Sunday, March 30, 2014


It's Sunday morning here in Oregon, with a sunny break in the rainy weather.  After 30 years of living here, this time I invested in a raincoat!  Mid calf with a hood.  Helping little people in and out of the grandmothermobile subjected me to a damp rear end.  I had to nip that in the bud!

Baby Deacon is growing so fast.  He now can stay happily alert for two hours!  Grandmotherhood this time around is so much easier!  Kate is so much more confident (and patient) and is cherishing each minute.  I usually have to ASK to hold the baby!  She appreciates me entertaining Braeden so she can nap whenever Deacon naps.  (I still remember the sleep deprivation).

For the past three weeks, the little family unit shared the king bed and I had the queen, while Braeden had an air bed on the floor next to me.  This morning the new split mattresses for the king bed arrived.  Braeden and I are taking over the king bed!!  It's now separately adjustable, head and foot.  With automatic settings for reading and zero gravity!!  Anyway, I need to sleep on the mattress for a week or two to be sure they are keepers.  (devious way to get my space back?)

I try to get up an hour before Mr. B, but this morning the mattresses arrived before 8am.  B is laying on the couch watching Despicable Me (he's SOOO excited to watch TV during the day!) so I can enjoy my coffee.

And then we will make pancakes!

(My attempt at Mr. Potato Head ... his favorite toy!)

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Bank of America turned off my Hawaiian Air VISA.

My philosophy is to charge everything over $10.  The bill is paid off every month and the miles for free trips add up.  Flying back and forth to Maui twice a year is my benefit!

Apparently, I am merely an "authorized user" not a co-applicant.  Because I was a full time homemaker, whenever I opened an account, Ralph had the income.  Who knew his death would diminish my finances?  I am the one who set up the online account, banished paper statements and paid the bill in full each month.  I am the one who made any phone calls and changed the address from Oregon to Hawaii and back.  It is MY email to which they correspond.

It started last week when I got an email saying the account ending in XXXX will no longer be allowed to pay e-bills.  Well, no biggie ... this was the old account that was closed (several years ago!) when I misplaced my card.  I figured they were finally cleaning up their accounting.  

Yesterday I went online to check charges  (I check through which told me they were having trouble and I needed to go directly to BofA site to "fix it.")  Which led to two hours on the phone when I couldn't access my account.  First it was customer service.  She sent me to account management.  He sent me to technical support (mind you none of these people could see that the account was closed!!!) who finally sent me to the estate department.  All of this while the three year old played trucks and workers around me feet.

I suppose the other cards will eventually do the same.  Thankfully, I recently applied (and was approved) for a BofA ALASKA AIR VISA, in my own name, which was approved and I have a very small limit.  So far, I'm paying it off twice a month just to be able to use it as much as I want to.  I currently have no income which makes creditors a bit leery to give me a charge card!!

After I finally hung up, I had a little cry.  Beyond awkward, I'm angry!  Braeden looked up at me and said "JB Gramma, you missing Poppa?".  Yep.  I sure am.

P.S.  In the day's mail was a notice saying this VISA account is being sold to Barclay's Bank!!!  And another mailing containing two credit cards, with a limit of $35,000.  From Bank of America!!!

Go figure!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


My philosophy has always been it's the journey, not the destination.  This is so true lately.  

When I change MY mindset about any irritating things, life lifts a weight off my shoulders.  I am enjoying have this busy house full of life!  It is constantly busy and noisy and I am exhausted, but I am happier and sleep so much better because of it. 

Nurturing is my middle name.  The c-section nursing Mom is doing very, very well.  Braeden is totally all boy (everything and anything becomes a weapon or a bad guy) and Deacon is a little sweet potato.  He's finally gaining weight and looks like he will be a nice chunky baby.  Even Jesse is pitching in to keep this tiny nest serene.

I love cooking and nest building (although the dog is getting tired of me moving his giant bed)  It's all looking pretty civilized despite having all the baby paraphernalia!  We live with a chair or lamp "here" for a few days, and then I decide "there" might be better. 

I'm thinking, just as I get used to this ... they will all move back home.

Monday, March 24, 2014


After much research and broken sales appointments (newborn babies change all the rules), I am the proud owner of a Honda Odyssey.

I am in love!  And so proud of myself.  It's the first time in 62 years I have purchased a car all on my own!  Mostly via internet, e-mail and text message.  As you may remember, I started the process comparing Dodge Caravan (based on my past fabulous experience), Toyota and Honda.  I even read many, many reviews by people who review cars for a living (ugh).  Since I'm hoping this is the LAST car I will need to buy, Honda won out.  Two of my siblings have had Toyota's and one had a Honda.  Honda had the best safety ratings, the largest gas tank and will seat 8 little old ladies.

