Sunday, December 30, 2007

House Cleaning

Today I slept in a bit more. I was pleased to see Rob and Ione, and to hear about their 2-weeks back in Michigan for the holidays. Jack and Kathy returned today, too, and I'm sure that Spencer and Alex, their cats, were pleased!

Today was housecleaning day. I really hate my vacuum -- a bagless hoover with a fold-down handle. The handle is good, but that's the absolute only thing that I like about the thing. I know that Michael would want me to ditch this one and get a new one. We had even talked about that last year.

My concrete is curing and looks great. I put a couple of chairs out on the little patio, in the hopes that people will stop asking me if they can come over to go swimming.

Today I saw a covey of Gambel's quail and a roadrunner while I was out for my walk. I just love the birds here. :) Today was warmer, with a high of about 65°.

I got a MS laser wireless mouse ydy to use for my computer, and I figured out where the set button was. So now it works!

I just discovered that I had not posted this. I wrote it on the 30th of December. I missed writing to you on the 31st and 1st, but I'm going to write for the 2nd!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hunting & Gathering

Something funny happened to me today. Usually I have been staying up till after midnight (doing email, myspace, and writing in this blog), and then sleeping till about 8. Well, last night, I went to bed at 10 and then got up when it was still a bit dark -- before 7! I showered and ate and then got my jacket and headed out for a hunting & gathering mission.

I drove to the mall, parked, and went in. The stores were .. closed! I looked at my watch and was amazed to see that it was just 9:15! I know that, in real life, this is late. I know that, in a past life, I was teaching my 2nd period math class by 9:15.

I left and went to KMart, picking up a couple of things on my list, before heading back to the mall. I parked at the other end of the mall, and Dillards was open by the time I got there. I found what I was looking for, too -- a neat shawl for my shoulders for New Year's Eve. I have ... several... such wraps in Bloomington, but they don't do me much good here!

I also went to the Ann Taylor Loft, and found a cute top for New Year's. If I think of it, I'll have someone take a picture of me in my new duds.

I went to the Verizon store, to plead my case for the $250 in overages, during the month that Michael died. The guy was sympathetic, but not helpful. They were unable to reverse those charges, he said, because that month had passed. I explained how it was impossible for me to deal with things like how many minutes I'd used on my phone, when I was so busy taking care of my dying husband. I cried. He was unmoved. :/

I went to Office Depot and bought a write-on calendar for my fridge. It has purple accents which actually look good in the room. Have I mentioned yet today how much I love this cottage?

I went yesterday and looked at some tiles. I'll show you what I choose, but for now, suffice to say that there is a large variety of tile from which I'll be selecting! I'm going to tile the floor of my patio first, then the walls.

I talked to a young woman named Rouge, who assured me that I can do this myself. She told me to procure a tile saw from Home Depot, and I'm on my way! I guess I need to measure next. Well.. the concrete has to dry out first, and it's doing that right now. I get to move my RV back to its new pad on Monday or Tuesday.

The day was a little warmer than it has been, with a high of 54°. It's still 9° cooler than normal for this time of year, and it was a bit windy too.

Jack and Kathy didn't get back today as planned. Instead they will be back tomorrow. Their cats are doing great, and seem to enjoy my visits. The awning guy didn't come today, either.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Chilly Day

You folks are really kind and I so appreciate all of the support that you've given me. Michael was such a wonderful man and he deserved only the best care.

I hope that those of you who read my blog will take the time to read the love stories shared in the comments from the last entry.

It is chilly again today, with the high getting up (maybe) to 54. Wind kept it from feeling warm, even with the bright sun. I'm getting a ton of wear from my cute little J.Jill jacket (just like Angie's and Ann's) and from the sparkly scarf that Jan made for me! :)

I don't know if I mentioned that I'm taking care of Jack and Kathy's cats till they get back. I'm going over twice a day. Remembering how I have enjoyed Suzannes daily notes to me when she cares for my cat(s), I have been leaving notes for Jack and Kathy. :)

I thought this morning that my new site had been hacked, but what had happened is that the name has reverted back to my old host. So, when I thought that I was seeing new pages, I was really seeing the old pages on the old server. I know that this name changing stuff takes time and so I'll be patient while the magic works!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Love and Hope

I got into it today with a woman on one of my groups. The discussion was about whether it's better to be realistic about what's going on with a brain tumor patient, or to just go on and pretend that everything is fine. The talk moved to the subject of hope, and I posted this:

"I don't think that your realism is a "character flaw" at all. You are trying to hold onto what's true, what's real. To hold onto false hope is not doing him any favors.

"And I think that being prepared emotionally does help after he passes. The death brings lots of changes and lots of things to do. Having to feel the shock of 'oh no, you mean the chemo didn't WORK?' is something that you just don't need.

"Plus, being prepared is more than just an emotional thing. People who refuse to see the inevitability may postpone bringing in Hospice or outside household help. I wish that we had had more time with Hospice. As it was, we got just 4 weeks, which wasn't even enough time to get to know anyone. Hospice means free drugs, free wheelchair, free hospital bed, counseling, help.

"If the family thinks that everything's fine, then they may postpone coming to visit, thinking that there is an indefinite period when they can visit. If you keep thinking that there will be a miracle, then you're left with having to explain to family why he 'suddenly' died, why 'no one told us he was that sick.'

"Of course no one who has 'faith' is going to hear my saying, 'but it isn't real.' They are going to go on believing what they believe, and that's fine. It still doesn't make it real, but it's fine. I've decided to just stay out of those MRI threads."

Another woman posted back. Here is part of what she posted:

"As usual not everyone is going to agree on certain subjects. I chose to have 'faith' and believe in God.
...

"If you just give up, how does this make the person you say you 'love' feel? They need hope until the end!!!!"

And here's my response to her:

"[quote]If you just give up, how does this make the person you say you "love" feel?[/quote]

"Don't even be suggesting that I didn't love my husband or show my love for my husband! I have my own beliefs, which Michael and I shared. And my beliefs don't make me any less loving than you are, with your beliefs.

"I guess it's a question of how you define hope.

"Of course we had hope. We had hope that today would be a good day. We had hope that we would laugh, have good food, and enjoy each other. We had hope that we would be able to see our family and friends, and that he would feel good. We had hope that Michael's quality of life would remain, that he could continue to do the things that he loved to do.

"When he became unable to do those things, I did whatever I could to keep him comfortable. We talked about the here and the now. And we talked about our past. I brought out our photo albums from the 25 years we were married. We laughed, we cried, and we hugged.

"Give up? I'm not sure what you mean by that, but anyone who knows me knows that I did not give up treating my dear husband with love and dignity. We stopped going to doctors for treatment, when we all determined that the chance of its helping was remote and the chance of its causing him discomfort was definite.

"I believe that every family makes this decision when it is right for them. No one's going to live forever. There comes a time when chasing cures will just cause more angst and misery. We found joy -- real joy -- in giving thanks for the good life that we had.

"Yes.. you're entitled to your opinion, but if your opinion is that I'm less loving than you are, I take issue."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Photos of my hardscaping projects

Today started very early, as my neighbors and I were jolted awake by my concrete team, all of their trucks, and a huge cement mixer truck -- at 6 am! The men worked and worked till they had my project finished. They are going to return in a couple of days to clean the splashes off of my paint.

Here are some photos of the project before we got started:
Here, the men are beginning to do the forms for the concrete.

And here it is with the concrete poured and the forms removed:


I got many wonderful holiday gifts! This is the gift that came from Dave and Mrs. Beasley's!

Mrs. Beasley's stuff is all delicious. The first thing that disappeared from this package is those 3 little cakes.

A package came for me today -- 3 in fact! One was Chocolate Bing Cherries from Angie and George. Two was my mail from Bloomington, sent with love (and some gifts tucked inside) by Suzanne.

And the third was orange-candied pecans, which Katherine made and sent to me! These got my attention first, and I ate a third of them before I could stop. YUMMY! Katherine, I will definitely use this recipe, though I won't have fresh Florida oranges for the zest.

Katherine, you asked whether these were less "orangey" because of the fresh orange zest. This is right. Commercial orange zest is dried, and therefore, will be much more concentrated. You need four times as much volume if you use fresh zest, rather than dried. And you can get about 2T of fresh zest from one large orange. I might be tempted to add some orange extract, too. But, in any event, these are so good!

