Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wild Wild West

Friday, here in the Inland Empire was like the Wild West. The Santa Ana Winds came through hot and heavy.


Checking the patio Christmas decorations for damage the next morning, I found things in pretty good shape.

The wind dislodged the outdoor rug, one of the drums was leaning, but things were otherwise in good shape.

Foot feeling better every day, the Santa Anas not too bad, I decided to venture out Saturday, to gather PokéBalls at the university, because I’m heading to Long Beach next weekend and want to make sure my backpack is fully loaded to capture new and different Pokémon.

Heading towards the car in its parking space, I saw tumbleweeds had made it over the gate, into the parking area.

And had piled up outside the gate.

Driving to the campus, I found myself singing a song from my childhood John Wayne movie watching days I'd not thought of since age 13. Surprisingly, I remembered every word.

There were no tumbleweeds on campus, but a rather large tree branch was blocking stairs.

Too cold to be out on campus for long, I headed for home just as the foot began to tell me I’d been out walking on it long enough.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Heading to the Community Room, via the front doors yesterday, I was met by this cherry fellow.

Immediately behind Santa, was Tree No. 1

When I first saw this tree, it was in the process of being decorated by a non-resident volunteer.

How’d they rope her in?

The non-resident is the daughter of a man who’s lived here 17 years.

In chatting with her, while she decorated, I learned her dad’s MS has gotten progressively worse.

I use to see her dad out and about in his motorized wheelchair and, a year and a half ago, he was capable enough to try to climb stairs to woo a female resident. The female resident said she’d heard a commotion on her stairs, looked out, saw him struggling to get to the top and told him to get down before he hurt himself.

“I just wanna be your friend” said he.

As far as I know, becoming her “friend” never happened, but I can’t say for sure and don't want to know.

At any rate, daughter says his arms are no longer strong enough to maneuver the chair, he’s taken to bed and won’t get up.

Her dad sounds depressed.

It’s the time of year when seniors get that way, and fear and dread of the coming year with that giant orange guy as potus isn’t helping the situation.

You’ll notice I lower-cased potus. That’s because I refuse to honor him with the proper all uppercase spelling.

So anyway, it may be daughter has moved in to provide full time care, rather than her usual in/out to provide groceries, do laundry. Maybe volunteering to decorate one of our trees is a much needed break from it all.

I should feel bad about not wanting to volunteer myself, but I don’t … not in the least. But I think the Universe is trying to tell me something because posted to our doors yesterday was the December Calendar of Events.

First event was today 10:00 to 12:00 — Class: The Value of Volunteering.

I’ve things to do today but went down to see what the speakers had to say.

Walking through the front entrance, it looked like yesterday’s Santa was now Drunk Santa.

The Community Room itself was very festive what with the tree resident volunteers decorated and various decorations around the room.

The Class was just the Activity Director distributing handouts outlining places to volunteer.

Also on the calendar are:

Friday, December 9 — Holiday Movie: Christmas Vacation (with snacks).

Snacks are probably popcorn.

One of my favorite food combinations are popcorn washed down with Starbucks coffee, so I’m in, but I’ll take my own gluten free microwave popcorn.

Friday, December 16 — Class: Holiday Traditions Around the World


Friday, December 23 — Holiday Lunch -- Supposedly with everything provided to us and raffle prizes.

I’ll give Activity Director another chance, but this better not be a fool me twice situation.

On tap for today ….
It's Tamale Time!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Santa’s Little Helpers

Working on the closet won out as yesterday’s activity and, in the process, I was able to let go of a few items I could not part with during previous efforts. I also found my minion goggles.

Once again, it was a situation of not putting items in their proper place.

After last year’s Halloween 5K in haunted Creek park, instead of putting the goggles with the costume, I’d evidently put them inside the minion backpack, which backpack went into a container in the far recesses of the closet and was promptly forgotten about until, after pulling out and weeding through all the other containers yesterday, I spied a container in the back and the minion backpack inside.

Deciding I no longer needed that particular backpack and could donate, something told me to look inside and voilá, there the goggles were.

I’d recently ordered replacement goggles, don’t like ‘em because they're glasses instead of goggles, so now that I have my original goggles back, I’ll stick the replacements in the backpack for the next owner – probably a child. It’s practically brand new, only used once, and is animated talk-n-play.

I’m still left with far too many containers holding far too much stuff – knickknacks, diet cookbooks, spiritual literature, clothing, cds, but this will to do until the next time I decide to weed out or find an organization interested enough to pick up for free -- but just the cookbooks and cds.

On the way to the mailbox in the afternoon, I walked past the door to the Community Room and was delighted to see a couple Santa’s Helpers had stepped in to handle the decorations.

There were actually four Helpers, doing quite a good job. So I’m off the hook on that one.

