Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

I’m feeling torn today, this last day of 2016.

Inasmuch as I lost my Christmas Spirit well before the holiday was over, and have been struggling all week to not prematurely pack up the Christmas Decorations -- for fear of breaking tradition and thus bring bad luck upon myself, I’m happy that tomorrow I can do so without repercussions.

On the other hand, I’m so not feeling 2017 is going to be a good year with that orange fellow -- the Manchurian Candidate soon to be in charge that I’m wishing today would never end. It would be like an episode of the Twilight Zone or Groundhog Day, where today just repeats itself and 2017 never comes.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in feeling reticent about the coming year, because there just seems to be a pall not just over the complex -- with the usual suspects not wanting to do anything, but a universal pall with so many celebrities opting out of this life and the dreary weather.

This is what outside looks like this morning …




It’s wet, raining off/on -- not storming, but the homes on the hill are blanketed from view by layers of cold.

The craving for caffeine is strong, plus I need to put gas in the car, so I’ll be bundling up against the cold and heading out soon.

I never did make it to the bank yesterday to drop off that found ATM card, so I mailed it to the bank’s corporate office. Worried I’d not be believed about finding the card, I started not to put a return address on the envelope but then … I may be wrong but, some years ago, I believe a regulation came into play that mail without return addresses would not be delivered. So I took a chance and put my label in the return spot. Now I have thoughts of the police and FBI knocking on my door, being informed the card was not lost but stolen, and I the most likely suspect.

Hopefully, my paranoia is unfounded and comes from watching too any crime shows, and though I'm glad for the card's owner that someone who would do the right thing found it, I'm not so thrilled at the involvement of that someone being me.

So anyway, unless I get my wish and 2016 loops itself tonight, I’ll be ringing in the New Year not with alcohol, but by throwing clean eating out the window with my own particular brand of intoxicant -- a pint of Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Up for Air

After having devoted Sunday afternoon, all day Monday, and all Day Tuesday to AMC’s Breaking Bad Marathon, I came up for air this morning just long enough to check email, facebook, a trip to Starbucks and a run by the market.

I’ve been so out-of-touch with the outside world since the Breaking Bad Marathon that this morning was the first I learned Carrie Fisher had passed away. Last I heard, she was recovering in hospital, so her passing was a complete surprise as I’m still processing George Michael having left this plane of expression.

Once out and about, I picked up mail then headed to the market.

I always boot up PokémonGo and check the area upon arriving at a location. Thus it was, I heard a little squeaky sound which I recognized immediately as Pikachu inside Ralphs.



As I was holding my phone up, tracking it in the market, preparing to capture, I guess the person behind me could see my screen because, all of a sudden, I heard a woman’s voice exclaim, “OH! You’ve caught Pikachu! And it’s the one with the hat!”

I turned, and there was a woman wearing a Pikachu shirt.

“Yes, he’s over by the baked goods,” I replied.

She was so excited and said, “Let me see if I can catch him too.”

This was news to me. I didn’t realize that if a player locates and captures a pokémon, a nearby player can also capture that same pokémon. So I stood by to watch, as she said it took her months -- and a long trip out-of-the-area before she ran across her first and only Pikachu and that she’s never seen one with the hat before.

Her first try at capture went bad … “Oh, he broke free” she says.

“You know”, said I, “I don’t take any chances when I run across Pikachu. I pull out all my best game tools. First I throw a razz berry to keep him in place, then I use a Big Ball rather than a Pokéball.”

She followed my advice, had a successful capture, and was literally walking on air saying, “This game brings people together.”

I agreed, asked about the shirt – which she said was a Christmas present from her husband, congratulated her on her capture and went on my way, but not before hearing her an isle away, calling her husband on the cell, excitedly saying something about having captured Pikachu with the hat.

After picking up coffee at Starbucks, just as I reached the car door, I spotted something on the ground which, upon closer inspection, was someone’s Visa Debit Card.

Must have dropped it after leaving the ATM.

My first instinct was to drive to the nearest Wells Fargo to turn the card in, but I’d already been gone too long from Breaking Bad, and decided to call into Customer Service instead.

They immediately cancelled the card and told me to toss it in the trash.

I wasn’t comfortable with that. Someone might find it, try to use it and, just in case this turns into one of those "No good deed goes unpunished" things, where something happens like the owner of the card is not notified it's been reported found and cancelled, she instead returns to the ATM and asks Starbucks to run their video, the video shows me picking it up, and I then end up accused of something.

