Saturday, January 30, 2016

SUNRISE, SUNSET

Mr. Ralph's birthday is tomorrow.  He turns 82.  It's hard to believe he didn't even make it to 80!  He did everything right.  Exercised.  Flossed.  Moisturized.  Loved.  Traveled.  Then cancer.  It just stinks.

But he LOVED his Maui sunsets!  Last week Beth and David visited for not quite a week.  We did manage to get to the beach each night for a sunset.







Thursday, January 28, 2016

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS ....

Unfortunately, life sometimes gives you lemons.  Something to put a wrench in your plans.  The whole saying has a negative connotation ... and I don't think it should!  Because I have a lemon tree!  Which I have probably mentioned.  But now I will tell you the story with photos ... because a picture is worth a thousand words ...

Little lemon blossoms ... so fragrant!



Lemon babies ... 



Lemon teenagers!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SUSHI WEEK 2016

My house guests love sushi even more than I do.  We have had sushi or poke every night since they arrived on Sunday. 

Mr. Ralph and I had our favorite, Izakaya Matsu, in a little strip mall near our Ace Hardware store ... about one mile from home.  Since they are closed on Sunday, we went to a newer (open two months) Japanese restaurant called Miso Phat Sushi.  Large portions and great sushi.  Not very comfortable seating and pretty small ... but Guy Fieri from Food Network had just called to say he was coming next month!


Guess what!  I now have a new favorite ... spicy tuna roll.  Not very spicy at all ... just really flavorful with a tiny kick.  Probably all places make them at different levels of heat so until I know each restaurant, I wouldn't order just that for my meal.

Poke is a fresh (raw) fish salad, usually yellowfin tuna, and common basic ingredients such as soy sauce and sea salt.  Poke can be seasoned with ingredients such as inamona (roasted crushed candlenut), sesame oil, limu seaweed, and chopped chili pepper, fish eggs, wasabi, green onions, Maui onions, sriracha, mayonnaise ... every shop has their special recipe.  Believe it or not, we have a wine shop with a deli in the back and they have the best poke on Maui!  Beth and David probably thought I was nuts but we stopped in to get a bottle of champagne and poke!!!  We stayed in that night and had fresh veggies and fruit and poke.  Followed by Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups.  Heaven!


Last night we tried my favorite Izakaya Matsu.  Once we were seated (about 20 people can fit in there ...) the server announced that the sushi chef was out sick ... no sushi!  Lots and lots of other things .... but we opted to try Sushi Paradise.  The server was angry looking and angry acting and very bossy.  We had to sit at the bar so no cooked food available there ... there were two tables of people and four RESERVED tables (no one ever came in the whole hour we were there!).  The chef was an artist but the food was ordinary.  Fresh, good but not even as good at Miso Phat.

Tonight we are invited over to friends (of Beth's!) and Thursday they are going out for a special date at Morimoto's (I'm staying home ... out of my budget and they have been paying for everything ... but I have my dignity!  It's about $150 minimum each person!!)  I actually did get talked into going and my oh my it was worth it.  Once in a lifetime anyway.  (Thank you Leslie!!!!)

So we will have one more sushi dinner on Friday before they depart at 11pm!




Saturday, January 23, 2016

WELL, NOW!

It's pretty amazing here in Maui.

Beth and David arrive around midnight tonight.  I've known this for months.  So I saved up all the cleaning and laundry for today!  PROCRASTINATION at it's best.


Yes, I have a bi-weekly cleaning crew but of course they came LAST Friday.  So the cleaning is not as bad as it could be.  (Thank you Mr. Ralph for this luxury).  The guest room sheets are clean and the bed is made, I even found a blanket and set up a luggage rack!

It's a good feeling to have ALL the laundry done (including beach towels!)  And everything is hanging in my closet.  I've got my typical Maui sweats (matching cotton capris and short sleeve shirts) ready to hang out at home or the beach.  I've ironed all my "fancy" clothes in case we do something that requires that kind of look (trust me ... not fancy ... collars on my shirts or blouses over tank tops!)  It's a good feeling!


