Friday, January 18, 2019

Sun’s Up

Yesterday, the day before yesterday and the day before that was all day all night unrelenting this ...

Today there was a break.

Not at all sure how long it would be before the universe once again expressed its displeasure with the state of the union, first on my to-do list was that long over-due bloodwork ─ but only because I’d run out of a floss color, knew there was a craft store in the area of the medical center and determined the errand an opportune time to kill two birds with one stone.
But for the floss, I would have kept to local errands and put off bloodwork to another day.
I signed into the lab at 10:45.
It’s a numbering system ─ served in order of arrival.
My number was 31.
The number being served was 13.
At 10:55, the number being served was still 13.
Interesting, thought I. My number 31 is 13 backwards but for heaven’s sake! … How long does it take to draw blood and call in the next number?
At the rate things were going, I estimated at least an hour and a half wait.
I didn’t bring a book to read or needlepoint to work on and life is too short to sit idly by, so I headed back to the receptionist and asked for a refund of the $35 lab fee or a rain check.
No problem. Whichever I preferred.
I took the raincheck, headed for the craft store, loaded up on avocados and almond butter at Sprouts, salmon and veggies at Stater Bros, and was back at the complex before outside turned bad again.
The Stater Bros I dropped into was the one near where the new senior complex is scheduled to be built, a hop skip jump from the fire department. When I patronize this store, it's not unusual to see fire personnel. And so it was today that four very handsome well-built young men in uniform walked in. Of course, I went gaga, and remarked to the cashier how fortunate she was to see that kind of eye candy coming in on a regular basis. “I'm married”, said she. “So I hardly notice”.
“Are you married?” she asked. 
“No. I've been very happily divorced for 50 years.”
“Oh, no wonder you notice them”.
Guilty. I do like eye candy, but the encounter got me to thinking .... I hadn't realized it's been 50 years divorced. I escaped my ex when the twins were six months old. They're 51 now, so wow!
I've had gentlemen friends of course, even been engaged a couple times. But I had no intention of ever remarrying. I just said yes because it was easier to say yes and then not than it was to say no and deal with attitude. Besides, my saying yes was a trap, a test of sort. Because I found that when a guy thought he had me locked in, he relaxed, the mask came off and the real him began to show. Which real him gave me the excuse I needed for kicking him to the curb six months to a year later.
One of the gold chains I wear was a goodbye gift, when I left a job, from a group of girls I'd worked with. It has a pendant that says, "Special and Single". Now that I realize it's been 50 years unmarried, I'm thinking I should have one made that says, "Single because I'm Special".

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I Can’t Stop Laughing

Saw this posted to Facebook last night and can’t stop laughing.

Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan has invited Clemson to a "proper meal" of Lobster, to make up for those “Hamberders”.
I hope they accept.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Cats and Dogs

That’s what it’s been looking like around here since last week.
There was a long enough break in the weather this afternoon to allow me to finally take out the trash, check the mailbox and make a quick run to the market, but that’s as far as I could get before the downpour started up again.
I’d been trying since last week to get to the medical center for blood work, so the doctor’s office will stop harassing me, but looks like there won’t be another long enough break in the weather until Friday.
I’d actually driven to the medical center in October to get that blood work off the table but, upon checking in, was told it was not in the system that the doctor had requested.
It was a good thing it was a non-fast because, if I’d starved myself since the night before only to be turned away, I’d have been a lot more annoyed than I was.
At any rate, I’d sent an email to the doc (10/15) that I’d been unable to comply with her request and why.
It wasn’t until 12/05 I received a response ─ “The labs are now in the system. Please stop by to complete these labs when you get a chance”.
Well since they didn’t rush to get their act together, I was not in a rush to comply, so I tabled blood work until I decided to get around to it and have endured a steady stream of harassment since. There are constant Action Required messages, her office has even been so bold as to schedule appointments for me ─ appointments which I’ve immediately cancelled because how dare you.
Having barely moved from the couch since the Holidays, a drive out of the area to the medical center is beginning to look like a pleasant change of pace, so I’m ready ─ but not in the rain.
Yesterday was the day I started feeling like being active again. The Ontario 5K is this coming Saturday ─ too soon because I haven’t trained since November. There are some fun looking races coming up in Long Beach and Santa Monica in the near future, but too far.
I might, change my mind, so thinking I might book a hotel and register for one or two or three, I put down the needlepoint yesterday, got off the couch and made it all the way across the room to my mini-gym to start indoor training until I can get out walking.

