Looking for answers to life's questions

Where to start

It would seem an easy decision. It is not. This month has been so busy that I didn’t know how much to tell you about or where to start. I guess I’ll start with a day trip my sister and I took.

I’ve lived in my house for three years  and my apartment for two after visiting Portland many times over the previous 20 years. My sister has been my  tour guide, knowing this area like few natives do. Driving for Tri-Met (Portland’s city bus co.) for 15 years gave her an advantage not many have. Her passengers were always treated to a dialog of great information about the city if they were from out-of-town.

Beautiful wood carving

Her daughter has been accepted into the honors program at the University of Denver in the fall and sis is going to help get her settled. Yes, sis came to parenthood very late in life in a nontraditional manner but the deep love and caring are just as intense.

my sister at the mt

Little sister in front of Mt Hood

As a precursor to the upcoming trip to the mile high city, sis thought it would be wise to observe how well she could handle the altitude. Given her geriatric age (I’m sorry little sister, I just had to) and the fact she has pulmonary fibrosis, I agreed. So off we went to somewhere she had never taken me to see. The infamous Mt. Hood. It is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon according to Wikipedia.

getting close

Almost there. Nice highway to it.

 

I see it clearly every time I drive down the main street to my neighborhood. It’s quite impressive all covered in snow. But I couldn’t photograph it well while driving.

Only an hour from my home, the ride was not difficult. Sis does all the driving since I can’t go that distance anymore. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was lovely. I must say though, when we got there, I was not quite as impressed. Being on the mountain is very different from looking at it from a distance.

not so impressive

High desert is just like where I lived in Arizona. Not so impressive close up.

Timberline Lodge was built by the WPA in 1936 to 1938 and it’s beautiful. We had a rather expensive buffet lunch where I ate my money’s worth making it my only meal of the day. By the time we were done with lunch and started walking back to the truck, the 6000 foot elevation began to signal her it was time to drop down a few feet quickly.

Dining room for the buffet lunch. Good food and great view

I knew I could drive if necessary for a short distance though it turned out not to be required of me. Sis has checked in with her medical team to decide what can be done to make elevation a bit easier to do. There is no question she will make the trip to Denver. It was quite an eye opener for us. I lived at 7200 feet before moving here and neither of us had a problem at that time. Lungs are a delicate thing.

I have been busy enough that more will follow shortly. Have you had any experiences you have waited a long time to enjoy?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "Where to start" (74)

  1. It sounds like a exciting and adventurous day and I love the old WPC lodge building. I know that altitude is hardest at the beginning, takes time to adjust to, and is done best by small increment increases. Maybe your sister’s doctor will advise her about this~

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    • She will probably take some oxygen with her as her lungs are no longer working properly. My mother had the same illness. We know what to expect from it.

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    • I forgot to thank you for stopping by and reading. I loved that old building too. It was a magnificent piece of construction. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  2. What a great adventure to share with your sissy. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, Marlene.

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  3. Marlene, you’ve been off on an adventure. What gorgeous photos. It’s funny how things can seem more spectacular from a distance. I often think that when I see all the green trees that look like they’re blended into one Dr; Seuss-like landscape. I’m glad your little sister was able to drive but had you with her for support (and fun). It’s good to know what our limits are too, with health concerns. I”m looking forward to your next post, Marlene. Xo

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    • Thanks so much, Alys. I love my little sister so very much. She was my first child and I’m going to write stories about her very, very soon so she can read them too. I’ve been quite busy but didn’t want to make the post too long so I’ll break it up in sections. My sis deserves her very own post. Heat is here today but we still have cooler nights than most. I’m ready for winter. Sigh. Have a wonderfilled weekend. Giant hugs. M

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      • I don’t want to skip October, but I’m with you on the heat. It was actually 56 when I woke up this morning, but it’s back into the 90’s. You too, it would seem. I look forward to reading more about your sis. How nice that she has such a good writer and “mom” to take care of her and write about her at the same time. Hugs.

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      • I’m ready for any month with cool in it. 🙂 My sister is quite the character. I’m going to have to give up some things to get time to do all the writing. It has to happen soon. I think my quilting days will be on hold for awhile.

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      • I’m excited! I love reading your words.

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  4. Well that looks like a fun trip. I’ve seen Mt Hood from afar, but never actually been there. I’m trying to imagine the scene in winter, with lots more snow!

