Monday, December 31, 2018

Countdown to 2019

Except for fending off an invitation to join in on feeding the homeless this past Saturday, on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles, the past week has been totally absolutely completely uneventful as I head into a new year.
There’s a superstition I’ve been careful not to test that what you do at the end of one year, the people you are in contact with, as you go into the next year, is a portent of that next year.
I can remember not answering the phone on New Years Eve, because I didn’t want my last contact to be the person I knew was probably making the call. A certain someone I didn’t want to be the last person I spoke with because I didn’t want that person in my life the next year.
So, the idea of standing for hours in filth and squalor, no place to sit, no bathroom, surrounded by the downtrodden ─ many who are so sick and unappreciative (hurling insults, calling you all kinds of beoches) and so dangerous that a motorcycle club has to stand guard as security while you put yourself out to help. No thanks!
I didn’t want or need that experience and the images of Skid Row in my head as 2018 ends and 2019 begins, so I opted to spend this past week being quiet, reflective, meditative, listening to the thoughts running through my head as I was being quiet, reflective, meditative.
The seniors are getting an early start (2:00 today) to their New Year’s Eve party.
Because I’m on the verge of no longer qualifying to live in this limited income community, because my income is not all that limited any longer, I don’t want to jinx myself that the superstition of no contact means not taking this community with me into 2019, so I’ll go down to see what’s shaking just so I can hopefully lock myself in for another year. However, looking at all the hugging that went on when I dropped into the party last New Year's Eve, I’ll be certain to lie and say I’m coming back when I slip away.
I can no longer cap off the year with my favorite indulgence, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, because of gut issues.
Fortunately, I’ve learned the gut likes champagne and I’ve got a stash of those little Martinelli’s, so I’ll spend tonight being quiet, reflective, meditative, drinking Martinelli, toasting to a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Not a Creature was Stirring

With the Community Room locked up during staff’s holiday, it’s been unusually quiet on the complex.
From the looks of all the empty parking spots, those who could get away for the holidays have busted out a move.
Next door neighbor left with a suitcase the day before Christmas Eve, so there’s not the sound of her door opening/closing or the bump bump bump of her dragging her grocery cart up the stairs.
I’ve also not heard the door open and slam shut, as is usual, from my downstairs neighbor’s unit or the downstairs unit across from hers, so I’m thinking I've been the only person in residence on my side of the quad for days.
It’s been lovely ─ the quiet here, the not having to pack up a lot of stuff and head out to anywhere.
I did get invited to spend time in Murrieta with my twin girls as they hang out together celebrating their 51st birthday, including a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. Of course, I had to decline because of my gut issues. Besides, a trip to Murrieta would have meant packing up a lot of stuff and heading out.
Instead, Twin 2 stopped by here, while Twin 1 was off feeding the homeless of Skid row.
Since she was here, I decided it was time to have The Talk ─ my final wishes, where the Power of Attorney and insurance papers are located, etc.
She was uncomfortable with the discussion and thought it meant I felt old and about to expire. Consequently, she ended giving me a pep talk ... “Mom, you look younger than 74, you do 5Ks, the Floss Dance. You’re in good shape, while most people your age are dead already”.
“Tell that to the residents here who are in their 80’s and 90’s” said I, but no, it’s not that I feel my time is anywhere near up. It’s because one never knows and, with what’s happening in the world right now as the result of a mad man in the White House, these things need to be discussed.
My energy level returned during the week, I was back on center and got a lot done, besides sitting on the couch working on that needlepoint, which I did devote quite a few hours to. But I also managed to reorganized the pantry so I could readily see what I was looking for, rather than go on the usual frustrating moving things out of the way, hunting for what was needed.
I also updated my recipe binder ─ removing recipes that no longer work for me because of my gut issues, adding the grain-free recipes that do.
I also managed to view all 10 episodes of a fascinating watch on Prime ─ Homecoming.
Julie Roberts looked unattractive. I wasn’t sure if she was made up to look unattractive or if she’s just not aging gracefully, but Homecoming was excellent. I could watch it again.
Christmas Day rushed its way into my shutdown period. Feeling myself again, I’d planned to spend the day walking around the University, hitting up PokéStops for balls, but awoke to the sound of rain.
Rain didn’t last long, but it never got sunny or warm enough to lure me outside so, finally in the mood for it, I decorated those sweater cookies I’d been holding onto.