I was so nervous while the men were doing my concrete work, that I rearranged my furniture in my cottage. (I always get that way, when people are working around me.) There are not many choices for where to put things, but I changed the chair and couch around and ... I like it! I think that it improves my cottage's feng shui.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! And it was merry for me. I spent the morning with Harold, Kathy, their son Steve, and Harold's sister Nancy. I brought my presents over there and put them under their tree. We took turns opening things, one at a time, to stretch out the fun!

I got neat stuff -- pears & popcorn, cookies and fruitcake, cheese and chocolate, a car emergency kit, a dog grooming comb, a recording keychain, a sparkly scarf, and .. more! :) And I talked on the phone to a bunch of people, too. The biggest treat was talking to Liam, Wren, and Josie -- my grandchildren!

I went for my walk in the Pantano River Park, and it was difficult. The wind had picked up, and it was about 52°. It was so windy that I could hardly see the Catalina Mountains for the dust in the air. I gave up on walking the wash, and walked around Far Horizons for the rest of my time. Brrr!

After my walk, I took a shower and purtied myself up for tonight's dinner. It was fun! I went to BJ's, and Jeff and Barb were there too. Conversation flowed and a good time, good turkey, and good laughs were enjoyed by all.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve

Ok, a somewhat festive red for today! Yesterday was a somewhat cool day. I took John to the airport, where he boarded a plane for Denver to spend the holiday week. Then I went and did a bit of shopping, picking up a plum-colored throw and pillow to augment my living room color scheme. I must say that they look great with my new furniture.

The men came to make the forms for the concrete yesterday and finished up today. They will be here for the pouring of the concrete on Wednesday, bright and early! It's all looking very good at this point. Next, I'll be shopping for tiles and pavers. The tiles will go on the front patio floor and walls. The pavers will go around back.

I did some moving of site parts yesterday and more today. That's a slow process, just because my site is so big, and sort of scattered about in my hard drive. I have the site in about 10 different files, because it was taking GoLive too long to open it when it was all one file. I don't know if DreamWeaver would take that long; it opens each of these little pieces instantly, which is good. It is working fine in the pieces, so I will just leave it as it is for now.

I also wrote to my soon-to-be-former hosting company to inform them of my desire to move. I have to get the domain unlocked and the DNS updated to the new name server. I am very ready to move the site and to have it be clean again. I don't know how my site got hacked, but I think that it's evil that someone did that to me, particularly during this difficult time. And the fact that my current host is unable to give me a way to get the stuff off of there is really mind-boggling. I mean.. I can upload updated pages; the bad ones just reappear the next day!

So... other stuff. I did laundry today which seems to be an even bigger job, since Michael died. I'm not sure why that would be, except for the fact that.. LOL he always helped me with the laundry, or did it himself, when we were here!

Pam and Mike invited me to supper at their cottage, and it was great. Their friend Mary was there, too, and we had a jolly time and lively conversation.

I'm caring for Jack and Kathy's cats while they are in IA for the week. They are good cats -- much bigger than Eddie! -- and they like me just fine. I'm going over twice a day, which is easy because I can see their cottage from mine. :)

So tomorrow's Christmas. I'm going to be opening my gifts over at Harold and Kathy's. They thought that the idea of opening gifts alone was sort of grim.

I got a call from UPS, telling me that they have a package that they tried to deliver to #620, but that's now a vacant lot. I'm now in #206. Well, so they will redeliver on Wednesday. They assure me that it will "still be good," but they didn't let on what it is!

My toes hurt again today. I have been taking Aleve daily now since August for the stupid toes and they have not hurt. But I kind of think that I shouldn't take so much of it for so long. Maybe I'll stay off it for a week and go back if my feet still hurt. :/ I miss Michael when I have pains. He always had answers for me.

Tonight I'm thinking of all my family and friends back east, and wishing that I were there with you!

Friday, December 21, 2007

James, Dancing, and Dating

The day was good today! It began with Computer Club, followed with my helping Marcel to get his computer to work on the clubhouse WiFi. We were successful, finally, due to some carefully placed radio buttons, reinstalling software, and then changing his IE homepage to one that wouldn't lock up.

John and I were leaving there when we saw Donna and Al and their son Mike and his girlfriend Stacy. Would we like to come to lunch? Why, yes! :) Cavatini was on the menu and it was delicious.

After that, John and I went to play Mah Jongg. It was fun, but I never got any good hands. Well... actually there was one hand that was pretty good, and I was just one tile from Mah Jongg, but... close doesn't count a whit in this game!

I did my walk in the Pantano River Park and then went a couple of laps around the neighborhood behind us. It was during this part of the walk that I met James. James is a 6 year-old boy who came out of a house, crying for his mommy. Through his tears, he managed to tell me that his mother had left to go and get his brother, but that they had been gone a long time and he couldn't wait for her to come back.

After further discussion, I decided to take him to a neighbor's house -- a neighbor he said he knew. Knowing that his mother would wonder where he was, I had James go into the house and get a paper and pencil, so I could write a note. He said he had a crayon, and I said that would be fine.

So we went together to the neighbor, who was happy to take the little fellow in. I hope that the mother was ok. My worry is that something happened to her (like a car wreck or an illness). I cannot imagine why else she would leave her little son alone like that. :/ Anyway... I hope that he's fine and happy tonight.

So I went dancing tonight! My friend Steve told me that he'd teach me to two-step, and he did! I did pretty well, though we didn't do any of the fancy stuff that the other people at the Cactus Moon were doing.

I told Steve that, while I had a good time, I felt funny about being out with him like that -- that it felt too much like dating and I'm not ready for that. It actually sort of felt like I was cheating on Michael.. on myself.. Anyway, Steve was cool about it and I feel good for having spoken my mind.

Fun, Furniture, and Foibles

Well, ok, so I don't know what a "foible" is, but at this hour, I don't care. It starts with "f" so it fit.

Go now and read the Where's Myx posting for today. My buddy Dave is doing this to promote his new book, Miracle Myx, and .. well, I just love it! Dave's getting some really superb reviews for his debut novel from some high-power people and I cannot wait till his book hits the streets! After you read his posting, come back here with the back button, since Dave doesn't have a link back to me... yet! I'll wait here.

...

Today got off to a slow start, because it was chilly out and I hung out at home till it got warmer.

Once it got warm, though, I had a fun day. I rode my bike around the park, got my permit for my construction, talked to the concrete guy and to the awning man, and I'm all set for having concrete formed this weekend and poured on Wednesday. I'll have the awning done just after the first of the year after the concrete is all done. Yay! Things are moving.

I have been getting neat gifts and I'm happy. I'm assembling them under my little tree and this makes me smile many times each day. The gift I got today was from Harry & David and included pears, an apple, nuts, jam, sausage, and my favorite thing -- Moose Munch!

I also got part of my furniture order! I had ordered a new dining set with a table and 2 swivel stools, but the table is on backorder. I also ordered an ottoman with a hinged top. The stools and ottoman are both in eggplant (purple) and they are beautiful! I need a purple throw for the back of the couch to complete the color coordination. I also need to make some art to tie all of this together. My colors are from a desert scene that I've conjured in my mind: Saguaro Green, Prickly Pear Purple, and Mica Silver. My style is contemporary. I love this little cottage so much!

So anyway, I assembled the chairs and they work. The only thing is that they are just a little taller than I thought that they would be, and so I have decided that I want the table at counter height rather than chair height. The stools are adjustable and so they will go higher, but not low enough for the chair height table. Since the other table is on back order anyway, I suspect that exchanging for the taller one won't be a problem. I had tossed around the idea of a slightly higher table anyway.

I went out this evening with a large group of women from the park. The group was headed by Ruth Anne, who actually used to live in this park, but has since moved into another neighborhood. Her sisters live in the park, though. There were probably 10 of us in all.

We went to the Reid Park Zoo, to see the lights. It was really lovely, but I wished that we could see the animals too. I bought a membership so that I can go back in the daytime whenever I want. :)

Afterwards, we went back to Ruth Anne's and had some eats and drinks and lots of laughs, talking about our embarrassing moments and other stories. I was happy to be included in this merry band!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What did I do today?

Rut roh.. I started typing "What did I do today?" and it came up as if I have already used this as a blog entry title. Oh well.. it fits!

This day started out with my sleeping in till 8, getting up, taking the dog out, getting cleaned up, dressed, feeding the dog, and having my own breakfast (cereal). I made some calls that I'd been putting off -- one to the GE repair people to get someone out to fix my freezer door. It doesn't quite close like a freezer door ought to. They're going to send someone to fix it.

And I called the concrete guys who are going to come to form the concrete tomorrow maybe and then pour it the next day, maybe. I'm stoked! I was sort of hoping for an "after the first of the year" response!

