Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Walking around the complex yesterday morning, I noticed Apache had put up a Halloween display.

We don’t get any little trick or treaters, so why he went to the trouble I do not know -- especially since he did not have sufficient Halloween spirit to wear the costume he was so keeping secret to the brunch potluck.

We do have the children of our young Maintenance Supervisor living on the property, but seriously doubt they’ll trick or treat us. Poor things are pretty much kept inside and out-of-the-way which, being cooped up all day, can’t be much fun for the kids.

Up until a week or so ago, that family was living in the upstairs unit across the quad from me, driving their downstairs neighbor insane. She said the baby kept her awake with his all night crying, the toddler would jump off furniture onto the floor, causing photos on her wall to shake, and there were more than a few times I myself observed the three-year old out on the patio between 10:00 and midnight, slamming the patio door from one side to the other.

I guess the neighbors on that side finally made formal complaints because Maintenance Supervisor and his family were relocated to an upstairs unit in the office area, over the Game/Computer Room, where they cannot disturb anyone. Residents using the computers and playing pool say they can hear them, but that’s not a biggie – except the new Complex Manager’s office is also underneath that unit, which the noise may create a problem for her.

Maintenance Supervisor must have forgotten about that tool he parked on the patio, because it’s still there, and it looks like the child’s slamming of the patio door did some damage.

The window or screen appears to be off track, leaning a bit. Odd that he, the “Maintenance Supervisor”, doesn’t seem to be dedicated enough to his job to fix the problem.

He’s a nice enough guy, but walks around looking unmotivated and depressed all the time.

Their new unit doesn’t have an enclosed patio. The doors face each other, there's a porch in-between, but it really isn't a safe area for small children to play, so they even more cooped up inside than before.

Nurse Ratched long ago relocated the tenant occupying the unit to the left elsewhere on the property and moved in her then Assistant Manager. Many Assistant Managers later – because no one could work with Nurse Ratched for long, the woman who was in the position when Nurse Ratched was escorted off premises is still with us and now occupies that unit with her husband. To accommodate Maintenance Supervisor’s family, the long-time tenant of the unit on the right was relocated.

By the way, that Assistant Manager looks like a new woman since Nurse Ratched was disappeared. The Assistant had previously off/on become sick from all she’d had to swallow and the stress of displeasing Nurse Ratched. She now looks happy, healthy, unbothered, is always smiling.

Elsewhere on the complex, the garage damaged by car fire has been repaired – probably a long time ago, but I’m just now getting around to seeing the fix.

Also, Creepy Guy’s unit is being cleared. He’s been admitted to an assisted living facility and won’t be coming back. The fact he won’t be coming back makes us females breath a little easier, as he was a notorious harasser, did not take rejection well, and visited consequences upon those who dared to reject his advances – the very worst of which was the new tenant he had arrested and evicted because she was so incensed at his vulgar language towards her, after she’d rejected him, that she lost it and threatened to kill him with a box cutter.

Lastly, there was a recent walk-thru by management which nabbed a few patio violators, i.e., over the three plant limit, no pots under the plants, items attached to the railings, non patio type items on the patio. The new resident underneath me was made to bring her patio into compliance … somewhat.

The new Manager, much nicer than Nurse Ratched, told us at the last Residents/Management meeting that she’d bend the rule to allow more than three, but to make it look tidy and manageable so that she doesn’t get in trouble with her bosses, should they make inspection and spot it.

It appears the downstairs neighbor moved plants, flags, dream catcher into one location, away from the water heater closet and door to the storage area.

So that’s it for what’s happening here at the complex.

That’s also it for my favorite month. Even though the month of Halloween wasn’t as much fun as I’d expected, it still is my favorite. Tomorrow marks the first of Thanksgiving, my least favorite month.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


On the university campus, outside the Santos Manuel Student Union, is a bronze coyote statue called “Wild Song” which is some sort of big deal.

Passing the statue, while walking the campus, I’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to take a selfie that makes it look like the coyote is biting my head off. Today, I tried a new tactic.

It made me laugh, so I deemed it a success.

Walking away, I heard someone call my name.

