Monday, June 30, 2014

PERSISTENCE

All my life I have been non-athletic.  I don't know how I ever passed gym class in high school.  Catholic nun pity, I presume.

Now that I've lost a little weight, I know I have to use more calories if I choose to eat the same way I have been.  My knees are doing better going away from the gluten (but it's still so tempting ....), but the Arthritis Foundation says it's better to work through the pain.  They probably know what they are doing.

I signed up for an exercise class at my Adult Center that is Arthritis Foundation approved.  It's a WALKING group that meets at 8:00 am twice a week.  But I have to start somewhere.  Kinda pisses me off to see my ex-husband's Facebook page where he is climbing a mountain or participating in a 100 mile bike ride or kayaking for days.  (How did ever put up with this couch potato for ten years??).  And a high school friend spent two years weight training and COMPETED in a body building contest for women.  In a skimpy bikini.  At age 60!  Both of my best non-athletic high school buddies each go to a gym several days a week.  One friend is still working full time!

per·sist·ence
pərˈsistəns/
noun

firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

the continued or prolonged existence of something.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

OLD LADIES ROCK

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So I'm thinking a couple of videos will suffice today!

Older Ladies are Divine


Oldest Flash Mob Ever

Friday, June 27, 2014

AWKWARDLY HEALTHY

Getting rid of excess weight is soooo much more work than gaining it!   Fattening foods just seem to taste so much more delicious than they should.  I'm sure there is a government conspiracy to have us all become addicted to junk food so that we stay over weight and out of shape.  But that's another blog!

My weakness is salty savory stuff ... potato chips being my downfall.  I can't buy them as I eat them all.  Now I buy the single packs or Pringles singles (2 points).

I'm glad I've told a lot of friends about wanting to lose weight as well as joining Weight Watchers.  Sometimes I get a friendly comment that helps keep me on track.  My Weight Watcher buddy is especially good at saying something kind that gets my attention.  We celebrate our meeting by having a healthy lunch together.  I like breakfast at any time of day, so we were having breakfast.  The gluten free toast was so delicious, I dipped the crust into my butter pat.  Sharon gently said "I'm glad you are enjoying your meal but you probably don't want anymore of that butter".  And she was right.

I picked up Braeden one afternoon to come spend the night.  All morning I had run errands and was productive.  But I didn't pack a healthy snack to keep me on track so I thought I would treat him to a McDonald's Happy Meal (and grab a little Happy Meal for myself).  Boy was I surprised!


He said "no tank you JB Gramma, McDonald's is not healthy for my bones.  Let's eat at your house."  Oh my goodness!  And so we did!  Cottage cheese and lots of cut up fruit and he also had half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  He was right.  Much better for our "bones."


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TAXI TAXI

Today I got up at 3:30 am to take some (new) friends who live at the condo complex to the airport.

Trying to arrange a cab to get you to a place at a specific time is almost impossible since our local city-wide cab company was purchased by Radio Cab.  Our three local cabs were an amazing service to our 36,000 population community.  

The cab ALWAYS arrived 10 minutes before you asked it to be there.  Mr. Ralph traveled a lot so I never even had to give them our address ... just his name.  If I went with him, they always knew it was some place special, vacation or not.  We grew up together with stories of our kids and neighbors and local politics and sports and whatever.  They ALWAYS asked which way we wanted to go to the airport ... and they had the latest traffic in case we need persuasion to take the outer belt.

I remember watching them help little old ladies with their groceries and later learned they turned off their meters to charge them a simple flat rate.

Reminiscing about the Lake Oswego Cab Company (while on my four hours of sleep) reinforces my decision to help build the Three Rivers Village.  Friends helping friends.

P.S.  Gail and Gary even had a steaming hot cup of coffee TO GO for me!



Monday, June 23, 2014

VILLAGE PEOPLE

New hobby.  I've begun to volunteer with Three Rivers Village.  

The "village" concept of community has recently been more in the news these days.   Groups of residents in a geographic area are forming non-profit organizations to complement services provided by county or churches for the elderly.

One of the big issues for seniors is isolation.  Especially if you have had to give up driving.  There are agencies that provide some public needs ... trips to medical appointments or grocery shopping assistance.  My local Adult Community Center does these for anyone who wants to, regardless of income or net worth.  Some people donate, some do not.

