Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Yesterday’s Fall Crafts Class didn’t happen.
Activity Director showed up 10:00, per schedule, but announced that, because we are once again without a Community Manager, there was no one to disperse the budget ─ supply her with money for supplies.
Though she said she’s trying to work something out with Corporate, I’m guessing next week’s Cupcake Decorating Class won’t happen either.
Oh well.
In addition to the daily emails from No. 45 whining that “It’s a COUP. They want to steal the election”, asking me to “Stand with me against Pencil-Necked Adam Schiff”, “This is BS. We need to fight back”, “Be my VIP guest in Chicago” and one from Jr. that “My father is asking about you” there was once again this from the utility company:
“Due to forecast fire weather conditions, Southern California Edison is exploring a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff of electrical lines in your area. These conditions may result in SCE turning off your power. SCE anticipates that this may occur on Thursday, October 24, 2019 though it may occur earlier or later depending on actual weather conditions. We encourage you to prepare by having an outage plan and emergency kit. SCE will send daily updates until conditions improve.”
So tiresome, but I’ll be preparing with boiled eggs, pick up bananas and apples while out and about today, making more of the grain-free crackers and calling it a wrap.
And speaking of tiresome, the wife beater and his spouse put on a show of solidarity by showing up for crafts yesterday ... both of them ... together ... at the same time. Something they’ve never done before.
She rarely shows up for crafts
He’s never made an appearance at crafts. It’s not a guy thing around here.
The way they sat ─ alone, at the biggest table, her head chin up in a proud stance, lips tight in defiance. His head posed straight ahead, eyes looking like he wanted to be friendly but dared not because she obviously did not want him to be.
It was a performance, a statement to all of us.
We saw it, we got it, and none of us cared. Our focus was disappointment at there being no crafts and how Corporate should have planned for dispersal of the budget.
The news is on as I write this post. I wasn’t paying attention to it until Duchess Megan popped up on the screen. Evidently, she and baby Archie are spending Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA. No mention of hubby joining her.
I’m glad she’s getting out of that country, even if it’s only for a few days.
Talk about being an abused wife … and not by her husband, but by an entire country.
Maybe she’ll decide having married Harry isn't worth the drama, and never go back.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Fire on Little Mountain

