Thursday, July 30, 2015


(Let the music play while you read ... or dance ...)

Why is removing excess weight so much harder than gaining it?  And WAY LESS fun??

Slowly but surely I'm finally getting rid of some.  For two years I fed my emotions, good or bad!  Potato chips are my feel good food.  Since birth!  My Mom would put little snack bags of chips in my Easter basket because I've never been a candy lover.  (I would use the candy to bribe my brothers ...)  Mr. First Husband made me a spray-painted-gold potato chip necklace.  I taste tested popular "flavored" chips in different countries.  I taste local potato chips when I travel the USA (well, except Kentucky where my Sister is watching me ....)

Now you know why I am back at Weight Watchers.  This past week was NOT a good week for me.  I didn't even want to get weighed in.  Thankfully my support system nagged me into going.  Down a little bit and a total of TEN POUNDS since I started WW.  Seventeen since my Dr. appointment June 1.  Now to lose one pound a week.

All I need to do is lose one pound.  Each week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Oh gosh do I miss those little men when they are away!  Even the big old dog.  They are having fun at the beach where it was even warm enough to go in the ocean!

No, they didn't build this.  But how awesome!??

It's a good thing that boy loves to be strapped on ... he's a runner otherwise.

We traded vehicles so that minivan was loaded.  They even took the wagon so they could haul everything to have a campfire on the beach.  So far, I haven't had to try to use their car ... hard for me to get in and out of but tomorrow is Weight Watchers, new orthotics, lunch with a buddy and a hair cut and color.  Let's hope the knees hold up!

Can't wait til they return!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


That clipart just about sums it up for me!!!

The kidult family is heading over to the Oregon Coast for two nights (haven't even started packing and it's 11:00am) so I will have some nonstop time to purge my room.  It is our old office, filled with boxes of photos, old tax returns, worthless paper and a few treasures, I'm sure.  It's hard to work in there with the dinosaur nest at the foot of my bed, an art table on one side and my bed stretched out through the middle.  When I get that big stuff up and out of the way, I will have room for the two piles ... keep and toss.

I've started a few times but always get (pleasantly) interrupted to do something I consider way more fun (that would be just about anything!).  One day I found Kate's first lost tooth!  I can't even open the boxes of photos until I'm ready to scan.  That will be a long fun journey!

It was a tough call to not join the family at the beach.  Since I can't walk so well (especially uneven terrain) and can't sit on the beach (cause I can't get back up!), plus I would need to rent my own room and probably share it with Braeden and/or the dog, and they are such late owls (their day doesn't start til 1pm or after).  I need to get my room ready for walker rehab time!

If only Mr. B would leave some of his energy behind ...

Monday, July 27, 2015


Remember that song?  Written by Bob Seeger but mostly word for word from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Last night I met up with a friend who works at the company my husband led for 25 years.  Things are changing.  I'm so happy that Mr. Ralph left when he did.  He liked the smaller, family-like feel of an energetic group employees who strived to do better.  He knew everyone by name and a lot about their family.  He made his "rounds" twice a day and spoke to each person.

The company is so big now.  The camaraderie is lessening and it's difficult to know each employee.  This is life!  I'm glad there is a time for each thing in life.  And I'm now getting the hang of doing each of these!

My friends are changing.  I have outgrown some friendships and modified others.  Families of family and friends are changing so quickly. It's impossible to comprehend my brother's grandson is starting high school!  My nephew just bought a house.  My youngest niece is heading to grad school.  So many of Kate's preschool friends now have families.  UGH!  Just reading this makes me realize I've aged a bit ...

To every thing there is a season!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Last night Mary Beth and I went to a casino to watch Brian Wilson, THE Beach Boy.  My teenage years came back to life.

We sang.  We clapped.  We swayed.  We swooned.  The songs brought each of us back to specific times and people.

But it was bittersweet.  I have not kept up with music or musicians.  Apparently Brian Wilson is suffering effects from years of drugs and depression.  There are documentaries and now a movie.  He came to the concert in a wheelchair...and sat at the piano.  He can't really sing on key any more.  His words of introductions were slurred and barely understandable.  I was embarrassed for him.  Performing in a casino two hours from Portland, Oregon

He is doing a good job of ending his musical journey by continuing to make music.  He was saved from sure death at the hands unscrupulous people.  He sacrificed his life and future after receiving so much fame.

The money he is raising is for a music program for kids.  I hope that generation can be spared the wicked part of fame ...

Friday, July 24, 2015


Yesterday I had lunch with a Portland friend and after discussing our little lives for hours, she asked if I had any interest in dating.  Nope.  I sure don't.  Not now anyway.  I'm not sure why but I'm feeling happy and fulfilled with family and participating in both of my communities.

In the beginning of my widowhood, MANY MANY people asked about me dating.  So totally too early to even think about.  Now a few friends ask but no one is trying to set me up.  (P.S.  IF I ever want to date, or have help finding dates, I will let you know!)

