Friday, August 28, 2015

UH OH ....

Oh my!  The condo mean girls are going all out in defying the HOA.

This year we had set aside $10,000 for barkdust for the complex.  Our community is pretty large so a few months ago I asked how much mulch would be applied.  Landscape Committee said about 1/2 inch.  Good grief!  That would blow away in about two weeks!  I suggested that we keep the $10K and ask for another $10K so we could put down 3 inches.  

Our landscape maintenance company blows the area and the last time we had mulch applied, it was completely gone in two months.  I prefer that pine needles and leaves just be left alone as they decompose and add acid to our soil (which needs it!) and have the guys just blow or rake the sidewalks.  Some others are offended by the tree droppings but want the areas raked (too time intensive for our budget) not blown.

So our wise and wonderful HOA Chair put out a survey asking yes on bark this year or no on bark this year.  It was voted down, 2 to 1.  Oh the hoopla that went on after that was announced.  Landscape Chair wanted to do another survey.  Others said we had the money so we should do it.  Neighbors called neighbors and gave them a hard time for whichever way they voted and wanted the NO voters to call and change their votes.

We have had our annual election and our HOA Chair was re-elected and also re-elected as Chair.  Which made some of the crabby old ladies angry (they wanted the bark).  Last weekend ... five of them decided to apply their own barkdust in front of their buildings.  One lady lives UPSTAIRS.  All of them used that red bark dust rather than dark hemlock mulch, which is what was recommended by the landscaper.  It's a blatant nose thumbing to the Board ... and the rest of our community.  Each of these people has been on the Board and on the Landscape Committee so they all are well aware of our procedures.

IF you want to change the green space in front of your area, you first talk to all three neighbors to be sure everyone is on board with it.  Then you take a sketch to the Landscape Committee who votes.  IF/when it is approved, they present it to the Board to be sure it will blend with the community.

Ralph and I did that when we first moved in.  All we had in front of our dinky cement patio was a half dead little maple tree.

Guess what is about to hit the fan!  Some neighbors have talked to the Barkies who say "what can they do about it?  Make us take it up?"

Oh yeh.  I sure hope so.

Monday, August 24, 2015


There are times when I wish there was a Grammar Police department.

Using the incorrect word has always been a pet peeve ... of mine, of Mr. Ralph's and of course Kate.  In fact, she wouldn't date a young man in high school because he couldn't or wouldn't use the proper there or their.  So funny!

This little graphic is even better than my favorite book, Eats Shoots and Leaves!  

I have a few friends who were not born into English speaking families and am always amazed at how they can even learn our language.  Just those ten examples above!!  Then when you add slang into the mix ... YIKES!

We hosted a high school girl one summer from Spain.  Yolanda.  She always carried a little spiral notepad .... mainly to write down slang words and what they meant.  I remember saying we could drive over to the coast one Saturday or maybe on Sunday if the weather is iffy.  She loved IFFY!  Because we weren't sure IF the weather would be good or IF the weather might be too rainy.

I'm still learning English.  I'm in love with my thesaurus.  I do think learning Chinese would be tougher.  The same words can have different meanings just by the tone and loudness of your voice.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I can't believe how much national politics we have going on right now considering how far away the elections are.  Good golly.  For the first time in my life I watched the second round of Republicans and am enjoying all the Hillary nonsense.  How anyone could even CONSIDER her to be anywhere in our government after all the scandals she's been associated with is beyond me.  My all time favorite photo is her weight Donald's hair!!!

But the main tea party up for discussion is Mr. Braeden.  He wanted to put on a tea party on his Mom's day off.  Sorry I didn't photograph his little printed menus ...

Tiny sandwiches of turkey, cucumber and cream cheese eaten with little picks.  Fruits and veggies, assorted chips and look at that dessert plate!  Even Dad joined in.

I think they had apple juice instead of tea.

I was having a bad knee day and was in my room keeping my crankiness to myself.  They parked outside my bedroom door to take their little afternoon snooze.

