Friday, September 25, 2020

Time Stood Still

Judge Judy had an interesting case on today’s episode.

A young lady was suing her landlady for prorated rent, saying she only moved out because she was afraid of the woman.

The episode brought up from my memory vault when, as a young girl, I moved because I was afraid of my male landlord.

I worked night shift, slept during the day and had only lived there a month, having just mailed in rent payment for the next month, when I suddenly woke up one afternoon to find the landlord standing in my bedroom door.

I was frozen.

Time stood still.

Where he was standing blocked my way of running from the bedroom, through the living area, out the front door. The only other way out of my second-floor apartment would have been to jump from the window.

The landlord was just standing there, staring at my frozen with fear, barely clothed self, until ─ I kid you not, he asked if I had a pen.

I got out of bed, in shock and too scared to scream or cover myself, as he allowed me to walk past him, but hoovered over me ... all in my space, eyeing me up and down, as I walked into the living area and handed him a pen.

Once I handed him the pen, he continued to hoover and said he needed to get the number off the refrigerator mechanism, took the number down and exited the apartment.

I breathed a sigh of relief, called my boyfriend ─ the cop I later married, who became father of the twins, told him what happened, so he came over, calmed me down, guarded me.

Not knowing how many times the landlord had been in there, watching me, while I was sleeping, I was outta there within a week. Didn’t even ask for prorated rent since I had a whole second month already paid for.

Of course, in the interim days before I moved out, I was nervous, jumpy and afraid to be trapped in the back bedroom again, never slept there again. I slept on the couch by the door, so if he came in, I’d hear and could run out.

One night, thinking I’d heard a noise, I awoke, jumped up from the couch and knocked over a coca cola I'd stupidly left near the couch, in kicking distance. The spill left a small stain in the carpet, which I'm sure a carpet cleaner could have removed, but I didn't have time for that on my way out, and knew could be taken from the cleaning deposit. So, I apologized for causing a stain in the carpet in the letter I sent to landlord notifying him I’d moved and WHY ... that the apartment was now vacant and he had a whole extra month’s rent.

THEN he took me to small claims court.

I didn’t even know why I was there, and don’t remember the initial case landlord presented to the judge, but something about my moving.

To which the judge asked me, “Why did you move?”

“Because I was afraid to stay there”, said I.

“Why were you afraid?”, asked the judge.

“Because I woke up and found him standing in my bedroom door”.

As you can imagine, the entire courtroom gasped.

Landlord, in an effort to cover himself, quickly blurted out something about my having made numerous maintenance requests and that was why he was in my bedroom door.

I’d made no requests at all.

I’d only been there a month.

Then landlord, embarrassed at being put on blast in front of a courtroom full of people, scrambled to make himself the victim by pulling out the letter I sent and making a big deal about my having admitted to staining the carpet. “See!” landlord said, “She admitted it right here” as he put his fingers strategically over parts of the letter and showed the judge only the part where I’d admitted it.

The judge said, “Let me see that” and snatched the letter out of landlord’s hands.

We didn’t have space between us and the judge like they do now. We stood right up in front of the judge’s podium.

At any rate, the judge was reading the entire letter and suddenly looked up, gave landlord such a look as he shouted, “YOU SAID SHE DIDN’T PAY RENT!”

So that’s why I was there. That was landlord’s case. He lied, said I’d paid no rent, and tried to cover with his fingers the part of the letter which indicated he had a whole extra month on the books.

Being caught in that lie by the judge, landlord completely lost his cool and blurted out, what I took to be the real reason I was there, “WELL, MY WIFE READ THIS!”

Landlord was mad that I, a Black woman, had escaped him, got him in trouble with his wife, went through the work of finding out where I’d moved to and, wanting revenge or  at the very  least, to see me again, hauled my ass into court on a lie.

He didn’t get revenge. He just further embarrassed himself and, of course, lost his claim for unpaid rent.

The young lady in Judge Judy’s courtroom didn’t fare as well. Her case was dismissed because she’d moved her boyfriend in with her and, when the landlady wanted him to also pay rent, because the landlord had bargained for one, not two, they didn’t pay up.