Oh oh, busted desecrating their sacred coyote, was my first thought. But how did whoever busted me knew my name?

Lo and behold, it was a former coworker. Someone I’ve not seen since retiring.

Turns out he’s still employed with the agency, but is also a student of the University, working on his Masters. Sitting inside the student union, looking out the window, he’d seen some woman doing something strange at the statue, realized he knew that woman, and came out to give me a hug and ask what I was doing.

“Capturing Pokémon” was my reply.

As I didn’t actually touch the statue, just held up a finger, positioned that finger to look like it was in the coyote’s mouth, I saw no need to enlighten him other than “Pokémon”. And now that I know students inside can see me through the window, I'm done with that activity.

Today was another successful hunt. I ran into a nest of a breed rare for this area and managed to capture eight. I also captured two new Pokémon, one of which was another of the ghost type promised us.


I probably get out again tomorrow but, inasmuch as I’ve not walked the complex or nearby neighborhood for some time, I think I’ll stick close to home.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ahead of the Storm

Waking up this morning, thinking I’d have to reschedule the appointment to have the car serviced because a “Powerful Storm” had been predicted by the weather folks, I found a chilly but dry morning.

Arriving at the dealership, I had the choice of driving up to the end of two long lines of cars.

Asking if I should reschedule to a less busy day, I was assured regular maintenance would not be a problem, so I signed in, set PokémonGo and was off to see what I could find in the area.

Starting this past Wednesday, running through November 1, PokémonGo is giving players twice the Candy rewards from catching, hatching, transferring Pokémon. They also promised us more Ghost type Pokémon would be on the prowl, so I’m game to get out as much as possible.

If a storm does come, I seriously doubt I’ll have time to hatch, but I did catch quite a few while waiting for the car to be serviced, three of which were new and one of which is of the promised Ghost Type variety.

Tonight, I’ll be tallying up my catch, looking to see what I can transfer for those extra points; and, if it’s not stormy Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be walking the University – possibly getting some hatch time in.

Returning to the dealership after a successful hunt, I learned my reporting the car feeling low to the ground and bumpy lately are the shocks -- $1300.

The thought of a new car has entered my head a time or two, but I really like my Saturn and probably don’t do enough driving, or have that many more years of driving left in me, to justify a new car, so I’ll have to find a day -- when no storm is predicted, to go back, have that taken care of, do more hunting.

Done at the dealership, I was in a great hurry to return to the complex, but stopped at Trader Joe’s to load up on supplies just in case the storm did happen.

The great hurry was because, just before heading out this morning, I’d received email notification that the Run Like a Diva organization was offering a Virtual 5K, with registration to begin at noon today, and only 500 Virtual spots available.

Last year was the first year the Diva organization offered a virtual, and all 500 spots had been taken before I could get to the computer and register.

So arriving back at the complex shortly after registration began at noon, I rushed in, didn’t even bother to put the groceries away, just headed straight for the computer and got myself successfully registered.

I’d planned for no more 5Ks this year, but the Diva Run is special, I can do it alone and take my time. After that boring disappointing Monster Run, alone (virtual) is looking like the best option going forward.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The rain pretty much shut me down as well. The change in the weather has drowzed me up -- sending me to bed early, enabling me to sleep through the night, yet not be able to keep my eyes open during the day.

Not much progress has been made on that needlepoint project or catching up on recorded television programs because I’d get so sleepy that I have to put the project away, turn the television off, lay back on the couch and go with it.

And Starbucks is probably going bankrupt, because I haven’t been in for my daily cup since the 16th.

I did make it to the market yesterday, during a break in the rain. While turning the corner into produce, I saw a man with a huge sack of potatoes in his cart, and it gave me a flashback that showed me why it is I take the more expensive and less healthy route of frozen potatoes, frozen vegetables, and why it is I so hate to cook.

The oldest of six, my old school mother felt responsibility for the family should be placed on the shoulders of the eldest child. Consequently, I not only was the only child held responsible for housework, I also was the one assigned responsibility for peeling potatoes, washing the greens, shelling peas, preparing the green beans, etc., I even had to clean the chitterlings.