Sounds far fetched, but having been on the receiving end of good deeds going bad in the past, it's not as far fetched as it seems, so I'm playing it safe.

I've reported the card and, when Breaking Bad ends on Friday, I’ll be making a run by the bank for cash anyway, so I'll give them the card and let them take care of the rest.

See you end of the week, when the Marathon is over.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sights and Sounds

The Diva Run is done!

That’s my 14th and last 5K of the year.

Not that it’s done me any good insofar as losing weight. Over the year, I’ve actually gained three/four pounds, but my breathing is not as labored as this time last year, moving my body from Point A to Point B doesn’t feel like such a chore, and I no longer hear joints popping and cracking.

I ended up doing yesterday’s walk at Victoria Gardens. It being Christmas Day, with all the shops and stores closed, I had the whole mall to myself for the first two miles. After that, it was just a human here, a human there, a couple humans heading for the movie theater – which had opened, and three other Pokémon trainers like myself.

It was so peaceful, so serene with not a creature stirring, that I didn’t just do the miles I needed from yesterday to total 3.12, I walked the whole 3.12.

Here are some of the sights and sounds I was able to enjoy while walking along, no one talking or blocking my view:




This short but sweet gone-out-of-business sign at the Reebox store made me stop and laugh, because it is soooo hashtag 2016.




The Apple Store was, of course, closed -- but not for good, just for the Holiday.




So what’s with that guy inside?



Jeans, in various states and stages of disrepair, were on display in about a dozen boutique windows.




As a kid, we'd put patches on ours to cover up the holes. I still do, even though it now appears the more wear and tear the better is a fashion statement.





I don't recall what we paid for a good pair of jeans back in the day, but I'm sure these distressed ragged ones cost a small fortune.




The new art project is fascinating.










It's titled "Pac Mac Heart and Love Locks ... The love locks embraces the touching of hearts and invites the community in."

I’ll have to look around for a lock that speaks to who I am -- something black but country/western.

The developers of Pokémon Go were very giving yesterday in that they released quite a few Christmas Pikachu into the wild. Normally difficult to catch more than one Pikachu over months of hunting, I caught two of the Christmas issues in Victoria Gardens -- one in front of a jewelry store, another while crossing a street.



I caught two more on the way home -- one in the car leaving Starbucks, another when I stopped at a PokéStop two blocks down.




Yesterday was a perfect day.

Except, having overused that stress-fractured foot, I began feeling some discomfort in the afternoon, which worsened overnight to where I couldn’t walk this morning without holding onto the walls. Consequently, much as I want to compete in January's Citrus Run, I'm going to have to cry "uncle" and opt out of extensive walking activities until the foot has completely healed.

On the subject of never say never again, looks like I’ll be driving to the bus terminal in the bad area of town today. Granddaughter’s two besties are heading back to Long Beach. Granddaughter is working, so I’ll be their Uber driver.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Merry Everything !!

So finally it’s here -- Christmas Day and, best of all, it’s not wet outside.

While you're all celebrating with your families, I'll be doing my loner thing.

The plan is to locate an area of town where there’s some activity, lots of people, isn’t closed down for the Holiday, so I can take advantage of the Pokémon Go Holiday event -- which is an increased chance of finding Eggs that hatch sought after pokémon at Stops.

I don’t want to go back to the University, because I bundled up and headed to the campus yesterday with two intentions: 1) Walk 3.12 miles 2) Capture some good pokémon.

I only managed 1.20 miles before having to rush back to the car because rain drops began falling on my head and, though there were plenty pokémon to catch, they were the boring same old same old, so I need a better hunting ground for today.

Formerly estranged daughter drove granddaughters’ two besties down from Long Beach yesterday, to spend the Holiday with granddaughter. She also dropped off a boat load of cooked food for the crew – turkey, dressing, gravy, whipped potatoes, potato salad, greens, candied yams, handmade dinner rolls, peach cobbler, sweet potato pie.

Both my girls are amazing cooks.

Didn’t learn it from me.

Learned from my mom.

Except for sous chef duties, Mom would never let me into her kitchen, didn’t teach me a blessed thing, but to my girls she passed on her cooking skills.

Having not seen Daughter No. 2 since 2009, because of my hurt feelings which I recently let go of, I went over to make a plate and say hello. (Actually, five minutes older than her twin, she's technically Daughter No. 1).