Thinking back on that experience with landlord, I was really lucky he wasn't a psychopath, didn’t come in to rape and murder me. He just looked and probably had done so before, except this time something woke me up.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Like a Jungle

Waking up this morning, after a weird dream in which I saw bears on the roof of a building across the street from where I was living in the dream and then a tiger a few steps behind me when I stepped outside to take video of the bears, I had to laugh when I rationalized the dream made sense because the real world, with all that’s currently going on, is very much like a jungle.

Fires, earthquakes, a disgusting pig in the white house, anti-maskers, racist Karens, unrestrained beasts loose on the streets ─ some of them dressed as violent protestors, others dressing in police uniforms. A jungle out there.

Am I surprised that none of the cops are being charged with the murder of Breonna Taylor?

No.

Am I upset about it?

No.

I’ve been Black for a long time. Seen so much that I’ve become somewhat desensitized into acceptance  in whatever form that which I must accept takes.

With me, it’s always going to be “It is what it is”.

When I spotted a mama bear and three little ones on the roof of that building in the dream and stepped outside to video the event, one of the babies had jumped into a tree on my side of the property. As I backed up away from the tree, so I could get a good shot and not endanger myself, I happened to turn around and spotted a thirsty looking tiger eyeing me.

My first instinct was to run back to my unit, but knowing I couldn’t outrun the tiger, I maintained my cool, slowly and calmly walked away and made it safely back inside.

I’m interpreting the real world message of the dream is to keep my calm, stay inside, don’t let the chaotic appearance of what’s happening outside intrude into the peace of my beingness.

Good advice.

Except I did have to head out yesterday to replenish supplies that I can only find at Sprouts.

After driving all that way, they were out of the only tomato paste I’ve found that doesn’t cause a gut episode ─ Cento. I didn’t leave empty handed though, because I loaded up on organic chicken, organic frozen hash browns and, not finding a suitable paste, I decided to give Pomi Tomato Sauce a try, as it’s marked gluten and seeds free.

We’ll see how that goes.

Having a sensitive gut is such a pain ─ that’s figuratively and literally, but there are worse physical ailments to be saddled with, so it is what it is.

On the drive back, reaching the turn off into the Renaissance Market Place, the car just kind of took over the drive, made a right off the freeway, turned into the Market Place and lo and behold I found myself standing inside the now open to walking in See’s Candy Store.

 


I was the only customer in the store, so didn't have to worry about adhering to the only four customers in the store at one time.

When out and about, I've been asked so often where I get my masks that I carry slips of paper with Mask Guy's url. Of course, I had none on me when the girls behind the counter asked where they could get one. AND, would you believe, a senior moment hit  my mind went blank. Fortunately, before I'd completed my purchase, it came to me and the girls behind the counter got a referral to Mask Guy.

Having survived that trip out into the jungle, safely back in my little unit, it was candy and coffee for lunch.

Did I have a gut episode?

Yes, of course. I was expecting it.

But it's just a few hours of discomfort, as opposed to days and weeks in other instances.

Was it worth it?

Totally!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Girls who Wear Glasses

There’s a theory being floated that eyeglasses may help protect against covid.

Seems farfetched but, if it turns out to be valid, then I’m in good shape because I not only wear a mask but glasses … five pair.

I’m like the Fred Sanford of glasses — Fred Sanford being that character from the old sitcom Sanford and Sons. Fred was an old junk yard dealer whose vision wasn’t anywhere near 20-20, so he kept a drawer full of eyeglasses and would forever rummage through the drawer for a pair to meet his rotating current need.

My vision isn’t anywhere near as poor as Fred’s, but I do need every pair in order to function because, through the years, what with glaring at a computer screen during the day … all day … every day at work, coming home in the evening only to stare at a computer screen another few hours, plus all the eyestrain from reading and close needle work, my eyesight has suffered to the point where I have to switch glasses all day, depending on activity.

