Thursday, December 6, 2018

November wrap up

This was a generally a fun month for us! Granddaughter and Hubby's birthdays a day apart, Thanksgiving with family and generally a cozy California month. It was also a month of further deterioration of my FIL's health (he is 92).

First 3 days: Tough start to the month. Hubby went over to his father's assisted living facility three times to consult with the hospice nurse, assisted living staff and his father after his Dad was found unresponsive twice. His level of care was increased. Hospice is great as is being close enough for DH to help manage care and be there to talk and listen.

On a happier note, our granddaughter loves planes and spots them in the sky before anyone else! Her 2nd birthday party has a female aviator theme and we get to make 150 paper airplanes that will be part of some yet unexplained decor installation. DIL is a non-profit fundraiser and does lots of events and has the best ideas. So on the hunt for red and tan printer paper to fold into planes

Week 1: My father-in-law died Sunday morning at the age of 91 so this week is about arrangements, family support and change. The fires in S. Cal started on Thursday. We evacuated ourselves and dog on Thursday evening to our son and DIL's house in Pasadena so we could be sure to make the funeral on Friday and not have problems due to road closures. The funeral was touching and a celebration of his life. About 10 people couldn't make it because of the fires but the rest of us gathered afterwards at my BIL's house. We went home Saturday to find out the fires had come close to our community but stopped on the other side of a wide dry creek bed. 10 fires trucks were lined up ready to act though. The assisted living facility where my FIL lived was under mandatory evacuation. What a week.

Week 2: It has been all about Pet Club meetings and to do items, finally getting back into FIL's apartment to do some more clearing out work, and then heading to Berkeley for our granddaughter's 2nd birthday party. Nice to turn our minds to happy family gatherings.

Week 3: Way fun to spend time with an almost 2 year old. Singing silly songs, marching around and much more. All the time indoors because the wildfires in N Cal made the air quality awful. The birthday party was a success. Many more paper airplanes were made than were hung but it was really cute! There was even a toy plane cake topper.

Then back home to  get ready to host Thanksgiving dinner. I am extremely thankful that you can buy a cooked turkey, side dishes and pie from Whole Foods and just go pick it up! That way we have salad, scalloped potatoes and an apple crisp coming with guests so all we had to do was clean, make snacks for before dinner and buy wine and beer.

To wrap up this week we finished emptying my FIL's assisted living apartment and may get a partial month refund of his fee to add to his estate. In the end we were able to find people who wanted most of the furniture and decorative items, donated bath/kitchen items and clothing and then had the rest hauled away on Saturday.

Week 4: It only took 19 months after our move, but we now have our CD player, receiver and speakers set up in the living room! Old technology but good quality. The table holding the TV in the den now holds them and a cabinet from my FIL's holds the TV. I have my music again. Now to figure out how to turn on wi-fi on the TV we brought home from FIL's and see if we can stream movies to it.

Hope your November had lots of happy moments.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Gifting - Tis the season

So far so good on this year's attempt to gift what the recipients will really enjoy without overwhelming them with stuff or slavishly following their list LOL.

The deer ornament I sent our 2 year old granddaughter looked a lot like this one but was standing up and had antlers. I hear it was a big hit, got hung on the tree immediately and is pointed at when she passes by LOL. Little gifts for a little girl is my theme for her this year and I am spacing them out and avoiding Christmas day totally. Next up is a fleece type top with a sparkly "little pony"  on the front and sparkle tights. Legos, llamas, "Little Ponies", singing and tubas are her current passions.

It is her Mom's birthday today and I did go for buying from her list for this occasion. A gift card to a clothing shop as I am not there to have the fun of shopping with her. A joint gift for her and our son is going in the mail soon with an open me now tag.

Our local son and DIL have asked to scale back to stocking type gifts/consumables so I am filling a Christmas gift bag with those types of things and having fun shopping for them. I haven't figured out what to do for this son's January 3rd birthday though. How can it be that he will be 48?

Are you having fun with gift planning, making and/or purchasing this year? Hope you are!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Holiday Mini-Bucket List

My Holiday Mini-Bucket List:

1. Cook new things! I have 3 social events that call for bringing food and have found 3 new recipes to try. So look for photos and reviews of white chip cranberry blondies, honey balsamic carrots (for 30!), and mini dark chocolate pecan pies

2. Have fun shopping for gifts! I am filling large gift bags this year for each couple (sons and DILs) plus small gifts for our granddaughter. I want her to really enjoy a few things amidst the excess she will receive from extended family. So far I have sent her a deer ornament for her first tree as 3 deer visit her yard and she is enchanted by them as are all of us. The twin yearlings (does that apply to deer?) and their Mom hang out as the twins were born in the yard next door.

3. Enjoy the time with others at social events! So far I have 2 club parties and Christmas at son and DIL's.

4. Get out and enjoy the seasonal events and decor! Not sure what this will involve, but want to do it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Out of my Comfort Zone: Trying small new things in November

Thanks to Leslie for setting up this link and for being brave and sharing a very difficult situation that she is currently dealing with.

There was no planning involved in these, but they were small stretches out of my comfort zone for me.

I got a temporary gold tattoo on my forearm at my Granddaughter's birthday party. Very appropriately it says "Lets Party" and is still there just a bit.

