Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ease of Matter

Would you believe, I finally received email notification on the status of my eye glasses.
That’s twenty-four days after the eye glasses were ready to be picked up, and six days after I got tired of waiting to be notified and called THEM.
Better late than never, I guess; and I do feel less culpable knowing it was not just my blocking the automatic notification telephone number that held the process up because, inasmuch as the vision center is emailing me now, they could have emailed me before.
After giving it the old college try, I’m not happy with the eye glasses, but I won’t be taking them back to the vision center to be adjusted. I’ll hang onto them as backup and begin the process all over again as a way obtaining a second opinion on the prescription.
Much as I don’t want to go back to the optometrist that provided the Sarah Palin eyeglasses, because it’s a long drive to Upland and because there’s a guy there, not sure of his position but, when I was last there having a frame repaired, he was snobby, rude, dismissive, looks like I'm going to have to suck-it-up and head that way.
I’m sensitive to “snobby, rude, dismissive” because I’m never quite sure if it’s because the individual is just an a-hole or is treating me thusly because he's racist.
At any rate, I'll fortify myself and give snobby, rude, dismissive another shot because I’m much more satisfied with the expensive glasses they’ve provided in the past, that have served me for so long, than I am with the less expensive ones provided by my medical provider’s vision center.
“You get what you pay for”, right?
Would you also believe, the morning after positioning the elephants on the counter, facing the front door, the first payment of that windfall finally kicked in.
I think not.
Because it took two years for the company to track me down, advise I’d left money in the plan when I quit 19 years ago, considerable back payment is involved in this first payment. So much so that not only can I pay off what little debt I’ve incurred, but pay off the monumental vet bill granddaughter racked up in a life-saving operation for her Jack Russell Terrier (my great grandson Patches), with plenty left over to keep my beloved Saturn going, or purchase a new vehicle should it come to that.
I’m not a materialistic individual, so while I await the recertification period for management to let me know whether or not I must relocate, as the increased income renders me ineligible to continue to live in this restricted-income complex, or whether I fall under the “grandfather clause” and income does not apply, the only other indulgence I see happening as a result of this windfall is, instead of the less expensive store brand eggs, I’m upgrading to the more expensive Eggland’s Best, which I’ve always preferred but previously had only indulged myself when on sale.
Other than that, I’m just going to sit here and bask -- for the first time in my life, in what in mystical circles is known as Ease of Matter -- not having to worry about money, not having to think about money, not having to budget every penny, financial needs met with plenty left over to spare and to share.
On tap for today is more creativity. I saw a woman in the market with a graphic tee I admired. Unable to find it online in my size, I’m going to try to locate the graphic's image, capture it, print to a transfer sheet and iron-on to one of my Duluth tank tops.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Rummage Sale Day

Residents have been working hard all week, scouring garages and patio storage areas for items they wished to sell at this morning’s Rummage Sale -- the first they’ve been allowed to have since 2013, when new management took over and the Big Guy from Corporate announced, in the takeover meeting, we’d not be allowed to have activities and installed Nurse Ratched as the Community Manager to reinforce his decree.
For a long time after, we indeed didn’t have any activities, which prompted long-time residents to flee to other communities in bulk until it began to look like a ghost town around here with so many vacancies.
A lot has happened since then, including complaints to county, state, federal watchdog agencies having to do with rights of the elderly – none of which appeared to bear fruit until late last year, when Nurse Ratched was escorted off the premises by that same Big Guy and a new Community Manager installed.
Since then, there’s been a turnaround. We once again have a waiting list to get a unit in the community and activities once enjoyed are returning -- somewhat.
I say somewhat because the activities are not on the same high level we once had -- events are potluck instead of catered, music is no longer a d-jay but the resident I refer to as The Seer brings her boom box and cd’s, and instead of notices in the newspaper and a sign outside announcing a rummage sale, the sale is just for us residents, which I feel is going to mean a lot of work with little reward for our seniors.
I’d not planned to attend, but the woman I helped decorate a wooden egg at the Egg Coloring Party advised she was a Damsel in Defense consultant and would have self-defense devices at her table.
Walking into the Community Room, I felt bad for the residents because there were some nice items at the various tables. Items that, had the public been invited, would have been snapped up quick fast in-a-hurry but which, with just us buying, most of which will head back to storage – like jewelry, handbags, pots/pans, dishes, crystal glasses, collectibles and an impressive collection of pins one old guy was offering up, of which this is only a sampling.

He also had medals, all of which his items looked like they might be worth something and should be on Ebay.

I myself spotted a trio of hand-carved wooden elephants. I’m not necessarily into elephants, but I do know they’re good chi, so because the mom had her trunk down (bad chi), I only took the two little ones, with upturned trunks, at the bargain price of 50 cents each.