Every widow progresses at her own rate.  My Colorado buddy dated a few years after her mate died.  She knew him from way back and she spent a great amount of time getting to know him. Not really as a potential mate, as he wasn't as willing to compromise on life as much as she felt she was, so he is now back to being a good friend. And occasional lover.

A good acquaintance (high school buddy) was widowed for maybe a year or two when she went online to date.  She was totally unhappy living on her own ... in fact, had moved in with her brother-in-law and family.  She is still working full time (which would keep me busier than I would want to be!) as she is ten years younger.

She met a special someone and they had email conversations and phone conversations and finally a date.  Three weeks later she moved in with him.  A few months later they married.  A year later they are divorced.  We chat via email but I'm waiting for her to bring up this topic.  Not mine to pry.

I am just not interested.  For physical needs, I bought a male order husband from Pure Romance.  That's another blog ....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Look out world .... 

Braeden didn't want to wake up to go to camp this morning either!  I was willing to let him go back to sleep but he said his eyes didn't want to sleep.  Silly boy!

It's cool, grey and overcast although supposed to clear up and be mid-70's.  It's a good time for me to putter and be slow.  The rest of the family is still in bed so I'm on my patio sipping my coffee.  Lingering over email, Facebook, reading blogs (what a luxury!), posting items for my volunteer job and getting a short blog written.

I'm pretty glad I'm living with these other four because I bet I would be having a hermit day today if I were on my own.  Nothing wrong with those, of course, but I'm breaking out of that mold.  I needed them during those first two years of widowhood.  Not so much any more!  

Towards the end of the month I have a lot of computer projects to do so I use those days as my hermit days.  Once the wee one gets up, and I get some delicious snuggles, then pick up Mr. B from camp ... I'll move over to the Clubhouse to get my work finished.

In the meantime ... going back to surfing and learning and sipping!

Monday, July 20, 2015


One of my favorite amenities here at the condo is our seasonal swimming pool and spa.  The pool water is warmed with solar panels and the hot tub is not too hot.  Neither are used much by the residents .. until the grandchildren come over!

Fortunately, my two little fish live here and we head to the pool every day.  Good for my knees as well as my disposition.  We also live in the building next to the pool so we walk by a million times a day.

Even though we do not have a lifeguard, we don't have too many rules (other than State mandated) but two important ones are:

          1) Resident must accompany all guests
          2) Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult

We have about five people who believe these rules apply to everyone else.  My next door neighbor (Neighbor Grandma we call her) is a sweet little Persian lady who cooks for her family most nights of the week (smells yummy to me but some complain).  We bought our condo from her daughter, Nazzi, who lived here with her four children.  She doesn't live in this complex any more.

Her youngest, Sayeh, just turned 13 and her Mom dropped her and four friends off for a day at the pool.  The Pool Committee Chair went over to talk with them about needing an adult (and her Grandmother) with them.  She fibbed and said she was 14 but that still didn't cover the rules for the others.  Sue let the Board Chair know.

Yesterday Nazzi dropped off her 10 year old niece to swim.  Board Chair was with me in the pool when this happened, then we heard a dog barking.  Mary Beth asked "I wonder whose dog that is" and Nazzi said it was hers but not to worry, it was in the car.  It was 99 at the time.  Mary Beth said the dog should NOT be left in a car in this weather .... which ticked off Nazzi.  She did, however, get the dog and walk it around then took it over to her Mom.  When she returned to the pool, I said "thank you" (because she was attending her niece) but she defensively said "what for".  I remarked "because you are being the adult present for your friend".  

She went into a tirade about all of us people here should get a life and mind our own business.  Mary Beth said we are simply asking you and your family to follow the rules.  Nazzi continued to get louder and more argumentative and then downright rude ... telling Mary Beth to shut her big fat mouth.  That she was picking on Persians and no one else.

One of Mary Beth's friends (Chair of the Clubhouse Committee) was inside the Clubhouse on her way out and Nazzi gave her an earful as well.  That she is going to sue for persecution.

In the past two months we've had so many addle brained adults .... letting 16 year old boys and girls spend the night in the clubhouse (no adult supervision), had a birthday party in the pool with 12 little girls and no adult, host a birthday party in our guest suite (including a slumber party) with a 16 year old babysitter in charge (for 12 year olds), adults whose grandparents live here come almost daily to use the kitchen and the shower ... and also the pool where they were behaving like horny 16 year olds until another resident asked them to behave more modestly (pulling down swimsuits and fondling under swimsuits).

REALLY?  This is a tiny community of just 112 units.  Can imagine what a School or a City must endure???

Saturday, July 18, 2015


We all have control issues.  

Based on my experience, when we lose a spouse we feel the need to have ALL the control over everything!  Because in reality we are not in control of even our basic emotions.

