Tuesday, December 31, 2013

END OF 2013

My girlies left a couple of hours ago, after a really short and sweet visit from Portland.  They both got pretty good tans so they have a souvenir .... for a few days anyway.

Now I'm allowing myself to be sad.  It's so helpful to be around friends (including family!) because even though I miss Mr. Ralph, it's more in the background.  But this afternoon he's right in front of me.  With all of our good memories.


In the beginning, for New Year's Eve, we'd go out with crowds.  I especially remember one with Russ and Janna Brown at Black Butte.  Wall to wall people yet we had a blast!  He was always in the mood to dance.  ONLY on New Year's Eve!  After Kate, we were mostly celebrating at home.  We'd change our clocks so she would think it was midnight!!  We watched Forrest Gump, whether we were at home or on a mini Oregon vacation.  When she got a little older, we enjoyed being with other families and playing games.  A few years were spent on vacation on Maui and the party was by the pool.  For a couple of years, we were the drivers so Kate could party!  

To ring in 2010, before cancer, a friend gave us his reservations at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  This was one of my favorites.  Just the two of us!  Not a care in the world.  He was retiring at the end of the month and we were headed for a three month sabbatical on Maui. We were totally snowed in for the few days we were there and got a break the day we had to drive back home.

This year I'm undecided.  I might just enjoy myself by myself.  I bought a bottle of Prosecco.  Some tasty (and rather healthy) snacks ... baba ghanoush (eggplant and garlic spread), tofu egg salad (my fav) and some ahi poke (marinated raw tuna). 

Don't worry.  While I will be missing him and probably crying a little, it won't be a pity party!  Just good old fashioned grieving.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

OUTDOOR COOKING


The best thing about having visitors?  Getting to cook!  Sharon and M'Linda are both single so the joy of cooking isn't always there.  Same for me.

As a threesome, it is so much more fun.  We are having a nice healthy breakfast at home, every day except today.  Lunch is usually at the beach.  Dinner?  At the Weber.  

One night we had seared ahi on a bed of super greens with  wasabi vinaigrette.  M'Linda brought THREE amazing bottles of Pinot Noir which have all paired up better than I would have imagined.

Last night was Indonesian chicken on the grill.  Which sounds exotic and gourmet, right?  The recipe is from Ina Gartner and has very very few ingredients ... just needs to marinate for four hours or longer (longer would have been better ... as she had used swordfish.)  Easy peasy.

This time asparagus with a dash a fresh lemon juice.  I tried a friend's idea of cooking rice in coconut milk and BAM!  In love with that.

Tonight we are splurging and heading out to a popular place (Hali'imaile General Store) for a special treat.  Then a farewell gathering before they depart Tuesday afternoon.  Thai chicken (thighs) in the crockpot!  So we won't have to miss a moment of beach time.  We've invited two other friends ... one bringing and appetizer and one bringing dessert so we are covered.

The BEST part of all this cooking?  Sharon and M'Linda do the dishes and clean up!




Friday, December 27, 2013

MAUI NO KA 'OI

This phrase, Maui no ka 'oi means "Maui is the best."  I have to agree!

Sharon and M'Linda arrived late Monday afternoon.  Here it is Friday and I haven't written a blog all week!  Because we are having fun.  We go to a different beach every day.  Even though I am not a sun worshiping lady, every other day I pick a beach that has a shady area for me.  

Christmas Eve was a little party for ladies ... snacks and wine and stories and laughter.  Christmas day I grilled Chilean sea bass as well as asparagus, red onion slices, potatoes and cherry tomatoes.  It was beautiful, Christmas colors and quite tasty.  M'Linda brought THREE bottles of wine in her suitcase so we enjoyed a Boedecker Pinot Noir that was fabulous.

Last night we made festive pomegranate martinis.  This morning we went on a two hour whale watch.  We did get to see quite a few whales but none were very close.  February is the best month for lots of close up action.  I've been on many whale watching trips in Maui and I learn something new every time!  Today's biologist informed us that the whales arrive in a staggered progression .... young males followed by older males, ladies with yearlings then pregnant whales.  This is both a birthing place and a breeding place.