The Damsel in Defense table had nothing that interested me – a road trip flashlight and door alarm, which I don’t need; pepper spray, which I already have, and some sort of stick one pokes an assailant with. I was more interested in a device that would encourage an assailant to not get up close and personal, like a distance stun gun, so I passed.
After returning to my unit, I researched the poking stick and learned it’s a kubotan martial arts tool, billed as “A sharp strike to a bony part of the body, groin, stomach, solar plexus, throat, the arm, the shin, hip bone, collarbone, ankle and kneecap will stop an assailant in his tracks”. Still wasn’t what I was looking for but, after some of the experiences I’ve had, any self-defense device is a good device, so I went back and bought one for $5.00.
While there, I noticed someone had bought the mother elephant.
Guess they didn’t know about the bad chi of a downward trunk.
Having been told by an older lady, who saw me buy the elephants, that not only was I correct about the trunks, but that I should place them by and towards the front door to “lure money in”, that windfall having not yet kicked in -- as a mountain of paperwork continues to go back and forth, I followed her instructions and positioned the elephants on the counter by the front door.

And yes, that is an upturned (good chi) horseshoe over the front door.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Meet the New Neighbor

Or not.
Still haven’t made it out-of-the-area to Trader Joe’s. Been relying on the local market and, a funny thing happened on the way back from the market yesterday.
Not funny ha ha, but funny weird.
I’d previously mentioned getting a new neighbor in the unit underneath mine a little over a month ago. The individual moved in under the cover of darkness and has been keeping a low profile ever since except noise travels and, every once in a while, I can hear what sounds like a woman arguing loudly with a male.
Even though my instincts are good to the point of being uncanny at times, I questioned those instincts when they told me it was one person arguing with his/herself, ala Norman Bates.
Those instincts, that something wasn’t right, kicked in again this week when, returning from the vision clinic, I noticed the blinds in the bedroom, living room and kitchen of that unit were shut tight. No one could see in, no one could see out, and it hit me that the blinds haven’t been open since the elusive new neighbor moved in.
Flash back to when I was a young mother and lived in a building, with my twin daughters, where one of the neighbors kept to herself, curtains always closed. None of us neighbors ever saw her going out or coming in but, we could tell when she was out because she so distrusted us neighbors that she’d seal an edge of her outside door with some kind of caked on goo that I guess, if the seal was broken, would signal to her that her space had been invaded. After a time, there were icky looking blogs of caked on mess all around the door, because she never cleared one area before setting the booby trap in another.
One day she just wasn’t there any longer. I think her son came and took her away, but I never found out for sure.
At any rate, with my instincts having told me something wasn't right with the new neighbor, returning from the market, I saw a woman sweeping up leaves in front of the unit. I started just to say “hello” and head on up the stairs but, like a fool, decided to extend myself.
“Are you the new neighbor?” says I.
Yes she replies without looking up to make eye contact.
“I’m your upstairs neighbor, my name is Shirley”.
Still looking away, she began laughing.
Puzzled, I just stood there, not knowing what to say.
“A lot of Shirley’s” says she.
“Oh. Have you met other residents named Shirley?”
“No. I just know a lot of Shirleys”.
“You won’t have a hard time remembering my name then.”
Silence, still evasive – turned away, avoiding eye contact.
She hadn’t given me her name, so I asked, “What’s your name?”
If she said, I didn't hear her it, so I just left it at “Well, welcome.”
Not knowing when to quit, I pushed on, “Have you met any of the other neighbors in this building?”
“I don’t socialize. I don’t even go to the Day Room (me thinks she means the Community Room). I don’t like to be around people.”
“We’re pretty nice here.”
She finally turns in my direction, makes eye contact and pointedly says, “I DON'T LIKE PEOPLE! I'LL SPEAK BUT THAT'S IT!”
“Okay then”, says I and hurried up the stairs.
We’ve had some hard cases come through here. People whose life experiences have left them closed off. Once they get to know us, begin to feel safe, see we’re friendly, look out for each other and don’t judge … much, they loosen up. I don’t think it’s gonna happen with this newest neighbor.
My instincts had forewarned, I didn’t listen.
However uncomfortable the conversation made me feel at the time, thinking about it later I appreciated her straightforwardness. It brought to mind that saying, “When people tell you who they are, believe them”.
Suffice it to say I am now both listening and believing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Bad

