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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Still no Santa photo from PetSmart

Grrrr ---- they lost the photo --- So these will have to do!

Heck, who needs Santa when your dog is this cute?   Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Santa Claus Escapade

Last week, I heard that PetSmart was offering free photos of Santa with your pet and I thought, wow, I'll take Kona and won't that be cute to post a picture of her with Santa on my blog. And, I was feeling up to this little adventure as the Xanax seems to be working....

So we go to PetSmart and the place is packed and we stand in line for 45 minutes waiting for Santa --- ahead of us are 18 dogs and one possum.

Yes, a possum.  Which was actually a baby possum and hence very cute.

So we wait, and wait, and finally it's our turn.

Now Santa is sitting on what looks like a bench covered with decorative X-mas fabric, next to the bench is a Christmas tree -- and the bench is a bit high but I think Kona should be able to jump up and I pat the bench and tell her "hup up!" which is a phrase she knows when I want her to get in the car, etc.

Kona follows my directions and put her front paws on the bench and attempts to jump up on it but it's a bit high for her and in her attempt to get up --- her front paws get caught in the fabric and she pulls the whole shebang off the bench and slides in a heap with the fabric to the floor.

That's when I realize the bench is actually a table and the table top is a slippery formica.

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, but Santa comes to the rescue and after rearranging the fabric on the bench, Kona attempts to jump up again and this time I give her back legs a boost and even then she's having trouble, scrambling about on the slippery surface -- so Santa gives her a BIG boost and she's up! but she's sliding and slides right behind Santa Claus.

And she won't come out. Kona suddenly wants nothing to do with this whole situation. But we've gotten this far and waited this long so I coax her out and calm her down and put her in a "sit stay".

So there she sits, staring at me, looking for all intents and purposes like she's going to bolt at any second but she's following my command like a good girl and I'm holding my hand up like a cop, repeating "Stay! Stay!" and walking backward so the PetSmart employee can snap the photo.

The photo is taken and the employee shows me the picture on an I-pad and I look at it and Kona looks cute even though she is totally ignoring Santa and staring at me. The employee says "How's that?"

I reply "Looks OK" rather forgetting that "OK" is Kona's release word.

Kona (who is still in her 'sit stay' position) hears the magic word "OK" and she bolts off the bench like a banshee -- taking with her all the fabric off the bench and toppling over the Christmas tree!

Kona's bolting toward not me, but a treat bowl on a table which she proceeds to also knock over though fortunately I catch the bowl before it hits the ground and grab Kona's leash.

And after all of that -- after giving all my information to the employee who promises that they will e-mail the picture -- I never got an e-mail.

I called PetSmart twice.  And the last time, a very nice guy spent an awful long time looking on the computer but could not find it....


He'd said he'd call corporate. He also said he would talk to the employees who were there that day to see if they remembered us and so I told him all about the possum (we were two behind the possum) and the x-mas tree and the fabric etc. etc. and he said "that was helpful" and he's sure "someone will remember us" and maybe they can find the photo.

But nothing yet.......

Ho ho ho........

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Last week, I had to run to the grocery when I realized I was out of cat food. Since I didn't need much, I decided to go to the small grocery store nearest to our house.  I used to frequent this store quite often when Bob was alive as their pharmacy was small and the pharmacists friendly and they knew me by name and would make sure they had Bob's pain medications ordered for him every month (I had problems with bigger pharmacies like Walgreens with this). Bob had three narcotic pain meds and so I was at this pharmacy at least three times a month.

Lately, however, I've been frequenting a different grocery store, a bit bigger with more selection.

However, on that day, I went to the old store....

And when I entered, something seemed distinctly wrong. Changed. Unfamiliar. That's when I noticed the pharmacy was gone --- and I mean gone -- boarded up, sheet rocked over, disappeared! I even walked over to the pharmacy, where a "closed" sign was posted informing clients that prescriptions had been sent to a different pharmacy.

And that's when it hit me.

I had entered a parallel universe. A different dimension in time and space. You know, one of those dimensions that co-exist next to ours, and much is the same, but little things are different. I had, in fact, entered The Twilight Zone.

And I couldn't help thinking (call me crazy) that I had to desperately get back to my universe, that dimension where surely things would be like the are supposed to be -- and Bob would be there, and Chris, and Zenith and Boomer. And I had to get back there.  I had to get back there NOW.