I love being a Gramma!


Thursday, August 20, 2015


Farmer Braeden found the last batch of strawberries growing along our patio sidewalk.  Maybe a dozen luscious little bites.  They were almost TOO ripe but he carefully put a tissue in his little tin and gently plopped them in.  He took them to the bathroom to give them a wash ... and then he shared one with me.

Then he noticed two of his cherry tomatoes were just ripe enough.  After harvesting those, he asked if we needed any basil or rosemary so  I said of course we did!

Yep, T-Rex had to be in the picture as well.  He found two HUGE snails in the basil pot (which Gramma had to remove and dispose of) although T-Rex was willing to eat them.  He thought we needed a scarecrow for future crops ...

I hope they plant a few more vegetables next year!  He has loved every phase from planting to watching them ripen to picking and eating.  I think he has a bit of my Dad in him ...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Weight Watchers is working for me.  S-L-O-W-L-Y.  It's hard to live with this young family with growing boys.  Last night was indeed taco Tuesday at our house.  Thankfully, I had a meeting through their dinner hour then visited a condo friend who was having a really bad day.

By then, only the fabulous aroma remained.  I went to my room with a large glass of water ... and a banana.  My new junk food.

And that's what I'd really like!!  EXTRA FRIES!

Weight loss happens faster if I exercise while taking in fewer calories.  It's noon here so when I'm finished, I'll head to the pool to get in a bit of movement.

I spent all morning setting up appointments in preparation for knee surgery on Sept 17.  Good golly there are lots of meetings!  Pre-op physical.  Pre-op with surgeon.  Meet hospital short stay department.  Meet my "hospitalist".  Finish admissions with nurse practitioner.  Find physical therapist.  

Maybe I'll take a nap instead ....

Monday, August 17, 2015


People all have their own way to start the day.

I used to get up as soon as the alarm went off, shower, dress, throw in a load of laundry, make breakfast and pack a lunch (for the first 18 years of her life)(sometimes lately I've been surprising her!), blow dry the hair and put on makeup then wake the two of them up.  Geez I'm glad those days are over.

Now I love to start off slow ... sipping really good coffee, reading my email, checking the headlines, perusing The Skimm, check Facebook and catching up on Words with Friends.  Best of all, I like to be outdoors for this first hour or two.  Maui, of course, is year round sit outside and enjoy.  Portland?  By the end of September it's a bit too brisk.

My good buddy got me a bracelet with a little coffee cup and a charm that has that saying!

Lately I've had a small male roommate at the foot of my bed, in a dinosaur nest.   He semi wakes up in the morning and checks to see if I'm still in bed.  If so, he goes back to sleep.  If I sneak out at 7:30, he's usually good til about 9am.  Lately they have all fallen back into the night owl routine and he really needs to sleep til 10 or 11 (going to bed at 10 or 11).  He has a cool clock that parents set to show GREEN when he is allowed to get out of his bed.  But if I am out, he comes plodding out ...
Last night he got a lecture from the parental units to stay in bed until his light is green.  After they left, as I was giving him a last snuggle ... he asked me if I could bring my coffee back to bed with me and do my computer work there.

Well.  Of course I will!  Slept in til 10:30 today!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I've always wanted to be part of a book club.  A small group, maybe 10 or so ... we could then meet at each other's homes.  It would be good to be invited by one friend and then I could meet others to see if we have any friendship genes in common.

My first venture was through the local library.  It was way too large with the room too small.  Most people had indeed read the book so it was interesting ... just not enough to get me to come back.

The next foray was with the Mom of one of Kate's friends.  She had belonged to this group for years so I was pretty excited.  They met at one another's home and included brunch.  Double exciting.  The book that was chosen I would never have read on my own which was a good exercise for my brain.  Except only one other person out of 15 had read the book.  They just liked to get together and show off their $1M kitchens and gourmet cooking.  And drink a LOT of wine.  Honestly it was like Stepford Wives.  All surgically enhanced chemical blonds with expensive casual clothes with matching shoes and jewelry.  I came in my jeans.  And I don't drink that early.  And I had read the book!