After so much time being inactive, thought I'd have a hard time restarting, but nooooo. Thirty minutes on the bike, 20 minutes yoga was easy peasy.
While picking up mail during the break in the rain this afternoon, I made a stop in the Community Room to see if any activities had been posted to the board.
There are none.
However, I did see Friday’s Movie Night is “Monsters Ball”.
I wonder whose idea that was, because the sex scenes between Haley Barry and Billy Bob Thornton aren’t really senior-appropriate. Going to be some red faces, closed eyes and hands covering the ears to block out naughty talk.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Seven Days In

I don’t know which is worse about living in the Inland Empire ─ the triple digit soaring heat or the freezing cold.
We don’t experience four seasons here. Instead, it’s Summer or it’s Winter and, with one extreme to the other, it’s either too hot to go out and be active or too cold, wet, windy.
Other than bemoaning the weather, using weather as an excuse for turning into a couch potato, it’s a whole lot of nothing going on. With nothing on my plate, nothing to do, nowhere to go, I’ve been able to put in 10/12-hour days into that needlepoint project.
At this rate, I might be able to complete this project by end of this year rather than 2020.
Looking at the January activity calendar, it doesn’t appear any senior activities will break into my needlepoint time as there is not a single activity listed.
The position of Community Manager is still advertised as open, applications being accepted on Corporate’s website. It’s been up since November, so the fact there appear to be no takers might indicate people are getting wise to the perils of working for Corporate.
It behooves one to do due diligence, research before submitting an application whatever the agency.
It’s also a good idea, in the interview, to ask about previous holders of the job ─ how many have been in the position, how long they held the job, why did they leave.
If the interviewer looks uncomfortable with answering those questions, run.
If the answer sounds like the job is like working at the current White House ─ a revolving door, run.
Looking at the photos my buddy Apache finally got around to posting on the community’s Facebook page, there was indeed a New Year’s Eve celebration. Didn’t seem like much celebrating went on with only four photos and what looks to be a handful of seniors, maybe six ─ The Seer and Shadow included.
Glad I didn’t waste my time going to that.
I did spend some time trying to work out how I could fly to New Orleans, spend a week there without getting sick because of my gut issues.
Unable to figure out how to manage taking my own food and cooking equipment on the flight and/or how to get what I needed in New Orleans, I had to turn down the opportunity to accompany Twin 1 as she presented what she does for the homeless at an event.
I’m not sorry though, as I’m not fond of travelling, especially by air now that there are so many restrictions.
I did think about driving the 1,845 miles (28 hours), with planned stops, the Instant Pot and safe foods in the trunk of the car. 
Having had the Jeep since February of last year, and only 3856 miles on it, I do need to put in some drive time. The event isn’t until March, so a road trip is still an option. Except, I’m not getting a good feeling about the organization hosting the event, don’t wish to go to so much trouble for them and feel Twin 1 should also say thanks but no thanks ─ even though they’re paying for her flight and hotel.
The farthest I’ve ever driven in my life is straight through to Sacramento (around 8 hours, 500 miles) through a scary stretch of highway known as The Grapevine. I was driving a Toyota back then, only had to make one pit stop.
Back then, the sign of a safe clean place to stop was a golden arch. There being no such logo along the route when nature called, I pulled into the only place available, another easily recognized chain known by its bright yellow five-pointed star, which should have been okay.
It wasn’t.
Because it was the only sign of civilization on a long stretch of mountainous road, many others had pulled in for the same reason as I. There was a long line and staff cared nothing of making sure the facility, so close to where food was served and eaten, was clean. It was disgusting. The experience scarred me for life.
Now the sign of a safe clean place to stop is a circle with a mermaid/siren in the center.
Looking at the route I’d be taking, it appears I’d be travelling through Arizona, New Mexico, crossing into Texas, and there are Starbucks along the way, some in malls, but I'll pass on this trip, wait for something that has a better feel about it ─ like a faraway meditation retreat or 5K.
Speaking of putting on miles, while the Jeep isn't getting much drive time, my body has been on the road racking up miles at a fast pace because, according to science, on an undisclosed date, because I don’t celebrate, the body reached the 75th time travelling 584 million miles around the sun.
Same route 75 times ... and I’m still not bored. Always an adventure of one kind or another.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, Business as Usual

Twenty eighteen was a good year for me. No major complaints. Nothing I desperately wanted or needed to change this year, so I didn’t lock myself into any resolutions per se.
That’s not to say there are not things I need to improve ─ like train/walk more, maybe go to the gym, it’s just that I no longer set those as goals because, now that I'm retired and my time is my own, I know I can’t go back to a schedule, a regiment. I’m more free flow nowlistening to the Universe and going with the flow.
However, it did cross my mind that I should rein in my shopping.
It’s a good thing I didn’t set that as a goal, was only thinking about it, because by 7:00 I’d made my first purchase of the year ─ not a need, but a want.