Partaking of dishes that included wheat (gluten) and high fructose corn syrup, I thought I’d be paying the price today with terrible stomach pains, but I woke up feeling normal, which is great because there are leftovers in the fridge I plan not to let go to waste.

And so that is.

I met my new neighbor yesterday morning.

That’s right … the older woman I saw viewing the unit across the quad, just a day or so ago, has already moved in.

As I stepped out the door, on my way to the University, I encountered her on the pathway, introduced myself, and told her she’d love it here.

She said her son (the gray-haired gentleman I saw with her that day) moved her in last night, and that she doesn’t even have furniture yet -- just the bare essentials.

Asking me for directions to the Community Room, but not seeming to understand, I walked her over as she bombarded me with questions:

“Is the Community Room open on days like this?”

She means weekends when the office is closed, and the answer is Yes.

“Does it have WiFi?”

Yes.

“Does it require a password?”

Yes.

“What’s the password?”

That I don’t know.

In between the questions, I learned she lived 20 years in Nevada, relocated to Sacramento and is now here.

After reaching our destination, I showed her how to get in/out when office is closed, and waited while she tried to log into the internet.

No automatic sign-on, which we assumed meant we had to have the password.

“Let me call a friend who’s up on everything around here”, said I.

I called Apache who informed, “Yes, there is a password, but management shut WiFi down.”

“They did … Why?”

“It wasn’t working properly.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to manage without a computer until after the Holiday, when everything gets set up in my unit”, said new neighbor.

Sounds like my kind of person … a teckie.

There being more than one way to skin a cat, I asked new neighbor if she drove.

She did.

So I directed her to the nearest Starbucks and off I went to the University.

When rain drops derailed my goal of 3.12 miles, I headed home, with a stop by Starbucks, and there was new neighbor … laptop open, cellphone to her ear, smiling and waving at me.

We’re off to a good neighborly start.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ugly Sweater Cookies



My holiday spirit continues to wane -- in that I can’t wait for Christmas and New Years to be over and done with but, in going through the motions, I did attend the Holiday Breakfast in the multi-family building next door.

Walking into where I only knew one person -- granddaughter, the ice was immediately broken upon being handed cookies to be decorated as ugly sweaters.







I definitely could have applied myself and done better, but it is what it is.

Breakfast was fruit, donuts and breakfast sandwiches which, upon being micro waved, made the place smell like the Olive Garden. More than a few times I had to block the smell by putting a napkin to my nose, but I survived the cheesy odor.

I’d eaten breakfast before arriving, so was not tempted by anything offered by the building’s management team, and focused on decorating cookies, talking with those in attendance.

There were quite a few kids, all of whom were cute and very well behaved, so I had a good time watching them play games, collect prizes, decorate their cookies.


Pretty Good, Looks Like a Sweater


Rudolph and an Elf
Vampire Santa and a Straight-Up Fanged Vampire

I wondered about this vampire making kid, where his inspiration came from. Does his grandma, who I learned is raising him, let him watch AMC's The Walking Dead?


Amazing Creations by a Dad in Attendance

One game that tickled me to no end was two teams of kids having to wrap a package, get the wrapped package to the next table where one of the kids had to play Santa by putting on a red t-shirt, stuff it with balloons to make a Santa belly, don a Santa hat, go to the next station, where each team member had to do a dizzy thing by putting their head down on a giant candy cane, and twirl their body around it. First team to wrap their package, dress a member as Santa, twirl and get their wrapped package to the Christmas tree was declared winner -- prizes all around.




Looking at the video, I think some corners were cut, but the game was a hoot!

At 2:45, I headed down to the Community Room for our Holiday Luncheon.

It wasn’t a hoot or anything spectacular like the catered events of previous years, but it was okay, with a nice turnout – about 40 people.

Dinner was from the deli -- fried chicken, choice of potato or macaroni salad, packaged dinner rolls -- which I don’t eat bread but had the rolls not been straight from the refrigerator cold, had been warmed in the oven, I might have, and corn. I don’t know if the corn was canned or frozen, but it tasted pretty good.

There were all kinds of cookies, a cake, cupcakes, pecan and pumpkin pies. I limited myself to a slice of pumpkin pie and headed back to the unit just in time to catch Judge Judy.

On tap for today is … I’m trying to motivate myself to bundle up against the cold and wet, from yet another all night rain, and head over to the University to get that Virtual 5K taken care of. I never did make it to Wal-Mart or Victoria Gardens for those thermals. Maybe next week.

