Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Sage is Always Quiet

Except for the Funeral and Cemetery Scams, Tuesday’s scam workshop wasn’t anything I didn’t already know about.
I don’t answer my cellphone if it’s a number I do not recognize, so that keeps me clear of telemarketing/phone scammers.
I’m not trying to stay young forever and I don’t like pain or needles, so I’m not likely to get caught up in fraudulent Anti-Aging Products or renegade Botox.
As for the Grandparent Scam, I did just recently get a call from granddaughter that she was in a bind and needed money, but I knew for sure it was she, and feel comfortable I’d be wise enough to recognize a voice and/or double check if a scammer posed as a fake family member in need, requesting money be sent via Western Union or MoneyGram. Plus, again, if the number popping up on my phone is not one I recognize, I wouldn’t even take the call.
The Email/Phishing Scams are a tougher trap to stay clear of, but I do try to be careful of where I go online, what I open and keep my virus protection up-to-date.
That Funeral and Cemetery Scam was totally new to me and involves scammers reading obituaries, calling or attending funeral services and taking advantage of the grieving by claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them.
Never heard of that one, have you? But, again, I don’t answer the phone when the caller’s number is unknown to me, and I seriously doubt the scammer would leave a message. As to attending the funeral ...  some of the folks in my family are on the rough side, so good luck to the scammer coming in, trying something like that and getting out alive.
All in all, the workshop was okay and could have been better if one of the residents hadn’t had to constantly interject her two cents in with long-winded boring comments.
I kept trying to catch her eye and send her shut up vibes, but she wasn’t positioned to where she could see me.
Her jibber jabber was so distracting and so annoying that I began to loudly sigh.
She paid no mind.
I began thinking it might be a good idea to bang my head on the table to make the pain stop.
She continued interrupting the speaker ever few seconds to tell of her knowledge and experience and what she’s seen, heard, read on that particular scam.
I began chanting “shut up shut up shut up” under my breath and, when I reached the point where I thought I might lose control and yell “SHUT UP” out loud, I decided it best to leave, which is what I did.
Heading back to my unit, I stopped to pick up mail (Damaged mail area still not repaired. Those impacted residents still have to pick up at the post office) and got into a conversation with a neighbor, not present at the workshop. She asked what was discussed, I gave her a recap and said I’d left early because Little Miss Jibber Jabber wouldn’t stop talking.
She immediately knew who I was speaking of, because Jibber Jabber is always getting told in Bingo and in meetings to quiet down, because she not only talks too much, but talks over speakers, talks over the Bingo caller and talks so loudly that others can’t hear.
At any rate, this neighbor thinks Jibber Jabber’s problem is she lives alone and people that live alone, once out, with an opportunity to communicate with others, can’t stop talking.
“I live alone”, said I “And I’m not out here running my mouth just to hear myself talk”.
“Good point”, said she.
Thinking about it later, I remembered years ago hearing a quote, something to the effect that “The sage is always quiet”. Sage being the quiet meditative deep thinkers of the world.
My mom, who never understood me or forgave me for having a personality that reminded her of my father’s side of the family, put my sage like peaceful quiet demeanor in a different context, “Still water runs dirty” she’d say of me.
I’d rather be known as a dirty deep thinker than a jibber jabbering air head.
And speaking of dirty, Stormy Daniels has written a tell-all book. I’m not the least bit interested in reading it, but I ran across an excerpt that describes the Orange Traitor’s very personal body part in terms that made me go “eweee” and think “poor Melania”. I can’t repeat what was said, but if you want to read it, go here.
On tap for today is a manicure/pedicure and tomorrow I’m off to that meditation retreat. I’ll return on Monday, just in time for the Senate Judiciary Hearing. Kavanaugh’s Accuser may or may not testify. I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t because I’m still traumatized by what I saw happen to Anita Hill. Either way, I won’t watch because I’m expecting to come back on a high and don’t want the Committee’s ignorance and abuse of the woman to bring me down.
Oh, and by the way, we do have a new Community Manager. I understand her first day in the office was last Friday.
I met her as I was walking out of the workshop. She seems nice, but let’s see how long before Corporate changes that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Use It or Lose It