Because this was all a dream. A very bad dream.

Of course, I realized this feeling was crazy. I mean on some level, I realized this was crazy.  But when I looked around, nothing in this store was familiar.  Everything and everyone was unrecognizable. and unreal.  And I was literally freaking out.

So I figured I would grab the few things I needed (cat food, etc.) and get the hell out of this nightmare.

But I kept getting lost in the aisles.  And when I finally got the heck out of there, I couldn't find the car in the parking at first. When I did, on the drive home everything seemed too bright, too fake, too strange. It felt as if I was in a dream --- or more precisely a nightmare.

Even at home, everything seemed not real in some sort of strange way. I kept thinking of that Talking Heads song, the one that goes "this is not my beautiful house....  how did I get here?"

And for three days, I couldn't bear to leave the house.... and I was sick to my stomach.

When I finally did get up the courage to leave.  The feeling went away.   Sort of.  I'm still a bit shook up.

I talked with my shrink on Monday and she called this episode "derealization disorder" and said it's quite common in people who have suffered a major traumatic event (PTSD) such as Bob's sudden death and all the crap that preceded it. Also can be brought on by excessive stress: i.e. of grief, of the holidays and also the memory of Chris -- who last year at this time had a stroke and I spent Christmas Eve at the hospital with her...

She told me it was a "normal" reaction to all I've been through, triggered by the pharmacy closing --- and actually said she thought I was doing quite well, otherwise, after all I've been through. And then she prescribed Xanax.

Guess I'm just having another mental breakdown here...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My December Garden

With the weather finally cooling down, my garden has been putting on a really good show. I love this weather. And so do the plants.

And the flamingos love the weather too!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I'm still finishing up some projects that Bob and I had planned for the house. And finally, we have a fence in the front yard.  And I must stay, both Kona and I are enjoying it!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Midnight Cadaver Run

So I find myself in a dark quiet parking lot of a funeral parlor near midnight. The only sound is the wind in the trees and the traffic in the distance as the business of living is conducted nearby. But we are not in the business of the living, we are in the business of the dead.

I am not without trepidation. This is the place that cremated Bob.  That cremated Boomer. And Zenith. It's the go-to cremation center of the area. And so familiar to me at the worst time of my life when I frequented it so often I felt they should offer me a frequent flyer discount.

I am not alone.  Hillary is with me. She is the one who summoned me to this dark parking lot near the witching hour to help her with a grim task.

She has the passcode and unlocks the overhead door, which rolls up soundlessly and an automatic  light switches on, flooding the parking lot with a dim glow.  Inside the garage, a shiny black hearse rests waiting for its next gloomy call to service.  Beside the hearse, a freezer chest, white, the kind you might find in a deer hunter's garage. Next to the chest, two dead (I kid you not) potted palms -- a fitting decoration for a funeral parlor  -- I guess.

In the back seat of Hillary's van is the purpose of our midnight task.  The body of behemoth of a dog. Great Dane, 135 lbs.  I must say, he was really hard to look at. Reallly, a handsome boy, a beautiful dog when alive. And I have always loved a Great Dane, since Boomer was part-Great Dane. The dog had bone cancer and Hillary, sadly, had to euthanize him earlier that evening and was now in the perplexing situation of lifting 135 lbs. of dead (literally) weight out of her vehicle and into that freezer chest.

Since the funeral parlor is closed, and no one is around, I am there to help. What are friends for?

So we try to lift the dog. No easy task. And while we make attempt after futile attempt, shifting the dog this way and that, trying not to drop him or lose him in a slide to the ground -- a police cruiser slows to a stop at the driveway of the parking lot --- most likely wondering who these suspicious characters are and what they are up to at this time of night at a funeral parlor?

Hillary, bless her soul, sees this as an opportunity and hikes over the patrol car and knocks on the window. She asks the police officer (a nice, large man) for assistance.  He agrees, pulls the cruiser into the parking lot, lighting up our work area with his headlights and together, the three of us, manage the unmanageable task. Getting the dog first, out of the van, me -- climbing into the front seat, leaning over the back to pick up the head, then slowly lowering him down onto the low riding gurney, then moving the gurney into the garage area (all the while Hilllary freaking out that we might scratch that pristine hearse) and then from the gurney, lifted him back up and sort of gently dumped (for lack of a better term) him into the deep freezer. Then the next perplexing issue of how to get the canvass carrying bag out from under the dog -- the cop suggesting we just pull on one end and whip it out from under him, Hillary protesting "Don't hurt him!" --- to which I answer, "jeepers, he's already dead!"

