Friday, September 30, 2016

CELEBRATING IN SOLITUDE

Wednesday would have been our 32nd wedding anniversary.

I remember every detail of our big "to do" as if it were yesterday.  Rushing out of the office right at 4pm, driving home to meet up with my soon-to-be husband, his son and my sister.  A two hour drive to the Oregon Coast.  A Justice of the Courts pronouncing us legal at sunset overlooking the beach.  Jeans and sweaters.  Celebrating with clam chowder and champagne.  And so it began.

Mostly ups... a few downs.  Constant communication no matter what.  And a good dose of compromise.

This year I didn't distract myself.  I enjoyed my memories and wallowed in my sadness.  Alone.  

At a friend's wedding, June 2006

I sure do miss him ....

Friday, September 23, 2016

AUTUMN AGAIN!???

Yes, time really does fly.  The older I get, the faster it goes.  And the slower I go (it seems).

Our seasons in Maui are a lot different than most on the mainland.  It is hottest and most humid in September and October.  I do NOT look forward to Autumn here.  This year the icky weather came earlier than normal.  

My Mom's favorite time of year was Autumn (in Ohio).  Those were her favorite colors and the subject of a lot of her paintings ... the many colors of changing leaves, a bit of rain to see their reflection, a bit of chill in the evening air.  My sister-in-law made them a memory quilt for their 50th anniversary.  She found amazing fabric for in between the photos of all six kids ... Autumn themes for my Mom, fishing and gardening fabric for my Dad's interests.

They were both very "crafty" and enjoyed making items to sell at their local Golden Hobby Shop.  Dad raised roses and vegetables like you can't believe.  He even grew things he had never eaten before, just to try them out (Jerusalem artichokes, jicama to name a couple)   My Mom painted, loved to sing, enjoyed cooking and playing games.

Which gets me thinking.  I don't have any hobbies.  I haven't created any crafty cool stuff.  Do you suppose they make fabric with computers and iPhones on it?  Or the Netflix logo?  What is with me?  So many friends knit (good enough to win awards and create their own patterns for sale).  Lots of them quilt (my sister in law makes about 10 a year!).  Several are very cultural and volunteer their time to the arts and a few a great philanthropists in their communities.

What do I want to be when I grow up?




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE OTHER WOMAN

I've been friends with Jodie for a few years here in Maui.  She is so kind and friendly to me ... and most everyone she meets despite being an introvert.  And we've taken our friendship to another level.

We are living together!  Unbelievable??  We are trying it out for a two week trial.  She was insistent that I live at her house first.  We will each keep our own homes and take it from there.   Last night was our first night together.

I'm a little tired this morning ... she's an early riser.  Me?  Not so much.  Plus sleeping in a different bed (although VERY comfortable).  If I make it through today I think tonight will be even better.  What do people DO this early in the day?  (6:45 am)

She's not a water person so we may just take a walk this morning. This may be very good for me ... to get me up and going.  Stay tuned.

Let me introduce Jodie ~




Friday, September 16, 2016

NEITHER SNOW, NOR RAIN, NOR HEAT, NOR GLOOM OF NIGHT ....

Our United States Postal Service.  That is not "officially" their motto but it's what I always remember.

Yesterday three large envelopes appeared in my mail. My Last name and Maui address were on the return label.  WHAT?  Someone mailed something to my neighbors (all three addresses were my subdivision)??   I sure didn't so my heart was racing.  Was someone pretending to be me and cause a ruckus?  I'm not running for any office (elections are in March 2017, for heaven's sake).  Are people stirred up about the cats again? 

I quickly ripped one open.  It was the mailing Mr. Ralph sent in 2012 to all this subdivision owners regarding the letter the Chairperson sent to the police, calling ten of us "criminals and terrorists".  These three were return to this address FOUR YEARS later as UNDELIVERABLE.

Did someone just clean out the storeroom at the post office?  Whatever.  It just brought my valiant ethical and honest man into my forefront for the day.  It was a crazy horrible situation at the time (still makes me angry when I think about it) to realize that a crazy person could put all of this crap IN WRITING, send it to the police without evidence of any wrongdoing ... and the police department had to visit each named family and read them their rights so they could question them.