I'm moving forward and am making great progress (in my opinion, of course) towards living in the present and planning for the future.  Still, I do get unsolicited advice from even the dearest of friends.  Most of the time I can gently smile, nod my head and forget about it.  There are times when I really want to say "why on earth do you feel the need to say these things?"!!!!  It doesn't help matters or sway me to change something ... and it's just a bit mean spirited!  Most of all, it is just YOUR opinion.

That's when I mentally put the above photo clip up in my mind.  Lots of people think living with my kidult and her family is not a good thing for me.  Actually, I feel it is a GREAT thing ... for all of us, especially for me.  We all pitch in with chores although they do the bulk of things.  I love being with the babies, especially when I can have some one on one time.  Family meals are so much more pleasant than eating alone ... and I am eating better!  (Since joining Weight Watchers, I am down 10 pounds ... simply fill 3/4 my plate with salad and vegetables, then have a scoop of whatever they are having).

I'm never lonely yet when I want to be totally alone, I can go to our air conditioned club house or to a coffee shop or the library.  They do most of the cooking and dishes, but if I ask ahead of time, they are happy to let me!  I get to pack Braeden's lunch for camp which brings back memories of packing Kate's.   In fact, she asked if she could pack his and then Jesse wanted to do one day as well.

I definitely get more exercise having Mr. Camo Man to hike with.  Can't really run after Deacon but we read books, blow bubbles or play with water on the patio.  LOTS of swimming.

I feel like I am in CONTROL of my life.  Maybe this wouldn't work for my dear friends but I am glad it works for us.  They have a great deal on rent and I have a room for visiting often.  No one is "using" the other.  

Thanks for the advice.  Don't be upset that I don't heed it!

Friday, July 17, 2015


Nothing is more important than a good foundation.  In a home.  In a relationship.  In your body.  As I am now finding out.

The knees are getting replaced.  Who knew they were already bone on bone for the last many months.  I must have a high pain tolerance.  My family and friends have been so kind to listen to my complaining ... but apparently it was REAL.  Now to get to the nit picking.  My feet.

Yesterday I went to a second podiatrist because I can't wear shoes.  I have been wearing good solid flip flops with arch support for the past two years.  But the bunions continue to grow (gee they are so ugly!) and now I have a hammertoe on a second toe.  Last year I had pain in between the bunion joint and the hammertoe.  GP sent me to the foot doctor at his same clinic who gave me a cortisone shot and said all was well.  When I asked my Dr. this year about seeing a podiatrist because I am unable to wear shoes, he again suggested the foot doctor at his same clinic.  I asked if he was also a surgeon (he's not), he gave me the name of someone else.  Why pay one guy to refer me to another guy.

Yesterday I met with Dr. Tillett.  Now I am pretty mad at podiatrist #1.  Things have progressed so that now the surgery to correct things is MAJOR.  Apparently wearing custom orthotics can slow down the process.  Once the separation of bones is larger than 16 degrees, a WEDGE of bone must be removed in order to "tip" the big toe towards the middle of your foot.  Then a chunk of bone cut off the bunion side and pins/screws put into place.  UGH.

What should have been "Easy Bunion Surgery":

Now will have to be something like:

You do note the slicing and dicing?  I'm thinking PAIN!  Also, 6-8 weeks without any pressure on the foot.  Yikes.  My poor kids will be stuck with me next year for the second knee replacement and hopefully, if nothing gets worse with my "foundation", the following year for toe work!

Growing older with arthritis and inherited tendencies is NOT for sissies.


Most days in this third year after loss are OK.  Memories without tears.  Brain freezes are fewer.  Getting things a bit more organized.  Emotions seem controllable (well, except when Braeden says "I really really miss Poppa.  He was a great guy: .....)

Then I came upon this bell curve on Facebook!

This just seems to sum it up!  Panic has subsided for me.  I'm working on the loneliness although we will see how that goes once I'm back in Maui living alone.  One of my best foodie friends is LEAVING the island!  Several buddies are snow birds so I'll have them for half the year.

According to the graph .... I am on my way up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


This is exactly what happens.  EVERYTHING is gone.  I don't even have anyone to banter with.

I had 30 minutes to myself today while having my (first) MRI.  (Did you know knees are custom made?  I've never had anything custom!!)  Who knows why, but I spent the time thinking about Mr. Ralph. Probably because of how many MRIs he had to have.  They are only bad news in my humble opinion.  Now my knee hurts because he had to turn it to make it straight enough for the MRI.  

Missing the income is a horrible pain in the butt.  But not life threatening.  We planned for retirement and saved what we thought was enough, but at the rate I am spending I should plan to die within three years.  I am inspired by friends who live on practically nothing (love you, Judy) and my parents who raised six pretty great kids on practically nothing (love you guys too!)  So I'm pretty sure I can cut way back in lots of ways and still have fun.  When I run out, it's time to sell the Maui house.