I'd just mentioned in that last post of having gotten renters’ insurance because of all the fires on little mountain and wouldn’t you know.
Along about 4:00, it sounded like Armageddon outside — dozens of fire vehicles racing down the street, sirens blaring.
My thoughts immediately turned to the Pacific Palisades fire, thinking that maybe they were headed that way to assist, but that area is more than an hour and a half away, so couldn’t be that … has to be something going on in our area.
Not smelling smoke, not hearing neighbors in a commotion outside, and totally engrossed in needlepoint work, I pushed the sirens out of my mind until 2 hours later when I heard helicopters overhead.
Stepping out onto the patio, I found 5 helicopters hovering over the complex. That could only mean yet another fire on Little Mountain.
Jumping onto Facebook, found the fire to be on the other side of the mountain — “16 fire engines, four chiefs, aircraft and two hand crews, making up roughly 75 firefighters total”.
I’ve a former coworker, now friend who lives on that side. The flames came close to her home that last time and I’ve not seen a posting from her yet as to how she fared this time.
My friend the Archeologist could see the flames from her front yard.
By 8:00, it was contained ─ homes lost but no loss of life.
Arson is suspected.
Time to revisit the go-bag.
On another topic, I called it correctly when I said I’d not be surprised to see the wife beater forgiven and back.
Heading to the Community Room this morning, to sign up for next week’s Halloween Costume Contest, I passed the wife at the mail box, said “Hey” without stopping to engage in conversation, entered the building, and there he was seated in the foyer at the far end of the hallway, by the Community Room door.
He waived.
When I got to where he was seated, I stopped just long enough to say “You still here?”
“I’m back for a few days, then I’m going to rehab”, said he.
Having been an abused wife myself, having to grab my 6 month old twins and flee for my life with the clothes we had on our backs, starting over with nothing, my heart is hardened against the both of them  that they've allowed this to go on through 33 years of marriage into what should now be their golden years. I just don't want to hear it. So, assuming “rehab” meant blaming his activities on overuse of prescription medication, said “Good luck with it” and then went about what I was there to do.
I’d been pondering for days about what to bring to the Halloween event.
Creepy deviled eggs are out of the question.
What with working out and needlepoint, I just don’t have the time or the inclination.
I looked at a couple recipes and found I could pretty quick make witch fingers out of premade cookie dough but, yet again, I don’t want to take time away from needlepoint for that. I decided the least I could do, after having disrupted next week’s Bingo, was to spring for deli fried chicken  ─ which the seniors love almost as much as bingo.
How did I disrupt Bingo you ask?
Well, I’d not initially planned to go to the Halloween event because the Resident Volunteer Activity Committee (RVA) advertised it as “Halloween Costumed Bingo, Thursday, October 31, 12 noon”.
When Apache and the Baker, both of whom spearhead the RVA, asked if I was coming, I said no, that I’d not be back from the Pain Cave until 12:15/12:30, and I wasn’t interested in bingo, they changed Halloween Bingo to Halloween Costume Contest/Potluck, 1:00.
So sweet of them, but bingo is huge around here. I’m going to be a marked woman if any of the seniors find out my schedule/my dislike of bingo is the reason there’s no bingo next week.
So, there’s that.
Heading back to my unit, I spotted the wife beater and his spouse in Assistant Manager's office. Getting him back on the lease I imagine.
The calendar for tomorrow indicates … “Fall Craft 10:00 – 12:00”.
Crafting is my thing, so hopefully Activity Director will actually show up at 10:00 — which will give me at least an hour to participate before I have to leave for the Pain Cave.
We’ll see.
P.S. I may have spoken too soon about the fire being completely contained because, it's 11:55 PM, I'm just finishing this post and there's a helicopter circling the area.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Activity Director scheduled some fun events for the seniors this month.
First on the calendar was an Ice Cream Social, last Tuesday, at 10:00 in the morning.
That’s a little early for ice cream, thought I. But even though early, and I can’t eat ice cream, I went down to the Community Room anyway because that gave me an hour and a half to socialize, take photos for our facebook page before I had to leave for the Pain Cave.
Arriving shortly after 10:00, I found the room packed but no Activity Director.
I stuck around for a bit, then The Baker came in around 10:30 to say Activity Director had called to say 10:00 was a typo, she’d be arriving at 11:00.
My initial thought was to stay until Activity Director arrived, take a few quick photos, head back to my unit, get ready to leave for that morning’s workout. However, something within told me to leave now, maybe check back at 11:00.
It’s a good thing I’m in tune with and listens to that something within because, when I opened the door, I could hear the sound of something percolating, and there was the strong smell of over boiled coffee.
I’d forgotten I had the 2-cup stainless steel stovetop percolator on the burner when I left the unit.
It wasn’t the coffee boiling off that stunned me. It was the thought of how I could have been so careless as to leave a pot on the burner and what could have happened had I stayed longer ... and the pot percolated until it was empty of water.
The week before, while oven roasting veggies, I caught wisp of a burning smell. Checking the oven, I saw it was the smell of the oven mitt on fire because I’d left it on the handle of the cast iron griddle.
Of course, the smoke detector was silent when I caught the burning smell. It only works when it wants to annoy me.
At any rate, remembering how it was my mother burned down her kitchen three times by forgetting she was cooking, my goal now is to not be my mother. To slow down, be more mindful of what I’m doing, be in the moment rather than allowing my hands to do one thing while my mind ruminates … and also to check the stove, make sure everything is turned off, before I leave the unit.
Worst case scenario, inasmuch as we’ve had several close calls from fires on Little Mountain, I did finally invest in renter’s insurance two years ago, but I’d really rather not have to use it because I myself started a fire.
Other than those two serious senior moments, with no fun 5Ks until end of November, my life continues to be the peaceful rut of housework, needlepoint, working out.
Looking up from needlepoint, eyes landing on that wood bib/medal board I’d made, I decided it wasn’t working for me, so I tossed it and replaced with an additional two medal displays.
Before "One Mile at a Time" and wooden board
After "Beast Mode and Think Strong, Be Strong, Finish Strong"
Needing a 3/16 drill bit to get them up, I drove to Walmart where I found that area, and most of everywhere else in the store, to be behind locked cabinets.
I must have waited a full 15/20 minutes, pressing the little red button. waiting for assistance, pressing again, more waiting, pressing, waiting, pressing, waiting. Finally, I became so frustrated that I pressed, pressed, pressed, pressed, until finally a gentleman appeared — let’s call him The Talker because, while unlocking the cabinet, he told me his whole life story. How, as a teenager, learning to read had been a struggle. How he was bullied, doesn’t hear well. Has a close caption set up on his television, yada yada yada.
At the end of his tale of woe, I said “Bless your heart. You’ve had a challenging life” to which he replied, “Yes, but I’m okay now” and something to the effect that “It’s just me”, which made me think he’s a talker because he’s lonely.
Taking into consideration the incidents I’d blogged about earlier ─ the woman who stuck to me like glue at the drug store, the resident who, when I said “Good morning, how are you” unloaded her entire family’s drama, I’m beginning to feel a little like Lucy.

