Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Back from the overnight in La Mirada.

Loved the hotel. Room was rather small, but cute, comfortable … plenty of chi inside the room, inside the building.

Plenty of chi outside as well … Sizzlers next door and only 13 minute drive to the race site. No Starbucks in the lobby, but one a 15-minute-walk away, inside Target.

That hotel is going to be my go-to, whenever over-nighting in the area. That is, if the hotel isn’t crushed out of business by the giant Hilton -- with shops, stores and a cinema, being built directly across the street.

Having set the alarm for 4:30 this morning, even though I slept well and straight through, still I awoke up at 4:00 … just like at home.

I’m not scheduled for a Turkey Trot in November, the site for the December Gingerbread Run is too far away, so this looks to be my last 5K of the year. That being the case, maybe my body will adjust its sleeping pattern to waking up at a normal time for a retiree … I’m thinking 7:00?

Race went well. Finished in under an hour; but everyone in the group was young and so fast that I was left in the dust from the word GO.

Ergo, I started off in last place and finished in last place, but no more than three/four minutes behind the next-to-last walker.

 I almost won the costume contest until two last-second entries won the crowd over.

Too cute to resist, even I clapped, yelled and conceded the contest to the two little characters from Disney’s Monsters Inc.

Prize was $30 gift certificate at Wing Stop, so I wasn’t disappointed except, though I wasn’t interested, it would have been a nice gift for my granddaughter, who just advised me she’s moving into the adult building next door.

There’s a reason for everything, so I’m meditating and waiting for enlightenment on this latest development.

Would you believe that, after the race, heading to the hotel’s breakfast bar which, by the way, was fabulous … pancakes, waffles, eggs, biscuits, gravy, pastries, et al. I settled on eggs and one biscuit covered in gravy.

As I was saying, would you believe I spotted one of the hotel guests dressed as a minion.
Of course, I went over, greeted her as a fellow minion. She hugged me and one of the ladies in her group took a photo.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Road Trip

This weekend is the out of town 5K -- the costumed event in haunted Creek Park.
Haunted … seriously.

The park is officially listed as a recognized place of haunting in Southern California because of not one but two incorporeal visitors -- the sad specter of a little girl crying and calling for her mother and the spirit of a hooded man.

The park looks beautiful in the daytime. But, word-on-the-street is, gets really creepy when the sun sets because that’s when neighbors and late night park visitors can hear and see supernatural stuff (No worries, I’m outta there waaaay before dark).

I’m not one who can drive long distances AND participate that same morning, so I’ll be driving up tomorrow afternoon, spending the night resting in a hotel. That’s what I did last year, when I participated in July’s Crazy Tutu 5K and October’s Hocus Pocus 5K at this park.

Even though it had a Starbucks in the lobby, I didn’t care much for the hotel booked in July, because the room’s aesthetics were all wrong. It was a nice well-known hotel, had recently undergone renovations, but what the decorator did with the room, insofar as choice of furnishings, was criminal.

The room had absolutely no chi … Chi being the the feng shui term for universal energy. “Energy that permeates everything around us, applies to the energy inside our body, as well to the energy inside and outside of buildings”.

You know how you walk into a room and get a sense of well-being? It feels good being there? That’s chi. If you get a bad feeling from a place, a person, that also is chi ... but not in a good way.

In the case of this July room, everything about the room felt wrong because 1) placement of furniture was incorrect, 2) the new carpet was quite ugly, dark, appeared outdated, 3) the new furniture was uncomfortable, dated and looked cheap.
After an uncomfortable night in that chi-less room, I had absolutely no energy and finished the 5K dead last by more than a few minutes.

I liked very much the hotel booked in October. Chi was very pleasing -- room was cute, comfortable, furniture was sturdy, even had a kitchen.

However, the hotel had no elevator.

