Portland Adventure, Day One

Today was the first day of my most excellent adventure. I got up late (I blame Bob), but thanks to my wonderful brother Jim (he took my spare and filled it up for me), I was able to get everything done and get out of the house. My room is even clean!

I was not really going to make any stops, just rest stops, along the way to Boise, but then I saw the signs for Golden Spike National Historic Site and couldn’t resist. I’ve lived in Utah for 34 years and have never been.

I got there just in time for the running of the trains.The following pictures may seem excessive, but I’m posting them for my nephew, Trent, who loves trains.Image




They had actors for most the roles during the reenactment, but they also pulled volunteers from the crowd.

This lady was just lovely.



I left there and then did drive through. Going through Golden Spike added an hour to my drive, plus I was there for about 2 hours, but it was fun.

I finally had to stop at a rest stop in Idaho. My legs were tired. The VFW Post 3646 was there, serving coffee, iced tea and cookies. I got some iced tea and had a lovely chat with the couple that were manning the post that afternoon. What a lovely service to provide for weary travelers!

I had to stop and get gas in Mountain Home and then drove through to Boise. The hotel is clean. There’s free Wi-fi and a fridge in the room. And a nice comfy chair to curl up on. This will be my first night on the road alone. 

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve wanted to take a vacation by myself for a while, but never knew I’d have to guts to do it. Well, here I am!

Day one over. I’m going to knit for a bit, then go to bed. I’m getting up early in the morning to get on the road early. There are a few places I want to stop on my way to Portland. 

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Some of my favorite things

Just a list to share. Not that anyone reads this thing. 🙂

Daisies. Love all daisies, but white daisies are the best. They are happy. They are sunshine. They make me smile.

Chocolate. Dark chocolate is the best. Dark chocolate with orange is even better.

Giggling. I love to laugh. Good, deep belly laughs. The kind that make you want to cry because you’re laughing so hard.

Puppy snuggles. I love puppy snuggles. Especially new puppies. The way they snuggle into your neck, looking for that warmth and love.

Snuggles.  A lovely long snuggle with someone I feel safe with. Oh do I love that.

Green. The color green makes me happy. It’s life. It’s spring. It’s living.

Being thought about. This one, I know, doesn’t make much sense, but to me, to know that someone thought about me when I wasn’t around makes me happy. A quick message just to say hi. A little something (like a flower or a tchotchke that says you thought of me just means so much.

The name George. I can’t explain this one, but I love the name George. No reason, just love it.


There are many, many other things that make me happy, far to numerous to list. A new book, a happy song, a real smile (the kind that reach your eyes). I could go on and on.

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Who I am

This morning, I decided to write down who I am. In the form of my Values.

1. Fairness – I know the world is not fair, but I was raised to believe that if I see something that is not fair, not only for me, but for someone else, I’m to fight for that. I can be quite passionate about this. I hate (and I don’t use that word lightly) discrimination in any form.

2. Kindness – I try to be kind to everyone. I still can’t stop myself from smiling at babies, saying hi to strangers and telling someone they look nice. Even if I don’t know them. I’m a firm believer in Karma.

3. Humor – If it’s not fun, then why? And I can make most things fun. I know there are times when things are not funny (like death), but I tend to find the humor in most other things.

4. Optimism – I’m an eternal optimist. Of course I get down, but I don’t stay that way for long. I believe things happen for a reason, usually for us to learn. I try to look at all of life that way. One huge opportunity to learn and grow.

5. Honesty – I’m completely honest and I expect others to be completely honest with me.

6. Passion – I have a passion for life. I am a Spit-fire. When I do things, I don’t do them half-way. That can be in work or play, in family or in love.

7. Responsible – When you say you’re going to do something, do it. When you make a mistake, own it. If it’s yours, take care of it, if it’s not, take even greater care of it.

8. Knowledge – I think when we stop learning, we stop living.

Who I am is not that I’m short, or that I’m a mother or a daughter or a sister. Who I am are my values, my core. When push comes to shove, this is how I’ll come out. I had been depressed for the last week or so, until I wrote these out. Now, not so much. I like who I am and I really mean that.

Blog challenge! If you read this and have a blog (haha! Who reads my blog? No one!), then do the same thing. Write out your core values. Write out who you are. Let me know you did it in the comments, so I can go read them.

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Tap, Tap, Tap…is this thing on?

Hello blog world. Not that anyone is reading this, but I thought I’d start posting about my journey. Last June, I started exercising. For real. My blood pressure had gotten too high and I didn’t like how out of shape I was. I want to hike. I want to bike. I want to play. When I have grandkids, I want to be that grandma that can keep up with them and have a ball doing it. 
So, I started to exercise. And to eat healthier. I don’t diet. I won’t diet. Diets don’t work. You crash diet and then gain it all back again (been there, done that). I make goals. One at a time. The goals (usually adding or subtracting something from my eating) become habits and then I go on to the next. 
Last year, I gave up all soda. No carbonation. They’re just empty calories anyway and what I eat needs to fuel me and my exercise. After a year, I will do some soda, mainly Fresca, but I don’t do much. I can’t stand Diet Coke anymore and can’t really figure out how I drank it in the first place!
This year I’m cutting back on refined sugar. I’m not going no sugar. I’m not cutting out carbs. Just refined sugar. My sweets are sweetened with honey or agave or fruit. Love fruit. Strawberries are a wonderful dessert or treat. 
For my exercise, I’m swimming now. I’m only in the gym three times a week, but I’m there for 90 minutes or longer. Today, I swam a mile, besides doing water aerobics class. In the water for 2 hours 15 minutes, in fact. I’m exhausted but pretty damn proud of myself. 
My goal is to get healthy. My blood pressure has already come down from high to high normal. My goal is to have it back in the normal range. With no medications. Losing weight, losing inches, those are just perks of what I’m doing. 
I’ll try to up date this at least weekly on how I’m doing and what I’m discovering. 

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Mindful Eating

I decided I’d do the mindful eating thing. I’m using SparkPeople to help me track my eating. I really like their nutrition interface. I can also track my workouts there, so one stop shopping. I’ve discovered if I eat healthy, then I have a really difficult time reaching the calorie goals. I just can’t eat enough!  And I’m tracking everything. Those jello shots I had last night? Yup, I put them in. It’s been interesting. I’m feeling healthier. I can last much longer on the treadmill. I can go faster. I’m not as tired when I run up the stairs. I’m seeing results. I’m pretty happy with myself. 

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