Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Kitchen is open!

The boxes are unpacked. The kitchen -- Because I Said So Kitchen, that is -- is stocked. And we're back in business with The Barefoot Contessa's Rich Beef Barley Soup.

You so need this.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The soggy doggy solution

You know. It rains here in Portland.

Or at least I THINK it does.

I've witnessed just one gully-washing downpour since we moved here in September, courtesy of state's first winter storm blown in from the coast. It was impressive enough to have me believe the kitchen skylight had been breached based on a puddle of water standing on counter, which, of course, I discovered 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the airport.

Happy ending: The skylight remains dry and intact.

But that's about the most serious rain I've seen. Nevertheless, my friends in Bermtopia are skeptical, still wondering how we will survive the long, rainy, gray winters of western Oregon. I patiently explain the primary form precipitation Ben and I experience on our walks is a persistent, but vaguely non-committal mist punctuated by sudden and unexpected sun breaks, usually in the mid- to late afternoon. . . pretty much just as I remember from my childhood here.

This today.
And then. . .
I think we can make this work.
Sorry, my friends, I will take a daily misting and surprise sun breaks over the cold, gray winter days of Bermtopia, predictably accompanied by 6 to 8 inches of heinously hoary snow and ice that inevitably lingers into March.

Nevertheless, there is still a seasonal equation that must be dealt with: Precipitation + Canine Fur (and a fair amount of it at that) = Soggy Doggy. And the corollary -- where to put said wet pup?

In our move, we traded an attached garage, aka, The Soggy Doggy Room, for a carport, aka Not the Soggy Doggy Room. The unheated garage was a serviceable SDR, but it took FOREVER for Ben to dry. We were intrigued by possibilities of an indoor SDR.

At first, we thought the laundry room off the kitchen might serve as Ben's drying-out space, but the domestic demands of a washer and dryer trumped a wet dog's, and so we turned to the main bathroom. We are still working on restoring Ben's sensibilities as they relate to being relegated to the loo.

I'm happy to report though, as of early November, we have a routine:

1. Arrive at the back door and advance to the drying station. (Sometimes, a blow dryer is involved. This is usually proportional to the length of our walk. . . as it was in Bermtopia.)

2. Personal escort to The Lane's version of the Soggy Doggy Room.
3. Attempted escape into the guest bedroom/home office.
4. Personal escort back to the SDR.
5. Rinse and repeat.
The bathroom. Really?
Ben is adjusting, however. We are seeing fewer escape attempts -- especially as he realizes it takes half the time to get dry and rejoin humankind. Well, and an extra treat helps.

It always does, doesn't it?

Friday, October 17, 2014


It's trash day on The Lane. And it's kind of a big deal.

At least trash can placement is. I learned this the hard way last week -- and have 2,000 pounds of recycling that I hope someone will take off my hands today.

It started innocently enough when we moved in. We were gently but firmly instructed by the HOA's Landscape/Architecture Czarina as to how trash pick-up work on The Lane -- this while she wrangled with a rogue trash can that had mysteriously appeared in our drive-way. (Apparently a fairly common occurrence on The Lane -- who knew?) Here's what I gleaned:

1. Friday is trash day.
2. Put trash cans out early Friday a.m.
3. Put trash cans away as quickly as you can after pick-up.

The Czarina also showed us where to place our trash cans along The Lane. W.h.a.t.e.v.e.r.

Please take note.

Little did I know. . . .

Fast forward to last week. We had missed a week of trash pick-up as we were in Everett, Wash. celebrating the arrival of His Royal Highness The Grandson.

This was not so much of big deal in terms of garbage -- after all, we weren't around generating any. But recycling -- that was a much different story: As noted above, I had accrued about 2,000 pounds of recycling. . . primarily the 18 zillion moving boxes that arrived with us in The Beav in mid-September. It is an understatement to say our recycling can was busting at the seams -- and required a team of Budweiser draft horses for transport.

And so, last Friday morning, Ben and I went to take the trash out after our walk.

Curses. The was room for our garbage can, but the recycling had to go elsewhere so I opted for in front of our single-family attached home condo.

Bad idea.