I have a pair for when I’m on the computer — which pair also serves for general purposes, like cooking, cleaning, watching neighbors walk through the quad from my perch on the couch. Then there's a pair for reading, a pair for needlepoint, a pair for television viewing and a pair with transition lenses for driving that serve the double purpose of protecting my eyes from the glare of the sun.

I keep getting messages from the optometrist that it’s time for my yearly exam, but I’m holding off on that. Not just because of the pandemic, but because the needlepoint project I’ve been working on for over a year has so strained my vision that an exam now doesn’t seem feasible.

Once I complete this project, which will probably be my last needlepoint project, I’ll let my eyes rest before scheduling an appointment, so I can get a more accurate evaluation.

Having seen blueberry muffins on one of your blogs last week inspired me to take a stab at making a gluten free version.

I had all the ingredients on hand, added way more blueberries than the recipe called for — because I like blueberries, and cut down on the sugar by substituting some of the sugar with stevia and voilà.



It worked out pretty well insofar as taste, but the muffins are sticking to the cupcake holders. I’m blaming that on the cheap holders that came with the aluminum tins.; and I think, next time, I'll leave off the brown sugar topping.

When the timer went off that the muffins were ready to come out of the oven, I tested the doneness using a method that caused me a lot of grief when, a few years back, having a cake baking discussion with coworkers, I mentioned was my method for checking doneness …. I removed the muffin pan from the oven, put my ear close to the pan, listened and, not hearing sizzling, pronounced them done.

When I told my coworkers of that “listening” method their jaws dropped in disbelief, they said they’d never heard of it and they all laughed.

Thinking back on how the girls never heard of the listening method, thought it was so funny ….. they were millenniums, probably unaware of a lot us from before their time know.

How about it? Do you baking readers listen or use a skewer to test doneness?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

As Good as It’s Gonna Get

Anxious to get Halloween started, thought I’d wait until the weekend to put up the doormat, door wreath, and start this morning with switching to a Halloween blog header.

It usually takes me all of a second or two to upload a new header, but this new interface wasn’t making it easy. “Shrink to fit” wasn’t giving me the size I needed, so I had to play around with manually resizing until I got a horizontal fit.

The interface wouldn’t even correctly size the header I’d just removed, when I got tired of trying to make a new one fit and tried to revert back to the old one.

So, I had to keep at it until things up top looked halfway decent ... over two hours down the drain.

That having taken up time I didn’t have to waste, I gave up trying to get the vertical sized down. So, what you see taking up so much space is as good as it’s gonna get.

I’m still up in the air as to whether I’ll switch to Wordpress or give in and work with this, but I’m leaning towards sticking it out because 1) with nothing going on, it doesn’t appear I’ll be doing that much posting and 2) learning Wordpress is likely just as big a headache as learning this.

I prefer legacy, keep reverting to Legacy, but it’s something that has to be done every time I log on and eventually will no longer be an option.

Oh well. Such is life.

Other than being annoyed with this blog situation, nothing earth shattering wrong going on my side of the world ... knock on wood and praise the Lord for that.

I’m still a little down ─ what in the old days we referred to as a “Blue Funk”, eating more sugar than I should as a result of being down over the political situation, the fires, the continuing abuse of Black people by cops and Karens, not to mention all this in a pandemic but, with Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas coming to take my attention away from world conditions, the funk will pass.

Speaking of Halloween, I’d commented to a post on Dawn’s site that I’d once attended a costume party as a tossed salad.

And so I did.

A bowl with veggies and lettuce headdress


I’ve also been a Roller Derby Girl, complete with rollerblades, and a Nun.



Now that I’ve show you mine, what would be fun is to see some of yours on your blogs.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Week in Review

Week started off we seeing both my girls on television.
Twin 1’s Skid Row activities was part of Sunday's episode of CNN’s United Shades of America.


Twin 2 had multiple shots in the opening graphics.



It was a fair, balanced, focused interview in that it was all about what’s happening on Skid Row, very little about Twin 1’s backstory. Which didn’t allow her to give her enabling hypocritic of a grandmother (my mom) undeserved credit for who she (Twin 1) has become, and also did not allow for Twin 1 to undeservedly badmouth me.
On Tuesday, I finally leveled up.


