Monday, September 30, 2013

INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUAL

Leave it to Stevie.  She puts such a positive spin on things ... especially for everyone else!  She deserves the positives more than any of us.  While I named my blog The Awkward Widow, today she called me The Independent Individual.  Not Suddenly Single.  Not Black Widow.  Not a Bereavement Blond.  An Independent Individual!!

Now I have a lot to live up to.  Independent Individual.  In the past I’d always considered myself “independent” but after losing Ralph, I realize how dependent on him I’ve been.  Having a sidekick made me braver.  It got me out of my comfort zone as I knew there was a snuggly place to land.  These days my stomach is on edge a lot of the time.  I have to force myself out of the house.  I have even learned to invite myself sometimes!  (People need to be brave enough to say NO if they really don’t want me along!!)

Individual.  The past few months I’ve been working on my relationship with Grief.  It’s an interesting journey.  It is very individual.  Some widow friends have not cleared out their husbands clothing after three years  (my house is tiny and I had the excuse of new closet installation to hurry me along).  Some widows are out and about with men friends after a few months.  We are all individuals doing this our way.  There is NO right or wrong.  There is no time limit on grief.

Some days it’s not so bad at all!  My good memories make me smile.  Other days, those good memories just make me cry all day.  The comfort food frenzy is really starting to show.  It’s up to me, myself and I to become an individual and take back my life.  


Thanks Stevie!  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

MEOWI - Part 3

This will be the last segment on the meanspiritedness of my neighborhood.  

Ralph and I were snowbirds.  Each year spending more time in Maui than in Oregon.  But while we were away from Maui, we would let friends come enjoy our slice of paradise.  Usually it was one or two people at a time.  Once it was my sister, hubby and two college kids.  One friend needed to find herself and she stayed a month!  Usually it was just a week or two.

For some odd reason, sharing our delight ticked off the neighbors.  Our guests were not party animals or bad citizens in any way, so I am not sure what the beef is ... except a continuation of the cat issue.  While we were in Oregon we received a strongly worded, threatening letter from the HOA attorney telling us to "cease and desist" using our home as a vacation rental.

What?  We wrote back saying we were NOT using our home as a vacation rental, or any kind of rental, but if we ever did ... we would be sure to read up on the rules and regulations, County and subdivision.

The HOA president continued to push the accusations so this time we did hire an attorney.  We are not breaking any rules by sharing, even if some friends left behind their camping stuff, or snorkel stuff or partial bottle of nice liquor.  Since we did not ask for these items as part of the deal of using our home, it is not considered "rent" despite what this illogical man thinks.  And the County agent said their guidelines stipulate friends and family are perfectly okay.  It was worth the $3,000 to put this idiot back into reality.

Their basis that we were "renting" was a note taped on our front door to our cleaning lady (who didn't show up at her assigned time and our great neighbors, Bob and Paula, who kept an eye on our place while we were away, had left her a note saying she had to come within the next two days as our guests were due to arrive).  Someone (too bad I can't name names here ...) stepped onto our property, took the note and photocopied it to send to the HOA.  (Now you see why I have the cameras?  Trespassing and theft for starters?).

Long story short, we also met in person with the HOA management company reps and they agreed the president over stepped his bounds (after first defending him saying he was merely acting as a concerned home owner ... do you think I, as a concerned home owner, could incur such a legal bill with nothing but a note to a housecleaner?)

The good news?  The president was forced OUT OF OFFICE.  He was allowed to say he "stepped down" after all of his years of great accomplishments.  Whatever.  The end result is fantastic!

We then began the final phase of upgrading our landscaping, this time we tackled the front.  Since our back deck is in the blazing afternoon sun, we wanted to add a small sitting area in front.  For some reason, no one else has a front porch or deck or lanai ... we all simply sit in our driveways with cheapo webbed lawn chairs and folding TV tables.  And drag it all back into the garage.  I felt like a hillbilly!  We had approval from the HOA from a few months ago to build it.  During construction, we decided to increase the width of our driveway with stepping stones so that two cars would fit comfortably, side by side.

