Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Arts and Crafts

I thought Santa was early when I was awakened by such a clatter this morning, coming from the roof.

Looking out the window, I saw guys with ladders and remembered there’d been a notice posted to the door, a few days ago, that the annual gutter cleaning and roof inspections was to begin.

I hope they clear the birds’ nest that’s up there somewhere, because having to sweep bird poop off the patio every day is not one of my favorite choirs. But at least, this year, there were no downed fledglings for me to worry about.

There’s been a flurry of activity around here — what with landscapers, maintenance performing a pre-inspection in our units, our patios and in garages. Now there’s gutter and roof work, as management prepares for Friday’s inspection of the property and random units by one of the Regulatory Agency.

Management does take extraordinary care of the property, insofar as how they want the outsides to look. We have all kinds of rules and regulations as to what can be placed in view — like, "only three plants on the patio and must not weigh more than 5 gallons each, approved patio furniture, umbrellas up to 7 feet in diameter, neutral colors, tan, propane or electric barbeque grills with a 1-gallon propane can, and patios are not to be used as storage". All these rules/regulations but, inside the units … not so much care or attention.

Takes days, weeks, months, sometimes years to get management to take care of requests for service.

I’m surprised that, after the patio inspection, the new upstairs neighbor didn’t get a lease violation notice for the junk on her patio, including a bike, mop and some sort of boxed contraption.

Hopefully, her patio will distract attention from the painted rocks — just in case the regulatory folks, like the Tyrant, have a problem with them.

There are numerous patios around here that are beautifully decorated with plants — way more than the only allowed three, a patio that’s got stuff covered with a big red tarp, and other patios that are filled with items I can’t identify. So it’s silly that the Tyrant, or anyone else, would get their panties in a bunch over a few painted rocks.

Elsewhere around here, I think a homeless person found himself/herself a safe place to sleep the other night because, heading for the Pain Cave yesterday, I saw what looked like makeshift bedding in front of where the Talker parks her car.

Even looks like the person found a few rocks to either play with or have handy as a protective weapon.

Thank goodness the person didn’t use the rocks to damage any cars.

I just got back from Arts and Crafts in the Community Room — Activity Director’s first Arts and Crafts session since the shutdown back in March 2020.

Risky though it is, to be in a room full of seniors, I figured if I could survive two trips to the medical center, being surrounded by people of all ages — some with varying illnesses, I can survive attending events in the Community Room once again.

Participants were required to wear a mask. I always do anyway, so no problem I.

Today’s craft was a Stencil Board.

We ombre’d fall colors onto our boards, let dry, chose a stencil, then dabbed though the stencil design with white craft paint.

Activity Director, expecting a slew of residents had set up for 12, but only 5 of us showed up, so we got to make two of the project.

The majority of stencils were love and thanksgiving themed. I wanted nothing to do with love and, since the grandsons ticked me off, I’m skipping Thanksgiving, going directly from Halloween to Christmas, so I looked for themes that were tepid, neutral.

I was warmly greeted, when I walked in the room, by Activity Director, Jan (the painted rock lady, scheduled for hospitalization next week), the Baker and Genie (my biggest fan around here). Genie was so excited to see me that, saying she’d not seen me in so long, she began rushing towards me, arms outstretched, to give me a hug.

I felt so bad when I shouted, “OH NOOOOOO! DON’T HUG ME. I DON’T HUG PEOPLE ANYMORE” and gave her an elbow bump instead.

I also didn’t sit with the ladies. I chose the next table over and had it all to myself until, well into the session, the Seer walked through the door.

I heard the little voice in my head say, “Oh God!”

Everyone in the room greeted the Seer, except me. I spoke not a word.

I can be a beoch when the occasion requires it.

The Seer made her way around the room, looked at what everyone was doing, THEN made it over to me.

We did not greet each other. Instead, wanting to engage, after having ceased speaking to me years ago, shortly after she hooked up with her boyfriend, the Shadow — for reasons to this day I do not know, but suspect it had something to do with her boyfriend, she opened up a line of communication by asking me questions about the project process.

I was polite, I answered her questions.

By this time, Activity Director — who’d excused herself from the room to take a call, returned and asked the Seer if she wanted to do a board.

She did.

The Seer went to sit with the ladies but, for some ungodly reason, Activity Director said, “Why don’t you sit over here”.

"Over here" was at the other edge of my table.

I heard the little voice in my head say, "OH SH_T!".

It was cool though. I didn’t feel her usual negative energy in the atmosphere.

I can’t say we chatted. It was more like she’d ask me a question about the project, and I’d answer.

