Grief ~ Death of a Spouse

Today would be my late husband’s birthday.  Ray Uhler 5/18/1948 ~ 9/18/2007.  Here he is, when we were very young:

My Ray is the tall, blond guy.  It’s a promo picture for the play Hair (Los Angeles).  Ray played the part of Woof.

Ray was much more than an actor/singer/songwriter.  He was a gifted carpenter and spent most of his life as a residential remodeling contractor.   

He was my husband, my best friend, and a devoted father to our son.  He could come home from an arduous day on one of his construction sites, sweep me off my feet while I was cooking dinner, dance me around the house, dance me back into the kitchen, and help me finish cooking dinner.  Then he spent time with our son, reading and playing games.

Today is his birthday.  People tell me I should be over it after the 2-1/2 years since his passing.  I’m not over it.  Yes, I take care of our son (he was just accepted to UCLA and UC-Berkeley), take care of business, keep a clean house, have lunch with friends, even have taken a couple of vacations.

I have zero interest in dating.  I will never marry again.  Of course, those people have never lost a spouse, never lost their best friend.  Yes, I still grieve.  Especially today.  I don’t grieve all day every day, but I grieve today.

Personally, I think that’s healthy.


Happy Mother’s Day ~ Best Mother’s Day Surprise


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there.  I hope you had a lovely day with family and friends.

Yellow roses were one of my Mother’s favorite flowers.  She passed on a few years ago at the young age of 79.  She was one of my best friends.  I miss her terribly.  Her name was Ellen.

This was the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in many years since my husband became ill and passed away a few years ago.  My son always writes me a letter every year, buys a lovely card and some grocery store flowers (all he can afford … he just turned 20).  Don’t get me wrong; I have always loved the heart he put into Mother’s Day as a teenager, especially after what happened to his Father.  This year, he cooked up a surprise.  With some help.

He announced at 9:00 A.M. this morning that guests were coming over and I should be ready to go to brunch by 11:00 A.M.  He wouldn’t tell me who was coming or where we were going.  I assumed it would be the gang of college kids who practically live here, with whom he studies, and who don’t live close to their mothers or grandmothers.

My apartment is usually a wreck … college kids eating and studying and making a mess.  Still, he wouldn’t tell me who was coming, and I got nervous.  Quickly made a quick clean up of the front of the apartment.  I actually did the 5 minute face of make-up instead of the 1 minute face of lotion and chapstick.  Put on the most decent clothes I have that were actually clean.

I figured these kids could pool enough money for brunch, but that it probably wouldn’t be a fancy restaurant, so I went sorta dressy casual clothes-wise.

Then, a bit of panic set in.  I thought:  What if it isn’t just the kids?  What if a parent comes?  Am I going to be embarrassed that kids study all over the place and it’s not immaculate?  Finally, I had to let it go and let it be.

Then, the “guests” came.  There have been a lot of deaths in my family during the last 5 years.  We get together for funerals and depressing things.  Then we drift away.  Today, members of my family came from different parts of the state.  My 20 year-old son certainly didn’t get this together by himself.  My cousin really got it together.

I opened my apartment door, and family members that I didn’t expect to see walked in.  We went to a sushi restaurant that my son planned.  We also went to a great place for awesome chocolate.  We laughed.  We took pictures.  We hugged and kissed each other.

It was a beautiful Mother’s Day.  The best I’ve had since I can’t remember.

Moral of this story?  A big family can go through years of  living physically away from each other, illness, death, raising teenagers, getting a little disconnected for a time.  At the end of the day, we are family.  We ROCK.

Anyway.  I’m a happy Mom today.  I so love my son.  I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.  I love my family.  I am a blessed woman today.

I hope every mother on the planet had at least a little something that made her heart sing.  I know a lot of mothers didn’t have a lovely experience like I did.

I love you all, ladies.

Bragging on My Homeschooled Kid

UPDATE: The “biggest” school my son was accepted to is UC-Berkeley. He will enter as a Junior. Not bad. Anybody reading this blog who has a bone to pick with homeschooling or, on the other hand, want to know how we did it … leave a comment or email me.

~ Back to the original post ~

My son just got accepted to every university he applied to. Needless to say, I am a very proud mother.