As seen on Debra's/She Who Seeks site

The year’s still young, so I’ll reset and think harder about reining in my shopping … that is after I order the same shirt for Twin 2, who will love it.
I want to wait until mine arrives and I can test for size before I order for Twin 2.
Second order of business for today was to tackle the patio’s Christmas decorations — box everything up, get things back in storage.
The wind was blowing so hard last night that I thought there’d be no patio decorations to store, that I’d awake to find everything gone with the wind.
Checking the patio around 6:00 a.m., I found nothing gone, someone’s empty fast food bag added, the chair, decorations, rug jumbled and shoved into a corner.

At any rate, by noon, the patio was back to pre-Christmas conditioneverything neatly stored, not to be seen for another year.
I’ll have to find out how yesterday’s New Years Eve party went — that is if there was one.
My buddy Apache texted me in the morning that instead of 2:00 PM to 1:00 AM, the festivities had been rescheduled — 5:00 to 7:00, because “the replacements don’t know how to set the code”.
What apache meant was that what staff we had on the property New Year’s Eve were temps working half day and none knew how to reset the code on the Community Room doors to remain unlocked past 7:00 PM.
That didn’t explain why the event start was moved from 2:00 to 5:00 but whatever the reason, I lost interest, decided it wasn’t worth the effort to brave the cold wind and stayed warm and comfortable in my unit.
Apache is not one to have his plans thwarted by management, so I expect his not being able to have the room past midnight is going on his list of grievances. And the fact he didn’t post any photos to the resident’s Facebook page means it either didn’t happen or no one showed up.
I’m expecting the worst because I can feel how angry he is ─ not at me, or the residents, but at management.
Figuring the market would be closing early yesterday, I made a quick trip for black bean soup ingredients.
The market was crowded and not much fun now that it’s back to business as usual with hide and seek over. Since hide and seek was so successful, hopefully they’ll bring back the elf next year.
Because the market parking lot was crowded, I’d parked way off in a corner. Returning to the car, I discovered that parking spot was pinging on a Pokémon GO Gym, under the control of Team Yellow (Instinct). I being Team Red (Valor) decided to hon my skills by engaging in a battle with the three Team Yellow creatures in the gym.
I won!
First time winning a battle and I won all three!
Not knowing what to do after winning, I shut down the game and returned to the complex.
Upon booting up the computer and researching what come next, I learned I missed an opportunity. After winning, I should have claimed the gym for Team Red and left a creature behind to fight off opposing teams that tried to claim or reclaim the gym.
Now I just have to figure out how to claim.
Living and learning. That should be my goal for 2019keep living and learning.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Countdown to 2019

Except for fending off an invitation to join in on feeding the homeless this past Saturday, on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles, the past week has been totally absolutely completely uneventful as I head into a new year.
There’s a superstition I’ve been careful not to test that what you do at the end of one year, the people you are in contact with, as you go into the next year, is a portent of that next year.
I can remember not answering the phone on New Years Eve, because I didn’t want my last contact to be the person I knew was probably making the call. A certain someone I didn’t want to be the last person I spoke with because I didn’t want that person in my life the next year.
So, the idea of standing for hours in filth and squalor, no place to sit, no bathroom, surrounded by the downtrodden ─ many who are so sick and unappreciative (hurling insults, calling you all kinds of beoches) and so dangerous that a motorcycle club has to stand guard as security while you put yourself out to help. No thanks!
I didn’t want or need that experience and the images of Skid Row in my head as 2018 ends and 2019 begins, so I opted to spend this past week being quiet, reflective, meditative, listening to the thoughts running through my head as I was being quiet, reflective, meditative.
The seniors are getting an early start (2:00 today) to their New Year’s Eve party.
Because I’m on the verge of no longer qualifying to live in this limited income community, because my income is not all that limited any longer, I don’t want to jinx myself that the superstition of no contact means not taking this community with me into 2019, so I’ll go down to see what’s shaking just so I can hopefully lock myself in for another year. However, looking at all the hugging that went on when I dropped into the party last New Year's Eve, I’ll be certain to lie and say I’m coming back when I slip away.
I can no longer cap off the year with my favorite indulgence, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, because of gut issues.
Fortunately, I’ve learned the gut likes champagne and I’ve got a stash of those little Martinelli’s, so I’ll spend tonight being quiet, reflective, meditative, drinking Martinelli, toasting to a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Not a Creature was Stirring