I am finding out that I am capable of managing what life throws my way.  Thankfully I have a sister and friends who have kind ears.  I'm learning that I love to learn.  Especially computer skills.  Being a single parent of young 30-somethings who are ten years behind the curve is challenging, yet we are all figuring things out.  They don't live the way I would like them to but it's not my life to live.  I'll do things my way and they can do theirs.  I feel useful with my volunteer choices.  I'm happy that I can change my lifestyle and be healthier.  (Weight Watchers tomorrow!)

Mostly I still miss the little day to day things.  Sharing a meal.  Having help to make the bed.  Going grocery shopping together.  Stopping for afternoon coffee.  Going to music in the park.

Just miss him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Almost a teenager!

Braeden is a hoot!  He is still in his camo phase despite our offerings of medical, firefighter, pirate and Indiana Jones.  His dream is to go to a gun show.  When he wants to watch a "shooting movie" I simply say it is too violent for your age group.  To which he replies ... Gramma. You worry too much.  I won't be a violent boy.  I'm a good guy.

He's attending several summer camps (finally old enough!) put on by our Parks and Rec department.  Outdoors at his favorite local park.  The first week was Castles and Dragons.  Each day is an art project (catapult (shoots paper wads), crown, shield, dragon scales (bubble wrap to pop!), etc.  During lunch a book is read to them.  On the last day of each camp week, a special adventure is planned.  Last week it was a puppet show.  This week is Treasure Hunters and a bouncy pirate ship arrives on Friday.

He's very happy to be there, 9:00 am til 12:30 pm.  We did get him switched to an earlier bedtime! Mom and Dad and Deacon still have a later schedule.  I built him a dinosaur nest on the floor in my bedroom, so he and I head in there about 8:30 or 9:00 pm.  We read or watch a gentle movie together (yes, me down in the nest ....)  About once a week he does need a nap.

I really love the day to day interaction with these two boys.  Each day brings me something new through them.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Earlier this spring, I decided I would like to live in Maui.  But I didn't want to sell my Lake Oswego condo in case I have to return for medical or health reasons.  When Ralph was diagnosed as terminal, we rented out the condo to some friends of our daughter.  Cale was Braeden's second Mom, watching him at least weekly while Kate and Jesse worked their crazy retail schedules.  I knew Cale and family were paying way too much for rent so we made them an offer they didn't refuse.

This time, Kate needed another bathroom and a bit more space so I offered them the chance to rent my condo.  At the same rate as their little apt.  After careful thinking (hmmm ... a landlord who is your Mom???) they decided to make the move.  They put my stuff in storage (after I just got the condo to my liking!) and made it their own.  We have a pool and a spa and two clubhouse rooms.

It is in a walkable location (less than a mile) to 14 restaurants, 5 city parks, grocery store, library, post office and a Rite Aid.  Two blocks to a bus stop.  It is just perfect for their young family.  We also had two bikes so they have access to those.

We've been living together since May 20.  Two months without one cross word!  I have my "hotel suite" in the third bedroom which we used as an office (and the furniture is still in there).  I invested in a fold out chair that becomes a Twin XL with a posturepedic-style mattress AND a 3 inch foam topper.  I also had to get a portable air conditioner since Oregon decided to have three weeks of over 90 degrees.

My door is always closed and even 16 month old Deacon knows to knock.  Usually I let them in but when I am out of sight, I'm often out of mind.  After living without children and pets, sometimes the normal life of a family with young boys is too noisy and busy for me.  So I can escape to my personal space whenever.

They do 90% of the cooking and cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping.

My life is pretty good!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I'm B-A-C-K!

Six weeks has made a big difference.  I think my main problem was the pain in my knees.  Believe it or not, I got in to see an orthopedic specialist last Thursday (usually takes MONTHS!!!) and after looking at my xrays from June, pronounced it is indeed time for replacements.  Both knees!

The constant pain, and my feeling like I was just being a WHINER, took a toll on me.  He said he was surprised I was not using a walker (I do lean on the grocery cart for that reason) and immediately gave me a cortisone injection in my right knee.  Surgery for the left knee should happen in 4-6 weeks.  Wow, what a difference being half pain free is!

Some pals joined Weight Watchers with me so I can start to get rid of this excess weight.  Down four pounds in two weeks and I'll be so happy if I can lose one pound a week .... for the rest of the year.

Now I am thankful I am living with my kids.  Besides the built in companionship and the love of little boys, I have the help I might need after the surgery.  Jesse is going to put up grab bars in the guest bathroom.  They already do all the cooking and cleaning (even laundry, although I enjoy the folding and organizing).

Such a relief to know I will be getting some relief!  I never knew arthritis could degenerate my joints so quickly.  Wish me luck!