Sunday, December 31, 2017

Countdown to 2018

Today is the seniors' all day until 2:00 a.m. New Year’s Eve Party.
Not planning to attend myself, I did make a run down to the Community Room, around 1:00 p.m., to see how things were going.
Not many people yet, but a lot of weird looking pots on the stove.

Reminds me of when I’d get home from school, see mom had something cooking on the stove in a lidded pot. I’d open the lid and get grossed out by some awful looking animal head – mostly pig as mom made a lot of a country folks favorite back then -- pig head cheese.
None of us kids ate it, so I assume it was for her and the neighbors, but being traumatized by the animal heads probably has something to do with my not eating meat now, except for chicken and turkey. I also don’t eat beef, but that’s because mom had further traumatized me by saying my dog Skippy had been turned over to the meat market to be ground into beef hamburger meat.
At any rate, the cook tells me what’s on the stove is for Enchiladas and “Are you coming back?”
I said no, so she said she’d better wish me a Happy New Year’s now, then she ran over and hugged me.
OMG! Why do people feel they have to follow "Happy New Year’s (HNY)" with a hug?
I’m fairly certain she doesn’t have cooties, so I’m not freaked out about it, but still. 
I also got HNY and a hug from another resident yesterday, as I stepped out, headed to the market.
To play it safe, when I ran into Apache, bringing in the Martinelli Sparkling Cider, and he asked if I’d be coming back, I lied and said yes so he wouldn’t hug me. In fact, I think I’d better keep a low profile next few days until folks get HNY and the hugging out of their system.
Tonight being the official end of the holiday -- last night I get to light up the patio Christmas Decorations, tomorrow will be wrapping everything up, returning to storage.
Wishing you all a happy, prosperous New Year and if you’re one of those who don't mind a hug going along with that, here you go.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Do Not Touch

Yesterday ended up not being my free day after all, as a last-minute errand came up that took me out of the area.
Upon returning to the complex, I cut through the Community Room, on the way to the mailbox, and saw an announcement for a celebration of life scheduled for today for one of our long-time residents.
Her passing was a complete surprise to all of us, as she’d just a few weeks ago celebrated her 95th Birthday.
I’m not exactly sure what transpired after that, but it all seemed to have happened in rapid succession in the span of two weeks … one day she was in the Community Room chatting, having fun, watching television, next thing an ambulance picked her up and took her to the hospital. Then her daughter put her in a care facility and began cleaning out her unit -- inviting residents to come to the unit this past Saturday to take anything they’d like saying our long-time resident would not be coming back. When residents arrived at the unit Saturday, the daughter announced our long-time resident had passed that morning.
Once they leave the community and all their friends, they just don’t seem to have the will to go on.
Asked to post information about the celebration of life on our facebook page, I headed upstairs, located a photo I’d taken of our long-time resident, posted the photo and announcement with the title “We say goodbye to a Dear Friend”.
I won’t be attending as the service is out of the area, we weren’t that close that I feel compelled to attend, plus I’d made arrangements to meet up with daughter, while she's in the area at the nail salon, to hand over the blankets for what she calls her “outside neighbors” -- which is a nice way of describing the homeless people in her area.
I’m kinda amazed that both my girls are devoting time and energy to serving outside neighbors – one cooks and takes meals and clothing to those living in a nearby park, the other is involved with an organization that weekly takes food, clothing, essentials to those living in the Skid Row area.
That’s a worry because Skid Row, if you’ve never seen it, driven through there, is worse than anyone can image -- filthy to the umpteenth degree, highly volatile, dangerous. In fact, just this last week, daughter returned to her car after providing for those outside neighbors only to find an ungrateful outside neighbor in that area had poured milk all over her car.
It could have been worse.
At any rate, after turning the blankets over to the daughter serving outside neighbors in the park, I’m off to get the car smog tested, with the hope today will be a slow day with folks focused on plans for New Year’s Eve, rather than getting their autos smog checked, so I can be in an out quickly.
We shall see.
While I was out yesterday, I ran into the resident who, like me, had been blessed with a windfall from a job she’d long since left behind. Unlike me, however, there was a question as to whether she could remain a resident because she was living in a unit as caretaker to the resident on the lease – technically not a resident herself and the windfall made her ineligible to become a resident now that she can afford her own unit.
Long-time readers will recall this was the woman whose only income was from living here with and caring for her mother. When the sister took mother away and placed mom in a care facility, the woman lost her income. Gripped with fear as to how she’d survive, she ended up in hospital with bowel obstructions … twice.
No surprise there … cause and effect, gripping fear = bowel obstruction.
With the help of her son, the woman was able to remain in that unit for a little while but, when that played out, she signed on as live-in caregiver to an older lady in the complex.
Suffice it to say, the woman has been through a lot in the last few years, supplementing what little she derived as caretaker by dumpster diving here on the complex, and I’ve often run into her dumpster diving at the University when I was there hunting Pokémon.
This windfall was a much-needed miracle for her.
At any rate, she was telling me yesterday that she’s outa here -- she bought a truck and, instead of the trailer she’d planned to buy, she’d found a little house not too far away.
I’m really happy for her, said so and felt a hug coming on – an urge rising up in me to hug her, sensing her moving in to hug me, at which time I quickly turned away, wished her well and took off.
Her name came up in the Community Room this past Tuesday. Maybe folks were jealous of her good fortune and wanted to say something to bring her down, maybe it was the Universe giving me a do not touch warning, but it was said that management had gotten on the woman about dumpster diving because those activities had brought bed bugs and roaches to the unit she was occupying with the resident on the lease. That the unit had been treated twice, but still had an infestation.
Thank the Lord, that unit is far away from my building.
I don’t know. She looks clean to me, but just the thought she might have cooties … well, you know. I had to resist the urge to hug and back away.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I Caved