With the Community Room locked up during staff’s holiday, it’s been unusually quiet on the complex.
From the looks of all the empty parking spots, those who could get away for the holidays have busted out a move.
Next door neighbor left with a suitcase the day before Christmas Eve, so there’s not the sound of her door opening/closing or the bump bump bump of her dragging her grocery cart up the stairs.
I’ve also not heard the door open and slam shut, as is usual, from my downstairs neighbor’s unit or the downstairs unit across from hers, so I’m thinking I've been the only person in residence on my side of the quad for days.
It’s been lovely ─ the quiet here, the not having to pack up a lot of stuff and head out to anywhere.
I did get invited to spend time in Murrieta with my twin girls as they hang out together celebrating their 51st birthday, including a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. Of course, I had to decline because of my gut issues. Besides, a trip to Murrieta would have meant packing up a lot of stuff and heading out.
Instead, Twin 2 stopped by here, while Twin 1 was off feeding the homeless of Skid row.
Since she was here, I decided it was time to have The Talk ─ my final wishes, where the Power of Attorney and insurance papers are located, etc.
She was uncomfortable with the discussion and thought it meant I felt old and about to expire. Consequently, she ended giving me a pep talk ... “Mom, you look younger than 74, you do 5Ks, the Floss Dance. You’re in good shape, while most people your age are dead already”.
“Tell that to the residents here who are in their 80’s and 90’s” said I, but no, it’s not that I feel my time is anywhere near up. It’s because one never knows and, with what’s happening in the world right now as the result of a mad man in the White House, these things need to be discussed.
My energy level returned during the week, I was back on center and got a lot done, besides sitting on the couch working on that needlepoint, which I did devote quite a few hours to. But I also managed to reorganized the pantry so I could readily see what I was looking for, rather than go on the usual frustrating moving things out of the way, hunting for what was needed.
I also updated my recipe binder ─ removing recipes that no longer work for me because of my gut issues, adding the grain-free recipes that do.
I also managed to view all 10 episodes of a fascinating watch on Prime ─ Homecoming.
Julie Roberts looked unattractive. I wasn’t sure if she was made up to look unattractive or if she’s just not aging gracefully, but Homecoming was excellent. I could watch it again.
Christmas Day rushed its way into my shutdown period. Feeling myself again, I’d planned to spend the day walking around the University, hitting up PokéStops for balls, but awoke to the sound of rain.
Rain didn’t last long, but it never got sunny or warm enough to lure me outside so, finally in the mood for it, I decorated those sweater cookies I’d been holding onto.

The wreath should have been higher up on the sweater, but not too shabby.
The pink things on the Christmas Tree are cups left over from the Starbucks Gingerbread Café I built last year.
Didn’t see a gingerbread café kit at the local Starbucks this year. 
Still feeling energetic after decorating the sweater cookies, I decided to go through the other cabinets in the kitchen.
Learned I had two crockpots. The 3-quart I knew I had, but no longer use because the Instant Pot rendered it obsolete. Didn’t remember ever buying or using the 1.5 quart one but, with the advent of the Instant Pot, that one also is now obsolete, along with several other pots and pans.
I’ve three strainers, all the same size.
I only need one.
I guess it’s indicative of the cupboard clutter I was now addressing ─ previously not being able to find and/or not realizing I already had one, winding up purchasing another.
I can’t imagine the Salvation Army would be interested in used pots, pans, strainers, crockpots, but we’ll see. Better yet, Twin 1 is not only involved in feeding the homeless, but in housing, which I’m sure the cookware now obsolete for me, would be useful to those fortunate enough to secure housing but moving in with nothing.
The complex office and Community Room reopen today, so I guess the parking spaces will start filling up and the normal everyday noises will return with residents returning to home base and stirring again, but I’m on my second wind. Ready for what comes next. So ready that I may even go down for the New Year’s Eve party, but slip away before the hugging and kissing starts because eweeee.