On tap for today is dropping off a couple pairs of high heels, boots, purses and that backpack at a donation center. While I’m out and about, since a lot of walking is not advisable, I’ll check for PokéStops in the area, drive to and collect balls from the car.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Uh uh, Noooo!

Now that everything that needs to be done is done, I’m having a hard time sitting still, not getting out walking, hunting Pokémon.

What’s holding me up is that stress fracture.

The left foot has been doing very well last few days. Walking around inside the unit, I don’t feel anything at all. Running errands outside on concrete and asphalt, I know it’s there because of a slight tenderness. After the agony felt after the Turkey Trot, I don’t want to go backwards in recovery, so I’m trying my best not to head to the campus today, park on the side street, walk to and around the university hitting up PokéStops – which I really need to do because I’m low on balls and because the Thanksgiving offer of double points ends in three days.

Of course I’ve that needlepoint project to distract me from rolling the dice, heading to the university. I’ve also a ton of recorded television programs needing to be viewed, and I’m also thinking about taking everything out of the closet, weeding out, reorganizing.

I can also head down to the Community Room, hang out with the folks, needlepoint and watch TV from there, but I’d rather walk and hurt myself than do that, because of what happened in the 2:00 Residents’/Management meeting we had yesterday afternoon.

The new Community Manager asked for volunteers to decorate for Christmas. I looked around to see who was responding to the request, saw no hands going up, but noticed a lot of folks looking at me.


No way was I volunteering.

Doing my patio was one thing, decorating the offices and the Community Room quite another.

Even after the meeting, as I was leaving, The Seer call my name, loudly, from clear across the room. I turned … “What?”

“Volunteer” she ordered.

“Uh uh, noooo”.

Someone will do it. I’m just gonna lay low until it’s done.

Also discussed in the meeting was a Cookie Swap for next month.

I’m in, but need to decide if I want to go through all the trouble of melted snowmen again or take the easy way out with Trader Joe’s slice and bake Ginger and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I did the slice and bake my first year here at the complex and the cookies went fast.

Cookie Swap 2012

Due to Nurse Ratched coming in and the demise of activities, there were no further cookie swaps until The Baker organized one last year. I made melted snowmen.

The snowmen were slow to go because folks were enthralled and opted to admire and take photos instead of scarfing down.

So, I dunno. Guess I’ll decide which to make closer to the date, but I’m leaning towards slice and bake.

Also brought to our attention at yesterday’s session was an upcoming event – a December 23rd Christmas Luncheon.

Speaking for the Activity Director, the Community Manager described the event as “everything is to be provided for you.”

Fool me once.

We just had the Thanksgiving fiasco which Activity Director indicated would be catered, everything provided, but ended up a turkey, no sides, with Activity Director shopping for instant mashed potatoes, canned gravy, and box cornbread mix minutes before the event was to start.

I’m skeptical, but we’ll see.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Stringing in the Rain

My inside space is my own again.

Christmas is outside, on the patio … where it belongs.

Up at 2:30 yesterday morning, I couldn’t handle sitting around all day, doing nothing -- because of the weather, when there were things needing to be done.

It wasn’t full on rain, just drizzling when -- at 8:00, I went out onto the patio and began stringing lights.

Neighbors walking through the quad were highly amused … “Ha ha, you’re stringing lights in the rain?”

“It’s only drizzling”, said I.

Once the lights were in place, I lit them up but didn’t see any shimmer. They looked like regular lights to me which, in all fairness may have been because it was daytime and the shimmer would have shown up at night. Either way, I wasn’t thrilled because one strand of 200 wasn’t giving me enough coverage.

Sorta reminds me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree … sparse; but no way was I spending an additional $100 for two more strands, so it was what it was, I’d live with it and moved on to setting up the gift boxes.

I opened the box containing the three white and gold and what do you know … stuffed down inside one of the three were my string lights.

That’s what happens when I don’t put things in their proper place.

I guess I was saving space last year by stuffing the lights inside the gift box, but not remembering I had done so threw me off this year.

At any rate, I no longer needed the shimmering lights so, patio decorations done by 9:30, it still only drizzling, I boxed them back up, put on my boots, rain jacket, grabbed an umbrella and returned the lights to Lowe’s, along with the Timer I thought would work better than my remote control thingy, but didn’t.

Stopping at the Dollar Tree in that area, I was finally successful, located and crossed off my list that birthday money card.

Gifting would be so much less complicated if everyone drank coffee and I could do all my shopping at Starbucks.

On the way back to the complex, the rain did come, but by then everything that needed to be done was done and I spent the remainder of the day relaxing on the couch, sipping coffee, watching the rain, enjoying everything in its proper place.

