Friday, May 18, 2018


Believe it or not, other retired people ASK me what I do all day.  I always wonder what sort of question that is ... I refrain from being my sarcastic self and simply say ... probably the same as you, I just live.

These are single ladies who live alone or a couple with their empty nest.  Usually intelligent people so I'm usually a bit taken aback.  HELLO?  I live with a 4 year old, a 7.5 year old, a 13 year old 65 pound dog and two thirty-somethings.  
No, there is never a typical day.  Each day starts out with an outline of what might happen.  Usually I wake up at 8am.  If there are no lights showing under my door, I keep to myself and read news, email, blogs, Facebook ... but it is hard to wait for that first cup of java!  I'm seriously thinking of getting a small coffee maker for my room.

Jesse gets up at 6:30 am to get Braeden off to the bus at 7:40.  Sometimes he's lucky enough to go back to bed and take a nap before Deacon wakes up.  Kate gets up about 8:30 on days she works (starts at 10am).  Deacon gets up anywhere from 6am to 10am.  Usually once in the night as well (always goes to Dadda).

I tidy up the bathroom I share with the boys ... put the toothbrushes away, the tooth paste, the brush, the comb, the hair gel, the pajamas on the floor and change the hand towel.  Typically I make breakfast for Deacon, always making him a "coffee" .... warm milk with a splash of vanilla syrup, topped with whipped cream and a pinch of sprinkles ... for AFTER he eats.

Jesse makes cold brew for me at the start of the week, so I warm up a cup.  Then I close all the kitchen cabinets and drawers, empty the dishwasher and reload.  Sometimes (usually on Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays ... Kate's days off ... I make some personal social outings to stay out of their hair).  Or head to the Clubhouse to use their wifi.
I LOVE grocery shopping and volunteer for that twice a week.  I either organize the fridge (tossing out leftovers that Jesse insists on saving ... ) or clean the fridge once a week.  Jesse doesn't drive so on Momma's work days, I am the family chauffeur.  At least once a week it's pick up a prescription,  3-4 times a week to his community garden plot, once a month to a Dr appointment and so on.

He does the laundry but FINALLY, after two years of intergenerational living, he will let me fold ... towels and kids casual clothes (pajamas, sox, undies) because he is so particular about washing, drying and hanging things.

Every day is meditation time (nap).

He watches a neighbor boy who is in Braeden's class two afternoons a week so I have quiet time in my apartment.  Two boys are noisy and chaotic, three boys?  No need for hearing aids.  Maybe once a week I get to cook but usually I'm the salad or fresh veggie arranger.

Now it is my wine time.  Braeden comes in about 8 or 8:30, after a shower, to read and bit and get mellow. Then my time for surfing the net, watching something streaming or reading (yes, finally enjoying reading again!)

And that's part of what I do in a day.  I love every minute of it.

P.S.  Deacon has soccer camp once a week.  Jesse is parent helper one morning a week.  We buy bulk hamburger, chicken, steak and portion into meal size quantities (10 ounces for ground beef), wrap and freeze.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Five years ago, Mr. Ralph died on the morning after my birthday.  Our usual group of six got together at our house for pizza and wine and desserts.  By then, Mr. Ralph was not verbal or moving and was in a hospital bed in the dining room (we moved the furniture to the garage) so he could look out on his beautiful backyard). 

The view from his hospital bed in the dining room (well almost)

The four of them each brought a helium balloon which we tied to his bed rails.  We touched him and talked to him and had the party all around him.  When I called everyone the next morning at 7:30 am to say he'd decided to leave, they all came over immediately!  We said our goodbyes and polluted the earth by setting the balloons free.

This year was my Route 66 birthday and my 5 year Sadiversary (perfect word from my friend and fellow blogger, The Misadventures of Widowhood).  He always liked to stay at very nice places and if I had to choose, I'd stay cheap and eat well.  So I decided to do both!

There's a place in Cannon Beach, Oregon right on the ocean that has a fabulous reputation for being special.  I stayed two nights and he spoiled me rotten.  First of all, my "room" was probably 1,300 sq ft with one and a half baths (the master bath is bigger than my current apartment), a see through fireplace, two huge rooms and a kitchenette.  

The Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon

From 4pm til 5:30 wine and appetizers are served in the library.  I'm SO uncomfortable in large groups where I don't know anyone, but I made myself go.  Didn't really connect with anyone as they were all couples (it is a pretty romantic spot).  Their restaurant is renowned for farm to table.  I had wild morel mushroom risotto and a perfect glass of cabernet.  No room for dessert but when I returned to my room ... the turn down service left two exquisite chocolates on the pillows.

The library

A gourmet breakfast is included, so I went down to the library to enjoy a cup of coffee prior to tasting everything.  Then some walking and browsing in the quaint little tourist town.  He bought me a little dish to put my earrings in at night and a book by my one of my favorite authors (Harlan Coben).  He insisted I have a massage and paid the little extra to have it in my room.