Oprah was my next book club and it worked out the best, so far.  Her book picks mostly are tragic without happy endings so it just added to my situational depression.  

Yesterday, on Facebook, I got the PERFECT idea to start my OWN book club ... we will meet in the evening, with wine and accompaniments ... and we will read wine labels.  I have a few friends and cousins and siblings who may want to join me ...

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Has it been DAYS since I blogged?  I think about doing it but I must admit, these little boys just capture my heart.  Lately it has been reading!

On Thursday I took Braeden on a "date".  We went for a cupcake and milk (I had water ... and one leftover bite!) and then to the library.  We have been many times but this time, we found the Military section ... for kids!  I let him check out four books (since he is four!) and one can be a Military book, one a chapter book and the other two his choice.

Enjoying his "birthday cake" cupcake at World Famous Kyra's Bake Shop
3 Time winner of Cupcake Wars!

His favorite thing to do at our library

Mom is reading to him for 20 minutes every night in bed.  We found a chapter book with color illustrations and the author has written about 20.  I read to the little guy in the living room at the same time.  Last night life was running late so she read to both of them.  Rotten Ralph (if you remember that series).  They were both mesmerized.

This morning, Braeden brought the book out to have another read.  He thinks he wants to write and illustrate a "scawy" book.  Great idea ... they have scary books for older kids .... not much with a gentle scare for four year olds.

Love this new hobby!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Why is this so hard?

You'd think by this time in my life, I'd be more comfortable not encouraging friendships that I don't really want.  But it is still hard.  I don't feel good telling someone WHY I don't want their friendship so I just keep saying no and hoping they eventually get the hint.

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who only see the glass half full, on it's way to empty.  Next are mean people.  Followed closely by people who want the the "title" of Board member or Committee Chair or Chief of Everything ... but do not lift one finger to DO anything.  Don't answer email.  Or phone calls.  Or texts.  Don't read what we print for them.   Yet demand respect of position.  UGH!  Get down in the trenches, folks ... don't shout from above!

A blogger friend posted recently about needing to change her personality!  She's seventy-something for goodness sake!  She is fun and funny and kind and caring just as she is.  Not me!  I am what I am.

A friend lent me an article from Sunday's NY Times entitled "I'm Too Old for This."   Dominque Browning, fun First Person author, has decided to make this her mantra.  After reading her article, so am I.  Any of us are open to listening to positive criticism on small things we might change.  But only from close and caring people in our lives.  But toxic sour spoiled people?  I do not have time for that.

Friendships have ebbs and tides.  Friends that no longer energize you get moved to the outer circle. new friends with new vibes?!  Why not.

Because I'm just too old for this!

Monday, August 10, 2015


As you may have surmised, I spend a few hours every day on Facebook.  Keeping in touch with family (YES!  all but one sibling is on).  Checking in on friends and how their families are doing.  Hearing of Kate's friends and who is now expecting!

In addition, I post daily to the Three Rivers Village Facebook page (they do not yet have a website) so I spend time looking for relative articles to post.  Aging in place, growing older AND happier, etc.  Quite a few on making friends in our second adulthood.  Because being social is part of being human!

There are so so many articles on socializing and happiness.  Recently there was one of the "science" of being happier.  Written by a Mayo Clinic doctor!  His recently released Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness pulls together easy things to incorporate into a busy life to boost joy and fulfillment.

Lots of us are very happy with our small circle of close friends.  We enjoy social time and value alone time.  Lots of people belong to social groups (Red Hat Society, Yellow Roses, etc). (I have one friend who belongs to 4 or 5 of these!!!) We also are very active with our local adult community center for potlucks, educational talks, classes as well as trips.  My little town here in Oregon has the Newcomers Club, a spin off from Welcome Wagon 50 years ago.  They are now a social and philanthropic group with over 200 active members.  There are over 20 groups within ... wine tasting, bridge, yoga, dinner groups, and more.  I'm going to look into something like this in Maui.  Or "meet ups" where like minded (and like ages, I hope) get together.