My ACC is in a very affluent zip code and so is very well funded with both public and private monies.  Contiguous to us is a more rural and less well-to-do city, with less services.  Three Rivers Village is hoping to combine and share resources.

Some of our goals besides reducing isolation and not duplicating services, is to increase intergenerational activities and socials, provide a purpose and meaning to residents (by volunteering as well as participating) as well as find solutions for the middle and lower income population.

So much for me to learn.  It takes a Village to age well!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

THE AWKWARD WIDOW LIFE

Whew!  Now that was a busy few days.  Culminating with the best condo gathering to date!  The weather cooperated (although a bit cool for some), my little family joined in so little people and grandpeople had some fun interacting, and if we saw some some residents strolling by, we went out and brought them in!  It was fun!  Three couples had just purchased and moved in during the month of June.

I'm hoping we don't become known as the Adult Alcoholic Condo Community! Saturday another neighbor is hosting a coffee and donut party in our Fireside Room.  Getting to know each other is vital to have a "community."  Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.  Whether a ride to the airport or someone to water your plants while you are away.  Lots of tasks that are just too small to call your children or handyperson.  But a neighborly hand can make all the difference.

Sharing conversation and opinions and ideas with others, with whom I only have my living arrangement in common, has been a nice boost.  Intelligent and funny people are all around me.  A few curmudgeons as well, but it turns out they are not party people!!!




Saturday, June 21, 2014

SLEEP DEPRIVED

Well.  Just more proof that I'm getting older.

Grandson Braeden spent the night with me last night.  He's caught a cold with lots of coughing when he lies down.  And he's just not himself.

The parents and the baby went home about 10pm so we read a book, then watched a video about baby zoo animals and what they are fed.  Somehow a fly was in his room which TERRIFIED him despite the fact they only eat garbage, not little boys.

I tried watching House of Cards (oh my, another favorite on Netflix) but then the monsters arrived in his room.  Not the fun, cute ones from last night.  Nope.  These were scary ones who had him in tears.  So into Gramma's bed he came.  Finally the coughing slowed down and he fell asleep about midnight.

At 5:00 am this morning, he started the coughing.  At 5:30 he tapped me to see if I could snuggle him a bit.  At 6:00 I had him go potty and gave him some Tylenol and a big glass of water.  At 7:00 we just got up.  He's been on my lap most of the morning, just chatting and cuddling Lyly, his raggedy stuffed lion.  He is half heartedly playing some games on my iPad, then bumped his mouth on the table and there was BLOOD.  Poor little man.

It's now 8:00 am and I'm heading in for a shower while he is snuggled up in pillows and blankets watching a Lego movie.   I could go right back to sleep .... Gramma's can't do these all nighters any more.




Friday, June 20, 2014

SEX AND THE AWKWARD WIDOW

My dear blogger, The Misadventures of Widowhood, used the word SEX in her title recently.  Often I think people actually open a post based on the title.  Now I can wonder how many weirdos will find this blog ....

It is a delicate topic.  Old ladies are really not supposed to think of such things, let alone talk about this taboo subject.  Let’s be frank here.  Craving sex and cuddles is a normal human thing, right?  Not a horrible deviant desire.  But particularly if you're a woman, it seems all the wrong way round.  I don’t want to “date” at this stage (and I’m not really I sure I ever will) and I'm pretty sure I'm not a hook up for the night kinda gal.  I know this is not a feminist statement ... but remember my age.

Crave a drink and you can glug down a bottle of wine;  crave a cream puff and you can buy one and shove it in your face. But if all I want is cuddles, I’ve been reading about some unsexual substitutes for that physical craving of touch.  


I can probably up my physical contact with other people by about 100 per cent if I set my mind to it, without involving men at all.  Maybe I could book a massage twice a month (surely there is a massage school in this area!).  Even a pedicure or a foot rub can be over the top!

Also, I love having the grandkids over. Braeden still likes snuggles and tickles and Deacon prefers to be ON his humans.  This is at least once a week.  In addition, I now feel way more comfortable hugging my friends hello!  Ladies or gentlemen.  Even people who still have a sex life often enjoy a hug of affection.