Why oh why did Head Maintenance Guy pick yesterday morning, when I was on my way to the foyer to slip Starbuck gift cards in all staff stockings, except his, to both smile and wave good morning to me.
As a refresher, I was leaving him out of gifting as a lesson for not doing right by me and because it is my belief that bad behavior is not to be rewarded; but after he smiled and waved, I felt awful for leaving him out. So awful that, remembering the bible verse that returning good for evil (a show of forgiveness) is like reaping burning coals on the person who was unkind to you (shames and makes the offender feel guilty), I relented, drove to Starbucks, picked up another gift card and dropped it in his stocking.
I’m torn.
On one hand, I feel better for having done the right thing, spiritually speaking; but humanly speaking, I’m a little angry at myself for caving in because I’ve never ever actually seen this returning good for evil work on the offending party. I’ve seen it come back and create good in my life from other avenues, but I’ve never seen a change in the offending individual.
I guess that’s the point of this lesson – that it’s not about what HMG does/doesn’t do, it’s about me not putting the negative action into the universe of deliberately leaving him out, thereby creating bad karma to come back and bite me in the butt.
So, whether HMG goes back to being lazy, unresponsive, giving me side-eye, or whether he continues this new course of smiling, waving, I think I’m done skewering him on this blog. Just remember, I did say “think”, so don’t hold me to it.
Today looks like another free day to focus on the latest never ending needlepoint project.

May 2017 - December 2017 Progress

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Business as Usual

Christmas Day was just as I like it … peaceful, quiet, uneventful.
I spent the whole day, into the night, working on that needlepoint project while watching the marathon farewell season of Peter Capaldi as Dr. Who, leading up to the doctor’s regeneration and return as the first female Dr. Who.
Looking at the comments on Twitter, fans of the show didn’t like seeing a female taking over the role, and it didn’t help that her first action was to push a button on the console on the Tardis, which resulted in chaos onboard, the female Dr. Who being tossed about, then tossed out and the ship speeding through space and time without her.
Which begs me to think what the producers could have been thinking to have the first action of a female Dr. Who to be a screw-up.
It’s almost like they want her to fail.
At any rate, I’ll give her a chance, watch the next season, see how it goes, but Peter Capaldi is going to be a tough act to follow.
Today, day after Christmas, it’s business as usual here at the senior complex. The Community Room will be full of residents awaiting delivery of free pizzas. I’ll pop in for a bit to watch the feeding frenzy, surreptitiously drop those Starbuck gift cards in staff stockings, then head out to run errands.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bad Neighbor

