Friday, May 30, 2014


My knee arthritis is feeling so much better.  I can walk without wincing.  I can do more than one errand at a time.  Stairs are still a bit of a challenge but I think I just need to build up some muscles.

The miracle cure?  I stopped eating gluten.  Yep, my medical doctor listened patiently and explained how to combine Alleve AND Tylenol to help with the pain.  Then he quietly mentioned gluten.

I have several (LOTS) of friends who have given up gluten (two have celiac disease) and they all feel their lives are much better now.  Dr. V said just try it for two weeks, if it helps ... great.  If not, no worries.  Consider me a HUGE skeptic.  But he is such a down to earth medical man who is now including alternative therapies that are worth a try.

Within a week, my knees were no longer painful.  Noticeable, but not hurting.  I remained off gluten (as much as possible).  Last weekend, Kate and family spent the long weekend here at the condo (they had an ant infestation!).  I thought I'd test this gluten thing and I enjoyed toast, pizza, pasta, cereal and crackers.

My knees hurt again.

I Googled foods that fight inflammation and now using more of those.  Maybe this Forks Over Knives philosophy is real!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


The unpacking here is almost finished.  But the work is picking up!  Boxes and boxes of photos!  I want to scan them for posterity then toss out the paper ones.  And maybe give some to Braeden.

One box had our wedding cards.  Talk about a trip back in time!  We were so broke.  He was unemployed ... his start up didn't fly very long.  I was working as a temporary secretary.  It was a second wedding for each of us and we didn't require any pomp or circumstance.

We drove over to the Oregon coast after I got off work.  His son and my sister stood up for us.  It was a simple ceremony at sunset on the deck of a condo we rented.  Jeans and sweaters.  Dinner at Mo's Clam Chowder.  We returned home the next day because we couldn't afford two night's lodging.

We did, however, have a brunch reception at our practically empty house!  A friend made Eggs Benedict for about 20 of us.  His gift to us.  Such a happy noisy few hours with friends.

The most romantic wedding ever.

Many thought it wouldn't last.  (Even me at some points in time!)  Despite our 18 year age difference and having our daughter late in life, it sure was fun!  

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I have a severe case of Awkward Widow ADD.  

My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD her Senior year in high school.  She took medication for a year or two but decided she felt better being ADHD than taking the prescription.  In college, she could take it just when she needed to focus better/longer.  I don't think she ever takes it now.

In my opinion, most everyone has ADD to some degree.  I have the "easily distracted" version that leads to procrastination.  But I don't think it is affecting others in a negative way.  So I live with it.  And I mean that literally!

The condo project has shown my ADD in every single room.  NOT ONE is finished.  But each room has had improvements, little by little.  Bringing in my Handykid has sped up my process ... but after this week, I have to get a few more things accomplished before I have chores for him.

The boxes are slowly disappearing.  I don't remember having so many photos that need to be scanned and organized.  I don't remember having so many knick knacks from our travels together.  I don't remember having so much artwork that  apparently was up on our walls.  I don't remember keeping so many books when we downsized.  I don't remember so much STUFF.

I've learned via Weight Watchers that I need to be kind to myself and give myself credit for positive things, as well as accountability for the negative things.  So here's a sneak peek at two projects ...

This is the guest bathroom.  Handykid put together the storage unit, although this week I'm going to have him fasten it to the wall for a little more stability. This addition cleared out a lot of space from my hall closet.

This is the four inch wide shelf with a lip so I can change art whenever I want without hammer, nails and spackle.  (The art displayed are just random hangables that were easiest to grab from the unpacking room).  This is going to be a favorite of mine because I envision a "theme" system.  All five rose pictures (his favorite ... not necessarily mind) at a time.  Then maybe a family row with all the same frames.  Perhaps a wall of travel memories, one country at a time.  Hopefully I'll stop procrastinating and have some of Mr. Ralph's photos printed large at Costco so they can be out and about.

OK.  Now what was I supposed to be doing?

