Saturday, February 28, 2015


It's time for another rant about pet peeves.  SHEESH!  People were driving me crazy today!

Fortunately, it was a bright, sunny and almost 60 degree day in Portland. I had to go to Costco to pick up a prescription that needed to be refilled from the Maui Costco.  I spent ten minutes on Tuesday with the Portland Costco pharmacy people.  I brought the bottle.  It had been refilled in Portland in the past.  It did say last refill so Dr. had to be called.  There were two helpers trying to get it sorted.  Finally I asked if they needed any additional information from me, they said nope, they had it handled and said it would be ready in two days. In my most cheerful, magnanimous way .. I said I would pick it up in two days.  (Knowing I would return on Saturday making it FOUR days.)

Most people in their right minds try not to go to Costco on the weekends.  Very busy.  But I had to get a few things for the soup supper tomorrow as well (like cheesecake!) which I couldn't purchase too early.

Today I went to pick up the prescription (my anti crabby medicine) and it was not ready.  Then, after looking further,  she said there was no order for anything to be ready.  So back to the prescription drop off counter.  Who also could not find any trace that I was ever there!  I was grinding my teeth as I smiled and said ... now what?  She offered to sell me four days of meds as it may take two days for the Dr's office to respond to their fax.  Since I am such a Girl Scout, I still have five days left so hopefully I just have to return next week.  Color me annoyed.

Here are my top five pet peeves for TODAY!  (Imagine the list if I sat down and really thought about it ...)

     1)  People waiting in line for coffee, for more than five minutes, who then stammer and read and ask ... hmmm, what should I have?  Gosh, let's see.  Um ... well ... how about ... no, too fattening .... maybe just a half caf, skinny, no foam, Madagascar cinnamon latte.  Oh wait ... make that Vietnamese cinnamon.  And a breve.  Add a shot of caramel.  What?  $8???  No, just coffee.

     2)  People at stop lights or stop signs reading their phones, who forget they should not be multitasking, just DRIVING.  Then, after about 8 seconds, I tapped my horn and she flips me off!!!!  Really!???

     3)  People dashing in front of me, patiently waiting in line for Costco samples.  Twice today I said ... in my most Nordstrom helpful voice ... the line starts BEHIND me.  

     4)  People who phone and do not leave a message.  Then email and text me.  Then call back and leave the message.  And when I finally stop driving so I can contact them ... it's "never mind" I asked someone else.

     5)  People who stop (with their card) in the middle of an aisle, leave it there and look elsewhere.  Then get pissy when you move the cart to the edge of the aisle so you can get through.  HELLO?  It's SATURDAY AT COSTCO!

Maybe I should have gotten out the monkeys ....

Thursday, February 26, 2015


This would be my ideal sexy diet!  If only my mind was really in place to dump this 50 lbs.  Several of my blogging buddies have gotten serious ... and some of them don't even need too! 

Yet I have been hearing about some new "natural" appetite suppressant ... Garcinia Cambogia.  Garcinia Cambogia became popular when one of the famous TV doctors reviewed the supplement on his popular talk show. On the show Dr. Julie Chen called it a “Dual Action Fat-Buster” because several studies have suggested in can help to block fat and suppress your appetite.

Supposedly Garcinia Cambogia helps to block citrate lyase which turns carbohydrates and sugars into fats. When your body can't turn carbs into fat it turns into glycogen for your muscles or burns them through oxidation. Garcinia Cambogia also helps to curb your appetite and emotional eating by increasing the levels of serotonin in your system.

I need to do a bit of research on the safety of digesting this, but I saw it for sale at Costco yesterday … I’m so behind the times!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Wow!  I can't believe how little I've blogged since living at the condo ... with four others and a big dog.  Sorry, readers!  I'll set aside some quiet time every day so at least I can invest a few sentences.

