Sunday, May 24, 2015

MEMORIES on MEMORIAL DAY

It's not easy to feel sad living in a home with two little boys and a big dog.  I don't even have time to change my mind most days!  

Poor Mr. Ralph doesn't even HAVE a grave to decorate or tend.  I've been thinking of buying a spot to park some ashes for future generations.  Boy what a racket THAT is!  Buying the niche (does your loved one want a view?  Really?????), buying the urn in which to put him.  Do I host him in Portland or Maui or both?  What about his home town?  Or all three?

Or ... should I have him made into a diamond and wear him around?  I always told him I found him as a lump of coal and if I continued to put a lot of pressure on him, some day ....

Ugh. Too much to think about and to plan.  

Kate and I each have tiny urn of ashes and the big bag is currently in Portland.  I suppose it makes more sense to put him to rest here and just keep a bit in Maui with me.  It's been two years and we haven't had any sprinklings anywhere!

I just know I don't need a special day to remember him.  I think of him every day.  The sad days are fewer and fewer.  I'm grateful of how many people feel comfortable talking about him.  That way I get to remember the good things.  When Kate and I are having really sad days, we bring up some of his idiosyncrasies that make us laugh (now).  

He is still our hero. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

FRIENDS

Friends.  I am lucky to have people I can call my friends.  And I am very lucky to have so many friendly people in my life.


I'd been thinking that I probably wouldn't host any more of the large parties like we did in the past.  As the hostess, I don't get to mix and mingle as much as I like.  Honestly, it is fun for me to watch my friends make new friends from among my friends!  Saturday night I hosted a Birthday Bubbly Bash (desserts and sparkly drinks) and invited all of my Maui friends who are on Facebook with me.  We had about 15 of us.

The only thing they had in common was me!  I asked each to tell how they met me (but not the detail like we had the night before!).  Neighbors.  Fellow widows.  Funeral Director.  Hospice nurse.  Ladies I met on the beach.  Actress.  Friends I met while they did work at my house. As well as friends visiting friends on the island.

I guess I won't sell the giant outdoor table with chairs just yet.  Even though NO ONE ever sits around the table!  We drag all the chairs into a big circle and step all over each other.  Somehow it works.

Lucky me.  I get to have all kinds of friends!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN

Thursday evening I hosted a Summer Salad Supper potluck.  Lucky me, it RAINED so all the time I spent cleaning the deck and furniture and arranging things was for naught.  We ended up eating around the tiniest kitchen island ... not even the dining table (a bit bigger!)

We are the South Maui Merry Widows ... plus one.  I met Sharon at Starbucks many weeks ago when she asked a question about my iPhone.  Hers was pretty new to her so we chatted about making life so easy with just one device.  She is intrinsically beautiful ... almost ethereal.  Close to my age with long gorgeous grey hair.  Very soft spoken.  Anyway ... I wanted to say bye for now and we included her even though she is not a widow.

The food was fabulous (I made deviled eggs and lemonade) and we had Asian green salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, quinoa salad, Frog Eye salad (fabulous ... and I had NEVER heard of it ... look it up!), roasted cruciferous salad and more.  Better than all of that, we had conversation.

Since Julie and Sharon are new to this group, I asked each person to introduce themselves and their stories ... how they got to Maui, how long and how they became widows.  It turned into so much more.  Molestation.  True love.  Unhappy marriage.  Soulmate lives.  Rape.  Spousal abuse.  Aids. Fairytale courtships.  Accusation of murder for a SIDS death.  We laughed.  We cried (well, mostly I cried).  We bonded.

Who knew these ordinary ladies had extraordinary lives.  We are all survivors ... and this evening proved to me that we CAN move on.  From anything.

Monday, May 11, 2015

GETTING IT ALL DONE

Things are getting down to the wire here.  This house is pretty minimalist so there is not too much to do before my friends arrive for their six month vacation.  Leilani and Gary are free to move anything to suit their style of living.  Outside there is plenty of room ... four chairs with small tables between pairs for coffee in the morning.  A large dining table with six chairs.  A bar height table with four bar stools.  Two lounge chairs and a table near the shower (for air drying!)  

Not much closet space but I know Gary can live out of a suitcase so the beautiful Leilani can have the closet!  


I have so many goodbyes to say.  So I decided to host a couple of gatherings.  On Thursday we are having a Salad Supper (potluck) and I was so hoping to enjoy the lanai ... but it is WINDY so I have to prepare both inside AND out.  No easy task because I can't hose everything off until the day of ... and I can't set up until the hour of.  Just 6 or 7 of us, I think.

Friday night it's desserts and sparkling wine.  Same scenario with timing (and I hate last minute duties) but I can use the same decor from the night before.  Fortunately everyone here is very casual so what the heck!

Unfortunately, my kneesles are very severe the past several days.  Now my hip hurts from hobbling.  I can't even imagine moving the furniture around.  I'll just do the best I can and it will be what it is!  It's the camaraderie that is what's important.

Friday, May 8, 2015

ON THE LOSING END

I just read a GREAT blog on Time Goes By. (Even though she is mad at me and called me a "mean girl" on her blog, I still read and sometimes comment.  I try not to take things too personally.  She's ten years older than me and she remembers an incident totally opposite of me).

Today the blog was about changes in our five senses as we age!  Boy can I relate!  Some have not quite hit me too hard in that I'm 63 and not 83 or 93.  I do hope I am still kicking at those ages and I will update this blog!