Feeling guilty and very much the bad neighbor for receiving but not giving Christmas cards.
I’ve not been into sending out cards in more years than I can recall, and I’m accustomed to receiving only one – from one of my daughters.
This year, I was surprised to receive cards from three neighbors – and not even neighbors in my quad, but neighbors in other areas of the complex who thought of me, plus a card from a long-time friend now living in Minnesota.
I thought about rushing out and picking up cards for these nice folks but, at this late date, it seemed such a bother that didn’t do so and feel like a very bad neighbor/friend.
Oh well, it is what it is.
Heading to a different medical center location yesterday, to get that ear infection antibiotic prescription filled, I learned that location had also been struck with computer system failure on Friday.
Wondering if it had been a hack, I went to Google. Didn’t find any mention of hacking, only that the outage was system wide and due to “internal computer glitches”.
At any rate, prescription filled, I read the side effects -- diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, oral thrush, yeast infection.
What the heck!
I thought the purpose of antibiotics was to help, not harm but, inasmuch as I already have gut issues, and this so-called cure is worse than the infection, there is absolutely no way I am going to use it.
So what to do about the ear infection?
It occurred to me to do what I should have done in the first place – research holistic cures.
I learned garlic oil works just as well as antibiotics, and there are no unpleasant side effects, so I made a batch. Only, instead of drops in the ear, I’m playing it safe by using Q-tips to swab the area.
Garlic oil came highly recommended by users on quite a few sites, and since I let the infection go on for such a long time, I imagine it will disappear into the ethers but take a few days.
So doctor out-of-the way, I was looking forward to getting the last thing taking me out of the apartment, out of the area off my list – my appointment with the locktician (beautician for braids), so I could just stay in my unit and veg out until the holidays are over.
So off I go this morning, driving 45 minutes, arriving for my appointment only to find the locktician not there.
“She’s at the hospital on baby watch”, I was told. “One of her sons (girlfriend/wife ???) had a baby yesterday, the other son (girlfriend/wife ???) is expecting a baby today. She said she texted clients scheduled for today to let them know she’d be rescheduling them”.
I’m sure she did as she’s very professional, but she probably texted my old telephone number.
Not in the least annoyed, I texted the locktician my new number (which I’m sure I’d texted her before) and headed back, with a stop by Starbucks as I’d decided against being petty by putting a lump of coal in Head Maintenance Guy’s stocking – which I very well could have done and found just the right lump on Amazon.

Instead, I decided to be petty by purchasing a Starbucks gift card to put in the stocking of all the other staffers, except his.
Judge me not because, two things I’ve learned in my journey is 1) Own your feelings, whether right or wrong and 2) Do not reward bad behavior. 
While at Starbucks, I ran across an ornament I’d not seen before, brought it home and added it to my collection.

It's a little french press

So cute.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Unforeseen Consequences

Interesting time at the medical center this morning.
I almost cancelled the doctor’s appointment because, after I had that sick spell a few weeks ago – diagnosed as influenza, I didn’t think there was much she could do about the tiredness, dizzy spells and labored breathing causing me to temporarily retire from 5Ks, but I kept the appointment.
Arriving at the medical center, driving around for 20 minutes looking for parking, I finally arrived at the check-in desk only to find complete chaos.
All the computers were down.
No one could check in.
Co-pays could not be collected.
The lines were long with those seeking urgent care.
Staff was doing the best it could to organize the chaos and ended up directing those with no appointments seeking urgent care to another location. Those of us with appointments, staff wrote our names, doctor we were to see and medical number down on paper, said we’ll be billed for copay, then called our doctor to say we’d arrived.
Once I made it to the doctor, since the computers were down, she had no access to my records, but upon physical inspection discovered, contrary to what I've sometimes been accused of not having, I do have a heart and it didn’t appear to show signs of a heart attack or stroke. Much as I thought she’d say, she does think the tiredness and difficulty breathing has something to do with high cholesterol and suggested I give the medication she’d suggested a go to clear the walls, plus baby aspirin to thin the blood flowing through.
I’ll try baby aspirin, see how it goes, before resorting to cholesterol drugs.
The fact that I’ve been getting dizzy, unsteady on my feet, she found equilibrium related because I have an ear infection.
How have I been walking around for two/three months with an ear infection without knowing, you ask?
Unforeseen consequences.
When I was about three years old – and its an image from my childhood I can clearly see these many years later, my mom, my aunt, other relatives were sitting around in the living room. I was eating an orange, plucked the seeds out and thought it would be a good idea to stick the seeds in my left ear. Once the seeds were in, I stuck my little fat fingers in to dig them out, only the seeds went further in.
Fast forward to adults in the room going into full blown panic when they became aware of what I’d done, followed by ear surgery, followed by growing up deaf in that ear, followed by intermittent ear aches I simply ride out until the ache goes away.
Only this time, the ache turned into an infection for which the doctor prescribed antibiotics.
With the computers down, she had to give me an old-fashioned prescription on a pad, which the pharmacy could not fill because ... you know, the computers were down.
On tap for tomorrow is heading back, when computers are restored, to get the prescription filled.
Chit chatting a few years back with a woman I worked for, talking about dumb things we did as kids that impacted our adulthood, I told her that story about the orange seeds in the ear. Evidently, it’s not uncommon for kids to put things in their ears because she said her daughter had done the same thing, only she’d shoved tiny gravel rocks in hers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Party

