Monday, November 30, 2015

WINTER IN MAUI

Brrrrrr.

Last night it got down to 68.  I have ductless a/c which means each room has it's own temperature control.  For me, I only turn on the air in the room I am in.  Maui had an absurdly HOT summer, breaking 14 heat records.  It was still pretty warm when I returned but now I can feel it changing ... to winter!

I decided to let in the fresh air in the great room and one bedroom (I slept with the a/c on in my room).  It was so cool when I got up at 7:00 am, I had to put on my robe!  I closed up all the windows and sliding doors and may not even need to turn on the a/c in the great room until this afternoon!  This is the season everyone loves Maui.

Despite getting solar panels last year, the electric bill this summer was NOT $20 as predicted ... over $100 and sometimes $150!  At first we thought the panels might not all be working.  The company did a remote check and everything is working fine.  Then we called the electric company ... oh yeh, we really did use that many kWh.  Once you use past a certain miniscule amount, the rates go way UP.  

Personally, I think Maui Electric is just mad that so many homes now have solar.  They will just keep raising their rates until I am back to paying $300/month like we were prior to photovoltaic (new fancy word for solar!).  But I can outfox them.  I love line dried clothing so I'm hanging my clothes in the garage to dry and saving that electricity.  I have a small toaster/oven in the garage which is perfect for one.  Love my microwave.

But I cannot sleep in a warm room.  Even with the ceiling fan.  My bedroom will always have the a/c on.  At least for those delightful 8-10 hours of bedtime!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

BECOMING A FOSTER MOM

I have a lot of time when I'm in Maui.  

I love socializing with people of all ages and for now, I volunteer with Na Hoaloha, Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  Earlier this year I worked in the office helping with computer things.  Still missing the younger crowd but I have three adorable "Grand" kids next door (8, 10 and 12 this year).

I've decided I could be a foster mom ... for a dog!  I will meet with the Maui Humane Society this Tuesday morning.  IF I pass my interview (I do have a few references from dogs I have watched in Maui ... Baxter (part Corgi, part Border Collie) who lives next door and Mercedes (part Jack Russell and part Chihuahua).  My neighbor friend, Julie, has Jodie (Havanese) who enjoys my company and coming over with her Mom, but I haven't had her all on my own.  Yet.  Stay tuned! 

This idea struck me as the perfect way to have a pet without the lifelong commitment.  Not that I think I will be traveling much (just back and forth to Portland), but I wouldn't have the boarding expense.  They also take care of any vet bills.

But my canine expert daughter is concerned.  That I will fall in love and want to adopt my foster dog.  Apparently that is NOT a good thing!  It is called a Foster Failure.  Something I will have to discuss on Tuesday.

P.S.  I will have the added incentive to WALK more!

Friday, November 27, 2015

GETTING TO SHIP SHAPE

No more excuses.  Just do it.
 I have all the time in the world now.  Time to put it to good use!  My new good knee needs more exercise ... and I think it will help the other knee last at least two more years.  I have never been in very good physical shape but the past five years it has been sinking.  Even if all I do is WALK, my legs will be stronger and my cardio level will be stronger.

Luckily for me, Mr. Ralph has hand weights here and some resistance bands.  In the hot part of the day, I can build some muscle.  The walk around my circle is 1,200 steps.  Today I found my Fitbit and charger so I can set some goals.  


The community pool is just 1/2 mile or so from here, and I love working out and NOT sweating.  The water aerobics group now charges $5 per session but I think I will pay for once or twice a week, then do my own thing the other days.  Bonus!  A bit of sunshine and Vitamin D.

This is my new job.  Getting healthy.  I'm the only one who can do this.  I'll post monthly on how it is going!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

TURKEY DAY 2015

This is my first Thanksgiving all on my own.

My FIRST unrainy sunset this trip ...

It was MY choice to leave Oregon before the holiday as airfares were a LOT less expensive.  I procrastinated contacting Maui friends to try to get included in their plans.  Friends flocked over on holidays the year that Mr. Ralph died.  I didn't think to invite folks over to Maui this year.

Going out for a dinner or buffet for $$$$$ didn't grab my attention.  So I cooked for just one.  I lit candles (well, turned on my flickering battery operated ones).  Weds afternoon I made Ree Drummond's three bread dressing (even made my own corn bread!)  I bought a 3/4 inch slice of Primo deli turkey and let it sit in my homemade mushroom gravy overnight (made fresh stock from my Costco chicken carcass).  Right before dinner I tossed a green salad with fresh dressing and roasted my ten Brussels sprouts with walnuts.  All accompanied by Prosecco!  It was fabulous!  And so selfish to only make MY favorite things.