That's when we discovered that he was still on the Design Review Committee!  He wanted to put a stop to the whole process (even though he himself has stepping stones and rocks to widen his driveway!) which continued to sound like sour grapes to the remaining Board, the Committee and even the Management Company.

So the whole project was APPROVED by the new Board President!



Despite the glares of several cat people who live in close proximity, I enjoy the new front wine bar (or iced tea!) a lot!  I wave to everyone who drives by.  I talk to those walking their dogs.  I would talk to anyone walking a cat as well.  The kids next door enjoy my cabinet of kid stuff so my driveway always has chalk art.

We decided to go with rocks to deter cat poop and save the time, energy and money of having to mow (because by now, we were having to PAY someone to do it).  Each plant has it's own drip on the sprinkler system.  My water bill is now HALF of what it used to be.  This was a work of art (and lots of sweat equity ... 153 each of 75 lb bags of white granite) by many of our Maui friends as Ralph became too weak to finish his vision.  He did, however, enjoy sitting out and bossing Bob and Gary and Al and Chico.

Thanks Mr. Ralph!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My 29th Wedding Anniversary

Today, September 28, 2013 would have been our 29th anniversary.  Neither of us could have ever believed the time would fly so quickly.  Sure ... we had our ups and downs but together, the bad times seemed half as bad and the good times were twice as good.  I think that will be my motto as I muddle through this grief without him.  

Our adventure started at the Oregon Coast with a Justice of the Peace, my sister and his son.  Blue jeans.  Tears of joy to think I could find such love.  Our first anniversary was at the same condo with his wonderful Mom along with us.  One anniversary we celebrated on Oahu as part of a business trip.  Another in San Francisco with our good friend Heidi babysitting.  Our 25th on Maui and we flew our daughter Kate and her boyfriend over to help us celebrate.  Our best friend Eli and his daughter Tara (Kate's best friend from age 4 til Tara went off to elite boarding school for high school) also joined us.  Small and perfect.

We had almost signed up for a Road's Scholar trip to Scotland with my sister and her husband for anniversary 2013.  Ralph is of Scottish descent yet never in all his world travels did he make it there!  We had to decide months ahead so I made the unpopular call that his pain and inability to walk or sit comfortably for very long meant we shouldn't go.  Hindsight was 20/20.  I do hope to make that trip for him and spread a wee bit of his ashes on the Motherland.




I'm buying myself some fresh flowers.  Taking my best boyfriend (Braeden) out to dinner.  Celebrating between my tears.  A perfect pity party.  

MEOWI - Part 2

Using the only recourse available to us, we took the trapped cat to the Humane Society.  Several other fed up neighbors began to do the same.  The battle became intensified.  Any time a cat couldn't be found (temporarily), the angry owner accused one of the cat "haters".  If a cat was injured in a cat fight (yes, the screeching happens every other week ... and only at 2:00 am), the vocal opponents of free roaming cats were blamed for torturing the cat.

Because the Crazy Cat Lady is friendly with those on the HOA Board, no one would enforce the "reasonable" number of pets rule.  It got so bad that the President of our Homeowners Assn sent a five page letter to the Chief of Police (copy to Humane Society) accusing us and the others who complained (by name and address) of being terrorists, torturers and murderers of cats, etc.  He even had other neighbors sign this letter (most of whom had never even met Ralph or me!).  

Ralph and I were back in Oregon when this happened (I guess they thought we had our own cat mafia doing our dirty work) but the police went to EACH household named, read them their rights and then questioned them.  Of course, we were all horrified that a person could put lies and accusations in writing and we were all guilty until proven innocent.  Most of us went to attorneys for some kind of recourse.  The attorneys concluded the HOA Board was dangerously over the edge of sanity and advised us to just forget about the whole incident.  Any action could push this guy over the edge and into physical violence.  

Because neither the police nor the Humane Society would (could) do anything to the "terrorists" because we had not done anything illegal, the Board and snotty neighbors began reporting violations of the bylaws on the cat haters.  We were notified of "chattel" visible from the street. (We had rakes and shovels mounted neatly on the side of the house behind the fence ... but one inch was visible from the sidewalk, if you looked around the plumeria tree).  

