Five things that made me happy today – 3/31/22

I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. It was 41 deg. and mostly cloudy when I got up this morning. The sun came out about noon, and it warmed up to 53 deg. I think Donald and the squirrel appreciated it.

2. Right after breakfast Al scooted down to Safeway and picked up the shopping for the week.

3. The tech from my internet company came this morning and figured out what the problem was, fixed it, cleaned up old unused connections, and checked everything out. He was here a little over an hour and did a great job, including talking to son #2 and explaining what the problem had been.

4. Whoppers for lunch today!

5. I got my Intentions for March written and posted this afternoon, before Greisser Girls Gab. Busy computer day, but lots of success!

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions Review for March 2022

My Star Word for this year is Solitude. I’m taking it as an affirmation that my introverted tendencies are just fine.

“We are human beings, not human doings:”. I set these intentions for who I want to BE not what I want to DO. As with last year I will hold these intentions loosely, and may add new ones or subtract some of these as the spirit moves me.

  1. Traveler – aspirational – COVID and God willing – Not yet…
    1. Train Trip to Upstate New York
      1. Summer of 2022
      2. Cost
      3. Start saving now
    2. Northern Washington with Bill
      1. Late spring
      2. Cost – minimal
    3. Whale Watching with Al
      1. Early Fall
      2. Cost – minimal
  2. Content
    1. Habits to keep
      1. Exercise 1 hour a day 5-6 days a week – check
      2. Eat healthy food – I’m trying
      3. Stick to regular schedule of noon meals – Done pretty well
        1. Sunday – eat out
        2. Monday and Friday – Blue Apron meals started
        3. Tuesday – feed yourself (sandwich, salad, pre-frozen pasta)
        4. Wednesday – soup of the week, or salad
        5. Thursday – pickup Fast Food
        6. Saturday – finish off leftovers
    2. Habits to change
      1. Focus on how I feel when I’m exercising and eating right and try to ignore the numbers – I’m doing better about obsessing about the numbers
      2. Really listen to Al instead of thinking I know what he’s going to say
  3. Learner
    1. Great Decisions – first Wednesday of every month
      1. Changing Demographics – Interesting, but nothing earthshaking.
      2. Outer Space
      3. Climate Change
      4. Russia and the U.S.
      5. Myanmar and Asean
      6. Quad Alliance
      7. Drug Policy in Latin America
      8. Industrial Policy
      9. Biden’s Agenda
    2. MasterClass – I didn’t renew my membership. It felt like I wasn’t using it enough to make it worthwhile.
    3. Read at least 24 books this year
      1. Finish the Inspector Lynley serieI
        1. In the Presence of the Enemy – Elizabeth George – finished
        2. Deception on his Mind – Elizabeth George – finished
        3. In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner – still reading
    1. Read less fluff, more serious offerings.
  4. Writer
    1. 5 Things that Made Me Happy Today – I’m definitely keeping up with this.
    2. Stories from my Life
      1. Publish a story at least twice a week – I’m getting in the habit
      2. Okay to use and/or expand other things I’ve written
  5. Friend – Remember the only person I can change is me.
    1. Accepting Mindset
      1. Try to give other people the benefit of the doubt
      2. Ask questions instead of jumping to conclusions
    1. Introverted actions to take
      1. Send a kind message to distant friends at least once a month – done
      2. Keep up with friends on Facebook – done
      3. Send an email to people who do nice things for me or for other people – done, but not as many as I should.

Five things that made me happy today – 3/30/22

Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

Brene Brown

1. It was 47 deg and partly cloudy when I got up this morning. By time for breakfast, the sky was blue and the sun was out. Then mid-morning it got cloudy and the wind came up, but now it’s sunny and blue sky again. with a high of 55 deg. Never fear, rain is due to return about 5 o’clock.

2. I woke up with the red light on the router. It took a total reboot for the internet to behave. I got a call back from the advanced tech at my internet provider, and he has scheduled a visit from one of their specialists for tomorrow. I certainly hope they can figure out what’s going on.