It was just a short distance up the stairs to my room, but the simple act of carrying my overnight bag that short distance ended in excruciating pain – I threw my back out.
However, the chi in the room was so good that I was able to cowgirl up the next morning, work through the pain, participate in the 5K, finish NOT last by more than a few minutes, even won the costume contest – that was the event for which the Captain America costume was created.

Not wanting to cause myself any unnecessary injuries this time around, I’ve booked a room in an unfamiliar hotel, based solely on the fact it has an elevator.

Hopefully the chi works out.

What costume did I come up with for this year?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Harvest Breakfast

Set the alarm for 6:00 this morning, so I could get up and start thawing out tater tots, because recipe for Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots calls for first thawing out the tots.

I needn’t have bothered with setting the alarm because, once again, I was up and raring to go at 3:00.

Not much one can do in a senior complex that time of the morning, because you don’t want to disturb your neighbors. So after browsing the internet, playing a couple games of Candy Crush and AlphaBetty Saga, I meditated and worked on that needlepoint project until it was time enough to begin putzing around in the kitchen, wrapping bacon around little tots.

Once that was out of the way, I put the tray back in the refrigerator until after I’d had a bubble bath and got dressed, at which time baking began.

Everything went off without a hitch and by 8:55, thirty-eight bacon-wrapped tots were done.

Just in time to pack up and head out for the 9:00 breakfast.

Did I predict Nurse Ratched might try to come up with something to ruin our fun, like lock up the Community Room? Well, it appears she tried because, by the time I got everything together and arrived at the Community Room, it was like 10 after. As soon as I walked in the door, The Seer informed me the doors had been locked but calls had been made and the maintenance man unlocked for us.

For those of you new to this blog, Nurse Ratched is the name I use in this blog for the Complex Manager because she’s mean, like the character Nurse Ratched from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” The Seer is so named because she's the point-of-contact for us residents, has connections, knows everything and/or can find out stuff for us.

At any rate, the breakfast was a great success.

When I first walked in, we had about 15 residents. As the morning progressed, I counted between 35 and 40.

There was more food than the law should allow – pancakes, sausage, bacon, enchiladas, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, breakfast casserole, donuts, cupcakes, cake, coffee, juice and those bacon-wrapped tater tots.

One resident got confused and, thinking it was lunch, brought chili.

I don’t get how she got breakfast confused with lunch, but I told her not to worry because there wasn’t anything she could cook these folks wouldn’t eat. Sure enough, people took home containers of chili for lunch and dinner.

I played it safe, ate what I brought, plus a little of the eggs and two of The Baker’s biscuits, which I covered with gravy.

Wearing My Bacon Leggings
Everyone came together in a way which reminded me of how things use to be under prior management. I met three new residents, including the woman with the cold dark unfriendly aura who would not wave back when I waved at her.

I took the initiative, walked up to her, introduced myself, chatted her up a bit and later, as she was leaving, she took the time to catch my eye and wave goodbye.

The event was such a success, so like how things use to be, that the ladies are talking about bringing back another event us residents did for ourselves under prior management – a Christmas Cookie Swap.

I can’t because I’m off sugar. I might be able to sneak a thin slice of this and pinch of that, but whole cookies would kill me.

So Harvest Breakfast is a done deal.

Run4Bacon results are in. I logged in a time of one hour ten minutes and finished 147 out of 162. Not bad, considering the course was all rolling hills.

If you look real hard, you can spot me in the middle of the pack at start of race, heading for the hills.

I’d always wanted to finish First in my age group. This time it finally happened, but only because I was the ONLY one in my age group. Next oldest were two 68 year olds.

I really don’t like courses that include walking up/down hills and mountains, they can be exhausting and terrifying. However, those courses appear to be what the body needs because the muscles in my legs are beginning to feeling really strong. Originally, I was thinking I’d not do the Bacon or Spooktacular next year, but now, if I’m still fit enough to compete at 72 years of age, I may try these difficult courses again.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Monster Run

I’m beginning to question my judgment.