I rode my bike around the village, stopping to talk to anyone who wanted to talk, and that was just about everyone. :) I invited John over to finish up the leftovers from the dinner we had the other night, and he said ok. Went back home and vacuumed the house, because I hadn't done it on Monday, as I had planned.

I spent some time on the computer, answering email and adding my pets to my MySpace profile. :) You may want to check it out here! Be sure to pull the toy out to play with the pet.. LOL there's some fun to be had here!

Dinner was even better the 2nd time around. This time I melted cheese on top of it (pasta with tomato/meat sauce) and baked it. Mmmm!

Today was a little cooler than ydy, but was still warm, with a high of about (guessing) 62.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Feeling Abnormal

I am thinking that I may stop going to the Brain Tumor Widow online group. That's because I am feeling abnormal. People continue to go there months, even years, after their spouse dies, and they say that one never "gets over" the loss of their spouse. I am not planning or hoping to forget him. That would be silly and isn't what I would ever want.

But I do believe that a person can move on and resume enjoyment of life. Here is a posting that I just made to the support group:

"I thought that I was doing badly because now and then I still cry at odd times... like at Home Depot. That was before I read your postings from the past few days.

"Now I wonder if I'm *too* happy. I wonder if I'm coping ok, because I am not feeling horrible. I sort of enjoy my little life, even though my 25th anniversary would have been on the 31st of December. I put up a little Christmas tree, and I have a few packages underneath.

"I enjoy eating things that Michael didn't like. I like watching HGTV, which he never liked having on. I'm enjoying meeting new friends, feeling myself laugh at things that I may not have laughed at before.

"Surely I miss him. I go for my walk and somehow think that he will be at home waiting for me. I lie in bed and imagine him next to me, and I remember what that felt like. I find a paper clip and I imagine that Michael left it there for me. And I smile.

"My question is this: Why am I doing so well, after less than 3 months of life without my Michael? Will my world come crashing down at some point? Surely life has not been all easy for me; I have had my share of problems. But I'm coping and dealing with things.

"Is Wellbutrin that good?"

*****

Today began early for me, as so many Tuesdays do here in Tucson. That's because Tuesday is hiking day! Today's hike was the 20th annual Donut Hike. We hiked 7/10 of a mile to the Mica View Picnic Area where they had donuts and coffee ready for us! I enjoyed an apple fritter before we split into Hardy and No-Hurry hikers, and took off on our respective hikes.

The Hardy Hikers - my group - went to a beautiful spot in Saguaro East where there was a rushing stream with numerous waterfalls and many more rippling rills. To get to this trail, we had to sort of baja across the cactus forest, but Duane guided us reliably to exactly where we needed to be.

The trail, when we returned to it, continued on to the Pink Hill Trail, taking us to ... yes! The Pink Hill! It is indeed pink, and quite a lovely walk in itself.

I think that we ended up hiking 7 miles, though my feet thought "8."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Super-Fine

It was a super-fine day here today in Tucson! Right now I'm looking at the temps in Bloomington, IN and Milford, MA and they are both at 16°. Tucson is currently at 52°, after reaching a high of 67. And it was a lovely 67°, too, with sunny blue skies and that lilt of spring in the air -- that whiff of sweetness that comes at the end of a long, cold, and snowy winter, when the snow starts to melt away.. Well, here, the last wintery burst was short-lived, included no snow, and the temps, even at night, didn't get below 32°. But it still felt good to be out in a T-shirt, no jacket, and no gloves! (If I don't wear gloves at 50° or below, my fingers get frostbitten!)

George, JoAnn, and Chuck (the park's owner) came to review my site and my site plan. Chuck looked everything over carefully and considered every angle. He asked me questions about every part of it. Finally he agreed that it was all good, and was going to be fine. I think that I clinched it when I said that I wanted to do what was best for the park, which of course I do. He did laugh. He had some questions about set-back -- how close to the fence I can go, and where the utility easements are, but that's easy stuff. I'm ready to start moving on this now!

I got packages today! Lovely things came from Aunt Dots and from Bob and Ann! Now I can cuzzle-snuzzle and eat popcorn! :) I found these packages waiting when I returned from dinner. I'd been to dinner with Gary & Jan, Vicki & Earl, and Karen & Pete. We went to New York Pizza, which is delish, and was one of Michael's favorite places to go, too.

I also got my package of Bloomington mail from Suzanne and it had just a couple of bills. Another thing it had was a bunch of Prospectus booklets from various places where I have investments. I wonder if... err... does anyone actually read those things? Should *I* be reading them? Just in case I shouldn't, I've been throwing them very rapidly into the recycling, so that I won't be tempted to read them.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pancakes and Fruitcake

Two of my favorite things, and I had both today. The day began when my alarm went off... at 8 am! This is something that's new for me -- sleeping well, and sleeping till 8. I had gone to bed at 11 last night, so I not only slept well, but I slept long. This is the first time in probably a year that I've been sleeping this well.

I got ready and made it just in time for the Pancake Breakfast put on by the Sawmill. 3 pancakes, 2 sausage links, OJ, and the love of my friends.. all for just 3 bucks. After the food, the band took the stage for a jam session and I enjoyed their music for the next hour.

This afternoon, John came over and we went shopping. We went up to La Encantata, the fine shopping mall up on Campbell and Skyline. We enjoyed some museum shopping -- looking around but not buying anything. We dined at Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill before heading back southeast.

If you're keeping track, you'll realize that I had not yet done my walk! That's something about walking every single day; you have to find some way to work it into the day. By the time we got back, the sun was just about to set, so I opted to do the walk in laps around the Village.

And then I broke into Becky's fruitcake! Oh my! What a delicious fruitcake Harry and David sent! I loved every bite, and could have had another piece. I take delight in the fact that, even if I ate that entire 2 lb fruitcake in one night, I would gain no more than 2 lbs!

The day was mostly happy. Now and then, nearly every day, someone will say something, a song will come on and "speak" to me, or I will just entertain some passing thought and it makes me cry. I know that this is not a bad thing. I know that I need to feel what I feel and go with it. And my friends have been very patient, understanding, and loving, so it's ok.

I hope you folks will go and have a look at something delightful. Over on the right side of my blog, you see links. Check out "Where's Myx?" among My Friends' Blogs. This is Dave's blog -- my super-good friend Dave! He's written a mystery called "Miracle Myx" which will be coming out in just a few months! His blog.. just check it out. It makes me smile! The link for Dave's Where's Myx blog is http://wheresmyx.blogspot.com .

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunny Day

I awoke to temps in the 30's and dew dripping from the roof of the cottage. When I get my awning up, I won't notice dew dripping from the roof, and that is supposed to happen soon.

I went to talk to BJ about the photo club. We're going to be meeting on Mondays at 9am this year. Next season, we'll be meeting on Thursday mornings. I think I have that right.

Next I tackled some phone calls, getting my name on some of our accounts, and trying to get my Bloomington Insight situation settled. I am paying over $100 a month for.. nothing, by keeping the cable going. But they are not able to do anything to help me, since I'm here and the account is in Michael's name and he can't tell them to change it. She did say that they could cancel the movie package (or something like that) and save me $5, but that I'd lose some bargain deal upon my return. I ended the conversation in tears, telling her (very unlike me) "Thanks for nothing."

I think that things should be easier for widows. It seems like the world conspires to make things difficult.

I spent part of the day today uploading part of my website to my new web host. It went well, but it's a slow process to upload it all. I researched forum software, too, and made a choice for the new site. I regret that I'm likely to lose the 60,000+ posts that are in my current board, but that's the way it's got to be. I don't want anything on my new site that's been hacked into.

I walked along the Pantano Wash (again) today, and then did a lap around the park. By the time I walked, at about 1:00, it was up into the 60's! Tucson winters rock!

John and I went out for a bite at the In 'N' Out Burger and .. here I am! After my morning phone sobfest with Insight, I ended up enjoying the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

She bit her dog?

Well, no, but her dog bit her! Last evening, Maddy and I were playing together in the cottage. She was tugging on her green rubber toy, but she was no match for me. Eventually, she kept the toy and went off to chew it. She brought it back and put it on my lap. Well, I didn't pick it up and she decided that she wanted it back.

So she took a bite of toy AND leg! Through my pantleg, she drew blood in two places, plus there is a big bruise. I put Neosporin Pain Relief on it and covered both spots with a bandaid, so that I wouldn't bleed on my jeans. I believe that I'll live.

Yesterday's walk started when it was indeed somewhat sunny, or at least the rain had broken. But, by the time I was turning to come home, it was pouring again! Brrrrf! Along with the wind and cool air, it was a raw day. I put on my sweatpants and had chili for supper.

