Thursday, June 13, 2019

THE VILLAGE

Last night was the grand opening of WLLO Village (pronounced willow .. stands for West Linn and Lake Oswego cities).  It was a way bigger group than we were expecting!  More than half of the attendees were NOT volunteers or members ... just interested parties.  Despite my cold (I took two cold tablets so my nose would mind its manners), and the weather reaching 98 degrees, we pulled it altogether.

As a start-up nonprofit, it was decided to ask folks to bring appetizers and we would just pay to have wine and punch and little bottles of water.  We are an amazing group of cooks!  Beautiful, delicious and tasty tidbits of all kinds.  Puff pastry with gruyere and asparagus, cut into bite size tastes.  Cucumber sandwiches.  Sweet and sour meatballs.  Caprese skewers.  Amazing vegetable tray.  Homemade hummus with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.  Huge shrimp platter.  Just everything.  And a whole table of desserts ... chocolate dipped strawberries, mini cheesecakes, lemon bars ... and all of these in tiny one bites.  It was so wonderful that several guests asked who catered!



The Mayor sent a letter and a $1,000 donation/grant.  Several Board members of our "hub" said a few words, and the ribbon was cut!  We got our first "request for services" last week and I volunteered to drive Miss Rose to our local Adult Community Center.  She came to the festivities so I introduced myself.  The local paper had a reporter covering it and he wanted a picture of the both of us.  Then he interviewed each of us later in the evening.

We now have three drivers with two who are very close to the finish line.  Today we got a request for a ride to and from church every Sunday!

The Village concept, to me, is like how small towns in the midwest in the 1950's were.  My mother-in-law got to remain at home until the final moment!  Family, friends, neighbors, church friends all circled round to help her out with just about everything.  She hired a caregiver 3 days a week for bathing, setting up the weekly medicine box, light cleaning, etc.  Towards the end, she decided she needed a new winter coat (Indiana).  Her niece went and bought three different coats and let her choose in the comfort of her own home, then took back the other two.

I am a Village person.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CRABBY with a COLD



Yep, a summer cold caught me.  Monday and Tuesday last week were HIGH pollen count days and since I now have seasonal allergies, they were very noticeable.  Nose and throat and eyes rolled those feelings over into a full on cold.  Trust me, I isolate myself immediately because I am very crabby when not feeling up to par.

I slept for two days while taking cold tablets and using more Flonase.  And lots of water.  On the third day I was feeling much better but kept myself in my room so I don’t spread it.  Little guy seems to be catching it so Momma let him in to snuggle and take a nap.   Darned good for both of us!  Although after 40 minutes, he was back to running and playing and dancing … I decided to do some slug style chores.  

First I cleaned my computer, inside and out.  Then I backed it up.  I filled out some forms and scanned and sent them.  It was the first time I’d used the document feeder (7 pages) so I also learned something new with my half brain.  



I gathered up magazines to donate to our Clubhouse Library and organized the command central shelves near my bed.  I was looking in my Address Book trying to find the email address of a blogger friend and thought I should pare that down a bit … especially all the Maui ones (not my friends, but businesses, neighbors, restaurants, etc.)  Then any names I no longer recognized!  

What an interesting project.  Doctors, masseuses, acupuncturist, pharmacy, Hospice help … all from Mr. Ralph’s care.  Parents of Kate’s grade school friends.  Some of Ralph’s business friends … although I kept a couple because we have emailed each other after he died.  The place we rented VHS tapes.  Friends who have passed on.

I made good use of my time without taxing my brain power!



Thursday, June 6, 2019

COMMON SENSE or COMMON CORE?

I’ve been following a FB page called Pseudoscience Quackery and Other Nonsense mainly because I love the name!!  And I usually find them funny.  Funny stuff on a wide range of topics.  I decided to google those two words while trying to think up a catchy title for this blog and learned that distinguishing between science and pseudoscience is problematic (which I didn’t know and I didn’t even understand the word or the definition) thus spent a few hours learning!

pseu·do·sci·ence
/ˌsodōˈəns/ 
noun
  1. a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.
quack·er·y
/ˈkwak(ə)rē/
noun
  1. dishonest practices and claims to have special knowledge and skill in some field, typically medicine.
But I really wanted to just rant about the lack of common sense and how do senior adults manage to take the right dosage of the right medicine.  I feel like I need an advocate!