Arriving at the vision center Tuesday afternoon, I learned the new glasses had been ready for pick up since April 6.
The woman assisting me apologized profusely saying she couldn’t understand how I’d not been notified as the system is automated, at which point a little voice in my head went “Oops!”.
Back in August of last year, I’d blogged that, leaning towards the holistic way of life, how annoying it was to receive constant calls from the automated system to either check in with the doctor, or subject myself to this exam or that scan -- exams/scans I’d on several occasions informed the doctor I was not interested in.
Seeing the constant calls as harassment, less to do with caring for my health and more to do with meeting co-pay and drug pushing quotas, I blocked the number.
Doesn’t mean I still don’t get requests to check-in, get an exam or a scan, they just come by not-so-bothersome snail mail now.
I didn’t know everything is on the automated system but, bottom line is, looks like it’s my bad the system was unable to notify me glasses were ready.
At any rate, glasses are in hand, but not entirely off the to-do list.
The near pair works great for reading, the far pair works great for distance, but neither pair is good for multitasking. For instance, when wearing the near pair -- working on the needlepoint project or reading, I now can’t look over and make out the cross-stitch pattern or look up and see clearly what’s happening on the television screen. Wearing the far pair to the market this morning, I noticed that, when I booted up the Pokémon app, to check the lot for critters, the screen now looked blurry. Consequently, one or both are going to have to be remade for multitasking or yet another pair, specifically for multi-tasking, has to be ordered.
Why is aging so complicated?
I’m not complaining though.
There are seniors here who can’t see well enough to read, do needlepoint or drive, with or without glasses, so I’m happy to lug around three different pair, if that’s what it takes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Feng Shui and Me

The new telephone number didn’t work out. The overall chi energy of it wasn’t good because it contained the Number 4, so I logged on and played around until a good combination of numbers was achieved. I was able to do it without an agent this time because, instead of links taking me around in circles through all the new phones, one click led me straight to the change location -- a good sign in and of itself.

For security reasons, because of a change having previously been made, and because I effectuated the change myself, the latest number is set to go into effect in seven days, instead of instantly.

I’m not a hard core feng shui practitioner, but I do strive to comply with the basics.

Sometimes, however, one has to work with what one has been given. For instance, the relationship corner of this unit is the bathtub; but it is an improvement on past places I’ve lived where the relationship corner was the toilet, and that area of life reflected the toilet figuratively and literally.

Looks like it's reflecting the bathtub now because of my desire to be alone, wash everyone out of my hair.

As for numbers, the Number 4 carries the most negative energy, so once I realized that new number started with 4, it had to go.

At any rate, if this latest number I switched to pushes through in seven days, it’s a done deal and off my to-do list.

On tap for today is a 26-mile drive to the optometrist.

Yes, my glasses are ready and it appears they’ve been ready for some time.

As to why I was not notified and had to call THEM, the young woman on the phone could not say but you can bet I’ll be asking for an explanation when I get there.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Plot Thickened

Actually, the plot not only thickened but worsened over the weekend as I set about getting a new cellphone number to resolve that spoofing issue.
I logged into my provider’s website but quickly became frustrated when the links and instructions led me in circles. Deciding to let an agent make the change, I clicked on “Chat Now”.
After typing in what I was trying to accomplish, the agent typed back, “Have you tried going online?”
I kid you not.
Now please keep in mind, I wasn’t talking to the agent on the telephone. I was type talking to the agent via the chat box …on the internet … online.
Me: “What? Seriously? I’m online now”.
Agent: “Okay, not a problem, I can have that changed for you”.
Agent comes back after a short time and says, “The new number will be xxx-xxx-xxxx”.
Only problem with that was, it happened to be my current cell phone number. The one I was trying to change.
Me: “That’s my number now ?????”
Agent: “Sorry about that wrong number a minute please.”
Me: “Never mind, you’re scaring me. I’ll go to the store.”
Agent: “I’m going to give you the correct number now one moment please.”
After agent gives me a supposedly new number, I disconnect.
However, I didn’t feel comfortable with what just happened. The conversation left me thinking perhaps I was still being spoofed, had not even been connected to an actual agent.
I logged back into my account to verify a number change and found a new number listed but not the one given me by the agent.
Hopefully, I get a follow-up survey, because I’ve got something to say about the chat box customer service.
It took a telephone call, a different agent and a reset before which was which was cleared up, and the problems the mix-up caused the phone were fixed, but all’s well that ends well. The number is changed, I won’t need to upgrade and hopefully the spoofing is resolved.
Other than that, not much happened over the weekend.
It was hot, a strange kind of hot that wasn’t so much heat but uncomfortably dry and intense.
So uncomfortable that, driving out to the locktician a few cities over on Sunday to get my braids retightened, I began to feel loopy and unusually drowsy.
So loopy that when I paid the locktician for her services with four $20 bills and two $5’s, she said, “Wait! What’s all this?” I looked over and saw I’d given her three $20 bills, two $5’s and one $100 bill.
I didn’t even know I had a $100 bill!
It’s a good thing she was honest and looked out for me.
A good thing also that she counted, because she usually just takes the cash and goes about her business.
Inasmuch as I never got around to making it to Trader Joe’s for supplies, I thought I’d stop by on the way back to the unit but, once again out driving in the hot air, I began to feel unusually drowsy to the point where I had to shake my head and slap myself to keep from what felt like falling asleep at the wheel.
Was I on the verge of passing out?
I skipped Trader Joe’s and headed straight home, where I literally passed out on the couch.
We’re not even into triple digits yet, and I can’t handle the heat. That makes me question, if relocation is in my future, how I’ll be able to handle living in Nevada, where it’s even hotter.
On tap for today is checking with the optometrist as to why it’s taking so long to get my new eye glasses? I’ve already received a thirteen-question survey from the Vision Essentials Coordinator.
Question No. 10 is “Were you satisfied with the time it took to make your eyeglasses”.
It’s been almost an entire month, and the survey reached me before the glasses have, so no. I’m not satisfied with the time at all.
I shouldn’t have to contact the optical department to find out what’s going on but, if I want my glasses, looks like I’ll have to hunt them down.
The universe is testing my patience with customer service people.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