As for the real McCoy ... gosh there are some amazing gadgets out there for self pleasure!  But will they sell my name and contact information and start sending me x-rated email?  How does a dignified horny gal get hold of such things? Safely?

Oh please, Amazon ... can you deliver in a brown paper package ...


Thursday, June 19, 2014

SUMMER SOLSTICE PARTY

The Full Moon party was such fun and almost every single person said "I wish we did more of these."  And it was such a tiny bit of work on my part.  About 20 people joined in for chatty conversation and some delicious finger foods.  An alumni who just moved away attended.  I met five people whom I didn't know in person before.

It was mostly single ladies although two married couples came (at different times) but the guys didn't stay long.  Hard to compete with World Cup!


Of course Saturday just happens to be another good reason!  The longest day of the year!  

Portland is finally having a bit of summer weather (supposed to be high seventies on Saturday).  Our condo complex has a huge under cover patio area with lots of cute, summery tables and chairs strewn about.  Very near to the pool if we want to go back and forth.  (I just checked the World Cup games and Saturday seems to be smaller countries, so maybe less interest).

I'll bring some candles and battery powered twinkle lights, and a snack of course.  Even a bag of Chicago Mix popcorn from Costco was a big hit!  I also made mushroom pate with rice crackers, and roasted some walnut halves and almonds.  We had fruit plates and veggie plates.  Warm bite size hot dogs in a crockpot, chips and dip.  Homemade cookies for dessert!  Simple pleasures.

I'm working my way up to host 6-7 friends for dinner.  Over the past few years I have collected special Oregon pinot noir glasses so I need to show them off.  Pinot is not MY favorite although I do have one I really like (Thanks All the Rumors are True blogger!).  I'm thinking a Personal Pinot Party where each couple brings a bottle of their favorite pinot noir.  I may also have each couple bring a food course ... appetizer, soup or salad, I'll do the main entree and dessert.  

Setting the table is my favorite hobby despite downsizing fives sets of dishes!  Maybe I will even use my Mom's china!  And polish the silverware!!  Make this an enchanted evening.

What has gotten into me?



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SIZZLING SUMMER

Not.

Yesterday Portland had rain, wind, cold and hail.  Lots of large hailstones.  I think the high for the day was 55.  And my pitiful in-wall heater decided to quit.

I called the heating and a/c company we used to use for the house ... but they don't do Cadet heaters.  I emailed a few neighbors but they are not quite as addicted to the cyber world as I am, so I didn't hear from them until this morning.

In the meantime, as I was talking to another neighbor on the phone today, she suggested hitting the reset button.  VOILA!  That did it.  So I can definitely procrastinate on that.

But last night ....


was pretty darned wonderful.  Me, myself and I.

Thursday is predicted to be 79 degrees.  Let's hope the a/c works!!!  Or, at the very least, has a re-set button.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

Today is a special day for Dads and Grandpas.  I'm pretty sure Mr. Ralph was pretty good at both.

Especially being Poppa to Braeden.  Braeden is STILL all about Poppa.  He loves climbing "Poppa's Rock" which is about 10 inches high in front of the condo.  He loves saying "member when Poppa" did this or that.  And often he says "I just wish Poppa would come back."  Me too, buddy.  Me too.




GROWING PAINS

I guess it had to happen sooner or later.



My precious little guy got a buzz cut.  I begged them not to do it.  I volunteered to pay for a haircut.  I knew he would look a lot older than he is.  

But ... in fairness, he is all boy and plays outside all day.  His hair is always sweaty.

But I don't like it one little bit.  Maybe I'll find him a few more cute hats ....


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FULL MOON on FRIDAY the 13th

This Friday is going to be special.  It's the last full moon to occur on a Friday the 13th until 2059.  Will I even be here for the next one?

So I took a big step.  I invited about 15 people to meet up at our condo Clubhouse to celebrate (I love having a theme).  It's simple, just bring your own beverage and some finger food to share.  But this is the first "party" I've hosted since Mr. Ralph left.  Will I be able to do it? 

Oh gosh I realize how much I counted on him.  He always kept the conversation going.  The glasses filled.  Greeted each arrival with a personal conversation.  Introduced those who didn't know each other.

