Time For Another Edition Of…

The recent lock down measures and curfews here are having a positive impact on reducing the spread of the virus, which is great! But, they have put a real crimp on our ability to get out these past few weeks. Therefore, I felt it would be a good time for another edition of Random Musings.

First up, I’ve been thinking about how different things would be if our hair and nails had nerves. I mean what if you could feel with them. Can you imagine how awful brushing your hair or filing your nails would be? Getting a hair cut would probably be a medical procedure involving anesthesia. Either that or we’d all just be super hairy with long, unkempt finger and toe nails. And, ladies…think about your armpits! Oh, the humanity!!

Moving on…

We are getting close to completing the local registration process for our car. Honestly, I’ll be a bit sad when it is time to replace our New Jersey license plates for shiny new Portuguese plates because now, we get the funniest looks from everyone we meet. (OK…that last line was straight up plagiarism. It is from the theme song of The Monkees TV show which ran in the US from 1966 to 1971.)

And, speaking of The Monkees…

I used to work for Michael Nesmith, a member of the pop band, in 1977 when he had an office in Carmel, California. It was during this time that he created, and was promoting, one of the very first music videos ever produced. I remember thinking at the time that no one was going to want to see someone else’s vision of how a song should be portrayed – it’s a personal thing you create in your head when you listen to music. And alas, my dear friend, that is why I am not a multi-millionaire.

Anyway, like I was saying…

I think it is amusing to see people’s heads whip around or stare as we drive by when they see our plates. Once, when we were in Lisbon, we had left the car in a parking garage. I told Won that I needed to go back and get a jacket. As we were approaching the car, we saw two women standing immediately behind the car pointing and taking pictures of our plates. Won decided to have some fun and remotely popped the trunk open. They were completely startled and jumped back. Won and I were laughing and when they saw us they started laughing too. They apologized, but we told them we weren’t concerned and that we know the plates are an oddity. Soon, our car will look just like everyone else’s and we won’t be special any more. Boo hoo.

Have I mentioned how funny my husband can be…

Won must have slept wrong last night because he woke up with a neck ache. Nothing he did seemed to alleviate the pain. I suggested he cancel his workout session, but he said he didn’t want to cancel at the last minute and off he went. When he got home he shared the following exchange with his personal trainer, (Alex) “Maybe you should go see a doctor.” (Won) “That’s OK. I’ve got a muscle relaxer at home. (Alex) “You have medication at home?” (Won) “No. Scotch.”

Watch your step…

Everywhere you go these days there are physical structures to keep you safe – like railings and fencing that are a certain height or density to prevent you from falling or getting through. Here, there is a lot of personal responsibility involved in day to day living. With such old infrastructure all around, it is important to pay attention at all times. For example, the battlements at Óbidos castle have absolutely no railings on a narrow and very high wall. It’s nerve-wracking!! In some ways, though, I like it. I think more personal accountability for your own safety isn’t such a bad thing. And, if you think I’m kidding about the castle walls, allow me to present Exhibit A. Look closely…there are people on that wall.

In other breaking news…

Our toaster broke about four months ago. Rather than replace it, we learned how to use our oven to toast the freshly baked rolls we buy from the local market (a 2 minute walk from our house). I don’t think I’m ever going to buy another toaster. One less appliance in the kitchen is just fine by me.

Space, the final frontier…

Won sleeps with his arms and legs stretched out. He lays on the couch when we watch TV. He’s a space hog. Case in point, when we sit at the breakfast table in the morning working on our laptops, he slowly encroaches on my side. The other day I was complaining that I barely had any room to work, so this is what he did to resolve the problem. Do you think it worked?

Switching gears…

I have a love/hate relationship with the metric system. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome when I tell Won that I have lost 1000 grams! A thousand!! Wow!! The problem is, when that happens I feel like treating myself and I splurge on a few of my favorite cookies with some chocolate milk (hey, no judgement…) and then I’m sad when I have to report that I’ve gained 1000 grams.