To top it off, last Monday, a 62-year-old resident I ran into in the hallway, said he was on his way to the office to ask them to evict him because he’d spent the night in jail for spousal abuse.
He said he'd blackened his 70-year-old wife’s eyes, beat her head into a wall, was arrested and was just returning to the complex, after being bailed out by their son, to find his wife gone with his car and credit card.
He looked quite defeated, said he’d snapped, never done anything like that before, and now, “I just don’t want to live here any longer”.
My thinking at the time was “Here” is not the problem. "Here" is not responsible for your actions and there is no escaping YOU because no matter where you go, there YOU are.
I’ve not seen him since. However, I did learn the office said they could not evict him, but he could have his name taken off the lease and leave, which is what he chose to do.
He left and seeing his wife, the very next day in the Community Room as us residents waited for Activity Director to show up, I gave her a hug and said I was sorry to hear what happened to her. She was a bit scratched up, with makeup covering her puffy eyes, and said not only that she was okay but that this has been going on throughout their 33-year marriage.
WHAT!?  So, he lied to me that it was a one-time occurrence, but staying in an abusive relationship for 33 years begged the question ... “Why did you stay with him?”, asked I.
“I always forgave him”.
I’m sorry if I sound callous but, now that I know and later learned neighbors had previously encouraged her to get a restraining order which she declined to do, it’s hard for me to sympathize with either one of them.
This is the dance they choose to live, and it won’t surprise me at all to see him forgiven and back.
At any rate, after listening to The Talker’s sad tale, he put the drill bit in my hand — an item so small that, had I been a thief, I could easily have slipped it out of the package and into my pocket.
So, what’s the point of locking it up behind a cabinet, thought I.
I don’t know if putting items behind locked cabinets as a loss prevention measure is going to help the bottom line because, after I removed the wooden board and saw the gaping holes the drywall anchors made in the wall, instead of running to Walmart for repair putty — so I could fill those holes, make new ones, and having to wait for someone to unlock a cabinet, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, ordered online and received what I needed the very next day.
So locked cabinets as a loss prevention measure helping vs hurting the bottom line???
I don’t know, because it results in loss of sales, as shoppers like me will go elsewhere for our needs.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Oh Hell No!

Except for the college, which was closed for two days due to power shutoff, my area was lucky ─ no fires, no shutoff as the power company had threatened.
We were all on edge, not knowing if and then, late yesterday, came this email from the power company:
“Due to current conditions, your area has been removed from Public Safety Power Shutoff consideration, and no electric service will be proactively turned off at this time.”
Earlier the morning before, I headed to the Pain Cave not sure he’d have power but factored in it would not interfere with a workout. The treadmill would be inoperable, and no lights, but there would be daylight flowing in through the windows and the weights, balls, pulleys to work with.
So walking in, seeing everything was in order, I said to Trainer “Great! You still have power”.
“What do you mean?” said he.
He was totally unaware, saying he doesn’t watch the news, because of all the negativity, and did not receive a notice from the power company.
I teased him about living in a fool’s paradise, not knowing what’s going on in the world, and that if everything had suddenly gone dark, he’d have thought it was a zombie apocalypse.
“No”, said he. “I’ve have called the power company and demanded an explanation”.
“And then, once you learned it was a shutoff and you had not prepared with food or water?”
“I’d have gone to the liquor store next door, loaded up, and then the Mexican restaurant down there (pointing to the new restaurant), loaded up there”.
At any rate, the high winds are behind us ... I think, and its onward and upwards.
I got the dentist off my to-do list yesterday.
Next up is an appointment with the doctor because of gut episodes every single day, off/on all day since mid-August, when those brussel sprouts tried to kill me.
But then, all of a sudden it stopped.
Yesterday came and went without an episode.
Waking up this morning, expecting the usual discomfort and acid regurgitation, there was none.
I began rethinking seeing the doctor about a specialist ─ figuring the specialist would run expensive painful tests.
So, logging onto the provider’s website, I researched what the specialist would do and learned “ ... a spray medicine that numbs your nose and throat. A probe will be passed through a tube in your nose and into your lower esophagus.”
OH HELL NO! said I to myself and cancelled the appointment.
I’d rather deal with the discomfort.
On tap for today is housework I’ve put off ─ including shampooing the carpet, because I’ve been so obsessed with the newest needlepoint project.
Obsessed to the point where I’d put in as many hours as I could on the project before heading off to the Pain Cave in the morning, get back to work on the project when I returned, working through until 7 o’clock at night.
And, on the non-Pain Cave days, I found myself putting in 12-hour days on the project, letting everything else go.
But today, it’s first things first, then back to my obsession.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for This

