Friday, October 31, 2014

CRYING and COFFEE

At 8:30 am, as I was considering getting out of my nice warm bed, I got a text from a neighbor saying she was just putting on a pot of coffee ... wanna come?

Combed my hair, found comfy clothes and trotted over in the rain.  Her hubby is out of town so we gathered around her seasonally decorated dining room and shared coffee.  Somehow we got on the topic of Ralph and how much she missed him.  And the tears just started flowing.  From both of us! They only knew him for two years ...  half of that time we were in Maui.  It was touching the things she liked and remembered about him.  And that she sees a lot of him in Braeden as well.  Not just looks but personality.

It was good to get some crying out.  Which left the rest of the day on a good note.  A few errands (having a birthday dinner for Braeden on Saturday), treated myself to lunch, laundry, rounded up some treats to bring to the Orange and Black party.  We had about 15 people show up, everyone in black and/or orange and wonderful finger foods.  Deviled eggs with "spiders" on top (ripe olives), chili con queso dip (my big weakness!), oranges, orange cheese spread, Cheetos Bag o Bones, pumpkin cheese cake.  Singing pumpkin songs to Christmas tunes!  Just Delightful.  Several went on for hot tubbing.

This place just fits me.  There are people here to suit any mood I have going.  We are really a community.






Thursday, October 30, 2014

JUST NOT FEELING IT

A good portion of my day was devoted to becoming blonde.  Again.

It is so time consuming and EXPENSIVE.  And I get the friends and family discount.  Normally haircuts are $75!!  My hair needs a great cut every four weeks.  I should have it colored every six weeks but since my hair is curly, I stretch it to eight.  My eyebrows are so pale they they also get dyed brown.

I almost talked myself out of being so vain (thinking of what else I could do with that $2,000/year)(or more) and then I saw a photo of Glenn Close in People Magazine.  She was with her younger sister (maybe 5 years younger?).  Glenn is going grey these days and she looked 50 years older than her sister.  So nope.  I'm sticking with my investment.

My stylist is the daughter of one of my first friends in Portland.  I try to have lunch or happy hour with her when I travel across town for my afternoon of chi chi living.  Today we met at an Iraqi restaurant that was amazing!  

I also managed a half hour at the best dollar store in town.  Then home for trudging around in the rain "judging" Halloween vignettes at the complex. When I finally got to my home sweet home, a look in the mirror convinced me to stay with the blonding.  I'm just not feeling 85 yet!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CHOOSING A TOPIC

Sunday evening my new(er) friends John and Lindee drove down from Seattle to spend a couple of nights.  They just bought a travel trailer and drove it home on Tuesday.

First of all, it is a dream of mine to visit all of our National Parks.  I would love to do it in a trailer but not the kind you pull.  Too much maneuvering for me!  After taking a tour of their four star one bedroom unit I am green with envy.  WOW!  It is a luxury studio apartment.  Built in storage, kitchen, bathroom with separate shower.  Refrigerator AND freezer ... built to look like the gourmet cabinets.  Just stunning.  Now ... if I just didn't have to HAUL it.


These two are not on Facebook.  Way too active to sit down for more than 20 minutes.  They met on an organized bike ride!  Now they grow almost all of their fruits and vegetables.  They eat healthy 98% of the time.  Early to bed and early to rise.  Basically I'm their polar opposite!

Yet we had a great time!  Mostly a quick visit in the morning then meet up for dinner.  I was quite the gracious host ... we ate out both nights!  Their treat!  (Maybe I should open a Bed and Dinner business?)

They do read my blog.  And wonder how I find a topic!  I have to say I've never struggled to find something to talk/write about!  As my Mom would say ... maybe I just have diarrhea of the mouth!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DISNEYLAND

What a magical week!

Braeden was in awe of everything.  Everything was fun.  Even waiting in line!  He would always meet a youngster to play with while waiting.

The place is just too big!  We had three day park hopper passes, so we could go as often as we wanted to either park.  He was most in tune with California Adventure as they have the more recent big Disney movie characters.  We got to see a lot but probably only about 20% of the place.  