His father and I took him out of public school mid-way through 6th grade. We homeschooled him. His father passed away, suddenly, when he was 16. We kept on keeping on.


Happy Birthday, Lucianne Goldberg

Lucianne Goldberg’s website is the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read at night.

Today is her birthday.

Happy Birthday!s

Thank you for the work you have done.  Thank you for giving me and others this beautiful salon.

I wish you many more decades of a beautiful life.

Speaking from experience, I can exhuberantly say that turning 50 isn’t the end of the world.  Oh, wait.  You’re 40, right?  30?  ROCK ON, Mrs. G.

Congrats and thanks from a long-time LDotter.

I would post-up Mrs. G’s pancake recipe, but I can’t find it right now.  If you’re an LDotter, you probably have it.

History of Earth Day ~ Local Food & Juicing

Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson. Senator Nelson pitched the idea of Earth Day to President John Kennedy in the early 1960’s. President Kennedy liked the idea and embarked on a 5-day, 11-state tour with Nelson in September of 1963, but the idea didn’t gain national attention. Senator Nelson didn’t give up, and wrote about the journey that eventually culminated in the first big Earth Day in 1970.

Before I continue, there are a few things you should know about me:

I recycle, take canvas bags or bags made of recycled materials when I shop (even to Macy’s), buy food produced locally, organically, humanely when I can.

I am a carnivore, think Al Gore is a money-grubbing hypocrite, shake my head at those who think the science is settled. I don’t own a pair of Birkenstock shoes. I don’t drive a hybrid.

Anyway … I am also a big supporter of buying food locally. I like spending my food budget buying from local, family, organic farms. I live in a climate that makes it pretty easy. Think you can’t do that because of your climate? Think Again!

I went to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market yesterday. Bought: beets, carrots, blood oranges, purple asparagus, spinach, arugula, herbs. Total cost? About $15. Supported local, family farms. Did not contribute to “man-made global warming” in buying produce flown in from another country.

Roasted the purple asparagus last night. Served it with lamb and a salad made from the greens I bought yesterday.

Today, I fired up the juicer and used some of the beets, oranges, and carrots. Here’s a link for you about juicing.

2 beets, washed & tops removed
2 oranges, peeled
4 carrots, washed

Fire up the juicer, put everything in, and enjoy.

EAT YOUR HISTORY (in this case, drink your history)

Los Angeles Tea Party

I attended the tea party held in front of Dianne Feinstein’s office in Los Angeles. Most of us estimated the crowd size at around 200. Not bad, considering this is in the heart of Henry Waxman’s district.

The tea party started at 5:30, smack in the middle of rush hour. (A drive to the location from my apartment normally takes about 5 minutes … this drive took 45 minutes, even though I tried my super secret back street routes.) Santa Monica Boulevard was packed with cars. I’d say a good 50% of the people that drove by were honking their horns, giving us the thumbs up. That really surprised me and gave me hope that finally we might have a shot at unseating Waxman.

I’m not the greatest photographer in the world, but did get a few good shots from my cell phone.

First, the crowd. There was another crowd across the street. Mostly college students.

Three students from Pepperdine University (I was able to introduce them to Ari David, who is running against Waxman in November.) They will hopefully work the campus for Ari.

My favorite:

Like I said, Ari David is running against Waxman. I met him several weeks ago at a street fair in Westwood. He impressed me, and I remain impressed. Please consider throwing some money his way. Ari David For Congress. Please at least visit his website. I also highly recommend you check him out on Facebook, which you can access from his website.

In all fairness, there is another man running to unseat Waxman. I met him at the tea party, too. He seems like a decent and intelligent man. For me, he was just a little too … hip, slick and cool. I’m tired of hip, slick and cool. His name is Robert Flutie.

What I’m Grateful For Today ~ Hawks

I walked onto the balcony of my apartment this morning and saw a hawk sitting on the roof of the apartment across the alley. Behold the California Red-Tailed Hawk:

My husband and I lived in a more rural part of Southern California until he passed away about 2 years ago. Had to sell our home and move our son and I into an apartment in Los Angeles. Love the city, but also miss the rural life. Seeing this hawk this morning, in the thick of the city, made my heart sing.

I am grateful for the many blessings.

PS These are not my original pictures as I didn’t have my camera with me at the time. These pictures, however, are exactly what I saw this morning. It was wonderful.