During this rainfest, they got snow up in the mountains and at elevations over 6,000 ft. This morning, we awoke to fog, which hung over the city in a soggy, eerie mist. It was a moving fog, not like the thick blankets we get in Indiana.

Jack and Kathy arrived last night! Jack came to visit this morning, and it was great to see him. We're talking hikes and I'm stoked.

Donna came over just after Jack left, and we had a nice visit too. Then I went to take my trash and discovered that Jane and John had made it here from Massachusetts! YAY! We had a nice talk.

Maddy and I did our walk in the Pantano Park. It was not raining, but it was chilly. I don't think that it got up to 60 today, but it was a pretty day.

I stopped in to see John, and we went on a drive to the end of Old Spanish Trail. Then we went to run some shopping errands. It was a good day!

Oooh! I have to tell you what's got me smiling these days. I got a big box from Mrs.Beasley's yesterday from Dave. I've been enjoying little cakes and cookies! And then this evening, I got a box from Becky! :) Harry and David's fruitcake! Did you know that fruitcake is one of my favorite things in this WORLD, Becky? I must have told you! It's beautiful and I'm going to love it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Staying in Bed

Today is one of those days that I should have fed the pets and then gotten back into bed. It's been raining since about 6 last evening, and it lightninged and thundered last night. Today it's raining these very wet little drops and it's only 45°. I see on my desktop weather thing that it's 50 and sunny in Bloomington! Wanna talk about unfair? And I traveled across hill and dale, far from all my good Bloomington friends for.. this?

Tuesday is hiking day and so I got suited up and headed to the clubhouse to find a note on the door -- no hiking today. So I came back here, shed my boots, jacket, and hat, and plopped into my chair. I'll go walking later, when I hope it's sunny and lovely.

I just looked at the forecast, and they are saying high of 52 today, rain continuing with thunderstorms, 57 and sunny tomorrow. But 57 for a high when it's sunny? That's pretty chilly for here. I guess it is wintertime, though, after all, and, in the main, it's an easier winter here than in Bloomington, I keep telling myself.

Now I have 3 presents under the little tree. I have only 3 holiday cards, too. Maybe people took me off their list when Michael died. In case you want to send me a card, my friend Suzanne is forwarding my mail from Bloomington every few days, so I will get it! Use the snailmail addy on my contact page. And if you don't want to send me a card, use that hotmail address on my contact page and email me! Just please don't send me an e-card. I do not open e-cards.

I still can't believe sometimes that Michael is really gone, and won't be coming back. It feels funny to go out shopping or to get ice cream or whatever without him. Even if I go with a friend, it seems like he should be there too. I make up for his absence by talking about him. :) And while Bloomington does hold memories for things that I had done without him, I don't have the same memories here. Here, we were always together - 24/7 - so the loneliness is stark.

When I go to parties or out with friends, I'm always the odd one; I guess other widows (and there are other widows) don't go out or don't have the same friends I do. And to add insult to injury, they have dances and things here for which they charge $15 a person, or $25 a couple. "Just find a date," they say to me. But I'm not dating, and I'm not going to pretend to date so that I can enjoy a discount on a dance. Sheesh. Everyone here is either a widow or working toward that status. Half of the people in the park will be widowed, if they make it that far. Widows should be rewarded, not punished. There. End of rant for now. ;)

I have discovered that I really enjoy Mah Jong. I have a computer game and it's great fun. I may play a bit today. :) When I get good enough, I'll go down and join the clubhouse group, who doubtless play a cut-throat version!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Storms in Tucson

Actually it was a good day till it was nearly dark. Then the storms rolled in, with churning skies, lightning, thunder, hail, and buckets of rain. Jimmy Stewart, the channel 4 weather guy, said that there were reports of a funnel cloud on the east side! (I am on the east side!) How exciting is that? This park would be one of those scenes of total devastation if a tornado were to hit it.

The day started out pretty cool -- 47 -- and so I decided to wait till later to walk. Instead, I went out with Steve to run errands. We did Target, Camping World, La Mesa (for lunch) and Cold Stone Creamery.

I went walking at the Pantano River Park. While it was chilly -- it never got over 60 today -- it wasn't raining yet.

I had leftover lasagne for supper, and it was just as good the 2nd time around.

Today's been pretty good for me. I'm feeling good, not missing Michael too much, just doing well by myself.

Annette, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and read Lynell's posting about the inhaler. You might just have some "twitchy lungs." That's what I get now and then, too.

I'm glad y'all like my hair. I like it because it's cute even when I don't do anything to it. I try to brush it now and then, but, even when I don't, I like it.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday hiking

I slept in today, till about 8. After breakfast, I cleaned the cottage well -- dusting, vacuuming, and even mopped the kitchen and bathroom. I was contemplating the idea of going for my walk, when I got a call from Steve, the guy with a Navion RV just like mine! His idea was to go hiking today. Cool!

I got ready and went and picked him up. We went up the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail stopping at a rocky knoll that really needs a name, if it doesn't have one already. It was probably 3/5 of the way to the Dome, where the FHTV Hiking Club usually stops, but we had a good hike and I was happy to stop where we did. We ate our snacks, drank our water, and marveled at the beauty of the world from the cold granite where we sat.

The day was a little cool, probably making it to 60, but not much higher. The sun ducked in and out from behind the clouds, and there was just enough wind for me to tie my Tilley hat on with the back cords.

I got back to town and went to the grocery to buy olives. I put together a tray of various olives which I brought to Neil and Susy's for their party this evening. The typical party around here is a sort of semi-potluck. The host grills a fatted calf of some sort, and then everyone else brings hors d'oevres, a side dish, or a dessert. So I brought olives, and they were a huge hit. I had pitted and unpitted, olives stuffed with almonds, and then, to shake things up a little, I had artichoke hearts.

The party was lots of fun. When I was ready to leave, I brought a few people back to my cottage (right next door to Neil and Susy's), and gave a tour. I love showing people my cute li'l cottage!

I just noticed that I had NO comments on the day that I posted the pic of my new haircut. I am assuming that this means that y'all just didn't see the posting. ;) Anyway, for those of you who missed the pic of my new hair, it's here!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Shopping

Michael usually did all our holiday shopping, but this year... tada! It was I who did it! I enjoyed the online shopping experience at both Harry & David and Mrs. Beasley's. Now I see why Michael liked to do it. I did have some sticker shock with regard to shipping charges, though. Zow!

I've decided to send out cards with holiday letters AFTER the holidays, because I don't have our list. That was in Michael's computer, and I didn't bring it. When people send me a card, I'll add their address to my file and then they'll get a card from me! If you want to get on my holiday card list, send me a card! :) You can get my snail mail addy from my Contact Page.

I discovered the fun of Mah Jong today. I got a game online and played it a bunch today. Great fun and one of those minute-to-learn-lifetime-to-master games. I don't know how to play it with other people, but I could learn that. There is a Mah Jong group here in the park, I know.

I went out to dinner with Rob, Ione, Harold, Kathy, Lee, and Jill tonight to celebrate Ione's birthday. We went to a great Italian place called Corleone's. I had the best lasagne I've ever had, an excellent Caesar salad, wine, a chocolate dessert, and we started with hors d'oevres too. Man, was it good. And of course the company made the whole evening a delight!

Ione's birthday was mostly good, but they did spend part of the day dealing with unpleasantness. Their bikes, cute little fold-up models all tricked out with extras, were both stolen from under their patio awning during the night last night. I really do hope that they get them back, but chances are they won't. What a lame thing, though.

We had some cool weather today and some rain. It's supposed to do that again tomorrow too.

Everyone says that I should just go on and have my work done on my site without worrying about getting approval. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission." That's just never been my style, though. I am just hopeful that I get my permission before I'm too old to care about doing the work.




Friday, December 07, 2007

A Package of Packages

I finally opened my package last evening, and it was full of .. packages! Thank you, Robert and Molly, for these prezzies! The only one that I opened is the rice krispie treats, and I've already eaten half of them. The wrapped presents are under my little tree till Christmas. :)

I walked early this morning, before Computer Club. I told the group that I have decided not to chair the club's fund-raising dinner, and felt very relieved that I got out of that.

I rode my bike around the park, checking on some people, and enjoyed that. It was a little cooler today, with a high of around 72.

I asked at the office about my site plan. I think that "the man" may come tomorrow, and I'll get to see him and make my pitch for my plan. So continue to keep your fingers crossed for me!