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Neighbors?

Went to bed at 10:00 last night, right after the Project Runway Finale. Woke up refreshed and raring to go just shy of three hours later at 12:45.



Could that be a factor ... that after such a long hiatus, the caffeine revved me up to where I needed less sleep?

At any rate, I hope Starbucks Corporate Offices appreciates my dedication in heading out into the rain yesterday afternoon.

Before deciding to do so, I was standing at the patio window, looking at the drops, trying to decide if I was desperate enough to suit up and head out, and observed an elderly couple viewing the vacant upstairs unit across the quad.

It was just before this time last year when our former maintenance wiz and his wife were booted from that unit by the former Community Manager (Nurse Ratched) for spite. The unit remained vacant for five months, until it was given to Cute Maintenance Supervisor and his young family.

Because his young children created so much chaos for their downstairs neighbor, he and his family were relocated to a unit above the Game Room end of July, and the unit across the quad became vacant yet again.

New residents have taken units in the complex but, until yesterday, I never saw anyone being shown that particular one.

I choose to think it’s the Law of Attraction at work. This quad is peaceful, filled with nice considerate friendly residents, we look out for each other, and the Universe is holding out for like-minded individuals to join us. The couple I saw today looked like they’d be, so hopefully they’ll take the unit.

They’d be fools not to, because not all quads are equal. There are problems in other quads – residents who continue to smoke inside ... subjecting their neighbors to second-hand damage, and endangering the welfare of their neighbors on oxygen. There are also difficult personalities in other quads -- complainers like Little Ruthie… rude, abrasive, confrontational for no reason; and control freaks like Big Linda, retired military, who tries to drill sergeant everyone … yelling at folks as to what they can and cannot do and, in the process, has made so many enemies in the complex that she found it necessary to post a warning on her car … “Do not spit on this car. You are being watched.”



Seriously.

There are residents so angry at her that they do that.

Also a problem in other quads are ghost tenants (unauthorized persons living with residents), which ghost tenants usually results in an unusual amount of traffic in/out of those units late at night. And then there's the situation described to me by the rather handsome gentleman I briefly mentioned having an interesting not unpleasant encounter with in the October 20 post. He'd only been here two months and was relocating to a quad nearer to mine because an older woman in his current quad objected to having a Black male. When she fist saw him, she'd loudly proclaimed "The Blacks are moving in!" and, when he ignored further taunts, because he lived in the unit beneath her, she’d stomp, purposely drop things, make noise designed to disturb his peace.

All of us in this quad must be living right, and the Universe is rewarding us with immunity from drama being experienced by others.

On tap for today are two events. Granddaughter invited me to attend the 9:30 Holiday Breakfast in her adult building next door.

I’m not interested in eating anything, but there are games and prizes. So, since it’s not raining, and I'm feeling wired from yesterday's coffee, I’ll probably check it out.

This afternoon is our Holiday Luncheon (3:00 – 5:00). That’s late for lunch, but hopefully Activity Director will begin on time and provide all she promised us this time.

Hope springs eternal.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Losing It

Not only is it cold, it is now windy and wet from the all-night rain.

I know rain is good, that we need it but, coupled with the frigid cold, I’m dying inside and losing my Christmas Spirit. Whereas in the past, I’ve never wanted this time of year to end, three days ago I began thinking about packing decorations up and now can’t wait until the traditional New Year’s Day, or day after, to do so.

This cold snap has made clear to me one thing – if I can’t handle this cold weather, should I one day be financially able to leave the country, there’s no hope of my ever being able to handle living in Canada.

However, getting my passport renewed is still No. 1 goal for 2017.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ironic Isn’t It?

Never made it to Starbucks on Tuesday or to Wal-Mart. In fact, I got comfortable and never made it out of the unit.

I was planning to head out today, but it looks so gloomy and rain is predicted, so I’ve opted to plan for tomorrow.

The stress fractured foot not feeling too terribly awful, the body in need of a bit of exercise, the plan for tomorrow is to take Mage’s advice and head for J.C. Penney’s for those thermals, where I expect to kill two birds with one stone because Penney’s is located in Victoria Gardens where there’s plenty of walking area and a Starbucks.

Before the foot injury, I’d registered for the virtual Run Like a Diva 5K, to be completed on or before December 31. With not much time left to squeeze it in, I figured tomorrow is a good day to give it a go and Victoria Gardens a good place to try for 3.12 miles.