Honu the Honda (it means turtle in Hawaiian) is a dream to drive.  No more expensive high test fuel.  The tank holds an extra gallon compared to the other two.  It automatically switches to "eco" mode when traveling at 40 miles an hour on flat land by turning off some cylinders.  The back row of seats fold into the floor for lots of cargo (or big dog) space.  The middle row currently has a toddler seat, an infant seat and a very involved Mom seat.  I get the diaper bag, purses, extra sweatshirts and snacks next to me.

I did have to compromise  .... couldn't get a dark cherry red and the model one degree higher had a waiting list (remote car start, everything controled by buttons ON the steering wheel, heated steering wheel, entertainment center ... all stuff I can barely live without).

Finally, the salesman had to drive 30 miles to pick me up and take me to the dealership to sign.  Which was an awful way to end the whole experience.  I have purchase two homes all via internet ... why not a car!?  Then they wanted to raise the price $500!!  The sales guy was aghast that I would not want this fabulous deal all for a mere $500 difference.  To which I replied the exact same thing to him!  Needless to say, I won although I had to take out a car loan for a minimum of four months.  Hey!  At 0.9% interest, I'm just going to pay it monthly for three years!

Being a Costco member helped me out with even better pricing!

P.S.  I have scratched BOTH sides of the van, on the automatic open doors.  Because I parked too close to the wooden post in my car port!  I'm going to drive it a month and then take it in to have all my errors erased.  And I am not parking in my carport space.  I'll take my chances with the elements of weather!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


There is a lot of purging going on at the condo.

The first round was pretty easy, emotionally, as his clothes and shoes were already boxed up from when our young friends moved out our things and moved in theirs.  I gave Kate a sweatshirt or two and had Jesse take things to Goodwill.  Someone is going to have some great suits and shoes!

Now I'm getting the surprise tears of memories.  Unpacking a kitchen box, I came across our coddled egg dishes and spoons.  Before him, I never knew what a coddled egg was let alone ate it with a tiny spoon and toast cut into small rectangles.  He also loved soft boiled eggs eaten right out of the shell.  Every week or two, after Kate was out of the nest, we'd have eggs and salad and good bread for dinner.  And usually bacon.  For someone with such low cholesterol, he had more fatty meats than anyone I know!  Not fair.

Another box labeled "bathroom" held his many bottles of vitamins and supplements.  He had ALWAYS been a believer of helping Mother Nature care for his body.  At times I think our budget for these items was bigger than most people's car payments.

I finally had to stop unpacking when I was sorting through the boxes of computer, printer, TV, etc cords and wiring.  There were several indoor/outdoor thermometers.  These were an obsession for him.  I still have one in the kitchen (although the outside transmitter needs batteries as it is always flashing 45 degrees)  

It's true.  It's the little things that grab my heart.

Friday, March 21, 2014


“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”

― Washington Irving

I am happy to be in such a whirlwind of busyness .... my tears are less frequent and of shorter duration.  But almost daily.

Braeden reminds me so much of Mr. Ralph.  He has so many memories of his Poppa that I am thankful we needed to help out with him so much those first two and a half years.  We all reinforce the memories.  It must be working.  When Daddy had to put a broken toy truck in a box to send to "toy heaven" Braeden said "so Poppa can play with it?".  Oh yeh.  Tear time!  He is such a sensitive little man.  If he notices that either Kate or I look sad he says "Are you missing Poppa?  I am too."  So even he condones the signs of grief.

I haven't seen a lot of my Oregon friends since his death, so when they tell me how sorry they are and ask how I'm doing, it's impossible not to tear up.  At least now I can still talk rather than totally choking up.  I brought his ashes with me (some in Maui still) hoping we can have a couple of family gatherings at his favorite places so we can sprinkle him about.   Kate especially needs closure.  

She is urging me to have a celebration-of-life party.  He really did NOT want any of that, or funeral, but maybe if we come up with a different name and theme ... 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Of course I knew I would miss Maui and the sunshine (even though they have had more than the normal amount of rainfall this year). But I have to say I'm enjoying the crazy busy chaotic days playing with a three year old and snuggling a two week old. 

The condo here in Oregon is S-L-O-W-L-Y getting unpacked and organized. But I've resigned myself to big time compromising until they return to their own apartment. Just four more weeks .... Maybe six but Kate is healing so quickly this time.