Saturday, May 17, 2014


That's twice some unknown unwelcome person commented on my blog ... trying to sell something.  Sheesh!

Do you get these intruders on your site?  Mine doesn't even get many views and has just three followers.  What happens on well known sites?  You'd have to hire a full time employee just to scan the remarks.  It's disgusting.  Did he think one of my few readers would really visit his site to buy some mobile spy software?

The internet has an infinite amount of information, education, and retail sites that simply delight me.  I do all of my financial stuff online.  Will I grow to regret this?  The hackers and n'er do wells spend too much time doing evil.  If they would devote their time and knowledge for acceptable sites and services, they would be as well off as Bill Gates.

Just leave this Awkward Widow alone!  I don't need a car loan either.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Mr. B woke up with a slight fever and a barking cough.  Not as much energy as usual, which was fine by me!  I started to be concerned when he wasn't hungry for breakfast.  Even waffles.  He did manage to drink a hot chocolate though.

I was going to babysit Deacon this evening as well as Braeden, but Mr. B just kept getting sicker and sicker.  So the parents decided to skip their date and come visit their big boy.  They took him on a a little walk, put some vaporub on him, some lavender lotion and put him in his PJs for me.  

This evening his temp was 101 but it just made him more snuggly.  I kinda like that as it doesn't happen nearly so much any more.

He's so tall now, that laying on my lap his feet drag the ground.  I love every minute of it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


One of the things that is certainly missing as an Awkward Widow, is someone to take on my Honey Do list.  Mr. Ralph was pretty amazing at doing almost anything!  Even if he didn't really agree with me about having it done (tiny white lites around the perimeter of the covering of our patio ... right out my kitchen window)(I loved it).

He had so much fun at the little house in Maui.  The bright white plastic fence surrounding our entire back yard was SOOOO bright in the morning, I had to wear sunglasses to drink my coffee.  So he put up bamboo "fence art" and the next year put a hanging fern in front of each one.

All of the plants and flowers are in their own pot.  Each one has it's own drip water system.  The sprinklers turn themselves on every day.  Which makes it pretty easy to pack up and leave for six months (although I have some terrific friends two streets over who keep and eye on things)

We had a young man who helped with bigger projects or heavier projects.  He was a friend of the realtor.  He hung replacement light fixtures, built a garage full of cabinets, put dimmer switches everywhere, etc.  And then he left the island.

And moved to Portland!  Now he is a young single father, working as the Maintenance Supervisor at an apartment complex and still needs a little extra cash now and then.  He has his 15 month old daughter on his two days off, so I play with her while he does things that I can't do!

Two weeks in a row and my list is almost finished!!  Curtain rods, art shelves, Ikea stuff (takes me that long just to open the package!),decorative teak storage shelves over the toilet, a whole new spice rack system.  He is very reasonably priced (probably because he can bring Maddie).  The condo is really coming together now!

I have new young friend ... who is girlie!

Monday, May 12, 2014


Ralph wanted to be cremated and sprinkled in his favorite places.  I have yet to scatter him anywhere.  He's sitting in the office here in Oregon.  I have a small urn with a bit of him on my headboard in Maui.  And Kate has the same small urn at her apartment.

Now she is wanting a specific place where she can take her boys to have a special moment remembering Poppa. I'm looking into space at a mausoleum.  It's not as expensive as I was thinking it would be (although I have no idea what I base THAT on) ... and the sales guy thought I might want a bit of me in there next to him. I probably will.  

Of course he started with his top-of-the-line glass fronted chamber with a wonderful bronze urn ... unless I wanted to have a whole separate building constructed just for his blood line.  I think he will be happy in a building facing Mt. Hood with just an engraved marble stone.  (We had our wedding rings made ... wide gold bands with Mt. Hood, two pine trees, two birds and I had a small diamond for the sunrise.)

The closer to eye level, the higher the price.  Facing outside costs more than this internal view.  Who knows about these things until you have to make a decision for your loved one??