I wish Mr. Ralph were here to see me having the last laugh!  Just a few months after he died, the Chair was dismissed from the Board (additional persecution of neighbors he didn't like).  And here I am!  Helping to make this Board visible to all as well as transparent instead of secretive.  When we first moved in I asked for names and contact information for the Board.  The property manager would not give it to me!  The Board changed every other month as people who would NOT do his bidding quit.  He did not want to hear from his neighbors.

Now I publish a monthly Newsletter that contains names and email addresses for the Board members as well as our two committees.  We answer every phone call and respond to email within 24 hours. We are applying the same rules to all Owners (which has been a big task after 10 years of not doing so).

I believe in Karma. 




Sunday, September 11, 2016

READING AGAIN

These last three years have been so different.  I used to need to read before I could fall asleep.  I haven't read much of anything since Mr. Ralph died.

Today I opened my Kindle (on my iPhone) and saw that I haven't bought a book since he passed.  I used to read one every month or two.  So I bought a book!  It's like a whole new life again.

Interestingly, several of my widow buddies report the same thing.  What is that all about?  Also, I haven't watched a movie all at one time.  Mostly I do TV series on Netflix or Amazon.  My attention span is just kaput.  Maybe Year Four will open up these doors again.  Have any of you widows/widowers experienced this?

Today I spent an hour or so helping (trying anyway) her to connect to Netflix and Amazon.  Then we tried to use her new accounts on her smart TV ... but between the two of us we screwed up her TV so she had to invest time on the phone to get it back working.  Sorry, buddy!  (I know she still loves me ... I'm babysitting her pride and joy puppy!)

Another boost to my reading .. she gets the local newspaper!


Friday, September 9, 2016

SHOULD I TELL?

Courage.  The same topic again!  Maybe after three years I should stop this little diary of mine??

(A.D.D side note: That fact, in itself, is pretty AMAZING.  This really is a great hobby and I can't believe I am still doing it.  Thank you Misadventures of Widowhood for your encouragement to start.  Now I have another addiction).

(sorry ... the cat part was so funny to me ... on Meowi)

I'm using this courage to prevent osteoporosis.  I'm building up my spine.  Currently I am leaning on another blogger (and personal friend first, for a change!) to help me choose my words.  Sometimes I am too abrupt and often I apologize ... for nothing.  Recently a person I had met once (through a great former neighbor) invited herself for a visit to Maui.  In retrospect, three years ago I may have half heartedly suggested she visit Maui.  In that time we have NOT built any relationship or friendship.  

I decided I didn't want her to live here with me and I didn't want to be a full time tour guide for two weeks.  My family and friends are so independent, they mostly go without me (I'm usually invited but I'm such a home body).  We share coffee or a meal together most days, and a nightcap with a recap of the day.  My kind of hosting!  I like to do the inviting!!  I want to be in the right frame of mind to show off the islands and all the things I've seen 100 times.  So I said:


"I'm not inviting guests to visit. I have enough company with family and close friends in 2017, and my frequent trips to Portland. Glad to check out accommodations for you if you want second opinion!"

Still short and sweet, now that I re-read it.  But I feel good that I didn't have to agree if I didn't want to.  And I didn't apologize!!  


The very next day a friend called (texted) to see if she could come look through her boxes (I am graciously storing a stack in my garage). I had already made plans for the day/time she suggested.  So I invited her over for late afternoon and suggested maybe dinner after?  She declined dinner as she has out of town guests.  I reconfirmed ... but still coming over at 5pm?  Yes.

At 5:10, I texted "are you still coming?" as I had to move my car out on the street so she had plenty of space to operate.  Yes ... I'll leave here in a few minutes ... and she lives 15 minutes away.  SOOO, by the time she did arrive (not the first time she has been late ...) I was miffed.  Her explanation (no apology!) was that she had been napping.  My look must have said it all ... she asked if I was mad.  Well, yes I am really disappointed.  She was taken aback.  If I had an appt with a friend who was doing me a favor, I would set my alarm.  Then she complimented my shirt to which I said thank you ... do you need anything else out here?


This morning she sent me an apology which I quickly accepted.  I have another friend who is ALWAYS late.  The difference is she always texts or calls before the time to tell me the new and improved schedule, apologizes and ASKS if that will still work for me.  And now that I know her MO, I just assume a half hour later than she has chosen!!  Usually I ask her to text me when she is in her car .... and then I depart at the same time!