So go on and laugh yourselves silly dear neighbors. My seasonal work is done, yours yet to be. Maybe mine will draw in carole singers, as it did last year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It’s All About the Shimmer

Yesterday’s rain wasn’t long, but it was hard.

I’d manage to get my hair done, shop for the money birthday card – with no luck, pick up Christmas lights for the patio and was on the freeway headed back to the complex when the rain hit. And what hit was like a storm, drops coming down fast, hard, hitting the windshield with a thud that had me thinking it was hail; and there was wind, wind as equally aggressive as the hail sounding rain drops.

Awake at 2:30 this morning, for no good reason except that’s how it’s been (anywhere from 2:15 to 4:30) since the time change, I was anxious to get the day started but was thwarted first by having to wait until the rest of the world decided to get up and get going, and secondly unable to map out the day because everything is dependent upon whether today will be more rain or not.

Christmas lights having been purchased, I’m anxious to violate my lease agreement by attaching them to the patio railing and get the Christmas decorations out-of-my inside space.

That’s not gonna happen if it rains.

I also need to return a Timer to Lowe’s and do more searching for the money birthday card.

That too will not happen if it rains.

About those lights … I very nearly got out of Lowe’s with perfectly reasonably priced string lights that I could loop and drape on the railing to look like string lights, but dilly dallied around window shopping in the Christmas department and walked up on these …

Oh why not, thought I. It’s twice as much as I planned to pay for lights, but they’re pretty and as close to Disney as I’ll get before I leave this earth, because I refuse to pay $100 to stand in lines so long I don’t get to experience my money's worth of attractions.

Would you believe, in one of the memory albums, there are souvenirs from my last visit ... 19 years ago?

I spent all my time going through Small World over and over and over, and the Michael Jackson exhibit.

At any rate, while at the checkout stand, two girls from neighboring checkouts, having a lull in customers, sauntered over to converse with my cashier. One of the girls picked up the box, looked it over, said, “Hmmm. I wonder what makes it Disney?” (Because there no mouse ears and the lights look so similar to all the other lights in Lowe's).

“The price”, said I.

There was laughter all around, and a “Right, huh”.

Then my cashier picked up the box, examined more closely, said, “They shimmer. You’re paying for the shimmer honey.”

I didn’t even notice the lights are to shimmer, whatever shimmer is. I was hypnotized by the way they draped, got caught up in the moment, spent way too much and now am anxious to get them in place to determine if the shimmer is worth it enough not to exercise my option to return.

If it doesn't rain.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Struggle Was Real

Woke up this morning feeling like absolute crap. My stomach was upset from having ingested dressing and gravy at the potluck made not with the safe for me garbanzo bean flour, cassava flour or almond meal flour.

I brought my own homemade cranberry sauce, and thus avoided the deadly high fructose corn syrup, but rolled the dice, lost and paid the price for giving into the delicious two types of stuffing and two types of gravy, plus my foot hurt like crazy.

Limping through the unit, feeling sorry for myself, the plan for today was to wallow in my misery. But after breakfast, a couple tablespoons Milk of Magnesium, a warm bath, finding an old pair of sandals with soft cushiony padding to take the pressure off the foot, I was over it and ready to seize the sun-filled day – starting with a run by Starbucks and then tackling the Christmas stuff.

In order to get to the Christmas decorations, I had to first relocate storage cartons containing sewing/needlepoint supplies, scrapbooking supplies, cosplay outfits from the storage closet to the living room.

While those containers were cluttering up the living room, I decided to rest a little by going through and weeding out items no longer needed.

Wasn’t much, but I did manage to pare two sewing/needlepoint containers down to one.

Now able to get to Christmas supplies, back of the storage area, I began dragging the lighted gift boxes inside, assembling those.

Then, planning on adding the string lights to the patio railing before dragging out the Christmas Tree, I tackled the green container and what do you know … no lights.

Tossed them?

Gave then away?

I just don’t remember. It’s a mystery.

I do know Nurse Ratched was on a rampage last year about “affixing items to the patio railings” but I’d never been hassled with a lease violation for the Christmas lights. Perhaps I decided not to risk it another year and did decide to get rid of them.

However, inasmuch as Nurse Ratched is now in our rear view, I need to head to Walmart, Costco or Lowes for lights before I can go any further with the patio, but today is Black Friday and no way was I risking the crowds, the lines, the chaos for a couple strings of light.

So today I lived with the clutter.

Probably will be living with the clutter tomorrow as well, as I have an appointment with the locktician to have my braids retightened on Saturday. After which I’ll shop for that birthday money card and lights, arriving back at the complex too late to finish the patio.

The clutter will be around until Monday, but at least I’m halfway there.

With nothing else to be done today, I took a nice long nap, awoke with the foot no longer hurting, stomach settled, glad I didn’t waste the day wallowing.