Sure, I did my share.  Choosing people who might get along.  Setting the scene to be warm and welcoming.  Thinking up a little menu to go along with the theme.

I'm starting small and not hosting a dinner, so that makes it a lot easier.  Although I've been dreaming up a fun menu for my first foray into entertaining at the next level.


I just miss him so much.  




Thursday, June 5, 2014

REMARKABLE!

Blogging.  It should be an Olympic sport.  It takes a lot of time and effort, practice and drafting as well as creativity.  But the benefits never cease to amaze me.

It feels good sometimes, to get things off my mind.  Often my feelings or thinking get validated with comments from people in similar life circumstances.  What began as mostly situations dealing with being a new widow has morphed into daily life.  A lot of things happen to me due to the death of Mr. Ralph.  (I just miss him so much.)

But yesterday serendipity bounced right into my day!  

I learned of the blog "Time Goes By" from one of my favorite widow blogs (The Misadventures of Widowhood).  It is always interesting to me so I subscribe.  I think I mentioned this winter when the blogger posted a snowy picture from outside her condo ... it looked a LOT like my condo in Lake Oswego.  In a private email, I asked her ... and yup!  She lives here.  We had a tiny e-chat and said lets get together for coffee when I return to Oregon.

Before I could be bold enough to ask her to coffee (I don't want to seem like some blogger stalker ...), she had some posts about Villages and when I learned she was involved in helping to start one in our town ... I emailed her my interest in volunteering as well.  She was very responsive (I think maybe her laptop is permanently attached to her legs as well).  I'm on the mailing list to attend the next meeting.  Also on her blog was a link to the movie Cyber Senior.

Which happened to be showing in our little local theater a few blocks from me.  I met a friend for lunch then walked over to watch.  (The theater is more like a restaurant but more on that in another blog).  The room had tables of four tightly packed together with very few open seats.  I asked a beautiful white haired lady with a stunning hat (I've always wished I could pull that look off!) if the seat next to her was open.  We chatted a bit.  Then she introduced herself as Ronnie.  I told her who I was which amazed both of us!  That we would meet in person at the movies!

We watched the movie (adequate but not spectacular ... maybe a blog on that one) but she wanted to stay after for the discussion.  Since I wasn't that impressed, and I had been out all afternoon, I started walking home.  Within minutes there was a little tap on my arm and we walked home together.

She invited me to see her condo (I am obsessed with seeing how others decorate and arrange furniture and how they live in their space).  Then I had her over to see mine.

Now I have a friend in real life as well as cyber space!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

CUSTOMER NO SERVICE

Hawaiian Airlines has let me down.  So far down I will never use their services again.


Last January when Mr. Ralph learned the cancer had spread to his bones, he asked if we could just live on Maui for the rest of his years.  Not six months here and six months there.  Just Maui.  You betcha!

We already had return tickets scheduled for Portland in May 2013.  I called to cancel and get a refund, expecting a big financial hit.  The customer service agent said if we thought we might rebook within 12 months, we would not have to pay the cancellation or change fee.  Well, why not!  We could come to Portland for a two week vacation or travel to a different island!  Win/win.

WRONG.

Just this year I remembered his unused ticket.  (I had already used mine.)  I called to see about a refund.  Many many minutes later, I was directed to use the website to ask about this because this agent said the refund would be less $150 cancellation fee.  Really?  I think a person dying of cancer should get a break ... especially because he died in MAY before the unused ticket was scheduled to fly.

I did email.  Back and forth for ten times over five weeks (because you know they have to take their 3-5 business days to respond).  After sending and RESENDING his death certificate twice.  The last email said:


Aloha JB,

Thank you for responding.

We apologize for the delayed response.

The reservation has been documented for the refund. Kindly contact our Reservations at 1-800-367-5320 for processing.

Should you have other concern, please do not hesitate to respond to this email.

Mahalo,
Dylan/G51
Hawaiian Airlines

Today I finally had a quiet moment to make what I figured would be a 10-15 minute phone call to get the refund mailed to me.  Forty-five minutes later I was directed to the website to send in a request for a refund.  Because the Hawaiian Air VISA card that I used to charge the flight is no longer active because Ralph is dead!!!


But of course I have learned a valuable lesson.  Now I will only book one way tickets to Paradise.  Because death changes.