Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE GOOD LIFE after WIDOWHOOD

My baby sister arrived Friday evening with her Hubby, JEH.  

We have so much fun, being busy OR being relaxed.  I'm pretty sure she came knowing two important dates are this week ... my birthday and Ralph's death day.  Forever attached!  So I will be busy and not so melancholy.

They are both avid SCUBA divers (and I have never tried it) so they planned a couple of morning dives.  By morning, I mean the crack of o'dark thirty!  They have to BE AT the boat ramp by 6:00 am.  Monday's dive was rough waters.  In all honesty, the dive should have been canceled.  The Guide said the weather was only going to get worse, so Tuesday was canceled.

Tuesday turned out to be a stellar day but by 8am we were getting cold drip coffee and brioche donuts before deciding to drive the road to Hana.  You have probably heard a lot about this drive ... taking 3 hours to go fifty miles .. because it features over 600 hairpin turns and 54 ONE LANE BRIDGES.  Not to mention how many of the turns are one lane and blind corners!  

I had downloaded an app for my phone with a guide who would step-by-step help us know what was ahead so we could stop and visit if we wanted to.  It was AMAZING once I figured out how to use it.  He was great by saying "if it's 11am and you want to be home for dinner, I'd skip the next attraction because the last three are way more spectacular" and so on.  

I've only been to Hana twice.  The first time was 25 years ago and the road was barely paved.  The residents of the little towns along the way HATE having tourists because we drive the speed limit so we can take in all the natural beauty.  In fact our guide told us about some great swim holes and little towns by the ocean but suggested that we leave the residents to their peace and quiet.

Thankfully, Janet drove the ENTIRE way ... hitting a restaurant near home for dinner at 7pm.

Yes.  THEY got up for a dive this morning.  I took time to blog, answer email, look at Facebook, work on two newsletters and do some laundry.

Did I tell you I was appointed to the Maui subdivision homeowners' association?  Oh what a story this will be!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WHEN IS IT DEMENTIA?

The best laid plans.  And then dementia steps in.

The  super attorney who did my will and all the other stuff necessary to die in peace contacted me via email for a Client Appreciation breakfast.  How cool is that?  I was all set early on Monday morning to stop and get a coffee for the 30 minute drive to a country club on the other side of the island.  Starting at 9am and featuring new information on changes in the law regarding Advance Medical Directives.  Also, a guest speaker who is the Doctor at Hospice Maui, whom I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago.

It's a tricky little town, Paia, so I was very pleased to see the parking lot still had LOTS of spaces and I was ten minutes early.  When I went in there wasn't any sign directing us where the meeting would be.  Finally, I found a worker who said the Country Club is closed on Mondays so he didn't think there would be a meeting.

I, of course, thought that was probably THE reason we were having it on a Monday as a meeting room would be available.  So I waited ten more minutes ... no one came in.

So I went to the car and opened my email to see what I had done wrong.

The meeting was set for Tuesday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

YOUNG LOVE

We are putting together a family reunion and while looking for old photos ... my sister found a couple of us.  I don't even think I have a copy of these.



I'm thinking about 1983 ... so thirty years and 50 lbs ago!  And he had hair!  He was such a handsome guy!  Smart.  Kind.  Ethical.  Funny.  Great business leader.  Romantic.  And funny!

Sure do miss him.




I'm 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

FOREVER


It's just a week or so until the second anniversary of Mr. Ralph's death.  He passed sometime between 5:30 am and 7:30 am.  I feel bad that I didn't sleep next to him that night.  But I wasn't too far away ....

It doesn't seem as awkward these days.  And people don't say so many weird things anymore.  Progress?  I think so.

As long as I keep him in my heart ... I will have him forever.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

BUSY BUSY BUSY WIDOW

I think the time has come for me to SCHEDULE time each day to blog.  It's been a week!  Oh yeh ... I do have lots of reasons and excuses.  Most of them FUN.  And of course that one inevitable thing (besides death).  As usual, I filed an extension.  Looks like TurboTax let me down so I will need to hire a tax preparer.