We had an outdoor shower installed in our backyard ... which is an inch or two visible from the front sidewalk, if you stop and try to find it, so we had to seek design review approval.  Fortunately there are a few normal people on that committee!


The head of the HOA Board has a bare shower head visible from the street .... 

Others had to move hose bibs, trash can storage, dig up and move landscaping items, etc.  But ONLY those owners who disapproved of the cat mess in their own yard.  If owners complained about muddy cat prints on their cars, it was suggested they buy and use car covers.  We were also encouraged to get our own cat and join in the fun.

And yes.  It gets worse.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

MEOWI - Part 1

My little suburban neighborhood on Maui has a dividing issue.  Cats.  Free roaming, outdoor cats to be specific.  Mind you, we've always had a cat (or two) but they were kept indoors so that we could haul out their poop.  People on Maui think the rest of us enjoy hauling out their cats' poop.

We don't.

At our first Homeowner's Association meeting, 8-10 couples finally decided to bring up the issue.  Every week before we could mow our little lawn, we'd have to scoop up mounds of cat shit.  Yes.  Since there isn't any bark dust or sand right here, they just poop wherever they want ... except, of course, not their own yard.  We were one of the couples who complained (Ralph had cancer and could not be in contact with the urine and feces).  Three separate times the cats pissed through our screen door onto our tile entry.

The Crazy Cat Lady lives kitty corner from me.  She has FORTY cats.  Some are indoor only, some are outdoor only (with access to her garage).  Ralph and I were friendly with her and her best friend of 30 years who lives right next door to us.  We had lawn parties and went out for dinner as well as having them both over for a home cooked meal.  We tried working directly with Crazy Cat Lady (her term by the way) about the unhealthy remnants from her cats.  She suggested lots of natural ways to deter them.  Pepper all over the lawn.  Mothballs.  Special deterrent spray.  Citrus peels and spray.  None of them worked.  She even bought an electronic gizmo that was motion sensitive to scare them away.  It didn't work either.

At the meeting, after a few others outlined their problems with all the cats (estimated 400,000 free roaming cats on this island ... with Crazy Cat Lady and cohorts feeding them at their colonies), Crazy Cat Lady's feelings were hurt despite the fact that no one mentioned anyone by name.  Megan, her friend, became an angry vindictive woman who began to vandalize our yard.  Stealing our bird feeders (thinking we were using them to "lure" cats into our yard so that we could kill them).  Pouring molasses down our side of the white plastic fence that divides our yards (yes, it stains).  Putting peanut butter on the top of the fence.  And so on.  It quickly escalated into cat lovers and cat haters (although we are not).

I contacted every resource I could think of to get some help in convincing her (and others) to keep their pets in their OWN yards (or homes).  There are so many rules and regulations regarding dogs!  Why not for cats?  I tried our HOA (our bylaws say we may keep a "reasonable" number of pets).  I tried the Humane Society.  The Feline Foundation.  The County.  The Police.  The Board of Health.  Apparently the feline lovers on Maui have a LOT of money and many are afraid to address this out of control situation.

So I bought a live trap and took my first victim to the Humane Society.  August 2011.




Monday, September 23, 2013

FAMILY TIME


Kate and Braeden and I have enjoyed some pleasant, slow paced time together.  We play Mr. Potato Head as well as spend hours in water ... at the ocean, a borrowed pool or the wading pool in Gramma's back yard.  

He brings up his Poppa all the time.  My eyes get teary sometimes because I know how much Poppa would be enjoying watching this guy grow and learn.  He reminds me "be happy Gramma" and he talks to Poppa in the clouds.  What a joy!

He is kind and generous (I get a compliment almost every day ... Gramma, your rocks are pretty).  And he's pretty smart!  Each parent spends quality time with him.  He asks SOOOOO many questions!  I don't know how THEY are going to manage without him while he spends two weeks with Gramma!