If one locks oneself away from humanity and doesn’t speak with another human for an extended period of time, will one eventually lose the ability to speak?
That’s the thought that ran through my head when I awoke this morning, realized today is Pizza Tuesday and, for the third time in a row, I found I had no desire to head down, mingle and catch up with the folks, even though ─ except for that trip to Walmart and grocery shopping, I’d literally not seen nor spoken with anyone for 12 days.
I’ve no idea what’s going on around here. Do we have a new Community Manager yet? Will the damage to the mailboxes ever be repaired?
Looking at the Activity Calendar, I see a speaker is scheduled to come in and “Provide a presentation regarding the latest senior scams”, so I guess I’d better come out of my self-imposed exile and head down to the Community Room this morning.
Would you believe I’m still not finished with Omarosa’s book, Unhinged. It’s not that I’m a slow reader, it’s that I devote the bulk of my time to needlepoint. Needlepoint is kind of an all-day every day obsession for me, and I’m in for the long haul with this latest very challenging project.


So challenging that, after hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks, months and months of work, I'm not even a quarter of a way through a 15 page pattern.

Progress: May through September

Once completed though, it’s going to look great as a needlepoint pillow.
As for Unhinged, Page 220 gave me a little tickle when I read the Orange Traitor refers to Jeff Sessions, behind his back, as Benjamin Button. 
Page 273 made me sad, but only because I don’t like to see anyone hurt, no matter how big an ass he made of himself for the ten days he was on staff, when it was said that Scaramucci, after being told he was fired, “Anthony walked out ... and started crying. One of the assistants saw and heard the whole thing. She described it as a girly cry”.
I don’t imagine there will be much time for reading or needlepoint for about a week, as I’m in the process of getting ready to head out of town for another road trip this weekend. This time to the Venice Beach area for a three-day meditation retreat ... more quietly listening, no using the voice box to talk.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Release Day

Interesting that the release date for Bob Woodward’s book Fear is today ─ 9/11. I’m sure there’s a deliberate meaning behind that, but I don’t yet get it.
I’d initially tried to purchase Fear through Amazon ($30 marked down to $18), but it wasn’t available for shipping to a Locker and I didn’t want it shipped to home because I can’t trust the postal service, so plan for today, release day, was to drive 18 miles to Barnes and Noble in Redlands to pick up a copy.
I’m still on Omarosa’s book (Unhinged) but, at page 218 of 334 pages, it won’t be long until I get to the end.
Omarosa’s book wasn’t much of what we didn’t already know, that is until Page 195, where it is revealed that instead of being sworn in on a bible, the Orange Traitor wanted to be sworn in on his book Art of the Deal, because “It’s the greatest business book of all time ... Just think of how many copies I’d sell ─ maybe a commemorative inauguration copy”.
That’s seriously sad.
Pathetic even.
Also interesting thus far is Page 197, which speaks of a questionable “special” relationship between the Orange Traitor and a certain female pastor. Having never heard of this pastor, I grabbed my phone and asked Google to show me a picture of her. Up pops a blonde Ivanka lookalike. Ohhhhh, thought I. Of course.
So anyway, I didn’t have to drive out of the area for a copy of Fear after all because, stopping at the local Walmart (3 miles away) to pick up an online order, there it was on the shelf ($30 marked down to $20). And only three copies remaining already, so I’m all set in the reading department.


While at Walmart, I found a coffee cup to add to my collection. One that tickled my fancy a lot more than those I saw and passed on at Starbucks.


Also, while at Walmart, I was stunned to find this.


What you are looking at are Tide Pods behind lock and key.
I know loss prevention is an issue, but this locking up of laundry detergent is too much.
At any rate, I pushed the buzzer, a young associate shortly appeared to unlock the case but then, after she gave me what I wanted, she said, “I’m supposed to walk you to checkout with this”.
WTF!
I’d already had to purchased and pay for a pair of tweezers in the make-up department because, again, loss prevention. They use to put items from that department in little locked cases, which case was unlocked at checkout, but now it’s that nothing can be taken from that department without being paid for in that department.
I guess somebody must have figured out how to unlock the cases and make it out of the store without paying.
At any rate, I paid for the tweezers, the tweezers were placed in a regular Walmart shopping bag, which my logical mind said didn’t seem very loss preventative to me because who’s to say I couldn't slip other items from the store into that bag and walk out without paying.
So anyway, the young associate helping me with Tide Pods noticed what must have been a stunned look on my face that she'd have to walk me to checkout and said, “But I trust you”, which allowed me to finish my shopping without having to follow her to checkout, pay for the Tide Pods, have them put that in a bag, return to shopping for other sundry items, go back to checkout, and probably have to show multiple proof of payment receipts to the associate manning the door.
Are all Walmart’s like this, or just the one in my area?
I think my Walmart shopping days have come to an end. Next time I need Tide Pods and Tweezers, anything and everything else, I’ll either pick up at the market or order from Amazon.