Lucky for me, my local grocery had half of a pumpkin pie.  So far, just one piece missing .... and I ate that for lunch!  Dessert first!!

P.S.  I had enough turkey, stuffing and gravy for FOUR more meals!!!  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

SURVIVAL MODE

It's been a whole week since I left Kate, Jesse and the munchkins.  Tonight we are doing a FaceTime conversation .... while the boys are captive in the bathtub!  Gosh I miss them.

But life is ramping up over on the island.  Julie introduced me to her handyman so the projects are coming to life!  He is painting the burgundy accent wall in the living room vanilla ... to match the other walls.  With just primer on, the room already looks bigger!  Next is to add a ceiling fan on the back lanai.  Sometimes you just need a little breeze (and it annoys any flies that may try to visit).

I bought some moulding and he is going to "frame" both bathroom mirrors to give them an update.  The moulding is currently white but I may try to make it look shabby.  There are a few other small projects but the BIG ONE!  A new floor!

Currently this tiny place has four floor coverings ... carpet, ceramic tile, linoleum and wood laminate.  It looks so small and choppy this way.  My friends, who are now in Alabama, had all 18" square ceramic tile throughout and the whole place looked huge.  I think ceramic would be too hard on my arthritic joints so I found a vinyl tile to use.  The handy TEAM will need to make the whole house be at the same level (after getting rid of the current flooring) and I hope we can put down a subflooring with a lot of GIVE.

Last, but not least, I'm going to get a window seat! 


Mine will continue to the edge of the window.  See all that storage underneath???  I'm also going to have a bookshelf added in that back corner ... cookbooks!  What is proving difficult is finding a table with flip down leaves.  When it is just me, it will be a rectangle and pushed up towards the bench.  When I have guests, it will fold out to be a huge round or oval table to seat 6.


I love looking at how others arrange furniture and decorate.  This house is one of my favorites.  I wish they would move back here ..


Monday, November 23, 2015

THANKFUL FOR THANKSGIVING

Well poop.

My buddy just cancelled our turkey dinner at her house ... not worth that much work for just three of us.  We may try to find a reservation at a restaurant somewhere, but for the prices I've seen, I could have the whole meal catered for us!  I think she just doesn't like cooking or entertaining.  To be honest, she wanted to go out in the first place!  Stay tuned.

I'm going out for groceries today because I really do prefer the old traditionals for my Thanksgiving Dinner.  I hope I can find a small turkey breast but I'll take a whole small turkey if I must.  (I love making broth with those tasty bones) My favorite things are stuffing and roasted vegetables.  And gravy!  Lots of gravy.  Pumpkin pie would be nice but not a whole pie to have sitting around tempting me.

Maybe I should volunteer to host the meal over here?  Or maybe we should just postpone until we round up a few others.  Lordy, lordy the challenges in my life!

I think I have time to fly to Louisville to sit with my sister and 20 family members and friends!  She is having a world celebration featuring a heritage turkey!  Also a regular huge breasted beast just in case.  Their two kidults each bringing a friend or two.  Homemade pies and homemade ice cream.  The other guests are different nationalities and she has asked them to bring a very ethnic side dish.  I can't wait to hear about it.

Then again ... someone must make a turkey TV dinner ....




Saturday, November 21, 2015

SETTLING IN

Oh my gosh.  I have spent the last few days doing not much of anything!  

Just finding things ... maybe I'm too old to have two homes!  It's hard to remember what I have where.  It's HOT here (and overcast) so I've been sorting through things indoors.  Fortunately, I don't have any planned visitors until the end of January so I have time on my side.

The floor in here is ridiculously confusing ... ceramic tile, laminate floor, linoleum and carpet.  I'm going to bite the bullet and put in just ONE type of flooring.  My friends (who stayed here for six months and had the same house further up the street) had all 18" ceramic tile and their home looked twice as big as mine.  But with the arthritis, I think that might be too hard on my joints.  I discovered stick-on vinyl that looks like ceramic tile ... you can even grout it!  Fortunately we have a neighborhood handyman who says he can do it, so I'm going to talk to him tomorrow.  It's a lot of stuff to remove (and heavy furniture to move out of the way) and he will have to level all the rooms.