Speaking of family time, my sister has invited me to head to Louisville from Portland.  Our four brothers still live around Columbus, Ohio and she is willing to drive there for a mini-family reunion.  A former Maui neighbors (who she has met) recently moved back to Alabama and we might just make the five hour drive to visit them.  Her son is in NYC and her daughter at Mt Holyoke college in Massachusetts.  LOTS of road trips so lots of chatting.

With all that in mind, I may as well join them for Thanksgiving!  Which happens to be the first day of Hannukah!  This might just be the best thing for my first holidays without Ralph.




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sorry! I've Been on Vacation!!

My house is filled with conversation, toddler jabber and children's animated movies these past two weeks.  Then my 27 year old daughter needed to borrow my computer so she could watch TV in bed (I told her not to bring hers ... enough to handle with an almost three year old on a 6 hour flight).  Having all this commotion is "vacation" for me after rattling around on my own for three months!

Kate loves Maui for perfecting a tan.  Oregon is NOT much for outdoor sun tanning, so she is soaking it up.  Believe it or not, I think this is her first year without a sunburn!!!  Typically we slather up with sunscreen (Braeden and I are still on SPF 50 ... Kate is on 8) and play in the pool.  Then Mom heads for the lounge chair and me and Mr. B go to the kiddie pool.  After three swim lessons, I can hardly keep him up long enough to breathe some oxygen!  The kiddie pool is about chest high for him so he is overly confident.  Several times, I've had to pull him up and remind him to keep his face in the sunshine for one minute.

He thoughtfully said "You sit still Gramma (pointing to the edge so just my feet are in).  Don't touch me.  I'm swimming."  But he meant business!




Sunday, September 15, 2013

HEALTHY EATING

Eating less and eating better are what I need to be doing. I've been indulging this widow comfort food thing...and I had 30 pounds to lose before adding on this next 15.  UGH.  But I think having my house guests is helping.

The two twenty-somethings are self sufficient although since they are on vacation, they are indulging a little bit also.  Braeden needs fuel every couple of hours which lets me choose some healthy options.  He tries almost everything!  His Mom has him eat his protein first and then lets him have salad and carbs.  Otherwise this guy would just eat salad!  And he's TWO!

Every two year old is quite busy so it is challenging to get him to sit and enjoy his meal or snack, and then go back to playing with Mr. Potato Head.  Sometimes they need to sit at the table with him watching him be healthy.

Most nights we four do a walk around the neighborhood right before his bedtime.  Gramma goes to bed at the same time he does (9:30pm or so ... last night way later) although I usually watch a program on my iPad.  I enjoy getting up before everyone else and savoring my cup of coffee.

Despite the really hot and humid weather of September, I am really enjoying this month!  Having loving people around, tending to their needs (a lot of pool towels and swimsuits) and enjoying kamaaina discounts (residents get deals during low tourist season months!).

Friday, September 13, 2013

BRAEDEN

My little man and his Mom (and a girl friend of hers) arrived for vacation.  Suffice it to say I bet I don't write a blog every day!  Whew!  The noise and motion are keeping me busy.

The first thing Braeden said when we got home from the airport ... where's Poppa?  My eyes teared up to which he replied "he's in heaven and I can talk to him any time I want."  Matter of fact, we can!  Then he proceeded to show Meagan Poppa's buddha, Poppa's bench, Poppa's shower, and so on.  Everything is Poppa.  




Yesterday morning at 10:00 am he had a swim lesson with my mermaid.  He LOVED it.  She brought a magic bag filled with toys (the kind that sink so he would gradually get his face closer and closer to (and into) the water trying to retrieve them.  By the end of 45 minutes, he was being pushed through the water, head under and eyes open, to each of us!  SWIMMING!!!  We are going every day for at least two weeks, maybe the whole month.  Might as well have a little fish for a grandson.

This morning he woke up WAY too early to say "Gramma, I'm hungry" at 6:00 am.  Yesterday he slept in til 8:00 am.  As long as he remains in a good mood for his swim lesson, all is good.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SUBURBIA

Methinks I'm a pretty lucky widow.