I was prescribed 500 mg ER Metformin for Type 2 diabetes.  After less than one month, Doc wanted to check blood levels again.  NO change, so he upped the dosage to 1,000 mg ER Metformin.  The copay on the two 30 tablet prescriptions was $10.07.  I had just refilled my prescription before Doc prescribed the higher dose, so he had me take 2 per day at dinner.

Our pharmacy has a dial in reorder system and it told me I wasn’t able to refill my prescription for two more weeks BUT if I press 2 they will call the Dr.  I called and talked to a human the next morning and explained that if they call the clinic office, the new higher dose medicine should be started.  Of course, I also called the nurse station to explain.  She assured me she would fax over the new one.

The next day, I was in Safeway and just popped over to the pharmacy.  No, they had not heard back from the clinic.  It was 4:30 pm and I asked him to CALL the doctor as I had only two days worth of medicine left.  I also called the clinic and explained the fax had not been received, would they CALL in the prescription.  The pharmacist called me late that evening to say yes, they had heard back from clinic but they do not stock that medicine and it would be here in two days.  

On the second day, I got the text “your prescription is ready and your copay is $431.70”.  WHAT??  Then would it be prudent to just take two 500 mg pills for maybe $20 a month?  AGAIN, I asked them to call the clinic and I did too.  Since the prescription wasn’t ready by 3pm, I called both the pharmacy (talked to a human) and the nurses station (talked to a human) but nothing happened before closing time.

The next day I got the text “your prescription is ready and your copay is $7.60”.



I picked up the largest prescription bottle I’ve ever seen, filled to the brim with 90 days worth of two 500mg pills per day.  For less than the cost of one pill per day for just 30 days.

Common core math?





Tuesday, June 4, 2019

TAKING A LUXURY CRUISE!

In the past, I have always wanted to take a cruise.  Mr. Ralph thought he would feel "trapped" and wouldn't enjoy himself although he eventually warmed up to an Alaska cruise.  Right before we booked (with two other couples), his cancer was at a very iffy stage and we couldn't predict how he would feel, so we had to say no.  Luckily we did cancel (and cancelled a Road Scholar scotch tasting trip with my sister and hubby as well).  His health was declining quicker than we expected.



After a few years after he passed, I thought maybe a Disney cruise for the five of us.  Kate feels like her Dad did but she would buck it up for the boys.  I set off onto my research.  And hour or so later, it sounded like $25,000 for a vacation.  Not in my budget!

In the meantime I've come to realize I live on a luxury cruise line.  My stateroom is a spacious 10x13 with a porthole.  Meals, entertainment, cleaning and laundry are all inclusive.  Often I can simply ask for a bottle of wine and someone will walk four blocks to acquire one for me.

The cruise line comes with no seasickness and daily adventure stops where I can get off and away and then return to my Queen bed.  Hugs and kisses each night.



Most people are incredulous at our lifestyle but when I explain about my stateroom on a luxury cruise liner, it seems like a lot more fun.  And it is!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

OLD BIDDY BIDET

As you all know by now, I've had a lot going on in the netherlands of myself. 

Lichen sclerosis for almost a year; which is under control with steroid ointment and coconut oil.  And an every 3 month check up.  After visiting a few "support" sights, gosh I am so lucky to have a mild case!  I unjoined a Facebook Group because of all the horrible stories.  I'll just be sure to be in that humiliating position every three months and hope for the best.

The UTI is STILL not completely gone.  Another Dr appointment tomorrow.  This time with my lady doctor.  I finish round two antibiotics today. Stay tuned on that challenge.  I'm trying to drink ONE GALLON of water a day ... that is sixteen 8 oz glasses!!!  My typical water glass is 16 ounces so ONLY eight of those per day.  I haven't met my four glasses and here it is almost noon.

With all the goings on down under, my kidults talked me into getting a bidet.  From Amazon and Jesse installed it (if you have to use a plumber it was a big job ... took him about four hours and two trips to the hardware store).  This device is amazing!!




It fits beneath the toilet seat and does not need electricity!  It does need to be attached to the hot water ... unless you want to be hard core (and those models are a lot less $$$)  The long lever you move to warmer or cooler (only takes a few uses to find the perfect temperature).  Pull it up and it turns on the water and determines the pressure.  There's a big range but I use very low pressure, so far.