Whenever I’m not looking forward to an event, because I think it’s going to be a bust, it turns out to be better than the ones I look forward to.

Such was the case with this morning’s Monster Run.

I was correct in that there were few people, compared to other such events.

But it could not have been more fun.

The course had a lot to do with it – flat, all the way around the Ontario Convention Center twice and then a half.

The costumes also had a lot to do with it.

So many costumes, I couldn't capture them all. Some quite frightening.

Lots of zombies. I was sorry I’d played it safe in wearing the Captain America outfit because, with all the zombies, I could have totally rocked Walking Dead’s Michonne again.

I actually don't know these ladies, but we recognized each other from yesterday's Bacon Run.

And then there were these handsome EMS guys.

I told them, "I'm taking photos of costumes. I'm calling your costume Eye Candy".

They loved it.

The one with the mustache was worth getting up at 4:00 this morning for :-)

I was approaching a finish time of under an hour, 59:54, but I stopped to take a photo of the clock, lost a few seconds, and finished a bit over an hour.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Run 4 Bacon

So this happened.

At the last minute, it almost didn’t.

Arriving bright and early at the venue, I approached the tent to pick-up tee and bib, got a look at the course map, saw the diagram was so full of rolling hills that the course looked like humps on the backs of a line of camels and, for the first time I got scared. So scared that I seriously considered turning around and driving back home.

Had it not been my fright was outweighed by my wanting that finishing medal, I WOULD have.

The event turnout was good, considering it had been rescheduled and relocated; but it was obvious the reschedule/relocation and conflicting with other races scheduled for the day had an impact.

The race organizers were able to keep their word about providing plenty of bacon.

There was a bacon station on the way up, on the way down, a bacon bar at the finish line.

There was NOT the option of turkey bacon, NOT the “other bacon themed items” and NOT near the number of bacon costumes to be expected … only two, including the bacon-costumed guy I ran into at last week’s Spooktacular.

There were a couple pig hats, pig noses, and about six/seven Ms. Piggy; and, of course, my bacon leggings.

And speaking of going down, there were three areas on the course where going down was scarier than going up. I swear ... I almost cried going down one of them, because it was so steep I visioned falling forward and rolling down.

I didn’t check my time before leaving the venue, but I’m sure – because of the hills, I posted well over an hour.

There were others behind me, so though it was a slow finish, I wasn’t last.

As for tomorrow’s 5K, there isn't a medal to spur me on, just a tee and opportunity to rack up more walking miles. And, just like with the Bacon Run, there’s chaos. One site has the race on Monday the 26th, another Sunday the 25th.

A telephone call asking for clarification was not returned, as was an email. Not a sign of a this being a successful event, so I’ll do what I think makes sense, which is to head out tomorrow morning.

I’m not expecting any hills, because the course is through the City of Ontario.

Also, because of the chaos and the fact it’s the City’s First Annual Monster Run, I’m not expecting a lot of people. So, if it looks like a dud, with few participants, this time I will have no problem with turning around and heading back home. Well, perhaps not directly home, as there are several malls and a Trader Joe's in the area.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Beast Mode

Checked into the Community Room this morning to see how the sign-up sheet is going for next Tuesday’s Harvest Breakfast.

This is the event management has nothing to do with, but is the brainchild of The Baker, The Seer and Apache.

I’m surprised that Nurse Ratched, having not approved our sign-up sheet being posted, hasn’t torn it down yet, but there’s still time for her to come up with some kind of meanness – tear down the list, lock up the Community Room that morning, something to thwart our plans.

At any rate, to date we’ve got about 20 people signed up to bring a dish. One woman signed up for Eggs Benedict … fancy.

Of course, finicky woman that I am, I don’t eat just anybody’s food, and for sure my sensitive stomach can’t handle runny eggs and hollandaise sauce, so I’ll stick pretty close to what I bring and one of The Baker’s biscuits.