Tonight I had (a healthy) dinner with Stan and Laurie, friends from before we were married.  She started working on her genealogy and learned that it is easier to trace ancestors when they are buried!  Even in a building at the cemetery rather than underground.  So there's another reason to give him a permanent spot.

I know his heart would rather be in Maui so I may have a memorial in each of his favorite places to live.  Although maybe I should just put some ashes in an Oban single malt scotch bottle and put him off his favorite beach in Maui.

Like Dr. Seuss said "Oh, the places he'll go!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014


To all of you who are Moms, I hope you get a special remembrance today.  For those of my friends who do not, I hope you remember your Mom.

My Mom died in 2007 ... while I was away in China.  We all got together just a few weeks before to celebrate her 80th birthday.  She knew she was dying and I asked her if she would like me to return or even not go, but of course she declined.  I was a pretty devoted daughter, emailing and calling several times a week.  Which is more important than attending a funeral after the fact.

Tomorrow I have been invited to Jesse's family's potluck celebration at his Aunt's house.  I am delighted to attend for a couple of hours!  It's nice to start being included in his family traditions and I appreciate being included as the un-mother-in-law (he and Kate are not married, after ten years!).

I bought Kate a few things from her boys.  She brought me flowers and a caricature of Braeden, sketched at the Saturday Market today.  Jesse gave me some locally made lotion.

Braeden is spending the night and that's the best gift of all.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Today in Lake Oswego, Oregon it is chilly and dark.  Rainy and windy.  I have to admit I kinda like days like this once in a while.  I get to wear long sleeves and sweatshirts.  Sox and shoes.  Even a raincoat.  But I think the reason it's not depressing is that I know I have a sunny clime to enjoy.

Hmmmm ... wonder if there is any advice from the rain?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Yikes!  Sorry I'm late with another app that I like.  It's called If Found +.

This app allows you to create your own locked home screen.  With information on who to contact IF your phone is lost.  I keep my phone locked so if someone found my phone, they could not get into my Address Book to find someone labelled MOM to call and return it.

It is pretty easy to use and free.  I change mine depending on whether I'm in Oregon or Maui.  Remember to ask the person if you can use them as an emergency contact ... so if a stranger calls to say they found a hot pink iPhone under the table at a restaurant .... they kinda have a clue!

Monday, May 5, 2014


I just simply agree with Braeden.  I want Poppa back.

Now that the one year mark has hit, a few friends are asking me about dating.  Honestly, I don't think I will.  Maybe after a few more years or months or weeks, I'll change my story but for now, I'm just not that interested.  My mind is simply not ready.  My heart may never be.  My body?  Well, it's possible to be self fulfilled.

Actually I'm not very gung ho about any intense friendship right now.  Having good friends takes being a good friend.  And that takes time and energy.  I'm sorta happy with the "good" deep friends I have (very few) and lots of friends for different reasons!  This third or fourth circle of friends fills my need for socializing, sharing book reviews, visiting new restaurants (especially ethnic as Mr. Ralph had no interest in that!), talking food and wine, taking short trips, going to movies and all my other shallow-self activities. 

Philosophy and politics and religion and deep thinking is, in my humble opinion, for those close to me.  The world doesn't need to know my way of thinking unless I am using it to make a change.  Right now I have more fluff on my mind!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Yesterday afternoon I got my hearing aids.  I am amazed at how much I was missing.  I could hear the rain.  I could hear the microwave beep.  I could hear my phone set to vibrate ... from across the room.  I could understand the TV.  What an experience.

Even more exciting because of how hi tech they are!  I have a remote control (well, now it is an app on my phone!) to switch to different hearing programs ... lessen the background noise so I can focus on the people at my table in a restaurant (tested last night), TV mode to help distinguish consonant sounds (you can make a vowel sound louder with your voice ... but not "th" for example) as well as regular and what the audiologist called "the spouse button" where you can turn the aids off!