Sunday Mary Beth and I hosted a "Meet the Neighbors" party.  We've had about ten new owners buy here since summer.  With wet weather, none of us socialize as much so we made a little effort.  We provided cake and coffee ... everyone brought an appetizer and wine if they wanted.  We had name tags (thanks, Angel) and MB put together an "Oldie-weds" game (like the Newlyweds?!).  It was great fun ... what's your favorite restaurant in Lake Oswego, what's your favorite retail store, etc.

This coming Sunday I am co-hosting a Sunday Soup Supper for Three Rivers Village.  And I think we are having a better turnout than we expected!  We were hoping for eight and at this point in time, we have twelve!!  Good news for getting more volunteers.  Which we sure need.

The best part of being with the kids, are all the little snuggly huggable moments.  They go to bed late and get up late, so I am staying on Maui time.  Which, of course, changes to THREE hours behind as of March 8 and DST.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I'm snuggled in the condo in Oregon!  Everyone was up when Kate brought me home at 11pm so I got lots of snuggles and smiles.  Braeden had dictated a note for me and then wrote his name on it.  Flowers and balloons!  Even the dog was excited.  Jesse had prepared a snack accompanied by a glass of red wine.

They are the night owl family, so I can stay on Maui time.  It's noisy and busy and semi-chaotic and I love it ... in small doses.  The boys and I all took naps yesterday.  Jesse made a fabulous stuffed shell dinner last night.  I bet he spent three hours making everything from scratch.  Heavenly.

The baby gets up about 10:30 (although it is almost 11:30 and no one else is up yet!) and Jesse and the boys snuggle for half an hour (longer if they boys are getting along!)  Then breakfast and some play time.  Deacon's huge play fence is set up around the front of the sofa ... so Braeden can climb on the love seat over to the sofa and get in the pen with him.  It's amazing how well they play together!!!  We'll see how long that lasts.

I did get out Friday to have my hair cut.  The weather is very spring-like so it's been fun taking the dog out, surveying the condo complex and getting out with the two littles.  Braeden is still sick but has his appetite back.  Runny nose.  A bit of coughing.  He ate a great dinner last night so we got to watch a movie ... in the big bed.  I made him a 4 oz milk shake (with ensure for children) and some goldfish cookies.  Gramma's just have to plump up skinny boys!

Now to make a few friend connections while I'm in town ... but mostly play with the boys.  

This is the life!

Wherever I am, I make it my home.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


For the life of me, I can't come up with the right word.  For me.  About where I want to live most of the time.  A word with an admirable and positive connotation.

Am I being too self-centered when I think I would rather live here on Maui and visit the little family 3-4 times a year?  While I have this quality of health.  Would it just be too indulgent to put my needs above the grandsons?  And the Oregon rain?

Sunny Maui is a wonderful place.  The benign weather and constant sunshine keep my spirits soaring.  I feel closer to Mr. Ralph.  Yet I miss the hands-on connection with Kate and her little family.

Should I simply enjoy my good fortune for as long as I can, just live my life for me?  I feel I have never put myself first.  My parents were quite poor and it was a thrill to be able to give to them.  After all their years of doing without so their six youngsters could go to Catholic school.  My husband was the twinkle in my eye and I always thought about him first.  We learned the successful skill of compromise which worked well for us.  I didn't feel the need to go off with the girls for a week of vacation ... or even a weekend.  Because I would rather have been with him.  I don't know how to even act when life pleases me!

Then add a gorgeous little tomboy to the mix!  Now that she has her own family, and Mr. Ralph is gone, I constantly feel surprised to learn about me and my needs and wants and desires.  It just seems sinful to consider myself FIRST.  What color would I like to paint the walls?  Where would I like to go on vacation?  What new dish should I try to replicate?   What sort of ethnic food shall I try next?

I think, to make myself feel better about doing something that is better for me, I need to be a little self indulgent.  Love myself.  I'm trying not to rush into any major decisions ... but

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I was raised Catholic.  Twelve years of Catholic school, even.  Played the organ at church for a few years.  But I am a church drop out.  In fact, five out of six of the children are non church going!  My sister is Jewish and they are very active.

