Saturday, October 15, 2022

Thanks to Smithsonian for the charming photo. 

Frog Pond 2.0

For those of you who followed Ananda Girl back in the day, you will remember The Frog Pond. For those of you who didn't, it's what I called my experience with online dating. As in you have to kiss a number of frogs before you find a prince. 

I'm 67 years old and a widow. I found my prince of a husband online. Prior to his death, we had discussed in length what we wanted should one of us die. This included funeral, our wishes regarding life support and other fun topics. One of those was that we gave each other permission not to live alone. A get out of guilt free ticket to move on and find someone who would share our life and open a door to living fully. Life is too short. Neither of us thought that would happen as soon as it did. I thought I'd be the first to go, since I was four years older. God had other plans. Fortunately, Randy was right with God, so I've got no worries that he is much happier where he is now. 

Here I am at my age feeling lonely for companionship. Life alone is something I am doing and can continue to do if I must. I'm still young enough not to sit and be alone forever. But that window is shrinking. My family is great, and they pay a great deal of attention to me. I'm blessed like that. They have busy lives and kids and all that entails. I want them to be happy and not worry about me. 

I don't need a man to complete me, but it would be nice to have one to compliment me. Does that make sense? Piglet is a great companion. She sleeps with me and keeps me warm at night. She amuses me all the time. Piglet can't go to the movies, discuss books or dine out. I miss those things.  I miss intimacy. Piglet is very affectionate, but she doesn't have human arms or lips that I'd want to kiss. 

I officially signed up for online dating. I've begun talking to Frog "J". He seems nice and honest but it's early days. There are more frogs out there and I'll be adding to the pond whenever one shows up. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

 Just hanging around today. 

I have a neighbor that we call "Damn Pat". I imagine that everyone has had one at some point. She reminds me of my pit bull, who believes that everything she can see is her property. There are no boundaries. However, unlike Damn Pat, my dog doesn't try to fix the world according to Damn Pat. 

I live in an HOA community. HOAs can be good or bad. It depends on the people who run them. Ugh. Damn Pat is not on the board. Instead, she uses the HOA rules and regulations to make complaints after she has told someone what they should do and they don't respond by doing it immediately. She is not a fun neighbor and unfortunately, she is my only neighbor who has a driveway and yard next to mine. 

A year ago she told me that my arborvitae along my patio were a fire hazard. She asked me to cut the bottom four feet up from the ground. She said she has a fear of fire. Huh. Like I don't after losing my husband to fire? When he died, within days, she told me that it was tragic, but it was just a matter of time, since he smoked cigars. Who says stuff like that to a new widow? 

Damn Pat does not have many social skills. Mostly because she lives in the firm belief that she, and only she is 100% right all the time. 

Because it is easier to just do what Pat says, we removed all the lower limbs from the arborvitae. Unfortunately that shocked them and they began to die at a rapid rate. So she came over again to demand that I remove the dead and dying plants a few weeks ago. 

As it happens, due to a leg injury that is still healing and my inability to work in the heat, I had to make other arrangements. My daughter was out of town. My son is working 10 or more hours and has for nearly 3 months, plus has an invalid wife and four children at home. I don't have the funds to hire someone to do this. Plans were put in place. 

Not being fast enough for Damn Pat, she once again made a formal complaint to the HOA board. I got a letter telling me to remove the plants. I called my board member and explained that plans were already in place. She was very nice about it and thanked me for letting her know. It should have been the end of it. 

Here's a shout out to ex-husbands who act like adults when you have children together. My Ex is still my friend. We share all holidays, birthdays, etc with our kids, here at my home. Proof that divorce does not have to break up a family under the right conditions. Obviously this is not always the case.

Any hoo...   Ex came to my rescue at the cost of my stuffed bell peppers. He works for food. He's not much of a cook when it's just himself. 

Last Saturday Ex arrived and began to cut the arborvitae down. Instantly Damn Pat shows up and begins to take control of the situation. I am impressed that Ex didn't go nova. It took him all day, because neither of us has a truck to make a dump run. Damn Pat who has a big truck decided that we needed to cut everything into little pieces that will fit into big garbage bags. Eleven bags, that she lined up against my house because she's afraid that they will combust and set her yard on fire. My eyes are still rolling. We are smokers. She complains about that too. To her it's obvious that we will push burning butts into the bags mindlessly. 

In actuality, we use water ashtrays that put out sparks in the ash and butts instantly. I don't allow anyone to crush out butts on the ground. I don't want to have to pick them up. I also like a nice clean yard.