And finally, mission accomplished. The dog tagged and bagged and paperwork with cremation instructions completed. I said a little prayer before we closed the freezer door....

I will say that my life has certainly become strange since Bob's death....

Monday, November 21, 2016

Snake in the Basket & Other Horrors

I don't know why, but it's been hard for me to show up at the computer keyboard. A sort of serious case of writer's block hitting me but I made a promise to a friend that I would write something -- so here it goes:

The other week, Kona and I were enjoying an afternoon of "diving for tennis balls" in the pool, and when we finished up I realized there were four balls missing, which usually means they have ended up in the leaf catch basket.

So I open up the cover to the catch basket and sure enough, there are the four missing tennis balls  bobbing in the water. And when I reach in for the tennis balls, a black head pops up between the balls and looks at me. GA!

I quickly slam the cover shut.

Now I've had critters in the pool before, mostly itty-bitty frogs which I try to rescue, one froggie even found clinging to a tennis ball as if it was a life raft.  Also the occasional gecko which I also rescue. But this thing in the basket, this thing was neither frog nor lizard, it was in fact a snake.

I am no fan of snakes.

I admit, I stood there for a moment contemplating what to do.  I could hardly leave the snake there... I mean it would surely drown caught in the basket like that, and even though I am no snake fan I didn't want to kill him (her).

So the first thing I did was get Kona out of the pool area. Then I carefully opened the basket lid and set it aside, stepping back, hoping the thing might just slither away.

No such luck.

I could see him (her?) trying to slip up the side, and slide back down in between the tennis balls, in a futile attempt to flee.

It was a small snake, blackish in color, about the size of a #2 pencil and about the length. Most likely a baby snake.

So Plan B:  I went in the house looking for one of Bob's grabber sticks.  You know what mean, not sure of the technical name for this device, but it has a long handle and pincers at one end and is used to grab things from up high or off the ground.  I find a long handled grabber thing and go back to the pool where the snake is still slithering around the tennis balls in the basket.

Now the basket has a little metal handle and I figure if I can grab the handle with the grabber thing, I can then carry the basket, snake and tennis balls, out to the alley and just dump the whole thing and run.  That was the Plan.

I did manage to grab the handle but as I'm pulling the basket out of the water, the snake slips up to the top of the basket and I sort of freak out and run to the closest place to dump the basket, which is the garden by the pool.  Which I do.

However, the basket didn't actually dump over, just sort of tottered and uprighted itself and the snake slipped to the top of the basket and then just sort of sat there on the basket rim, not moving.  But I'm thinking the thing should move -- right? Should see a method of escape and make a run for it -- right?

No such luck.

The thing just sat there sort of like a snake statue, not moving and regarding me with suspicious eyes....

I still have the grabber thing in my hand and so I get another bright idea.  I'll grab the snake with the grabber and fling him (her) over the fence into my neighbor's yard, thus getting rid of the problem.  (My neighbor wasn't home, would never know.)  So I start moving stealthily toward the motionless snake with the grabber and the snake sees me coming and ZOOOOM! it leaps, jumps, flees the basket faster than a speeding bullet into the garden.

Oh-kay.  So tentatively I reach for the basket of tennis balls all the while with a wary eye on my garden plants for the snake.  I don't see him (her?) and I get the basket and I am very pleased with myself, I haven't totally freaked out or screamed through the whole episode but I am now backing away from the garden with the basket in my hand, slowly backing away, wary about the snake's whereabouts when something wraps itself around my ankle!

I hate to admit -- I screamed bloody murder at the top my lungs.  I mean I SCREAMED!  I am surprised the neighbors didn't call the police. But of course, I don't think they were home.

And then I look down at my ankle to find I had backed right into the Confederate Jasmine and one of its vines had caught my ankle.


And now I have kept my promise to my friend and blogged.  And hopefully broken my writer's block spell.

I have more horror stories to share but will save them for later this week.

Stay tuned....  (I'm back!)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Unexpected Birthday Wishes

I know this blog has been quiet -- Halloween, my birthday, my mother's surgery, and upcoming holidays all taking a toll on my mental health.