I live in a little slice of suburbia on Maui.  Most neighborhoods here are not so cookie cutter with just five or six styles of homes, sidewalks and very flat.  But I picked it for the walkability.  It’s just half a mile to a Safeway shopping center with several restaurants, Starbucks, Jamba Juice and lots of little shops.  Another half mile from there is my Kaiser Permanente clinic, my bank, the post office, my gym (I use the term “my” loosely in this instance), the hardware store and more restaurants and shops.  So when I get old and have retired from driving, I can still be very independent.

If I walk (or ride my bike) in a different direction from Safeway, the Kihei community pools await.  It is open and available seven days a week from 9am until 4:30 pm.  Oh, occasionally there are swim meets on the weekends and then it is closed to the casual pool people.  There are three pools. The two large ones are divided into sections for water walkers, deep water aerobics, lap swim and diving.  Fortunately for me and Mr. Braeden, the other pool is just for kids!  Oh.  And did I mention it is NO CHARGE?  (I was going to say “free” but I think my property taxes help pay for it).

Just past the shopping center with my bank and all ... is the Pacific Ocean.  Probably less than a mile and a half from my front door.  All in all, I really do live in paradise.  It will be totally accessible with or without my car (hopefully I get another 20 years of driving!)


While it would be so much more fun with Mr. Ralph, I think I can safely say it’s beginning to feel a lot more like home.  For the long term.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

HOLIDAYS

Last year, Ralph and I decided to stay in Maui for Thanksgiving.  On the actual holiday, we went to a fancy shmancy restaurant.  Then the Sunday after, we had a few friends over for turkey and all the trimmings.

But we caved in and returned to Portland for Christmas (for four weeks).  This year I'm planning on staying on Maui for the holidays.  Sniff sniff.  Wish me luck!  It's going to be hard ... apparently for many years ....

It’s time for NEW traditions.  Kate has her little family and a bazillion friends, and at 27, it’s her turn to make the plans and do the inviting.  Airfares are ridiculously high during holidays, especially tropical paradise places like Maui.  I’m hoping we change our big get together to October (Braeden’s birthday) or May (my birthday, Kate’s birthday, Mother’s Day, etc).

Today, my buddy Leslie called and asked if I had plans for Thanksgiving.  Oh my goodness!  I thought I was the ONLY person who started planning this early.  So exciting!!  Count me in.  We are going to co-host this holiday.  

Thanks to Mr. Ralph, I have the perfect outdoors for entertaining.  The back lanai has a table for six and a bar height table with four bar stools.  In addition I have four stacking outdoor chairs as well as four chairs and two side tables on the front lanai.  Do the math!  That’s minimum 18 peeps.  Oh, and two lounge chairs although only football watching people know how to eat in those while reclining.  He personally installed the outdoor lighting which adds to the ambience.  I have twinkling white Christmas lights outlining the roof of the original patio area.  You know, sometimes even when it’s just me, I sit outside at night to simply enjoy that scenery.


It will be pot luck, of course.  I even volunteered to turn on my oven to bake the turkey.

Monday, September 9, 2013

MY VERY OWN MERMAID

 Yes!  Braeden and his Mommy arrive on Wednesday evening.  I am beyond excited!  

He loves the water, always has!  So I thought this would be the perfect place to have swim lessons.  He gets to stay in Maui for a whole month!  Two weeks longer than his Mom (and his Daddy was unable to take time off work to come over!)  Finding lessons seemed impossible!  Weeks ago, I started asking everyone I know.  Two names kept popping up.  I researched them (great websites), dashed off emails.  Neither have time until after the first of the year!  Rats.

Then a Mermaid appears out of nowhere!  My neighbors met her at the beach after they went paddle boarding.  She was working with an adult and they asked if she gave lessons.  Why yes!  She had just moved to Maui the day prior.

We connected a few days later and WOW!  I now have my very own mermaid.  We seemed to hit it off.  She moved here from Whidbey Island, Washington which just happens to be my sister’s favorite spot for an annual summer vacation.  Small word.