By the end of the day, Damn Pat had her way and even talked Ex into giving her two of my bags of bark bits because in her opinion, I do not put down a thick enough layer. She put both bags in the small bed next to her yard. I only use one bag per bed and had already put a bag down in that bed. Ex apologized later and said he had to get her out of his hair. I get that. But how the hell did she know that I have a stack of bark bits hidden in my garage? Honestly! Invasive woman!

Damn Pat said that with the cuttings in bags, that she and her poor henpecked husband would drop one bag into each of the park dumpsters and dump the rest the following garbage day. That was actually nice.

 Then she announced that she felt that my exhausted, overworked son was not caring for the side yard as efficiently as she could. (I kicked Damn Pat out of my yard at the beginning of summer because she would not respect my request to stop mowing my lawn whenever the mood struck her.) All Sunday she was out mowing, leaf blowing and fiddling in my side yard. 

Because I never let Piglet outside alone for her safety from pit bull haters (Damn Pat), there we were on the patio. Pig was sleeping in a sun spot. Up walks Damn Pat to the gate to my patio. I was already upset because she had let herself onto my patio the day before without permission to move things around to the way she thought they should be. ACK! Pig sees her and because she is a lovely friendly dog, she jumped up on the gate to say hello. Piglet can jump 6 feet off of the ground from a sitting position. The gate is not what keeps Pig on the patio. Obedience does. And I am always right there.

Damn Pat says, rattling my gate, "Oh honey, this gate is not safe. Piglet can knock it down!" I sigh and explain that the gate is going to be replaced with a storm door and the patio front is getting lattice to close it in. Deaf ears. She follows with "I know you don't like to hear it but Piglet can really hurt someone if she gets out. It's dangerous!"  I guarantee that door will have a good lock to keep Damn  Pat out. 

So now I know what her next complaint to the board is going to be. She's been trying to get rid of my dog since I got her two years ago. I had to go to the doctor and get a prescription for Piglet to be an emotional support dog. That is exactly what she is. I'm a 67 year old diabetic living alone. Piglet knows when my blood sugar is off and pokes me in the stomach with her nose until I check it. She hasn't been trained, but she knows. Pig is also my companion and partner. My protection, just by looking like she could eat you if she wanted. But she is a sweetie pie. Don't tell the local meth heads that. They are a big problem in this town. 

It is wonderful that I have an automatic garage door opener. I can enter and exit my home in peace. Drop that door before I get out of the car. Now with the arborvitae gone, I have very little privacy on my patio. Damn Pat has suggestions for that too, Ugh. Of course she does. But I'm sticking to my plan, not hers. I can't wait for Pat to complain. I've already had my patio plans approved. Sheesh. 

Monday, I get a text from Mom telling me that Sate Farm is going to take pictures of the house that day. So State Farm took photos of the outside of my house with 11 garbage bags down the side of my kitchen. Sigh. I texted Mom back and told her to let them know that those are clippings from taking down the bushes that were a fire hazard. She texted back that they put a note in my file and appreciated that they had been removed. Good job. 

Damn Pat is exhausting to say the least. Worst neighbor in the history of my life. Have you ever had a neighbor like that? 

Now look at the cute baby hanging in the swing. After my rant, I hope she makes you smile. That's Avery about 7 years ago. Bear's daughter. One of the joys in my life that keeps me sane.

Friday, September 30, 2022


Hello again! I managed to get away for a few days, thanks to friends who live on a farm. It was nice to leave the city behind and just get in some relaxation with good people.

The picture above was taken on the way back. Its a little city that has dinosaurs everywhere. Need a loaf of bread, gas or chicken dinner? Dinos are waiting to help you find your way! We actually drove through here a year ago, but didn't take pictures. My grandson just about lost his mind over seeing them. I thought I 'd better stop and get the photos this time.

 They really are all over this little town. 

But we were on our way to the country to relax on the farm. We were greeted by this little individual.

Her tongue stuck out the whole time. She's elderly and very curious. There were other animals too. Ducks, chickens, cattle and my favorite... a pig named Bacon who loves having her ears scratched.

There is something wonderful about a rural setting. It's a big farm with corn on two sides. The cattle pasture is below a long lawn with a fire pit surrounded by comfortable benches and chairs. Perfect for fall evenings. Equally perfect for coffee around the fire in the morning. The other two sides of the farm look out across an expanse of fields with big mountains in the background. It was lovely.

We only stayed one night. I came home with a grocery bag full of fresh picked bell peppers and cookies. Their garden is pretty amazing. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture. 