The wreath should have been higher up on the sweater, but not too shabby.
The pink things on the Christmas Tree are cups left over from the Starbucks Gingerbread Café I built last year.
Didn’t see a gingerbread café kit at the local Starbucks this year. 
Still feeling energetic after decorating the sweater cookies, I decided to go through the other cabinets in the kitchen.
Learned I had two crockpots. The 3-quart I knew I had, but no longer use because the Instant Pot rendered it obsolete. Didn’t remember ever buying or using the 1.5 quart one but, with the advent of the Instant Pot, that one also is now obsolete, along with several other pots and pans.
I’ve three strainers, all the same size.
I only need one.
I guess it’s indicative of the cupboard clutter I was now addressing ─ previously not being able to find and/or not realizing I already had one, winding up purchasing another.
I can’t imagine the Salvation Army would be interested in used pots, pans, strainers, crockpots, but we’ll see. Better yet, Twin 1 is not only involved in feeding the homeless, but in housing, which I’m sure the cookware now obsolete for me, would be useful to those fortunate enough to secure housing but moving in with nothing.
The complex office and Community Room reopen today, so I guess the parking spaces will start filling up and the normal everyday noises will return with residents returning to home base and stirring again, but I’m on my second wind. Ready for what comes next. So ready that I may even go down for the New Year’s Eve party, but slip away before the hugging and kissing starts because eweeee.

Friday, December 21, 2018


It was a bit of a wild scene at the market yesterday, with a young boy and young girl RUNNING up and down looking for Harold the Elf.
I turned one corner only to hear two elderly ladies giggling and telling the guy stacking meat, “We’re determined to find the elf”.
I myself wasn’t much in the mood. Really tired, experiencing an energy drain, I was there for eggs, water, apples and, though I did look for the elf, I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into it.
At the check stand, the cashier asks, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
“No. I didn’t find Harold”.
“He’s in a stocking at the Service Center”, she readily blurted out.
I couldn’t count it as a win, since Little Miss Loose Lips told where he was, but I did go back to take a photo.

The market has really stepped up its game.
It’s way too difficult to spot that little head peeking from the stocking.
But I guess that’s the point.
Before leaving the market, I glanced around for that little boy and girl to clue them in, but didn’t see them.
Maybe they’ll end up at the station with the loose lipped cashier.
On another topic, I’d posted a few days ago how everything is changing and posed the question What’s Next?
Next has happened.
Assistant Maintenance Guy resigned.
At Wednesday’s Holiday Potluck, I learned his last day had been Tuesday ─ the day before, when his wife and youngest daughter joined us in decorating cookies.
He lasted 11 months and has reportedly gone to a better paying job.
No wonder they (his wife and he) looked so happy.
He must have given ample notice, because his position is not on Corporate’s career site, and there’s a guy seemingly already in the position ─ walking around with Head Maintenance Guy, going in/out of units, working on stuff.
The replacement is nowhere near as attractive, nor does he appear as friendly, but oh well.
Assistant Community Manager is back from wherever she was.
Other than one resignation and one return, not much is expected to be happening around here in the near future, and I’m looking forward to that.
Already feeling not with it and exhausted at Tuesday’s Cookie Decorating event, only to turn around and attend Wednesday’s Holiday Party, it was a big fat “NO” when asked “Are you coming to Bingo tomorrow ... We’re having a party ... You should come ... We don’t see enough of you”.
Three parties, three days in a row! The seniors are on a roll.
It’s nice to be wanted, but I just need time away from everyone and everything for a bit, I need everything to stop while I recharge my batteries. Wait for the second wind to kick in, so to speak, get ready for whatever is next to come, which next I feel is something very bad as a result of what's occurring in Washington DC. I hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Good Citizens