And, then there was this…

Yesterday, Won made sushi to go with some tuna tartar he had prepared the day before. To make the tuna tartar, he cut fresh, raw tuna into cubes and then marinated them in soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger, and sesame seeds. We decided to have scotch with our snack (hey…no judgement, we were out of saki). Not surprisingly, Won is a master with chopsticks having used them since he was a small child. He can pick up the tiniest grain of rice and retrieve small items from tight spaces – kind of like an Asian Superman. Anyhoo, he went to pick up a piece of tuna and as he was bringing it up to his mouth it dropped…directly into his scotch. He froze and then looked at me. I nearly spit my sushi out I laughed so hard! There was the cube of tuna (along with all that tasty marinade) at the bottom of his glass. He shrugged his shoulders, snagged it with his chopsticks, popped it straight into his mouth and then drank the rest of his, now, Asian infused scotch.

Here’s a happy thought…

It doesn’t get much better than driving along the coast when the temperature is warm and the sun is bright. We open the sun roof, hit play on our curated list of songs from the ’70s and ’80s and sing at the top of our lungs. A few of my favorites are Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd (best guitar solo ever!), Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins (you’ve gotta love that awesome drum lick!), Lucky Man by ELP (superb synthesizer!), and Money by Pink Floyd. Of course there are many others. Let’s face it, the 70s, and early 80s produced some of the BEST rock and roll music ever, don’t even try to argue with me.

File this one under “Laundry Learnings”…

Tip: Hold on to your laundry clips tightly when hanging out your clothes to dry. It’s a real pain in the pah-toosky when they fall seven stories, which then requires you to ask your hubby to retrieve them after he’s already decamped to the dining room table because, apparently, there just wasn’t enough space for both of you at the kitchen table. Awkward

And, finally, under the heading “lost in translation”…

The other day Won was cooking and needed the zest of a lemon. Of course, ours is in storage in New Jersey so he asked Alexa (our virtual assistant) to add a “zester” to the shopping list. She repeated the following, “Disaster has been added to the shopping list.” We both dissolved into fits of hysterical laughter. How much more “2020” can it get than that?!

I hope you enjoyed this latest edition of Random Musings. As always, please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in touch! Oh…and by the way, Won’s neck is feeling much better.

From Portugal with love,


Published by Beth Thomas-Kim

After working in corporate America for companies like Mattel, Nestlé, and Johnson & Johnson, I retired and moved to Portugal in January of 2020 with my husband Won and our 12-year old wire fox terrier, Sweet Pea. We now live in Monte Estoril, a lovely seaside town just outside Lisbon. We spend our days happily exploring this beautiful country and learning about its fascinating history, engaging culture, warm and welcoming people, delicious food and wine, and stunning architecture. This blog was started primarily as a way to keep family and friends updated on our transition from the US to Portugal. Now, my subscribers include people from all over the world. Enjoy!

18 thoughts on “Time For Another Edition Of…

  1. Your solution to the “table encroachment” reminds me of how my brother and I used to divide the back of our family station wagon. We drew an imaginary line and demanded that the other party “stay on your side!” It rarely worked. Just sayin’

    I noticed another difference: one of you is a Mac user and the other a Windows user. I won’t guess as to which is which but . . .


    1. I have five brothers and sisters (all within 6-1/2 years of each other). We also had a station wagon when we were growing up, but there was no personal space for any of us. It was more like a cage fight when we had to drive across country (which happened 3 times). Oh…and that was Won’s idea to divide the table. He was trying to prove he didn’t encroach. Ha!! (Good observation on the laptops. I’m the Windows user). 🙂


  2. “Of course there are many others. Let’s face it, the 70s, and early 80s produced some of the BEST rock and roll music ever, don’t even try to argue with me.”……………So true. So true!!