His favorite ride?  Star Tours
Least favorite?  Caterpillar ride in Bug's Life (that's a baby ride, Gramma)
The most rides?  Ariel the Little Mermaid (four times!)

We had so much fun.  I missed blogging and reading my favorite blogs ... but I didn't want to miss a minute with this boy.


Monday, October 20, 2014

I'VE BEEN SCAMMED!

Last night I gave in and upgraded to the new operating system for both my computer and my iPhone.  My calendar stopped automatically syncing between devices and that just would not do!  My brain retains nothing, so I have to look several times a day.

I had no idea how many HOURS it would take on the laptop.  I stayed up til 1am waiting for it to finish.  The phone update wasn't as long and I played with it for a while as I was waiting.  Except for having to re-do all the settings for all the programs and apps, no big problem.


The computer, on the other had, is taking some of my patience.  Everything seems to work in slow motion now ... at least compared to the old operating system.  Everything looks just a little different from how it used to.  iPhoto doesn't work without loading a separate update.  Time time time.

And then all the questions I now have!  First off ... why did Apple stop naming the OS after fast wild cats?  How many National Parks do we have?  Then will they start naming OS after stars or planets or galaxies?

After I ran a few errands today, I looked at my phone and thought HOLY MOLY something is wrong!  I had 42 emails!!  I thought I had been scammed or hacked or vulnerable!   But when I looked at them, each one was a trade confirmation from Schwab.  The financial advisors have made the changes that I've been too afraid to do.  

My life is in chaos!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE HAPPIEST WIDOW ON EARTH

On Tuesday morning, Braeden and I fly to Disneyland!  

This whole idea started last year while he was in Maui with me.  We would watch a Disney movie and he was enthralled with the fireworks ... every single time we watched a movie!  I said I will take you to Disneyland when you get bigger.  And the negotiations began.  When I Free?  (In a month).  I said no, not when you are three.  You have to be tall enough to get on the rides.  When I FOUR? and I thought, sure ... when you are four.

Obviously he has a steel trap mind because for the next whole year, this trip came up.  But I don't know WHO is more excited!  Him to see his heroes bigger than life or me to watch him believe!


The sad part is that I chose to not pay for his whole family to come.  And I explained that my feelings would not be hurt if they didn't want me to take just him.  Airfare would have been $1,600.  Two hotel rooms instead of one.  Shuttle or rental car (and car seats) for three days.  Tickets to the parks are $100 per person per day!  Dining out.  

So we will use photos and Facetime so he can share his day with them.  We are staying at The Candy Cane Inn.  My friend went to Disneyland last week so she brought maps and circled age appropriate things for him.  I had been hoping that with kids in school it wouldn't be very crowded ... but she said it was packed because of Halloween specials, especially after school hours.  Lots of haunted houses in each park.

I have two apps on my iPhone ... one tells me "wait time" for specific rides (and I learned about Fast Pass ... three times each day, if the line seems too long to wait, you can put in your ticket and SCHEDULE a time for the ride or event .... then go to the front of the line).  (Certain rides excluded)  The other app has things to do near where we are (GPS) in case we get thirsty or need a restroom, it will show us the closest one.

Even the weather is cooperating!  Sunny and 80.  I hope he will take a nap so we can get up and watch the FIREWORKS!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

FELINE FRIENDLY

I'm babysitting my grand dog for a few more days.  He thinks it's pretty boring around here but he has room to call his own and no one pulling on his ears or tail.  Good food too!

Several friends here at the condo have kitties for pets.  They are able to survive a weekend or more without humans, but we humans can't help buy worry.  Since I'm here a lot, I usually volunteer to help out although most everyone turns me down.  Really?  Just because I don't like the 400,000 free roaming cats on Maui doesn't mean I don't like pets!

If I do sell the Maui Mansion, I am thinking of getting a pet.  I was leaning towards a cat so I wouldn't feel compelled to race home after eight hours of leaving him or her alone.  Last night I got a text from neighbors who NEVER take me up on volunteering to play with their cats ... she was just worried that they may have eaten all the food they left out and drank up all ten gallons of water in bowls and pans all over the condo.