I have to run the dishwasher when I head to bed tonight.  Cold brew coffee is "brewing" on the counter top.  As soon as I finish this tiny blog, I'm heading to the store to get a few breakfast items.  Beth and David will be on Portland time, which is two hours ahead of Maui.  They may head out to snorkel before I get up, so will have a few things they can grab and go.

Of course, all along the way to get this stuff completed ... I took myself out for coffee (had to buy beans for the cold brew ... it's a different grind).  Then checked Facebook and answered a few emails.  Stopped to have my Cheerios with banana and almond milk.  Made my body scrub (coconut oil and sugar with a few drops of lavender).  



Finished off the day with a trip to Safeway, got myself a little frozen pizza and some red wine!  

Banana for tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

F-TROOP

This morning I hosted a coffee, conversation and COLORING morning on the back lanai.  The Merry Widows were invited and six of us had time this morning.  Although we all had our coloring pencils and some brought sheets with intricate designs, only one colored.  We mostly just chatted.  (This coloring thing just started among some of these ladies ... Christmas.)

Widowhood was never even mentioned.  I suggested we change the name of our group to include other single ladies.  The idea of changing it up a bit was widely accepted.  Many years ago there was a group of old guys who met every morning at 7:00 am at a local coffee house.  They were always arguing and getting each other riled up.  I finally got up the nerve to see how they were acquainted (and why they would subject themselves to starting their day getting mad).  They said they were all widowers and just met at the coffee shop.  They named their club the SNOBs....Senile Negative Old Bastards.  And it got out all their ranting and raving at the world before their started their day.  PERFECT

Although none of us ladies are senile (yet), negative (hope to never be), old (it's all relative) and we would have to change it to Bitches.  Which we are not.  We giggled a lot and all went home to put on our thinking caps (or our drinking caps!).

I have come up with the F-Troop ... 

Fabulous     
Fantastic     
Feminine     
First rate

Fifty+ 
Feisty
Free
Fun
Fanciful

Stay tuned!


Monday, January 18, 2016

THANK YOU VERIZON

Yesterday I had a very scary experience.



I got a text message from Verizon saying Kate's phone had recently dialed 911.  WHAT?  I immediately texted her phone to ask her if everything is okay.  Duh!  If she had been abducted would she be answering text messages!???

Then I decided to call Jesse ... no answer or text from him.  She was at work so I decided to be one of THOSE Moms ... and called her.  When her coworker told her it was her Mom on the phone ... she freaked out thinking something had happened to her little family and I was the bearer of bad news.

After both of our hearts started beating again, I told her about the mysterious text message.  She said well I did call 911 today.  While she was on her break or lunch or whatever, she saw a visibly drunk man with an open bottle get into his car and start to drive away.  He hit the car in front of him while trying to exit his parking space.  Fortunately, she was with a friend who encouraged her to call and the police arrived in time ... before the drunk killed someone.



So thank you Verizon for this handy little feature.  When I logged into my account (we all three share the family plan) to thank Verizon, I could NOT until I called and got cleared.

Wow.  Just imagine if your loved one had to dial 911 in order to try to save their life ... and you get such a notification.  An early alert like this could get the police involved in a manner of minutes.





Friday, January 15, 2016

WHAT THE ?????

Oh I am trying to eat better.  Mostly succeeding but it sure isn't very fun.  Thank goodness I LOVE salads and I have lots of kinds of protein around to slap on top or beside.  

One night was opah sauteed with a lite coating of almond meal.  Another night this week was a 3 oz lean ground beef patty and mushrooms.  Last night it was a rib eye steak totally trimmed (and generously donated to Honeysuckle).  Delish.


My reward for being "good" during the week is a bit of wine on the weekends and maybe a carb as a side dish (I love potatoes in any shape or form).  Might even make spaghetti with some brown rice GF noodles.

But evenings are the worst.  Apparently so for most people ...


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TOURIST SEASON on MAUI

My first pair of visitors arrive January 23.  Beth and David have been here several times, although usually when I was not here. But Beth was on the island visiting us at our apartment when we bought the house!



And then each month, through June, friends are coming over to my island.  Some, like Beth, are old hats and don't need much of my time.  Others have never been so I can be a tour guide!  If they want to do things that I have already done one too many times, I can give them directions and let them have fun.

