Thursday, July 28, 2016


We have all heard about buyer's remorse:

  • Buyer's remorse (or buyer's regret) is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a car or house. It may stem from fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.
I think I have widow's remorse.  

We had so many wonderful times together.  Discussing all those topics that I'm not comfortable talking about with others.  We had compatible senses of humor ... he had the perfect delivery, PERFECT!  Mine is more quick response. Manners and morals. He was the spender, I was the saver.  I was the disciplinarian, he was DAD.   

Even our bad times never lasted very long.  Well ... there were some things that we NEVER EVER settled.  He liked the bathroom window open (Oregon) and then would run the hot water for 10 minutes before getting in ... to "warm things up".  Every day I would close the window (after airing out the shower).  Every night, he would open it wide open.

Yesterday I had an island driving day with a friend, who never met Mr. Ralph.  Upcountry for a Farmer's Market (one of his favorite things ... and his favorite part of Maui ... 4,000 ft above sea level.  (We had a splendid lunch) After I dropped her off at home, I just kept thinking about him.

I wish I would have hugged him more.

I wish I would have laughed more with him.

I wish I would have kissed him more passionately more often.

I wish I would have traveled with him more.

I wish my more of my Maui friends could have met him.

I wish I would have had more time with him.

I wish.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


On Maui, I volunteer with a nonprofit organization called Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  My main activity is driving Miss Daisy(s).  The first drive is usually a medical appointment.  The hospital and most specialists are in the town of Wailuku, about 15 miles from my house.  Which gives us plenty of time to chat.

Many of my rides are elderly widows. 90% are poverty level.  POVERTY.  This makes me so sad.  And yet MAD.

My special buddy (we now meet at least once a week, with 2-3 phone calls in between, often with no medical appointment at all).  She is in a "rent control" apartment ($850/mo)  and has been on a list for subsidized housing ($400) for 3 years.  Yesterday we went to one of the complexes in another town (the list is a Maui County list ... whichever town's complex has an opening, the waitlist person can say yes or no to that location).  The word was ... at least another 18 months to two years.  Two years or more at the location where she currently lives (and has 6 years of friends).

When I take her grocery shopping, she buys the least expensive item.  She prefers a smaller store but their prices are so much higher.  I convinced her to try $5 Friday at Safeway with me.  I had her bring her receipt from the prior week to compare.  Yes, she was very pleased with the savings!  Although they don't carry as many of the local (weird) vegetables that she likes ... so we will try a produce stand for that.

Several organizations provide food for these low income seniors.  Outdated canned goods (still edible supposedly) and fresh fruits and vegetables that are on their last leg.  But she can usually find a carrot or onion that is usable.  She makes $35 over the income amount that would provide food stamps.

Her living complex does provide some social events every week and she catches a ride to church on Sunday.  But just knowing she can't go to a movie or browse at Walmart for a new pillow because she gave up her car (and the expenses associated with a car), gets to her every once in awhile.  I'm glad I have the time to donate!

One day we just took an hour long drive along the ocean.  It's the simple things in life.  She was in such a great mood when I returned her to her 500 sq ft home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Ah, yes.

I am lucky enough to be part of TWO homeowner associations.  Single residence home HOA in Maui, condominium with pool, hot tub and shared clubhouse rooms in Portland.  And I'm active with both.

It is eye opening experience.  Since each HOA is totally volunteer, I think each owner should take a turn.  It has made me so appreciative of how much work is involved.  And how much drama is involved!  If a person has to do all this work for just one term ... I think life would be so much easier.  Easy to complain, not so easy to introduce a solution.

My main contribution to each is compiling a newsletter.  Monthly.  I like to make the rules and regulations kind, gentle and fun. The thesaurus is my best friend.  The Oregon one is 4-6 pages, Maui 2-4.  Because there is way more community sharing as well as socializing within the condos.  Lots of photos in the Oregon one.  I'd like our Maui neighborhoods, or at least streets to get together casually and socially to get to know each other.  

This is the condo landscape update ... my unit is way at the end of right fork of sidewalk, on the right.  My minivan back there.  I voted for GRASS (for the grandkids)(you see how influential I am!)

I'm also on committees at each homestead.  On both landscaping committees.  Interestingly, landscape is the biggest line item expense at each HOA.  We work hard to keep the costs as low as possible, while upgrading our aging grounds.

The "complaints" are different as well.  Condos share walls and ceilings.  We have a huge covered patio which is perfect for the iffy weather.  (Great for outdoor play for the grandkids in the winter rain).  We hear things like:

     1)  Can you please tell Neighbor X (below) to not run her a/c whenever we are entertaining (which is every afternoon/evening)?  It's very loud.