You can see how brown the hills are this time of year in the Columbia River Gorge. I love it here. Those hills go through changes. Green as can be to brown and on to covered in snow and the show starts over.

 The river is fuller than usual. We are seeing a lot of change in our weather here. Summers are hotter. Climate change is really happening. I'm most concerned about the changes in river temps. Its not good for our salmon. There are many communities that rely on the salmon production being healthy. Most notably our Native Americans. Salmon does not just provide income, it is deeply embedded in their culture. I'd hate to see that change. 

The town where I live is dusty and dry this year. We normally have had several rain showers by now. But this year, the rain is just finally arriving. The higher temps have raised the level of the river from so much snow melt. I'm not sure if the rains will relieve the area or if they will cause flooding, which can then cause landslides. Ugh. 

It's still good to be in my own little home again. But you really cannot beat a visit to the country. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

 Hello whoever wandered in today! I've been gone a long time, so I don't expect much activity. 

A brief recap... My husband passed 1 year and 9 months ago from injuries from the fire we had in our home and resulted in my sort of homelessness for about 6 months. 

I moved home a bit over a year ago. People ask me "Isn't it weird living where your husband died?"

No. He passed away in a coma in a hospital over one hundred miles away. I would never fear the spirit of someone who loved me in life anyway. Kind of a rude question if you ask me. Sheesh!

They ask "Are you afraid to live alone?"  No. See that pink and white smiling pit bull up there? That's Piglet. She's my security crew and life companion. She's sweet as pie unless she senses unease in me or something amiss in our surroundings. This came in handy in a dark parking lot one night when we were living in motels after the fire. We were approached by two large homeless men from behind, asking me to let them into the motel security foyer. Piglet let out a low rumble that stopped them from coming closer. I've never heard a more disturbing sound. It stopped me in my tracks as well, since I had no idea that the men were behind me. Pig is with me and I am safe.

They ask "How are you?"  The meaning behind that are implies that I must be crackers by now. I am not fond of that question.

This brings us to the present. 

I am fine. I do miss Randy every single day. I always will. However, there is nothing to do but continue forward motion. When the fire happened, Mom (Who actually owns my house, allowing me to live here by her grace and kindness) told me to use the insurance money to make the house whatever I wanted it to be. It was fun to redesign my floor plan and add what I wanted where I wanted. I picked out everything from the floor up and out. Watching my plan unfold was a rare delight!

Halfway thru the remodel I was able to move back in. That doesn't normally happen due to insurance concerns and getting in the way of the workers. However, we used a contractor in the family and the workers were mostly family too. Except Richie, but he gets a pass due to his sense of humor. 

It was healing to have so many people around and all the clangs and bangs. The end result is a home that is calm and peaceful. One half expects to find a long beach and ocean when you step onto my deck. I wasn't able to live at the ocean, but I can recreate the feel of a terminal vacation. So that's what I aimed for at completion. I'm so glad that it satisfied my need for peace and contentment. It is perfect for me.

That pretty much brings you up to date. My world is smaller. People make me nervous. I'm in no hurry to be at large events or to travel alone. But that is okay with me. My greatest joy has always been my family. My son, Boo, lives a block away. He does my yard work along with his sister, Bear. I have two other sons, Swell and Squeaky who live 30 and 40 minutes away. We have cousin sleepover parties for their kids here roughly twice a month. My ex comes up to do handyman stuff. I pay for his services with home cooked meals that he craves. The kids call him "Old Man". The call me "Crazy Old Bat". These are terms of endearment. Ha!

There really isn't a lot going on to shout about on the day to day. Piglet is here only because of the prescription written by my doctor for an emotional support animal. Pit Bulls are not allowed in the 55+ community where I live. If you're a dog owner, you are aware of the let me out, let me in of dog ownership. Here, because of the rules, if Piglet is out, I must be out. I spend a lot of time on my patio that overlooks her private yard. She sleeps in the sun while I have my morning coffee and play my brain games. We do that off and on several times a day. It is important to me that she has a full and happy life. She has regular play dates with Squeaky's dog Bowie. And there is the river trail that she loves to walk. I've become a total pit bull mom. 

That's it for today. I'm not sure how often I will post, but at least once a week. So I'll leave you today with a very rare picture of myself as I look now. Give you a face for a change. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Good news on the horizon!

The special envelope finally arrived and is on its way to the Social Security office. Once it is verified... my legal evidence of marriage to Randy... I will be awarded my widows benefits with back pay.