While I am still grieving and grieving deeply.... and having a hard time of it.

But wanted to share this belated birthday card, which came today and made me smile:

Thanks Kona! (and Hillary!)
I needed that....

Sunday, October 23, 2016


It seems like a hundred years ago, in another lifetime, but I still remember the first time I walked into this house with the realtor. It was, in fact, one of the first houses I looked at during our house search. And my first impression of this house, besides the ugly siding on the outside, was "no fireplace".

In fact, I wrote that on the MLS sheet that I had in my hand. "No fireplace." And I wanted to immediately turn around and head out the door, but our realtor convinced me that since we were there, and the house empty, we should "look around".

Which we did.  Second thing I noticed was the house had a great floor plan for a wheelchair. Hardwood floors. Wide doorways. And a hallway large enough to spin a wheelchair around in a circle. And room for a wheelchair ramp in back with easy access to a parking spot...

But still, "no fireplace". And Bob and I both loved our old house with its original wood burning fireplace and that seemed a lot to give up.

Later, after looking at what seemed like umpteen million houses, none of which would easily accommodate a wheelchair --- I asked our realtor to go back and look at that "ugly house with no fireplace, but the great floor plan." And we did.  And I still loved the floor plan and the neighborhood was beautiful. And our realtor said, "Diane, you can always change the house, you can't a neighborhood."

We pulled up the corner on a section of the vinyl siding (in back) to check if the original clapboard was intact underneath. It was.  And I thought, well, perhaps we can put in a fireplace....

In January 2015, on what would be Bob's last birthday, Bob and I went antiquing and found a beautiful antique wooden fireplace mantel which has been in our garage ever since, as you all know what happened that spring....

Exploratory surgery on the wall where the original fireplace existed.
I finally found a contractor willing to work with me and that old fireplace mantel, no easy feat, and also discovered the house originally had a fireplace which was removed at some point.  We had hoped to use the old fireplace hearth, but we discovered, after some exploratory surgery on the wall, the old hearth had been bricked in and the cost to reopen and redo the chimney because of new building codes would be prohibitive...

And after meeting with fireplace experts, exploring all the options, I decided the easiest route would be to put in a high tech electric fireplace. Work began last week.

I'm very pleased with the results and I think Bob would be too!

I just wish he were here to see it....

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wedding Bands

I took Bob's and my wedding band to a local jeweler and had them cleaned, re-antiqued and fitted together as one band. Picked them up today.

The picture does not do it justice!  Had trouble photographing it because it sparkles so much now that it is cleaned up!

I am very happy with the results and plan to wear them on my wedding ring finger, regardless of what people say --- because I am still married to him......

Friday, October 14, 2016


Mornings are still the hardest.  It's not so much the waking up, but the putting one's feet on the floor. It still hits me. The house is so quiet. Another day without Bob begins.

I used to feel his spirit here. I don't anymore. It's as though he has abandoned me, again.

The mornings now are cool. A crispness in the air. This was always my favorite time of the year.

I am trying.  I talk to my shrink every other month, my therapist every other week, they both say it is "too early" and the grieving process is a long one. They both say it takes time, years, to recover from such a loss.

I go out with my widow friends, also some other friends, though sometimes I decline, especially when music and drinking are involved. I find I have no tolerance for a party.

Sometimes I wish it was back in the Victorian days, where a widow wore black for years and everyone understood and treated her with respectful distance.

I still have days where I don't leave the house, keep the shades drawn.

Mornings are for crying. I am surprised when it hits --- and I shouldn't be, because it always hits me in the morning.

This week, I took our wedding bands to a jeweler. I'm having them resized, fitted together, so I can wear them as one ring.

My hands feel naked without them.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bracing for Wind

Hurricane Matthew will be pummeling the east coast of Florida beginning tonight, fortunately we are on the other side of the state and expecting only a "wind event" with tropical storm force winds.

It's scary to think what the folks on the other side of the state are dealing with....  Last time we had a hurricane come through our area, Bob and I boarded up the house. Don't what I'd do without Bob's help and this new house has no boards/etc.

Prayers to fellow Floridians on the east coast.

Me, I'll be tucking away anything "flyable" in the yard and porches! Hoping power stays on and trees stay standing!

