Tuesday, April 25, 2017

IT ALL DEPENDS .....

Today I made the tough decision to postpone my trip to Maui.


First of all, I don't really miss my island too much (in just four months).  My friends haven't had time to miss me either (well, except maybe Lisa!).  The summer weather is already starting which means warmer temperatures.  Lisa is very active, hates air conditioning and goes to the beach many times a week.  I would not be able to keep up with her, for sure.

My bad knee prevents me from doing more than 15 minutes of walking at a time.  I did rent my own car so I wouldn't be a nuisance to Lisa, but that's about all I could be doing is driving around seeing the sights.  It is jacaranda season and I love the drive to Kula any time of the year.  I love whale season too but it is over.  So I think I'll save my $$$ til February next year.


But most important, and most embarrassing, is bladder trouble.  It's just getting worse.  Now I'm in diapers all day not just at night.  We've upped the medicine to 2x a day and I am doing scheduled ladies room times.  Pavlov training of sorts!  Lots of Kegel exercises, cut back on wine, losing weight, etc.  It's definitely a first world problem but when it is YOUR problem, it's just gross.  

Obviously it's not just me (based on the types of incontinence products out there) but it does keep me home more.  I feel bad for my UNson-in-law who empties the trash every day.   Mr. 3 was pleased to discover Gramma wears diapers too!  No secrets at this house ....


Good physical health is really Number One in life.  Can't wait to get back!







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

APRIL SHOWERS

We have had a splendid April.  Lots of rain but with plenty of sun breaks.  


Mr. 6.5 is now playing t-ball and has not been rained out yet.  The Easter egg hunt was sunny and bright, although the grass was pretty wet.  Easter Sunday with the cousins was also outside.  Two great days in a row!

GG's plants are so beyond ready to be placed in the ground!  He/we had no idea when to "start" these seeds but apparently it was too early!  Tomatoes already have blossoms, we are using basil and spinach right out of their pots.  He still has not been allocated a plot yet  Next year will be so much easier as he has kept meticulous notes of when he planted, when he fertilized and when he upgraded to larger pots.  Also, if he wants to, he can keep his same plot so many seeds can be started in the ground.


I mailed my tax extension today so April is finished for me.  Now I am looking forward to May!  I'm spending a week in Maui to celebrate the big 65.  Upon my return I have my Medicare wellness exam and I'm looking forward to healthy news.  Then I am taking my May offspring to a resort in Oregon wine country where we will be pampered and relax for two nights.  Massage.  Facial.  Pedicure.  And delightful farm to table food.  Indoor pool and spa so we will probably not even leave the resort.

  

April showers!

Friday, April 14, 2017

OH, THE EGGCITEMENT!

My daughter loves Easter.  I mean she LOVES decorating, coloring eggs, hiding eggs, making cute baskets.

Last year she took off Easter from work ... forgetting all the egg hunts are the day (or week) before!  She was more disappointed than the boys.  This year she is taking tomorrow (Saturday) off and they have two egg hunts on the list.  The favorite one is at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club where she began her equestrian journey.

Wednesday she took just Mr. 3 to a hunt on the other side of town (where she works) that was only for ages 5 and under.  Deacon was SO excited when he got a lamb sticker inside a plastic egg ... because Lamby is his special comfort toy!  Lamby proudly wore that sticker all day.
(He also won the little blue bear)

I am going to make a special ham dinner for Saturday night so we can all sit down together.  Today I'm scrounging around looking for one of my tablecloths hoping they were not put into storage with my Mom's china and my Mother-in-Law's silver.  Not sure I can talk Jesse into trying to find all of these just to use for one meal ....

Kate has always especially loved the Easter candy.  Lately she has changed her whole eating style to fresh, organic (when affordable enough), and unprocessed food.  She's given up her nightly bowl of ice cream and all candy.  I had to call several grocers to find an organic free range nitrite/nitrate free ham and it better be delicious.  Little does she know, I made a tiny easter basket for her and Jesse ... Skittles for him (his favorite) and organic free trade 70% cocoa dark chocolate with sea salt bar for her.  And each a gift certificate to their favorite grocery.

I have never had a sweet tooth.  Born without one, I guess.  I remember my Easter basket having little bags of potato chips or a can of ripe olives or a stick of REAL butter, with just a bit of chocolate.  My idea of heaven.

My memories of Easter are great.  Hard boiling at least 5 dozen eggs (when there were just 5 of us). And then coloring them ... with coffee cups filled with warm water, food coloring and a spoonful of vinegar.  One year my Mom made sugar eggs with a little scene inside.  


She made Jello eggs to have after dinner.  I always got a new (to me, probably from a cousin!) dress and patent leather shoes.  We grew up Catholic and everyone wore their Sunday finest on Easter.

Mostly Mom (and older kids eventually) hid the eggs in our tiny house.  We were SO GOOD that some years it was a week later when we could smell an egg that never was discovered.






Saturday, April 8, 2017

THE YEAR OF HYGGE


There are many words in my repertoire for love and comfort.   In Danish, hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is one such word. Though there are many ways to describe hygge, the New York Times sees it simply as the Danish ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness.


This family practiced hygge a lot during our snowy cold winter.  It was easy as we were inside and at home a lot.  Nice roaring fires.  Comfort food.  Family games.  Cookie decorating.  Organizing rooms.  Yet Kate is already organizing family time this Spring.