Having experienced so many kitchen fails, I’ve been testing out I can actually produce Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots that morning.

The first test came out cloyingly sweet due to the recipe calling for bacon dredged in a mixture of brown sugar and adobo sauce, so I tried the recipe out with less sugar, then with no sugar, just a smidgeon adobo sauce, then just bacon and tots. Though I like the spicy adobo sauce, I don’t think the old people can handle it, so I’ll be presenting plain -- tots wrapped in bacon.

While in the Community Room, I learned Harmless Flirty Guy (HFG) had contacted The Seer during the week. Per The Seer, he sounded his old self, called to give her his new telephone number and to gripe that, “I hear the kids have moved me out and shut down the apartment”.

“LOL, Yes that’s true”, says she.

In response to The Seer’s inquiry as to HOW he managed to break a leg and both ankles, HFG hemmed, hawed, mumbled and would not clearly say. So the mystery goes on.

In addition to not being happy at having been moved out of the complex, HFG went on to say, regarding being hospitalized, “They’ve got me in here with all these OLD people.”

With all the old people here on the senior complex, those he’s hospitalized with must be really super old for him to complain, or maybe it's because we're active here and those hospitalized with him are bedridden.

Once he recuperates, the plan – not his plan, but his family’s plan, is that one of his sons just bought a home with a little house out back where the family plans to install HFG.

Sounds pretty sweet to me -- family to take care of him, yet privacy in his own little house and no bills.

That being the case, I have a feeling once he’s able to drive and get around on his own, he’ll be hitting the casino more often and I’m sure we’ll see him hanging around with old friends on the property again.

Nothing special on tap for me remainder of the day. Getting more work done on that never ending needlepoint project and, completely over the pain and swelling of Sunday’s calf injury, resting up for tomorrow’s Run 4 Bacon 5K.

The plan this weekend is to go beast mode (attempt a high energy endeavor) with back-to-back 5K’s, Run 4 Bacon on Saturday, Monster Run on Sunday.

We’ll see.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Full Quad

It’s getting crowded in the carport area, which is an indication of how many new residents have moved into the complex.

The space to my right is still available, but there’s a car with Arizona plates in the space to my left.

I think it might be the new neighbor’s car, the woman who just took the vacant unit in my quad -- upstairs, across, to the left, next door to the Maintenance Man and his wife, above the Nosey Neighbor.

On Saturday, returning from picking up the race package for last Sunday’s Spooktacular 5K, I saw her moving in. Well, not exactly her, but the guys moving her in.

Nosey Neighbor, the Maintenance Man’s Wife and I were just talking about her the day before. The ladies were wondering where she was, if she’d changed her mind about taking the unit, because she was to have moved in three weeks ago. My guess was she’s probably coming to us from out-of-state, as I’m finding so many are – from out-of-state that is, and migrating from Los Angeles due to the spiraling out-of-control rent in L.A.

My next door neighbor, the one who moved into the deceased neighbor’s unit, came from North Carolina.

The writer of Christian Literature, the woman who originally shielded herself from me, is also from out-of-state. Previously, she was living in an unsafe neighborhood in Alabama or Arkansas (I forget which), where she was so in fear of her neighbors that she says she became a recluse, a virtual prisoner in her own home, afraid to venture out.

When I asked how she found this particular complex, being as how she was so far away, the answer was “On the internet”, same as the neighbor from North Carolina.

That’s pretty adventurous to take a place sight-unseen. Could have found themselves duped and disappointed. However, viewing the complex’ online profile, everything said and shown is accurate. I also checked for negative reviews and found nothing negative only that someone had posted it’s nice, quiet and “I don't bother with the activities, but I do swim in their pool.”


This thing with the writer of Christian Literature being fearful of former neighbors may explain why she was so closed and guarded at first. It still doesn’t explain why she was at first seemingly closed off only to me, but now that the wall is down, she’s all friendly, open, and like Chatty Cathy.