I also made a decision on my living arrangements and instead of staying in the cabin for another month, I’m going to move in with my daughter and her family. 
It’s not ideal. Bears MIL lives there too. Though, Sue Bob and I get along well. I like my privacy. What I don’t like is driving n hour each way to my home... just to check my mail or visit the doc. 
Nor do I care for paying $1,000 rent on the cabin on top of my regular home related expenses. I am rented here until the 10th. 

I can deal with the people I love for a month or so. I’ll still have a 30 minute drive to my house. That’s not awful. I actually spend a lot of time spying on my house. I crave seeing progress. As if I can hurry it along by staring at it. Serve Pro can watch me watching them. 

I’m not concerned about the remodeling as much as the clean up crew. The Bear and her man both work for my contractor. 
The plan is once Serve Pro is out, they will start with my master bedroom and master bathroom. It was the least smoke damaged part of the house. It needs new flooring and paint. Once that’s done, I can move back in, using it like a little apartment.
Both of my husbands were wood workers and I’m no stranger to construction noise. I’ll be snug as a bug. 


Thursday, February 4, 2021

 A Rare Treat! Mama Janes

Mama Janes is my favorite restaurant. Open from 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  The menus is breakfast and lunch fare. The food is excellent and the plates are as full as they can be. Home style cooking at its best! 

The theme is motorcycle inspired. The customers and staff are local and regular. Think “Cheers” but instead of beer, an endless pot of fresh coffee. No fru-fru, just a cup of Joe. 

When we shut the door on my partially burned house and completed the removal of everything that wouldn’t fall out if you turned it upside down and shook it, a good awful task, it was a big relief. Finally, the toxic cleaners would start cleaning. They showed up and it’s now a project in motion. YAY! 

The woman on the left is Orinda, my son, Nick’s fiancĂ©. That of course is Nick. These two hauled away the last of the debris with the help of Bear. 

We celebrated by going to Mama Janes for a real sit down lunch with an actual waitress. COVID rules allow for outdoor dining. Outdoor in this case was an army tent. The tables are plenty far apart and the tent windows and doors are open. It was both weird and comfortable. The food, as always, was great. It’s been a year or more since I have dined out. I had the eggs Benedict. We all left with to go boxes, because no one can eat that much food in one sitting. 

Remember what it was like when restaurants were crowded, noisy and your food didn’t come in a to go box? Yep. Its close enough to that to feel like we had regained some normalcy. Is that a word? Ha! 

In the meantime I continue to struggle with waiting on the government to finalize my widows benefits, waiting for death certificates, etc.  Once I can produce a death certificate, we have death insurance to pay off a $5,000 loan. My dad always had death insurance on our house and loans when I was growing up. Smart man, my father. If you are buying your home and don’t have it, I’d advise getting it. It saves your spouse or yourself should tragic circumstances occur from a lot of stress. 
I hope soon to have less bummer subjects! 
COVID-19 is serious business! Wear a mask, get the shot. Do it. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Depression is sucky

Two friends of mine are suffering with depression. One writes nonfiction and teaches writing courses. The other is a poet. I think that creative people are magnets to depression. I told them both to write their feelings, that I love and care about them. Call night or day. I know I’m chatty, but I can listen. 

 That’s a hell of a chicken! 

Today I go up river to my home town. I’ve got to pick up meds, check for mail and from there go north to spend the night at my daughter’s house.  She lives in a tinier town than Dumb Potters Hell. 
Google can’t even find it. Lol. 

We have lots of Ospreys and eagles near my home. I miss them, so I’ll sit for awhile and watch them.

Sometimes mountain lions show up in town. One found his way into a down town motel room. Unfortunately, she was put down. I’d rather they relocated her, but they do what they do. Now and then, one will attack and kill hikers and mountain bikers on the hiking trails. Nature, while stunningly beautiful has a terrible cost. Best to hike in groups. Single prey is their goal. 

Mother Nature throws some dirty tricks our way. This mudslide happed since the nw year. It claimed the life of one woman trying to flee. She was buried under 15 feet of liquid mountain. It is less than 15 miles down river from my cabin.  Pretty sobering. 

Oregon is still wild. I love it here despite the wild fires, the dangerous animals and raccoons tapping on the sliding glass door demanding a dish of cat food. Opossum scare me the most! They do not fall down and play dead for me. They hiss and charge with their needle teeth. I must look harmless running away. They are damn scary. But, they eat ticks, even Lyme diseased ticks. I appreciate that. 

Tonight the ex is grilling steaks at the Bears house Roxy will go with me. We have to trade Roxy and Layla, my grand dog, in and out of their crates. Roxy has no tolerance for frolicking boxers. 

Layla is a hoot! 

There is nothing like a dog for love and hilarious nonsense.