This is a new word for me ... "spoofing".
Learned it just yesterday shortly after receiving a call from a young woman who said she was calling me back, because my number showed up twice as calling her phone. When I said I’d not called her, she was nice about it – not like the woman who’d called a few months ago and insisted I was lying because my number was right there on her phone, and the only way that could happen was that I or someone using my phone had called her.
I had no idea what she was talking about, how it could have happened, did not appreciate her attitude but whatever.
Now that a different individual was saying my phone called her, I became curious enough to type in a search “Calls saying my phone called them” and the result came up as “call spoofing … a not uncommon practice wherein technically savvy people can place a call and make it seem to come from any number they like, and is usually done for malicious purposes".
That’s pretty scary because what happens if my is number is used to harass someone?
Do I get a restraining order filed against me?
Do police show up at my door?
And why was my number chosen?
How did someone even get my number?
Maybe it’s time for a new phone, and a new number.
Have you ever been spoofed?
At least I now know what to tell people if it happens again, but I’m serious about a new number.
Friday afternoon’s Bingo was a waste of my time. I didn’t win, never do, and the prizes weren’t that great – soap, shampoo, toothpaste, items the hosting organization appropriately feels seniors would need, but not my brand of soap, shampoo or toothpaste so, even if I had won, would not have wanted the prize.
While we were playing, Fire and Rescue pulled up right in front of the Community Room entry doors. The guys walked through a side door to an area just outside the pool.
Of course, we halted in mid play to see what had happened and to whom.
All I saw was an elderly resident on the ground. Don’t know if she fell or passed out from the heat, but she was cognizant.
Apache informed me, “That’s the resident who escaped”.
“What do you mean escaped?”
“She approached two residents a few weeks ago and said she was escaping her unit because she was being abused.”
“By whom?”
“She said her daughter.”
“The residents called the police. They came and talked to her, but she told them she wasn’t being abused.”
I’m thinking it might be dementia.
I remember as a kid, when my grandmother was no longer able to care for herself, mom went to Texas, closed grandma’s house and brought her to live with us in Los Angeles. Grandma tried to run away from mom during the journey, telling anyone who would listen she was being kidnapped. Mom said of course people would stop stare decide if they should intervene but, when they saw my mom and grandma looked so much alike they decided mom wasn’t a kidnapper and tried to comfort grandma that this is your daughter, you’re okay.
Looking at the resident being attended to by Fire and Rescue, she seemed to be enjoying the attention, so who knows what’s really going on. She was taken away on a gurney and, in situations such as this, Social Services is called in. Once she returns to the complex, she’ll be getting checked up on.
That’s one thing that enticed me to the Inland Empire. I’d heard, “It’s a county that takes good care of its old people”, and they do.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Usual Suspects

It’s been an unusually quiet few days here at the senior complex.
On Thursday, the pot house down the street, next to the vacant field, celebrated 4/20 High Holiday (“A day when college students gather in clouds of smoke on campus quads and when pot shops in legal weed states thank their customers with discounts”) with some sort of outside activity. Outside but within their gates.

Taking that photo, seeing the burned palm tree so close to the pot house, I gave myself the giggles thinking how much more interesting it would have been if the embers, instead of setting our carport on fire, had set the pot house ablaze, sending fumes to give the whole neighborhood a contact high.
At any rate, I’d expected the usual suspects -- Big Linda and her neighbor friend, the two who complained and police called the previous pot house out of existence but who now have no control over the new one because the law has changed, to once again be up in arms and complain about the pot house’s 4/20 Event at Thursday afternoon’s Residents/Management meeting, as if management has any control over the business. Oddly enough, it never came up.
Instead, just before the meeting began, Big Linda and another outspoken resident got into a debate as to whether Aaron Hernandez committed suicide or was murdered.
I don’t know, both are possibilities, but I know better than to get in between Big Linda’s opinionated self with anyone about anything, so I kept my mouth shut and out of the debate, as did everyone else present while we waited for the debate to spiral out-of-control and for Big Linda to begin yelling. She didn't. It ended peacefully with the other woman just giving up.

