A 4th Edition of…

As always, gird your loins, I’m all over the place…

Inequality of the sexes…

Not too long ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table thinking about how really crappy it is that at the tender age of 12 or 13 girls have to deal with monthly menstruations (stay with me…) which includes cramping, headaches, lower back pain, mood swings, food cravings, bloating and fatigue. Fun stuff. This monthly scourge then plagues us for FOR YEARS and once we are past that we get to be tormented by menopause, which includes hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, and memory and concentration problems. More fun stuff. [Note: There needs to be a globally recognized font style that clearly represents sarcasm. Can someone get on that right away?]

Back to my rant…This issue (female physiology, not the much-needed font) happened to be on my mind when Won innocently wandered into the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee. I swung around and laid this all out demanding to know what parallel physical issues men have to deal with. He immediately sensed a trap. His eyes flew wide open and said, “Men die early!” I was momentarily and marginally placated. He hurriedly grabbed his coffee and ran out of the kitchen, but then I remembered, something else. Holding my fist in the air, I came running around the corner yelling, “Childbirth!!! We have to deal with pregnancy and childbirth too!!!” His response? “I’m making a killing in the stock market this month.” I narrowed my eyes, looked deep into his soul and said, “Good. Keep it up.” The weaker sex…HA!

More fun with Alexa…

Won: “Alexa, add mold killer to the shopping list. Alexa: “Mall killer added to the shopping list.” Egad.

Oh snap!

I just found out – after nearly 22 years of marriage – that Won cannot snap the fingers of his left hand. He is a snapping machine with his right hand, but can not seem to manage it with his left. I think this evens things out. I still cannot hold a pair of chopsticks correctly after all these years. But, it makes me wonder what other deficiencies he’s hiding from me. Things that make you go, hmmmmm.

Name change…

I have no idea why I had this thought, but I was curious as to why Siam and Burma changed their names to Thailand and Myanmar, respectively, so I looked it up. Turns out, both were originally named by the Portuguese and then those names were anglicized by the English. Then I randomly stumbled across a fact involving the original name of the Democratic Republic of Congo which was formerly called Zaire…another Portuguese-assigned name! The word Zaire was derived from the name of the Congo River, called Zaire in Portuguese, and adapted from the Kikongo word nzere or nzaid (“river that swallows all rivers”). I wonder if there are any other similar examples out there? It is amazing how much influence the Portuguese have had on the world.

Christmas Lights…

One of Won’s Christmas presents, which he specifically requested, were lightbulbs that could be controlled with an app on his phone or via voice command through Alexa or Google – because, you know…we live in such a BIG house (see? I need that sarcasm font). Won set the bulbs up with Alexa. The other evening, he told Alexa to “turn off all the lights.” Her response? “I’m not sure about that.” The mind reels with thoughts on that one.

Using my noggin…

We were headed out to dinner and I decided to throw on a scarf to complete my outfit. I keep all my scarves rolled up, which while ideal for storage purposes, isn’t so great for keeping them wrinkle-free. Rather than drag out the iron and ironing board for a third time since February of 2020, I thought, how can I iron this thing without going to a lot of trouble or time (I’m always running late, sigh). Ah ha!! I know! I plugged in my flat iron, put it on the lowest setting and then ran it over my scarf. It worked perfectly!! So, ladies, the next time you’re in a pinch and you need a scarf ironed, think hair styling tools. I suspect this would be a convenient travel tip as well. And, speaking of travel tips; whenever I travel and the weather is cold, I always warm the bed up using my blow dryer. It makes the bed all toasty and warm and I’m asleep in minutes.

Eurovision mania…

Our exposure to, and general awareness of, Eurovision has been absolutely nil – until last year when we saw the Will Ferrell movie, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” The movie was released to coincide with Eurovision 2020, which, unfortunately, had to be canceled due to the pandemic – the first time in its 69 year history! If you haven’t seen this movie, it is currently playing on Netflix and it’s very silly and very funny.

For some reason, Won and I missed all the hoopla connected to Eurovision last year and this year. While channel surfing last month, however, we stumbled upon the semifinals and were instantly pulled in. Having zero idea of what to expect, it took us until the finals to understand that each country’s representative sings the exact same song in the exact same way in the exact same costumes with the exact same staging. Keep in mind, it is called Eurovision SONG Contest.

Voting, which takes place live, is an interesting process. For one thing, you are blocked from voting for your own country. Of course, we were cheering for Black Mamba, the group from Portugal. They performed a really good song called Love Is On My Side (click here to see their final performance). Won and I had very high hopes for them. However, while watching the program, we completely and totally fell in love with the group from Iceland. Their song, called “10 Years” was really good, but it was the choreography and the group itself that was so campy, quirky and imminently lovable. Click here to watch. Portugal made it into the finals and we made sure we were in front of the TV to see how they fared.

Being complete newbies to the process, we had NO IDEA the live show would last four hours!! Eurovision is WAY bigger than the Super Bowl. Last year’s Super Bowl was watched by 96.4 million viewers. Even the final episode of M*A*S*H only had 105.9 viewers. This year Eurovision pulled in 183 million viewers for the final night of competition. And, the outcome? In a completely unexpected twist (Switzerland and France were neck and neck for most of the voting process) Italy was swept to the top of the leaderboard on a wave of fan support! Needless to say, we are complete Eurovision converts and can’t wait until Eurovision 2022 which will be hosted by Italy. Clearly our lives have been incomplete up to this point and we had no idea.

Bad Golf Is Good For Your Health…

Won just realized that his step count is a lot higher when he plays bad golf. It therefore stands to reason that bad golf is clearly better for his physical health. However, it is not so good for his mental health. This epiphany has caused an existential crisis – he is not sure which is better for him. Thankfully, he does not have to worry. His physical and mental health both get a good workout on a regular basis.

Handicapping happiness…

Sticking with golf…Won was in a pickle. He wanted to play in local golf tournaments at his club, but was prevented from participating because his USGA (US Golf Association) handicap was not recognized in Portugal. In order to resolve this dilemma he needed to play with someone at his club who already had an FPG handicap (Federação Portuguesa de Golfe or Portuguese Golf Federation) and who would be willing to sign off on Won’s scorecard. Then his club would submit it to the FPG.

Won’s friend Mark stepped in to help. About a week later, Won was on his club’s website to see if he had received his handicap. There it was. However, the assigned handicap of 14.8 was a bit higher than what it had been in the US. He wasn’t terribly happy about that, but given our move to Portugal and pandemic-related closures of the club and courses, he had not had the chance to play very regularly. After ruminating on it for a few minutes he decided that, while it was not what he had hoped, it was not as bad as it could have been. He went back to reviewing the online data. A moment later his head popped up and he shrieked, “I’m in the senior column!” (He turned 60 last year.) Ouch! That stung. After another minute of further review, he happily reported that at least he wasn’t in the “super senior” column. High fives all around! Perspective is everything.

Next week I will be sharing some big news! Until then, please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in touch.

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!

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