I was my mother’s sous chef.

It’s amazing how our childhood impacts what we are and do as adults.

I don’t eat much of anything I have to peel or clean.

I also don’t eat beef hamburgers or beef, period. And it was at the barbecue potluck, when I took turkey dogs and there was a discussion of why I wasn’t eating the regular hot dogs, that I made the connection to something from childhood.

When it was just myself, before other siblings came along, I had a dog named Skippy.

When mom moved out of Los Angeles into a house she bought in another city, Skippy did not come with us.

“Where’s Skippy?” I asked.

“I gave him to the butcher shop”, snapped mom. “They ground him up and turned him into hamburger meat”.

Looking back, I can’t figure my mom out. She wasn’t necessarily mean, she wasn’t necessarily abusive, she wasn’t warm, generous, loving either. I know I couldn’t talk to her as she didn’t like me asking questions about anything, which may be why the snappish answer, and I remember her as being the kind of person that would leave something out when people asked for her recipe.

They say we become our mothers as we age. I look like her but, no disrespect, I hope I never become anything like her.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monster Run

This morning was another 5K that did not go off as planned.

Organized by two separate organizations -- the Y and a Non-Profit Charity, I arrived to find the Y had pulled out at the last minute, leaving the non-charity to make do with a whole lot less than last year. Gone was the Zumba Warm-Up, vendors, face painting station; also gone were all the Vampires, Zombies, Monsters at every step along the course. We did have one lone monster … this guy.

And there were so few people in the Walking Category that I decided to skip it and head back home.

After returning to the car, removing my sword, gloves, I heard the emcee call “5 Minutes” on race start, decided to put my gear back on and walk the course to see what Pokémon were available and capture a few shots of post worthy costumes.

No special Pokémon were found and, it was a very boring course with no Monsters along the way, only these two volunteers who were more cute than scary.

But I finished – pain free, nothing hurt.

My results came in at 1:05:57.

I could not accept the Spooktacular’s 1:06:57:9 results as any way possible, because there was no pressure for me to keep pace with the other participants -- I walked slow, hunted Pokémon, took my time; but 1:05:57 is on-point this time because the course was all flat, some sidewalk, some asphalt, and I had to push myself to keep pace with others.

Compared to previous years, it’s been a dismal under whelming Halloween month, capped off with this, my tenth and last 5K of the year.

I found it prophetic that the weather turned dark, gloomy.

I was already home napping by the time the rains came.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Potluck Brunch

I’d been careful, during the week, to make sure I had every item in stock that I’d need for the deviled eggs.

Sugar, check.

Pickle Relish, check.

Mayonnaise, no. So I picked a jar up at the grocery store.

After boiling and peeling eggs last night, I prepared for this morning's work by pulling out the Ree Drummond recipe, and  couldn’t believe it when I saw it called for yellow mustard. I had jalapeno mustard, djon mustard but no yellow.

Probably could have used one of those but, not confident of my cooking skills, I didn’t want to mess with the recipe.

Up at 5:10, I waited for the sun to rise so I could head to the market at 6:30 for yellow mustard.

After all was said and done …

Finished with the eggs at 9:10, I put on the Pokémon Trainer outfit, wasn’t happy with how lumpy it made me look so, at the last minute, I switched to the Minion outfit ONLY I could not find my Minion glasses.

Odd, because I’m very organized insofar as my costumes -- every item that goes with a costume is hung in a bag with that costume. I looked high and low, but no glasses -- and the glasses make the costume.

At any rate, I made it down to the event only 10 minutes late and need not have worried about not having Minion glasses to complete the outfit, because I was the only one in costume.

Even Apache, who was keeping his costume secret because he wanted to surprise me, surprised me by showing up with no costume.

Made for a ho-hum contest, no photos, etc., and made it easy for me to win, but no gift card this time. Instead, there were household items on a table to be given away later by drawing, costume contest winner got first pick.

I chose laundry detergent.

I was looking forward to The Baker’s biscuits and gravy, but she had a family emergency and opted out of the event, so I played it safe and ate only fresh fruit and what I brought.