And certainly missing Bob, feeling so alone, more than ever at times like this.....

Friday, September 23, 2016

Four Widows in a Cinderella Carriage

OK, we all may have lost our Prince Charmings, but that doesn't mean we can't go for the carriage ride!
This pic taken on Sept. 16th.
Fellow widows from the last grief group treated me to dinner in honor of my & Bob's wedding anniversary
and afterwards, I treated them to the carriage ride.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Favorite Poem

This poem has always been one of my favorites, for long time, since I was teenager. It was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1849 in honor of his wife after she died. It's been on my mind lately. Now, meaning more, than ever.  Thought I'd share:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
my beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
and bore her away from me
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we --
Of many far wiser than we;
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee
And so, all the night tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
In the sepulchre there by the sea
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

My favorite line from this poem has always been
"we loved with a love that was more than love."
As a young woman, I thought that was the most romantic thing I'd ever read.
And wondered if I'd ever have that kind of love.

And then I met Bob and knew I had found the "love that was more than love"
And now he's dead, the whole poem rings so true.

And now I need to find the way to write something as beautiful in memory of Bob and the love we shared.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Freak Accident

So I have this antique railing, that we've had for years, and it's quite heavy and seven feet long and I had it leaning against the fence near the pool....

On Tuesday, Kona and I were in the pool and Kona, of course, was playing with her tennis balls when one ball rolled behind the antique railing and Kona went to get it....

Before I knew what was happening, Kona stuck her head between the bars on the railing and her head got stuck. In her attempt to free herself, she backed up, taking the antique railing still caught around her neck with her and she toppled backward into the deep end of the pool, railing still stuck on her neck.

I was there, of course, saw the whole horrifying surreal moment, as if in slow motion. I dived immediately into the deep end and will never forget the image of Kona caught under the railing, pinned to the pool floor, motionless.

I dived but failed to reach the railing.

I dived again, failed again.

By then, I was freaking. Panicking. Wanting to cry out for help, realizing there was no one but me, so I dived again.

And this time, the third time, I managed to reach the railing and somehow pull it up by one end but Kona's head was still stuck in the seven foot long iron rail and there was no way I was going to get her and the heavy rail to the surface of the pool when suddenly she sprang to life, kicking away, and my underwater vision was just a blur of flailing blonde legs and bubbles. And me, underwater, holding onto that rail for dear life.

Kona somehow managed to extract herself. I saw her ascend, as if some force pulled her upward.

And she popped to the surface.

And I dropped the rail and surfaced and watched Kona swim to the edge of the pool and climb out.  Shaken, but unscathed.

Jeepers. She nearly drowned that afternoon.  I nearly had a heart attack.

After assuring myself that Kona was okay, I now had the problem of a seven foot long railing lying on the bottom of the deep end of the pool.

Took me awhile, and some ingenious maneuvering with a garden hoe, to get thing up again and I propped it, ladder-like against the side of the pool, climbed out and managed to lever it out. Yesterday, a friend helped me move the darn thing to the other side of the house, far far from the pool.

Kona is fine. She's on antibiotics, in case she got salt water in her lungs.

Mom (me), on the other hand, has many bruises on my knees and legs and sore muscles and feels rather like I've been beat up or run over by a truck and I am still pretty shook up.... but I am also very grateful that Kona survived.

I don't think I could have handled it if she had not.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Guest House Renovation

I tell you, this grieving process is not easy and I am still having a hard time of it -- so been trying to keep busy on a few projects, one being renovating the guest house (Chris' old apartment). The apartment is fairly small, but bigger than an efficiency, what they call (here in Florida) a "mother-inlaw suite" and consists of one bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen/living area combined. Sort of a small motel suite size.

The project is nearly completed now, just waiting for some new windows to be installed. Here's some before and after pics:

The cupboards were painted, but note the pealing paint left hand lower corner. So my
first project was going to be to repaint the cabinets.
But when I attempted to sand the pealing paint, the paint came off in sheets!


Turns out whoever painted these cabinets painted over Formica....
The floors were also in bad shape, old linoleum pealing up in spots, uneven in others...