I spent the whole rest of the day marveling at the smallest things.  When my friends came over to have a glass of wine before going out for dinner .... I could hear them pull in.  I could join in the conversation in the car even from the back seat! I understood all of the daily specials from the soft spoken waitress.  

But since I like my coffee before talkie ... I will still enjoy my s-l-o-w morning routine before putting them in.  

Maybe the reason some people have a hard time adjusting is that they waited too long to get help.  It is a lot of processing when you can hear the dog's toenails on the hard flooring or someone turning a page in a magazine.  Right now I'm enjoying every little creak and groan and being able to hear the dryer beep when the clothes are finished.

It's crazy!  No one seems to be whispering any more

Saturday, May 3, 2014


We had to commemorate Mr. Ralph's death day.  Kids weren't up to getting out of town to sprinkle his fairy dust and by the time we did get together, it was cool and windy so we didn't sprinkle at all.

Braeden and I had the day together.  We talked about Poppa a lot.  I drove him to Poppa's favorite donut shop ... and let him have one for breakfast!!!  Of course, I have to tell you how much Poppa LOVED donuts.  I think he ate one every day.  He would find any excuse to buy them "for the office."  When the company was no longer struggling, he would send someone to get 6 dozen with company petty cash rather than our own.

One of Braeden's favorite memories (that we keep ALIVE) is Poppa sharing his donut with little baby Braeden, who was just beginning to toddle around.  He would alway head over when Poppa had something to eat because it was usually something sweet.  After one or two baby bites, I'd reprimand Poppa to stop giving the baby so much sugar ... his body is much smaller so a little goes a long way.  He would wait until I was out of sight ~ and sneak him another bite!  I'd rush in and say "no no no, Poppa!"

Now Braeden will try to con me into giving him some form of SUGAR by saying Poppa would sneak it to him!  I then have to point to the sky and say "no no no Poppa!"  It's a hoot.

Last night, after take in Thai food, we put a candle in a donut and sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" (twice).  And let Braeden (and Mommy and Daddy) eat as many as they wanted.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Today is the one year mark since the death of Mr. Ralph.  

Yep.  The day (actually 7:30 in the morning) after my birthday.  The six of us "rock stars" had a pizza and wine and pastry party all around his hospital bed.  

They brought balloons that we tied to the hospital sides.  He didn't say a word, of course, but I swear he was smiling!  He was never one to miss a party.  I'm so proud of our friends for just being normal the entire journey of his death.  Lots of touches and conversations ... he was a touchy, feely, hugging kind of guy.

Every morning I would get a text asking how things were going.  When I finally had to say those dreaded words, all four of them came over to be with me.

We set his balloons free ... off his pride and joy back lanai in Maui.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Yep!  Another year bites the dust.  Today I made it to 62 years of age.  Who knew?  I'm looking at this as a brand new start.  Last year really sucked.

I have not mentioned on this blog that for the past 10 years my only child has been an addict.  She took herself to a month long rehab in 2009 but honestly, a month is not enough to help these people.  Last February, she took herself to the emergency room where they soon took her by ambulance to a larger hospital.  Big time pancreatitis, liver issues and a cyst on her ovary.  From 11 days in the hospital she made her way to a three month facility.  So while my husband was dying, my daughter was trying to live. 

Hard as it was, I made the decision to stay with Mr. Ralph and he wanted to stay in Maui.  We honestly had done all we could do to try to help her for the past decade.  But it had to be HER rock bottom, not what we thought should have been rock bottom.  We did all the wrong things that parents usually do.  This recovery had to be her own hard work ... with all the rewards going to her.  Doubly hard when a baby is involved.

I'm proud to say she's been clean and sober since Feb 13, 2013.  She got permission to talk to her Dad whenever she needed to.  His last spoken words were to her ... I love you and I'm so proud of you.  She also wrote him a four page letter that arrived in time for me to read it to him.  Pretty good closure, all things considered.

Just had to get this off my chest.  Start my new year off with a totally clean slate.   2014 can only get better.  I am thankful for simply surviving.