Tonight we are going to the Kihei monthly festivities featuring craft vendors and food vendors.

Maui no ka 'oi!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIET OF THE DAY


It's been interesting to remember all of the eating trends throughout my adult life.  I think the first one I remember (mainly for the scandal afterwards) was The Scarsdale Diet.  A very rigid regime allowing only certain foods at certain meals.  
Then I started thinking about so many more that were a fad for a while but seem to vanish after a year or two.  Cabbage soup diet.  Atkins.  South Beach.  The Zone.  Mediterranean Diet.  Eating for Your Blood Type.  And then the Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, etc kind where you have to buy their food.  Yuck.  I actually tried Nutrisystem ... for two weeks.  Double yuck.

But now the trend seems to be "gluten free."  Unfortunately, many people who have jumped on this are NOT doing it for health reasons.  People who HAVE celiac suffer dire consequences even with just a teaspoon of wheat or other offending food in a big recipe.  The trendy people who make all sorts of noise and commotion about "remember, I am gluten free" often enjoy a slice of bread while dining with me.  Um ... that's not gluten free, you are just following a FAD.  "Just one piece of pie" means you are not GF.  Just sayin.

The only "diet" I think has stood the test of time?  Weight Watchers.  And I need to get back on it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SPUR OF THE MOMENT

In the past, I haven't been very good about spur of the moment activities.  I like to be at my best, physically and mentally, to be social.  Fresh from a shower.  Clothes that make me feel good.  A good hair day.  And time to wrap my blond head around the event.


Widowhood is changing my thinking.  This week I had two opportunities to meet up with a friend on the spur of the moment.  

Just as I was finishing my first cup of coffee, Nancy called and with just a bit of panic in her voice, asked if she could come over and take me out for coffee.  She is in the middle of a huge home renovation and I think things were finally getting to her.  I warned her that I hadn't showered, had bed head hair and was dressed like a wash woman.  And I went.  Turned out to be a great day, thanks to the start of my day.  She is the closest thing I have to a big sister.

Today, Leslie called first thing in the morning with some big heavy happenings to discuss.  My advice is always free and I feel like she is my little sister ... going through things that happened to me many moons ago.  Later in the day, after her hubby left for work, she called to see if I wanted to run errands with her.  She is always so interesting to talk with (not always the superficial chit chat) so I cast aside my plans to make spaghetti and meatballs and said YES!  We ran her errands then decided to bring home Chinese for dinner.  And continued our conversation about husbands (she's a newlywed), girlfriends, cooking, Maui, kids, holidays, new apps, good books to read and other important world problems.

Yep.  I'm learning to be spur of the moment!


Friday, December 20, 2013

FAMILY TIME

My daughter is growing up.  

Through her journey of motherhood (Braeden is now 3 ... baby boy #2 due March 11) she is being much much nicer to me.  Best of all, she indulges my grandmotherliness.  She texts me photos and cute little videos.  She calls about once a week to do Facetime.  Braeden now "gets it" that he can take the phone and show me things.  Wanna see my dog?  It is so much fun to have little conversations with him.


I've been mailing him a letter (with a balloon or some stickers or some tattoos) about once a month.  I guess I need to bump it up a little since has asked for some mail!!  I made a little 4x6 photo album with a few photos of him with Poppa, me and Poppa and of course, some gecko photos.  Now I can send him a photo inside his letter.

Even though I'm not spending Christmas with them, for the first (and last) time, I still get to enjoy the little moments.




Thursday, December 19, 2013

GOOD NEIGHBORS

In the early days of this blog, I've mentioned a few of the weird neighbors I have on Maui.  A few are more than weird ... kinda scary and vengeful.  Today I'd like to share about a few wonderful neighbors.