And ALL of these social groups ... are on Facebook!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015


I was hoping retirement would allow me the luxury of NOT multitasking.  Simply focusing on one thing.  When I talk on the phone, I only want to talk.  Not drive and talk.  Not scroll and talk.  Not Facebook and talk.  Not text and talk.  Some things CAN be multi tasked.

TV ... I can fold laundry or clean while watching.  I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.  In fact, I'm thinking of trying to get this to be an Olympic sport.  What do you think?  Winter or Summer?  Triathlon! 

Seriously.  I've recently discovered another few things I can do simultanously  ... cough, laugh, sneeze and pee.  Or any combination of two.  I'm officially old ....

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Isn't that the truth!??

After 62 years of having a panic attack when I can't find my purse or my keys or my cell phone (thank goodness for the Find Me feature!), I now put my things in the SAME PLACE every time.  My life is so much more serene.

We have ONE key for the pool at the condo.  And ONE key for the Clubhouse.  So we put up a key rack (in a hidden from view secret place!) where we put back the key immediately after returning to the condo.  With three adults taking kids here or there, we all know where to go to find the keys!  Unbelievably, this too is working!

Kate is still in the stage I was in ... trying to race out to do whatever and can't find her XXXXXX.  I hope she doesn't wait 40 more years to get herself to serene.  It pains me to watch her leave for work ... missing something and making 2-3 trips back inside.  There is so much of life that we have no control over.

Finding our personal items doesn't need to be the cause of panic!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Sheesh!  I sure wish there WAS a finish line to being thinner.  It obviously has to be a life time way of eating (and drinking).  

Weight Watchers works for me.  Despite the fact that I still fit into the earrings I wore in high school ... nothing else was fitting.  Except X-large light weight Maui sweats ... actually Fresh Produce capris and v-neck t-shirts.  The other big reason is my health!  I want to live many, many years in Maui and not have to cramp my kids' style and live with them forever.

My eating routine is LOW point breakfast, usually fruit and coffee.  Low point lunch ... today was a chopped hard boiled egg on 2 pt English muffin with lots of tomato.  So I can have a decent dinner when eating with the family.  I made my own spaghetti sauce with soy crumbles and whole mushrooms instead of meatballs.  One cup of pasta and tonight I'm adding spiralized zucchini as more "noodles".  I always add a huge salad so the plate looks full.

It's interesting to socialize but I try to choose wisely and not make a big production.  One glass of bubble whatever (less points for more ounces than wine ... and people assume I'm celebrating!!).  

Cheer me on!  It's working!  Because I'm working at it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


When Kate was about 4, I bought a carry-on with the specific measurements so that it would fit under the seat in front of her.  Snacks, books, toys, juice boxes, change of clothes, stuffed animal, blankie.  Essentials at my fingertips.  Last night as I was rolling laptop(s) to Apple ... the outer hard plastic on the wheels broke off.  So imagine my surprise when I went online to get a replacement!

In early June, the International Air Transport Association issued new carry on luggage size of 21.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 7.5 inches for carry on bags,  (smaller than the 22-by-14-by-9 limit used by most travelers).  So yes!  Seats ARE getting smaller … all the while I am getting larger.  And overhead storage must be also.

BUT Air Travelers have been heard! Under immediate pressure, the International Air Transport Association has clarified an announcement that had carry-on road warriors prepared to reluctantly toss their bulky rollaboards for a forlorn future of tighter luggage and fewer changes of underwear.

And indeed, some airlines have expressed interest in a system where smaller bags could get priority to stay on board with a “Cabin OK” logo attached. When space is tight and  bags have to be gate-checked, the ones without the tags would go first. Nine non-U.S. carriers have confirmed interest in the new size, but not as an absolute limit. United States carriers seem less enthused about Cabin OK preferences, and none have yet expressed plans to change their carry-on size limits.