Leveling up is a slow painstaking process. I had to catch and evolve a lot of pokémon to gain the 750,000 points to level up from 32 to 33. Inasmuch as the move from 33 to 34 requires 1,000,000 points, I won’t be moving up for a while ─ a looooooong while. But I have learned to battle, and battle well. No extra points for that, just the satisfaction of winning and occasionally gaining a new pokémon.
I forget which day of the week it was, but there was yet another officers involved murder, another new protest ─ while the other protests are still ongoing.
It’s so tiresome.
This shooting was by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department, filed under the category of Bike Ricing While Black, which is a new one ─ added to the list of Shopping While Black, Driving While Black ─ both as driver and passenger, Jogging While Black, Walking While Black, Sitting on the Couch Eating Ice Cream in Your Own Apartment While Black, Sleeping in Your Own Bed While Black, while a snot-nosed kid walking around with an AR-15 is being branded a hero for “protecting his community” when he wasn’t even from that “community”.
It’s a lot to swallow.
And, by the way, there’s a video floating around showing this "hero" beating, sucker punching, “landing haymakers on a teen girl from behind”.
We lost two long-time residents this week. One to cancer, the other a complete mystery as the resident was in good health, so far as friends and relative knew. In fact, several residents had just spoken to her the day before. She was talking about plans to baby sit her grandchildren the next day, but was found deceased in the bathroom the next morning.
She wasn’t that old, nowhere near my age, and had a beautiful singing voice.
Because her death was so unexpected, I understand an autopsy is to be performed. Maybe someone will let me know what the cause turns out to be.
Mary Sees has me on speed dial. Since having placed that online order, she texts and emails me every day ─ offering me deals on See’s candies.
Tuesday’s email included the good news the store is among those establishments allowed to reopen.


Nice, but, with this being a holiday weekend and my having seen folks loading up on supplies, at the market, that looked to be planning for big holiday events, I won’t be surprised if a Covid surge doesn’t reappear next week, causing doors to close once again ─ while I’m still waiting for the Pain Cave to reopen.
At any rate, doors open ─ walk right in, or online orders only, I don’t need the temptation of being texted and emailed every day, so I set Mary Sees to spam.
The mall has also been allowed to reopen, let people in, when I ─ planning to do that 5K last weekend at that location, didn’t know the mall was closed, wasn’t allowing folks in.
Thinking about it later, I wasn’t sure if the mall, because it was too hot to walk outside and I needed their A/C, was the right place to do a 5K because of spending that much time around people.
Still needing to qualify in the OC Fair Virtual 5K, and the forecast for the next few days to be hotter than heck, I’m still not sure, but I’ll drive over to the mall, scope it out AND, if it looks like too many people, I’ll table that 5K until the weather permits.
That's it. All checked in from my side of the world, over and out.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Nailed It!

I saw an interesting face mask on one of your blogs a few days ago.


Appearing to be made from the zipper area of jeans, one can unzip and take a sip from a drink.
During yesterday’s decluttering project, I ran across an old pair of mom jeans and thought to give making that mask a try.
Taking a break from clutter management, I pulled out the sewing machine and voila!



Nailed it!
Well, kinda, sorta, because it’s sloppy work. Online research did not produce a pattern to follow, so I winged it. And not wanting to break the needle of my machine in trying to sew through heavy areas to make the edges all tidy like the example in the photo, I decided to leave the edges frayed. After all ... frayed jeans are the thing these days.
The end result is not something I’d wear out in public, like to the market or craft store ─ preferring my glitter masks but, once I’m allowed to get back to training at the Pain Cave, inasmuch as I have to hydrate between sets, which necessitated pulling up a side of my mask to take a drink, I might use this mask instead ... open the fly and sip.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Snitching, Part 2