Friday, September 7, 2018

8 Years Not a Slave

While at the market the other day, picking up waffle bowls, ice cream toppings and a birthday card for The Baker, I spied this at the card station.


I snapped a photo, posted to Facebook with the caption, “Something I’ll never have to celebrate again. Thank God!”
Got a lot of likes from friends still slaving away in the workforce, no end in sight.
Then I thought Oh, wait ... you retired a month before Boss Day, so you should be rolling up on another anniversary.
I double checked and sure enough ... today is the day!


I generally celebrate by purchasing the latest Starbucks Anniversary mug, because our anniversaries coincide and there is a new design every year. So though I need another coffee mug like I need a hole in the head, no need to buck the tradition. I’ll be popping into Starbucks today to add another mug to the collection.
I took off my cloak of invisibility yesterday and joined the seniors for Bingo, but only because Apache and I had planned that ice cream bar to celebrate The Baker’s birthday.
The Baker was all smiles and, to use her words, “Very much surprised”, so good job us.
The choice of ice cream started off with vanilla, because we had so many toppings ─ caramel, chocolate, strawberry, granulated peanuts and cherries.
A new guy has been consistently hanging with the regulars for a long time now -- I think he even received a mention or two in the blog as "new guy".  At any rate, he needs a name, but I can’t think of him in any way suitable other than he's fairly new and the fact he’s the third guy in the group. So let's call him Third Guy ... first being Apache, second being Shadow.
So anyway, Third Guy declined the ice cream saying, “Too much sugar”.
“Oh, are you diabetic?” asked I.
“The doctor said I needed to cut down”.
Perfectly understandable. But then, we ran out of vanilla and pulled out the very rich pecan praline.
Third Guy saw the praline and said, “I want some of that”.
My mouth ran away with me and blurted out, “Oh, I see. This one is not too much sugar for you?" Then to top it off, my mouth also added, " You are so sometimey”.
He looked sheepish, but fortunately laughed.
At any rate, the seniors LOVED the eatable waffle bowls.



I didn’t eat one but, while the seniors indulged in ice cream, I did use a waffle bowl as a cup for what I could eat — fruit.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Birthday Wars

Not wanting to play the Birthday Wars game is why I don’t talk about or celebrate my birthday.
Birthdays in the family were celebrated when I was coming up, but so rarely that I learned not to expect or want so as to not feel hurt.
Early in my working career, I found myself celebrating others but the others I worked with were more of the receiving/taking variety, than the giving, resulting in my dealing with the same hurt feelings I experienced as a child until I learned not to expect or want at that level as well.
As I advanced in my career, coworkers were of a higher caliber and birthdays became a popularity contest. Fortunately, my coworkers loved me. I was popular enough that they would take me out to lunch or bring in cake. I enjoyed it, was thankful but, based on past experiences, afraid to be hurt again, I never expected or even necessarily wanted and, at one point in starting a new job, I kept my birthday a secret and have carried that practice on to this day. However, around here, the game is definitely being played.
First was the birthday party The Seer arranged for Shadow back in April. The Seer went around asking us all to contribute, which we did, and the event turned out to be a big fun to-do.
Though it was a good time, I don’t have to worry about putting myself out and spending any money on him again, because the two of them have become so unfriendly and standoffish that should a party be planned next year, few will bother. I know I won’t.
Not wanting Apache to feel left out, when his birthday rolled around in May, everyone got together and made sure he felt appreciated.
At the time, that included The Seer and Shadow as well because they were all good friends. Shadow even baked the cake. But now that they’ve added Apache to the list of people they are unfriendly and standoffish with, I seriously doubt they’ll be another big to-do for Apache either. That is, unless The Baker or one of Apache’s other really good friends arrange something.
Not me. Apache and I are friends, yes, but Apache is very popular, has a lot of friends. They hang out in each other’s unit, go places together, and thus are much closer than I, so I don’t feel responsible for arranging the something, though I will of course attend and give him a nice gift.
This birthday game is so complicated. 
To further complicate the game is the fact that around here, the seniors go out of their way to let everyone know when they have a birthday coming up. Like a few weeks ago, one senior announced it by hanging birthday balloons to her balcony.