3. I had a late start on my story (I struggled to think of something to write), but I got it done in time to go to the Wellness Center and work out a little. You can read the story here.

4. I fixed Bear Creek Tortilla Soup for lunch with bite-sized Tostitos. I was glad for the warmth in my tummy because, even with the sun, the wind is cold.

5. My nose has started to stuff up and my eyes are itching. I’m afraid the dreaded pollen season may be gearing up. <sigh>

How about you? What made you happy today?

A Long Weekend in Portland, OR

Since we’ve lived in Washington State, we’ve enjoyed visiting various places in the Pacific Northwest. One of our favorite trips is to Portland, You might be wondering why we don’t go to Seattle. A lot of that is because of the difficulty in finding parking in Seattle, and also because Seattle is built on really steep hills that both Big Al and I have trouble navigating.

We can catch the Amtrak Cascade train in Tacoma, and be in downtown Portland in about three hours. When we travel east on Amtrak, we have a choice of going through Portland or Seattle. Union Station in Portland is much more welcoming than King Street Station in Seattle, and they have a First Class lounge with comfortable chairs and couches and coffee and tea service.

Our favorite hotel in Portland is the Residence Inn by Marriott. It’s about two blocks from the train station, and right in the Pearl District. In the days (pre-COVID) when I was traveling a lot I had many points saved with Marriott and I really liked their hotels – particularly the Residence Inns. Breakfast was always included with the Residence Inns and they did a really great job with eggs, cereal, baked goods, fruit, and waffles, etc. The Residence Inns also have kitchens with a stove, refrigerator and microwave, as well as plates, silverware and a few pots and pans, if you want to save money on meals.

Your best bet is to take the train down the evening before, so you can get an early start the next morning. I’ve done this and similar trips with Al, and with my sister, and with #2 son and his child. The trip with my sister was for the eclipse in 2017. The trip with my son and grandchild was so my son could take photographs (he’s a budding photographer.)


The Pearl District used to be a warehouse area not far from the river, but all the old buildings have been torn down, and new high-rise apartments and hotels took their places. The city made sure that there were a lot of open spaces left for parks and green growing things. Another perk for that hotel is that it’s only a block from a trolley stop. There are two trolley routes that connect in the middle of downtown, and they run every 10 to 15 minutes. You can buy a day pass or a 3-day pass, so it’s just perfect for a weekend or midweek visit.

A visit to Portland always begins with a trolley ride to Powell’s Books. It’s an enormous book store on five or six (or maybe more) floors. If they don’t a have book, chances are it’s never been printed. They have current best sellers, and used books from years ago. I can, and sometimes do, spend several hours there, just browsing the shelves and reading snippets of whatever catches my eye.

From there, don’t bother with the trolley because about a block away is Pensey’s Spices. They have a wide selection of all kinds of herbs and spices, and you can get dizzy just sniffing the air. If you’ve read a recipe calling for an exotic spice from India, of something special from Iran, chances are you can get it at Pensey’s.

By this time it’s probably getting to be lunch time, and just up the street is a “nest” of food trucks. It covers a whole city block and you can choose from whatever cuisine takes your fancy. You may have seen the food trucks on Guy’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Less than a block away from the food trucks is a pocket park where you can sit and enjoy your purchases, while you rest and do a spot of people-watching.

After lunch, it might be a good time to visit the Nike store with all the branded sports goods, as well as new arrivals that you haven’t yet seen on players for the University of Oregon. (Eat your heart out, Adidas.) There are several other major brand department stores in the area, too.

Next, jump on a cross-town trolley to ride to the north of town, and then get off and reverse your travels. You’re still not so far from your hotel that you wouldn’t want to walk back, If you do walk back stop and get an ice cream cone to lick on the way. You probably want to go back to your room and rest a while (maybe to read something you picked up at Powell’s.)