Then, she got nostalgic and brought up the needlepoint I’d made for her years ago — when we were friends. Telling me where she hangs it, how she always looks up at it.

It was almost like she was saying “I’m sorry”, but I wasn’t buying it. She’s too sometimey, and this homey don’t play that.

I did not respond, just listened to her nostalgic rambling. We will never be friends again.

At the end of the session, we took a group photo and it was kind of poetic that, because the Seer arrived late, had not finished her project, she was not in the photo.

Heading back to my unit, I passed the Shadow on his walker (still recovering from back surgery).

I stepped aside, so he could move freely down the walkway and, when he got to where I was standing, he caught a glimpse of my boards, asked, “Did you make that?”

I said, “Yes”, and continued on to my unit.

He’s probably going to tell the Seer that I stopped him, went out of my way to show him my projects which, of course, will cause the Seer to go dark again.

So there’s that.

By the way, the rescued cat came up in the session. Activity Director heard of the incident and asked if anyone had adopted the cat.

When I said, “Diane”, Activity Director said, “Great! She’s good with cats”.

I surely do hope so.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

And Now This

Long time readers might recall that my buddy Apache was a passionate Thing 45 supporter and, because he was, when we had a big Birthday Bash for him in 2019, I purchased a gift for him off Thing 45’s shop.

The purchase was misconstrued as my being a supporter, and I began receiving email invitations, supposedly from Thing 45 himself, offering me VIP All Access "join me backstage" at his rallies.

That wasn’t all.

I became Miss Popular, with invitations to breakfast, his addressing me on a first name basis, followed by similar emails from Newt and Junior.

I could have easily cut off communication by marking as spam, but I was having way too much fun getting an insider’s view.

Now here we are in 2021 and, I guess, gearing up for a comeback, I’m being thanked for my support, and welcomed to the Save America Team.

I thought we already did Save America by seeing to it he was not reelected.

But wait … there’s more … a Poll.

No surprise that’s a big FREAK NO! from me.

So there’s that.

Then there’s the All Star Candy Crush competition, being hosted by Kim Kardashian.

Looks like I’m automatically entered, whether I want to be or not AND, when I play, my results are factored in.

Round 1 ended today, with KK telling me I’m No. 32 from the top scorer.

Big Whoop! I’ll be glad when this is over and Candy Crush returns to its regular mode.

I’ve not yet received my Bib for the Redondo Beach 5k but, wanting to get qualifying off my bucket list, I headed out to the university this morning, loaded Runkeeper AND Map My Walk, just in case one failed, finished the 3.13 miles.

Because I had a backup, Runkeeper performed accurately, which caused a funny thought to run through my head. That thought being ... Just like a man. Won't act right until a backup comes on the scene and he realizes how easily he can be replaced.


Map My Walk

I'm not gonna win any special Place medals with that time, but it was 101 degrees out today, and I'm just getting back to racing form.

The good news is, I’m finally off the naughty number I was stuck on, because the Pandemic put an end to 5K’s. So when I post my latest accomplishment to Facebook and Instagram, I can mark this one as the 70th 5K I've participated in, since beginning at Age 65, and leave the naughty number behind.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Speaking of Blood Results

I received an updated, more precise analysis from Ancestry this morning.

It’s all very confusing.

Nigeria — up 4% from last year's analysis
Cameroon — down 2%
England — down a whopping 8%
Mali — down 3%
Benin & Togo — up 1%
Senegal — down 3%

Ivory Coast & Ghana is new/were not included in the last year’s analysis.

Wales and Indigenous Americas remain the same, while Ireland is down 2%.

Germanic Europe’s 1% previously appearing is now gone. 

What happened?

How can Germanic blood be there one year, disappear the next, as has Scotland’s whopping 6% — gone, dissipated.

I’m beginning to think Ancestry is no more an accurate reflection of the elements that make me a person than the medical center’s BMI Index.

One thing though is that, although I’ve always felt I came from another planet, that I’m part alien, the results show I’m 100% from here, planet earth.

The woman who found me on Ancestry, who calls herself my DNA Cousin, and who spent four years on solving our connection — ultimately learning that our great grandfathers were brothers, has ceased communicating because, I’m guessing, she was offended by something I said.

I didn’t mean to offend her but, in her last message, she was telling me more about my father’s side of the family — how this long dead relative didn’t like that one, how that long dead one had been mean and abusive to others.

The more I learned from her, the more I got a feel for small town living during that era and suddenly realized what I’d escaped because my dad left my mom for one of those small minded, jealous, spiteful women and I got to grow up in a more enlightened part of the country.