Yesterday after lunch, we were dangerously close to a very oooey, gooey cinnamon roll bakery.  Luckily, I came up with the perfect excuse to buy one ... Fat Tuesday!  Lindee likes to party big time, so she bought SIX.  They are HUGE.  And rich.  She and John shared 1/2 of one this morning ... I had a sliver of the remaining one.  SOOOOO indulgent.

They took a trip in to Costco so I put my computer time in.  Paid some bills, changed payment methods, transferred money to Kate as her PayPal account is taking TWICE as long as they say it will to hit her bank (while they use the money, I'm sure).  She took the babies to the Dr today.  Braeden, who feels and looks the worst, had no secondary issues.  Deacon who is back with his appetite and playing, has a rattle in his lungs and fluid in his ears.  So she needed her $$$.

Lindee came home and made lettuce wrap sandwiches and cut up fruit ... and a bottle of Prosecco.  Because you know ... it IS Fat Tuesday.

We met up with friends for another wonderful Maui sunset.  Lindee made dinner (Greek salad with chicken) and red wine.  Lemon cupcakes for dessert.  To end our wild and crazy day ... we watched Netflix til we fell asleep on the sofa.

Yeh.  We rock.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


John and Lindee arrived last night, in time for a glass of wine and then we hit the hay.

They, of course, we up earlier than me (ooooops ... 8:30 today!) and the coffee was ready.  As we were sitting on the back lanai, Lindee felt like something was crawling on her ... ANTS!  A billion little ANTS!  Everywhere.  John looked closer and proclaimed they were baby praying mantis!

There must have been 500 hundred of them.  They were not quite 1/2 inch long and were exact miniature replicas, in brown.  I was prepared to spray and eradicate ... until our friendly geckos stepped.  I'm not sure how they signal each other but while a few may have gotten away, it was home town buffet time for them!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


My newlywed friends got such a quick tour of my Maui.  But I think they got enough to know they want to come back for more.

They landed at 7:30 Friday night and we went to Da Kitchen for dinner.  By the time we got to my house, we were all pretty tired.  We had a drink and hit the hay (they are from Florida so five hour time change).  

Saturday they were up and going at 5:00 am, so the coffee was ready when I showed my sleepy head at 8:00 am.  They had their second breakfast, showered and off we went to see some great beaches.  It was a grey and windy Saturday so the good news was, tons of parking at the famous beaches! We started at Makena Cove aka Secret Beach.  Very tiny hard to find place that hosts a wedding almost every day.

Big Beach, Wailea Beach, (then a walk about the hotel Grand Wailea to see how the other half lives), Ulua Beach and finally Keawakapu Beach (my favorite for lounging).  The most interesting thing I learned was that neither of them swim!  (Yet)

The weather was looking worse so we decided to have lunch at the Coconut Cafe ... with the best fish tacos on the island for five years in a row.  They concur.

We ended up on the back lanai sharing dessert and coffee.  When the torrential tropical rains started!  It rained so hard we couldn't even see three feet away.  SIDEWAYS!  We did the only thing we could.  Took naps.

Valentine's Day dinner reservations weren't until 8:45.  I invited my new friend/neighbor/widow, Julie, to be my date.  It was a fabulous meal and a great time!

Sunday morning we started late (9:00 am) and had a huge shared breakfast at the Kihei Caffe.  Their flight back to Kona was at 3:00 pm but I decided to show them a bit of the other side of the island.  Iao Valley and Hookipa Beach where the big waves and fabulous surfers.  The waves were stupendous but the storm caused too much foam, so there were no surfers.

I checked the time and WHOOPS!  We should have left 15 minutes ago.  And then a traffic jam!  But someone was on our side I dropped them off only 5 minutes later than planned.