After yesterday’s Cookie Decorating event, I headed to Starbucks to place a traveler order for today’s Holiday Potluck.
On the way back to the complex, stopped at the light, I saw something big roll from the sidewalk, in front of the bus stop, into the street at the curb.
“What was that?”, thought I as the light changed and I pulled alongside to check it out.
It was a man, lying flat on his back, arms and hands flailing in the air.
To tell you the truth, the world being what it is now, when I hear of Good Samaritans being tricked out of their cars to help, only to be harmed, I was skeptical of what I was seeing, but nevertheless dialed 911, as I pulled to the curb to park, and reported a man lying in the street at such and such a location.
Once out of the car, trying to decide if I was safe to approach, I noticed a number of other cars pulling over, people jumping out to help.
A trickle of blood was coming from the guy’s mouth, along with some sort of foam.
One Good Citizen said, “He’s having a seizure”.
Another Good Citizen knew to roll him onto his side so he’d not choke.
It felt like the ambulance was taking forever.
So forever, that the guy finally opened his eyes and appeared to be coming out of the seizure. He looked dazed and attempted to try to get up, but another Good Citizen got down on his knees and gently held the guy down saying, “Don’t move. You’ve had a seizure. Don’t move”.
I left when I heard the sirens approach, but I was so proud of the neighborhood for so many stopping to help instead of stopping to roll him for his wallet, steal his backpack.
It happens.
Yesterday’s Cookie Decorating event was a success.
I’d taken that sweater kit I’d been hoarding but, not really in the mood, I mostly watched others decorate and ended up giving three of the four sets of sweater cookies to The Baker’s great-granddaughter and two little great grandsons.
I’m saving the last sweater set for when the mood does hit.
Not that I didn’t decorate at all. I did put one of the gingerbread cookies from that family kit, and a smaller female-looking cookie, on a plate to work on.

The big cookie would have come out better had I been in a more centered frame of mind – hair, earrings, more color, less brown. I did the bare minimum to it, but it came out okay looking. The smaller cookie reflected my being tired and not much caring. It was such a disaster that it ended up in the Community Room’s trash receptacle.
The Baker’s great-granddaughter hard at work on her sweater cookies.

One of her little brothers did a rushed job.

The other was a little more focused.

The boys had two sweater cookies each, so what happened that only one was decorated is the boys probably ate the others plain. They were shortbread and shortbread beats gingerbread any day of the week. Besides, the boys were more interested in getting decorating out-of-the-way, so they could get to bouncing on the furniture, which is what they ended up doing. LOL.
During the event, I spied a little girl looking through the glass door and invited her mom to let her decorate cookies with us. I didn't even ask who they were, why they were here. I just saw an interested look in the little girl's eyes and invited her in.
Fortunately, after they were seated and the little girl had gotten started, someone asked, "Who are you?"
Turned out, it was the wife and youngest daughter of Assistant Maintenance Guy.
They’d stopped by to drop off his lunch.
Their little girl had the best time eating and decorating cookies. She even made a Black Gingerbread Man.

I wish I’d have thought of that color as a base for my big cookie.
Next time.
At any rate, I survived Cookie Decorating, the neighborhood did itself proud in the street by the bus stop and, after I get through today's  Holiday Potluck, I might not be called upon to interact with others until after the first of the new year.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Hiding in Plain Sight

I spotted Harold the Elf hiding in plain sight yesterday.
Plain sight is evidently the best place to hide something because I’d walked right by him, as did numerous others, because the cashier said I was the only one to have found him thus far and it was already 1:30 on a busy Sunday afternoon in the market.
The only reason I spotted him was, having already passed through the meat section, already in the produce department, which happens to be a Pokéstop, thinking I wasn’t going to be successful as they’d hidden him pretty good this time, I'd stopped to  grab some balls from the Pokéstop, turned around to make sure I wasn't blocking anyone and, facing where I’d just been, thought I caught a glimpse of something red off in the distance, on top of the meat station artwork.
Rushing back to get a closer look, there Harold was.