And just in case we didn’t see the balloons, I could hear her announcing it to anyone she saw out on the property. She caught me the day after, as I was heading to the Laundry Room, she to church … “Yesterday was my birthday” she yelled out. So, of course, I had to yell back, “Well, happy birthday”. Even days later, long after the balloons deflated and were gone, she could be heard saying, “Last Saturday was my birthday”.
And a few weeks ago, when I pretended I didn’t hear it, so I didn’t have to get involved when The Baker announced The Seer had a birthday coming up, Younger Sister saw fit to say her birthday was also coming up. The Baker planned to make a cake for both of them. I laid low, so though I’m sure there was a celebration, I didn’t go or hear how things went.
And yesterday, I get an email from Apache announcing that The Baker’s birthday is today, Wednesday the 5th.
The Baker is so sweet, so giving. She’s always doing for others, making sure everyone is celebrated (baking cakes, cupcakes) so there are no hurt feelings. She’s even asked me time and time again if there isn’t something she can make I can eat, give her a recipe even, so she can celebrate my birthday (Which she doesn't know the date, but thanks to Management posting residents who have birthdays during the month on the calendar, she know nows the month). And time and time again, I’ve assured her, no thanks, I don’t celebrate my birthday.
At any rate, the email went on to say that, since The Seer is not speaking to him, and since The Seer and The Baker are best friends, would I check with The Seer to see if she is planning to do anything for her best friend.
“Uh-Uh … No … Nope. I’m not touching that”, replied I.
“Why?”, asked he.
“Because she (The Seer) is scary now”.
And even though The Seer is indeed The Baker’s best friend, I assume she’s far too self-involved these days to be as good to The Baker as The Baker has been to her.
I didn’t say that to Apache though. I just said, I’d head to the flower shop this morning and pick up a plant for The Baker, so she’d not be completely hurt if there wasn’t a big to-do for her as well.
Following up with that plan, I was in the process of getting ready to head to the flower shop this morning, when I got another email from Apache.
“How about we surprise her at Bingo, tomorrow the 6th, with an ice cream bar?”
Since her birthday is today, she certainly will be surprised, but better late than never and I thought that a fabulous idea because quite a few residents show up for Bingo, so she'll have a crowd.
So that’s the plan. Apache is providing the ice cream, I the waffle cones and toppings for a belated birthday celebration.
Last I heard, there’s been nothing special going on for she who always makes sure others are recognized and today she’s “not feeling well”. A sign I recognize from my own past experiences, as feeling hurt and let down. She'll feel better after tomorrow and maybe learn a thing or two, as did I.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Invisible Woman

The sore throat and ear infection I brought back with me from the Long Beach/San Pedro area were easily handled with a vinegar/hot water gargle and a few drops of garlic ear oil, so I made it down yesterday to the seniors’ Labor Day BBQ. I even ran by the market to pick up a dish to contribute ─ Klondike Bars because my days of slaving over deviled eggs are over and done with.
It was an okay spread ...


Chicken and Ribs

Potato Salad and Baked Beans

More Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Lentil/Rice Soup

In attendance were the usual suspects. I counted about 20 of us inside, three at one of the patio tables, and three others (not pictured) outside.