Inasmuch as a virtual is not an officially timed race, it can be completed in increments. So if the foot doesn’t allow for the entire 3.12, I’ll go as far as I can and get the remaining miles in before the 31st.

Inasmuch as I have to remember to take a shopping bag with me, thought I’d wear the little back pack race organizers sent in the mail.


That’s where the irony comes in because, whereas in the past shops and stores posted notices “No bags allowed”, now we’re encouraged to bring a bag with us.

I suppose the “no bags allowed” policy was a theft prevention measure, but how does that jibe with the new “bags encouraged” policy? Is the thinking no longer items can be slipped into bags and customers walk out without paying? Or is the money being made on 10 cent bags offsetting whatever losses are incurred?

Either way, having to remember to take bags with me brings back the times it wasn't allowed, like the time I walked into a market with a rather large tote carrying hair products. Contents not being part of the store’s inventory, I figured it safe not to leave the bag at a check stand, but noooo. I was immediately called out and embarrassed by the security guard rather loudly yelling that I couldn’t bring that in.

“It’s just hair products”, said I.

“I don’t care what it is”, he replied and I was made to leave on the floor in a location behind an unmanned counter where anyone could have picked it up, walked out, and the store would not have not accepted responsibility.

Then there was the time I’d gone shopping on my lunch hour at a well-known boutique where I purchased all my work suits, blouses, blazers, and held an account.

When I walked in, I observed the store had employed a security guard. He’d been leaning nonchalantly against the wall, but snapped to attention when he saw me.

He couldn’t possibly have seen the rather large tote I was carrying as a purse. All he saw was a Black woman and was immediately on guard.

He didn’t even ask me to check the tote. He just dead eyed me and kept his eyes on me, with a frown, the entire time I shopped. I remember a white linen skirt I wasn’t sure would fit. I wanted to try it on, but was too intimidated by the security guard mad dogging me (starring as though crazy, threatening glance), expecting to catch me stealing, to risk what would happen if I took it into the changing room to try on.

That was the last time I shopped at the Wilshire Boulevard location.

I was a different me back in those days. I had “victim” written all over and allowed things to happen that, a few years later -- as I grew into my own, resulted in my asking to speak to the manager and writing letters of complaint to public relations departments, because I didn’t want what I’d experienced to happen to the next Black woman that came along.

Complaints were heard each and every time, responded to, employees hopefully learned lessons and once, after lodging a complaint re a disturbing incident with a cab driver, the police called to tell me the driver had been sent back to cab school.

Amazed was I that the cab company had referred the matter to the police AND that there was such a thing as cab school, where drivers are taught how to interact with the public.

I radiate confidence now, and these days -- with the ability to write facebook posts, with video, incidents are few and far between – not gone completely, just rare. However, remembering having been mad dogged and called out in the past, I was at first a little nervous about taking bags into shops and stores. Having now become comfortable with it, I just have to just remember to do so or pay the 10 cents per bag, which is not a lot of money but results in too many bags hanging around.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Socially Awkward

Except for attending a meditation session this past Sunday, the bone chilling cold weather has me hibernating since the last post.

Bundled up in a long sleeve athletic top, leggings, socks, boots, jean jacket, gloves and with a huge infinity knit scarf draped around my neck, I arrived at the session, walked into a warm room, but didn’t remove anything because I still felt the cold down to the bone.

I notice I’m having a hard time with commitments lately. I’ll agree to go somewhere, do something and then later wish for a way out. That’s never been the case with meditation sessions, because the opportunity to join with like minded others on a spiritual level in silence are few and far between, so I jump at the chance, drive long distances or travel by airplane to attend.

This session being the first scheduled in the area, I jumped at the chance, but then had second thoughts because I’d attended a session a few years back with this particular spiritual teacher, never got off the ground, and thought perhaps his level of awareness was just not for me. Looking for a way out of the commitment, Nephew’s birthday party came up that same weekend, which took me out of town.

After receiving a message the session had been scheduled for the next weekend so I could attend, I figured the Universe had spoken and I was meant to be there.

So arriving covered head to toe, but still cold, the teacher greeted me in a manner I found unnecessary and confusing. He said something to the effect that, in communicating with me about the session via email, he wasn’t quite sure who I was.

Of course not, though I. He’d only seen me that one time three/four years ago.

Then he went on to say, he didn’t recognize me because, “You didn’t have all that stuff on last time. You’re going to get too hot in a moment”.