Unfortunately, I did not simply realize it in my mind, but typed out “I'm beginning to think my father did my mom a favor by leaving her. My father's side of the family appear to have had a lot of issues”.

Mom brought a lot of that old-fashioned limited thinking with her, but being where we were gave me ways and means of going around her, rising above the limitations she tried so hard to place on me. It was a struggle, but something kept pushing me forward until I expanded my awareness and grew.

At any rate, I haven’t heard from DNA Cousin since I said what I said, but oh well.

And now this ….

Yep, that’s right, Khloe has taken over Candy Crush.

I logged on to play and found she’s hosting an All Stars Tournament pitting us crushers, above Level 25, against each other, with the goal of crowning one of us the Nation’s No.1 Crusher, winning a years’ supply of Gold Bars.

At Level 3295, I’m automatically entered into the tournament, whether I want to be or not, but I won’t be competing against anyone but myself — just play a normal game, my normal way.

So far, the only thing I see different is that some of the symbols have been replaced with orange stars.

Also, thus far today, in addition to working out on the smart hula hoop, I put in 5 miles on the indoor bike and caught a new Pokémon.

It’s a good thing I caught it in my unit during daytime hours. because it might have freaked me out a little to see it at night, especially since it started moving directly towards me.

What the heck!! They don’t generally move forward.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Two Insults in One Message

Today started off funky, with the results of yesterday’s blood draw — sodium levels are high and Cholesterol/HDL/LDL are off the chart. The Medical Record sums it up as "Morbidly Obese" and having "Fat Blood".

Two insults in one message.

"Fat Blood"??!! … what does that even mean and, hopefully, the vampires won’t find out about it, because it sounds like something they'd like and they'll want some.

You readers have seen photos of me. I’m not a Size 1, but I’m having trouble accepting myself as morbidly obese, so I’m just gonna let that one slide.

Of course, attached to the results, are suggested measures to not be morbidly obese with fat blood.

Suggestions include eating all the things the Gastro Specialist indicated I can no longer eat, such as fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, soy products, because I’ve developed an allergy and it was those foods causing my gut episodes.

I’m also to limit sodium and alcohol — which I thought I was limiting sodium using pink sea salt, and I don’t drink.

Also, I’m to limit drinks and foods with added sugar.

I haven’t had a soda in a decade and, except for the occasional See’s Candy (which I have no intentions of giving up), sugar has for years been substituted with Stevia (the plant-based sugar substitute that I was using long before Walter White/Heisenberg made the product infamous in Breaking Bad).

In addition to the above, also added to the cure is to “Be physically active. Try to do moderate activity at last 2-1/2 hours a week. Do not smoke”.

Working out — in one form or another is my middle name, and I've never smoked. So, from my point of view, I’ve been doing everything right, insofar as my gut issues will allow, and it's all going wrong. I'm getting negative results.

It’s frustrating, confusing, and bummed me out a bit this morning because, what I see as my options, in order not to be “morbidly obese” and have “fat blood”, is to go back to the foods that make me ill.

I’ll be cramping and puking my guts all day, but I’ll lower my cholesterol and maybe get thin.

So that’s how the day started but, after a good workout in the Pain Cave, I was ready to put those results behind me, get groceries at the other store and move on.

Pulling into a parking space at the other market, I saw the cutest little car parked facing me.

Leaving the market, I heard sirens, saw fire and rescue passing by, and observed helicopters above.

Correctly assuming there was a fire nearby, I returned to the complex to find it was just down the street from the market, near Walmart, and it was bad — quickly spreading to 50 acres, causing those living near the area to evacuate.

On my way to pick up mail, I managed to get photos (not good ones) of the billowing smoke from the fire.

I also finally ran into Jan, the painted rock lady. Told her I was the one who’d taken the bible verse rocks, said I was impressed with how neatly she managed to get an entire verse on the rocks and asked how she managed it.

"Carefully", was her response.

Jan is all excited about being admitted to the hospital next week for knee surgery, which she feels will enable her to walk without use of a walker.

I don’t know how safe it is to be hospitalized and have surgery during this pandemic, but I wished her a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

In at 9:06 Out by 9:48

It irritates me to no end that, when I check into the Lab for blood work, the receptionists always ask, “Did your doctor order this?”

I always politely respond “yes”, but inside I’m thinking … How stupid are you? Do you think I’d be here otherwise? My doctor not only ordered it, but this time threatened to withhold my blood pressure medication if I didn’t report for duty.