Two of the attendees not pictured were residents I was surprised to see, as they don’t normally attend the Resident Volunteer Activity Committee events ─ The woman who said, “Don’t put me on no facebook” and the Little Bully. No personal or particular reasons they don’t attend, they either just never do or, it’s entirely possible, they don’t get the word and this time they did.
Church Lady was surprisingly absent, but The Seer and Shadow made an appearance.
The Seer was once again in defensive mode, announcing a loud warning as she entered, that “Nobody better not saying nothing to me” ─  meaning don't say anything she might take issue with, then she came over and chatted with me for a second.
For the life of me, I can’t remember what we talked about. It may have been asking me what I’ve been up to, because it’s been a long while, since undergoing a radical personality change, which has her now travelling a different path, that she’s opted to chat with me.
In fact, it was not only The Seer but more residents than I can count who looked surprised to see me and asked what I’ve been up to indicating they’d not seen me in such a long time.
I found that strange because I check in with the folks most Pizza Tuesdays and occasionally head down for Bingo, walk to the Mail Center, go weigh myself on the scale in the Game Room, so if people are not seeing me out and about it must mean I’ve attained a super power ─ Invisibility.
Most surprising of all was when the neighbor who lives upstairs across the quad over Nosey expressed surprise to see me saying, “Where have you been? I don’t see you anymore. I use to see you heading to the market, but not for a long time and your car never moves.”


I really didn’t know what to say because she can look out her patio window, see my patio and can’t help but notice the blinds close at night, open in the morning to know I’m around. Plus, the car wasn’t there Friday and Saturday when I’d gone out-of-town, and multiple times before that as I headed out to pick up packages at the Amazon Locker, hunting Pokémon and other errands.
At any rate, today is once again Pizza Tuesday, so it’s business as usual here at the complex. After having spent time with the seniors yesterday, I’ve no desire to do anything but needlepoint and catch up on recorded television programs today, so I’m going to make myself even more invisible by staying indoors today.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Home Sweet Home

The drive up on Friday took 4 hours, with the GPS warning of traffic jams, and recalculating numerous times around accidents. The drive back this morning only took 1 hour 15 minutes and I arrived back at the complex with a sore throat and ear infection.
Expecting the Long Beach/San Pedro area to be sunny, bright, hot, I packed a pair of shorts, a tank top and sun hat to wear to the Rooftop BBQ. Expecting also to spend time in the salt water pool, I packed a bathing suit. Had the event been from 11 a.m. to 4:00, that would have worked. But the event was scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., by which time the area was so cool and breezy that I decided to wear the leggings and tank top I’d driven up in and took along a long-sleeve top I’d fortunately tossed in the luggage at the last-minute.
Arriving shortly after 4:00, wasn’t long before I had to slip on that long sleeve top ... and it wasn’t enough. I should have packed gloves, jacket, my heavy knitted infinity scarf because it got so chilly up on that roof that, when I slipped out early at 8:00, others were wrapping themselves in blankets, which I declined because I could feel the beginning of an ear and throat problem and was ready to go.
Everyone had so much fun catching up that there’s talk about it being an annual event. If so, next time I’ll know to cover my bases and prepare for every conceivable kind of weather.
At any rate, before it got cold, the weekend was fun and exciting. Arriving at the hotel on Friday, I spotted an event going on a block away. After checking in, I walked over and found a Hawaiian Shindig.






That’s what I enjoyed about the time I did live in Long Beach ─ the fact that every time I walked out the door, I’d walk up on an event. There’s always something fun going on. What I didn’t enjoy were the constant rent increases to where the newer buildings are now beyond reach, and the old run-down icky inside weather-worn buildings are now barely affordable, with constant rent increases as well.
I guess it’s all about location, location, location.
The force was with me on Saturday, because I landed a spot right in front of the rooftop building. And, while stopped at the light just before turning into that location, I managed to capture a photo of what looks to be one of the battleships folks were touring at Fleetweek.



Arriving at the rooftop, I managed to capture more of the Fleetweek goings on, including snipers posted on a patio of the building I was in, and around the corner from where we were on the roof.




Exciting stuff that. Even more exciting is that one of the guys hosting the event was stopped and questioned by NCIS, when he went to tour one of the ships.
He didn’t think it exciting. He was offended and complained.
Later in the evening, we could hear the music and see the Beach Boys on stage, by which time I was too cold to care.



Here are a few shots of former coworker friends, some of whom I've not seen in person since 2002, and the fabulous food I couldn't eat.







And here I am feeling cold, changing into long sleeves


The Boys


The Girls

The seniors are planning a Labor Day BBQ. Won’t compare with the Rooftop BBQ, but I hope to feel well enough to check in.