I got an email yesterday from a book publisher. The editor was writing to see if I were interested in doing a book. :) I think I will, but there are more details to be discussed, of course. And I'll probably have to sign a confidentiality agreement which would preclude my further discussion of all of this. I will let you know if I do get the gig!

John and I did some shopping today and I was looking for a watch with a movable bezel. I had no joy in my search, but we did have a good time with the crowds. ;)

I went to Harold & Kathy's, where nearly the whole "Rodeo Drive" neighborhood was enjoying cocktails and snacks. Then most of us went to the movie at the clubhouse -- Hairspray. It was funny and good and I enjoyed it.

I spent the rest of my Friday evening paying bills with my online bill paying while watching HGTV. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy Thursday

Today was a really fun day. I started with an early walk in the Pantano River Park. I rode around the park a few times on my new bike, pausing to talk to people I know, and I always love doing that. I took my trash and recycling. I did not vacuum my house. I did not work on the computer. I did not do laundry.

This afternoon, I did more riding around, this time getting the mail. There was a note that I had a package at the gate! So I grabbed my backpack (since I don't have baskets for my bike yet) and rode up to the gate. JoAnn was there, and told me that George had already taken my package to deliver to me!

I stopped and talked to Debbie and Richard, a couple of self-described hippies, who were parked on Entrada, near where Michael and I were our first time here. (It feels funny to talk to people who never knew Michael. I feel like I have to tell them everything about him, since they didn't know him.) By the time I got home, my package was on my deck!

And, before I could even open the package, it was time for me to get ready to go!
We sort of dressed up a bit to go to the dinner/theater. Rob, Ione, Harold, Kathy, Vicky, Earl, and I went to the Gaslight Theater where they were doing Scrooge, along with another musical comedy production about a redneck Christmas. We had pizza and ice cream, and we laughed and laughed!

Oh, and did I mention that we had a high of 77 today? (That is 11° above normal.)

I didn't get my expected look at my site plan today, because the park owner didn't make it to town. I'm hoping for tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hiking up Tanque Verde Ridge

I have always loved hiking, and hiking the Tanque Verde Ridge trail has always been challenging, but fun. Today, though, it was less fun because the leader of our group went too fast. I'm not famous for being very strong, but I can do a difficult hike if I do it with "slow and steady" pacing.

I'm going to keep hiking, but I think that I'll go on my own hikes or with friends, and not try to fit myself into the club's pace. There. I feel better now.

So what I did today was to stop about 15 minutes before I'd have gotten to the dome (where everyone else had lunch and then turned back). Then I turned back, babying my knees down the hill. And my knees didn't hurt then or now. So yay, me!

It was great to talk to Dave today after I got back from hiking. No matter how disturbed I am by whatever happens, Dave always understands and lets me talk. :)

Hey! I got a bike! George had a bike that he didn't want or need and he gave it to me! It's blue and one-speed, coaster brakes, and it'll be perfect for running around the park to get mail, etc.. I wonder if a person has to wear a helmet when riding a one-speed bike with coaster brakes? I don't think so. I never wore a helmet the last time I rode a blue one-speed with coaster brakes! (Annette, remember the bike hikes to Clinton Falls?) I think that I'll have baskets put on and write my name on the bike with pink nail polish.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Errand Day

After staying up last night till about 2am, I got up relatively early today to go and have breakfast with Leatha and Bob at the Good Egg. Yum! I've discovered that I go nuts for their pancakes!

Today I did a bunch of business and errands. I even combined my walk with errands, going to pay my electric bill and mail a letter (at the gate house 1/2 mile from my cottage) and going to PetSmart with Maddy (another mile from the gate house). I finished my walk with some ups and downs on the roads through the park. The weird thing about this walk is that Dave was in his car and didn't want to talk, so I had only Maddy to talk with.

I took Maddy home and then went to the clubhouse. I had to tell BJ that I'd decided NOT to sell my Garmin (to upgrade to the newest model) right now. She was fine with that. I also turned in my site plan for the improvements that I am hoping to make in my landscaping.

I went then to get some things at Ace and Wal*mart. I got a shutoff for my shower head to save hot water. And I got some caulk to do some little trimming around the joints between the horizontals and verticals in the cottage.

And I went and got one of those air brush things that Lynell suggested! YAY! Tomorrow I get to try it out and I'm stoked.

I served leftover bbq beef brisket on cinnamon raisin bread for supper, and it was surprisingly delicious! The raisins and cinnamon provided a delightful counterbalance to the spicy beef, and the textures combined to create interest and excitement.... Well, ok, so it wasn't the best, but I did use the leftovers!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunny Sunday

What a beautiful day it was today! I awoke just before the sun rose, to see tiny orange-bottomed and purple-topped clouds in the east. Tucson often supplies us with some clouds in the early morning and late afternoon, just for the purpose of giving us a pretty sunrise and sunset.

It was chilly for my early-morning walk, but I did it. I've been enjoying walking at the Pantano River Park, particularly after it rains, because it's cleaner and drier there than other places.

After my walk, I picked up my friend John and we went to the Outdoor Patio and Spa Show. On the way there, I stopped for gas -- easy errand, right?

I started the fuel going in and then checked my oil. It was fine. I closed the hood and, just then, a man comes up and yells, "Ma'am! your gas!" and, to my horror, the gas was pumping itself down the side of my car and all over the pavement! The pump had not shut off!

The fellow kindly stopped the pump, as if by some manly instinct. He and his wife then guided me in to tell the attendant, and advised me to get a free car wash, since there was now gas all over the side of my car.

Once I realized that the car would not burst into flames, all was cool. I actually had needed a car wash anyway, since the rain, and the $5 value more than made up for the extra gas I paid to have pumped onto the asphalt. The downside was that we had to wait while 3 others got their cars washed before us, but that was easy. The whole affair did make an exciting beginning to our adventure!

The outdoors show was much less exciting. There were spas, to be sure, but there were no fancy paved patios, no clever desert landscaping, and no tiles to be seen. I did enjoy looking at a treadmill-style pool which has rapidly moving water, and you can swim in it without going anywhere. I always thought that those would be quite the thing. $30K for this one with stereo system, a light show, and seats to relax in after a workout.

So we looked at each other and decided to go over to the Sonoran Desert Museum. I have a membership there, and a few extra Guest Passes, so we were off! We had a nice time, but the javelinas were nowhere to be found. :( We had lunch at the Ironwood Terrace.

I took a few pictures there. Here's one of John with a flowering agave. These plants live for many years before sending up one of these massive flowering spires. After the spire is up and its seeds are spent, the plant dies:


Here's the flower part of the agave:


And here is a palo verde leaf. I love this shot and think it would make a pretty painting, for when I decide to get creative again. :)


And here, at long last, is a photo of my new hair. This was actually taken at the salon. While I got some pics today, the midday sun was not as flattering as salon lighting. ;)


Here is a "before" photo of my cottage. This is the front of the cottage, where I'm going to be putting in the walled patio faced in tile. This is a north-facing patio, and it faces the Catalina mountains.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rainbows!

I'm doing this in a color reminiscent of rainwater, because it's still raining! For a few hours this afternoon, it was raining while the sun shone, and that means ... rainbows! There were several today, resplendent, very clear rainbows. Sometimes one would stretch all the way across the sky! Did I take any photos? No, because it was raining!

I'm waiting for the perfect occasion to take a pic of my haircut, which is pretty stupid, because it is growing out, as I think about it. I have to find someone to take the picture, too.

I want one of those round styling brushes so that I can blow-dry my hair and make it look sassy for the photo. I'm not sure why I don't have one of those brushes. In this climate (except when it's raining), my hair dries by the time I'm dressed, so I don't use a dryer unless I'm doing something fancy like styling my hair. I think that this is the most I've ever written about my hair.

Thank you, Andrew, for the idea for retitling my blog. Since I'm writing every day, it seems fitting! :)

Today I slept in, to my dismay. I was dismayed because, while I was outside taking Maddy out, still in my jammies and robe at 9am, Margaret and Lew drove up, wanting to take me to Beyond Bread for breakfast! I was not allowed to go in my jammies, darn it! So it was granola and skim milk, which was delicious, but not quite the same as a scrumptious morning feast with my friends.

I did make it (on time) to a meeting of a grief support group held locally. It's for widows and widowers, and they have an excellent facilitator. We discussed the holidays and strategies to cope. The people were all lots of fun and I enjoyed the time. Afterwards, we went to a Mexican restaurant, Casa Molina, for a very good lunch.