So now he's just making up words just to be talking, because that didn't even make sense since he'd only seen me once so long ago and knew me only as a name on his mailing list.

Completely puzzled as to why such silly awkward comments and so much concern with my body coverings, I merely responded “I’ll take it off once I warm up. Right now, I’m chilled to the bone.”

It was almost noon before the chill left my bones and I became warm enough to remove the gloves and infinity scarf.

At any rate, despite the strange beginning, the session went well to where I soared most of the time (9:45 to 12 noon) but, at one point in the class, I had a strange coughing incident – like something was in my throat and I needed to get it out.

Embarrassing when everyone has their eyes closed, rising to a level which is calm, peaceful, quiet, but the noise cleared up quickly after a few sips of water.

Attendance at the session was disappointing, only the teacher, three others and I.

I’m fortunate in that I discovered meditation in my late 20's early 30's, when there were great spiritual teachers giving classes. I had the privilege of private sessions with many of those teachers, weekly group sessions consisting of dozens of students, and sessions with as many as 500+ of us students, sitting in quiet meditation – listening, learning, clearing ourselves, all of which I credit with the ability to have survived all I’ve survived and be as awake and aware and on-center as I now am.

So though disappointed at how small the class was, it was a nice tune-up and came just in time to get through the electoral votes and the certainty of the orange guy being the beginning of the end of everything.

Before the afternoon session began (1:45 – 4:00 p.m.), we all went to lunch.

My former BFF and her husband were two of the students in attendance, and former BFF mentioned during lunch that she remembered I didn’t like cheese and thus would not have eaten at the Olive Garden because the smell of cheese is so strong in that restaurant.

Teacher found my dislike of cheese strange and asked, with a smile on his face, while eating a cheese dish, if I was going to leave the restaurant or “You eat first and then leave?”

Another strange comment don’t you think?

Is he trying to be cute/funny and failing miserably or is  he a doofus --  just naturally socially awkward or is spiritual jealousy manifesting as he can sense I’m not a beginner as the others are and feels somewhat threatened by me, thought I but refrained from reacting with, “No, the smell is not overwhelming”.

I did, however, at one point, surreptitiously put my elbow on the table and finger to the nose like I was thinking when, in actuality, I was blocking the smell.

Later, during a break in the afternoon session (1:45 – 4:00) when everyone else partook of a sweet treat BFF had provided the class, and I did not (because I’m off sweets yet again), teacher asked “Would you like a slice”.

“No thanks”, said I.

“It doesn’t have cheese in it”, he laughingly taunted.

Definitely trying to be funny/cute and failing miserably.

Though the teacher provided some moments I found unnecessary and awkward, it was a good session -- I soared, but not any further than I can and do sitting alone in meditation, so I see no need to attend any future sessions with this teacher. Spiritually he’s doing good work, I suppose, in raising up others. Humanly he’s demonstrated, at least to me, that he's just a guy, a silly one at that.

All of which may explain why, his being in the practice for as long as he has, that he's only pulling in three/four at a time, rather than the dozens and hundreds out there seeking peace of mind and understanding in an atmosphere of chaos, confusion, man's inhumanity to his fellow man/woman, others with his years of experience did, and the one still living could, should she decide to come out of retirement and teach yet again.

In thinking back, perhaps the choking coughing incident had something to do with a vibe I was picking up from him -- especially since choking/coughing repeated itself in the afternoon session, and that the Universe wanted me there not so much for me but for him.

At any rate, he's in my awareness now, so I'll think good thoughts for him, but won't be attending any further sessions he makes me aware of. Attending also put me in contact with former BFF, and gave me a sense of satisfaction that she, having followed me into meditation as the peaceful way to deal with people, places, things, appearances, circumstances, was still on the path, doing well, and appears to now be instrumental in raising up into spiritual awareness her husband and a coworker.

On tap for today is heading out to Starbucks, in the cold, for my first cup since the 14th/15th, and I'm thinking of stopping by Walmart to check into thermal wear to get me though these cold nights, freezing mornings.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Third Time’s the Charm

Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare.

Because of the Yahoo hacking incident, the morning consisted of changing passwords, removing security questions, closing email accounts, updating online accounts to new email addresses, so on and so forth.

It was mentally exhausting, and I still don’t feel secure.

A third notice was posted to the door indicating maintenance would be coming in to change the A/C filter and switch out smoke detector batteries.

Of course I wasn’t holding my breath. Having tucked away what items needed to be hidden, I headed out early afternoon to run errands.