All in all, I really loved being a tour guide.  It's challenging when people don't really have an idea of what they would like to see.  Both sets of guests had such a short visit yet I think everyone enjoyed what they did get to see and do.

In an hour, I pick up John and Lindee.  They are old hats with many trips to Maui under their belts ... so this will be a breeze!

I really do love this island.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Most of the widows I know understand that grief is forever.  Maybe the overwhelming days are further apart, but we still experience them.  Kind of like a hole in the wall ... eventually you spackle, smooth and paint ... but you can still see and feel what had happened there.  And remember.  You always remember.

I saw this on a Facebook page and it really just sums it all up.  For me.  Today.  It never goes away.  I don't know how the spouse feels when they marry someone who lost a spouse.  Knowing their new spouse will always love another person.  Nothing they can do about it.  Nothing to be jealous of.  But "it" will always be there.  

Not sure I could ever love anyone else because I know how much I will always love Mr. Ralph.  At this point in my life, I couldn't love anyone who lost their love ... something would just be missing.

Friday, February 13, 2015

FRIDAY the 13th

Fortunately, I am not superstitious (much).  We have a Kona storm here and I have guests arriving tonight.  It's hard to show off our 81 beaches in the rain ....

Sorry I missed a few days of blogging ... been trying to learn how to work on a website and having a conference call meeting with my Village People in Portland (ha ha).  There is so much to be done.  I put at least 30 hours a week into this and all five of us on the Leadership Committee are feeling pretty used up.  We need to find a way to have more people take charge of something!  Lots of people want their name on the "list" but that's about all they do.  Receive and probably don't even read a monthly email.

Two Villages in the Portland area are opening towards the end of the year.  I'm going to attend their planning meetings when I am in town.  We have had some leadership turnaround at the Hub level so things are just bogged down.

Want to help me feel better?  Please "like" the Three Rivers Village Facebook page!  My goal is to have 100 likes before the March meeting!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Just the opposite of what our Moms told us.  

I found an article online at The Atlantic about the benefits of knowing your neighbors.  Social connection at the neighborhood level has long been known to be associated with good mental health, and some aspects of physical health. But this is the first study to look specifically at neighborhood social cohesion and heart attacks, which hit more than 700,000 Americans every year and cost everyone billions of dollars.

In my experience, it benefits me to know my neighbors.  If I have a problem or an issue with something they have done, it is easier to start a conversation rather than have a confrontation. I would let everyone know if we were entertaining so they would be forewarned about lots of cars. Mr. Ralph taught me to use the "sandwich" approach when delivering bad news.  Say something nice, bring up the issue, and end with something nice.

Also, some day you just might need a favor.  If you have a friendly relationship with someone, it's easier to call and ask for help.  Borrow an egg or a cup of flour?  Have a special kitchen item to lend so I don't have to buy it to use just once?  

No need to be best friends with everyone.  If you don't want to.  But friendly neighbors are important ... emotionally and now physically!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Isn't this pretty amazing?  We are a force to be reckoned with.  Our numbers are growing.  By 2050, 83.7 million Americans will be 65 or older, compared with 43.1 million in 2012, the report said. Fewer than 10 percent were older than 65 in 1970.

By the time we reach this 65+ status, we have the wisdom of our age and the strength of our numbers.  This is SO much we can accomplish.

Each of us should have a passion for something.  Reading to children, rocking babies, volunteering in our community, running for City Council, whatever!  Giving back to our local neighborhood.

I was really lucky to be able to volunteer at an earlier age.  Working with Kate's teachers and classmates, at our Adult Community Center (organizing volunteers),  on the Board of our Meals on Wheels.  Now I have the Village movement.  And the grandchildren. My perfect combination of young and old.  Our past and our future.  Yep, I've slowed down a bit.  But loving it just the same!

What things do you do?

Monday, February 9, 2015


This will be short and sweet.