Yep!  I went over and played with them for a bit.  Only one is super friendly but they all come out to see what he is so excited about.  I'm also kitty cat sitting for Mary Beth while she is in Disneyland for four days!  Honey Pie is not a people person she said.  Just wet food, dry food, water and clean out the litter box.  Well!  Honey Pie was indeed friendly and even sat on my lap for 2o minutes.  She was a hoot!  This morning I had Mary Beth's neighbor bring her own cup of coffee and we visited while Honey Pie ran all over the condo!  Just happy to have voices around, I guess.




Now I'm thinking I don't need a pet of my own.  I'll just borrow every one else's!  No responsibilities for me!


Friday, October 17, 2014

TGIF!

It's Friday morning (well, late morning now!) and it is cold and dark and a bit rainy.  Time for hibernation.

The good news is the family cold only slightly hit me.  I'm hoping it was because I drank lots of liquids, took vinegar and honey "tea", stayed home and rested ... all the right things.  Most of the little family is doing fine ... except the Mom who is about 50% recovered from pneumonia, sinus infection and ear infections.

I'm ready to take on the next big life change.  Kate and the boys are moving in with me for a month or two.  Jesse has found a rehab facility and is checking himself in next week.  He thinks for just 30 days but based on my experience with others, the longer the better.

The good news is that this time, it is not a "vacation" for her.  During the healing from the c-section, I did most things ... meals, cleaning, laundry, dog walking, etc.  This time we are sharing cooking, cleaning, laundry, dog walking.  Her job is to find a job!  I will gladly play with the boys while she is interviewing.  The bad news?  Their time table will need to change to fit MY routine.  Currently they are all night owls.  The babies go to bed at 11pm and sleep til 11am (except the baby who still eats every four hours but usually goes back to sleep).



All of the free or inexpensive things to do with young children are usually 9-11:30 ... free indoor play time through our Parks and Rec.  Library story time.  Indoor swimming.  Braeden has a late birthday so he will not go to Kindergarten until 2016.  We have all this time to nourish his mind as well as his senses.  They are struggling financially so hoping he will get into Head Start preschool to learn about taking turns, sharing, and playing well with others.

Wish us luck!???

Thursday, October 16, 2014

UNPROPITIOUS

I love learning new words!  Being online sure makes it easy to look up the definition, synonyms and antonyms.  Oh my, I'm still a high school nerd.



propitious

[pruh-pish-uh s]  


adjective
1.
presenting favorable conditions; favorable:
propitious weather.
2.
indicative of favor; auspicious:
propitious omens.
3.
favorably inclined; disposed to bestow favors or forgive:
propitious gods.

While looking up the definition, it was easier for me to find the base word and definitions.  Right now my best use in a sentence would be "the weather approaching Maui is unpropitious."  Again Maui is on the edge of a hurricane.

Definition No. 3 above is the most interesting to me right now.  Unpropitious relationship?  What was a friendship is no more?  

One common thread on widow blogs and blogs on aging is how to make friends at our age.  In the past, I found friends at work or friends who are parents of Kate's friend or friends from where Mr. Ralph worked.  Now I have none of those opportunities.  I am not employed and Kate is 28.  So now I find them wherever or whenever.  Coffee shop.  Volunteer projects.  Grocery.  Walking.  Neighbors I had not yet met.


It's a lot of kissing frogs but every once in a while I find a potential.  There's a knack to being friendly but not wanting to be friends.  Some people are just WAY out there (another blog!)

This year I've made a couple.  But one has already broken up.  Sometimes the more you learn about someone, the less you want to know.  And vice versa.  This friend was unpropitious!

My other new friend is so fun and full of energy, I just want to know more!













Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DARK SKY

Oregon Autumn and Winter are well on their way.  Rainy and windy, grey and cool.  Some would say cold but it's all relative.  Nasty messy stuff at the least.

I'm babysitting my granddog for a bit.  My kidult has turned her cold into pneumonia, sinus infection and an ear infection!  I figured since I can't watch both babies because I'm fighting off the same cold ... the least I could do is take the big dog.