Holiday Party was a HUGE success.
Residents filled all seats in the Community Room, and spilled out onto the patio – where the “taco truck” was to be located.
My curiosity as to how a “truck” was going to locate itself on the patio was met by two guys setting up stations.

I never saw a truck, but assume they’d arrived in a van.
Though I did not partake of the truck’s offerings, residents were overheard to say the carne asada tacos, quesadillas, rice and beans were “muy bueno”.

Meat Station

Rice, Beans, Condiment Station
A lot of residents were dressed festively in cute Christmas sweaters, others were over-dressed as though going to church or an after-five event and, after I’d opted to be a good human and not bring politics into the event by creating an Ugly Orange Guy in the White House Sweater, Apache (the Orange Guy’s No. 1 fan) went there.

Make America Great Again hat, Orange Guy medallion

He was making a statement.
Statement being to express how angry he is at the Mueller investigations and allegations of sexual harassment against the Orange Guy.
He’s becoming so fanatical in his support of the Orange Guy that I had to unfollow him a few days ago because he’d posted that the Orange Guy has been surrounded by beautiful women his entire life with zero sex assault claims until he ran against Hillary.
How clueless can a person be that he doesn’t understand women have had to keep quiet about such things, until recent years, because of fear of not being believed and backlash.
At any rate, everyone was having too much fun to pay attention to Apache continually flashing his medallion and saying the Orange Guy’s name, hoping to get attention and a rise out of someone.
After folks had a first and second run at the taco truck, four residents lined up for the Ugly Sweater Contest.
Since my tee was technically not a sweater, I didn’t stand with them, but the crowd liked my outfit and insisted I participate.
THEN Apache, dissatisfied that he’d not gotten the attention and platform he craved thus far with his outfit, took it upon himself to enter the Ugly Sweater Contest, once again flashing his medallion.

So desperate for attention was he that I think it made him happy that the crowd, when asked to clap for the sweater they liked best, boo’d him.
It was the Baker’s front and back decorated sweater that won the contest.

Then we had the Unwrap Game, which consisted of – under constraint of differing times, according to an app Activity Director was using on her phone, putting on a headband, oven mittens and trying to unwrap a gift with several layers of wrapping paper before she said “pass”.
Have you ever tried to unwrap a gift with oven mittens on your hands?
It’s not easy. It’s stressful, exhausting and was oh so much fun for participants and the crowd.

After multiple passes around the table, we broke through the first layer of wrapping, then diligently went on to the second and third and final layer of wrapping. Last person to pull off what remained of the wrapping won the gift.
That person was The Baker, who was making out like a bandit; but she deserved to do so because of all she does for the community.
After the oven mitten unwrap game, there was more eating, followed by drawings for the last few gifts.
Down to the last gift, drawing the last name, lo and behold it was this girl ... me!

It was a blanket – the second one I’ve won, the first being at the Halloween Costume Contest.

I have the afghan my daughter crocheted for me, I have quilts I’ve made for myself so, with no need of these blankets, I’ll pass them on to daughter for her homeless outreach activities.
Remainder of the week is going to be quiet around here. Staff vacations, Assistant Community Manager out last two months with her annual mysterious illness, not expected back until January 8, substitutes holding down the fort, Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) doing whatever the heck he pleases.
In fact, I caught Community Manager hanging stockings yesterday morning, with the names of everyone on staff.

I told her I was going to put a lump of coal in HMG’s stocking because he takes too long to get around to handling maintenance requests.
If I run into a lump during my travels to the doctor’s office and the Sisterlocks locktician this week, I may actually do so.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Challenge Accepted

Passing the Complex Manager’s Office this morning, heading to the scale in the Game Room, I could hear her discussing today’s Holiday Party festivities with the two Maintenance Guys.
She called to me ... “Hey Shirley, you wearing your Ugly Christmas Sweater today?”
“I don’t have any sweaters”.
“Make one. Let me show you what ____ (Head Maintenance Guy) did. He hung ornaments on his sweater.”