Nothing looked changed by the time I returned but, along about 2:30, I heard Cute Maintenance Supervisor’s cart coming down the quad, then heard knocking on the door to the unit beneath me.

He reached my door at 3:00 sharp and wasn’t alone. He had an older guy with him who actually did the work of changing the batteries, switching out the old filter, while Maintenance Supervisor checked those items off his clipboard and had me initial they’d been done.

Once again I say, our old maintenance wiz did it all by himself and Corporate let Nurse Ratched abuse and eventually fire him.

I’m sure Cute Maintenance Supervisor and whoever his assistant was are trustworthy, but once bitten twice shy –the woman from Corporate has instilled a distrust in me, so I tried to keep sight of both of them. At one point, Maintenance Supervisor stepped out onto the patio to access the door where the water heater is housed. Responding to a question he asked about “Where did you buy the timer for your Christmas decorations?” I took my attention off the second guy then suddenly realized I didn’t see him any longer. My heart went to my throat for a hot second as I went looking and found him on a ladder in the bedroom, changing the smoke detector battery.

So now that the Annual Inspection is out of the way. I can now come and go without hiding items.

Next door neighbor theorized that all the notices and no shows were not because Maintenance Supervisor isn’t motivated but because management is trying to throw rule breaking tenants off their game to enable management to show up unexpectedly and make note of those not maintaining a clean unit, those who continue to smoke on the premises, and those allowing non-residents to live in the unit.

I seriously doubt that.

Maintenance guy is utterly charming, just not all that enthusiastic about performing his duties in a timely manner.

It’s raining cats and dogs this morning, so I’m guessing no one will be heading down to the Community Room – at least I won’t be doing so, for the Holiday Traditions Around the World event; which I’ve learned is in lieu of a Cookie Swap and involves cookies being made on premise by Activity Director and the Baker’s granddaughter.

That leaves me alone with the Gingerbread Molasses Cookie Dough I’d purchased from Trader Joe’s. So, unless the storm ceases and the sun comes up, I’m taking it as a sign to indulge myself with warm cookies and cold milk.

Happy Holidays to me!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Santa's House

Now that we have a Community Manager that’s good at what she does, is friendly and works well with others, Corporate needs to do something about the cute young Maintenance Supervisor.

He’s just so slow, unmotivated, unreliable, lackadaisical.

When I moved into the complex, we had a 65+ year old maintenance man who was amazing -- competent, knowledgeable, strong, fast, highly dependable.

Our former Community Manager – Nurse Ratched, didn’t like that. She preferred people who were less competent because she could lord over them. So she did her best to try to run maintenance wiz outta here.

He knew what she was doing, loved the residents, loved his job and hung in there, even after she hired a second maintenance guy and raised him over maintenance wiz as Supervisor.

Wiz still hung in there, but Nurse Ratched eventually won out, found a way to fire wiz, then refused to allow he and his wife to keep a unit on the premises out of spite.

The Maintenance Supervisor she replaced him with was so unbelievably stupid that even she couldn’t justify keeping him. He was out rather quickly and cute guy came in, with his young family.

Cute Maintenance Supervisor seems to know what he’s doing insofar as basic general maintenance, but requests for service sometimes have to be submitted more than once before he finally gets around to fulfilling them, and he’s no Supervisor. Older more seasoned guys are frequently called in to assist, show him the ropes.

We’ve sometimes had Cute Maintenance Supervisor and two others doing what our former 65+ year old maintenance wiz handled all on his own.

I stuck around all last Friday morning, because I’d received notice Cute Maintenance Supervisor was coming in to change the A/C filter and switch out smoke detector batteries.

He didn’t show up in the morning so, I missed the 3:00 Movie event waiting around in the afternoon, and he never showed.

As I was headed out the door, on my way to Victoria Gardens yesterday, I found a notice he’d be coming in that day to handle what was to have been handled on the Friday he didn't show up -- change the A/C filter and switch out smoke detector batteries.

I am now leery about letting anyone inspect the unit without my following them room to room, keeping an eye on them because I’d failed to do so when his boss from Corporate did an inspection, ended up in my closet, while I remained occupied on the computer in the other room, and I later noticed my rhinestone American flag belt was missing from its prominent highly visible place. Nothing I could do about it because I didn’t notice the theft immediately that day, and no one would have believed a woman of her status would have jeopardized her position with thievery.

I feel sorry for her. She thinks she's gotten away with something and has no idea there is a thing called Karmic justice ... spiritual consequences.