I came back here and read more in my book "Woman in Levi's." It's a story by a woman, Eulalia Bourne, who set up a small cattle ranch very near where I'm living. It gives a really good look at the hardships and joys she experienced. I am particularly interested in the stories about the plants, animals, and weather phenomena. This is a different world indeed, and it's fun to learn about it while I'm living here.

And I worked more on my site plan for my projects. I have to turn that in to JoAnn to get the whole thing approved. I am really hoping for a positive response to all of it!

I walked late this afternoon, when the rain finally let up. There was still a lovely rainbow decorating the sky for me! I walked around the little adobe neighborhood behind the Village. The houses are all identical, excepting the colors of the paint on the adobe, and the plantings outside.

At one point, I was swinging my arms as normal, and got too close to a huge agave plant. There are no friendly desert plants, and the agave is no exception. And yes my hand did bleed, thanks to my aspirin regimen! At least I didn't get into a cholla!

Friday, November 30, 2007

And the Rains Came!

Pitter patter! It's POURED for this whole evening, after moderate rains all day today and yesterday. And while I KNOW that it's good for the water table and the cactus will bloom better in the spring for having had this water, the rain still makes me whine.

So.. today. I began the day with my walk on the rim of the Pantano Wash, which might actually be flowing by now. While the sky was gray and roiling, I kept dry.

Next was the Computer Club meeting, and that was fine. The hour passed quickly and we learned some interesting lessons.

I went to the office to ask permission to build the little walled patio, and the request has been taken to the top for consideration. This will surely be okayed, because the construction will be good and will add value to the lot and the park.

They are also considering whether it is OK for me to have my little RV sitting on my lot. I think that, as long as I'm not using the RV for a living space, it's no more than a storage shed, and those are allowed. There is a rule against having plumbing in a shed, but many of the people have fully plumbed sheds. And many people use their sheds as living spaces, too, having converted them to offices, workshops, TV rooms, or guest quarters.

Once I get that okayed, I'm going to go on and have the pad that she sits on concreted too. I got an estimate today for all of that concrete work, and they'll be ready to go on it as soon as I get the okay. Yay!

I went to lunch with George and JoAnn, and that was fun. I can't remember the name of the place we went, but it starts with a Z, is a Mexican place, and is on Broadway. I want to say "Zelig," but that's a Woody Allen movie.

I was going to do laundry today, but I decided not to, because a) it was raining, and b) Marla was doing her laundry. LOL!

Instead, John and I went looking for GPS units. I am looking now at the Magellan Maestro 4250 and the Garmin 750, but i have not actually seen the Garmin. Both Best Buy and Circuit City have GPS's, but they seem pretty pricey compared to the internet sources. While i've been a Garmin Girl for a long time now, I am really looking at that Magellan. Urgh.. I wish I had a good answer for this. I may end up not making a decision right away, which would mean that I won't be selling my 350 just yet, either. I have to decide soon whether to do that or not, though.

Thing is, I've had the 350 for just 8 months, and it's doing just fine. I would get $250 for it if I sold it, but the new 350's (same as mine) are still selling for $449 (at Best Buy and Circuit City).

When the buying decisions get too complex, it's time for... El Paso BBQ! John and I enjoyed a delicious repast of ribs, bbq chicken, and bbq beef brisket along with mashed potatoes and cowboy beans. Mmmm.. mmm!

So.. another day of nothing to do and all day to do it, and it's done!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Got out the RV

Today I had an appointment for my little Navion to get her oil changed. I got up early, because my neighbors were all going to Nogales and they had offered to help me squeeze the RV out of her little hidey hole before they left. It started on the first pull, and I got it out of her hole without any problem at all. I am serious when I say that there are only about 6" on either side when I pull her through the narrow part of the driveway. Thank goodness I have friends here! :D

I drove it to La Mesa and Javier helped me out right away, even though I was over an hour early. Over $140 for an oil change, but I guess the thing has lots of oil.

After I was done with that, I took her out on the highway just for some exercise. I went northwest on I-10 to Picacho Peak State Park. Looking up at that magnificent peak again brought back all those memories... of last spring's hike up there! Man, was that quite the thing. I wonder if I'll be better this year, since I've been taking steps 2 at a time!? Just for a little "blast from the past," here are my pics from Picacho Peak this past spring. :)

I drove back to town and returned to La Mesa -- for the free lunch! Every day they serve the best hotdogs and hamburgers ever, chips, and soft drinks. Michael and I used to go have lunch with them about once a week. I have been just twice so far this season. ;) I also get free hugs from the salespeople. Today it was Rich.

I awoke this morning with an inspiration for my little patio project, and I think that it's going to be really good. I'm planning now to return the landscaping fabric that I bought, and hire a concrete person to form up and finish a concrete patio with walls around it. Then I'll finish the walls and patio with tile!

I had gone to Home Depot yesterday and just test-lifted some pavers. Urgh. I'd come out of that project with huge muscles, and I just don't think I'd look good with huge muscles. "Besides, which do I have more of," I ask myself, "Money? or strength?" :) Much easier to write a check than install heavy pavers, ribar, concrete blocks, etc.. Tomorrow I'll make that call.

Al and Donna came back yesterday, and they came to visit today! YAY! They've been great friends to both Michael and me, and the place seemed incomplete without them here.

I love your comments in my blog! Annette, I called Robert and he told me to tell you that you're OUT of the family. (not really)

Lynell, LOL re the office scissors! Put on a headband to pull the mess out of your eyes. That'll save your sanity and doesn't look all THAT stupid.

Oh, and everyone, Becky's hair is VERY cute. I just forgot to mention that. I was too busy thinking about how cute MINE is! LOL! I know that no one will believe me unless I post a pic, which I'll do... soon! :P


Monday, November 26, 2007

Back home again!

East or west -- Home is best! And my "west" home is where I am now, and it's best!

I just returned from a week in Denver, celebrating Thanksgiving with Michael's family. Becky and I stayed with Joel and Becca, who were magnificent hosts. Becca served her first-ever Thanksgiving feast in their lovely home, with a little help, and it was an eximious feast indeed! My favorite dish was Becca's cranberry jello salad, with celery and walnuts. Mmmm!

Walking in Denver was, as always, a challenge. The temperatures ranged from below 20 to nearly 50, with most days closer to 20. Two of the mornings it snowed, and there was frequently wind. It was tough on this Arizona girl, but I did it.

On a couple of days, Becky and I went shopping, and another day we went and got haircuts. Mine is much shorter -- about 5" shorter -- but cute. I got layers this time, which gave me a bit of bounce and curl. I'll post a photo as soon as I have a good one for you. The one I took in the salon didn't turn out.

I dropped Becky off at the airport this morning, and then went to return my rental car. That is so slick and easy. I told the young woman that there was a funny noise in the back of the car, but she did not seem to care at all.

The Frontier flight was easy. I flew on Cloe the fawn this time. I don't think that I've ever flown on the same animal twice. I took a pic of the wing, as I always do. I'll post that as soon as I get the pic out of the camera.

John picked me up at the airport, and took me to Denny's for a very late breakfast. Eddie was happy to see me, rolled around a few times on the floor, watched carefully as I unpacked and put things away, and then went back to sleep on the back of the couch.

Maddy had been staying with Rob and Ione, and they were not home when I returned, so I had to wait patiently. When they came with her, we were both happy to see each other! They did spoil her (by their own report) by doing things like heating her food, and letting her have a nightlight in her room at night. They also worried when there was some thunder, but they took her into their room and they heard thunder alternating with Maddy's snores!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bright sunny Sunday

Another beautiful day in paradise! I began my day with a walk with Maddy over through the neighborhood on the other side of Pantano. It was 50 when i started, and I don't think it warmed up much till I got back!

When I returned, I saw John and we went over to the French bakery right behind us and got some rolls which we enjoyed at my cottage. Then I went over to Delores' to help her and Ardell with a blog question.

Laundry followed. Yes, I know it was an exciting day! :D I wrote a few thank you's for the nice people who gave donations in Michael's memory to the Bloomington Hospital. The hospital really should give those of us who are now handwriting-challenged due to excessive computer use the email addresses of those who gave. If you did give and haven't heard from me yet, just be patient!

I'm flying out of here tomorrow, and I may not be blogging till I return. I haven't decided whether to take my computer.

I've arranged for a sitter for Eddie, and Maddy will be in the care of other neighbors, so my cottage will be well cared-for when I'm gone.