So I ended up stripping all the cabinets down to the original Formica and installing new bamboo floors.
Really makes a BIG difference.....
Soon I'll be ready to entertain guests! So make your reservations now!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Big Storm

So after several days of rain, finally Hurricane Hermine made landfall to the north of us. We were not in the direct path, but on the "sweet side" (as I heard someone call it) which basically means we got a lot of rain. And I mean A LOT.

Eighteen inches along our coast.  Ten inches or so here in our neighborhood.  Lots of flooding, lots of trees down. We had wind gusts of 65 mph. Water restrictions from the city: i.e. don't do laundry, dishwashers, showers (yes, showers!) as our sewage system was overloaded from all the rain water.  I had to drain the pool four times as it was overflowing. I sandbagged the garage apartment door. The main house is on piers so it's a couple feet off the ground, but the guest house is on a concrete slab, maybe an inch or two off the ground.

Then our neighborhood lost power last night for four hours. Scary. In the dark. Rain and wind.  Thunder rumbling in the distance like some monstrous beast approaching.

And lonely.

I used to love storms when Bob was alive. I used to feel so safe, knowing we were all under the same roof, together (Bob, me, Boomer, Zenith and Ripley).  Now it's just sort of spooky with no one to talk to, no one's hand to hold.

I spent a lot of time crying these past few days.

Still raining today, off and on, with the feeder bands --- local TV station is still on "fear-plex" mode, you know, all day all storm coverage.

But the house is OK, just a few small limbs down in the yard. Kona, Ripley and I are safe and sound. So that I am thankful for....

I just wish I could quit crying so much.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wilbur Flies Again

Years ago, Bob found a vintage flamingo whirligig in an antique shop for $6.00. He named it "Wilbur" and Wilbur has been with us for the many trials and tribulations since then.

Wilbur was first installed on the balcony of our apartment:

Here's Wilbur decked out with a Christmas Bow with Bob

Wilbur then went on to become the mascot of my antique mall booth which was called "Diane's Florida Room":

And Bob even made him this (now rather faded) promotional sign:

After I closed my mall booth, Wilbur became an "inside bird" mounted in the bathroom of our old bungalow.  Unfortunately, he suffered many mishaps along the way, including on our move here-- yet another broken wing (the other wing had been broken, Bob had repaired it before):

Which try as I might, I could not seem to repair....

Then, I found a guy on e-bay who makes whirligigs and after a few emails back and forth, he offered to make Wilbur a new set of wings, which I just got this week.

Though unfortunately in the process of trying to install Wilbur on the porch, he suffered a severe fall and was decapitated.Yikes! ( I didn't take a picture of this -- it was too awful --- sorry)

I thought all was lost, but I finally managed to perform a successful neckectomy and glue him back together and also glue him to the post that Bob had made for him (had to do this because weirdly he didn't seem to fit anymore which is why he fell head-first on the deck) then got him all connected with the swivel gizmo that Bob concocted, into which the post fits, and found a clamp to secure him to the deck rail and now,Wilbur ("Our Guardian Flamingo Whirlygig") once again flies at The Pink House!

Wilbur's new wings! On our deck at the new Pink House

Bob would be pleased. And so am I.

Monday, August 8, 2016


I woke up again with rain beating on roof, it's the second, maybe third day in a row. This weather reminds of the weather after Bob died when it felt like the world was weeping with me.

My mood matches the weather. A sort of Edgar Allan Poe's single effect theory in action. I am gloomy as the sky.

For a long time, I have been afraid to blog my feelings. Afraid of -- what? Barbed wire comments. Nasty people. Bob's family comes to mind. They never liked me, never understood him. And grief is so personal.

At night, I sit on the back porch and watch the rain, telephone beside me, hoping for a friendly call that does not come.

It is so lonely here.

The guest house is now empty of Chris' things.

Yesterday, Bubba stopped by to drop of Bob's tools. The red metal toolbox from The Green Machine, the one we always carried in the trunk in case the car broke down. Funnels and rags and buckets for oil changes and checking the fluid levels. An empty gas can. The car jack that we once used to lift an antique cupboard up the wall. The green plastic Hawaiin lei that he had hung over the rear view mirror. So many memories there.

These things brought me to tears.

I had Bubba put everything in the garage -- I'll deal with it later. So I say. Even as Bob's clothes are still in the closet and in the drawers and the shorts he was to wear the day he died are still folded, waiting for him, on the bedroom trunk.....

Some days are worse than others. The rain does not help....