“Clever”, said I, “But, it’s kinda late for me to put something together. Besides, I won the Halloween Costume Contest. Let someone else win today.”
I’d planned to wear my red leggings and black top, ala Santa’s red suit and black belt, accessorized with my Christmas socks, and a Christmas tree headband left over from the Gingerbread 5K two years ago, but staff’s ugly sweaters got my mind to thinking about putting something together after all.
My first thought was to print pictures of the Big Orange Guy onto transfer paper, and ironing his face onto my green top, because nothing says ugly more than that Orange Guy in the White House.
Inasmuch as some of his supporters live here, including Apache -- who is the Orange Guy’s No. 1 Fan, and who is becoming less and less fun to be around because of the stupid ignorant things he sometimes says in support of the Orange Guy. At any rate, I decided to keep politics out of the festivities and designed an ugly sweater around a green tee, using the headband I’d initially planned to wear and old Christmas socks.

Took me all of 15 minutes, with baste stitching so I can return the tee to it's original state after.
Can’t wait for Complex Manager to see I accepted her challenge and did indeed make one.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bad Advice

Thursday’s Residents/Management meeting was quite pleasant, probably because none of the harpies, complainers and crazies were in attendance, except lazy Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) was there. However, even he was all smiley and pleasant. He even spent his own money and brought donuts for the group.
Discussed was the upcoming Holiday Party. There’s to be a Taco Truck -- all you can eat tacos and quesadillas, drawings and games.
Community Manager added, “Please play the games”.
Not sure why the plea, except some of our residents tend to be looky-loos, rather than engage, at the risk of appearing foolish.
I like to have fun, don’t mind appearing foolish, so whatever the games are, I’ll play and leave the eating to others.
There’s also to be an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. I don’t own any sweaters, let alone an ugly Christmas one, so I’m out.
Also discussed was the New Year’s Eve Party.
That’s not a management-sponsored event. It’s the brain-child of my buddy Apache, back from successful knee surgery. He’s been pushing for a midnight party to ring in the New Year for like forever, and for me to attend. I’ve told him I’m usually fast asleep long before midnight, and that no I wouldn’t attend.
At the time Apache brought up the idea, I didn’t think it a good idea for seniors to be out on the premises in the dark, and now … after the early morning daylight incident with that young pervert cornering me in the mailbox area and exposing himself, I REALLY don’t feel it a good idea for seniors to be out on the premises after dark.
They’ve not yet caught or identified that young pervert, I’m still jumpy and paranoid over the encounter and feel certain he’ll hop the fence, come back and escalate his perversion. Only it won’t be with me, because I now always have a canister of pepper gel to the ready, in my hand, when I exit the unit – not spray, but gel, which supposedly has no blow-back and is farther reaching.
At any rate, Apache got his wish and the New Year’s Eve party is on.
The Community Room will be open all that day, until 2:00 a.m., for residents to ring in the New Year with black eyed peas, corn bread and apple cider.
Knowing Apache, I expect they’ll be some eggnog.
Also discussed was cars following residents through the driveway gate, once the resident has activated their key card entry and the gate opens.
It was suggested that residents should activate their key card, drive through the gate, then block the other car’s entry by waiting just on the other side of the gate until it closes.
Bad advice!
People are insane now days. You see road rage incidents all the time on the news.
One never knows who’s in the car behind you taking advantage of the few seconds after you enter before the gate once again closes. Could be another resident who will take offense, find you later, do damage to you or your car. Could be a visitor who will do the same.
I don’t think it the job of our seniors to put themselves at risk like that.
One last thing that came up at the meeting was the need to do something about young men, with devious intent, jumping the walls from the multi-family complex next door and onto our property. HMG said he experienced a similar problem at a property where he used to work. That problem was solved with oil.
That’s right, he said oil.
The top of the walls were coated with some sort of black gunky oil. 
Evidently, intruders don’t like icky sticky black oil all over their clothes, because jumping the walls ceased entirely.
I have to give HMG props for coming up with that one, but let’s see how long it takes for him to follow-through.
In the interim, I’ll stay on guard during the day, inside at night.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Third Time’s the Charm

I’m glad that’s over.
After three tries at building a gingerbread café, over two days, I can finally stop obsessing and get on with my life.
Will I ever make another?
Absolutely. I’m looking forward to what kind of café Starbucks offers next year.
It frustrated me at first that I couldn’t get the hang of it, but the first and second build were good practice for what turned out to be a nice third build.
The winds returned to this area with gusto this morning. Even my Pokémon Go app is issuing a warning.