The hours flew. Garbage was collected. And, finally, the recycling truck made its much anticipated appearance on The Lane, completing its cacophonous collection of neighbors' glass, cans, newspapers and cardboard with military precision.

All, that is, except my 2,000 pounds of recyclables. Apparently the Czarina was on to something about this trash can placement thing.

Now cursing all things recyclable, I schlepped the can -- sans Team Budweiser -- back up the driveway and began plotting my next move: Which, essentially, was to defy all that is HOA-compliant and grab two plumb spots LAST NIGHT. HAH!

I'm a rebel. What can I say? That's just the way we roll around here in The Beav.

'Nuff said.

And just in case you wondering what a rogue trash can looked like.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Yes, whee-eeee-eeee! Somehow we did it.

Somehow in the matter of about 12 weeks, we bought a single-family attached home condo, sold a 73-year-old house in 9 days with no conditions or major repairs, divested ourselves of almost all our furniture; arrived in Portland armed with Ben, a bedroom set, antique chest of drawers, wooden rocking horse (priorities!), some random bookshelves and approximately 1.5 billion cardboard boxes;

and, oh by the way, our first grandson arrived on the scene.

Somewhere in there, I also up and retired, bidding a fond farewell to a 37-year career in marketing and public relations. At least I think I did. Otherwise, we have a somewhat awkward situation in that I'm sitting here in The Beav, working on my 7th cup of coffee, while a sad community college cubicle sits empty somewhere in Bermtopia.

Needless to say His Royal Highness The Grandson trumps all.
My name means "bright, insightful and wise" in Japanese. Got it?
Kei (pronounced "Kay") is perfect. (Of course, I realize all grandchildren are perfect. Isn't that why they're called "grand"?) I cannot describe the joy of gathering up that 6 pounds of love for the first time and realizing you're his grandmother, fully licensed to spoil, coddle and indulge. . . before returning to his parents. There will be many Kei stories to come.

Disclaimer: I did not push Kei down the steepest hill in Everett, Wash., to achieve the "action photo" above. I accidentally clicked the shutter as I was putting away my cell phone after taking my 804th photo of the little peanut. 


We are gradually settling into life in Portland. After three weeks of sitting on the living room floor, we have a sofa and chair. We have a kitchen table and chairs. We have a new washer and dryer that serenade us each time a load is done. Still getting used to that one.

And I have a dedicated writing desk. "Bermtopia" now resumes.

Folks have asked me about this -- how can I write about Bermtopia since we don't physically live there any more? But, of course, I can: In its essence, Bermtopia is a state of mind. There are still seasons, dogs, kitchens and gardens (wait till you see what I have to contend with out back!) to navigate here in Portland -- along with The Beav (a little corner of suburbia that My Date and I are vaguely surprised to be enjoying), homeowner associations, the aforementioned musical home appliances and The Mom Unit, who now lives about 6 minutes away instead of 6 hours. And so much more.

So, yes, we're back. And ready to rock and roll. With Bermtopia: The Portland Edition.
I have my very own creek.
And I am happy to report there are squirrels in Portland.

Monday, August 4, 2014

How I spent my summer vacation


Hello there.

I seem to recall something about this blog.

Oh. That's right. It's MINE.

Welcome back, me.

With this, my 500th post, let me catch you up on summer in Bermtopia.

It all started with a trip to the emergency room with the Mom Unit the first weekend in June.

And Le Grande Macaron Tour. (There will be more about that over at the also-sadly-neglected Because I Said So Kitchen later.)

Annnndddd ANOTHER trip to the emergency room with the Mom Unit.

This go-round resulted in her hanging in a skilled nursing facility for two weeks. The Mom Unit was not impressed.

But we did watch a lot of World Cup. And she's back to fighting form.

Take THAT, Disturbance in the Force.
I seem to recall our purchasing a single-family attached home condo just outside Portland right around the Fourth of July.

And selling the Nine One Four last week.
This is the cleanest eff-ing house in Bermtopia.
This all in between 1,483 trips to Goodwill.

And. Oh. By the way. I retire in 25 days. . .

Move to Portland. . .

And await the arrival our first grandson in September.

But other than that, it's been a pretty quiet summer in Bermtopia.
Please tell me there are Milk Bones in Portland.