     2)  Send my neighbor a noise violation ... the snoring keeps me awake.

     3)  My neighbor cooks too much and I don't like the smell.

     4)  The neighbors in the next building downstairs, have not yet unpacked all their moving boxes.  They've been here for 2 months!

     5)  The baby next door cries at night.  Can you tell you tell them to take care of it?

The single family residences are not quite as crazy.  But still ...

     1)  My neighbor taped paper over his garage windows and now I can't see what they are doing in there.

     2)  Please make my neighbor repaint their house.  Grey is not a good color for a house.

     3)  My neighbor has 42 cats ... is that a reasonable number?  (OK, that was me!  And I still do not think that is a "reasonable number of domestic pets" according to our documents)

     4)  Why are you "picking" on me?  My neighbor also has a basketball hoop on the sidewalk (well, they also were sent a violation notice!)

     5)  This Board of Directors is MEAN.  No one else has ever enforced the rules.  How do we vote you out of office?

Yes.  True stories.  My favorite in Maui is "well, my neighbor said it was okay".  Or "who reads the rules?".  "Can't you make an exception for MY basketball hoop?"  

Currently we have a group from the 3rd subdivision (our HOA covers three) going door to door spreading  misinformation.  The entire Board met with about 20 people last Thursday for two and half hours.  They are all from this 3rd subdivision which, in fairness, wasn't ever convinced to follow the rules.  Mostly renters (and we can only deal with Owners) and sketchy residents in 80% of the 112 homes.  Lots of drug deals, late loud parties and even a meth house.

It will just take time .... she said hopefully ...

Sunday, July 17, 2016


What a horrible month of tragic killings.  If I watched the news I'm sure I would be even more depressed at these senseless acts of violence.  And it seems like the highest officer death count ever.

But it's not!

These statistics are from the Officer Down Memorial Page ... this is 2016 so far:

And a few previous years ...

2015:  130
2014:  145
2013:  123

I believe our community protection employees (fire fighters, ambulance drivers, water rescue) have a life risking job all of the time.  So I am outraged when people are killing them because of their uniform!

No matter that I am not a persecuted ethnicity, I don't see THAT as a reason to kill.  MOST of the time, the police have had to kill offenders not based upon their skin color or religion or anything other than the breaking of the law (and maybe background information obtained right before they pulled up) that is happening right then.  Many will disagree with my opinion.  Your prerogative.  I have police and firefighters as family and friends and neighbors.  All of them are outstanding humans.

From the Washington Post ... statistics of 2015 police involved killings, broken down into categories.

These numbers don't look out of balance just by the figures alone.  Twice as many whites as blacks have been killed by police.  It would be interesting to research the demographics that go with the numbers ... right now I'm too lazy to look things up.

Yes, you can unfollow me on Facebook or unsubscribe from this blog.  It seems like a small percentage of "bad cops" has gone a long, long way.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I simply adore my first cup of coffee in the morning.  It's a ritual from the minute Mr. Ralph retired.  After all those years of each of us going in different directions five days a week, we both fell hard for sharing our first hour of every day together.  Mostly with the laptops while sitting outside, weather permitting.  (Another reason we like living in Maui best!).  Checking the news, weather, Facebook and reading the local "paper" (and him the WSJ).

Three years since I lost my coffee buddy but I continue to enjoy the routine.  Although now it is usually way longer than an hour and I'm thinking about changing up the morning. 

This morning I was at the beach at 8:30.  It was so peaceful.  I got a close up parking space.  It wasn't too hot to be in the sun (I'm an a/c kinda girl).  But I couldn't entice anyone to join me until I was about ready to leave.  No matter.  I brought my own (iced) coffee and used the iPhone to check the news, etc.

Once or twice a week Mr. Ralph and I used to like to go to a coffee shop to people watch.  Often we'd also go in the afternoon to buy a cold brewed iced coffee (different than iced coffee) or iced green tea.  I still like to do that, maybe once a week, but Starbucks just priced me out of that!  They cut their rewards program recently.  Twice.  And now they've raised their prices!  It will be my local Java Cafe from now on.  Recently I started to make my own cold brew coffee, which I can warm in the microwave OR add ice....depending on my mood.
Some friends gifted us with a Nespresso espresso machine which used to seem like so much work (and expense of buying the pods)  I will use it for the afternoon treat (iced almond milk latte).

I'm never too old to change up my magical life!

Monday, July 11, 2016


I can finally blog my excitement!

A fellow blogger I met a few years ago (online only, so far) loves doing genealogy research.  She went through many many hours researching her own family and with great love and pride, gave printed and professionally bound  copies to family members for Christmas.  I have started off and on for 30 years to work on mine.  Back in those days, there were not as many "free" sites to check.  It has become a "hobby" for more people now and there seem to be more sites.