Sue ended up not landing until 11:30 pm ... and we had to get up at 6:00 am to drive an hour to go on a snorkel trip to Lanai.  No complaints here!  FOR FREE because she knows someone who knows someone.  I've only been to Lanai once 
on an all day sailing trip and it was fabulous!

Actually, we then stayed up until 2:00am!  Gabbing away!

Hulopoe Beach is in front of the chi chi Manele Bay Hotel (I think Bill Gates got married there ...) and is a protected marine preserve.  It is the most amazing snorkeling I've ever done (very limited, I might add!)  Maybe it's even an underwater National Park, I can't remember.

We saw the most whales for longest time being the most active I have ever witnessed!  Maui was just being awesome Saturday!

When we returned to Lahaina Town, we did some browsing then drove to another amazing snorkel spot, Honolua Bay.  It's about a 1/2 mile HIKE down to the water, which I cannot do, so we just watched.  I've had friends who looked up to find themselves surrounded by dolphins!  On the day they rented video snorkel mask so it was captured on film!  Awesome!

We drove the 45 minutes back to my little town and enjoyed the sunset ... and a drink with a little umbrella ...

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I'll be the first one to admit this second year of being a widow was harder than the first year.  I think the first year is simply autopilot.  Honestly thinking it was all just a big mistake ... he's just on a business trip.

The second year is trying to figure out who I am without him.  Even though he was 18 years older than me, I never really thought about life without him.  He was in much better physical shape than me.  Which is why dying of prostate cancer (which most people diagnosed with end up dying of something else) sucks.  Fortunately for him, he had enough time and enough energy, to get his little Maui house together ... better than he expected.

This Maui neighborhood has about 110 homes.  Sidewalk on each of the three streets and the outer perimeter circle.  I do a walk about every other day or so and about once a week I park on the front lanai to see what's happening.  Today I met another widow.

She moved here in September.  Her husband died of a heart attack, at home.  Eight years ago.  We had a nice long conversation and exchanged email and phone numbers.  She's lucky enough to have a little Havanese dog named Jody ... which is how we met ... she was out walking her!  

My friends/neighbors/caretakers sold their house to another widow!  We all seem to be close in age so we may just start the Piilani Village II Widow Club.  Good to have mentors in this journey.

I wanted to use the graphic below but when I looked it up ....

A container of three REUSABLE actual rubber condoms!  
From the 1920's

Friday, February 6, 2015


My face is filled with visible damage and wrinkles.  And I love every single one.  Some days I feel like I remember earning each and every one.  Lots of days I feel like I should have a million more.

Family.  Friends.  Pets.  Neighbors.  Coworkers.  Retail clerks.  Servers at restaurants.  You name it.  

Maybe, like the Japanese filling in cracks with gold, this is why these are called our Golden Years?

Thursday, February 5, 2015


While doing a little research for my Village volunteer work, I learned about a new fear.  Gerontophobia.  A fear of getting old or a fear of older people.

WHAT?  Fear of old people?  There's a whole definition of this?  

I can sort of understand a personal fear of growing old. Especially if you have health issues and are slowly losing your independence.  Our hospice nurse told us about a class seminar all the hospice workers attended.  Each person got a sheet of paper with a circle in the middle and thirteen spokes going out from the circle.  They put their name in the circle then wrote down 13 basic daily or weekly things they typically do.  Eat.  Drink. Take a shower.  Drive.  Walk.  Hear.  Use the restroom.  Swim.  Visit. Speak.  And so on.

Lots of talking about what was considered a BASIC!!  The next step was to cross out three of those activities.  Could you still have a life that you would want to live?  Oh sure, probably. The rest of the basics would keep me going, because of course I picked the things that were easiest to give up (she says now ... while she doesn't have to give up any one of them)  Next they had to cross off three more.  And so on.  These helpers got to learn first hand how their patients might be feeling about their loss of independence.  