After 80 minutes of delightfully light pressure, I chatted a bit with the tiny, young masseuse.  As she was packing up the table that is bigger than her, she asked what my husband was doing while I was being spoiled (the whole hotel knew it was my birthday).  I told her about it being our Sadiversary and she said "Oh my gosh ... he is right here with you!  I was feeling so much love in the room while I was massaging you, I just had to ask."  We hugged and THAT made my day!  Sometimes I feel his presence more than others but I always know he is here.  But for someone else to "feel" him ....

I'm looking forward to next year! 

Monday, April 23, 2018


Should I start a list of all my medical stuff?

I remember my Mom had her surgeries and prescriptions typed out on paper.  As well as one for my Dad.  It just seems too soon to have to do this!  But hey ... I've had two knee replacement surgeries and several dermatology issues so maybe I should keep records....all in one place.

I'm also thinking I would LOVE to keep track of the costs.  What started this blog today I guess was getting a copy of my monthly "medical/hospital claim".  A month or so ago I had a MOHS procedure to double check a 4 mm (that's 0.15 inches) basal cell carcinoma on my nose.  Does anyone ever die from basal cell?  I don't think so.  But when they add that word "carcinoma" to any conversation


a cancer arising in the epithelial tissue of the skin 
or of the lining of the internal organs.

you know you are reeled in.  I was at the clinic for about two hours.  The total billed?  $4,000.00.  The amount "allowed" by Medicare was $1,000.00.  My share?  NOTHING.  This seems crazy ... why would a Dr even take a Medicare patient?  I digress.  Fixing Medicare will be blogged about next week.  

Keeping a medical journal.  In lieu of having software that will share information between doctors and clinics and hospitals and specialists and patients, I must be Knowledge Central.  Maybe not about the $$$ aspect, but EVERY new office (or office I haven't visited in the past three years) has you fill out an information form.  Soon perhaps I won't remember what happened when (or why).  So do any of you have a medical journal?  Suggestions, please?  Color code?  Spreadsheet?  Tabs?  Cool hip binder or Grandma black?

Monday, April 16, 2018

I DID IT (The Awkward Way)

I applied for Social Security when I was 62 and took a reduced rate since I wasn't "retirement age" yet.  At least it covered my health insurance premium until I got on Medicare.

Now that I am turning 66 (and two months, my "legal" retirement age, I can apply for Widow Benefits on my hubby's social security (which is a LOT more than mine)(He worked full time until age 75).  I had marked my iCalendar years ago so I could start the SS process in a timely manner.  I went online (hoping) to update My Account and be able to apply via the internet.  Nope.  So I gathered up my birth certificate, my Social Security card and ordered proof of marriage from the Vital Statistics company.

Loaded with all the documents I could think of (and a few emails from a SS helper in Seattle who confirmed in writing that YES I can upgrade from my amount to his amount), I arrived at the closest office at 8:30 am (they open at 9:00 am).  Yes, there was already a line with 11 people in front of me!  I had a cup of coffee and it wasn't raining, so I joined the misery loves company queue.  

I had to leave my coffee outside and the guard searched my purse (small and thin but who knows, I could have had a glass emory board for stabbing someone in the eye??).  Got my appointment ticket at 9:31 am.  My number was called in less than an hour and I was promptly informed that I needed an appointment to complete such a task.  And no, the office does not schedule their appointments ... I needed to go to the 800 number that only my closest 50,000,000 friends share.

Unlucky me, I was disconnected once after waiting over an hour and I gave up after waiting on hold for two hours on two separate occasions.

This past weekend I got a three page letter telling me that I had shown up in person withOUT an appointment and how to go about getting an appointment.  Yes, the same overly busy 800 number!

It's getting harder and harder for me to hear clearly on the phone (I didn't realize how much I depend on lip reading).  Usually, I have to put in my earbuds.  So I looked into finding a place locally where I could use a TTY machine.  

Wonder of all wonders, I can use this service on my iPhone!  This morning I called via TTY and got through in ten minutes.  It's slow and a bit cumbersome, but I can read a lot better than I can hear.  After 30 minutes of "Shirley" painstakingly asking for every bit of secret information (twice or more) we are warned about EVER giving out, we got disconnected!  ARGH!!!

I called back and got "Patrick" who only had to ask me ONCE for each item of information.... he then told me to look for a letter within ten business days that will either give me an appointment date and time, OR a phone number to the local office where they will give me an appointment.

Stay tuned ....

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Today was squandered.

I got up late and lingered longer over coffee.  Two cups, in fact.  Read a bit of news.  Checked email.  Read my favorite blogs.  Answered an email "interview" from a high school Senior on the Vietnam War (boy did that take me back in time).

Kate sent a text at 2:00 am saying she was barfing and not going in to work today.  Deacon had waked up at 4:00 am with a fever so slept the rest of the night (two hours) with Dad.  So most of the day here was pretty quiet.