We had a cousin reunion last summer and I met a 2nd cousin who was working on my Mom's side of the family.  She shared her work with me and I joined  It is a LOT of tedious detective work that often hits a dead end.

And then came Judy.

I noticed on her blog that she was doing a family tree for another blogger.  Quickly I zipped off an email to inquire if she would do mine (for hire)!  YES!  And the hourly rate was so incredibly affordable.  What a great birthday gift for my sister ... and a copy for me!  The information goes way back to the first century AD.  Not just facts but photos and copies of old documents and even information on how they earned a living.  After doing mine, she was working on a new project and discovered that we are 10th cousins!  Amazing!  So I have a new family member and a new Facebook friend.

She also gave me the 108 pages on a CD so it will be even easier to update.  It is also stored safely in the cloud and on my computer ... with CD in the pocket of the binder.

Fortunately, my world traveling Seester FINALLY came home for 36 hours before leaving again (it's a tough life, but someone has to do it) and opened her belated birthday gift.  And LOVED it!  I couldn't publish anything about it on my blog until she was surprised.  And she was!

Thank you Judy!

P.S.  I get teary eyed EVERY time I read the last page ....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Many of my widow blog friends are facing the same challenge ... how to make new friends (and keep the old).  I've blogged about it many times.  No longer do we have jobs or kids or hubbies to help us find new folks.  We are on our own.

There are many hits and misses.  At my age, I probably rush friendships.  Sometimes after a few meet ups for coffee or wine or beach, I realize I don't have too much in common or sometimes I learn a fact (from them) that I can't abide.  One lady shoplifts.  One lady does all the talking and no listening.  One lady is too religious and is in conversion mode.  One gal is promiscuous.  One acquaintance I met at a coffee shop doesn't even drink coffee (or tea!)  One never has quite the right amount money to pay her share ... and never repays.  So I just find that I am "busy" if they contact me.

But the absolute worst is when someone talks smack behind my back.  To my friends that I have introduced them to!  Reminds me of Junior High.  I realize not everyone likes me.  That's fine!  Not every match is one made in heaven.  No worries.  But unless someone ASKS about a particular trait in me, no need to badmouth me.

If something I have said or done or failed to do bothers you, talk to ME.  Not everyone else.  I try not to speak ill of others.  Usually I will say you should form your own opinion!  Invest a little time and maybe you will form your own friendship.

To me, friendship includes loyalty and truth.  Telling me the truth even when it is hard on me.  Not just saying what I want to hear.  Being there when times are tough ... as well as when things are great ... that is friendship.  A call to check in even when you are busy with your own life.  

Burn me once, shame on you.  Burn me twice?  Shame on me.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Summers are dry in Maui.  The fire threat is high.  Add the high winds we've been having and our island is covered in smoke!  And flames.  Helicopters are scooping buckets of ocean to drop to contain the blaze.  Yesterday we had a 400 acre fire on another part of the island ... that is not so well traveled.

Since our island is so small (48 miles by 26 miles), we don't have many connecting highways or byways.  The perimeter is 120 miles.  Some of our main cities have only one way in.  Today there was a small fire along one highway (and I use this term lightly ... high speed of 45, mostly 30).  Add the wind and this fire quickly got out of control.  People who live in Kihei (my town) and work in Lahaina and beyond cannot drive either direction.  

It is "possible" to drive around that west mountain to go from Lahaina down to Kihei.  But it is filled with one lane curves and steep cliffs and takes a few HOURS to travel.

I haven't been to the beach for days ... except to drive south to look at turtles.  My body would have been sand blasted.  Tomorrow is Sunday Fun Day where any lady friends show up at the same beach, if they are available and interested!  

While we have the map above ... see how close Wailea is to Hwy 37/31 (very close to Oprah's estate).  But I have to drive up towards the airport, then take 37 over to get to the town of Kula.  Oprah offered to help pay for a connecting road but the County refused.  She bought up land privately and built her own road.  That she keeps closed except for friends!

P.S.   Road Closure in Māʻalaea:
6:25 p.m Saturday night.: The Red Cross has opened up shelters at the War Memorial Gym in Wailuku and the Lahaina Civic Center beginning at 6 p.m. Police say traffic around Kahakuloa will be open to a single, alternating lane. The Honoapiʻilani Highway between Kūihelani Highway and Māʻalaea Road remains completely shut down due to the fire above the highway. Additionally, North Kīhei Road access and Wailuku-bound traffic from mile-post 14, Lahaina side, has been closed off. Police advise motorists to avoid the area. Māʻalaea residents are being evacuated as well.