I didn’t get a look at the new woman in my quad until Sunday.

Returning from the Spooktacular 5K as she was heading out for a smoke, having not seen her before, I assumed correctly it was she walking through the quad towards the gate, introduced myself and welcomed her.

This is a no smoking property. Smokers must walk out the gate and COMPLETELY off the property to smoke or risk a lease violation.

The new neighbor seems quiet and, thankfully, no barking dog. In fact, the only pet she appears to have is a wooden dog she’s decorated the patio with.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Pizza Party

I so did not want to go.

Up at 4:00 in the morning, by the time 12:30 rolled around -- when festivities were to begin, I was so sleepy that I couldn’t see straight.

However, as The Seer had decided to get creative and come up with a costume ONLY because I’d said I was wearing one, I felt compelled to attend.

Would you believe that, when I offered The Seer the use of one of my tutus, she didn’t know what a tutu was?

Apache knew, and he’s a guy.

I described it to The Seer, “You know … one of those little skirts made out of netting.” (Actually, tulle, but if she didn’t know what a tutu was, she most surely wasn’t going to know tulle).

She looked confused.

“Dancers wear them”.

Still looked confused.

“Ballerinas wear them.”

“Ohhhh” she says, “A tutu”.

It amazes me sometimes what normal everyday people are not aware of, like Big L – the woman who retired from the Navy and is nice when she’s on meds, to be avoided when off. One day she asked me, “What’s that thing I see in your ear when you’re walking?”

She can’t possibly mean the IPod, thought I.

“That green thing”.

She DID mean the IPod, “It’s my IPod”, says I.

“Why do you wear that? What’s it for?”

She’s serious.

“Music. It’s a music player. I’m listening to music and walking to the beat.”

Can you believe Big L has traveled the world, seen things I only see on television, but hadn’t seen an IPod before?

Not that I know everything. In fact, a couple days ago, a young man who obviously is living illegally with one of the residents engaged me in conversation. Topic turned to the slogan, “What would Stuckey do”.

I didn’t get it.

He was just as amazed at my lack of knowing as I at others’. However, having a curious mind, I logged onto the internet and learned Stuckey's is a famous roadside convenience store chain found on highways throughout the United States that offers pecan log rolls, pralines, divinity, goo goos, chocolates, flavored pecans, and nuts.

I don’t travel and have no interest in Stuckey’s offerings, so my not knowing can be excused. Not so much with not knowing tutu and IPod.

I think the problem with most of my fellow residents is they’re so busy living in the past, talking about how much they miss Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, that they're oblivious to the NOW.

So anyway, I cowgirl up’d, got a shoe on my still slightly swollen sore foot and limped on down to the Community Room at 12:30, dressed once again as Captain America, but with the new Winter Soldier logo.

Last Year's Logo

This Year's Logo

While we’re on the topic of what normal everyday people are not aware of, as obvious as it was, no one knew what my costume was last year. One resident guessed “Wonder Woman” another “Super Girl”, others asked, “What are you?”

This time I walked in and got, yet again, “Wonder Woman?” also “Are you some kind of super hero?”

It was a much better showing for the new Activity Director, 17 people attended. Again, nowhere near representative of the number of residents, but enough to make the event somewhat successful.

I was disappointed to see so few of us in costume, four out of seventeen.

The good news is, that with the poor showing of costumes, it was easier for us four to win a prize, as there were precisely four categories … Scariest, Most Beautiful, Most Original/Most Popular, Most Serious.

Bloody Butcher won Scariest
Mardi Gras Mystique won Most Original
Nun won Most Serious
Captain America won Most Beautiful

I was so excited at my prize -- a Walmart Gift Card, that I neglected to notice what the others won.

On the menu were pizza, chips, soda, salad, cake, pumpkin pie. I opted for salad and a small slice of cake and pie. Hopefully not enough to cause my stomach to rebel.