I bought dried persimmons from a vendor at my local Saturday Farmer's Market. Hubby doesn't like them but I like the subtle flavor that only appears once you chew well. Sort of a fruit leather texture. You can see the seeds and beautiful interior design of the fruit. I'm enjoying them one at a time.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Wow that was a month! Now to get back on track without getting bored.

Last night I fell asleep at 8:30 and slept until 5:30 this morning. Tired physically and emotionally after the ups and downs of the month so far. So glad there were the happy times to balance out.

In summary:

11/4 - My 91 year old FIL died with Hubby holding his hand.
11/5 - We started dealing with his apartment, funeral arrangements, financial items, etc.
11/8 - The S Cal fire nearest us started and we left home to stay with our son and DIL. Good evacuation decision making and packing practice.
11/9 - My FIL's funeral and the family gathering after which was very nice
11/10 - We came back home after the fire moved away from our development
11/15 - We briefed the dog sitter and then drove to Berkeley and gave ourselves plenty of breaks including a walk on the Pismo Beach pier and lunch at the Honeymoon Cafe where we usually stop with the dog.
11/16 - Babysat an almost 2 year old granddaughter as her day care closed due to the N Cal fire air quality issues
11/17 - Helped set up for 2 year old's birthday party
11/18 - Said party
11/19 - Drove home and dog was happy to see us but had also made friends with the sitter - yeah!
11/20 - Vet for monthly treatment, laundry & groceries for us and Thanksgiving dinner
11/21 - Cleaned house, prepped for overnight guests & made birthday dinner for Hubby. He played pickleball and then went to Whole Foods and picked up the precooked turkey and side dishes.
11/22 - Thanksgiving which was very nice
11/23 - Hung out with guests (son and DIL). Went to FIL's apartment to remove a cabinet we are keeping and send other furniture off with others. More was able to be passed on than we had anticipated - yeah.
11/24 - Farmer's market with guests & cleaned house. DH finished emptying FIL's apartment, turned in the keys and paperwork, and brought home 4 large boxes of photos.
11/25 - Laundry, sorted and shredded FIL's papers, & did some furniture rearranging and setting up of CD player - yeah for music on demand.

Notice there is no exercise listed as I rarely made it to yoga or did my at home version. There was some dog walking, lots of housework and event prep, lots of standing, lots of eating and lots of wine LOL. Books read were of the mindless cozy mystery kind and not very many.

So it was a lovely family filled month. A month of new memories. A sad month. A scary month. An unusual month. We managed some good laughs along the way and talked quite a bit about our parents who are all gone now.

I am hoping to use this last week of November to reset a bit to a new, albeit temporary, normal.

Yoga is a priority and I have it down for 2 days a week. Longer walks with the dog too. Perhaps even revisit the gym?

I should take a wine hiatus. I didn't drink at all for over 2 years back in my mid 50's after I suffered acute heart failure. I'm fine now but just mentioning that the will power is there.

I have 2 commitments in December plus family Christmas, but am going to put off the larger issues of transitioning the Pet Club leadership and trying to sell the Women's Club parlor grand player piano until after New Year's.

So I have to make a hot vegetable side dish for 30 people for the December Women's Club luncheon. Any ideas??? I'm thinking some kind of glazed carrots?

Then there is the Pet Club Holiday Dinner Party. It is rather like herding cats at the moment but there is a team on it. Again some cooking - 3 dozen cookies. No decision here yet.

Christmas is pretty low key. First there is a DIL's birthday gift to sort - must get son to send some ideas. Then there is the rest but we are all simplifying. We will exchange stocking stuffer gifts with the local son and DIL on Christmas morning and attend their Christmas Eve dinner. Probably sleep over too. The other son & DIL will be down for New Year's and to see the Rose Parade so we will exchange small gifts with them and our granddaughter on New Year's Day.

Whew, I feel better getting that all out!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Talking with middle age children about our and their finances

Both Hubby and I were very fortunate that our parents were totally open with us about their finances and set up revocable trusts with their children as co-trustees. That meant there were no worries about their financial situation while they were alive and easy execution of their estates - or so far easy in terms of my FIL's as it is not done but progressing as anticipated.

They never asked about our finances though so we felt free to talk to them without judgement and we have tried to follow the same pattern with our sons. As a result it all gets talked about with no drama.

This weekend was no exception. My newly married 47 year old son and DIL asked how we organized our finances (joint accounts or separate) and how we tracked and budgeted for our household. They are quite experienced tracking their investments in rental properties and their side business but are looking at how, or if, to totally merge their personal finances. Since my since son organizes and processes information pretty much the same way I do, it was nice to be able to share the Excel spreadsheet I set up for tracking income and expenses and have used and tweaked for years. That led to a discussion of how much we are needing to live on and how we have our savings invested now that we are both retired and on Medicare.

I do love this ongoing openness and sharing.

I know not all families can sit and have a calm and interested discussion of these things and feel really blessed with both my son's maturity, sense of responsibility and calm emotional states when it comes to money. I'll take a tiny smidgen of credit for that, but it really is all to their credit as they have both deliberately created the lives they want and their way of dealing with others to match their values, personalities and goals. Thank goodness they are also care about our well-being financial and otherwise.

Lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

I hope you are feeling loved and thankful too.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

To each and all of you and your loved ones whether you live in the US and celebrate or are waking to a normal day.

We will spend the day with some family and are thankful to live near them so we can do so.