Aloha Y’all

momandmeI am so freaking excited!

Tomorrow at about 1 p.m., my mother and I are getting on a plane.  The final destination is Honolulu where will we spend a week before heading to Maui for another week.

It’s my Mother’s Day gift to the two of us.

No.  I can’t afford it.  But after my dad died so suddenly last year, I realized I was running out of time to do all the things with my parents that I wanted to do.  I raided the retirement account.  Chef Boy ‘R Mine is going to have to support me in my old age.

momandme3We were stationed on Oahu from 1967 to 1970 when my dad was in the Marine Corps.  I have always wanted to go back and see the house I lived in and visit some of the old haunts.  So has my mother.  I got the bright idea shortly after my dad’s funeral that we should do this.

I’ve been planning this trip for well over a year.

I’m not good at planning.  Putting this trip together has taxed my skills.  I finally had to get a binder to help me organize things.  The notebook has been a lifesaver!  I have everything in it.  Airline itineraries, tour tickets and receipts, restaurant and hotel reservation confirmations, and a personalized itinerary for each day of the trip have filled a 2” binder.

momandme2I hope I have the right balance of things to do and downtime.  We’re doing quite a bit – snorkeling, hiking, swimming under waterfalls, Haleakala at sunrise, dinner cruise, helicopter ride, road to Hana, spa day, luscious dining, koi ponds, botanical gardens, and the Polynesian Cultural Center which is similar to an Epcot experience.

On Oahu, we’re staying in a military resort, Hale Koa which translates to “house of the warrior”.  It’s a four star resort for active duty and retired military personnel right on Waikiki at a discounted rate.  We were fortunate to get a reservation for the time I wanted – Mother’s Day.  We will also visit the base we lived on and I should get to see my old school and house.

On Maui, we’re staying at Kahana Villa Resort which is a part of mydoug and me grass hut mother’s timeshare plan.  Again, we were fortunate to get the week we wanted. Neither of us has ever been to Maui, so it’s all going to be new.  One of the things we’re doing while there is eating at the Lahaina Grill which has been named by several entities as one of the top hundred restaurants in the United States.  I about passed out at the prices, but I do so love a good fine dining experience.

Have I mentioned I’m excited?  I’m like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus.  There is so much I need to be doing right now – cleaning this house so my house-sitter doesn’t pass out from the sheer filth, finishing packing, etc. etc.  I am too excited to focus on any one task for long.  Truly, I’m fairly vibrating with anticipation.

The trip there will be brutal and we’re likely to miss a connection or two.  I thoughtfully reserved airline flights that allowed two hours at each layover, but the airline changed my reservations.  (With no consultation or anything, mind you!)  I now have 47 minutes in Philadelphia to change planes and 51 minutes at LAX.   I’m pretty much resigned to the idea that we will not arrive in Honolulu tomorrow at 11:00 p.m. as planned, but will get in some time on Friday.  Alas…  It’s all good though. I scheduled Friday as a buffer day, so we don’t have a tour or anything important scheduled.  But one day less in paradise will still be a shame.

Aloha y’all!

Throwback Thursday: Me at Doug’s house about this time of year

dougshouseIt’s Throwback Thursday and I’m in an impossibly good mood.  Things are going well in my life and that’s such a change from recent years.  I’ve mentioned before that the Raising Sand album my Alison Krauss and Robert Plant has been one of my mourning staples.  I’m far enough in the grief process that I no longer cry when I hear these songs — they just provoke wonderful memories of Doug.

I’m in my office at work — lunch at my desk — and rocking out to the album.  I’m happy, but I do miss him.

Happy Day of the Dead

The Beautiful Babette and Doug

The Beautiful Babette and Doug

Today I’ve been reflective about all the changes that have occurred in the past few years – chief of these the loss of Doug, my partner, and The Beautiful Babette, the sweetest Shih Tzu of all time.

5834854826_53e1ba9362_z (2)The Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations are joyous affairs. While reflective, I was also happy in my memories of Doug and Babette today. It’s been long enough that it doesn’t hurt to think about them. I like the idea that they might be walking among us today and tomorrow. I hope they’re together and I hope they think of me as fondly as I think of them.


EmnyLou 012I am just as pleased as I can be. I have a Dachshund puppy.  Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wanted to wait until spring, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen.

I searched Craigslist, the entire eastern seaboard and much of the Midwest , for a puppy to no avail. It wasn’t until my early morning, not enough coffee, attempt in which I misspelled Dachshund and found a female puppy about 40 miles down the road in Kentucky at a price I was willing to pay.