I’ve got wheels and My Mermaid needed to move from her temporary condo accommodations to her new Tree House apartment. This arrangement simply fell into her lap and is just perfect for her.  It’s not the Grand Wailea or Four Seasons.  More of a Motel Six for now.  No running water in her unit.  Restroom with shower is downstairs around the corner.  A small kitchen to share.  But it is FABULOUS!  We went garage saling on Saturday.  I think she is set!

Sunday we took the afternoon off went south to Makena Landing.  Two huge turtles were basking and several others showing off close to shore.  No matter how often I see turtles, it always is an awesome experience.  It was also a great sunset.


I think despite my religious beliefs and skepticism, we will remain good friends.  Sisters of the Sea.


Baby swim lesson with this water healer starts Thursday.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

For the past few years, people have started talking quieter.  The actors on TV began mumbling.  If I can’t see their lips or know the context of the conversations, I don’t always understand.  

When my husband began speaking indistinctly, I set up an appointment for him with an audiologist.  He fought it for a bit but when I said "we" could both be tested so we have a baseline, he agreed.  He reluctantly tried a pair of hearing aids.  And he hated them.  They were returned within the specified trial period.

He tried another set a year or so later and hated them just as much.  But he kept them and on occasion he would start a day (or a date) with them, but they usually ended up in my purse sooner rather than later.

Here’s my dilemma.  Ralph is not here any more.  Yet the TV characters are still very incoherent and my friends continue to whisper.  I sit at the condo Board meetings with my hands cupped around my ears (that really works, by the way ... that early Roman semicircular sound amplification thing ..)

So I’m thinking maybe at this tender young age of 61, perhaps I need to visit an audiologist.


Hearing aids?  Really????

I just don’t want to miss anything!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

It takes a village to console a new widow.  And I have one!  

Friends from the past whose friendships faded due to different stages of parenthood, corporate ladder climbing, etc. have been rallying around me (long distance of course).  We are picking up right where we left off.  I guess when there are such great common topics like cataracts, hearing loss, crowns, thinning hair and our flesh growing in so many distorted shapes ... how could we not get along?

I also realized that some of my local acquaintances are becoming friends.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my grandson is coming to visit for a month and I wanted to get swim lessons for him.  Found an instructor (I call her My Mermaid).  The waves of the ocean are kinda scary to a two year old.  I needed to find a pool!  On Facebook, I posted my plea.  Three households volunteered!!  Which means we won't wear out our welcome at any one spot.  

Last but not least ... I made a completely NEW friend!

That story will be my next blog.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

MY BEST FRIENDS

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, making friends at this stage in my life is a bit more work.  I’m pretty outgoing yet this remains a challenge.  Bob and Paula talk to people at the beach or in the grocery or at an art show ... and then plan something social.  So I’m going to put myself out there in the same way.  Yeh, they admit that sometimes the new acquaintances are a bit “off” but hey, that makes the world go round.

The past four months, I’ve had two really great friends!  We get together every night (sometimes during the day).  They are always willing to get together even with late notice on my part.  Maybe I should have introduced you before.  


HGTV and Food Network.  We rock!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MADE IN CHINA

Four months after Ralph's death and I'm still learning of people who weren't notified of his passing.

This morning I got an email from a business associate in China.  Fortunately (I think), I've met her several times, mostly in China!  Lucky me.  During the last 4-5 years of his employment with Biamp Systems (electronics manufacturing firm where he worked for 26 years), he finally slowed down his pace enough so that I could travel with him.  My criteria?  That we spend at least two nights in each hotel.  Otherwise, all I would see would be airports, taxis and hotels!  He went on ten business trips to a town just 45 minutes from Venice, Italy ... and never visited!  

On each trip where I accompanied him, one of the company Sales Managers was in charge of the business meetings, business dinners, hotels and thinking up how to keep me entertained during the day.  What a spoiled wife I was!  Europe, China (twice!), Hong Kong, Australia and the ABC of South America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile).  These memories will last me a life time.

Anyway, I apologize Lily for not contacting you and your company.  Honestly ... I had hoped that the good people at Biamp would let all his reps and corporate associates know of the sad news.  Maybe even write an article for some of the trade magazines.  My bad.