The smaller round control in the back controls where the sprinklers will go. It is clearly marked for the feminine area and you can decide the pressure you want.  Turn further and it is for the rear attack.  You can even set it further but it feels (to me) like you might be reaming another opening!!!  When finished, push the lever down.  Set it to "self clean" and you don't have to be sitting for that chore to be finished.  (I also use self clean before I use it since I share the toilet with everyone ... and some people are just not good aims!)

So far, we are not sharing it with the boys.  No one else has tried it yet either but for me, it is a daily necessity.  Or luxury.  Depending on one's point of view.  Using flushable wipes was too harsh on my body.  Even toilet paper uses toxic chemicals in the production phase.  Although I didn't buy the "air dryer" version (needs electrical outlet), that would definitely be the ultimate.  Instead, I bought two dozen 100% cotton small wash clothes for dabbing dry.  I might just try my blow dryer on low.

Once this UTI is cleared up, I'm excited to see some healthy results!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

UFOs


I don't hear much about suspicious encounters with extraterrestrials any more.  No crop mazes that mysteriously appear.  Back when I watched the Twilight Zone, there was at least a monthly sighting!  Several TV shows (X-Files for one) kept making it more real for me.  Nowadays it seems like Roswell just disappeared.  No more exciting UFOs?  Well, the government doesn't even call them that any more ... now it's called "unexplained aerial phenomena".  But I digress ...


The real topic today is UTI.  I just was diagnosed with my first one.  A week after my down under exam.  At first, the urge to go pee seemed a little more frequent.  Another phase of growing older I thought.  Since it didn't seem normal for me, I called my Doc's office and asked if my lady doctor could just call in a prescription.  No ... of course not.  It was Friday afternoon and surely I could wait til Monday, I bravely told myself.

Phase II was not being able to control the urge.  We all love Dr. Google and I checked out some home remedies.  Drink more water, take cranberry extract (which I do daily, so I tripled the amount) and so on.  I felt a bit better but by Sunday, I started feeling overall ill.  My lower abdomen started being noticeable, not painful per se, just heavy feeling.  I made it til Monday morning (thank you, Depends) only to find out Weds was the first available appointment.  By appointment time, I had a full blown really bad UTI.  

It was a doctor I had never seen at my clinic and I really like her also!  She said if there is a next time, talk to the nurse about just coming in to pee in a cup and then they can call in the prescription.  We chatted for a while as my concern is my Mom used to get UTIs a lot and pretty bad.  They would cause her to hallucinate!  And I wondered if it was genetic.

Apparently UTIs are quite common in Senior Adults, not just my Mom,  although the symptoms are often very different.  One telltale symptom of UTIs in the elderly is often mistaken for the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indicators of infection in seniors include the following:
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other unusual behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills or loss of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Falling
Often these are the only symptoms that present, so it is crucial to watch for these rather than the urgency or burning or whatever others get.  I was always surprised about how often she got them and how her Dr didn't pick up on any of these symptoms.

Mrs. New Doctor sent me on my way and called in a prescription for Bactrim.  Also (written down) a few items to help prevent ... drink MORE water, eat more probiotics, eat more cranberries, blueberries, vitamin C, and probiotics, wipe front to back (as always!), remember post coital voiding (not an issue but second time I've heard that word in a week!!) and take an over the counter supplement called D-mannose.

After two doses of Bactrim, the UTI was back to normal but I started feeling like a truck ran over me.  Twice.  Aches, pains, shivers, hot flashes ... like the flu.  I hate being a wimp, but I called the nurses station to be sure it wasn't some drug reaction.  The New Doctor called me back ... it WAS a drug reaction.  Sulfa!  She apologized (well, how could she know if I didn't even know) and called in a different antibiotic, nitrofurantoin.  

Stay tuned.  UTI still seems at bay but I still feel a slight case of the flu.  Small price to pay.  It's Saturday before Memorial day so I'll just laze about.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

AN AMAZING SENIOR ADULT

Everyone seems to be looking for a different "term" for people over 65.  Apparently Senior Citizen just doesn't cut it any more.  There are SO MANY terms for senior adults ... some with negative connotations.  Elderly.  Geriatric. Old person.  Golden Ager.  Old timer. Retiree. 