She’s a beauty. I had thought I wanted a red, smooth hair Dachshund.  What I have is a coal black, smooth hair Dachshund.  She’s black velvet and midnight giggles.  She’s just perfect.

I am so happy.

EmnyLou 040And so is Phoebe. So far Emmylou (she’s a blue, Kentucky girl) has played with Phoebe’s toys, eaten Phoebe’s food, monopolized Phoebe’s mom and pretty much made herself at home.  Phoebe is all smiles.  I suspected she needed a playmate and I was right.

Dachshunds are special creatures. Nothing snuggles like a Dachshund.  And they make these cute little sounds and they’re just so damn cute.  I very much have a case of puppy love.

Morning Sounds

2400 sq. ft. and here we all are

It’s a dreary Saturday morning.

The sound of the gentle rain on the roof and that of a snoring, old dog are comforting.

dolleighI’m on the sofa. Next to me is the old, snoring dog that I’m taking care of while my parents are out of town.  Dolleigh is snuggled underneath the sofa throw and seemingly content.  Behind me, on the back of the sofa, is Izzy, my black and white cat.  She, too, is sleeping but without the snoring – she’s far too young for such indignities.  Maggie, the old champagne-colored cat, is sprawled on the coffee table in front of me.  While old enough, she is quiet in her sleep.  Perhaps her cat nap isn’t deep enough. Phoebe, my somewhat Shih Tzu puppy, is nestled against me.  She is not sleeping.

Phoebe is jealous – the first sign I’ve seen that she is even a little bit territorial about my affection. She loves Dolleigh and this whole dog-sitting thing is a great adventure for her, but nonetheless, she does what she can to distract me from loving on Dolleigh, an impossibly fat and affectionate dachshund.

Dolleigh, in her old age and rotundness, invites affection. When I pet her, she lifts her muzzle to give me kisses.   She stays close to me, unlike Phoebe who is usually too busy with a toy or a cat to snuggle with me.  But with Dolleigh here, Phoebe is bestowing great gifts of affection and staying very close to me.

2400 sq. ft. and here we all sit.

IzzyIt is a gray, gloomy day, but, still, it is beautiful. The damp causes the changing leaves to glow in the mist.  I’ve sat here, loving on pets, and drinking coffee for several hours while staring out the atrium door to the backyard.  It’s just that kind of day – one that provokes a lazy stillness.  Later, perhaps, I will curl up with a book and read between my own cat naps.

This is a three-day weekend for me. I feel quite comfortable at the idea of spending this day doing nothing of any import.  It won’t surprise me, however, if I turn into a whirlwind of activity and tackle some household projects.

It’s that kind of day too– one pregnant with possibilities, but no agenda. I may wallow in the comfort of this sofa or I may tackle the disorganized mess of this house.  Either way, I’ll be steeped in contentment.  It’s just that kind of day.

2400 sq. ft. and here we all sit. I know if I get up, so will the animals.  All of them will follow me to whichever room I go.    If I do turn into a whirling dervish of activity, all of them will make their way back to the family room where they will continue to nap and snuggle with each other.

Whatever it is I end up doing, I think I will do it without music or television. I am loving the sounds of this rainy, dreary Saturday.

Happy, but not content.

053It’s Saturday morning and I’m in the study. Lord, this room is a mess.  All the flotsam and jetsam of the past couple of years that I don’t know what to do with has landed in this room. Couple that with the fact that it needs a good cleaning and you have one big mess.  Yet, it’s a comfortable room — dead bugs, cobwebs and heaps of junk, aside.

I haven’t been able to write and to some extent, I still can’t. But I want to and that’s a huge step forward.

I’m oddly happy these days. And bored.  I’m not sure if those two things are related.  There’s more than enough to do which is to say I have no good reason for being bored.  Perhaps, I’m just in a time out.

As usual, I have an ambitious to-do list. With the change of weather has come some ambition after the long lethargy of the spring and summer.  Perhaps, it’s time for me to be done with this time-out.

I think I deserved a season or two of inertia, but I’ve reached the point where I’m tired of being bored. Tired of unfinished projects.  Tired of having my life on hold while I wait for something – a something undefined.  I think I’ve been waiting for now – this time when I’m unaccountably happy.  A time when I could be content if the to-do list wasn’t about to topple over and kill me.

Contentment – what a sweet word and lovely idea. To be content must be the greatest blessing.  The trick, I think, is to be content in the midst of chaos and I’ve yet to learn that skill.  I’ll put it on the to-do list.