Both are nice women, but Big Linda is not one to spar with when she's not on her meds.
Since I'd become so annoyed by the braggadocios performances of two neighbors at the last meeting, I’d deliberately seated myself as close to the exit door as possible so, if I felt a headache coming on, I could ease on out and head back to the peace and calm of my unit.
I did have to ease out early, but not for the reason you think as the meeting was a snooze fest, with the biggest issue being a petty complaint about people not cleaning the laundry room lint trap.
I left early because, just prior to the meeting start, management set up an ice cream sundae bar and, though I probably would have been okay with ice cream alone, I indulged myself with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, nuts – things I knew I shouldn’t have because of my sensitivity to anything containing high fructose corn syrup but thought I could get away with because it was such a tiny amount.

Tiny delicious amount or not, my gut began to react about half an hour later and I had to ease out to lay down until the episode passed.
Now that residents seem relatively happy with management, and there’s no new information coming out of the meetings, I’ll likely not bother to attend another.
That Chicken Curry with Lentils recipe I tried, unlike last month’s loser Chicken Cacciatore, came out a winner.
However, the Chicken Cacciatore wasn’t a total loss because, inasmuch as I had gluten free masa meal and corn husks on hand, I drained the liquid and turned the dish into tamales, which tamales are always a good idea, no matter what you use as filling, and provides meals for day.
On tap for today?
Was planning on heading out to Trader Joe's for supplies, but the Activity Calendar indicates Bingo at 2:00. Supplies can wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Exercise With a Purpose

Last few days have been spent cycling around London without leaving my unit.

I’d been rather lax with my indoor cycling since Fat Tuesday’s Mardi Gras 5 Miler. No reason other than the bling being offered wasn’t sufficient to motivate me into activity. That is until I received email on the 14th with the subject line “Your Favorite Detective is Here! Sherlock Holmes Race is Live” and I saw the medal.
Couldn’t register fast enough, and it was a good thing I reacted so quickly because the race sold out within a day or two.
I’ve never seen a virtual sell out before.
I guess Sherlock IS everyone’s favorite detective.
The race was a quickie, only 22.1 miles. Not a great distance. A distance that can be completed in one day, one ride … but not by me. Not wanting to overtax and kill myself, I broke it up into four days, four rides. Finished this morning, logged it in, so another medal for the board should be arriving soon.
In a way, completing in days rather than in one shot is better because participants receive Photographic Mile Markers to reflect which landmark was reached at that day’s login point, had the participant actually been cycling around in reality. Completing in one shot, you’d only see your start, finish, and miss the interesting sights in between -- like my Day 2 Mile Marker.

“A statue of Sherlock Holmes by the sculptor John Doubleday stands near the supposed site of 221B Baker Street, the fictional detective's address in London.”

Though I’ll probably spend time on the indoor bike, to burn calories between now and then, my next actual race isn’t until June – the Never Say Die 5K (walk 3.1 miles) and Pedal for the Medal (cycle 20 miles).
On tap for remainder of the day is to try my hands at a new recipe – Chicken Curry with Lentils.
Tomorrow is the Residents/Management meeting. No one has any issues that I know of so, unlike when mean incompetent Nurse Ratched was the Community Manager and the natives were out for blood, this should be a quick and civilized session.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Then and Now

Switching out the cordless screwdriver with the correct tool -- a cordless drill, made all the difference.
Finished the medal board yesterday without additional nuts, bolts, didn’t even have to use the screwdriver, just the drill, plyers and elbow grease.
Unaccustomed to manual labor, I did wreck my fingernails and started up a blister or two, but such a feeling of accomplishment as you would not believe.

Medal Display THEN

Medal Display NOW

Flip Side Credits

Felt like a glass of champagne was in order upon project completion but, since I don’t drink, I settled for ice cream.
Will I ever make another?
For sure.
Now that I know what I’m doing, and have the proper tool, I’m already envisioning the next board, only I’ll wear work gloves next time.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

The plan for today was to head to the university to take advantage of PokémonGo’s “eggstravagnza”; which promised to be “A wider variety of Pokémon in eggs that require 2 kilometers of walking to hatch and additional candy to feed Pokémon than usual for hatching eggs”.

Instead, worn out by the week that was, I’m opting to focus on completing that medal board.
The email confirmations arrived Friday afternoon, and I’d driven to two different locations to pick up hardware yesterday. Actually, three different locations because, arriving at the second, I learned I had to drive miles out of my way to yet a third because I’d had the item shipped to the South Fontana store, rather than the much closer North Fontana store.
At any rate, when all was said and done, I arrived back at the complex, hardware in hand, ready to finish the medal board, only to realize I’m girlie girl creative (the decorative portion of the board looks great) but challenged insofar as the nuts, bolts, tool side of life.
You know that cordless drill I’d been trying to find a bit that fit, waiting for a bit that fit? After considerable trial, error, research, it finally hit me that it wasn’t working out because it is in fact a cordless screwdriver.
Live and learn.
I’m going to have to pick up an actual drill, maybe some screws and a wire cutter, use both the screwdriver and drill, figure out how to get er done.
Leaving the complex yesterday, headed out to pick up those items, I took a photo of that burned palm tree.