Lately sales people are calling me "Miss".  I kinda like that!  Well, whatever you want to call the Over 65 Bunch, my friend Joan is at the top of my list.  Her husband and my husband were next door neighbors  since birth, in a small town in Indiana.  Over the years they lost touch with each other but rekindled their friendship after Mr. Ralph's father died.  They came to Portland (they were living in an over-55 home community in Florida) when Bob was competing in quartet singing. I met Joan then and since women seem to be better at keeping in touch, we began our email and phone call friendship.  We visited them in Sun City.

Her husband died (on New Year's Eve) and a few years later, their two daughters convinced her to move closer to one of them (North Carolina or southern California).  That in itself is a LOT of work for an 80 year old.  She chose NC although that daughter is not the nurturing or compassionate type ... but Joan wanted the least costly cost of living.  She bought a HOUSE in a tiny town (West Jefferson NC, population 1,300) thirty minutes from daughter (population 1,300).  (Who in their right mind would encourage an 80 year old to buy a two level house?)  She had to find new doctors, hair salon, grocery stores and BRIDGE players.  In her old neighborhood, everything was walkable.  West Jefferson NC you have to drive everywhere.  Nothing was very convenient but she adapted just fine.  Except for having to wear a sweater all the time!

Needless to say, she saw Jayme once a month.  The house and yard work was too much and she was snowed in several times for days. The girls next talked her into a "senior living and retirement" center.  Over an hour and a half from NC daughter!  I talked with her a bit and her explanation was that she didn't see Jayme much anyway, she needed to retire from driving, loves the rural setting but needed the convenience.  Winston-Salem is bigger (doctors, hospitals, specialists, you know).  If I ever move from my cozy nest, it needs to be graduated care until the end ... no more moving for me!)


This place was month to month, no buy in.  I just felt a little bad that her girls are so far and now at 84 she has to start over, building friends and bridge partners.

I shouldn't have worried!  This independent community allowed her to spend the day, spend the night, eat at their dining room and leave around noon the next day.  EVERYONE was very welcoming.  Residents invited her into their apartments to see furniture arrangement, etc.  Most everyone there plays bridge.  She LOVED the food.

Practically everything is included for just $2,300 per month!




Her view is of the trees and creek.  And she has a balcony!

Now when I call, I have to leave a message and it takes days for her to call me back.  She is an Amazing Senior Adult.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

BROTHERLY LOVE

The best part of intergenerational living for me, is watching and being part of all the different relationships.  After years of being with Mr. Ralph, I have finally learned that mostly I just listen.  Not offer advice.  Not say "oh he is so wrong".  No lecture about how the person SHOULD have done it.  Kindly nod when one boy says everybody loves the other boy more.  Listen in earnest when one spouse has had it with the other spouse.  And never take it personally.

I have been supporting all five of us for almost a year.  Dadda has been stay home parent since Deekie was born and until he starts full day school. Both parents knew they didn't want (and couldn't afford) childcare for two kids.  They were super lucky with Braeden ... a high school chum with a little girl exactly one year older than B) cared for him and made him part of their family.  Poppa and I were in Oregon often and we could keep him.  Once we decided to spend more time in Maui and less in Oregon, we rented this friend and her little family our condo for CHEAP.  Win win win.

Momma got a super great Christmas gift this year of being financially (and emotionally) supported through the holidays.  That gift stretched as we had a two week tropical grand vacation to scatter Mr. Ralph and sell his dream.  By then I thought about extending it until school starts in September.  Everyone has really enjoyed having Momma home! Including me.  It's been a great investment for us all.

She worked retail which included every weekend and holiday.  Now they go hiking or fishing and soon will be going camping.  The boys are at the age to make some great memories.  The parents go out at night to get nightcrawlers for fishing.  They have set up a nature center right outside our living room window for birds and squirrels. Together they are building the most elaborate bird bath with a mister for hummingbirds and others who prefer a shower style, a shallow leaf bowl for other birds and a gurgler to make noise to attract birds that don't eat all the seeds and suet and mealworms and syrup but do love water.  Creating concrete leaves for all the bowls.  Can't wait to take pictures.

Both parents could participate in each of the boys' school events.  They finally have established a great early bedtime routine and the boys are usually asleep by 8:30. Kate always wanted to see them when she got home from work at 8:30 or 9:00 but that would wind them up.  When B started Kindergarten, he wasn't getting enough sleep.  Now both parents are visibly more relaxed.  They each have social anxiety and are introverts.  Extreme.  No friends to go out with or invite over (of course, no money might be part of that!)  So they/we truly enjoy family!