Right next door are Chelsea and Brent and their three youngsters, 10, 8 and 6.  I have so much fun with them.  They allowed me to have a couple of months to myself and now that they know I'm doing okay, they invite me to join them.  Chelsea started a Tuesday night sunset group at our closest beach.  Mostly young couples with young children but I enjoy it all the same.  Interesting conversation and lots of wine!

Last night Chelsea invited me to dinner at a fancy restaurant where I have never been.  She invited another friend.  We shared an appetizer and two meals (buy one get one FREE).  Despite our age difference, we chatted for hours!  And the food was yummy.

Bob and Paula have been our friends since we bought our house here in 2010.  They were both invaluable during Mr. Ralph's health journey.  And so they have been steadfast in getting me through my grief.  We invite each other out for lunch every other week or so.  I have them over and they have me over.  Best of all, they can do ANYTHING, so they are my handy couple.  I keep a list going so if/when they ask if I need anything done, I can text it right to them.  

Today Bob fixed my guest room closet door, the stopper in the guest bathroom, installed another outdoor camera, and changed the timer on my outdoor lights (so they stay on until 11pm). In less than 30 minutes.  Tomorrow they are doing my yard work!  I avoided it the past 8 months and now it's overwhelming.  Plus he thinks I have a water leak somewhere so tomorrow he is meeting with the water dept (my meter is locked so he couldn't test things).

Tonight I took them out to dinner for their Christmas gift!  I'm so grateful to have some great neighbors!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PHOTOVOLTAIC

This is the new word for solar power.  And I'm going to harness some here in Maui.

Mr. Ralph and I had batted around the notion for a while, but then he was too sick to be interested.  

Researching and hiring someone to do this has been a major task.  Not something I would recommend during the first year of widowhood but the electric company here is coming up with ways to prevent many more consumers from tapping into this big savings on monthly bills.  I asked everyone I knew who had solar, who they used and why.  Many companies have already gone out of business in two years!



Having solar power will be a BIG selling point should I ever need to sell this Maui Mansion.  So I bit the bullet.  Thankfully I have my neighbor Bob to give me his input.  The company he used has been doing this for ten years in Hawaii ... longer on the mainland.  The manufacturer they use is state of the art.

MECO (Maui Electric) is putting a cap on how many homes or businesses can have PV (photovoltaic) because their system is not set up to RECEIVE power, when I make more during the daytime than I use.  In the very near future (this is already happening in some neighborhoods) new installations will have to bear the cost of upgrading MECO's system ... thousands of dollars per household!

While there is a substantial upfront investment, my electric bill will go from $300 per month to $20 per month, so it will pay for itself in four years.  

Then I won't be afraid to use my oven!




Monday, December 16, 2013

BUT YOU DON'T "LOOK" SICK

My mother and father both had severe arthritis.  Mom had two hip replacements then it moved to her back.  Along with intense osteoporosis.  My Dad had a knee replacement and needed to have the other knee done but felt Mom needed him to help care for her so he never got it done.  They had a handicap parking permit but got a LOT of "but you don't look handicapped."  She always said thank you.



I have a dear friend who has late stage Parkinson's Disease. At a local restaurant here, you go in and order and THEN you take a table.  My friend cannot stand very long, so while her hubby was in ordering, she sat at a table.  The waitress came by and said no saving tables.  She NEVER tells people about her chronic condition until (and if) they become close friends.  She explained that she needed to sit and that her husband was in line ordering.  Too bad.  You can't sit until he comes out.  That made her mad, so she slowly walked up to the line (which by then was out the door with hungry tourists) to tell her husband she'd rather go elsewhere.  While saying excuse me and trying carefully to get by ... she was pushed (almost knocking her over!) and told "no cutting in line."

She is drop dead gorgeous and looking at her, you would never think she is traveling the journey of painful chronic disease.  She never complains.  She is amazingly cheerful and how she can remain optimistic and thankful is beyond my comprehension.




So BEFORE you speak and prejudge someone's behavior ... physical or mental .... imagine that you don't have half the story.  Maybe the person really is handicapped.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

MELE KALIKIMAKA

The Christmas season is finally reaching my heart.  