In addition to email invitations from 45, offering me VIP All Access "join me backstage" at his next rally, there was also this in yesterday’s inbox:
“This is an important safety message from Southern California Edison. Due to forecast fire weather conditions, Southern California Edison continues to explore a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff .... These conditions may result in SCE turning off your power. SCE anticipates that this may occur on Thursday, October 10, 2019 though it may occur earlier or later depending on actual weather conditions.”.
I understand where the energy company is coming from BUT ain’t nobody got time for this. Especially not me, with gut issues, necessitating a freezer full of special foods that I can’t possibly cook in advance and will undoubtedly lose.
No stove, no instant pot, no air fryer, no television, no internet, no lights.
All I can think of is to suck it up, boil a couple eggs, make some almond crackers, which eggs and crackers I can turn into no cook meals with almond butter and avocados.
I’ll drive however far out of the area I must to find a Starbucks with power for coffee AND to ensure the lack of lighting will not interfere with my needlepoint project, I’m going to run out today and grab a neck light.

Not looking forward to roughing it for however long it takes for the Santa Ana Winds to pass through and be gone. This may be the one thing that encourages me to give up my comfortable roost and eventually move out of the area.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Pass or Fail?

Popping into the Community Room this morning, Pizza Tuesday, I felt like a stranger.
So many new faces..
Or, at least, new to me ... as I don’t recall ever seeing them before, but some of whom act like I should know who they are.
Like yesterday, heading to the Pain Cave with my workout bag in one hand, a bag of trash to be tossed in the dumpster in the other, a car pulled up and a woman I’d never seen before in my life yelled out, “Where are you going with all those bags?”
“To the dumpster and then to the gym”, said I.
“Do you want a ride to the dumpster? I’m going around to that side”.
“The dumpster is right here”, said I, pointing to the structure right next to us.
“Oh”, said she as she began talking about how her daughter had pawned her grandson off on her.
In no way interested in what she was saying, but being polite, I let her introduce me to the little boy in the backseat, all the while thinking “Who is this lady?”
She babbled on for a while about her grandson being pawned off on her, saying “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing with him for three days”.
No. 1, I didn’t know who she was.
No. 2, I had no interest in her drama.
No. 3, I was close to running late for the Pain Cave, so I said I had to go.
Then she asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I have to go; I’m going to be late”.
“Do you need a ride?”
“My car is right there”, said I pointing to it.
Finally, she drove on, leaving me to ponder all day, “Who was that woman?”
And then, this morning, in conversation with Apache at the entryway to the Community Room, talking about a resident I’d just learned passed away two weeks ago, and other things, a woman I’ve never seen before got all in our face ─ listening to and commenting on our conversation.
Again, I was thinking “Who is this woman?”
After she walked away, while Apache was gloating about causing the presence of folks from Corporate in the office, I spied Assistant Maintenance Guy (AMG) walking through the hall.
I said to Apache, “I thought you said he quit”.
“No, turns out he was on vacation ─ a cruise”.
AMG came back my way, so I said, “Good to see you. I thought you were one of the rats that jumped ship”.
He smiled and said, “No .... at least not yet”.
Oh oh.
Out of the hallway, back in the Community Room, I greeted Church Lady who was in a tizzy saying, “There’s demons in here. Someone tried to steal my Holy Ghost”.
“Who tried to steal your Holy Ghost”, asked I.
“She’s not in here now but ...” and Church Lady proceeded to tell me a resident had bypassed the counter where we put free items and was inside the kitchen at the refrigerator. Church Lady approached and told her inside the kitchen was off limits (a theft deterrent).
The resident got indignant and said, “I didn’t touch anything in the refrigerator”.
Hmmm, that sounds like a guilty conscious thought I to myself, as Church Lady continued on to say she told the woman, “I didn’t say you touched anything. The point is, this area is off limits” and the two of them got into it.
Church Lady went on to say, the woman had previously asked for Church Lady’s banana pudding recipe and that she now doesn’t want to give it to her, but that she will because “It’s in my heart to do the right thing”.
That made me think of my mother, not into sharing, who would give out her recipes upon request, but always leave some one thing out.
I was tempted to pass this tidbit onto Church Lady but, so tickled by Church Lady’s ire, decided to laugh it off and get the heck outta the Community Room because the atmosphere felt odd, what with all the strange faces and Church Lady’s energetic ire.
Back in my unit, I had a few minutes to chill out with needlepoint and reflection before heading out to the Pain Cave for this morning’s workout.
Thinking about the first woman I didn’t recognize, the one with the grandson, and the woman who interjected herself in my conversation with Apache, and then there was a woman at the drugstore last week who got all in my space, next to my right elbow, as I waited my turn behind the sign that says “Wait Here” THEN, when I was called up to the cashier, instead of staying where she was, at the sign, waiting to be called up, followed me to the cashier and got all in my space again, so close that one would think we were together.
Putting all these occurrences together, plus another last week when I passed a resident, said "Good morning, how are you" and she not only told me how she was, but a little too gleefully about how her daughter in Texas was overwhelmed with responsibility, her sister in Atlanta, sister's husband and sister's son, were all experiencing medical issues, I’m thinking the Universe is testing me, but I’m not sure if I’m passing or failing.
Should I have kept quiet, as I did, when the drugstore woman got in my space OR should I have said, “Back the freak up. You’re in my space”.
Should I have said to the woman with the grandson, “I’m sorry, but I don’t remember you. Are you a new resident?”
And to the woman this morning, "Do you mind ... we're talking here”, when she interrupted my conversation.
If these are tests, I’m sure there will be others. But I have to say, my patience with people is running thin.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Eight the Hard Way