If you can take your dishes to the sink ... Why not put them IN the dishwasher?  If you open a closet door or cabinet or drawer ... Just close it when you are finished?   Yep ... There IS a trash can in every room ... Use them.  Each bathroom has plenty of wet towel hanging devices ... No need to leave them on my laminate floor.   Use the last of the toilet paper? Put on another roll on. And so on. 

New mommies need to be spoiled.  Especially after a c-section!!  I'm glad I'm able to do it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Life in Portland is slowly but surely falling into place.

The new parents, two kids and one big dog seem to appreciate a comfy place to stay (without stairs!), home cooked meals (most days) and a companion for Braeden.  Not to mention an hour or so of cuddling the little one so they can take a shower or just relax.

Now it's time for me to start getting my life back!  Jesse (the dad) has Mondays and Tuesdays off so I'm going to use those days to my advantage.  Last night friends invited me over for dinner (and a fire in the fireplace).  Three luxurious hours of adult conversation (and grandkid stories).  A wonderful healthy meal and a great red wine.  Just perfect.

Next Monday ... I'm starting Weight Watchers with a buddy.  It's a noon time meeting and then we will go out for a healthy, on target lunch.  This is not going to be easy for me.  But having a personal commitment with another person will help us both.  Each of us has been successful in the past using Weight Watchers, so wish us luck!

Some sad news.  I lost both of my best coffee buddies recently.  So I'll need to find others who might like an hour or two of chatting.  There are lots of ladies here in the condo complex, many single, so I just need to reach out.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Top 'o the Morning

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  And our little leprechaun!


This first year of widowhood is all about adjusting.  To the new, single life.  Finding friends at the same stage of life.  Looking for a hobby or a passion.

The past two weeks have gone by in a whirl!  The baby had to be at the doctor's office almost every day (jaundice) and on Friday was pronounced to be gaining weight and no need to come in until Monday.  On Tuesday he will be circumcised.  Poor dude!

I just did a crazy thing to help with adjusting.  I invested in an adjustable king size bed!  It's two extra long twin beds so each side can do their own thing.  Now when I have a grandkid over to spend the night, he can sleep and I can sit up and read.  Or write.  Or watch a movie.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TIS TUESDAY ... already

Oh my.  Life with a newborn, a three year old, a 65 lb dog and two kidults is chaotic!

Deacon has jaundice so every day we spend about four hours driving to and from appointment that lasts 90 minutes or more.  Two appointments on Monday.  He's been losing weight but has turned the corner on that.  One week old tomorrow!

Braeden went to his favorite sitter for five hours then took a 3 hour nap!  He is such a sweetie.  He is helpful to Momma and is eating a lot so I'm guessing we'll soon be getting a bigger size of clothing.  And shoes.

Torn and tattered without much tail left ... Lyly has been Braeden's best friend for almost three and a half years ...

Gramma Laura popped over after work tonight.  She got to hold him and feed him (breast milk) and then took the four of them out for dinner.  I needed some downtime as I'm trying NOT to catch a cold.  Unpacked a bit.  Earlier Jesse loaded up the new minivan for a trip to Goodwill.  Reloaded for a trip tomorrow.  AND broke down all the millions of boxes from baby goods and unpacked stuff.

Not much time for being an awkward widow.  The salesman from the dealer 30 miles away came to pick me up to get my grandmother-mobile on Sunday.  A girlfriend met me at Alamo last night to return the rental van.  We then had a nice, quiet, relaxing dinner. Another doctor visit for Deacon with the good news he has gained 1/2 an ounce and the billirubin level has lowered.  So we get Wednesday off.

I, for one, plan to sleep in!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Being in charge of a three year old while the parents and new baby are at the hospital is certainly different than my slow days in Maui.  All for the better, I might say!  

I try to get up an hour before he does so I can enjoy my coffee and computer because as soon as he is awake, he is constant motion and constant conversation.  What amazing thinkers these little people are.  Braeden is very good at expressing his emotions, which was important to his Mom.  (She always kept hers inside until she would burst).  And he cracks me up sometimes!

I so sad Gramma.  Because you won't give me a cookie right now.  You don't understand me.  I no want chicken today.  No nap today the sun is out. (See it's easier for napping in the grey northwest!)  

We have a battle of wills at least once a day.  One night it was said chicken (he ate three bites)  Yesterday morning it was scrambled eggs.  At first he explained he was very sick in his tummy and his Mom should take him to the doctor.  But he then fessed up that eggs did not taste good today and his tummy was full (which it was!)