The other day Dadda had a medical appointment and Momma was packing snacks and water and activities for sitting in the car.  I pulled her aside to see if they had plans together after the appointment.  It's on the other side of town with different parks and playground or fishing spots, so I never know.  But no, no plans.  I suggested they can stay with me if you want.  They rarely ask me ... 

We had so much fun in that 90 minutes!  I folded laundry while they had a snack.  They each put away their own clothes!  Even putting their "good t-shirts" on hangers.  One boy did recycling and one put away clean dishes.  Then some screen time.  Fifteen minutes and they play characters in the same video game!  Sitting side by side on the loveseat.  When their time was up (parental block on each device), I asked them to clean the bathroom ... they were SOOOO excited.  Good job, too.  Since they were in the cleaning mode, the kitchen counters got a good scrubbing and they set the table.  When Momma and Dadda came home, they were bubbling over with excitement to show off their work.

Last night was a parent meet and greet at the new school.  They had asked me weeks ago if I could babysit.  Again we had fun AND got some things accomplished.  I asked B to read to D, then I would read to them both.  Braeden was SO proud.  He stood in front of us to read from Shel Silverstein ... with hardly any hesitation to sound out a word.  It was a hoot.  Deacon was mesmerized and Braeden was using inflection.  When I asked them which book they wanted me to read .... B asked if he could just keep reading to his brother.

 








Thursday, May 16, 2019

GREEN GREEN GREEN

I love avocado on toast.  So glad I learned about this delightful meal.  Although I keep hearing rumors about sky high prices.  I love being green!

After reading on another blogger's post (Living Richly in Retirement), I've decided to also do more green living to help our planet.  Reusable bags now sit in my passenger seat and I use them at ALL stores, not just for groceries.  I got a few nylon net produce bags and after having my items weighed individually, I ask to have them bundle together and zipped closed.


Air freshening sprays are a thing of the past (due to aerosol propellants).  We keep wooden matches in the bathrooms as well as Poo Pourri and use candles or matches for other rooms.  I have a diffuser in my room and keep a drop or two of doTerra oils to freshen the humid air.  My favorite quick refresh is rose water ... sometimes I just spritz it and walk right through.

Living Richly had a great idea to buy inexpensive serving dishes and platters at Goodwill places to use for potlucks rather than tin foil casserole dishes.  I will then not have to worry about taking them home if I leave before the food is gone.  I almost always bring my own wine glass in case only plastic ones are available ... I just go out to my car and bring in my own.  Mainly because wine just tastes better out of glass!

Her blog also brought up junk mail!  My Medicare mail usually contains 5 or more pieces of paper (things printed in many languages).  For a bill I pay electronically!  Monthly.  I promptly went online to "go paperless" but there was not that option.  I sent in a form comment email and a cheerful young lady returned my call.  Turns out I can ONLY go paperless if I let them access my checking account.  I'm just not there yet.  I either set up auto pay for my checking account or have bills charged to my VISA (for points).


I then went online to OPT OUT of junk snail mail.  That site (www.optoutprescreen.com
) also recommends putting a note on your mailbox that says NO JUNK MAIL.  Hopefully this will get rid of most of the junk mail (I don't really get very much).

We recycle a lot in this household.  Apparently most of America does not do this properly so many countries will no longer accept our trash ... people put in dirty diapers, styrofoam, thin plastic bags, etc.  Even our 8 year old returns from our condo recycle area just shaking his head.


I just re-watched No Impact Man to help remind me of how much more I could be doing ...

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

TESTING, TESTING, TESTING, TESTING

May is also check up time ... annual exam, ladies exam, eye exam, dermatologist, dental cleaning, etc.  Once you hit 65 WOW is there a lot for my Doc to assess.

He has me fill out a four page form ... am I sad, or lonely, or hurting, worried about forgetfulness.  Then he spent 45 minutes asking the same things 29 different ways!  Do I fall?  Has anyone assessed my home for tripping hazards or other safety hazards (well, yes, except for Legos).  Do I pay my own bills? Can I dress myself.  Do I fall asleep in the middle of the day? (yes, some days, but I do it on purpose!!!)

For the first time ever he listened to my carotid artery.  Checked my feet (yes, I just crossed that damn little line to Type II diabetes).  Checked the whites of my eyes, looked up my nose and retook my BP as it is often high when I arrive and lowers once I'm there (and it was still a little high, 130/80).