All in all, I can’t say this was much of a fun event – it was successful in that residents showed up, but not all that much fun because the Halloween spirit wasn’t present.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Third Thursday

After thinking about it for two years, I finally checked out the Third Thursday Food Truck event.

As a place to go for entertainment, it was a letdown -- a letdown I regretted choosing over housework and laundry.

It you were a civil service employee, working in one of the nearby government buildings, wanting to experience different food trucks, it absolutely was the place to go.

I didn’t want the morning to go for naught, so I explored the menu at each truck, but found nothing that interested me, which would have been a Thai, Asian or BBQ.

To top off the disappointment, there weren’t any good Pokémon in the area. PokéStops yes, Pokémon no. There was, however, a lure.

I walked over and, again, found nothing worth being lured for. There was, however, a guy sitting by the waterfall looking lonely and like he should be at University, or work, rather than hanging out.

He was focusing on his phone, but would occasionally look up to see what I was doing, then look back down at his phone. Finally, I asked … “Did you set the lure?”

“Yes”, said he.

“There’s nothing her but pidgeys”, said I.

Then ensued a short conversation as to who else his lure had drawn in.

I was the only one so, if he was trying to lure in young pretty girls, he’d wasted a valuable Pokémon asset.

Done with the so-called event, I headed home but pulled over and parked when I saw one of the government buildings those civil service employees were coming from, because government buildings are supposedly one of the places one can find rare Pokémon.

It took a little walking, but I found a Butterfree just before the entrance. I don't think it's rare, but there was also a Pikachu in the area. My luck it was in an under construction area I couldn’t get to.

So the morning wasn’t a complete waste, I found a new Pokémon, but I won’t waste my time going to Third Thursday again, unless their facebook page shows Thai, Asian or BBQ.

Still a lot of the day left by the time I returned to the complex, I had enough energy remaining to take care of laundry and a bit of housework.

Returning from laundry, I had an interesting not unpleasant encounter with a handsome guy new to the complex. This post is already long, so more on that at a later date.

Next on today's todo list is boiling eggs for tomorrow's event.

I was up at 4:00 yesterday, 3:15 this morning, so I could conceivably get up early tomorrow morning and do eggs tomorrow. However, I don't want to risk tomorrow being the one day I sleep late, so boiling and peeling tonight, everything else tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Epsom Salt and Pain Patches

Walking 3.12 miles up/down that mountain, and an additional 1.50 miles wandering up/down the rocky areas where the event was located, put into play muscles I rarely use. Stiff, sore, moving a bit like Frankenstein, Epson salt soaks and pain patches have been my life since Sunday.

I'm not the only one. A much younger friend of a friend at the race posted his recovery kit.

Results came in as 1:06:57:9.

I wish!

No way did the timing company get that right because, crossing the finish line, I glanced quickly at the clock and saw 1:25 something -- about right for my slow taking-my-time pace.

I got a kick out of coming in 1st in my age group last year, even though it was because I was the ONLY one in my age group of 70-99.

I thought I might get a repeat this year; however, going up the mountain I passed two ladies coming down who looked like they were older than most participants and thus would be in my age group. Sure enough, I was last -- beat out by a 70 and a 73 year old.

Overall, out of the 235 athletes competing in the 5K, I finished in 228th place.

The fact that there were only 235 registered for the 5K is a considerable drop off from the 439 registered last year, when I came in 383. I’m wondering if it’s the emcees that are turning folks off.

They certainly turned me off.

Of course there was a 10K and a Relay going on simultaneously, so there were a couple hundred other folks, but participation was nowhere near previous years.

I’ll have to think twice about registering next year -- weighing out the fun against the package pickup, emcees being so disorganized and now, a new timing company, with highly questionable results.

This coming Sunday is the Monster Run -- a small family-oriented local event, no package pickup involved, flat course twice around the Convention Center.

I’m trying to talk myself out of it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Spooktacular 2016

It was fun, as usual. 

I finished.

But that same couple from last year -- with the woman who’d ruined the costume contest, were back as emcees. Consequently, nothing went off as outlined by the race organizers.

“Thriller Warmup” never happened.