This Maui house is pretty small with no room for a real tree.  I have an 18 inch artificial one sitting in the middle of the kitchen island, which is visible from every corner of the living area.  My coffee table has a festive rectangular plate with three large red automatic candles.  I smile every night when they turn on about 6:30!!  The tiny dining table has a nutcracker surrounded by ivory automatic candles of all sizes.  My neighbor gave me a candle with a fir aroma, so I am set!

Oh!  And even my wine bottle is festive ...



In the past, I always made a small gingerbread house.  When Kate was younger, she loved decorating.  When she outgrew it, I still made one.  Something about the smell of gingerbread.  I don't have my gingerbread house mold over here, but I found another edible project that might fill the void.

This afternoon my three neighbor grandchildren are coming over to make ice cream cone Christmas trees.  Believe it or not, I found several kinds of small candy to decorate them.  I can't wait to see how much frosting and candy make it ON to the cones!

The verdict:


It's beginning to look (and smell) a lot like Christmas!





Saturday, December 14, 2013

NEFARIOUS

Nefarious is a very powerful word.  I don't think I have ever used it in describing a person ... until now.

I've mentioned in previous blogs about some strange (cat lady with 40 cats) and vindictive (her best friend who has vandalized my yard many times) neighbors.  Add in the HOA president who clearly follows the "rules" only with people he doesn't like yet lets said cat lady and bitchy buddy do whatever "in his interpretation" of our bylaws.

I still enjoy sitting on my front lanai and chatting with other neighbors walking with their kids or their dogs.  Some have brought their adult beverage and lingered.  My opinion is that there are quite a few people on Maui who over indulge.  Alcohol or marijuana.  Which is okay with me as long as it doesn't affect me.

Last night I was standing in my driveway talking with Bob and Paula.  They care for my home when I am away.  They are my closest friends here and live just two blocks over.  Bob and Mr. Ralph had a special relationship.  He gave Mr. Ralph a walker which was graciously accepted.  Had I been the one to get that for him, his pride would have forbade it!  They also called or checked in on me every day for the first several months.  And continue to frequently ... and actually get concerned if I don't contact them.

We were talking about holidays, birthdays, dog sitting and what on earth the cat lady is having built on the side of her house.  Hoping that it is not a cat house and just an outdoor living space.   My neighbor across the street has usually been okay with us but for some reason, he abhors Bob.  Last year while Bob was doing yard work in my yard, Kenny came over and verbally assaulted him!. Unwarranted.  Bob told him to get off of my property and Kenny pushed him (while using vulgar language).  So Bob called the police.   My opinion is Kenny over indulges in everything AND has an anger issue.

Last night, he came out of his house and started swearing at Bob.  We ladies tried to keep Bob from responding but he got a few choice words in.  We continued our conversation all the while Kenny is screaming "get the F*@# out of my neighborhood" (um Kenny, we ALL live in this neighborhood).  Bob went down the street to get a neighbor's dog for a walk (while they have taken their 3 girls to Disneyworld) and Paula and I kept talking.  Kenny went inside.  When Bob returned, Kenny came back outside and continued his rampage.  Also screaming "don't call the police this time."

I felt like calling the police.  Very scary, unwarranted and unreasonable.  Nefarious.


Friday, December 13, 2013

COPING


Most days I feel like I'm managing.  After seven months, I can say his name or talk about him without crying uncontrollably.  I usually tear up but not so embarrassing that I have to leave the room.  

But coping is a lot of work.  I try to make sure I have something to do every day.  Physically and socially.  Educationally and emotionally.  Every thing is a conscious effort.  Every single thing takes effort!  

I no longer stay home most of the time.  Every day I get outside for some reason.  Water aerobics three times a week.  If someone invites me, I go.  I say yes more than no.  I connect with perfect strangers.

All of this is good.  Great, even.  I have to admit I take a nap almost every day.  And I sleep 8 or 9 hours.  That's how I cope.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

COOKING

I love to cook.  I live to eat, not eat to live.  But not for just myself.