I did make an extensive list today, a habit that I've been cultivating since Michael's passing. And I got most of my packing done, which is good, since I'll be pulling away from here at 8:20 tomorrow morning! (Yikes!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Love for sale

Well... not really, but we did have a patio sale today! I went in with Rob, Ione, Steve, Harold, and Kathy, and we got rid of some things. I made $15 which was the most of anyone in our group. YAY! I sold the old lamp that I took out of my kitchen, some DVD's and CD's of Michael's, and some other miscellaneous stuff.

The day was perfect -- just a few wispy clouds, no wind, and temps in the mid-70's.

After the sale, our group went out to lunch at Chuy's where I got chicken soup and delicious crusty garlic bread. Then we went to a small outlet mall on the south side of town. I bought some new soft, warm jammies and a robe.

I didn't get any photos taken today, but I'll do it before any work gets done. I am still collecting visions of the sort of thing I want to do for my walls around my little patio. I'm pretty excited about all of this. They promised me mid-December for completion of my awning, and I'm going to be even more ready for it by then!

I was a little bit sad during parts of the day today, remembering Michael and what it felt like to be with him. I was looking at what has become my favorite picture of him with me:

.... He looks so healthy here in early 2006, (and he was then), and tonight I miss him so. I just want to look into those adoring eyes again, to hear his voice, to feel his hand holding mine. And I want his assurance that I'm going to be ok, that the pain will ease, that I will be able to somehow find real joy in my life.

Whew! That was a sobfest. Now I'm back.

It's not that my life is a whirlpool of despair; it's not. I am getting into some new routines, new habits, and I am taking some pride in the life that I'm making. I'm doing things that I've never done before, and I'm accomplishing them with a sort of timid grace that I never knew I possessed.

But I have fears that I never had before, too. I worry too much about what people are going to think or say. I worry about my taxes. I worry about not being able to give enough.

I am worrying about my upcoming Thanksgiving trip to Denver. I have flown alone - once for a teacher convention - but I don't remember what that was like. I am sure that Michael made my arrangements for me and I do remember that he took me to the airport and back home. I'm just a little frightened.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Raindrops on Roses

Today we had just a wee bit of rain! I counted 12 drops on my deck. :) It is the sort of rain that makes me feel like going out in it so that's what I did. Of course, then it stopped.

After my walk and shower this morning, I did laundry. Then John came over and helped me to finish up the light project. And it is finished and the lights look grand! The pendants we put on the track lighting fixture needed to have pole extenders and so I found aluminum tubes at Lowe's. Some sandpaper roughed them up, giving them a beautiful brushed finish like the other lamp's extenders. So I'm happy!

Ok, you want to see a pic of the lights. In these photos, I have on only the new lights in the kitchen. There are other lights in the ceiling and in the beams. It is a very bright room. Please click these photos to enlarge them.

In this next photo, you can see the enclosure that I made for Maddy under the desk. She has her own window, too, under the desk. There are privacy panels around under the desk for all the other windows, but not at Maddy's window. I made her enclosure with a baby gate and friction-fit curtain rods. It closes with a small bungee cord.


And here's another couple of bonus shots from the kitchen toward the living room. In this first shot, you see my computer. That's where I have been sitting to do all my blog entries since I got here. The computer is sitting on both of the wood boards that Bob made for me and Michael. The space in between the boards helps to dissipate the heat from the computer:

And here's another one of me. :)
I am working on some landscaping for the new place, now that I'm all moved in! :) I am going to be putting in a sort of little patio in the front, with small tiled block "retaining walls" and some kind of paver blocks for a floor. I have a fellow engaged who is going to do the excavating for it, including taking out a weird extraneous piece of concrete that was mistakenly poured there.

I'm also going to be putting in more decking in the back and then an awning over all of the decked areas. As it is now, my deck gets to about 800 degrees when it's noon. Adding the awnings will increase the amount of time that I can be outdoors, and that's good.

Tomorrow, I'll take some "before" shots of the outside of the cottage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don't let it be a crappy day

I post frequently in a brain tumor spouse support group online. This group has been very helpful to me over the past many months, and I have striven to give back when I can. Here is something I just posted to this group, in response to someone who said that, if you're having a bad day, just let it be bad:

Please don't let it be a crappy day if you feel bad. Please do what you can to lift yourself and your spouse to a new place, if only for a moment.

The fact is that today may be the last day that he can talk. It may be the last day that you can get into a car together. It may be the last day that you can go to a restaurant and eat in a civilized way in public. This may be the last day you can laugh together with friends.

If you do what you can to turn negative thoughts into positive actions, you are going to be happier, and your spouse will be too. And, at the end of the day, please smile at yourself in the mirror and whisper, "I did it!"

What you're doing a great thing. When this is all over, you will be the hero or heroine. You'll have no regrets. You will have done all you could to take the best care of your sweetie. This is your moment in the sun! This is your chance to really shine -- to be the best person you can be. This is the day that you can prove to yourself and to the world that you're a fine person, and the very best spouse.

Every little thing you do is part of a bigger picture. And those little things are adding up to the experience that is your life. While it feels like your life is "on hold," -- and I know what that feels like! -- this IS your life, as real as any other part of it. Make it good!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hiking day

Today was hiking day, and the Hardy Hikers from Far Horizons did the Bajada View Trail in Saguaro East. It's a pretty challenging hike, with some fairly steep ascents, but overall not a huge elevation change. The heat of the day made it a bit more difficult than it might have been. The hikers were (L to R) Bob, Janee, Bob, Dawn, Duane, Earl, Rob, and Duane. (Two Bobs, and two Duanes!)

After hiking, I did email, took a shower, talked to some friends, and then went to Casa del Rio for supper with the group. Good time, good day!

Here's a pic of me hanging my new lamp in my computer area. I did this a few days ago, and I love the lamp!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Lazy day today! I began ambitiously walking with Maddy on the east side of Pantano, across the street from the Village. I have always liked walking around in neighborhoods, and this one is a good one to walk in. I like to look at how people landscape their lots in this desert climate.

Only a few people landscape with grass, which they fertilize and water constantly. Most use small reddish granite gravel, which they rake into place. They position large smooth river rock (probably harvested from the Wash) in circles, and, inside the circles, they plant a cactus, palo verde tree, or a palm tree. Variations on this are interesting.

After our walk, it was housecleaning day! I dusted, vacuumed, and took the trash to the clubhouse. I stopped in and talked to John while his Denver Broncos played, and then went back home.

Lew and Margaret came and spirited me off this afternoon for a latte. We went to Starbucks on Old Spanish Trail, and, since I don't do lattes, I got apple slices with caramel for dipping. Mmmm! Very tasty, and it was fun, as always, to banter with Lew and Margaret.

I made another origami box after my supper of soup, and then went through some email and my groups.

By the way, I have a MySpace page now. I am not sure what I'll use it for, but I think that it's a requirement if you're single, and I guess that's what I am now. (In their Marital Status choices, they don't even list "widowed." Sheesh.)

And here I am! I sort of miss TV and I may go on and bite the bullet and get cable installed. It bothers me that I forgot to uninstall the cable TV at home first, though. :/ Hmm... maybe I can do that over the phone? but then... last time, when Michael and I did it together, we had to take the box thing back to the cable co. Oh well. I'll do something, even if it's wrong! :D

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Story of Paperclip Bend

Michael and I used to walk daily on campus -- did it for years. Well, one day, we were walking around to the south of Read Center around a bend in the sidewalk. There, on the sidewalk, were dozens of colorful paper clips! It was as if someone's backpack had been open and they just dropped out. The next day, they were still there, and the next and the next! We started calling that corner "Paper Clip Bend."

Finally, the paper clips became ground into the dirt on either side of the sidewalk and it was harder to see them. So Michael and I would bring along a few paper clips and drop them when we went around that bend. After we got back from our 3 months in Tucson in 2006, there were STILL paper clips to be seen there!

We'd be walking on other parts of campus, or anywhere, and find a paper clip on the ground. We'd smile and say, "It's trying to find its way home," and pick it up. Then, the next time we went to Paper Clip Bend, we'd drop it there.

Shortly before Michael passed away, I went walking on campus, and they had PAVED that sidewalk, entombing our paper clips forever. I had some with me and dropped them along the sidewalk there. They are probably still there. I'll drop more when I return in the summer.

So yeah.. paper clips were a big deal for us, during the last 5 years we were together. :) And now, when I find a paper clip, I pick it up, because it sort of feels like Michael has dropped it for me.