And .. it's time to renew the great outdoors.  Gary and Leilani have all the plants groomed and growing beyond belief.  We chose turquoise pots so that will be my main color.  The outdoor rugs are ruined from sunshine and most of the cushions are also shot.  I spend a lot of time out there, so it will be worth it.  Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and free shipping!!!

Photos coming up!

Friday, November 20, 2015

EVERYDAY HUGS

Aloha!

I landed on my island Weds afternoon, a little stiff from sitting for five hours.  My neighbor friend Julie fetched me and went above and beyond.  I was a bit unstable, knees and hips, so she brought the car around to me.  Then when I got home she had flowers, and treats and Prosecco to welcome me.  Gotta love a friend like that!

Thursday night I took her out for a nice dinner at Monkeypod.  They have the BEST drinks on the island (and we each had TWO!).  We shared a salad, each ate half our dinner (I had the rest of mine for lunch) and shared a piece of banana cream pie.  Oh my gosh it was delicious and fun.  We picked right back up where we left off!

So far I've managed to trash every room here.  My bedroom a/c needs a reboot so after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I moved to the guest room and set it at 68 degrees.  Two suitcases are opened in the master bedroom, the mail is all over the kitchen island and I've rejoined the HOA Board here.  Met with another new member of the Board to discuss specific items that we would like to see changed in our ByLaws and House Rules.  He lives in PVIII which is like a horror story to walk through.  Lots of rentals and foreclosures and the curb appeal shows it.  We just changed property management companies and the terminated company is not cooperating in turning over the documentation.  Kinda makes me wonder if all of our money is accounted for.

My buddy is loaning me her handyman so I'm having him paint the burgundy wall in the "great" room to match the other vanilla walls.  Also installing a ceiling fan outdoors for those really hot days (and it keeps the bugs down).  Then to tackle the big project for this year ... new flooring.

So despite keeping busy, I sure do miss my little everyday hugs!  Thank goodness for Julie ... who loves to hug as much as I do!

Monday, November 16, 2015

STARTING A NEW LIFE

Mr. Braeden started preschool today.

He was scheduled to start last Monday but then the stomach flu hit hard.  I'm still not feeling that great.  So today was his first day.  Momma had to go to work, so Dadda took him in, backpack, water bottle and appropriate snack in hand (in an R2D2 lunchbox that lights up AND makes that robot noise.  Can't wait to see if we hear from the teacher!!)

Although he said he was "newvous" he went in and immediately started interacting with a little fellow who also arrived early.  Jesse said he thinks there are just 2-3 girls in the class of 14.  I get to fetch him at 3:30 and we might just have a "date" at Starbucks to hear all about it.

He looked SO grown up.  He summed up his philosophy by saying I was going to Maui and he was going to school!

Sniff.


Friday, November 13, 2015

WHY I LOVE HIM

Jesse.  My UNson-in-law.

For one reason, he's been around for over 11 years.  I've seen him at his worst and now I see him at his best.  He was raised by a single mom, along with two older brothers.  From different dads.  She is a functioning alcoholic ... he has more than once had to put her in pajamas and put her to bed.  His father left when he was two.  He had just reconnected with him as a young adult when he died of a heart attack at his office.

Jesse is a lot like a middle child rather than the baby.  He cares about people close to him, wanting to be helpful.  He sure proved that when I was recuperating from the knee replacement.  He is front and center with his two boys.  Totally involved, always teaching.

But I fell in love with Jesse in March 2013 when he surprised Ralph with a visit bearing his only grandchild, Braeden.  How he scraped together airfare and brought that little tyke from Portland to Maui ... without letting us know ... Needless to say, Ralph brightened up for those three days like you wouldn't believe.

He was in the habit of calling me once or twice a week, late at night HIS time as he was a restaurant server.  When he called that night it wasn't a surprise.  He asked for our address and swore this time he would write it down.  Ten minutes later there was a knock at the door.  It was 1:00 am their body time.  But they came with big smiles and I woke up the Poppa.

That is the real reason I love him so much.  He knew, without asking, what Poppa's last wish would be.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I climbed the stairs at the library the other.  On purpose.  Physical therapy is over and everything seems to be working fine.  I can get up or down without using the arms of a chair.  I'm no longer afraid to sit in the middle seat of a sofa.  Life is good!