Very clever.
Focusing on looking at the walls of the meat section, as one passes through that area, Harold blends right in and is easily missed.
This Hide and Seek in the market is just so much fun!
Even some of the workers don’t know where Harold is.
When the market is busy, someone is assigned to “expedite” ─ monitor the lines and direct customers to shorter lines/faster service.
I was so excited to have spotted Harold that I mentioned to the expeditor that I’d found him.
She asked where, so I showed her the photo. 
Where’s that, asked she.
On top of the cow in the meat department said I.
She then stepped away from her post to take a peek.
I’ll be sorry to see Christmas Day, because that’s when the adventure ends.
On the other hand, hunting Harold is a distraction because I forgot to pick up ice cream for Wednesday’s Holiday party. I was thinking Dreyer’s Peppermint because it’s Christmassy.
Looking at yet another trip to the market ─ just for the ice cream today or tomorrow, I began thinking about having to scoop and serve ice cream as opposed to just placing a box of Starbucks on the counter and everyone have at it.
So, coffee it will be because I don’t want the hassle of having to put on a pair of food service gloves, bring my ice cream scooper, as well as plastic cups or waffle bowls, and having to stand at the counter with old folks gauging how much I scoop for them as opposed to others.
I think I’m scooping generous equal servings, but some actually do direct me to scoop more, with some complaining the cups are too small and requesting two cups.
It’s free. Be satisfied. Take what you get. But old people. Go figure.
Ordinarily, all of the above wouldn’t bother me, but I’m just not feeling the hassle right now, so Starbucks it is.
But first is tomorrow’s Cookie Decorating event.
I’m really no longer feeling that either. I’d much rather decorate my own cookies in my own unit.
Last week’s thing with granddaughter threw me off center and I’m not completely back, now not wanting to talk to anyone, see anyone, socialize with the folks. But I’ll go to the event, take photos for the community's facebook page and maybe the going will snap me back to center and I’ll feel like joining in.
And speaking of cookies, I’m glad I picked up those decorating kits as soon as they became available because I noticed the table full of kits being sold at the market was empty.
That gingerbread family was a popular item.
I’ve not been to Sprouts, so I don’t know if they’ve sold out on their sweater kits, but I’m guessing they have.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

What’s Happening Now

Granddaughter has her car back, her belongings back, got the car insured, so there’s hope this millennial has learned there are consequences for not properly handling one's business.
If not, well then too bad so sad. She’s got a boyfriend, a mom and she’s got herself.
Grandma is out.
See you next Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, out and about on the complex, I noticed management finally got around to removing the duct tape from the mailboxes and properly sealing with cement.
It took management four long months to repair damage done by the bad guys breaking in to gather and sell personal data.




I’m not holding my breath that the bad guys won’t return and tear it all down again.
Elsewhere on the complex, in addition to the new Community Manager having had enough and quitting after 81 days, the Assistant Manager has gone missing.
We don’t know if she’s sick again or went out of the country to get her husband’s visa in order so he can return, or if she’s fired or quit. 
Of the 12 senior communities owned and operated by Corporate, 12 have an opening for Community Manager (that includes this complex) and three are looking for Assistant Managers. This community isn’t listed for that position, so probably not quit or fired.
So happy am I now to be old, retired, not having to deal with an employer.
During the week, I found the market elf Harold again.
I didn’t even have to look very hard.
Thinking that if market staff located the elf low, some Grinch would steal him, I theorized it would always be somewhere high up.
Sure enough, there he was on a shelf in the produce department.