The biggest act of courage this week?  I'm moving back to Oregon for a few years to enjoy the littles while they still think Gramma is great fun.  Once they are teens (or even a bit before), and roll their eyes at me, I will move back over to Maui.  I'm pretty sure I will get summer visits from them then!

COURAGE?  or crazy????



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

THE COURAGE TO TALK


This is sometimes (often)(always) a difficult task.  But I finally DID get up the courage to talk to a gal about where our friendship went wrong.  I'm glad I did and we are (slowly) building a new friendship.

Two of my Maui friends were widowed ten years ago.  Each of them grieved and commemorated in their own way.  One is more lonely than the other.  More sad.  More depressed.  And frankly had us all worried.  Fortunately, she finally opened up to explain her loneliness, how it hurts to see other happy couples, and how she needed some smothering.  

Now we talk (or text or email) every other day or so and she is taking steps to help herself.  Including a little vacation!  Splurging on some self care.  I think friends are a special gift which take an investment of time and energy.  While I do not have a BFF (well, my sister), I have different sorts of relationships with different kinds of people.

She was talking that she doesn't feel "part" of the F-Troop ... everyone is always talking about or passing around photos of their kids or grandkids.  But really?  One member doesn't have either!  One member is estranged from all four of hers.  Several do not even have grandkids. So it's definitely perspective.

She mentioned that she is shy and an introvert.  Me too!  I know I don't sound like that, but it is hard for me to make the first move.  I never mention how many times I have shared my phone number and email address and never hear back.  Same with Facebook after I've met someone in person and then find them there.

Part of friendship (while looking for one or two SPECIAL friends) is putting in the time getting to know more about them.  Of course you are bound to find out things you don't enjoy about them as well.  My motto is take what you like and leave the rest.  If your list of cons outweighs your pros, then slowly stop responding to invitations.  But if they are even, it's still nice (in my humble opinion) to do things that you both like to do.  

Many of my blogger friends are going through this same stuff.  Building friendships as a single woman, at our age, is hard to do.  When I find another woman who finds it hard to have dinner alone, I do speak up!  Easy to have a once a month dinner date ... and if you find a lot to talk about, more frequently!

Maybe I need to host a board game night ....


Thursday, September 1, 2016

MADELINE and LESTER

I have only spent the summer in Maui once before.  And apparently didn't pay much attention to the weather when I wasn't here.

It's hurricane season from June til November.  Fortunately, Kihei (where I live) is very protected from the elements as it hides in protected bay-like section.  Most weather formations hit the north and east sides of this island.  The big island of Hawaii usually bears the brunt of these summer storms.


The blue dot is covering up Maui

Madeline steered herself away from the islands after hitting Hawaii.  For the past two hurricanes, I stocked up on bottled water, peanut butter, crackers, batteries, candles.  This time I added six bottles of wine and cold brewed 12 cups of coffee.  Bought a pint of ice cream and my weekly bag of potato chips.  I also got some cash in case the internet goes down.  Prepared for the worst but expecting the best.

It's a lot of work moving my outdoor living space up against the house.  So I haven't really done that this time.  There's not a room in the house withOUT a window but the guest bathroom has only a tiny one, so that's where I'll have to camp out if things get bad.

I remember my Mom lighting blessed palm fronds when we had tornado warnings in Ohio.  I've got the palms .... The thing that will bother me the most is no a/c, I think.  

It's very eerie looking outside at 9am today ... yet we are not expecting the worst until tomorrow.  I have a 10am appt today and an 8am appt tomorrow.  Trying to decide whether I should reschedule ...

Mother Nature!  Who knew?

Thursday, Sept 1  5:30 pm update: 

The National Weather Service has CONTINUED the HURRICANE WATCH for MAUI COUNTY.

A Hurricane Watch Watch means hurricane force winds are possible within the watch area.  A Hurricane Watch is issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical storm force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

So.  It is pretty windy outside right now ... and the worst is coming on Saturday??  Stay tuned.

Friday Morning, 10:30 am:
Lester has moved slightly north so I think we won't be hit very hard.  BUT the County is be very cautious and has closed schools and government agencies.  No wind right now ... in fact ... a perfectly lovely morning!

Sunday ... Lester missed us altogether!  Sorry I didn't post every day.  Thankfully, we got zero wind and unmeasurably low rain.  HOORAY!