The two upstairs across the quad neighbors who’d informed me of the fire and heavy winds blowing embers onto the property, igniting the carport, believe it to be a deliberately set fire.

I on the other hand, believe it just too coincidental that a crew was digging trenches, laying cable along the stretch of road directly in front of the palm tree and, when they finished the job, poured asphalt and were done, the tree caught fire. Logic dictates that whatever machinery they used, to restore the roadway to normal, sent sparks that caused the palm to smolder, and the smoldering eventually worked itself into a blaze after the crew left.
At any rate, I had an aha moment shortly after posting I’d not heard a thing evening of the fire, and realized I did heard the commotion. I just didn’t know what I was hearing.
I recall the loud voices of the two neighbors, I recall hearing the sirens but, as it is not unusual to hear the two outside talking in the evening, I didn’t think anything of it. As far as the sirens, fire and rescue comes in/out of here so often to attend to seniors that I’ve become desensitized.
I also remember being annoyed one morning, because I’d washed the car the day before, and the car was now covered with muck. I had to wash the windows just to see to get out of the carport.
At the time, I’d blamed the landscapers, thinking they used a blower in the area. I now realize it must have been the morning after the fire and the muck on the car was ash.
I’ve often wondered, when residents inform me of different happenings, why it is I miss everything. Now I know. It’s not that I’ve missed, it’s that I wasn’t paying attention.
Lastly, I forgot to mention in the Spring BBQ post that Greedy Grabby was in attendance, but I was too busy taking photos, videos, chatting with my table mates to pay her any mind, even when she moved from a table at the opposite end of the Community Room to the table next to mine.
Remember the deeply religious elderly woman -- the one who said she would not be attending because of “lent … we’re not supposed to eat”, then became offended when I said I would be attending, that I was not catholic? Well, she also was in attendance … and she was eating … and it was Good Friday.
Just sayin.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring BBQ Potluck

All things considered, it’s been an exhausting week.
The school shooting is still in the news, and news vans are still on location, as is a police guard even though school is not in session.

I’m expecting more helicopters overhead today, because there’s a school tour at 4:00.

Plus, that 4-Vehicle Crash you might have heard about in the news Tuesday evening -- Would you believe that crash was just on the other side of the stoplight at the end of our complex?
Also, I noticed top to bottom burn marks on the big palm tree in the vacant field across from us. I’d assumed it had something to do with construction work going on in the field, but learned this morning that the upstairs corner across the quad neighbor had observed the palm fully engulfed in fire one evening, called the fire department and, by the time the fire department arrived, the heavy wind had blown embers onto the property and ignited the roof of the carport where I park my car.
She and her next door neighbor went out with a fire extinguisher, trying to keep it at bay and, when the fire trucks arrived, one of them flagged down a truck and the firemen stood on top of their truck and got the fire out before cars were damaged.
I’m within ear shot of the crash, didn’t hear a thing. Nor did I hear the palm tree fire commotion, which was just steps away from my patio window, not to mention the two neighbors involved are directly across from me.
Though I've been blissfully unware of the chaos swirling around me until I read about it, hear about it, see a posting on Facebook, get curious enough to check out helicopters overhead, it seems that chaos appears to continue to swirl closer in. I'm trusting the universe it won’t get close enough to actually knock on my door, touch my life on a personal level.
My personal life's challenges are small by comparison and only involve a whole lot of waiting.
Waiting to hear back from the optometrist that my new glasses are ready.
Waiting for the confirmation emails that the hardware ordered online has been shipped to store and is ready for pickup, so I can finish my medal board.
As simple as both required items are -- a 3/32 drill bit and picture hanging kit, none were available for just walking into a location, pick up and go. Everywhere I checked was "online ship to store or home only".

I wonder why?

Is it a loss prevention measure?

Four days as of today, and I’m still waiting for those confirmations.
The week has been so exhausting that I knew as far back as Tuesday that I wasn’t going to feel like getting up this morning and preparing a condiment tray for today’s BBQ.
After obsessing, for a day or two more about my having to do something as simple as slice a few tomatoes, onions, etc., I called the deli and ordered a condiment tray, aptly called “Everything on the Side”.

The tray was deemed "a most wonderful thing" at the BBQ which BBQ, by the way, was a huge hit – not because of the Activity Director, but in spite of her.