Here's a map (from Google Maps Hybrid View) showing Paper Clip Bend at the tip of my arrow. The magenta trail is a small part of Michael's and my usual route through campus.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Whining about the heat

LOL yes... I'm whining about the heat! It was 88ยบ today on my porch, and that was in the shade. In the cottage, it remained a cool 75, though, thanks to my huge A/C unit! I forget what it feels like to be uncomfortably cold. :D

This morning was Computer Club. The club had discussed abandoning the Friday night movies till January, but we discussed that again today, and decided that the Village likes the movies and we sort of owe it to them to do them, even if, as a club, we are not impoverished. For similar reasons, I'm hoping that we keep having the Computer Club dinner. Even though it IS a lot of work, it is a really nice thing for the Village, and the club makes good money from it.

I got a look at the new computer room today and, while it is small, it is a dedicated room and has plenty of potential. I say that the place should be filled with computers on tables facing the front, and we can have classes in there!

I did some picking up and filing and bill-paying in the office today and the place looks much more like a real home now. I'm happy. I called and made my airline and rental car reservations for Thanksgiving, and I've arranged for care for the dog and the cat. I didn't get the call made regarding that insurance issue, but I've added that to my Monday list.

Oooh, and I got a package today! :) Dave sent me a Sox World Series Champs shirt and a multi-card reader for my computer. He knew how I struggled to get files from one computer to the other when I was putting together Michael's Memorial Service. What a nice surprise! If anyone reading this wants to send me anything, :) I am at this address:

Janee Aronoff
555 N Pantano #206
Tucson, AZ 85710

Thanks for the compliments on my pic in my last entry. That was a shot of the mirror -- one of my favorite ways to take self-portraits. I took lots of those of me and Michael together.

I didn't leave the Village at all today, except to go for my walk, and that was just in the Pantano River Wash, so it hardly counted as leaving. I didn't get the car out at all. Slow day, but a good one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Shuffleboard, anyone?

Today was another busy, busy day. I ended it by playing shuffleboard and I did not enjoy it. I was playing with a guy who was a huggy sort of fellow, and I didn't appreciate it. Also, there was a woman who was barking rules at us and I didn't care for her, either. The main reason that I didn't like it, though, was that I just wasn't good at it at all, didn't improve during the evening, and couldn't see any way to learn what I would need to know to improve.

I took my car for servicing today. I needed to get the oil changed and also to have the radio re-coded since I'd disconnected the battery. I am thinking about trading this one in on a newer CRV.

I also went and did a zillion other errands. I went to the bank and deposited another life insurance check. Yes, I did laugh all the way. While I was there, I put the car title into my safe deposit box.

I went to Walmart and bought some stuff. And I got some things at Home Depot. Overall, a very successful hunting/gathering mission! I got a lamp for over my desk, and I like it very much. The cottage had, as original equipment, the ugliest pendant lamp you can even imagine and I, of course, loathed it. This one is sleek contemporary -- glass and brushed silver metal.

My friend John came over and helped me to put the light up, though I insisted upon doing all the hard parts myself. Then I put up the baby gate that I'd bought, making Maddy a nice enclosure under the other side of my desk. I used spring-loaded curtain rods and bungee cords to hold it in place, and it is a nice, sturdy, and completely removable installation.

I also worked more on the flight bit, but I remain mystified about how to get that done. I found a flight combination that uses American for part of it, but I don't know how to get the credit for the $300 that I have. I will call tomorrow, but .. LOL I don't know whom to call!!

The other unpleasant thing that I have to do is to call the Anthem people again and Dropcho's office again about the MRI charge that I got for the MRI Michael had back in July in Connecticut. $3 grand, and they are saying that I owe this. Sheesh. I know that the insurance owes us this. I so hate dealing with that kind of thing. I will call tomorrow and take care of both of these little pieces of agonizing bs.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What did I do today?

Well... good question! I know that the day has gone, but let's think about how I spent it. I began with my walk. I walked with Maddy in the Pantano Wash. For you Easterners, a "wash" is like a river with no water in it, except when the monsoon rains come in the summer. Then there is LOTS of water in it. Tucson is ribboned with washes all over the town. The Pantano Wash is right behind my complex, and it has walking trails along it.

After our walk, Maddy and I had breakfast, and then were greeted by our friend John who asked what we needed to have done. :) He helped me to load some more stuff from the RV (amazing how much stuff one can fit into an RV that small!) and he took my 2nd office chair off my hands. I'd gotten it for Michael last spring and it was just taking up space in here.

It was still morning when I got going with the laundry, and John was doing his, too. There is a good laundromat in the Village and so that's where everyone goes. This was my first laundry since I left to come here, so ... 2 weeks! Yikes!

I went and picked up my mail, which was a big box of stuff from Bloomington -- bills, checks, magazines, cards with notes... lots of good stuff! It took me hours to sort through all of this.

I also had visits this afternoon from my friends Ione and Ardelle. This little village reminds me so much of college dorm life. You're right there with all your buds, and all you have to do is to walk outside your door, and there are folks to talk to. :) I love it!

As payback for the chair, John had offered to take me out to dinner. We went to Gavi on Broadway at Pantano, and it was a fun evening. I got delicious chicken parmigiano, and he had ravioli. I had leftovers for tomorrow, and maybe Friday night, too!

This evening after dinner, I got out my origami stuff and put together an origami box. I tried to take a photo of it, but it doesn't look like a box, so I won't post it. I'm thinking that I am going to host a class on origami boxes later this season.

I shot these photos tonight, just for y'all!
Eddie Maddy
Janee

In the pic of Maddy, notice what I have in my wine rack! LOL I do kill myself. You see stacks of things in odd places, because I have not yet put the stuff away.

Oh, and Annette, that is still my natural hair color. I chickened out, after Suzanne told me that it makes a huge mess of everything.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another big day

I'm exhausted after another big day. Today was Tuesday and that's French for "Hiking day!" The Hiking Club did one of their traditional early-season hikes -- Cactus Forest Trail (and some other trails) in Saguaro East. Level, beautiful, but hot and dusty. If I'm going to suffer in the heat, at least I want to have a view when I get to the end of it! It was still fun, but it took me hours to cool off, once I got back.

One reason that it took awhile for me to cool off was that I worked like a dog for a few hours this afternoon, getting things moved from the RV over to the cottage, and putting things away. I moved the pets and their food and paraphernalia, my fridge stuff, clothes, HBA, electronics, ... etc..

And then I moved the RV over next to the cottage! That's right! I was going to put it in a spot near the clubhouse, for a monthly fee, but then they told me today "no RVs." So they said that I could park it next to my house, and that would be fine. Cha-ching! Dinner's on me!

I was a little worried if it would fit in the space that was left after they had built the deck last spring, but it slid right in. Harold watched to be sure that I wasn't hitting anything, I didn't have to put in the mirrors, and I wasn't even close to hitting anything. I'll know that I'm totally grown up when I can put it in there without a guide. It is a tight fit; I'll say that.

I didn't take my phone with me hiking or out to dinner, but, even with my sitting here with it this evening, I've had no calls. I hope that it's working. hmm... Maybe I'll try it out tomorrow morning. It's too late now for me to try calling any of you easterners, and I don't know what time sunlaker goes to bed. :D Ah well, being out of touch for a day won't hurt me.

I love getting comments on my blog! :) Cookies are a good thing, Karen, and I agree with your idea of freezing some and giving some away. Anne, I will take a pic of the cottage. I was kinda waiting till I got some landscaping or at least some flowers. I don't have much curb appeal going on right now!

Yes, John, I'm rather looking forward to some normal AZ temperatures for this time of year. My body doesn't do well with "unseasonably warm" temperatures, no matter where I am!

Lynell, I think that my secret to getting so much done has to be the financial incentive. They told me at the office that I'd be paying $35 a day for the site where my RV was hooked up. Of course, I was also told that I'd be paying just for the electric that I used. And I was told that we had a week to move in, and could keep our RV on a site for that time. The bosses are gone to a conference this week, so I'll await their decision before I pay anything. I think that it would be fair to charge me for the power that I used. Anyway, i worked fast so that I wouldn't have many days of $35 per. As it is, I used just 3, and it was worth the time to get myself in order gradually.

Becky, I'm with you on the blood thing. I don't think that the medical community would favor any co-mingling of blood, anyway! :D

Annette, I like what you say about "they are just men" so we give them the easy things to do! And here I thought that it was the other way around! I do know that, when I left Michael to vacuum the RV while I went and did laundry, I felt like I'd won the lottery.

Well, another day has gone. Oooh.. today there was a 360° sundog here! It's the first time that I've ever seen one that went all the way around the sun. Sooo beautiful! Here is a picture of one, which was shot in Tucson in 2006! Maybe they are not so uncommon here!

This was a tiny flower that was growing along our trail today.