My techno nephew told me about the app Dark Sky.  I've been using it rather than the weather app that came with the iPhone.  Today, though, it proved its $3.99 worth!  It made my phone make a little noise and showed the message "light rain coming your way in 8 minutes."  I quickly put on my jacket and grabbed Bosko who did his duty in a timely manner.  We were home before the rain started!



Here I sit, smug and warm.  Technology is one of my best friends!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SELLING IS SEXY

Waaaa.  Bad news for me.  My best buddies on Maui are moving to the mainland.  Their son and daughter-in-law are having the first grandchild around Thanksgiving ... in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Despite 12 years on the island (playing on the water almost every day), the lure of family is too strong.

They have been taking care of the Kihei Cottage while we are away for four years or more.  They take better care of it than I do!  We originally asked them to just check the mailbox (despite my change of address, something slips through), run the water and flush the toilets and just look around to be sure no one has slipped in and made a home there.  For a tiny monthly stipend.

But they act like the home is theirs ... doing yard work, tweaking the irrigation system, replacing light bulbs, putting away the patio furniture when the hurricane was approaching and remaking all of the fence art so that it will last more than two years.  When they know I have friends coming to stay, the turn on the a/c, air out the joint and be sure the keys are out and the guide to the house (and town) is front and center.  After, they inspect to be sure it was left in better condition than before the guests.  (There are at least one or two who will not have the privilege of borrowing based on their feedback!).



So now I'm thinking I may sell my home after my winter there.  It is a luxury that would have been well worth it if I still had Mr. Ralph with me.  Or Bob/Paula.  But it has strings attached ... the worry of how to handle when things break down.  Mr. Ralph (and Bob/Paula) have made sure most everything is self sufficient but there are still the unforeseen things.  I will look for replacements who will do part of what has been done, but no one loves my home as much as they do.

What to do, what to do ...



Sunday, October 12, 2014

I THINK I NEED GLASSES

I think I have blogger's ADD.  One reason why I'm glad this is a PERSONAL blog and that I'm not doing this for a living!!  Although part of me would LOVE to make a living sitting at home in my pajama's (currently sporting cute spots of baby spit), enjoying my coffee.  Sometimes I write in the evening  ... with my glass of red wine.

So.  While this is an Awkward Widow journey, my blogs often have nothing to do with grieving or depression.  It's just my life, Act II.  I'm still adding new actors and actresses to the play.  And I'm totally missing my leading man.



Trying hard to NOT catch the cold.  


Saturday, October 11, 2014

AWKWARD GROWING PAINS

Organizations are living, growing morphing groups of people....joined together for a common cause.  Business or religion or neighborhood association or charitable purposes.  Hobbies or athletics.  And this time of year ... politics.

All of the kinds of organizations have growing pains.  People come and people go.  Some people can lead and some lead because it was their brainstorm.  Some leaders win because the choosing the other candidate is worse.  As a member, you can choose whether to follow that wonderful pastor or stay at the church you've attended for 15 years.  No one else's business which way YOU choose.


Lately I've seen three of my favorite organizations have serious leadership changes.  Several people sold their homes to avoid the personal harassment of a Board chair gone maniacal.  Many owners were seriously looking to sell their condos because of a Board chair becoming an evil dictator with no regard for spending money that was not earmarked for her special projects.  And so on.

My decision has been to stay and become active in changing the leadership (actually, lack OF leadership).  Democracy always rises above and karma works.  Sometimes just takes longer than I'd like.

Please don't be a sit on the sofa kind of member who simply complains.  MAKE CHANGE.  Never give up.

Friday, October 10, 2014

AWKWARD MOTHERHOOD

The whole little family is here ... Mom is wicked sick with a cold and refuses meds as it might make her milk production stop.  Braeden is happy but thick runny nose and is snuggled under a blankie watching PBS cartoons.  Just asked to take a little rest!



I'm gonna miss these little naps ....

Last night Deacon joined the viral party.  Kate and I spent the whole night holding him upright so he could breathe easier.  So he was pretty happy this morning.  We, on the other hand ... are exhausted


Sixty two is a bit too old to be helping with sick babies ...


CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

Sometimes I feel invisible.

Just another middle aged lady spending her retirement fund trying to keep her hair blond instead of grey.  Not a simple process any more.  Dye all of the hair one color.  Streak in two other colors.  Every 6-8 weeks.  It's crazy really.  I tried letting it grow out all the way grey.  I looked 100 years old and invisible.


I had to wear full on make up to just look 80.  Sample above.  In 2010... at 58.

I know the feminists out there will raise their eyebrows but I want to feel good about how I look.  And take pride in it.  Wearing clean clothes, for instance.  I run into so many older folks who have food stains on their shirts.  Or no longer take things in to be dry cleaned.  The image I receive is OLD and tired of caring.  Maybe it is being frugal.  


The above pic is me, WITHOUT ANY MAKEUP.  Poolside, in fact.  But I still like that look better than grey.  Now I better take a pic of me, blond and WITH makeup!

I'm so vain ....






Wednesday, October 8, 2014

UNAFFORDABLE POLITICS

Yes.  I just got a notice in the mail that my "affordable" health care, compliments of Mr. Obama, went up 12% in monthly premiums.  $525 per month.  Before I had such affordable care, I was paying $271.  Three years ago.  

Call me crazy, but I have yet to know of an area of my life that is better because of government help.  In fact, if memory serves me ... wasn't my phone service less expensive and bills easier to fathom BEFORE they helpfully broke up the monopoly?  I no longer have a landline so I don't get as bothered by that.

Are there any countries that have wonderful, affordable government health insurance?  Lots do have socialized medicine.  Take England, for an example.  I have a friend who needed knee surgery.  The wait list for his surgery was several YEARS.  Yes!  He came to the good old USA and had it done here.

I'm just getting madder and madder now that government interference is personally getting to me.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

NAKED AT OUR AGE

Joan Price is an author and blogger advocate for talking out loud about Senior sex.  I think I read her column on Senior Planet and then subscribed to her monthly email.  Sex at our age is not gross and disgusting!  Although I suppose young people in their 20's might disagree.  They think THEY invented this.


Like everything else in our lives, things change and morph.  Nice when you have a love in your life.  Still nice when you are a widow or widower.  Not that I could speak in public on this topic.  Behind the keyboard, it's a bit easier.

Later life pleasures.  So many things we widows can do to fulfill our need for touch.  Hugs. Massage.  Even a pedicure!  Soaking in a warm tub.  Especially if you are like me and only shower.  Seems hedonistic to focus on myself.  Which is EXACTLY what that word means!

he·don·is·tic
ˌhēdnˈistik,ˌhedəˈnistik/
adjective
  1. engaged in the pursuit of pleasure; sensually self-indulgent.
    "a hedonistic existence of drink, drugs, and parties"
    synonyms:self-indulgentpleasure-seekingsybaritic, lotus-eating, epicurean, good-time

I'm pretty sure that I will not remarry.  At this point, I'm pretty sure I don't even want to date!  Maybe it's just a selfish stage of widowhood.  Probably it's because I'm too lazy to "date".  For now I'm happy with my daughter and her little family.  I get lots of hugs and touching and exercise with the little ones.  That is already changing as Braeden now wants to be at his home on the weekends.  His neighbor buddies are in school and there's not much play time except on weekends.  Somehow, I was expecting this to happen more around age 9-10!  Not at age FOUR!

Dear Widow Friends:  How do you compensate for not having a manly hug at your beck and call?


Saturday, October 4, 2014

LANGUISHING LAZY LASS

Saturday at almost 2pm.  There are so many things I could do ... and a lot I should do, but I'm thinking I won't do!

The weather here is gorgeous and sunny and bright.  I'm sitting on my front patio typing.  I enjoyed a turkey sandwich with a thick slice of tomato from a friend's garden.  It just doesn't get any better.

Similar to a fellow blogger I now read, sometimes I feel like Gladys Kravitz from the TV sitcom Bewitched.  I have time to gaze out my windows.  I spend a lot of time on the laptop and I sit by a window.  Not much goes on at my end of the condo complex ... until today.