No, I have not finished my taxes.  Everything is now in one place and half of it has been input into TurboTax.  But I did not touch them at all today.

 (Baby Braeden 2010)

Braeden gets to do a timeline of his life (seven whole years!) and I spent the whole day going through old photos.  Watching sweet videos of him with his Poppa.  Relived all the wonderful memories of Mr. Ralph and his projects ... the big house.  The condo.  The Maui cottage.  His remarkable work will last a lifetime.  All the trips I got to travel with him.  I have so many older photos to scan and make into albums.  And it's time to print another photo book for the boys.  They love looking at the "olden days" when they were babies.  Boy does that time go quickly!

(New brother, Deacon 2014)

I guess I wasn't doing nothing all day.  I took a long trip down Memory Lane.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Yet another HOA rant.  This will be the last one.  Yes, I stepped down.  No, she is not speaking to me.  Or looking at me (honest ... she was talking to a neighbor and when she saw me, she went behind a bush.  I purposely went over to talk to that neighbor).  Or communicating (much) with me.  Only out of necessity will she email or text.

I had already signed on to be the Spa Manager for two months so we could open that amenity early.  I rounded up six volunteers who will check the chemicals one day a week for two months (then the pool opens and some other sucker can coordinate that) and the professional pool guy will come once a week.

Braeden and I went about 10am Easter morning (opening day!) and the spa was filthy and the water was cloudy.  We got in anyway and took thorough showers when we went home.  I texted to her (Sunday is her day to volunteer) to see what the chemical levels were.  Out of whack so I said I would call Phil (pro) to get his advice. (Don't you think a tester would inform the manager IF things were not normal?) 

The pro's worker bee came on Monday morning and as I was leaving our parking lot (my building is next to the pool) I saw her out there with him.  I waited til after 2pm to see if she would volunteer any info.  Nope.  So I texted to see if she had gotten any update.  She proceeded to tell me the technical details that Pro had told her.  Her.  Not the Manager.  

I had to call her out on that so I texted "I'm so glad I asked you BEFORE I texted Phil as I would have felt pretty stupid asking him the exact same thing"  Then, out of the blue, Phil texted me the exact info that she had already given me ... she had texted him to tell him to text me!

I'm done.  It's over.  She cannot keep herself from being involved in everything.  

Coincidentally (not), my request for grass to be replaced was "approved" IF I paid the landscaper $1,027 (for 250 sq feet of sod) for both time and materials.  In the past, Owner paid for plants (sod is $150 for that amount) and HOA paid for installation.  Nope.  That has now changed .... interesting?  I think not.

Now I will go back to what my parents taught me ... if I don't have anything nice to say ....

Monday, April 2, 2018


I am the awkward sister.  We are a family of six children, two girls.  My sister is 8 years younger. 

(I think I was 28)

She is more adventurous.  She took herself to Thailand in her early twenties.   Alone.  Not speaking any Thai.  That was thirty years ago and I am STILL amazed. Even today I could not visit a country where I didn't know the language, at least a little.  Enough to say "Sorry, I do not speak your language".

She is more organized.  Since birth!  She could ask you to stop by her house (which would be immaculate ... she vacuums every day) to pick up three items and would be able to tell you EXACTLY where to find them ... second drawer on the left, in the back ... on the right hand side. 

She has more energy.  We both love to entertain although I rarely do these days (no room here at the condo!).  It's not even an extra thought to her to serve dinner for eight.  They do quite a bit of business entertaining, with 30+ people, and just the past few years she has used a caterer for some of the dishes.  Plus they are VERY close knit with  her hubby's family and they often land at her house for holidays and holy days.  That's a big crowd as well.

She is more earth conscious.  Before it was even an issue!  They compost any food and have a huge garden.  Now that it's just the two of them at their nest, they still manage to eat most everything they grow.  And a weekly CSA box of veggies.

She is so much healthier.  ALWAYS has been.  She had a paper route when she was younger.  Rode her bike a lot.  She is always the first to try a new eating regimen.  Vegetarian, vegan, pesco vegetarian (fish), and now SCD.  Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Google it.  They are both fit as fiddles.

She pushes past her fears.  She wasn't a good swimmer.  But when her kids got to be into snorkeling and SCUBA, she took swim lessons.  Then got HERSELF certified to SCUBA.  Now she has been all over the world watching fishes.

She works out 5+ days a week.  BEFORE he goes to work at 8:00 am.  That is 3-4 mornings a week, then Yoga on the weekends.  And 20 mile bike rides.  And walking/hiking 39,000 steps!  Oy!

(She considers THIS vacation ... New Zealand)

She is the most thoughtful of people.  I don't know how she does it.  Grand nieces and nephews get gifts for holidays and birthdays.  She brings a gift when she comes to visit.  She sends cards for no reason!  The most perfect card for whatever the reason ... like my recent nervous breakdown!  Crazy.

And to top it all off, gorgeous and intelligent!

How did I get so lucky?