At any rate, though leery, no way was I going to waste another day waiting around but, just to be on the safe side, I did take a quick look around and hid anything I was worried about – the laptop, ipod, organizer containing personal information, cash, then I left.

Santa’s House at Victoria Gardens was amazing.





Not only was it even more beautiful than I remember from past years, it was entertaining.

Charming characters would appear every few minutes in doors, windows and perform something cute.




At one point, Santa’s House had a snow storm.




I would have liked to have seen what went on inside Santa’s House, but that required a small child and $35 for a photo package.

In one of the photo albums, there is a photo of me as an adult sitting on Santa’s lap. I'd show it to you, but that album is with a family member, and I can’t find a copy on any of my flash drives. I would have taken a seat on Santa's lap yesterday had it been a mall setup and not cost $35.

After spending considerable time enjoying the show on Santa’s House and people watching, I made it back to the complex, unsure if Cute Maintenance Supervisor had been in to take care of the filter and smoke detector. However, based on the dust I see inside the filter, he absolutely did not.

I’d be really pissed had I given up another day, waited around and again a no show.

At this point, it's of no difference to me. It's something management has to take care of before the fire department does it's annual unit inspection so, it'll be their arse not mine if not taken care of.

Cute Maintenance Guy will get around to it because he has to if he wants to avoid getting the building a citation, I just don't know when around to it will be. Consequently, on the off chance he enters without giving yet another notice, I'm going to have to hide the laptop, ipod and organizer every time I leave.

I really miss our maintenance wiz.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Green Monday

After having passed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, because I refuse to get caught up in the hype, I found myself wild-n-out yesterday on Green Monday. But it was mostly a coincidence.

I ordered a new GPS and the pick-up date coincidentally fell on Green Monday which, also coincidentally, fell on the last day for customers to pick up layaway items. That meant for quite a long wait at the pick-up counter.

Promising myself I’d avoid Wal-Mart until after the holidays, I logged onto the computer later that day and was immediately tempted by a popup for an interesting looking stand mixer.



How do they do that?

It's like whoever does the popups are reading my mind, because a mixer is something I’ve debated for as long as I’ve been making tamales, because it’s beyond difficult to make masa correctly without a mixer, unless you have strong hands and tremendous upper body strength, which I don’t.

My little hand mixer doesn’t do the job, neither does the food processor, so I’ve lived with ho hum masa, thinking I really need a stand mixer, but don’t have the counter space and couldn’t justify the cost for a kitchen appliance to be used once/twice a year.

The one I saw on the screen looked compact enough to be able to make room for in my little kitchen and, at $40 off, the price was right, so it’s ordered for Wednesday pick-up.

Looks like I’ll be joining in with the holiday shopping crowd one more time.

Maybe twice because today I’m off to Victoria Gardens to pick up a garment ordered online.

Leaving the nail salon last week, I drove by Victoria Gardens, saw how it was decorated for the holidays, wanted to stop and check things out, but was in too much pain to be walking around.

Pain because the stress fractured food had been doing exceptionally well to the point where I’d almost forgotten I was having a problem. THEN the woman who did the pedicure, who usually does good work, gave me a food massage from hell. She seemed distracted, like she had something on her mind, something she was worried angry upset about and took it out on my feet, and more than once. At one point I even yelped when she was cleaning under the toenail because she was digging too deep. When I told her why I'd cried out ... "you're digging too deep", she looked like she was just coming back to reality, had been working on automatic and didn't realized what she'd been doing.

Long and short of it is, I left the salon limping. That stress fracture felt re-stressed, re-fractured, and I now feel pain even with the slightest pressure, and a throb when there's no pressure whatsoever -- which has better rectify itself before January 7th, when I’m scheduled to take over someone’s bib and race in their place at the Citrus Run.

The woman that did my feet has been working at the salon for years, is an older woman not yet pushed out but is now surrounded by young, cute, high heel, tiny waists, fake boobs, stylish types. She probably has a loyal following which keeps her in business by requests, which I’ve always done because -- being elderly myself and luckily retired, I try to support the elderly who've not been so lucky and still must work, but I’m gonna have to opt out and request one of the other girls from now on.

Under the circumstances, doubt there will be much walking at Victoria Gardens today. I’ll probably find someplace near the Christmas Tree to park, pick up my package, sit and watch the little ones all dressed up, heading towards a visit to the little house where Santa resides.