Not to worry, I’ll be staying indoors, keeping an eye out that patio decorations don’t go flying off.
I will step outside later this afternoon to attend the Residents/Management meeting. Can’t imagine anything important is on the agenda, but I’ll pop in and sit near the exit door, so I can escape if it gets boring.
Next Tuesday is our Holiday Party, hosted by management. Probably nothing I can eat, but I’ll go down for a little while.
BTW, I didn’t tell you I’ve lost 20 ½ pounds in like a three-month period.
I kept wondering how it was that, because there’s so much I can’t eat now, and I’m literally forced into clean healthy eating because of gut issues, that I’d not lost a pound. Then one day I noticed my leggings looked a little loose in the caboose, took some measurements and saw my inches were slightly down. Weighing myself on the scale in the Game Room, I was slightly down there as well.
After so many failed attempts to lose weight, because of a slow metabolism when I was desperately trying, I was afraid to trust I was actually losing weight without trying, so I stayed away from the scale, until feeling thinner, looking thinner, I jumped on the scale this last Tuesday and found I’m down 20-1/2 pounds.
That’s a lot of weight for me, in a relatively short period of time, so I’m wondering if that’s why I’ve been so overly tired and dizzy lately -- the body adjusting to sudden weight loss. On the other hand, proponents of the grain-free lifestyle, which I’ve been following as a way to manage my gut issues, do say “lose the wheat, lose the weight” -- (i.e., once the wheat is out of your system, weight loss is a natural occurrence).
I’d been losing the wheat since 2015, receiving no weight loss, but with fewer and fewer gut issues. Then all of a sudden BAM! … 20-1/2 pounds gone. It’s taken all this time for my body to get over whatever damage I’d done to it in the past, and begin to regulate itself.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Good Advice

Deciding to bake cookies for yesterday’s Cookie Swap after all, recalling the epic fail earlier in the year when I made cookies for the Cookie/Cocoa Social, which cookies came out burnt, I followed Dkzody’s advice, left as a comment on that January post,  and baked the cookies 10 minutes less than what the recipe called for.
Gingerbread Molasses Cookies came out perfect and were the first to go.

The Baker asked for the recipe, so I shared with her my secret.

The Cookie Swap was not well attended. I blame the timing – the fact there were too many activities lumped together on the same day. First was Pizza Delivery, followed by Bingo. By the time 2:00 rolled around for the Cookie Swap, residents were tired and back in their units.
I skipped pizza delivery, skipped bingo and went down to the Community Room specifically for the swap and to decorate ugly sweater cookies.
It wasn’t the ugly sweater cookies I’d expected, instead we decorated round sugar cookies provided by The Baker.
Had I known, I would have brought a couple ugly sweater cookie sets instead of baking, yet and still I gave the round cookies a shot.

The sugar cookies must have been pretty tasty, because others were eating them up as fast as they got decorations on. One late arrival didn’t bother to decorate. She dumped like a third of a cup of royal icing on one little cookie, ate it like that, then repeated the process several more times.
My sweet tooth seeming now to be a thing of the past, I wasn’t tempted to eat not one cookie. Nor did I bring the ones I decorated back to my unit. I left them on the counter and, as there are folks around here that will eat anything left out, I’m sure someone came in later and enjoyed them with a cup of coffee.

Later in my unit, I began tackling the Starbucks Gingerbread Café.
Last post, I did say I’ve never attempted a gingerbread house of any kind before and, working with a kit where everything was pre-made and provided, I posed the question “how difficult can it be for my inexperienced self?”
Answer is … a picture is worth a thousand words.

It was enormously difficult and, as you can see, I suck at using piping bags. I did, however, excel at innovation because, when my little gingerbread man broke at the waist, I turned him into a walking dead zombie.

The red part at the waist, which is where he broke, is blood and guts pouring out.
Disappointed that my first foray into gingerbread house decorating, came out looking like a child’s project, wanting to prove to myself I could do so much better, I purchased another kit.
It failed completely.
First kit, I ignored directions to decorate first then build. Instead, I built first. That went well until I was called upon to use my non-existent piping skills, and produced the above shaggy dog effect.
Second kit, I followed directions, decorated first then did the build. However, once the decorations were fully dry, they began breaking off during the build stage and the building would not hold, it collapsed.
I tried to save it by scraping off corner icing, removing some of the decorations and building again but, after a second and third collapse, into the trash it went.