Dropping the tray off in the Community Room just before the event was to begin at 11:00, I’d walked into more chaos.
People were dropping off their contribution, seating themselves, the woman who’d signed up to man the grill was all set to go, but nothing was happening because the Activity Director walked in with no buns, no hot dogs, no hamburgers. In fact, she didn’t know a barbeque was scheduled.
How is that possible?
It was she who posted the sign-up sheet indicating buns, burgers, dogs would be provided for us, that we were just to sign up for side dishes, and the event was also posted on the Activity Calendar she herself prepared.
I really like the Activity Director as a person, but she can’t seem to get much right.
The woman has got to go.
Us residents were ready for a party, so there was talk of myself and a couple others heading to the market and picking up dogs and burgers for grilling when the Activity Director -- after first making the dog ate my homework excuse (her dog had been sick, throwing up, which doesn’t cut it because the calendar and sign-up sheet were distributed weeks ago), finally woke up, smelled the coffee as to another of her mistakes, and she herself set off to “pickup supplies”.
So, though we got a late start, the event was a huge success. Residents showed up who I’ve not seen attend an event in a long time. I counted over 50. There was music and some of the old girls got up to show they still had some moves in 'em. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What a Difference a Day Makes

It’s taken almost five months for that bone spur in my left foot to heal.
Ready to get back into a walking routine, it was just this past Sunday that I’d tried the foot out at the University.
Everything was so peaceful and so beautiful that I’d posted photos to Facebook with the caption “Nice day for collecting Pokéballs. Hit up 27 stops, hatched a Shellder, added 3281 steps to fitbit and leveled up to 24.”
Shortly after, The Archeologist commented, “We were there earlier, used our lucky egg, got double points. Level 25 for us.”
The very next day all hell breaks out with helicopters overhead and, at 11:40, she posted a panicked, “Shooting at my kids’ school. Waiting”.
At 1:25 came the welcome news her children had been safely evacuated to the University.
Inasmuch as her husband works at the University, she and her children are known, so the news was accompanied with a photo, taken by a friend at the University, of the kids sitting in the bleachers, looking calm, eating a snack.
She and her husband were reunited with the kids at 3:50.
This is the third major world news event to have occurred in the area in the last two years, and the fact that those three happenings have been so close to my building, with the last one being only a mile away, and all three events involving people I know is mind blowing.
Is the Inland Empire really that small?
I don’t personally know many people, don’t even get out and about that often, yet the Blue Cut fire got right up to the cabin of a former coworker I’d become reacquainted with since our paths crossed at Trader Joe’s; that terrorist guy was the county employee who’d signed off on the pool license/certificate for this complex; and the elementary school shooting involved the children of the woman I’d met at the 2014 Spooktacular 5K.
As the elementary school was closed day after the shooting, The Archeologist posted on Facebook that she’d had the kids with her when she went shopping. A friendly store cashier asked if they were on spring break. The Archeologist said she leaned over and whispered that the kids were off school because they attend North Park. Her daughter heard and said "Me and my brother didn't get shot."
She later posted photos of her family at yesterday’s memorial.
I’d thought about walking over but, after seeing the crowds and all the news cameras, was glad I didn’t. Now that things seem relatively calm, I may however walk over this afternoon.
I imagine the fallout will be husbands no longer allowed to come in contact with their teacher wives in the classroom, where children are present.

Monday, April 10, 2017

While I Was Crafting

With extra paint on my hands, leftover from the egg coloring party, thought I’d try my hand at making a metal/bib board.

Months ago, I’d commissioned the woman who made the first board to make a “Ditto” companion to the now overflowing “Celebrate Every Mile”.

She said she would, but that it would take her a couple months to get around to it.

After three months and no board, I cancelled the request and, when I was out and about picking up paint last week, I also picked up a board.

Decided today was the day to give it a go, I painted the board white, began decorating and lettering it free-hand and with leftover scrapbook supplies and images printed off the internet.

The board ready for hardware, I realized I needed a smaller drill bit (3/32) than was in my kit, booted up the computer to see where one would be available and learned there’d been a shooting at an elementary school in the area. I immediately thought it to be the school down the street, around the corner, over by Starbucks, where the wife of one of our residents teaches.

It was then I noticed the sound of helicopters.

Stepping out onto the patio, I spied three in the sky, two directly overhead, but they weren’t in the direction of the school I originally thought. It was the other direction, towards the elementary school over by the university … the elementary school the Archeologist’s son and daughter attend.

Heading to Facebook, I learned her children had been safely evacuated to the university.

Can you imagine the stress she must have been under until she got word?

And today is the Archeologist's birthday.

What the heck is going on in this city?

First it was the terror attack, then the Blue Cut Fire, now this … closer to this location than even the terror attack and fire.

Nevada is sounding better every day.

As far as the medal board, I had to order the drill bit and the picture hanging kit, so I’m stymied until those arrive, but the board is looking good, if I do say so myself.

For sure, I’ll never buy another board now that I know how easy they are to make.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Aftermat

Apache sent me a photo of his completed shaving cream dyed eggs and they’re impressive.

However, I do wonder if he’d go through the mess again. For sure, I’ll go wooden eggs again, because they came out perfect and look great decorating the bookcase.

When Easter is over, I’ll mix them in with my rock collection.

My behavior towards Greedy Grabby at the coloring party is weighing on my mind.

I’m not a confrontational person, so my behaving so out-of-character was puzzling, until I remembered, besides her irritating actions on the two/three Pizza Days I proctored, there have been subsequent occasions.

