January 26, 2011


I can’t believe it took me three months to get settled enough to write this blog. This was one of those long shady patches. Somehow I thought moving would be easy: a fairy godmother would wave her wand, the movers would come, pack my things, take them up to Portland, settle them in their new spots, and voila! The only thing remotely like that scenario was the mover putting my things in a van.

Downsizing and moving from a home of 30 plus years wasn’t easy. Fortunately I had lots of help from sons, daughters-in-law, and a granddaughter who not only helped me take my office apart, but then went to IKEA and picked out all sorts of organizers to put it together in a better way! And it is wonderful to be around my family and get to partake in their daily lives on a casual basis, without having to plan visits.

Now I’m back I’m on the sunny side. The apartment is wonderful: for the first time in my life I have rooms of my own and rooms with a view. One unplanned surprise is the achievement of a dream I had as a teenager. Then, I fell in love with a picture of Mount McKinley on the cover of a magazine, and decided I wanted to have that view every day. I went to Northwestern for education courses so I could teach in Alaska near the mountain. But I changed my love from a mountain to a man in the flat lands of Illinois and that was where life happened till we moved to the southern valleys of Oregon. MUCH later in life, my teen-age goal came true: I now live with a view of Mount St. Helens outside my window whenever she decides to show herself in this gloomy El Nino winter. I’m told I will also see Mt. Rainier on a clear day.

Now the next stage begins: embedding myself in retirement living and city life. I've gone back to Roseburg a couple of times and camped out in my unsold house—and it feels like home, even though all my “things” have gone. Seeing all my old friends is terrific. I realize what I have always known—people make a place a home, not things. After living in a friendly small town where I knew the people, the places, and the activities, I’m now in a friendly tall building where I am making new acquaintances, some of whom will undoubtedly become close. And it is wonderful to have a fitness room with trainer, a physical therapist, a swimming pool that can be used at any time, and restaurants all in one building. It certainly makes it easier to do all these good-for-you things, without spending time driving and clothes changing.

And having to rearrange everything has been interesting to say the least. Fewer places to put things doesn’t mean they are easier to find! I am learning to put them where I use them, not where I think they belong. The pliers are in a kitchen drawer where I often unscrew caps and lids--not with other tools. The sewing kit is in a drawer by the TV: if I have to mend things, that’s where I do it. I wish I hadn’t been so cute with the safe deposit keys—they’re in a super safe place—but where?

Now for the next learning adventure in the big city—getting around on public transportation. It looks easy...we’ll see.