This seems to be a common malady for widows .... probably worse for widowers.  My widow blogger friend "The Misadventures of Widowhood" feels the same way ... she even took some cooking classes!   A friend loaned me some "cooking for one" cookbooks.  I was just getting used to cooking for two.  Some nights I simply enjoy fruits and vegetables .... popcorn and red wine.  

When I have the energy, I love to grill some protein and veggies so I have enough for two meals.  What usually happens is that I get invited to eat out or I invite myself to eat out.  And then the food is wasted.  I'm really bad about wasting food which makes me feel guilty.  Sometimes you just can't win!  

Today I bought a few Rubbermaid containers.  I'm going to make some chicken and rice soup so the leftovers can be frozen for another cozy meal or two.  Same thing for any kind of soup.  Or meatballs and sauce.  

Or should I just buy Weight Watchers frozen dinners?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

REMEMBERING

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

1986 ... Kate was six weeks old.

The above photo was taken in Sunriver, Oregon.  Our second favorite place in the world.  Probably 2000-ish.

On the water front in Lahaina, Maui during one of our vacations.  2003 maybe?

At his 50 year college reunion.  He got his electrical engineering degree from an all men's school (now called Rose Hulman ... ranked best college for the past 13 years for engineers!)  2006

My first trip to England, for a Biamp Manager's wedding.  We stayed in an historic hotel where the doorways were too short for even me.  I had fish and chips served in newspaper.  So fun!  And it was the start of a many country trip, via car, where we were treated like royalty.  2006.  A proud moment for me as I packed for TWO weeks, casual and dressy, in one suitcase!

Maybe 2007 ... on the Great Wall of China.  Where it SNOWED! So the fabulous view of miles of hand built wall and beautiful vistas into two countries were NOT available.


February 2013.  Despite the pain and indignity of radiology side effects, he ALWAYS had a smile!

Loving memories.  Now I need to scan in more photos from 1986 til we got the digital camera!






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MEDITATION

Per Wikipedia:

MEDITATION is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or an end in itself.

I am not a free spirited personality.  This I have to admit.  I don't believe in psychics or tarot cards or magic crystals.  Maui has more than its fair share of free spirits (or aging hippies if you prefer).  We have lots of vegans and raw food only diets and more vegetarians than carnivores.  It's probably also the intergalactic headquarters for marijuana growers.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a sunset birthday party for two ladies in their 70's.  Everyone brought a pupu (appetizer) and a beverage.  Nancy and I were about the only two who did NOT smoke pot.  The other ladies wore soft, flowing angel dresses.  They burst into song every 15 minutes.  They danced together.  And then they smoked more pot.  They had names like Feather, Heartstring, Amethyst.  Sometimes I wish I had a tiny bit of free spirit ... to just let myself be silly.  My name would be Chardonnay.

I do believe in the idea of meditation, though.  Although I have a different name for it.



nap1
nap/
verb
gerund or present participle: napping
  1. 1.
    sleep lightly or briefly, esp. during the day.

Being horizontal for 45 minutes or so, forcing all thoughts out of my mind, breathing slow and deep ... refreshes me.  I call it meditation!


Monday, December 9, 2013

INFOMERCIALS for SEXAGENARIANS

WARNING:  This blog is really a personal diary.  Events and names are real.  Enter at your own risk.  I am not being paid by anyone for any of my words.

Whew!  I felt like an attorney for a moment!  

This morning as I was getting ready for water aerobics I just had to smile at some of the compromises I've made since becoming a widow.  Like getting sunscreen on my back.  My dear friend Eli had a sunburn while he was visiting us one year.  He is a single guy and very independent.  Didn't want to ask one of us to put aloe on his back.  He went to the hardware store and got a small paint roller and a big jar of aloe and rolled himself.

I, of course, am a cheapskate (although not one of those EXTREME CHEAPSKATES that are now on reality TV).  I figured the nap on the paint roller would use up too much sunscreen.  So off to the internet I went.