Now to get packing.  I treated myself with a one way first class ticket (for knee protection) so I get two free checked bags.  I didn't check a bag last time so I'm searching for affordable (disposable?) large bags so I can take a few items back.  A couple of my favorite cookbooks.  Some kitchen doo dads.  Old photos so I can scan and save (never did get around to doing it here).  The flight is nonstop so I'm hoping there will be no trouble.

My room is a MESS ... sort of an organized mess ... but many tax papers, medical summaries and recently purchased back up drive and DVD reader.  Much of it needs to come to Maui as well.

Followed by a couple of important decisions.  Medical insurance in Maui?  Will it cover pre-existing conditions ... if I would get any complications or flare ups? Or should I keep my Oregon insurance as I rarely get sick enough to see a Dr.  Should I file Hawaii taxes?  It will save me $$$$ on property taxes ... will it affect where I vote?  Oh, the questions I have!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

WIDOW-NESS

The overwhelming feelings come out of nowhere.  I do enjoy the happy memories and funny parts of our lives together.  Maybe the sadness just means we were pretty meshed together.

Or maybe it's the grey, cold weather here in Portland.  Who knows!  Plus all three boys have a stomach bug with the littlest guy being hit the hardest.  Dr. said he can have one TEASPOON of Pedialyte every 15 minutes.  When he can keep four doses down, he gets one ounce!  As long as he has a wet diaper every EIGHT hours, no need to bring him in.  UGH.  Kate has been up since 3am and has to go to work (for just four hours ... they found someone to cover the first part of her shift).

Have I ever told the story of how Mr. Ralph and I met?  He tried to hire my husband!!!  They both worked at the same company, at different levels, and Mr. Ralph was terminated after 25 years.  He and a friend decided to start a business and called my spouse (software dude) to get him interested.  He wasn't at the time, but this was when the first Apple home computer came out ... and this new start up had one!  I was interested!!!

I called the next day to volunteer secretarial services.  They said, no, no ... we have a secretarial service ... please have Mr. X call us.  When they received their first invoice from the service, Mr. Ralph called back to see if I was serious and we worked out a stock option payment.

What fun I had learning how to use that old computer!  After typing one line of information (they were writing their business plan for venture capitalists), you had to insert a dot command.  Like carriage return or punctuation.  The machine had one floppy disk drive and I had to insert either the program or the saving file.  We sure don't know how lucky we are these days! (my current computer does not have a DVD drive at all!)

During my tenure with the startup, evenings after I worked and half day on Saturdays, I finally filed for divorce.  A year or two later, Mr. Ralph decided he wanted to get his divorce and asked for the name of the attorney I used.

And the rest is history!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

SATURDAY NIGHT and HOME ALONE

Yesterday I had seven hours on my own.  Kate was working and I dropped Jesse and the boys off for Braeden's cousin's birthday celebration at Jesse's brother's.  When Kate got off at 7pm, she drove over, visited a bit then brought everyone home.

I went shopping for a bit but it was pouring rain so it wasn't worth it to me to go in and out of stores very much.  A new burger joint opened next to Walmart and I decided to give it a try.  FABULOUS!  Frack Burger, a new local chain.  Fresh everything as well as artisanal buns and a special frack sauce.  They have not had their official opening yet, so things were still being smoothed out.  I brought more than half of my meal home ... and gave it to the dog!  Saved the fries for the boys today.

When I returned I took the dog for a walk, tidied up, did two loads of laundry while watching HGTV.  So peaceful.  So quiet.  Kinda TOO quiet.

I return to sunny Maui next week.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be homesick for this amazing little family.  Stay tuned!  I think I want to be with them while they boys are little and still adore me.  By the time they are 11-12 ... they will roll their eyes and say "do I have to?"

What's a Gramma to do?

Friday, November 6, 2015

MY GAMBLING ADDICTION

Nope.  Never!

Yesterday my neighbor couple, Gary and Gail, invited me to come with them to Chinook Winds Casino on the Oregon coast.  They are "frequent flyers" so my room rate was $35!  The room had two queen beds and was right on the ocean.

We took a scenic trip over stopping to have lunch about 20 minutes south of where we were staying.  And we decided to have a drink at lunch.  Oh my gosh!  When we later checked in, we all took a nap!  They got up and headed over to the casino (shuttle bus service at your beck and call) about 4:30 ... I met them about 5:30.