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Second Visit with a Medium

So, I thought I was ready to go back to medium, have a conversation Bob. And I'd been thinking about this for a while and finally made an appointment and saw her yesterday.

I actually made a point of dressing up, wearing a sundress, putting on makeup, as if Bob and I had an actual date! Which we did -- at least I hoped.

The session got off to a rocky start, the medium having trouble "connecting" with Bob. Finally, she said she had made the connection and described his piercing blue eyes.

Then he told her that he was very concerned about me, that I was too sad, too depressed and needed to get it over it and be happy again and go with life and even date other men! And I thought whoa--
This was not what I expected to hear.

And I felt like I was disappointing Bob.

I felt like he was mad at me!

And then, I thought, well, is this really him she's "talking" to ??? Because the other thing she mentioned was that he was "bowling" up there (over there) on the other side. Yes, bowling, with a ball and lanes and making strikes, that kind of bowling. And I thought --- BOWLING? BOB? That didn't sound like him at all.

So I said to the medium that I needed more proof. She actually she told me if I wasn't satisfied, the session would be free --- so she tried again, asking Bob for some "proof".

I could see her concentrating, "listening" to him, and she says, he really liked my cooking. And I'm thinking that's pretty general and could apply to anyone but then she is concentrating again and says "Oh! that's terrible! that's just horrible!" and I'm thinking--what?

And she says, he tells me to tell you that he couldn't eat, that he actually had a tube --- some kind of tube in his tummy and that's how he ate.

And I'm thinking -- oh.

And she continues and tells me that he says he remembers when he couldn't talk at all, and you and he had to communicate through your eyes....


She continues and tells me that he says you are a wonderful wife and you took very good care of him and you did it out of love, not obligation, not because you had too but because you loved him so much. And you took really good care of him and all those years he never had a bedsore because you took such good care of him. And he wants me to know he really appreciates that.

And he says that he's happy I chose to marry him because at first, I was very stubborn and didn't want to get married. And he's happy he convinced me to marry him because I was the love of his life.

And he went on to tell me that he is sad that we had so many plans and now he isn't there with me to finish those plans, but he loves the house and loves the landscaping.

And he says that "life over here" is not what he expected, not at all what he was taught in school. (Bob grew up Catholic.)

And he still loves me, unconditionally. Never wanted to hurt me. Feels bad that I am still hurting. Wants me to be happy, to go on with life and that we will meet again. And, also,  I should write my book and be sure to have it published in HARD COPY and NOT just electronically!

And then he signs off. I'm thinking, okay, I guess that was him after all!

The medium tells me that Bob is "an old soul" and that he will not return to earth, and neither will I -- that this is my last time on this plane, and when I pass I will meet up with him and we will spend the rest of eternity together....

And when I'm preparing to leave, the medium tells me about Chris. She says that Chris and I were sisters, in a past life, and we lived in Germany during WWII. That Chris died during the war and was immediately reincarnated, but I lived a long life.  And that is why we had such a fond affection for each other in this life....

And I thought funny, that, because Chris' daughter always says, "You guys were like sisters." And Chris was born in 1942....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby Steps

So, this past month I actually went out for an evening (dinner and music) which is something I haven't done in I can't even remember how long --- this was with my new "widows group" -- four of us from the last grief group I attended.  It was one of the widow's first wedding anniversaries without her hubby and we wanted to do something special for her.

Problem was that she wanted to go to a place that was about 40 miles away and involved going over the very scary Skyway Bridge (popular suicide jump bridge) and it would be at night, in the dark!, coming home and I am not particularly fond of night driving even when a scary bridge is not involved! Heck, I am not particularly fond of driving on that bridge during the day.

So, I said I'd go if someone else would drive.

The original plan was for all of us to meet at one spot and then Peggy would drive us all, but I was worried about getting to the pick-up place because of the night driving thing and so another widow offered to pick me up at home and bring me with her.  I know this is part of my neurotic behavior since Bob passed, but... after we made that plan, another widow also did not want to drive to the pick-up spot and OK, good!  I'm not the only neurotic here!

So it went down like this:  Linda came to my house (close to hers) and Candy picked us both up here and drove us out to the pick-up spot where Peggy picked us up! It was like musical cars -- but it worked.