You, hopefully, have made a reservation at Fogo de Chao for dinner. All the walking you did will help counteract the calories you will probably eat at dinner. Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian restaurant that’s heavy on the fire roasted meet, served on a skewer by gauchos who will bring you your favorite cuts. Unfortunately, the trolley doesn’t run really close to it, and besides your feet are tired from all the walking you did today, so get the concierge to call a cab to take you back to your hotel.


After another big breakfast, catch the trolley to the campus of the University of Portland. On Saturdays they have a wonderful farmers market with piles of fresh vegetables, smoked meats, fresh cheeses, homemade pickles and jams and jellies, fresh bread, cookies, pies, cakes, and cupcakes. I hope you have an empty backpack to carry your purchases home, because you will need one.

This would be a good day to eat lunch in your room, feasting on the bounty that you have just bought, so take the trolley back to your hotel. After you’ve rested a while, walk to Voodoo Donuts, for dessert. From there, it’s an easy walk to Riverside Park where you can see people roller skating, watch the riverboats on the river, and, if you’re lucky, watch the drawbridges open and close.

You can catch a trolley that crosses the river and see the Convention Center, and the sport’s arena. There are many more restaurants and shops there that you might want to explore. As you return across the river you can get off at OMSI – The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a great place to visit and play with exhibits. It caters to everyone, but kids especially like it because of all the interactive learning that’s available.

Outside of the OMSI you can catch a trolley back to the hotel. The hotel has a lovely courtyard and you might like to share a bottle of the Oregon wine you bought at the Farmer’s market while you sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.

There are innumerable restaurants with superior ratings close at hand. Pick one within walking distance, or at least within walking distance of a trolley stop.


After breakfast at the hotel it would be a great time to spend some time exploring the parks near the hotel, and then take a trolley out to the end of the line and return. Go back to the hotel, pack and check out, leaving your bags with the doorman. Take the trolley to Pho Van Fresh and have some of the best Pho around, and by that time, you’ll need to return to the hotel to get your luggage, and walk back to Union Station.

Portland is a great place to visit and spend a three-day weekend. I highly recommend it.

Five things that made me happy today – 3/29/22

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love, then make that day count.

Steve Maraboli

1. It was 45 deg and foggy when I got up this morning. The fog cleared by noon, and the sun came out sporadically through the afternoon. The temperature got up too 58 deg.

2. In Bible Study this morning we looked at John 13:34-14:10. It’s a very familiar passage, but we tried to look at it with new eyes. Interesting comments. We agreed that Jesus sounds like he’s tired of the disciples just not getting it. We wrestled with “Where is heaven?”

3. Since FTJ hasn’t gotten the new housekeeping service started yet, two of the administration came and cleaned our duplex. They did a pretty good job, and my floors, bathrooms, and kitchen are fresh and clean.

4. It’s Tuesday, so lunch was as each one wished. I had my healthy peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think Al warmed up some leftover macaroni and cheese.

5. Two years ago, on this date, we held the first Greisser Girls’ Gab. We’ve had it on Sunday afternoons, Tuesday afternoons, and Thursday afternoons. Sometimes we all three make it, sometimes it’s only two of us. But it’s a highlight of my week. One of the perks from enforced isolation during COVID – reconnection with my far-flung family.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 3/28/22

There must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful.

Howard Thurman

1. 51 deg and cloudy when I woke up. We’ve had a few peeps of sunshine, but still mostly cloudy all day. The high this afternoon was 55 deg.

2. I struck out on Wordle today, but I got the NYT Crossword Puzzle with no hints!

3. Today.was another Blue Apron dinner. We had Pork Chops with Cabbage-Apple Sauté. It was really good with lots of fiber.

4. The laundry is washed, dried, sorted, delivered, folded, and hung up.

5. Gazebo Group is meeting in person this evening for the first time in a long time. We won’t be outside yet, but we can welcome Spring, together.

How about you? What made you happy today?