Best of all, I now stop and notice the small things in life.  A pinecone (soon turned into a grenade).  Red berries on the bush for the birdies ... he picked some and put them in a little pile on top of a rock.  A small fallen twig that is easily turned into a "shooter."  He only shoots bad guys on their feet.  Let's go for a walk Gramma, the sun is out today.  

Fortunately, I can easily get him to run an errand every day by letting him play with toddler games on my iPhone

I'm thinking the family will be released today.  And then the real work will begin!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Wowza!  Baby Booth arrived this morning at 8:00 am (via c-section).  He weighed in at 8 lbs and 3 oz and is 21 inches tall.

Last night Braeden spent the night with his favorite Second Mom and best friend Caden (age 4).  Which left the three of us rushing around til midnight setting up a changing station, organizing tiny clothes, two of them packing suitcases for overnight.  Kate had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am!!!!  So up at 4:00 am, loading the car in the pouring rain ... and arrived 5 minutes early.  

I dropped them off and headed straight for Starbucks (thank goodness they opened at 4:00 am ....)  It was a traumatic start ... it took FIVE tries to secure the IV.  Ouch!  

Jesse was the only one allowed in the OR with her.  I'm kinda glad he DID go in ... he thought the whole procedure was pretty "rough" how they had to twist and turn to get baby out.  But by skipping 27 hours of labor and pushing and suction ... he arrived a lot more mellow (and no cone head!)

Me and Jesse got to hold him and reassure him about the shots and eye drops and first bath.  Once Mom returned, I was booted out for what they said would be about an hour.  So I stayed.

Two and a half hours later, best friend Meagan arrived so I left to go pick up Big Brover.

Love at first sight!

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I've decided I need my morning quiet time more than I need my 8-9 hours of sleep.  Up at 7am to enjoy a very large cup of coffee.  Everyone still sleeping soundly in their ice cold bedrooms while the dog slumbers at my feet (he was kinda irritated I took him out so early in the rainy 34 degree weather.)  I'm probably going to hate my electric bill but Maui clothes are the only ones I can find right now!  And one thin sweater!

Headlines are scanned, e-mails read (Sunday is a light day!) and Facebook viewed.  I thought I better get in a blog while I can still think a bit.

It's a little bit of grieving as I go through Mr. Ralph's things here.  A few tears with Kate when we remember where he got that t-shirt or that hat.  And how many pairs of shoes he had.  Who owns that many black belts!??  Braeden saying "I just want my Poppa back."  And the funny stories begin.  Memories!  Even Braeden remembers some ... and he was just two and a half when Poppa died.  So we will help him keep those memories alive.

Tomorrow is Jesse's (the Baby Dad ... no wedding yet after ten years) day off.  I'm going to ask him to move all the boxes OUT of the living room (about 50 letter size storage boxes) and put them in the office.   At least then we will have a serene living area and dining area.  Today I hope to get the kitchen boxes emptied and everything into their proper place.

Happy chaos!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

MARCH 2014 ... Really???

Where did January and February go?  Maybe because I was living in and loving Maui instead of being snowed and iced in, the time just flew.

I made it back to Portland, Oregon Thursday evening and yesterday, it was SUNNY and 60 degrees!  I needed a day like that for restocking the cupboards, getting my oh-so-pregnant daughter and family over here to the one level condo.  But we sure have our work cut out for us!!

My darling tenants moved in all my stuff from storage (for a few sheckles).  The furniture is all in the correct rooms along with boxes and boxes of stuff!  The dining area is clear and serene now.  The living room furniture is arranged so that the four of us can sit (oh, and Bosko the 65 lb. dog has his bed in here).  I even remembered how to use three remotes so we can watch Netflix (haven't figured out the TV channel stuff yet).

Kate is most likely having a C-section next Wednesday so I'm thinking they should just move in a week's worth of clothing and shoes and toiletries and I'll take it from there.  Lucky Mom and Dad (and new darling) get the master suite with the king bed.  I have a queen air bed and now we need to get Braeden something to set up in my room.  And a bassinet or co-sleeper for the new guy.

My goal is to pamper the Momma, play with Braeden and unpack a few boxes each day.  Just keeping up with the feeding schedule of a Mom who only has tummy room for 2 oz at a time and a growing boy!  

As long as I can have my quiet time with a mug of coffee before the chaos begins, I'm a happy Gramma!

P.S.  Rainy and 45 today!