Nothing terribly interesting or exciting going on.
My life has become a pleasant peaceful rut of needlepoint, television, working out.
I’ve lost 8 pounds since working with Trainer.
That’s eight the hard way ─ slow steady through lifting weights, working with pull up bars, suspension trainers, resistance bands, battle ropes, medicine balls, kettle balls, etc., but a solid 8 pounds after no weight loss for over a year of trying, plus an additional 4.5 inches overall (2 on the top, 1.5 in the middle, 1 on the hips).
Who knows, I may one day weight what I lied and said I weighed on my driver’s license.
Funny it is how I don’t mind putting my age on blast, but weight is a thing not to be known.
Things are not so pleasant and peaceful for management. We not only lost the new Community Manager (he quit), but we also lost Assistant Maintenance Guy (he quit a few days after).
Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) appears to have checked out. Walking around looking like a zombie, he didn’t even respond to my request for service on the smoke detector.
It’s a good thing the beeping stopped, or I’d have been stuck with it all that day into the next.
At any rate, I caught HMG coming out of next-door neighbor’s unit the next day, and got him in to switch out the battery .... yet again.
Instead of using the batteries management provides, I had him use a battery I myself purchased in the hopes it will last longer than what I assume are their cheap dollar store brands.
Fingers crossed.
My buddy Apache, embolden by getting one of the bosses at Corporate fired, and not being satisfied that the new Community Manager quit, has upped his game by getting elder abuse charges filed against Corporate.
I myself being unaware of elder abuse taking place, asked Apache “What’s the nature of the abuse?”
“The way they treat us. Not taking care of the things we’ve repeatedly asked them to take care of”, says he.
Huh? thought I.
They treat me just fine, and I’m unaware of any of the other seniors complaining of being abused, but somehow it is that when Apache speaks, all kinds of agencies listen, come onto the property, begin following up.
The charges set off a chain of activity. Starting with actual activities once again appearing on the monthly calendar, and movement on the outdoor lights Apache said residents had been complaining about for months .... That some were out, leaving areas of the property in darkness, which allowed crimes to occur ─ cars to be vandalized, garages to be looted, a homeless couple to come in late night/early morning to swim in the pool.
I didn’t see anyone, but I’m told agency representatives did come in to investigate and agreed the lighting was inadequate.
How that equates to elder abuse charges against Corporate, I don’t know but, sure enough, sitting on the couch day before yesterday, I saw some guy on a ladder installing new lights with no one at the end of the ladder to ensure his safety.

The rectangle lights across from my patio were adequate for this area of the complex.
The new lights are so strong that they hurt my eyes if I’m not careful to look away, and the light does seep through the blinds somewhat lighting the unit up at night.

Outside now being like daylight at night and light seeping through the blinds doesn’t interfere with my sleeping and more than likely will deter crime, which I assume will make Apache happy that no one can comfortably lurk about.
As for what the other elder abuse charges were, I do not yet know, except one charge has to do with the new parking rules about visitors needing visitor passes, under threat of being immediately towed by a tow company engaged to check for violators.
Though still not abuse, I’m going to back Apache on this one, because who knows when a visitor will decide to drop by. The office is always closed for one reason or another, so how do we get passes on the fly. Plus, this visitor pass thing is making it difficult for seniors who have care people stopping by to deliver medication, food, etc.
Yet and still, I don’t see how this equates to elder abuse but, as I said, when Apache speaks people listen. If he wants to spend his golden years complaining about management, so be it on him.