IF ONLY each airline would enforce their own rules about one carry one and one personal item, we wouldn’t have to change anything.  When I see what people expect to put on a plane (free, goodness knows they wouldn’t want to pay $25) it astounds me.  

Pet Peeve 4,297.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


I was hoping I would gain more patience as I aged.  But I think maybe the opposite is happening.  Or maybe I should have remembered how little gets done by COMMITTEE.

The Village group here in Portland is having a potluck at my Clubhouse on Sunday, August 16.  No one has sent out an email invite.  Yeh, it's posted on our Facebook Page and is on the Mother Ship's website (we still don't have one) but really?  It's just two weeks away!  I volunteered to do one about two weeks ago.  No response.  I volunteered AGAIN, I even learned how to use MailChimp and made it eye catching ... they will send one out on Monday.  IMPATIENT!

I am so impatient with this group that honestly, all I do now is keep the Facebook page going.  (Please go "like" Three Rivers Village Facebook page ... brings my numbers UP).  

The HOA in Maui is still under the sole control of the developer.  Which makes it so EASY to update our ByLaws to put them in plain English, not have one page contradict the other page and clarify a few vague principles (like "a reasonable number of domestic pets" which allows the Crazy Cat Lady to have 42)(I'm thinking five is a lot more reasonable).  All changes we make do not have to be approved by 80% of the Owners .. the Developer has a magic wand.

Our next annual Meeting is in March 2016 ... and I think we should be going through these 86 pages NOW and get them approved BEFORE the meeting.  Well, says the Chair, we hope to start that soon.  We have been hearing this since last March.  IMPATIENT.

At my Portland condo we ARE updating our House Rules.  Three of us have met for six hours to work on changes.  One important, stand alone document, is Policies and Procedures for Clubhouse Use.  We've had someone allow their 16 year olds to have a mixed slumber party in one room.  We require an insurance rider if alcohol will be served, but no amount has been specified and the riders rarely get checked.  In fact, on of the Board members serves alcohol and refuses to call her insurance agent to get the rider!  It's $5 a year with American Family!!!  (One positive note ... since I do have one, I get invited to a lot of parties so we can use mine!)  IMPATIENT.

Still waiting for one of the parents here to get a job!  IMPATIENT.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Is it me?  Or does everyone have a few crazy neighbors or friends?

It seems like the more I get to know someone, the more interesting things I discover.  People, for some reason, tell me the most personal things ... that I don't really want to know!  Are you DYING for some details?

My VERY elderly male buddy whose wife passed away ten years ago, became interested in another gal ... and asked me if he should get Viagra.

A single female neighbor made her buddy PROMISE, if she ever died, to go into her house and get her "toys" out before her family arrived.  (She did pass away and the equipment was secretly tossed into the dumpster)

My very good friend only wears black.  Always.  Even in 100+ degree weather.  Always slacks.  Often boots.  Not a spark of bright color (or any color) in jewelry or scarf or shirts.  Just black.

Another neighbor will not be seen in a swimsuit.  Or shorts.  Or capris.  She has been known to go in the pool fully dressed.

My very thrifty friend bought a $12,000 bracelet.  After being scammed out of $17,000.

A single friend is being VERY chatty about her current love affair.  In detail.  Like "should I let him put it THERE".

My happily married friends plan sex for twice a week.  Wednesday and Saturday.  Once she thought it was Wednesday (on a Tuesday) so they were lucky enough to have it three times that week (although she felt tricked!)

An only child friend married a guy who wants a million kids.  Every time she "agrees", she gets a BIG gift ... think new car, new house, vacation cottage, etc.  They have eight children.  So far.

A friend sent $5,000 to unknown people after receiving an email (supposedly from a neighbor) saying they were stuck in Istanbul and had their passports stolen.  YES.  In 2015!  Then was mad when he went to their home to be repaid.

Hopefully ALL of these identities are vague enough that no one will guess who is who.  

Share some of yours?