Sunday was a lawn party at a neighbor's house.  We used to have them every few months ... until the cat issue divided the neighborhood and especially our street (the Crazy Cat Lady lives here)(her term ...)  Now it's down to once a year and thank goodness for Barb that she was willing to host.  One of her friends (whom I've never met before) made me a lei (upcoming birthday).  Food and fun for hours!  Met some newer neighbors and exchanged contact info.  SO FUN!

Monday was a play starring one acts from each of about 20 acting students, including my friend Carol (one of the South Maui Merry Widows).  She actually had THREE scenes, all different and all amazing.  And ... it was FREE!  I went with two of the other SMMW.  We haven't been getting together nearly often enough.

Tuesday and Wednesday I volunteered in the Na Hoaloha office and then downloaded the TurboTax software and did the data entry (such a procrastinator).  Got a well needed pedicure (my luxury item).  Thursday was Adventures R Us with Julie.  Best adventure EVER!  We started at 8am with her driving to Paia for breakfast at the place Willie Nelson hangs out at.  Good breakfast and we walked around the shops for a bit.

The even better part was a walking tour of the Al'i Lavender Farm.  I had no idea!  I've visited a couple of times but never planned ahead for the walk.  We learned about the three families of lavender, what they are each used for and then discovered what else grows on that little seven acres.  We tasted garlic lavender and nasturtiums.  Smelled citronella geraniums and learned how to propagate iris and succulents (and he even gave us a few to replant at home!)  Avocado trees, peach trees, hydrangeas and now they are starting chickens for natural fertilizer.  No irrigation as the clouds provide just enough moisture.  We enjoyed lavender iced tea and resisted lavender scones.

Julie got me home in time to take a quick shower as my friends Didier and Leslie took me out for dinner at Spago!  Their treat!  My neighbor is head waiter and DDA works at Four Seasons so we gut the ultimate treatment.  Four appetizers, dinner and dessert.  All for me babysitting their little dog princess Mercedes!

Friday was another very special day.  My 11 year old neighbor Abbey gets out of school at noon on Fridays.  We finally made plans for a girls day!  We had a great lunch at Leoda's Pie Shop where she has never eaten before.  Ceasar salads with a shared side of the best fries on the Island.  We were both too sated for pie, so we bought two 3-inch individual coconut cream pies to go.

We drove back to Kihei (about 25 minutes) and decided to get henna tattoos!


  
First day is very dark and like puff paint.  I slept with a beach towel under me (thank goodness)  The brown should last ten days to two weeks. Free retouch within two weeks!  About 4-5 inches tall.

Today?  I have not even left the house to get the mail.  Laundry, tidying up, catching up on the computer.  My sister and her husband arrive Friday for a week of fun!  My birthday and the second anniversary of the sad departure of Mr. Ralph.  She is so thoughtful to keep me company!

Thanks for waiting on me to post!

Friday, April 10, 2015

BUILDING A FRIENDSHIP

What a fun adventure I'm on!  Making a new friend and discovering things we have in common ... and learning where we are opposites!

Julie is my NEW Maui Buddy.  We met through our friendly neighbor, Paula.  She knew we were both widows.  Paula and I were sitting on my front lanai one afternoon when Julie came by walking her beautiful Havanese dog Jodie.  They both joined us and we traded phone numbers and emails.  After a few days, I invited her to coffee.

She's a few years ahead of me in her widowhood.  Her "Honey" died of a massive heart attack right in front of her.  They lived in California but did a few year stint here in Maui ... and they both wanted to retire here.  She spent a year or two continuing to work, trying to decide her future without him.  Julie and Jodie bought a house one street over from mine.  And has been living here since September.

It's been a hysterical journey!  She has one sister.  Named Janet.  Me too.  She's crazy about Apple and its family of products.  Ditto.  She's a friendly introvert who enjoys alone time and uses humor to approach situations.  Yes, me too.  We are allergic to shellfish.  We enjoy red wine.  Breakfast is our favorite meat to eat out.  We love taking road trips.