Yes, Virginia, there IS a really cool tool that has a grooved rubberized applicator and a handle that folds in half so you could take it to the pool (or shark infested waters) with you!!  And it works!!!

We oldsters have to stick together!  Can you share your nifty compromises??

Sunday, December 8, 2013

TIPPING POINT

(By the way, Tipping Point is a very good book by Malcolm Gladwell).

Today I had a tipping point moment.  I'm not sure why or how, but today I realized getting older is a privilege.  Each year (or day) is a gift.  Many people don't get to live this long.  Or this well.  Despite the sad things, the traumatic things and the dramatic things that I've encountered, the good times outweigh them all.  I need to remember this.  And to be grateful.


Yesterday I wrote about choosing your change.  It's a very good philosophy.  Change IS inevitable, no matter how small or how large.  I'm sorta in the mood for way smaller changes these days.  Just for a while.

It's time for me to make a few of my own little changes.  I remember Mr. Ralph saying it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit.  Some changes may take several months.  But each change begins with that first step.  

Thankfully, being alive provides me the privilege to do just that.




Saturday, December 7, 2013

SEXAGENARIAN

Being in my sixties does have one bright spot.  We have the best name for our age group.  SEXagenarian.  I think it sounds way better than octogenarian or nonagenarian or centenarian.  Which are fast approaching.  Gosh, I can hardly wait.



Fortunately, most of us sexagenarians have a good sense of humor.  It's just about the only thing that keeps us plodding along.  When my daughter was young, a friend would reassure me she was just going through a phase.  With the caveat that the next phase was worse.  I have a funny feeling the same thinking applies here.

But my thinking is not all doom and gloom.  I use the bad and ugly as a source for my weird humor.  Today I happened upon a Huffington Post article written by an 87 year old woman (Nancy Alcock Hood ... who married for the first time at age 82).  Here are a few of her optimistic tips!

You're not as young as you look.  You're as young as you feel.  This is so true.  We can still learn new things!  We can try things we never even thought about before.  Of course, we have the wisdom to think through any physical compensations.

Change happens.  So choose your change.  Remember when we were little and we would say we were 5 and 3/4?  Adding those extra months show we are optimistic about getting to that next year.  We all want to control our lives (and maybe a few others').  But status quo ... we do not have to stay in our current living condition, griping about the new neighbors.  Get a head start on planning the future.  The future YOU want.

You can get into shape no matter how old you are.  At least we can be in better shape than we are currently.  I have never been athletic or an exercise person.  But I sure can start now!  It will only do me good.

Time is a friend.  Sometimes I really don't believe this.  When I do get realistic, I've got a good 20 years ahead of me.  That's a whole career!  A generation!!  Whoo hoo!



Friday, December 6, 2013

EMBARRASSING

Growing older is not for sissies.  Mr. Ralph was 18 years older than me.  Physically that is.  Emotionally?  We were on par.  The age difference was actually a good learning experience .... when my body changed, I could feel a little bit more relaxed about it since something similar had happened to him.

I, for one, do not think these are "golden years."  Far from it.  It is getting embarrassing to just live.  Hair has suddenly sprouted from places no woman wants.  Coarse and curly.  Yuck.  Mustache.  Beard.  Nose.  Legs.

Even more weird physical changes started when I hit about 55.  Flatulence.  Talk about embarrassing!  Oh my gosh.  Unflattering at the very least.  Usually not aromatic.  This is my excuse for not doing yoga!

Today's email brought the most appropriate information from AARP.  Nine embarrassing health conditions:

     Bad breath
     Constipation
     Flatulence
     Rectal itch
     Smelly feet
     Body odor
     Vaginal odor
     Fecal incontinence
     Urinary incontinence

See what we have to look forward to?!!

Fortunately, there are a lot of aging baby boomers so we are getting a bit of help compensating with all these unpleasant health issues.


 Yes.  I am using this bergamot, lemongrass and grapefruit spray.  And it really, really works.  Check out some of their commercials on YouTube!