We will have lots of coffee and conversation on the back lanai.  Hopefully we will share a dinner or two out there as well.  MMMMmmmm .... and then the wine evenings!

What I am thinking right now is that I am not going to have as much time to blog.  Actually I can't believe I've been posting at least 5 days a week for over two years!  You have probably read more about me, my challenges, my joys and just plain babbling.

I'm going to post just once a week for a while.  What do you think?  Sunday night?  Hump Day?  Monday morning?

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'M STILL WAITING

This is not a good way to start a Monday.  At all.


Maybe it's just me ... but maybe it is Maui.  Or perhaps everywhere!  Scheduling things that need to be done and then waiting.  WAITING.  I start off with a good attitude while waiting for Terminix to come between 10am and noon.  Great intentions, actually.
Kaiser Permanente (my new insurance plan) called last week and asked me to return the call, which I did. I wish they would say why they are calling when they leave a message, but ... oh well.  She was reminding me to schedule a mammogram!  And she booked it for me ... on Wednesday!  That was a reminder that it's probably time for a PAP as well.  One of my favorite things about Kaiser is the ability to schedule appointments online.  Well for some reason that feature isn't working this morning.  

I decide to email my Dr to see if her nurse can schedule my appointment.  Guess what?  That feature is not working today either.  Next I spend 15 minutes trying to find a phone number so I can call and make an appointment.  They sure don't make that easy!  When I do call, and press 1 for this and 2 for that ... I'm on music hold for 10 minutes when I just give up.  Apparently it's been 2.5 years since I've taken care of my female self ... what's a few more days!



Which brings me to my ductless air conditioning.  Maybe it's time for me to say this wasn't my best idea.  At the time, we didn't have solar panels so it seemed cost effective to just cool the one room we were in.  Why cool the whole house for 8 hours when we were in a tiny bedroom?  I have had trouble with the master bedroom unit every year.  It is on the same compressor as the other bedroom so it's not the compressor.  The master bedroom unit has not been working since I arrived.  (probably wasn't working for my friends while they were here ...)

The installer was TOO BUSY to come check it out because he felt all the units need a professional cleaning.  The second half of 2015 was extraordinarily HOT and since he is a small business, he wanted those who had NO a/c to be scheduled first.  It kinda ticked me off but he did call me back to explain in a less abrupt way, and he was right.  I have the luxury of sleeping elsewhere in the house.

And ... he was going out of the country for three weeks to visit his wife's family in the Philippines for the holidays.  He asked me to call him back on January 6.  I did and then he asked me to call him back today.  Business just works differently in Maui!  ANYWAY, he texted today to set up an 8am appointment tomorrow. 


Terminix just left and it is only 11am.  What a morning!



Saturday, January 9, 2016

HOUSTON? I HAVE A PROBLEM


I really do love sleeping.  My body needs a minimum of 8-9 hours although I can survive a few days on less.  Even in my employment/mommy days I needed 8 hours every night.  And now that I am retired, I feel like I can enjoy an extra hour or two.

For sure I should have kept track of all the interrupted sleep I had as a Mom.  Kate was prone to ear infections, starting at five months old.  She could not sleep lying down flat, so I would sit and hold her on my chest.  When I take a nap every week or so I remind myself I'm making up for that night in May 1987 when I was up and down all night with my sick kid.  

Mr. Ralph loved sleeping also.  He could even out do me!  So maybe it IS an age related thing.  We like lying down to read.  Sometimes I lay down to play my word games.  And I think that's why I'm liking the beach again.  I take a magazine or book and simply bask in the shade.

Many retired folks get up at the crack of dark, have their dinner at 4:30 and are in bed by sundown.  They often admonish me.  That I'm missing out on so much.  Really?  And some of my funniest seniors set their alarm to wake up!  I only set mine IF I have to be somewhere at a specific morning hour.  


My "adopted" Dad who passed away at 93 just last year, would set his alarm for 6:00 am.  At 7:00 am he would call his girlfriend (she was just a friend although he wanted so much more ... another story) as they would check on each other twice a day.  I would meet him for lunch once a week and occasionally coffee in the morning but he would be irritated that I didn't want to meet at 7:30 am!