We all played penny slot machines and my $40 was gone in an hour.  Gary and Gail are luckier than lucky! Two friends of theirs also joined us and they, too, were lucky.  Gary won over $1,000 and Ben over $700.  I should have just opened my wallet and handed them my twenty dollar bills!  It was incredible.  Every time he sat down at a new machine, by the third pull (well, button push) he would win $100!  The most I ever won was $5.  I was thinking I would have beginner's luck.

I guess bad luck is better than no luck at all!  And I don't have to worry about becoming a gambling addict ....


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

HOLY CRAP

While Kate was working yesterday, me and all three boys ran one fun errand and one grocery shopping errand.

Braeden got his first fishing pole for his birthday, so Dadda took him to an outdoor store to get a few things.  My leg has been bothering me, so I stayed in the car.  (Dr. appointment today to see if it's "normal" in the recovery mode).  He was enthralled with an entire huge store filled fishing and hunting and camping stuff.  And guns.  REAL guns.  Bullets.  Scopes.  So many guns!

Off to Walmart for restocking the pantry.  Again, I stayed in the car.  Imagine my surprise when Braeden walks out ahead of Dadda, carrying a box of cookie cereal and a box of candy.  Not in a bag.  I let him in and asked if Dad and Deacon were right behind him.  Nope.  I couldn't find them so I will meet them here with you Gramma.  Well .... I decided to wait to get the whole story from Dad.

Oh my.  Was Dad MAD.  Never leave a place without your parents or the person who brought you.  Ask a worker for help.  Next time you will have to sit in the cart with your brother.  Dad was so mad, I suggested I take Braeden and the stolen merchandise back inside to apologize.  The Customer Service guy was SOOOO nice and understanding.  Mr. B cried a little bit at the end and said he "didn't mean to be a stealer who goes to jail."

For the ten minute drive home, we all had conversations about stranger danger and taking things before paying.

Scared me to death!




Monday, November 2, 2015

DAY OF THE DEAD

Two and a half years ago, Mr. Ralph made his exit from this life.

He used to be a great believer in Christianity but NOT a fan of organized religion.  Every year he ordered The Daily Word which featured  religious quote of the day and a paragraph to go with it.  Most importantly, he led a moral and ethical life.  Every day.  That was so much more important to me.

It seemed appropriate to remember him and celebrate his memory on the Day of the Dead.  We never celebrated it and most likely won't today, but it allowed me to take pause and spend more time with my memories.

Every day I think about him.  And smile.  I love how any bad memories are fading into the background of my life.  We keep his memory alive with stories and humor so Braeden will always remember.  We have tons of photos of the two of them (well, two and a half years worth!) which help.

Mr. Ralph, age 3 and 1/2 .... already missing a tooth!

Despite the sorrow and loneliness, somehow I muddle along.  Not "past" it or "through" it.  Just onward and upward (thanks Blogger Buddy "Onward and Upward").  Ever forward.

Miss you buddy.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

MY EXTRA HOUR

Maybe I am just NOT a daylight savings gal.  My body much prefers this "extra" hour for getting up.  Hawaii doesn't do DST so I especially love living there.  I used to be such a morning person.  After Mr. Ralph retired, I quickly embraced his sleeping in mode.  And staying up til midnight reading or watching.  It is the life.  So many of my older friends set an alarm to get up at 6:00 am or 7:00 am.  And lots just naturally get up that early (or earlier)  UGH!

I feel bad for parents of younger children with this time change.  Especially those who cannot tell time.  We drove out to Kate's job last night for the kids to go trick or treating at the businesses on her street.  It was POURING rain.  Dutiful Dad took them around for an hour (Kate had to work for another hour and Gramma stayed in the car with magazines and online games).   When Kate got off work, SHE wanted to watch them trick or treat.  They changed them out of their WET clothes, put a skeleton suit on our baby lion and Braeden just wore his drench SWAT team hat.

One of her coworkers lives in the area and told her about a nearby neighborhood that closes off their street and has a haunted house.  PLUS the neighboring houses are all decorated and since the rain stopped ... they went trick or treating for another 90 minutes!  I think we have ten pounds of candy!!



We left Kate's car at her store so I drove her back this morning at 9am.  Stopped for coffees and yakked our way over.  As I was heading back for a refill ... my calendar alerted me.



Tomorrow is two and a half years since the death of my buddy.  I just can't believe it.  We were just teaching Braeden about the saying "sweet tooth" and he brought up that "his" Poppa had lots of sweet tooths!

Right he is!

(Last year's costumes ....