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    • It was a much easier trip than I expected and so close! I’m in Oregon City so we went through Damascus and Boring to get there. My sister said chains are required in winter. It was a lovely road to go up and a spectacular view. One day when my windshield is clean, I’ll try to get the shot I see every time I go home from anywhere. It makes you sit up and take notice. Have a wonderfilled weekend and thanks for stopping by, Deb.

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  5. Wonderful trip! I can almost smell the cold, dry, thin air… I used to ski a lot when I was a much younger woman, and can still remember the terrible bilateral earache I’d have on the first day, going from London at more or less sea level to the French Alpine resort at over 9,000 feet. But after the first day, I acclimatised and after that, the snow was pure enjoyment.

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    • It really does take almost 9000 ft to get a good ski on. 6000 is just a bunny run but it did give my sister pause. It can take at least 3 days to acclimate enough to do a lot of exertion without a headache. I’ve seen a lot of altitude sickness from those who didn’t take their time. Especially us older folks. 🙂 The air was lovely. Thanks for the visit.

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      • Australia doesn’t have any really big mountains, like the US or Europe, so I’ll never have to put myself to that test, and with my back there’s no way I’ll ever strap on another pair of skis. I think I’m safe!

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  6. Your sister sounds like an interesting soul Marlene – bus driver and free tour-guide as required and being an older parent – all things requiring a certain get-up-and-go attitude and determination too I suspect. And you got to have a bit of an adventure as she readies herself for changing altitude. Which I imagine can be difficult if your lungs are not healthy. I hope your little sis can go up in stages and take her time so that she can be who she wants to be when she gets to Denver. It’s amazing what we can do when we are younger that our bodies simply don’t care for when we are older! I do hope to hear in due course that the trip was a great success xoxo

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    • Thanks so much, Pauline. You have her pegged right. Interesting is a good choice of words. I could write a whole book about her alone. They will fly in and our brother has arranged a rental car. At least her daughter had finally got her drivers license if the need arises. Her determination will be key to this illness. She has so much more than I so I’m very hopeful. They will be leaving the first week of Sept so I’ll let you know. Hoping things are getting better where you are. Keeping good thoughts for you.

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  7. Altitude had caught me out several times. I’m always wary. And since we have nothing like your desert i find them fascinating. I must look up what a WPC lodge is. Here WPC stands for Woman Police Constable!!

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    • The WPA is Work Progress Administration. The president of that area, Franklin D. Roosevelt started it during the depression to give men work. They did all manner of public work for enough money to feed themselves and probably not a whole lot more. But it was work which was not plentiful then. It usually can take 3 days to acclimate to altitude but I didn’t have a problem with that little bit.. My sister on the other hand with compromised lungs, felt it right away. Thanks for stopping by, Geoff.

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  8. Your snowy mountain is beautiful. We don’t usually see any snow at all in this part of the world, but last week when the temperatures really dropped, someone managed to film a few flakes on the top of Table Mountain !
    And here’s to adventures and buffet lunches and time with loving family….:)

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    • It looks like more snow from a distance that is on it when you arrive. We had the winter like no other this year and at only 6000 ft, it’s remarkable that there is any snow left. You must be in winter now and I so long for it. I’ll toast to that, Jill. Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  9. Great observation that mountains don’t like quite as impressive when you’re on them versus seeing them from a distance. Same with deserts. As for your question about waiting a long time to do something you wanted, I just made a little alcove in my garden with a few pieces of outdoor furniture. Nothing fancy but its something I’ve wanted for about 24 years. It gives me huge pleasure to sit there an contemplate the world from my tiny garden.

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    • I know what you are talking about, Susanne! I stuck a couple of plastic chairs and an umbrella at the top of my terraced hill and sit just looking out. It’s such a peaceful feeling. I’m glad you finally have that space for yourself. I agree with you on the desert. I’ve lived in high desert for many years and when most are enamored with it, the desert is just not my thing. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  10. Great that you and your sister managed to do this. And glad she can make Denver too.

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  11. J > Great trip! Thanks for taking us with you!

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    • You are welcome. I’m going to be catching up with my reading soon. All the running around in the summer months leave me so far behind but it was well worth it to spend time with my sister.

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  12. I know just how you feel about your sister–I treasure time with mine, too! I’ve always thought Mt. Hood was so impressive but I’ve only seen it from a distance. Is the wood carving in the lodge? I LOVE that!

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  13. What a great adventure and beautiful pictures!! Thanks for sharing this trip with us.

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    • Thank you for stopping by, Celine. It was a nice day trip with expected results. I’m a point, shoot and pray kind of photographer and I can do a little adjusting on the computer but pictures help when words are just not enough. Hope you are having a lovely weekend. M

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  14. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, including the pictures and the story!