Then he thought it was time for an EKG.  Next a bone density test.  Followed by giving three vials of blood and peeing in a cup. 





Thursday, May 9, 2019

BIRTH DAY 2019

May 1 is my birthday.  May Day!  Parades and spring flowers, maypole ... mostly for me!  Or at least that's what I pretend.



I got a birthday card from my dentist, my realtor, my insurance agent and a few friends sent actual tangible cards (thanks guys!)  100 posts on Facebook (they make it so easy to send a greeting).  My gorgeous sister always texts and calls to sing Happy Birthday.  And still sends a gift!  She is the world's best birthday rememberer!!!  I don't know how she does it.  Friends, siblings, family, great nieces and nephews.  Dogs.  She is amazing.

Sixty Seven years!  Who would have thunk it?  I feel 49.

My one year old self, with Mom and Dad.

My little family took me on a nature walk right in our neighborhood.  The boys loved showing me their "secret spot", the snag that is still very useful in nature.  The river, the azaleas, the rhododendrons.  I only did 2,000 steps and then they all walked more quickly, went further and still beat me home!

Best of all, my card.  Thought up by Momma and created by Braeden.  With Deacon signing his name AND adding an emoji.





Followed by a great dinner at our favorite local Italian spot.  Accompanied by a glass of Prosecco.

Happiest day so far this year!



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

PAYING IT FORWARD

A new Village is opening in my area in June.  This Village is not a place, but a nonprofit system of members, volunteers, and vetted vendors who can help a person live in their own home for as long as they wish.

This is a rather new trend in helping Senior Adults age happily in place.  The first village opened in the Boston area in 2002 called Beacon Hill Village and now there are many many more opened around the world.


One of the first privileges to give up during aging is driving!  Bigger cities have better bus and mass transit systems but suburbia is a bit tougher.  Now we have Uber and Lyft but those trips certainly add up.

Portland has nine Villages open or almost open.  Our Village includes West Linn and Lake Oswego, two suburbs just south of Portland.  Some of the services we will offer:


  • Transportation (Up to THREE trips per week
  • Help at home 
  • Occasional housekeeping
  • Occasional pet care
  • Paperwork management (calendar, filing, phone calls)
  • Help with technology (computers, phones, iPads)
  • Light home maintenance (changing light bulbs, etc)
  • Light yard/garden help
  • Personal support (run errands, get groceries, accompany to appointments, go for walks)
  • Companionship visits (chat, read, play games)
  • Check in phone calls
  • Access to fully vetted professionals .. plumber, electrical, painting, etc.
Anything else is worth a call to find out.  

I'm proud to say I am (finally) the FIRST VETTED volunteer driver for WLLO Village, in addition to the Board Transportation Coordinator.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

DEATH DAY

Six years ago today.

It was sad for me but good for him.  No more pain.  No more loss of dignity.  No more radiation.  No more drugs to counteract side effects of other drugs.  No more Hospice (but he actually LOVED Hospice!)

I have a little Mr. Ralph memory corner on the top of the hutch to my desk.  We will go out for dinner to celebrate the best of him.

And I will get to have a little cry for loss of time with him.




When we first started dating ... Wow!  We had hair!!! 
 At one of our favorite Oregon vacation spots ... 
Sunriver Resort.






My first out of the USA trip with him!  A wedding in England ... and it was 104 degrees.

Relaxing in Lahaina, Maui





My first trip to China.  Shenzen.  Always had great fun on these adventures
 
At his 50th College Reunion!





ON the Great Wall of China.  It was so cold and wet and foggy and we couldn't see a thing.  But we did make it.  

Lunch afterward was a tiny hole-in-the wall place with their own fish pond.  Our guide (wife of his sales rep) took us and ordered three of the same kind of fish, prepared three different ways.  AMAZING.  









Our last trip to the beach together, in Maui.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Oregon doesn't have very distinct seasons, yet I enjoy having a little change every few months.  Currently our days are close to 70 (or a little bit over) already.  I think we may have a HOT summer (thank goodness for a pool and air conditioning) coming our way.  Maui was "just right" warm for a few months (winter) then HOT.  I do like the Oregon choices better!

A view into my little world ...


















Easter egg hunt strategizing ...