Thursday, December 5, 2013

ROOMMATES

What a good week I've had.  My friend Gina came over from Portland to have a short but sweet visit.   It's the first time I've had an overnight guest since Mr. Ralph died.  It was perfect!


Gina worked with my hubby as the VP of Marketing so I first knew her as a business acquaintance.  I'm not quite sure how we ended up buddies but over time, we have.  She is 20 years younger, way more active, with a Masters from Cornell.  So on paper, we don't really have anything in common.  Except maybe cooking.  And an addiction to reading.  

She went through some life changes a couple of years ago and we let her use our Maui house for a month while we were in Portland.  And of course, she would make friends, AT THE BEACH, one of whom is our realtor and another is our neighbor across the street!  She has stayed in touch with this whole big group.  We joined them for Sunday Fun Day at the beach, chatting and sharing some wine and snacks.  Now I have a few more friends to add to my Maui list.

Having her here was not like having a guest on their first visit to Maui.  I did not have to be hostess at all.  She had ladies to call and accompany her as shark bait for a kayaking adventure.  We had another join us for water aerobics.  It was the most laid back I have ever seen her, so it must have been good for her as well.

She also is currently single, so we both enjoyed our hugs every now and again.  I was especially missing those!






Tuesday, December 3, 2013

PHOTOGRAPHY

OK friends and family.  I'm going to try a hobby.  Mr. Ralph was the main memory maker via photos (and videos). 

video

Braeden was about two in this.  He was playing an interactive zoo game on my iPhone ... where a camel spits on a visitor.  Which he thought was extremely funny.  Because he's not allowed to spit.  (I thought it was a llama so that's what we are saying).  It makes me laugh every time I watch it!

Last night I was looking through some of his 10,000 (yes, no typo) pictures and got a little sad that he isn't here to keep doing this.  It was just natural for him.

For now, it will just be my iPhone.  No sense investing anything until I discover if this might be a passion.  BUT ... I have signed up for an iPhone photography class held by a local Maui professional photographer.  In January!

In addition, I am also thinking of printing some of Mr. Ralph's photos on canvas to grace the Kihei Cottage walls.  It will make me smile and I'm pretty sure he would like it also.

Monday, December 2, 2013

SEVEN MONTHS of WIDOW


Wow.  It is hard to comprehend Mr. Ralph has been dead for seven months.  Somehow I am struggling through the phases of grief although sometimes not very well.  Most of the stages keep recurring.  Often I just feel a bit insane.  Which apparently is NORMAL.  I've come up with a simple response when people ask me how I'm doing (I'm pretty sure most of them don't really want to KNOW).  Now I say "I'm doing okay."

What I'm doing is taking each day as it arrives.  I am doing better keeping busy and exercising.  I've discovered that I am shy ... more so than I thought.  I'm learning to initiate conversations with unknown people.  Not every chat has to lead to a fast and furious friendship.  Maui is a transient island with lots of people who live here just part of the year (I hope I get to be one of those!) and people who live here for a short time.  We have lots of tourists as well.  Of course there are long term residents as well.  

I'm very blessed these last few months to have friends who are sharing their friends with me.  Even my Portland friend who is visiting for this holiday has introduced me to some local ladies who she met on the beach when she borrowed our house two years ago!  Socializing is really important for this human. 

I'm feeling more hopeful. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

DECEMBER

The grief journey is predictable although not an exact science.  I feel like I have emotional ADD with crazy swings of feelings.  It will be seven months tomorrow.

In yesterday's mail our local hospice sent me a very personal note and a worksheet for me to complete on "what to do if I start feeling blue".  So I can tape it inside the pantry in case of emergency it will be there in black and white.


Some of the info for me to complete:  Top three people I like to talk to (with space for their phone number).  What kind of physical thing would be quick and easy and fun to do on a moment's notice (swim).  What's your happy song?  Where can you go to bring some joy back in?  A great idea, all in all!  

I'm going to do my homework .... just in case!