I am starting a new friendship with an oldster I met through my volunteer driving.  Betty is 94.  She sleeps from 10pm to 10am.  My kind of gal!  We will be afternoon buddies!

P.S.  My word for this week.  Pronounced klin-o-mai-nee-ah



Thursday, January 7, 2016

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

mo·ti·va·tion
mōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun
the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.


synonyms:  motive, motivating force, incentive, stimulus, stimulation, inspiration, inducement, incitement, spur, reason, enthusiasm, drive, ambition, initiative, determination

Here we are 25% of the way through the first month of the new year and I have NOT started my healthy journey.  I often sit and watch Oprah talk about her fresh start.  What is it going to take?

My two Portland buddies are still going to Weight Watchers.  Although honestly, since July they mainly lose and gain the same five pounds.  At $12/week those are very costly pounds.

Why do I not make myself a priority?  What is it going to take?  I don't want to do some fake "diet" like drink a shake or eat 800 calories a day or something else unreasonable to continue forever.  I do have one friend here on Maui who has lost over 150 lbs and keeps 130 off ... for five years.  It was a hospital designed plan and she has a dietician (now a friend) who helps her.

I think I have to drag out my scale and start writing down what I eat.  And writing down my weekly goals.  Big change would be to not eat on a tray in front of the TV.  Oh what the heck, I know exactly what I should be doing ... I just listen to the devil who says START TOMORROW.

Today I tried on a swimsuit that I ordered from an online company.  In a large size 16.  And it is way too small.  I was putting on sunscreen to head to a pool with a friend and I used a mirror to be sure I got my back slathered with sunscreen (SPF 50).

And that view, my friends, is motivation.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY

No thyme.

Today a friend humored me and rode along to a nursery in Upcountry.  The town of Kula is about halfway up the Haleakala Crater Mountain.  Haleakalā National Park is an International Biosphere Reserve that supports native ecosystems in a maturing volcanic landscape.  It is like a different planet up there!  It's a heck of a trip to get there and I've only done it once.  It's desolate and and a long windy road to get there.  Hiking enthusiasts just love the crater ... cabins are available so hikers can spend the night ... but you have to plan six months ahead of time.  I've heard it is other wordly.

Mr. Ralph loved upcountry.  It's about 3,000 ft altitude so it's a look cooler.  In fact he wanted to buy a home there.  We looked at several.  It's a 45 minute drive to the ocean.  I asked him why he wanted to move to Maui.  He responded with he wanted sunshine, warmth and the ocean.  Well ... Kula is overcast and colder ... in fact they have heaters and fireplaces!  I knew he wouldn't want to drive to the beach on a moment's notice so he came back to reality!  Thank goodness!

First we popped into to a little farmer's market and bought some vegan cheese, some plants and some 100% fish fertilizer.  We tasted almost everything available ... it was 15 minutes til they closed so we enjoyed the give aways.



Next stop was a little diner that has been in a family for four generations, Grandma's Coffee Shop.  Good food and just a couple of miles from Oprah's Maui home (well, one of them)  She has about 1,000 acres here in Kula.  And yes, I've seen her in person!  


Anthony Bourdain visited the coffee shop last summer.  Lisa and I were all set to share vegetarian lasagna and salad but when it was our turn to order ... they were erasing that special.  Soooo ... we changed to meatloaf with rice and gravy and mac salad (macaroni salad is always added to lunch plates over here!).  

Lisa got a homemade cookie and let me have a piece while we drove to the nursery.    Where I bought some parsley, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, spearmint and one tomato plant.



What a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

TOLERATED? OR CELEBRATED?


This is the time of year many of us reflect on what we want out of this new year.   Or life.  Or even just today.

I have many friends who believe in their past lives.  If I had one, I sure don't remember it.  And I'm not interested in delving back many centuries to figure it out.  I'm pretty sure I was a Goddess of some sort!

The above photo was on a friend's Facebook page and it just reminded me of Mr. Ralph.  That man cherished me.  Simple as that.  Like it was his job to make sure I was happy and loved.  Every meal I made for him, he thanked me.  Every day he asked about what happened in my world.  Every day I received a compliment.