Walking into the market yesterday, I stopped and began staring at an old guy, also walking in, that wasn’t wearing a mask.
As our eyes met and he realized I was staring at him, it was on the tip of my tongue to ask, “Where’s your mask?” But then he disarmed me with a pleasantry ─ he smiled and said “Hello. How are you?”.
Damn him for being a sweet old guy, when I was primed and ready for an incident that would probably end up on the internet because, in my mind, the confrontation would end up with yelling, culminating by my having to pepper spray him.
There’s always a person stationed by the door to enforce the “no mask no entry” rule. Sometimes it’s private security, sometimes a worker. That day it was a worker, a young woman who was asleep at the wheel, looking at her phone.
So, as I stood in stunned silence as old guy went on his merry way, walking up to another worker, asking her a question and she, instead of saying “Sir, you cannot be in here without a mask” began leading him to the item he was questioning. It was then that the snitch in me came out again.
I walked over to little miss asleep at the wheel and said, “That guy doesn’t have a mask”.
She immediately came to attention, picked up a small box from her station, ran after the guy and gave him a mask from the box.
I didn’t wait to see if he actually used it.
I’m a person that doesn’t like to get involved, but here I am snitching twice in one week. First was when I pointed out, to the chopper, the direction that guy running through the complex went, and now this.
I’m hoping not to make a habit of this snitching, getting involved, because my position has always been that of a drop out, a watcher, observer ─ not being fully invested in this world, but rather standing on the outside looking in. However, now I find myself not only getting involved by snitching but, for the first time I actually did that Census thing.
It left a bad taste in my mouth that I actually gave into the constant barrage of notices that I’d not completed and returned the Census, but I capitulated, went through the online process, and got those census people off my back.
And not only that but, unable to sleep last night, because I couldn’t clear my mind of how surreal it is that an unarmed Black man defied the police by walking around to the driver's side of his SUV and got himself shot seven times in the back BUT a white kid was allowed to walk around with an AR-15, shoot and kill two people, injure one, and got a bottle of water and a thank you from the cops. So, after finally falling asleep along about 2 a.m., waking up late at 11:00, I jumped online and registered to vote ... for the first time.
You read that right. At 76 years of age, this will be my first time voting.
Shocked as you all might be, it won’t compare to how shocked my girls will be. I can’t wait to tell Twin 2 that I’ve registered because she used to get into arguments in class discussions when she’d say her mom won’t do jury duty and doesn’t vote because her mom didn’t like "wasting her time" (my explanation to the girls for my choosing to opt out of social obligations) on those things.
On another note, our quad is full again.
On Tuesday, I was coming down the stairs and greeted a woman I saw walking through the quad. She greeted me back and, just to make conversation, said, “It’s difficult to breathe in this mask”.
“Especially when it’s this hot”, replied I.
When I saw her turn into the walkway towards the unit Nosey occupied before passing away, I asked, “Are you the new neighbor?”, to which she replied she was.
After introducing myself and welcoming her to the complex, inasmuch as I never saw anyone moving in, and had assumed the unit was still vacant because I’d seen no signs of life — no one coming/going, had not seen any lights on — though I’d not really looked, and the blinds and patio doors were always closed, I asked, “When did you move in?”.
“July 29”.
She’s been here a month already and I never noticed a thing, so I said “Wow! You keep a low profile”.
“That’s because my kids don’t want me leaving the unit until the pandemic is over. They’re saying two years.”
The new neighbor seems friendly enough. Not like Illusive Unfriendly — the neighbor in the downstairs unit underneath me. Illusive has been here since April 2017 and, when she moved in, wasn’t having it when I tried to introduce myself and welcome her. She chased me away by giving me a cold hard stare, raising her voice and yelling, “I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE!”.
Except, I have noticed that though she avoids us in the quad — won't look us in the eye, walks the other way rather than speak, she doesn’t appear to have a problem liking, looking in the eye, speaking when the people are men. While sitting on my perch on the couch one day, I actually spotted her running down the walkway to catch up with and have words with Big Friendly Guy, who turned around and followed her into her unit. LOL.
Oh well. Whatever.
So anyway, plan for today was to head to the air-conditioned mall to qualify in the OC Fair Virtual 5K. However, it will have to wait for another day because, waking up so late, I’ve decided to focus on purging the unit of items I no longer need or want, because I look around and see just so much unnecessary stuff.