Just outside our front door



Thank goodness the army still enjoys a stuffed animal now and again .... 
Yes ... two boys, two blankets, two stuffed animals and an iPad

 Rice Krispie treats made with Peeps!


Kate's oldest son ... Bosko




Thursday, April 25, 2019

THE MORNING

Now that I am retired and not responsible for anyone or anything, I love having a leisurely morning.  I usually start with a mug of cold brewed coffee (strong and less acidic) that I warm in the microwave.

First on my reading list, email followed by blogs.  Next is the NY Times digital version where I see all the horrible things that are going on in the world.  Often I read the local paper online but their slant on things is SO ridiculous, I don't stay there very long.

My indulgence is Facebook where I can see family and friends, get updated on their kids and grandkids, unfollow those who complain and whine constantly, and have a good laugh.

Typically on weekdays Mr. 5 is up and quietly playing.  I offer him some breakfast followed by his "latte" ... warm milk with a splash of vanilla topped with whipped cream and a different color of sprinkles every day.

I catch up on Scrabble, Letterpress and Boggle as well as a crossword puzzle.

Since last week, I have a magical scene from my chair.  My Lover of Animals daughter has stepped up her game in caring for the birds.  She makes her own suet, has a feeder with thistle and a feeder with native Oregon no mess seed and of course a hummingbird feeder.  Plus suet.  


She lures the squirrels away by having her cigarette break across the parking lot and  feeds them peanuts.  This new feeder set up has a great anti-squirrel baffle on the bottom part of the pole.  When we hung things in front of our dining room window, in the trees, the squirrels overcame every obstacle ... once chewing through the wood of a suet cake so it dropped to the ground.

Mind you, she had treats for the squirrels to entice them to stay away from the feeders.  A large mason jar on it's side attached the the underside of the stairway above us with peanuts and corn.  A corn cob holder with corn.  Which they gleefully devoured, but they were insatiable and have invited their entire squirrel population to join in the fun.

Part of my new fun is watching them TRY to get to the treats on the new bird feeder.  So far ... no success.

P.S.  Yes, I am waiting to hear from the HOA that we can't have it ....






Tuesday, April 23, 2019

IF IT WERE JUST ME

I love living with three generations of me.  It gives me an opportunity to stay up to date with children and what they like to do and I am proud to watch my kidlet raise wonderful people.  Her relationship with her mate has blossomed with respect and fun, as well as sharing household responsibilities.



My 10x13 room is my serene zone.  The rest of the condo is busy and filled with stuff.  My room is filled with stuff also, but everything is grouped and in containers.  The walls out there are packed with photos and more.  The fridge and freezer are covered with kid art, schedules, vacation magnets, etc.  I have become my father by insisting on my own special chair in the living room and beware those who put things on it!!!  Must have my coffee and computer time (unless both boys are home and then it is just too noisy ... they know how to use Alexa and they love to sing and dance).

But ... if it were just ME living here ...

The microwave would always show the time, not 11 seconds left to cook.
The toilet seat would be all the way closed.
The entrance would not be filled with many pairs of shoes, slippers, boots and flip flops.
The lights would be turned off when the room was not being used.
The vegetable bins in the fridge would be cleaned out before things got slimy.
The bathroom exhaust fan would be off when not necessary.
The microwave would be sanitized weekly.
The wet towels would be hung up.
The dirty laundry would be in a hamper.
The bathroom sink would be cleared after each person got ready in there.
The toothbrushes would not stay in the shower.
The mail would be brought in every day.
The mail would be opened the same day.
The ice cube trays would be emptied and refilled.
Things would be returned to the same spot they were found.
The shower button would always be turned off.
The grocery list would have items written on it BEFORE I ran out.
The toilet paper roll would never be empty.
The cream would never contain 1/4 teaspoon of cream.
There would always be potato chips in the pantry.
The TV remote would be kept in the same place, up high away from the boys.
My iPad would always be charged.
The gas in my vehicle would never go below 1/4 tank.
If a package arrived, I would always hand it directly to the recipient.
The dining room table would be tidied up every other day.
The printer would never be without paper.  Or ink.
Burned out lightbulbs would be quickly replaced.

But despite all these tiny little annoyances (and many more), I cannot imagine life without them.  I don't think I want to be alone again.  I'm a better person with a team and I'm proud I'm flexible enough to not sweat the small stuff.