A teenager whom I did not recognize walked past this morning.  Hunched down, deliberate steps.  A little bit not right.  New folks moved in a unit behind me so I thought she belonged to them.

She rounded my building 10 times in 90 minutes.  As I walked out to visit my friend Daisy (to play with our iPads and share info), there were three police cars out front.  They were gently putting this girl into a car.  Apparently she got more agitated as the morning went on and began knocking on doors saying she she needs help.  Mary Beth (HOA Chair) noticed her and came outside to help.

In her authoritative voice she said "I can help you" and asked if she had a gun or a knife.  She had her sit in the sunshine on the sidewalk so that IF she got belligerent, Mary Beth would have a head start to get behind a locked door.  She went compliantly with them.  They know her by name.  Sad. 

You didn't notice, but I went on a sunny walk, visited a couple of friends, had lunch outside.  My friend Diane brought over dinner.  And I decided to finish this at Starbucks with an iced soy latte.

Yep.  Incredibly lazy today!

Friday, October 3, 2014

WIDOW INVESTMENTS

I have not slowed down the widow spending.  It's just too easy for me to justify buying pajamas for grandsons, spending hours at the Dollar Tree today, searching online for the perfect furniture for my new widow bedroom at the condo.  And getting my hair cut and colored at a chi chi salon.

Because I went from parents to husband to husband, I've always incorporated the man point of view since we were sharing a home.  My touches too, of course, but what man would WANT to sleep under a quilt full of flowers?  Neither of mine.

Now I am building my little nest with just me (and the little family) in mind.

My condo living room BEFORE:


This is after I gave the kids the oversized navy blue sofa recliner.

Furniture arrived on Tuesday:


The smaller scale and lighter color is more suited to the space.  And to my living habits.  Very comfy to sit on and easy to get up from.  And the sofa is just big enough for a nap ... can't wait to try that!

My favorite thing really, is the art shelf.  Although I haven't changed any of the work on the wall since it went up and I just grabbed stuff ... I can't wait to have a theme going.

The teeny dining room had 20 year old recessed lights that didn't provide enough light to the table.  I bought some lights I just loved (on Amazon) after going to every place locally that I could think of (and that I could afford).  Just a hint of oriental.  Thank goodness for Handykid as we had to buy adapter and black tubing to hide the white cord!


For my bedroom (you already know about my dual control flexible bed), I want to do more feminine white shabby chic sort of look.  I have a gorgeous burgundy and gold oriental rug that I'm keeping, but I think the white will look just fine.  The nightstands arrived so Handykid can put them together next week ... but they should look like this:




I kinda feel pretty hip for not being symmetrical!  The condo is small so I'm taking advantage of vertical space.   And I love the little pull out ledge for coffee or wine!  Handykid also put up white art shelf over my bed and over Braeden's bed.  I'm hoping to find a Toy Story poster on our upcoming trip to Disneyland.

Have any of my widow friends been doing this "it's all about me" redecorating or changing rooms around?






Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WIDOW HAPPINESS

It's been almost a year and a half since I became a widow.  The one thing I've learned, mainly from my widow friends, is to find happiness wherever and whenever I can.  Sometimes it's a huge incident or memory.  More often it's something you could almost miss.

I discovered how to poach an egg in the microwave in 60 seconds.

For me, an egg is the most satisfying meal.  Breakfast of course, with a slice of Dave's Killer Bread.  My sister turned me on to putting one atop a lunch of warmed greens or quinoa or whatever leftovers I have.  Now that our weather has turned cool, an egg is a warm and simple dinner.

Last week, when I was so behind the culinary times of this century, I happened across a recipe for microwave egg.  In Maui, before we had solar panels installed, I tried microwaving eggs so that the white was firm and yellow was runny.  Close, but no cigar.  I usually microwaved them scrambled.


The secret?  One half cup of water, a bowl about five inches across and one little minute in the microwave!  Sometimes I keep the lid on another 30 seconds while the toast is finishing.

Perfect poached egg!