Refusing to give up without a fight, I purchased a third and final kit this morning.
So far so better.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cookie Swap and For the Troops

Online at 11:35 PM last night, I was startled out of my socks when it felt like a giant had picked up my building, then quickly dropped it back down.
EARTHQUAKE!!! I’d posted on facebook.
I must have been the only one up and online, because usually there’s a flurry of back-and-forth postings. Instead, there was nothing – not even today.
Measured at 2.8, it felt a lot stronger, but I guess coming off the fire alerts and looking at all the devastation in other areas, an earthquake is now considered no-big deal, not worth mention.
Barring any unforeseen Mother Nature circumstances, we’re slated to have a Cookie Swap here in the Community Room on Tuesday. Simultaneously, the Baker is hosting an ugly sweater cookie decorating event and collecting Cookies for the Troops.
Of course, the cookies for the troops have to be packaged, not personally baked.
Decorating ugly sweater cookies is my kinda thing, and would be fun, but what to do with the cookies after?
This time last year, I attended the Residents Christmas Party at the multi-family complex next door, as granddaughter was working in the leasing office and invited me. She's since working on her degree and has relocated to Huntington Beach. At any rate, that was my first introduction to decorating ugly sweater cookies, after which I devoured the cookies because they were shortbread -- my favorite. 
What a difference a year makes, because cookie decorating kits are now big business -- kits of every kind everywhere, and now cookies have been added to the list of what I cannot eat without a violent gut reaction so, not wanting to be tempted, I’ll probably not get involved with those cookies, but I do have a Pike’s Place Gingerbread Café kit I picked up in Long Beach to assemble.

I’ve never attempted a gingerbread house of any kind before, but it’s a kit – everything is pre-made and provided, so how difficult can it be for my inexperienced self?
Also, while out and about Friday, I ran across the Danish Butter Cookies I use to be so fond of at Christmas, only now, instead of the 12-ounce tins, which I had no problem polishing off in the past, I found they’re being offered in 4-ounce single serving tins.
Perfect for the troops and, priced at 2 tins for $2.00, or 1 tin at $1.39, it behooved me to gather up a couple sets of two.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The New Normal

Waking up to fire trucks once again racing down the street this morning, it occurred to me I’d better stay prepared because, though the trucks are not now for my immediate area, that this is my new normal.
We’re always on the alert for fires on Little Mountain during the periods of heat waves, but this is the first time the Santa Ana’s have brought threat of fire with it, and this time it was way too close for comfort.

Red area is location of fire, and I’m just on the other side of the mountain in the black circled area.
My archeologist friend, living on one side of me, didn’t have to evacuate, but was getting phone alerts to stand by.
A former coworker friend, living on the other side of me, had officers driving down her street, with bullhorns, shouting for everyone to “get out now!”
It was just an insane day.
I stayed prepared by piling up what I thought I’d need to take to the car by the door, sleeping partially dressed so all I’d need to do was slip on pants, bra, shoes and not wanting to risk having to rush out the door with a bare face, folks seeing me without makeup, I slept with my makeup on.
It’s vain I know, but some things should never be seen.
At any rate, once the threat was declared over, I returned what I’d piled up to its proper place but later, watching a program on the Discovery Channel, wherein a fleeing criminal rushed by a location he'd prepared in advance to pick up a “Go Bag”, containing money, fake IDs, etc., the thought occurred that since this is my new normal a go-bag would be a great idea.
I’m in the process of putting one together containing clothes and toiletry for a few days in the car or at a hotel. My important papers are already located in one place, in something I can easily grab as I head out the door with my go-bag.
This additional step of preparedness will give me time to focus on saving the Creative Memory photo albums.
Winds seem to have died down for now so, with no fear of the wind huffing and puffing and blowing my little Saturn off the freeway, on tap for today is heading to the Amazon Locker to pick up a delivery of butter coffee and shirataki noodles, with a stop by the mall to pick up a delivery at one of the boutiques. I order so much and so often that I can’t keep track. What I’ll be picking up at the mall will come as a complete surprise.
I’m a good shopper, frugal even, so I’m sure whatever it is that I got a good deal and the item is necessary.