  3. Lol! On your first entry, I bite my nails, especially this year and it does hurt when I get carried away! You worked for a MONKEY!?!?! My sister would grill you with questions…she loved the Monkey’s! I didn’t mind at all watching them but I was terrified when she watched “Dark Shadows”! I’m also a license plate “where are they from” person. It’s undeniable that you’re not from Portugal so you’re still “special”!🤗I actually love it when we go to another country and there’s no safety barriers…I’m thinking of Chichen Itza. Walking around the top I was thinking a) this is cool and I better be careful and then b) hmmm… no lawyers? I use the metric system when making jewelry…I still get confused! We have a new bakery in lil ole Cumming, GA (who doesn’t love living in a town with that name😳 complete with a Siemens water tower and a Beaver Toyota…I do not lie!) back to the bakery, it’s almost like being in Jersey again…yum bakeries! My family all have control of the chop sticks. Our daughter lived in Japan for 5 years and her fiancé is Japanese. My son and hubby are just good at it. I’m trying to fake it till I make it! It was good music right? Real voices, real instrument playing! I feel like there hasn’t been any new music this year…understandable though. Driving in my Mini windows open, on back country roads music blaring makes you feel “normal” for a while. It’s funny how that one simple act has been therapeutic since we got behind the wheel as teenagers. Omg…Alexa’s list is sounding like Pandora’s Box! Have you seen the new Match.com adds? The devil is dating 2020. Ryan Reynolds production company “Maximum Effort” produced them. And I quote, “it’s one of the things that has accurately summed up how everyone feels about this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year”! I’ll try and share them with you. There’s more than one. I laughed out loud…cause we gotta laugh! Here’s to tuna cubes and scotch dip!😉


    1. If anyone read your comment without reading my blog post first, they’d think you were totally nuts. LOLOLOL!! Thanks for your note – I loved reading it! By the way, there really should be someone in local government who is responsible for reviewing the names of towns in relation to one another and take into account local businesses – at the VERY least. Ha! Ha! We’ll pull up the match.com ads on YouTube. It’s amazing what’s posted there. We watch the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt that way and all the late night comedians too. P.S. When I was working for Michael Nesmith I spoke with Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones on the phone. It was a hoot because I adored them when they were on TV (which had only been 6 years prior). The Monkees were BIG stuff back then. 🙂


      1. Ha ha ha! You’re so right…I sound completely nuts! I really enjoy your blog posts too! Even the “ everyday” normal stuff…cause it’s entertaining! I’m not even gonna tell my sister about Davy Jones…she’ll pester me with 20 million questions to ask you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice Betyh. I’ve been going to Ireland since I was 18, and have revisited castles etc. that used to be fun places to clamber…now all touristy and railed in…no fun at all.

    Well, you’re in good company with not appreciating music videos…Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits (and a big solo career of course) (Talk about fantastic music of the 70’s and 80’s, but I digress) also hates them and will really not do anything nice in them because he wants people to form their own images and meanings.


    1. I hope Portugal doesn’t follow suit. It would ruin the ability to get a sense of what life was really like back then. I knew you’d be in the same camp regarding music from the 70s and 80s! And, thanks for the tidbit on Mark Knopfler! I had no idea.


  5. Beth,
    Okaaaaay….so was “random musings” written under the influence of ??? 🙂 It was so funny. Stream of consciousness – very fun. Zester transmuted into “disaster”, new fusion food Scottish sushi, and of COURSE the best music is from the 70s/80s (my only exception is Phil Collins, who was hilariously spoofed in South Park )

    Yes the Monkeys were fun – we saw Micky Dolenz perform in 2019 – fun to hear the old songs. Here is Micky & Mike being interviewed in 2019.

    Yes, I agree with you with the over protection/litigious present in much of the US. I remember walking UNDER the falls at Watkins Glen – no barrier then. Now…not the same thrill. Yet, today there’s a thing call death by selfie, just recently someone fell into the abyss of the Grand Canyon trying to get a better up close selfie on the rim of the canyon.

    Great read!


    1. Hand to heart, nothing was involved in writing this one. I have all the material I need just hanging out with my funny husband. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Let’s face it, we could all use a good giggle now and then. I laughed as I wrote it. Thanks for the links. I’ve seen the Phil Collins spoof, but I still love In the Air Tonight. The rest of PC’s music is meh. (BTW – it is Monkees with a double ‘e”. Everyone gets it wrong or perhaps autocorrect is the culprit?). Yes – you are right, selfie’s have become quite the hazard. The world is a dangerous place and we all have a responsibility to be vigilant, employ common sense, and hold ourselves personally accountable for our actions and decisions. It’s just really tragic when some people pay the ultimate price for misjudging a situation.


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