If the day is sunny and nice when Mr. 6 gets off the school bus, he rushes home and changes into camouflage and best shoes for the occasion (rubber boots if is had been raining).  The boys each find a backpack and a hat, with all the necessary "weapons" that Mom will allow.  She packs a picnic, grabs the dog and off they go for an hour or two. 


I think the next thing to add will be a scavenger hunt.  Photo clues for Mr. 3, word clues for Mr. 6.

Life gets so busy sometimes that you really need to "plan" a special moment to stop and smell the flowers.  These dudes will only be little for such a short time.


My prize at the end of their hike.  Friends. Family. Graciousness.




Sunday, April 2, 2017

$1.40

2017 is bringing me great reductions in spending.  It's so exciting ... like getting a raise and a bonus.


May 1 begins Medicare coverage.  Part B from the Government is $134 or thereabouts.  My supplemental will be $88 (including prescriptions).  Last year I paid $628 PER MONTH for Kaiser so I will be spending about $400 less each month.  And my new right knee won't be thousands of dollars out of pocket (although yesterday I was will to pay the whole thing just to stop the pain)

Yesterday's mail also brought me unexpected good news.  My car payments have ended!  I thought I had a four year (don't worry, ZERO interest) loan but turns out it was just three!  Yippee skippee that's a nice chunk of change as well.

My "income" is so low that I do not owe any taxes.  While I'm not sure that is such good news, I'm taking it as such.

And let me not forget to mention my check from Honda Financial Services.  Yep.  $1.40 overpayment on the car loan.  Heading to the bank first thing on Monday!




Monday, March 27, 2017

PEACEFUL. PARTICIPATORY. PREDICTABLE.

Those three P's are what I want for my life.  Peaceful.  Participatory.  Predictable.

The best part of growing older is being able to choose my lifestyle.  Sure, when we were younger we thought we were choosing and we were, up to a point.  Yet careers, mates and children contributed a lot to the "drama" of how we lived.


Now my life is peaceful.  Almost boring perhaps.  I never schedule more than one thing per day...which leaves me open for doing something equally fun with a friend or grandson should it arise.  These days I move in slow motion it seems.  I love it.

I feel so much better participating in this small extended family life.  Jesse is FINALLY allowing me to give him a hand.  He is so particular about everything, it's taken him a while to decide clean, dry and folded is a good thing ... not necessarily HIS way of hanging all shirts up to finish drying after 5-10 minutes in the dryer.  I'm great at jammies, towels, socks and undies.  Now I can do little boy jeans and t-shirts as well.

Yesterday I made dinner.  This is my most difficult entry into t/his life.  About once a month I ask if I can cook.  And I get the groceries ... the GOOD stuff.  Last night we had homemade scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, asparagus and your choice of steak, halibut or salmon.  The boys like the beef and we two girls love the fish.  Kate and I are trying to eat more healthy, so the grilled fish can be put atop a salad and the final day we will make fish salad for crackers or sandwiches or patties.

Best of all, predictable.  No turmoil.  Few crises.  Happy and hopeful.  My teenage drama queen has matured into a busy Mom.  The financial strains of climbing the corporate ladder and growing a company is over (and paid off pretty well).


Peaceful, participatory and predictable.  The right life for this Awkward Widow.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

GARDEN GNOME


Getting Jesse a plot at the community gardens is one of my best ideas ever.  He has always loved putzing around in the tiny bit of dirt in front of their apartment and then in front of our condo.  Mr. 6 LOVES tomatoes so it's exciting for him as well.

Jesse spent a good month or so researching what to grow ... things that are expensive to buy ... and how to get a good amount of produce from a small spot.  You would not believe how many free software programs are available to help you plan.  He watches YouTube videos from other NW farmers.  One guy makes his living by selling to restaurants and Farmer's Market from just one acre of land.  Now he plants exactly what the local chefs want.

At first he thought he could never use all the space in a 10' x 10' so was going to plant flowers in half.  Now he has upgraded to a 20' x 20' garden!  He researches seeds like they were nuggets of gold.  He's started a small compost bin (ssshhhh ... don't let the mean crabby lady know) and has been reclaiming used pallets to make panels for his raised beds (yes, she complains about that a lot!)  (The Board told her as long as he was actively working, this is not an issue.  So then she complained about the noise.  Board asked ALL of our neighbors if the pallets bothered them or if the noise bothered them ... Nope!)


(the red squares are being cleared for new "farmers")

We have seedlings sprouting in all window sills.  He planted the seeds 10-14 days apart so not everything will be ready at the same time.  Now he has turned our second bathroom into a gro-light environment.  (Yes, five of us sharing one bathroom ...).  If the sun comes out, he carefully loads his little pots onto trays to take them outside.  Every night, he brings them back in.

And it's not just HIS/our garden he's working on.  He had to take two 3 hour classes on gardening.  He has to contribute 5 hours a month to the Luscher Farm park ... cleaning out old beds, putting down cardboard paths, working with kids at all the camps they hold for them.  They still have not told him which plot is his!  He's chomping at the bit to transplant.

Every year there is an "auction" for open plots.  IF you already have a plot and want to keep it, you can putter year round.  If you don't like the location of your plot, you get first dibs on any plots that are open.  There is a small barn where they keep community tools and wheelbarrows and wood chips for spreading on pathways.  You can keep all produce or you can donate to the Adult Community Center for their daily lunches.

We may not have as much fresh food this year since he is building his infrastructure, including amending the soil and adding more soil.  He has compost tea bubbling outdoors.  He bought worm castings and next year he will have experience!

Let me know if you'd like a $30 tomato!