The good news is, I was in and out in 42 minutes — record time, but only because I got up early, arrived close to an hour after they’d opened. Additional bonus — the Lab Technician was so good that I didn’t even feel the needle going in.

Last time I had blood drawn, arriving about 11 a.m., I found the Lab so busy that my number was hours away from being called.

I timed how long it took for the numbers to be called, figured that, at the pace the Lab Techs were going, I'd be waiting over 2 ½ hours, decided to leave, come back.

I spent the time shopping at a nearby mall.

By the time I figured my number would be coming up, I drove back, arrived with a wait of 10 more minutes.

Thinking ahead, just in case I didn’t get back before they called my number, I’d grabbed another number on the way out.

After I was done with the Lab, overhearing someone complain about what a long wait they had ahead of them, I gave them the second number I’d pulled, which cut their wait time to a few minutes.

So, anyway, Lab Work is off my bucket list, and I now know to always arrive early.

On the way out of the medical center, I heard a woman say, “I think we still have time to make it to Denny’s”.

I don’t know why I found that so funny, but she needn’t have worried because, to my understanding, Denny's serves breakfast all day, every day, 365 days a year.

Walking to the car, I spotted a fun decal.

Since I was out and about, I thought to get the car gassed up at Costco, take a stroll through Spirit Halloween, stop by the bank, pick up groceries. However, the freeway turnoff that would take me to the location, where I could accomplish all four tasks in one spot, that I’d programmed into the GPS was blocked off. Not knowing my way around otherwise, in that area, I pivoted — headed home with one stop, by a bank, where I managed to snag a few $2 bills.

Asking the teller if he had any $2 bills, he asked his manager who said, “I have 134” and she just happened to have them in her hand.

How serendipitous is that?

She’d just received a new bundle of 2’s and was counting them out.

And when I say new, I mean brand spanking new, hot off the press, which caused me to inquire as to why they were new and not old and gnarly.

"Oh, we frequently get new packs in. They’re still being printed".

"Then why do I not see them in circulation? Why are there people who’ve never seen a $2 bill?"

"That’s because people are collecting them".

Oh, the teller means people like me. LOL.

At any rate, I only bought ten because, seeing the bills in brand new shape kinda took the glamour of owning off for me.

What would be fun, if we had trick-or-treaters around here, which we don’t, it would be fun to give them a candy bar wrapped in a $2 bill.

Inasmuch as I was not able to get groceries while I was out and about, and couldn’t stop at the corner market (which would have been convenient) because … security guard, looks like I’m going to have to head out again, go to the other market in the area.

Spirit Halloween will have to wait for another day, and I’ll gas up at the corner station tomorrow.

I prefer one and done, as in one trip out, multiple errands run, but we can't always get what we want. At least not today.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Stiff and Sore

Saturday’s walk, on the campus of the university, was energizing and motivated me to get off the couch yesterday, put in some time on the smart hula hoop, followed by a 6 mile ride on the indoor bike.

Woke up this morning feeling it — stiff and sore.

Much as I would have preferred to stay in, nurse my aching body, I pushed through, kept my appointment at the Pain Cave.

Got through today’s upper body workouts, arrived back at the complex feeling even sorer and stiffer.

As I pulled into my parking spot, the Talker, who parks next to me, was preparing to enter her car to drive away.

Asking if her brother, who was banned by the Tyrant, from bringing his mobile food bank onto the property, had found another location, she responded, no, that he was currently looking for another location because he had lost his lease.

I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but gather either the church lot he was working from, or a location he had leased, was no longer available to collect, store, distribute from.

The Talker went on to say she too was looking for another place.

"What!! … Why are you looking? Are you moving?" asked I.

That was a "yes", but only because the office has notified her that she is now over-income and has to be out by October 31.

Damn! That’s harsh. She’s only been here a year and a half.

The Talker got pushed over-income as a result of monies inherited when her mom recently died, followed by her now getting a salary from a health care organization for taking care of the disabled brother who lives with her, which salary had been withheld and is now coming in lump sum, with additional checks to follow, further pushing her over income. Not to mention the disabled brother also became privy to a similar lump sum windfall.

"Money just keeps coming in", said she.

"It’s a blessing and a curse", said I.

She agreed with that and went on to say she felt bad about being blessed, because there are residents here who are struggling and, being as how she is a talker, she went into detail about the residents of whom she spoke.

She pointed out that one such resident, who lives in my building, around the corner, has so little money that the office settled her rent at $295 a month.

I’m no fool though. I’m sure the county is kicking in $900 or so for the shortfall, but I didn’t say that to the Talker.