This exercise makes me think more about depression than fear about getting old.  But heck I get fearful some days if I let myself wander down that "what if" path of things that could go wrong.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


We have a rainy, stormy day in Paradise today.  Yet it is still beautiful.  And warm.  My friend, neighbor and photographer took this photo on her morning walk.  Thanks Mieko!

Grey all day and constant light rain starting right after lunch.  Which just suited my mood.  Another tearful day.  Thankfully, it was a brief light cry then back to business.  It reminded me of another way to cheer up myself. 

Cooking!  I made, for the first time, hot and sour soup!  It was delicious, quick and easy.  Perfect comfort food in Maui.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I'm finally getting some visitors!  Hip hip hooray!  The best news is that all of my "live ins" are super easy to enjoy.  

My first friend arrives Friday evening.  I'm so flattered she is even coming as we are mostly Facebook friends brought together by grandkids.  We get together in person in Portland maybe once or twice a year.  It's her first visit to Maui (she has a week of work related stuff in Honolulu ... also her first visit there!).  We will get to do the tourist things.  An early morning snorkel trip, hoping for whales and dolphins.  Lots of time in the sun (she is from Portland!) and in the hot part of the day, we'll do a little road trip to see the other views that Maui offers.  And sunset from a different beach.

All the rest of my company has been here before and are very independent.  I am comfortable joining in their plans.  Or not.  But I don't have to make any plans!  Just four nights with John and Lindee.  Then a week with my niece, Tahlia.  I hope she brings a friend.  She is 21 and I know they will want to be way more lively than I am.

My funny sister sent this New Yorker cartoon to me ... asking if this will be us in 20 years.  HA!  I feel like this now!!!

Then my funny sister will be here!  Gosh I love it when she comes.  So energetic and a fabulous, healthy cook.  I think I need to live with her for a year ... I'd be just a memory of my former self!

April and May are open if anyone wants to visit!  

Monday, February 2, 2015


Do you believe males and females can be just friends?

This was a topic for conversation several times in my marriage.  Both marriages.  One husband thought no problem!  The other .. very uncomfortable because he did not think it was possible.  Maybe because we were friends (with sexual tension, I suppose) first. 

Now I notice that even more.  I have two male friends.  My UNson-in-law and my buddy from 25 years ago, Eli.  Eli's daughter and our daughter were the best of friends for many, many years.  When he and his wife divorced, we stayed in touch with both of them.  He is/was very comfortable being a threesome with us.  Weekly, almost.

For Valentine's Day this year I suggested to one of my South Maui Merry Widows that we should go to a romantic French restaurant in Lahaina.  So far we have EIGHT of us, and one husband willing to brave that harem.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned in my thinking but I'm not comfortable making friendships with a single man.  (Except Eli but he has a fabulous lady friend I adore).  I do not want sexual tension.  

I really do enjoy my lady friends!  With a group of fun and enthusiastic friends ...

Or just two buddies sharing wine and camaraderie ...

Or just one for coffee and conversation!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Grammar.  Especially English grammar.  How does anyone learn all of this stuff?

Do you think they still diagram sentences in grade school anymore?  Prepositions, adjectives, nouns, articles, conjunctions ... sheesh!  These days I can't explain WHY something looks or sounds wrong, I just know it.  And how punctuation sure does change the way something reads.  We need a Special Victims Unit to find these authors and get them educated.

Years ago we came upon a book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves (by Lynne Truss) who obviously is more concerned about the death of our current grammatical state and improper punctuation.  It quickly became one of our favorites.  The author visited Portland and we went to listen ... and get signed books.  We bought quite a few of them ... for Kate, for Kate's English teacher, for the office where Ralph worked (he was always red lining for his professionals).

And that pause can change the entire meaning of a sentence.  The favorite example is:

A woman without her man, is nothing.
A woman, without her, man is nothing.

See what a comma does for you?  It can be the difference between life and death.

Let's eat Grandma!
OR ...
Let's eat, Grandma!