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  15. Marlene, your first paragraphy had me concerned and I was prepared for worrisome news. It sounds as if I was reading more into your words though.
    Glad you and your sister had a good day visiting Mt Hood. I’ve never been, and I enjoyed visiting virtually with you.
    That aclimation to climate is a challenging thing! When my family went to Keystone, Colorado in June for a wedding, we all felt it, but it was a big challenge for my 83 yo father. The ceremony was at 11,500 ft! Quite the change from an elevation of 49 ft in Williamsburg, VA!
    Anxiously awaiting your next post!

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    • Didn’t mean to scare you, Laurie. There was some worrisome parts but most have missed it which is fine with me. I have 2 more posts almost ready but will space them out a bit. We all have other things to do. That kind of altitude would be hard on me and I’m not 83 yet. Good for him even making it there. Have a good week and thanks for joining us on our visit. 😉

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  16. This sounds like such a wonderful adventure and a great day with family!

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  17. So lovely that you got to spend time with your sister Marlene. and wonderful picture shares.. And I could well imagine the altitude could be a problem. Loved that clear Blue sky, such a wonderful blue..
    Many thanks for sharing your outing with us, that was a great place to start 😀 xxx
    Love and Hugs Sue xxx

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Sue. That sky was wonderful and clear above the smog. Altitude can be a problem under the best of conditions but with her compromised lungs, she felt it sooner and harder than most. Have a great week and I’m sorry, but I’d love to see a little rain. 😦

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  18. Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a wonderful post that needs to be shared!

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  19. This is such a nice post, Marlene. I have been there one time and it is incredible. At the lodge I felt like I was in the elegant 1940’s and expected to see Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. From a distance the mountain seems more majestic. Were you surprised at how cold is was, even in the summer? My very best to you!

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    • Thank you so much, Jennie. I loved all the wood in the lodge but with I had a better photo from the outside. It was quite sparing which surprised me but the air was wonderful. Of course, we have the best weather in this part of the country anyway. It was a quick turnaround trip since my sister started having altitude issues. but I’m glad we made the trip. Have a wonderfilled week.

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  20. GASP! I love it. I have extended family there and hope to get to the Columbia Gorge this fall! Great pictures.

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  21. What a wonderful adventure with your sis. She sounds like a wonderful person and a great mom too. I enjoyed so much reading your story and all the love you share with your sister. Awesome! K D

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    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Karen. She is very special to me. We’ve been taking care of each other all our lives. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

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  22. Hey Marlene! What a fun trip for you and your sis. I loved seeing Mt Hood from PDX and… we can see it here in Central Oregon too. I’m fascinated by how similar Hood and Jefferson are to each other, like twins! Have a great week!

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    • Good to hear from you, Missy. I would have thought you had visited Mt Hood when you lived up here. But then, I’ve been here 5 years and this was my first trip. Of course, I don’t drive that far. 😦 Hope your week is wonderfilled as well.

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  23. Mt Hood still has so much snow! (this is a current picture? ) It looks like it was a lovely drive. When my daughter climbed Mt Whitney the first time (or rather attempted) and despite conditioning, she was unsuccessful due to the altitude. It took even more conditioning but she was able to complete the hike the next year. It can be difficult to adjust, I know. I hope Sis is able to make the journey in good health. Hugs to you, Marlene.

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    • Yes Jan, it is a currant picture but it looks like more snow that there is. It was nice and cool and only 6000 ft. I had no problem with it but my sister has compromised lungs so we know now that she may need oxygen for her trip. We didn’t have to walk uphill very far but if we had, you would have heard the wheezing for miles. 🙂 Hope you are doing well. Hugs, M

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  24. I have family in coastal Oregon and live south of Denver… Definitely use caution when coming to our state… Having a doctor’s advice is wise, and have your sister check with him or her about what foods may compromise blood pressure (and its meds) at elevation. People often forget that food interacts with medications dealing with the heart (which is why so many heart attacks happen at sea level in places like Hawaii when large amounts of pineapple is consumed)… Colorado is a beautiful state with a lot to see, but inevitably such involves walking and or climbing or driving even higher. Rest often and listen to your body is the best rule. We who live here want all to go well so your sister can go back to Portland and talk us up!