She also said the nice old guy who saved the kitten is also struggling because, after his wife died a year ago, he lost income. His rent had been settled at $750 and, with the loss of income, he now only has $925 coming in.

"He needs to get himself re-evaluated", said I, which she said is what she told him but, in the interim, she — the Talker, has been helping him out, paid off a few bills for him.

She and her brother with the van are generous souls. Her generous nature is probably what’s attracting money into her life — The Law of Attraction.

At any rate, it was interesting to learn of the disparity in how management determines the price of leasing a unit here. I assume there is a formula they follow and, because she and I are in a gray area — not rich, but not as poor as others, the formula is slowly working against me, but worked rapidly against her because everything came in all at once.

She’s living on faith that she’ll be led to the right place, which is what I too will do when the time comes. Living on faith is what brought me here after that disastrous year I had my life turned upside down, when I relocated to Long Beach so granddaughter could continue with her schooling, keep her from being homeless when her mom spiraled out, left her alone to fend for herself.

Talker said she wants to buy, but plans to wait until the housing market calms down.

So that was my today, which happened to be the 2-year Anniversary of my working out with Trainer in the Pain Cave.

Thanks to my gut issues, which got progressively worse last two years, I’m not leaner, but hope springs eternal. I keep trying for weight loss.

I am, however, very much stronger — I even now can feel muscle in my upper arms.

Can you make out the words on my leggings? I’m what those words say.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

I’ve Still Got It

Yesterday was the day I was to have checked into a hotel in Redondo Beach, so I could participate in this morning’s 5K.

After testing my walking legs out at the mall a few weeks back, realizing they were in poor shape from having not trained in over a year, not to mention not wanting to deal with the hassle of traveling, I cancelled the hotel.

I was prepared to eat the 5K registration fee, but then thought to email the organizer to see if the registration could be converted to virtual.

"No problem at all", was the reply but that "It may take a few days after the race to ship your items".

"Items" would be my Bib Number, so I can log in my results, and whatever else is included in the swag bag.

Waking up this morning to feeling a long walk was just what I needed to clear my head of stuff that’s been bugging me, I suited up and headed out to start training.

Thinking the University might now be open to walkers, I headed there first, with a plan to head for the mall if the University's parking lot area was still blocked off.

The area was open.

Two security cars were parked where they’d be highly visible, but none of the occupants bothered me, and there were others walking about.

The first 0.45 miles was a struggle, but then, as being out in the sunshine began to feel good, my legs warmed up, what fresh air I could get through my mask kicked in, and I got lost in the music playing on the iPod. The struggle passed, I was in the flow and, before I knew it, I completed the entire 3.13 miles.

I’ve still got it.

Had not my Runkeeper App failed to accurately record my time and miles, beyond 3.0, I could have counted the 5K done and, when my Bib arrived, submitted my results.

However, since it did fail, I’ll have to redo the walk when the items arrive. But that’s not a problem, because the weather is back to walking weather AND, when I saw how many steps my fitness tracker had logged in, how many calories it indicated I’d burned, I’m ready to make this an every Saturday morning thing again.

Runkeeper failing is not new, so I'd better play it safe next time and see if the phone can run Map My Walk and Runkeeper simultaneously, so I can end up with the correct miles and minutes.

Other than that, nothing much going on, except my to-do list, which had been cleared, now has another visit to the medical center added to it.

When I returned from the flu clinic, there was an email from the doctor’s office that the next refill on my blood pressure medication would be withheld if I did not come in for my annual blood draw.


You’d subject me to a stroke?

Had I been advised blood work had been scheduled — which notification I did not receive, I could have taken care of it the day I was getting the flu shot, no need to threaten.

But whatever.

So, other than another trip to the medical center — soon, I’ve got nothing else on my to-do list. I can just coast into the 1st of Halloween (October 1), when I can put out my candy corn door mat, candy corn door wreath AND, because Activity Director is hosting a Halloween Decoration Contest, I’m going all out this year by adding candy corn lights to the balcony and a candy corn window poster.

I’m going for the look of the wicked witch’s home in Hansel and Gretel, except I’m substituting candy corn for the gingerbread, cake and pastry that covered the witch’s home— but it would be cool to recreate the gingerbread house in its entirety (if only I had the storage space).

Can’t wait to walk around, see what other residents come up with.

All are being encouraged to decorate their patios/balconies and front doors, but to keep it “family friendly”.

I guess that means no skeletons, blood, gore.

If Activity Director doesn’t get the participation she expects, and that I’m hoping for, that will just mean I win whatever the prize is hands down.