Thank you for emailing him this morning which was forwarded to my email.  You gave me pause to remember!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

SERENDIPITY

Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

I believe in this. It happens to me a lot!

My grandson (and my daughter) are arriving on Maui next Wednesday. Braeden gets to stay for a whole month! He loves the water and I thought swimming lessons during his visit might be a great thing. Both fun and educational.  I began asking everyone here. Two names kept popping up so I scrambled off an email to each. Neither has an opening until January. Maui has several community pools but the closest one does not have a learn to swim program (kinda unbelievable).

Last week at the beach, after their morning paddle board session, my friends/neighbors, Bob and Paula, saw a woman who looked like she was teaching someone to swim.  Paula went over to chat and by golly, she DOES give swim lessons.  She had moved to Maui the day before!  She provided her website and her cell number for them to share.  Today I got around to calling her.  Although she hasn't found a pool where she can teach, she is confident that a protected shallow beach area would work just fine.

I'm going to meet her for coffee on Thursday.  During our phone call, me finally finding her website, her new Facebook page and a couple of emails .... it turns she has lived in Oregon and spent a few years on Whidbey Island, Washington and appears to be a true mermaid.  She looks very similar to my sister in law!!  Although a few years younger than me, we might just hit it off.  With both of us starting new lives.

Maybe I will take swim lessons when I return from reluctantly returning Braeden back to his parents.

Monday, September 2, 2013

LABOR DAY

Whoo hoo!  A very successful Labor Day BBQ with my South Maui Merry Widows.  One of us had to leave before dinner but fortunately she left her potluck contribution for us to enjoy.  Four of us enjoyed grilled steak, zucchini, sweet peppers, and potatoes.  Contributions were shrimp ceviche, four bean salad, asparagus, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, crudites, fruit, olives and yogurt dill dip.  Brownies for dessert.

Best of all ... terrific conversation accompanied by red wine and two potential new friends.  One has been widowed almost five years and the other two years.  It was Sept 2 here, marking my four month loss.  We laughed and shared and traded information for future get togethers.  Including birthday, husband death date, anniversary, etc.  

Big shout out to my neighbor (and rent a hubby) Bob.  I power blasted the front rock garden, swabbed the deck, washed the driveway, swept the garage, replaced the cushions on the furniture and baked the brownies.  Bob called to say he was coming over to clean and spruce up the yard before my party.  NO WAY ... I exclaim.  I'm just resting up (cooling off, really) then ready to tackle the back.  But he came over and did WAY more than I would have done!  Including washing the house!  It really gave me time to get the inside stuff done.

I owe him the left over brownies!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

SEPTEMBER?

Tomorrow marks four months since my husband died.  Unbelievable.  Part of me feels like it was last week.  The other part of me feels like I have aged ten years.

Tonight I ventured to a dinner party at one of Ralph's favorite places, the home of Carrie and Jim.  Jim is a carpenter extraordinaire.  The first project Ralph wanted at our Maui home was an outdoor shower...and Jim was the man to do it up right.


Which led to a deck.  A sliding glass door from our bedroom to the shower.  And so on.  The guys just seemed to hit it off and somehow Jim invited us over for pupus (appetizers) and wine.  We thought OUR backyard was becoming paradise until we visited his.

Long story short, we've been over many times and finally met his now fiancee, Carrie, and we all became friends.  Carrie retired last year and moved to Maui to enjoy making her dream of running a Bed and Breakfast on Maui come true.  Today, September 1, 2013, is the grand opening.

I was hesitant to go.  It might be awkward.  But then I thought, hey!  I AM The Awkward Widow!  So I went and had such a wonderful time.  Several of the same old crowd.  A new potential friend.  A lead on a part time job.  But best of all, the love of Carrie and Jim prevailed.  Never an awkward moment!  

It looks too good to be true ... that's a saltwater pool in the background. I sat in that rattan chair on the far right.  A wonderful steak dinner followed by coconut cream pie.

Ralph was definitely there.