One was Fat Tuesday, when I was passing out Mardi Gras beads.

I’d tossed her a string of beads, just like I did everyone else. She accepted, then reached into the beads I had in front of me, intended for others, saying, “I want this one and this one”, and walked off with two more strands.

I shrugged my shoulders and let it be.

Second occasion was end of last month, when we made Easter Wreaths at Arts & Crafts.

The Activity Director had us pose for a group photo after.

We, the group, decided we wanted two photos – one funny, with the wreaths around our faces, the second regular, just showing off our creations.

When the photos were developed, I noticed she'd posed the funny with the wreath not around her face.

Again, she had to do what she wanted.

And, again, I shrugged my shoulders, let it be, but now realize that subconsciously it must have been building up because, at the coloring party, when she manipulated her way into once again getting what she wanted, doing what she wanted, I couldn’t control my aggravation, disgust, decided I wasn’t shrugging it off any longer and said, “No, these are mine” when she reached and “I’m not giving you any” when she asked.

I’ll probably see her again at this coming Friday’s BBQ. The plan is to do my best to avoid, because I'm not done processing my negative emotions towards her, and I'm stuck at still not wanting to even look at her.

Hopefully, she won't try to engage but, if she does, I’m open to a sit down discussion. I just have to think of how to rephrase, “As a human, I find you irritating and disgusting”.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Coloring Party

Maybe it was too soon for me to come out of hibernation and mingle with the general public at today’s Egg Coloring Party.

My eggs came out great.

Apache tried the shaving cream method on his eggs with questionable results.

What Apache had to say was, “It looked a whole lot easier and neater on the internet”.
At any rate, the event was fun, well attended, but I managed to lose my religion and tick off two residents in the process – one accidently, the other not so much deliberately, more like she aggravated me to where I just didn’t care.
The event was not hosted by management. It’s something The Baker sets up every year, right down to personally supplying the table cover, dye, decorations and tools. All she asks is that we bring our own boiled eggs.
I, of course, had my wooden eggs and craft kit.
Everything was in full swing, going swimmingly. THEN the greedy grabby woman from Pizza Tuesday showed up.
Of course, she showed up eggless and put on a poor performance of “Oh, do I go get my own eggs?”
It’s not like she and her husband are among the very elderly or of those in need, for whom we make allowances. It’s more like a greedy grabby princess, everything is about me, for me, the rules don't apply mentality. Her showing up eggless was her usual modus operandi, and the playing it off as an innocent oversight so disgusted me that I couldn’t even look at her.
Others at the table didn't see through the charade, were easy gullible prey and offered her eggs, which she cheerily accepted as she sat down adjacent to me.
I focused on my decorating.
Before greedy grabby arrived on the scene, I’d identified with another woman’s saying her eggs rotted last year because she didn’t want to mess up her decorating job and kept them around too long. I mentioned that being my reason for going wooden this year and offered her paint, a brush and one of my extra eggs. She’d accepted and went back to her spot at the far end of the table to work on it.
Once greedy grabby arrived, got eggs from others, helped herself to decorations, she then began looking around for what else she could get, spied my paint pens, reached towards them saying, “I want one of those”.
This is where my religion began to slip through my fingers.
I said, “No. These are mine.”
Something in my dead even tone caused her to freeze in mid-grab, consider for a moment, then say, “Oh, never mind.”
Shortly after, the woman working on the wooden egg walked back down and asked about decorating with gold flakes. I gave her flakes, sealant, a sealant brush and showed her how to apply.
Greedy grabby observed this.
After a time, greedy grabby said, “I want gold flakes”.
This was where my religion went completely out the door.
“I’m not giving you any.”
“What did I ever do to you? I’m never asking you for anything again.”
“Fine”, said I.
The rest of the event was me not paying attention to her, while she continued to try to engage. First by asking for something again … “Do you have scissors?”
I reached into my kit and, without responding or even looking up or at her, gave her scissors.
Then she tried to engage by showing me her finished eggs.
I looked up, nodded, went back to ignoring her.
I wasn’t being nice, I wasn’t being spiritually minded, but I wasn't being fake either. She’s just not my kind of person, I want nothing to do with her and we'll just have to let it be that.
So there’s that.
The other woman who probably will never speak to me again is an older deeply religious woman I’ve sat and talked with at several events. She brought up the upcoming Spring BBQ saying she wasn’t going to attend because meat is being served.
“I’m bringing my own turkey dogs” said I.
“That’s still meat” said she.
“Oh, you’re right; but they’ll be other things you can eat that aren’t meat”.
I was still decorating eggs, only half listening and, when she said something about it being “lent ... we're not suppose to eat", I said “I’m not catholic”.
No disrespect was intended. It just seemed the rational thing to say in response.
She got up and walked out. Didn’t even say goodbye to anyone.
Oh well. That’s two for two.
I’d better go back into hibernation until next Friday’s Spring BBQ, so I don’t tick off any of the other 167+ residents.