Did you know that as we age our fingerprints wear off?  I sure didn't!  Maybe we can all become pick pockets since we won't leave any clues!!  I do notice my fingers (and hands) are drier that they used to be.  A suggestion from one of Ronni's commenters suggests keeping a little container of Sticky Finger near you at all time.  Good idea!

My eyes are getting cataracts (I think one will be fixed this summer) and I occasionally get floaters.  So far not a big deal.  Now I notice my eyes are drier as well ... maybe it's the tradewinds in Maui or the VOG in the air.  Whatever, it is a little annoying.

And I already have hearing aids, which I love!  My thinking is that if you get them just as your hearing is deteriorating, they are easier to get used to.  Mr. Ralph waited until he was 73 and then it was too hard to get used to the background noises.  I don't wear them all the time, especially when I'm at home communicating via laptop but they are indispensable at meetings!  I can now hear people even if I am sitting two rows behind them.

Yes, it does seem I bump into things more and I bruise easily, so there are always bruises on my forearms (from keeping the door from slamming).  One of her followers says he calls the bruises Senior Tattoos!

We really do have to have a sense of humor about this process.  Mr. Ralph always complained he was like an old used car ... first the windshield wipers go (no big expense), then the brakes (costly but still doable).  Just one nuisance at a time.



Thursday, May 7, 2015

JUST ONE MORE WEEK

I return to Oregon on May 20 ... for the rest of the year.  When I return, I will call Maui home year round.  I am so grateful to be able to choose which picture perfect place to call home.

The hard part will be missing big moments in Kate's family's lives.  Yet many grandparents are long distance so we will make the most of it.  They are keeping the office available for my "hotel room" when I do come to visit, which I hope will be 4-5 times a year.  And the boys love Facetime (although Deacon just wants to hug me on the phone).

Life here is ramping up.  I've committed to volunteering with Na Hoaloha (similar to a Village).  My hope is to "adopt" a senior for a weekly friendship as I did on my own in Portland.  It was a fast and fabulous friendship for 20 years.

The best way to meet people is to simply smile.  Then speak!  We met Hanna and Emre at Starbucks a few years ago and I am still Facebook friends with them, and the occasional email.  This also works at the beach (Pam and Carl!)  And of course, right here in the neighborhood (thanks Julie)

The BEST part of heading to Oregon for a long stretch is having some GREAT friends come housesit for me!  For six months!!!  Leilani and Gary owned a home in this neighborhood for several years but due to some major health challenges, decided to move back to Alabama for specialized care.  We met over the big political issue (free roaming cats!) and became close friends.

While getting here is a big challenge, the fact that they have worked out so many details to be able to stay for an extended visit is a miracle.  That was meant to be.  Now I have no worries on this end.

Thanks Maui friends for making my choice just that much easier.  Coming at you Portland friends ... then you must come vacation here at the Kihei Kottage!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

AWKWARD FAMILY

My baby sister and her Jonathan left Maui on Saturday night.  They squeezed in seeing a LOT of the island while they were here.  Again.  I think they have visited ten times!  And they always make it a vacation for ME!

They are morning people yet don't impose that on me.  So they go for a walk and text me when I wake up (7-7:30) to meet them for coffee.  Two mornings they went SCUBA diving and had to be at the boat ramp at 6:00 am!  They are from East Coast time so mornings are a little bit better ... but they stayed up later than me as well!!!  So much energy.

We didn't even play games or do a puzzle this time!  Lots of auto touring and Janet did the driving all week.  AND filled up the tank several times.  When we weren't discovering new (to us) restaurants sharing an appetizer (or two), a salad and an entree and usually a dessert, she was whipping up the tastiest healthy meals at home.  I get all of my good cooking ideas from them.  He's the grill master.  He either grilled the fish or the veggies or both.

It's really impossible to thank them enough.  I used to keep track of my share of expenses then send her a check ... but she sneaked into my room and left them uncashed on this visit.

Lucky for me!  Now I have my airfare covered to spend a few days with them in NEW YORK CITY!!!  So exciting!  Trying to get these old knees in shape ... and I may get a cortisone shot before I go!



I love you Janet and Jonathan!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

TOO SAD

No words today.  Just missing him so much.  I know he is here in spirit but some days I would give anything for a hug.


Friday, May 1, 2015

BIRTHDAYS and DEATHDAY

This morning I finished my 63rd year here on planet earth.  I turned 63!

It is so nice to have my sister and her hubs here to celebrate.  The birthday spoiling began the moment they landed, I have to say!  With a bottle of champagne!  From there ... Janet has taken over the kitchen and Jonathan took over the grill.  I should have kept a food diary.  That's how tasty EVERYTHING has been.  They don't even let me do the dishes!

It's so nice to have my insurance agent, the financial planner and probably my dentist also wish me happy birthday.  Even Google wished me happy birthday!



This morning we headed to the slow cold drip iced coffee place with gourmet donuts.  At 9am we all three had relaxing pedicures.  Followed by breakfast and now we are sitting on the back lanai watching a big dark rain cloud head our way!  We don't even care.

Tonight we head for a sunset in Lahaina followed by a very nice dinner and I may wear my black patent leather flip flops.  Undecided if I should get that fancy.  Maui is sooooo laid back.  I usually just add jewelry or a scarf to look dressy.  One of the BEST things about having Janet here is that she does all the driving ... so I can be a swivel neck tourist.  The drive to Lahaina is 45-60 minutes (almost a day trip to me these days!).  The drive around Haleakala to Hana and beyond was about 12 hours with a million stops.  

Am I spoiled or what!

Tomorrow is the deathday for Mr. Ralph.  Two years.  Already.  Scotch and a few tears for sure!