Last night we went to Mama's Fish House to celebrate our birthdays (Feb and May).  We had leftovers and tonight I invited her (and Jodie) over to finish them off.

I've still got it!  The ability to make friends!!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

AGING DISGRACEFULLY

Isn't that an attention grabbing headline?

Mainly, I get tired of hearing about aging well and aging with style and aging with grace.  Today I'm feeling like being a bad little old lady!  Honestly, I grew up (and still am) being a really good follow-the-rules, think positive person.  I'm considering taking one day a month and doing things I really shouldn't be doing.

I'm going to start by driving to a new(er) coffee shop that sells gourmet donuts.  I've been planning this for a while and actually went in and got an iced coffee one afternoon (thankfully, they were out of donuts).  The Dynamite Donut lady makes incredible combinations INCLUDING savory flavors!  Right up my alley for sure.

Then I'm going to pay any purchases that day with exact change.  Yep.  I'm going to get a little coin purse and put in five dollars worth of change and be one of those types that holds up the line by carefully counting out the correct change.  I will neatly fold the receipt and tuck it into a pocket of my purse (like I keep imagining I will ... collect receipts neatly and check against my statement ...) and align my money with the Presidents all facing the same direction and pennies and nickels in one side of my coin purse, dimes and quarters in the other side.

Oh gosh!  This is getting exciting!!  Despite being 50 lbs overweight right now, I'm going to go shopping for a two piece swimsuit.  Not that I would really buy it (but hey!  who knows) but just to watch the sales clerk's face.  Maybe a Brazilian bikini or a thong.  Should I wear it out of the dressing room and ask their opinion?

Perhaps then I'll go to the liquor store.  Do a little binge shopping?  Ask if they also sell marijuana or if they know where I could "score".  (Smoking pot is VERY widespread on this island .... so it might not be so shocking).

Then new car shopping.  Convertible sports cars.  

How fun to be a little naughty!

Friday, April 3, 2015

KNOWING WHEN TO ASK FOR HELP

Ouch.

I wrenched my back last week ... planting a pot of flowers on my front lanai.  Thank goodness ice/heat and Aleve have so far kept me from the Doctor's office.  It's annoying to realize there are some things I just can't (or shouldn't) do.  Now that I think about it, Mr. Ralph always wore his Home Depot back support so I may have to invest in one of those.

The flowers are taking hold and I hope by the death anniversary, I can show you a photo.

This Maui yard is pretty low maintenance.  All the plants and trees have their own little water supply.  But with this perfect weather, things grow so quickly and have to be divided or reduced every 6 months or so.  Palm trees shed a frond about once a month (I have 8 or so ....)  They also go to seed about once a month and you have to pull those things off as well (I have to cut them)  Standing tip toe, leaning forward and pulling ... all at the same time ... is hard on anyone's back!


Thank goodness I don't have any coconut palms.  Yesterday some neighbors had to hire someone to climb up 50 ft and prune and remove coconuts!  Would hate to see that bill ....

So I called Mr. Ralph's muscular yard helper, Chico.  He didn't respond to my text for a couple of days so I was worried he was no longer doing side jobs (he has two other full time jobs).  But he did text and came to see how to help.

He has the day off from one of his jobs as it is Good Friday (Hawaii is very Christian) so he arrived before 8am to remove some plants that weren't well suited for their location.  Rake and blow the rock yard.  Attend to those palm trees.  Rearrange some big heavy potted bamboo.  Trim the night blooming jasmine (it grows way too fast but it smells so amazing ... at night!) and general clean up.  Fertilize everything.  Treat the fragile ones with bug and mildew protection.

Chico does a great job and is always so upbeat.  Despite working so many hours, helping his wife raise three handsome boys (married at 17) and bringing family members over from Mexico whenever he can.  And affordable.  

I'm just going to have to remember to ask (and pay) for help.