I was also so darn anxious about this whole thing -- making sure my mom and dad had all contact numbers in case something happened to us and we (4 widows) went over the edge of the bridge or something equally bad and wanted to make sure my parents would contact my vet to pick up Kona (and feed Ripley and the fish, yes I still have Chris' fish) if I was dead or hospitalized....

Well, nothing happened. We made it there fine, had a good dinner, listened to the band playing and got home just fine. All that worry for nothing.

But funny, I wasn't the only one in this group who was anxious. Turned out one of the other widows contacted her neighbor to "make sure" her car came home that night and to make sure the neighbor had her contact numbers if the car didn't show up! She had also seen two hearses earlier that day and thought it was some creepy sign...

It's nice to know that grief does this stuff to other people too.

My therapist/shrink said it was good to confront fears like this -- and soon I'll be able to do such things without freaking out. We'll see....

Then yesterday, I replaced the shower head in the bathroom. Now, I know that isn't a big deal, but I had been putting this off and off because I was afraid I'd mess it up somehow.  I am pretty good with a paint brush, or refinishing, or even rebuilding a screen window or rewiring an outlet, but anything to do with plumbing gives me the creeps.

We've had a long standing problem with the bathroom shower.  It does not have much pressure.  Thus, the tankless water heater doesn't respond very well when it's turned on.   This has been a long ongoing problem, even when the contractor was working on our house and his plumber could not seem to fix it.  So you have to wait and wait for hot water and lately it had gotten so bad that the only way I could get hot water in the shower was to also turn the hot water in the bathroom faucet on.  I've been doing that for months.

And I was thinking maybe it was a problem with the shower head.  I was thinking I should replace it. And I finally got the gumption to do so yesterday and bought a powerful shower head (the highest GPM I could find) and, you know, it took 15 minutes (not even) to take the old shower head off and get the new one on and this morning I took the most luxerious HOT pounding shower ever in that bathroom!  I did it -- stupidly waited forever but I finally did it!  And to think, the plumber couldn't figure this one out.

I know these are just baby steps --- but it's a start and it's amazing how grieving can destroy one's confidence. And I still miss Bob so very very much.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bob's Pool

One of the things that Bob had wanted, and I wanted for him, was a therapy pool.  It was one of the things on my list when looking for a new house -- either a house with a pool or room to put one in.  It was also something I had spoken about to our attorney during our mediation i.e: enough money for a house with a pool.

I had always heard such good things about aqua therapy for stroke survivors, but, unfortunately, the one place in town that offered aqua therapy would not accept Bob into the program because he was incontinent.

And that's why I wanted Bob to have his very own pool (to pee in! ha) along with a wheelchair lift device, and I'd priced all these things out including a private therapist willing to work with him. And that was the plan which was approved by his trust fund.

Of course, everyone knows what happened to that plan.

I have spent a long time debating what to do with pool plan and the money set aside by the trust for this project.  After talking with our realtor (who assured me it was an investment and would increase value of the house) and other folks, I finally decided, I would go ahead with our plan even though Bob will only be able to enjoy it in spirit.

And perhaps it would do me some good, to continue with our plan for our house, and once finished, it would provide "therapy" for me.

They started excavating earlier this year in what was basically a dirt and weedy backyard:

The pool is a small pool, and it's "eco-friendly", i.e. salt water and solar heated.  Bob would be pleased.  In fact, these "in process" photos make me feel he approves:


Since I didn't need to put in a wheelchair lift or a heat pump, I was able to splurge a little on adding water features and "dog friendly" sun shelf.

I am so glad I went through with this project, it has brought real joy into my life for the first time since Bob passed away.  I swim every day and do aqua aerobics.  It's a great stress reliever and Kona loves it, too.

Just finished the final touch -- landscaping!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


For a long time, after Bob died, I sort of crawled in hole and hid.  Then I decided that I needed to follow Bob's advice (through the medium) to "make our house a home" and finish the improvements that Bob and I had planned.

Just finished landscaping the side yard which used to look like this:

Which was pretty much just dirt and weeds. And now looks likes this:

The bare area is ground cover (just starting) and should fill up!

Planted Peace Lillies and Lady Palms along the sides, patio area by the fence,
need to get a table and some chairs!
Wood fence separates the guest house (Chris' old apt) from the main house. 

Entrance to side yard

Pet Memorial Corner
my meditation spot

Sunday, July 10, 2016