It was reciprocal.  In the most loving way ... not as payback or that I owed it to him.  I was his personal cheerleader.  I enjoyed helping to make his life easier.  He was employed (high stress ... running a company with 100+ employees) and I would find simple ways to relieve the burden.  Fortunately, I knew most of the employees there and had electronic access to his calendar.  I made his hair appointments, doctor and dental appointments and put Kate's school activities on so he could try to plan around them.  I kept track of prescription refills for him.  He loved having friends over and I entertained with him a LOT.  
I'm glad I had almost 29 years of being celebrated.  Once in a lifetime experience, I'm sure.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?

Was it just six years ago we bought this Kihei Cottage?  How on earth did so much stuff get accumulated???  And thrown hither and yon?

I enjoy neat and organized as much as the next person.  So as part of my dream, plan, accomplish motto ... I'm tackling things that are important to me.  The garage is next on my list.  Recently I did my pantry and fridge.  Now I smile when I open either!  It just adds another level of serenity to my wonderful little island life.

When we first put in storage for the garage, I designated one side the "man" side and one side the "woman" side.  Several friends who have stayed at Chez Lockhart since Mr. Ralph died, have started to organize the man side.  I'm saving that for last.  Much more organizing to do over there ... first of all, simply understanding what some of those things are!  There are parts for the irrigation system.  Parts for the outdoor lighting.  Car stuff. Bike stuff. Power tools.  Gardening tools.  It will take some thinking to get it together.

The woman side has had some space open up ... I had many appliances stored out there but now I have shelving in the guest closet for my kitchen things.  So I will have more room to put things out of sight.  I ordered some 30 gallon storage containers from Amazon.  While I freed up some space, now I have seasonal decor to put in containers and store up high since they only get used once a year.

Here are the before photos.  I'm not promising AFTER photos by a certain date ... but they will come!


For some reason, laundry facilities are either in a garage ... or outside over here!  Every time I pull the car in, this is what I face.  Messy, messy, messy.  All things I use but surely I can do better than this.


This is looking from my kitchen door into the garage.  



The man side with my bike in front (because I rarely use these things!)



My side looking towards that kitchen door from the big garage door.

I'm thinking there may be my first trip to the landfill in my near future ....


Saturday, January 2, 2016

KEEP IT SIMPLE

We folks who live alone need to make more of an effort to be happy and healthy.


Remember the book my sister gave me when I turned 60?  Master Class by Peter Spiers.  (Peter Spiers is senior vice president at Road Scholar, the world’s leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring adults to learn, discover, and travel. He is a graduate of Harvard College and lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife, Melissa, and sons, Tomas and Andy.  So he's got some credentials and I believe he lives by his own advice.)

Everything we do should involve:
     Socializing
     Moving
     Creating
     Thinking

Using a scale of 0-4 and we should aim for 100 points per week.  Luckily for me, he put together a list of common activities so I can just pick ... for example having my own blog earns 6 points for every hour I invest.  If I spend 2 hours a day, I could earn almost 100 points doing just that.  But there isn't much moving.  So we need to have a balance.

I'm big on keeping myself high in the social category.  I have an older friend whose husband died five years ago.  The first two years she stayed at home, did everything by herself.  Bridge once or twice a month.  She was sad and depressed and I could hear it over the phone.  She LOVES learning and I helped talk her into taking some classes at her community college (free).  I could hear the difference in her after just a few classes!  One of her two daughters got her to move from a retirement community to a small house near her ... several states away.  

She is doing GREAT ... plays bridge at least twice a week.  Has a bit of yard work, change of seasons and just loves her new town.  Exploring where to shop, get a hair cut, etc.

Today my favorite sister sent me a link to a NPR article written by a doctor (she is married to a doctor .... who needs to heed this advice!!)  It is called Keep Things Simple For A Healthy, Long Life by John Schuman.  People (especially family members) are always asking him for advice and he feels they are underwhelmed when he shares his information with them.


Get enough sleep.
Move your body throughout the day.
Eat well — a healthy assortment of foods. Mostly plants, and not too much. (An idea popularized by author Michael Pollan.)
Interact socially. Isolation is not good for the body, soul or mind.

Take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for.


I found a new word today while doing research for this blog.  Maybe I will give myself an extra point for using it in conversation every week.