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    • Thanks so much for all the great information, KC. I’ve been to Denver and even lived in Colorado Springs for a short time. I loved it but my heart is here. She won’t be doing much sightseeing as there is orientation for her college freshman daughter and their parents. They will be taking the time to get her settled and then head back home. If all goes well, there may be future trips to visit. 🙂 Sis will get the full workup prior to leaving here. Thanks for the visit.

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  25. Hello M-gogo (abbreviating for hip effect, haha) Isn’t it fun to get out on these day trips? I always wished I had a sister and lucky you two for enjoying each others company. Hey! I actually took some great photo’s of Mount Hood from Vancouver. It seems colosol from a distance, yet less so in your photo’s. Weird right?
    The lodge looks super swank and they always getcha on pricing when you have few options. The Canadian Park Hotels are insane with their prices for lodging and/or meals. Yet, it’s a memorable thing to do and so, we should take advantage while we can.
    The Rocky Mountaineer trip has yet to get into a post, but there’s something about snow in summer that seems so spectacular. Unlike snow in winter, Ha! It’s much more fun to admire in sandles and a sundress I think. ta ta 4 now dearest, glad to see you’re having fun xo Boomdee

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    • Wow ! You can see it from Vancouver?? It looks huge from where I live too which is why I was so surprised at seeing it up close and personal . Sorry about the delay in responding . Broken laptop so I am working on the tablet . 😣 My sister and I have a great relationship now. It’s had it’s ups and downs. In the process of writing her story. Want it done while she can read it. Haven’t told her that yet so breaking the laptop now was not a good thing . 😢 Looking forward to reading about your trip. Been missing you . Hugs.

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  26. What a wonderful time you had with your sister! The pictures are wonderful and it looks like a fantastic place to be! High altitude can be so troublesome, my mom always gets headaches even at only 800m. And definitely no fun at all with delicate lungs. And congratulations for your sister´s daughter! 🙂

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    • I agree, altitude can be a problem in many different ways . I would get headaches too for a day or so. We just wanted to know if my sister was going to have difficulty and the answer is yes . There are ways to deal with it though when you are prepared. I’m having to read and write on my tablet until I get another laptop so I’m a bit behind here.

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      • Don´t worry about blogging, Marlene. I´ll be here when you get back 🙂
        Glad your sister can handle the situation in the altitude. Although I´ve always lived at about zero altitude, I don´t really mind heights at all, which surprises me a lot since I´ve got asthma!
        Have a lovely weekend!

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      • I’m trying to get everything going again but will be running into little things that will need to we worked out over time. This is an old computer and not happy to do my bidding. 😦

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  27. I’ve driven past it a few times on the way to Bend, but never actually stooped there. Some day … Glad you and your sister had such a great time. Siblings are the people we generally know the longest during our lifespan, so it’s fabulous to get along and share experiences with them. 🙂

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  28. I’ve been a bit behind in my commentation due to my travels this month, but just had to say that I love this post. Those photos of Mt. Hood gave me goosebumps. I MUST make a pilgrimage there. We’re already planning some sacred travels to the Southwest, but the Pacific Northwest is on our radar and I’m taking notes. 🙂
    As for DU (University of Denver), well, let me just say that my first undergrad degree was from Colorado College. They are huge rivals to DU’s hockey team and I also completed an anthropological study about the religious experiences of students in college (and how they change) at DU. I have friends who have gone there. If the granddaughter doesn’t mind cities, she’ll love DU. 🙂 It’s funny – I don’t even like hockey that much, but the social scenes at both places sort of make everyone naturally gravitate around that. (Well, maybe not EVERYONE, haha). I went to more hockey games than I can count. Hehe. Haven’t been to once since graduating. Hehe. But, these experiences are all so wonderful. Here’s to hoping the lungs hold up (just acclimate slowly and listen to your body) and try to get as much exercise as you can before going if you can (incredibly, due to me walking all over the place for my self-imposed LIFE project, I was able to adjust to the altitude when I visited my parents in Colorado Springs much better than if I hadn’t – just something I learned along the way). In any case, I hope you continue to have wonderful experiences with your sister and here’s to happy, healthy travels. HUGS

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia. I feel like I am always on a personal retreat here in the PNW. I’m sure my niece will love the university. My sister has always been very active but years of breathing in toxic chemicals,smoke while working fire lines and other conditions she had no control over, left her with a terminal lung condition . She will probably end up taking oxygen as a precaution. We will wait to see what her doctors say. Either way, it was beautiful there but where you were on retreat left me breathless . I could spend lots of time there . My niece is a runner so that should make her transition easier.

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  29. Interesting adventure and BEAUTIFUL pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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