Signing up for the costume contest turned into the guy saying, “Just line up and we’ll pick”.

Instead of a Kid’s Costume Contest, Men’s Contest, Women’s Contest, it was “Males line up", "Females line up”, with children included by gender.

When I saw it was the same couple, I planned not to enter the contest, but a facebook friend -- met through seeing each other at many of the same races, was in a costume so fabulous that I encouraged her to line up. She said, “Let’s do it”, so I stood next to her.

There was no crowd approval. Instead, like the guy said, the woman picked, but this time she picked correctly because my friend won, and the crowd seconded the choice.

Assassin's Creed

Unlike prior years, when a special medal was awarded the costume contest winner, she was given a gift certificate to be used at the shop where packages were picked up -- $75 off.

Nice, but they made it to where she has to spend money to redeem, when medals are what we look for.

She was disappointed. I was disappointed for her. She’ll probably never use the certificate.

I also ran into another woman, who became a facebook friend through other races. She talked some of her coworkers into the 5K.

Attendance was a lot less than prior years, but still a well-attended costumed event.

Here are a few highlights.


I commended the guys for having the guts to wear tutus.

They said their mom told them “Lots of guys wear them at races, but we haven’t seen anyone else.”

Doubtful it is she’ll ever get them in tutus again.

I did not see a ton of Pokémon themed costumes, just the one woman and her son dressed as a squirtle.

The woman with this cute little dog said his "brother" was racing.

She also said her dog was embarrassed about the costume.

How can she tell?

I later saw a boy in a hot dog costume, said to myself “This has to be the brother” and got them together for a pose.

Then there were these ...

I won’t know my finishing time until tomorrow. I know I was slow, because I played PokémonGo all the way up the mountain and down -- with one new capture, three PokéStops, but few other results.

I should have gotten a special medal for that accomplishment alone.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Montebello Part 2

On tap yesterday was returning to my regular schedule of getting dressed and picking up coffee in the A.M., because granddaughter put her car in the shop for additional work (there’s a noise she says) and needed me to pick her up, drop her off at work.

Since I was out and about, I stopped by the market where I ran into the Archeologist.

Upon seeing me, she lit up and gave me a hug – always does, which makes me feel guilty for not wanting to hang out.

At any rate, she wished me luck at the Spooktacular but said, after attending all three years as well, she wasn’t going this time. She’d made other plans for several reasons. One being she’d won the costume contest last year and wanted to end on a high note, another being the pickup line at the park.

I told you incorrectly about this being the first time race day package pickup had been allowed. She said she took that option twice, and the lines were horrendous.

“The park doesn’t open until 5:00. To beat the crowd, you have to FIRST be in line at the park gate to get in when it opens, and then you worry because you don’t know if all the other people in line with you are race participants or felons coming into the park to do their community service.”

Festivities do not start until 7:00, I’d planned to leave here at 5:00 arriving a little before 6:00. I could have changed my schedule to get there an hour earlier, but who are those community service felons she speaks of?

What roles do they play in the festivities?

Are they the “volunteers” the race organizers use?

The guys serving as parking attendants and security look buff and rough … is that they?

I didn’t know about the felons and never encountered a problem before, but I’m a believer in signs, and the fact I was being given this information I took as a sign.

All of a sudden a long Saturday drive didn’t seem the worse choice.

So, off I headed this morning to Montebello. Driving so far out-of-the-area, I took the precaution of filling up the gas tank and made a stop by the tire place for a pressure check.

They found a slow leak caused by “a piece of metal” in the right rear.


The Universe was looking out for me there.

The drive to the pickup point wasn’t as awful as I thought EXCEPT traffic slowed and looked to be coming to a complete stop 9 miles from the destination.

Great! This is what I expected of traffic heading towards Los Angeles, thought I. Feeling fed up, thinking I'd be stuck forever, ready to turnaround and head back home, I realized my outside slow lane was moving pretty good compared to the other lanes, and soon saw the problem was lookeeloos in those other lanes, slowing to look at an accident on the other side of the freeway.

Traffic began moving normally once past that point; however, looking at the miles and miles and miles of backup on the other side of the freeway, I knew there was no way I was getting back home any time soon.

Arriving at the pickup point, I found I’d told you incorrectly yet again – It wasn’t NEAR Old Town, it was IN Old Town, so after picking up that all important bib, knowing I couldn’t head back for a couple hours, I turned on the PokémonGo app, and found lots of interesting PokéStops (which eventually will be posted to my GO page) mixed in with the local attractions.

Mark wasn’t a Stop, but I found him interesting.

There’s this weird thing I do when I see a statue with a book … I always look to see what they’re reading.

This film maker in front of the Krikorian Theater also was not a Stop, but interesting nonetheless.

Pokémon in the area weren’t any different than those in my area, but I did catch a second Pickachu. Those little buggers are difficult to find and even harder to catch. They like to toy with you – show themselves, make a teasing noise at you, then run off before you’re armed and ready. So, I quickly threw a Razz Berry to slow it down and, instead of a regular Pokéball, threw a Big Ball to increase my chance of a successful catch, which is was.

That two, which equals 6 Pickachu candies. I need 48 candies to evolve so, unless I run into a nest of Pickachu, evolving one may be an impossible goal. 

Finally back in my little unit, I'm exhausted and looking a little less forward to tomorrow. However, the show must go on.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Where in the World is Monrovia?

I’ve been lying low last few days, working on that needlepoint project, resting up, eating right, so as to be in as reasonably good a shape my 72 years old body can be for this Sunday’s 5K. Lying so low, in fact that, when I opened my door yesterday, heading to Starbucks, my next door neighbor opened her door and asked if I was okay because she hadn't seen me for a while.

I've not been to the Community Room, and I guess she didn't hear me going out for coffee on previous days. Probably because, now that I don't have to get dressed first thing in the morning in case granddaughter needed me to Uber drive her around, I've not been getting dressed until noon and out for coffee until around 1:00/1:30.

I told her I was fine, my morning schedule had changed, and thanked her for checking on me.

My fourth year in a row for the Spooktacular, I’m find myself filled with both excitement and dread.

Excitement because of the opportunity to interact with thousands and thousands and thousands of other costumed participants.

Dread because the first half of the course is a steep steady climb.

I’ve learned from experience that slow and steady gets me there, yet and still there’s always that anxiety about the climb, and the closer I get to race day Sunday, the more anxiety I feel.

Adding to that anxiety is package pickup.

Saturday is package pickup day. Thinking I’d be in the area of the Montclair Plaza for that, where I could kill two birds with one stone – pick up the race package/look for new and different Pokémon than can be found in my area, that plan was nixed when I received notification package pickup has been relocated to Monrovia.

Where in the world is Monrovia?

Looking at MapQuest, Monrovia is over an hour’s drive from here, more than halfway to Los Angeles, very near Old Town Pasadena.

That’s an insane drive for me, especially on a Saturday when the whole world is on the road but, fortunately, the race organizers have given us an option this year. They don’t generally allow for race day package pickup but, because of the location change, we can pick up our package ON race day but are warned to “expect long lines”.

If it’s anything like the lines to the ladies’ room, I’m expecting a nightmare.

Last year, the line to the ladies’ room was so long that those of us waiting were at risk of missing the Start time.

Some of the women, myself included, made a decision to invade the men’s room. Security didn’t show up in time to kick us out and it didn’t seem to bother the guys as they came in anyway and used those things mounted on the walls giving us total access to the sit-down stalls.

To give the guys privacy, the women would turn around to face the wall. I, on the other hand, have been single a long time, some of those guys were awful cute, so I didn’t turn my face to the wall.

It was above board though, as those wall things and the guys were situated where I couldn’t see anything anyway.

In order to beat the crowds, ensure a good parking spot, I generally arrive early – before dawn. Hopefully this will be early enough to also get to the pickup point before the line gets too long, so I won’t miss any of the other activities.

There’s no hope for the ladies’ room line. It’s always like that and security might be wise to us this year and block the invasion, so who knows.

Well, it's 12:40 now, so I guess I'd better get dressed and head out for coffee. Maybe I'll swing by the Community Room, so the others can see I'm still alive.