On tap for today is putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving scrapbook and making a decision as to what to bring to Wednesday’s Holiday Potluck. I’m wavering between ice cream and Starbucks in a Box (Traveler).
Probably ice cream, because 40 have signed up for the event and a Traveler only serves about 20. Inasmuch as the folks really love Starbucks, it might cause a scramble to get coffee before it’s gone and may even result in an old-people fight or two.
On the other hand, that might be interesting. So maybe the Traveler after all. LOL.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I Can’t with These Millennials

In October, it was that Target worker who didn’t know how to properly bag breakables that caused me to realize just how clueless and irresponsible young people can be.
Fortunately, I’m not called upon to interact much with people under 55 years of age but I had to make a trip to Ralphs Market yesterday, because it’s the only place where I can find tofu (Shirataki) noodles.
While there, I picked up a few other wet products, like frozen cauliflower rice, frozen broccoli, et al.
At the checkout, I reached into my cloth bag, pulled out the Ralphs plastic bags and gave to the young bagger.
I became livid, yelling to myself, “What did he do! What’s wrong with him!” when I reached to unload at the car, and saw he’d not used the store bags I’d given him but, when I was otherwise occupied paying the cashier, he’d retrieved my cloth bag from the cart and put all the wet ingredients in it.
What did he do with the store bags?
Why, he’d put them inside the cloth bag as well.
It’s tiring me out.
I just can’t with these millennials.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was my millennial granddaughter texting, earlier that morning, that the 2004 Saturn I’d gifted her in February, when I bought the Jeep, had been stolen.
Poor thing has been through a lot.
I’m not speaking of granddaughter as poor thing, but the car.
While spending Thanksgiving in Long Beach, I’d gotten a look at the Saturn. It obviously had not seen a car wash in a long time, plus there was that chunk out of the left side back door, caused by granddaughter being hit in the traffic circle. The grandsons advised she’s also not keeping up with maintenance/oil.
Oh and btw, from that traffic circle accident I learned granddaughter was driving without insurance.
Call Geico, I tell her. Get a quote. I’ll pay for it.
Nothing happens.
THEN, I get that woe is me text that the car was stolen, along with everything she owns ─ clothes/shoes, as she was in the process of moving.
“I don't know why bad things keep happening” she bemoans.
This is California!
Any fool knows you don’t drive without insurance and you don’t leave anything in a car to temp thieves, but I resisted saddling her with blame. Instead, I said the Universe is throwing some hard tests her way and that hopefully the car will be found, with her items safely inside. In the meantime, it’s back to the bus and Uber, I say but add “Something good will happen. Expect a miracle”.
An hour later, “Car not stolen. Towed”.
There’s your miracle but ... “Towed for why?”
“Three parking tickets”.
WT Heck! thought I, but pulled from my savings and sent her enough to get the car from tow, pay citations, and it was a lot of $$$$ and once again say, “Get a Geico quote”.
Along with this gift of $$$$ came my texting to her that the Universe was being kind this time, that complete loss of the car and belongings would have been a far harder lesson than tow, especially when the loss would have been the result of something as small as parking where she’d not be ticketed, then failing to pay the first parking ticket, go on to garner two more.
In retrospect, I should have left her to the consequences of her own actions ─ no clothes, back to buses and Uber. But the car, previously well-maintained and having served me well for so long, didn’t deserve to be abandoned to the tow yard.
At any rate, granddaughter says she’ll use the $$$$ wisely and get on top of things immediately, but I don’t know. I’m suspicious that there’s something I don’t know about that’s the reason for no insurance, but I’m now at the place of I don’t want to know, and shouldn’t care because she’s a grown ass millennial woman and I just can’t with these millennials any longer.
My future dealings with granddaughter's dramas will be much like the relationship in this clip of Woopi Goldberg and Tiffany Haddish in their new movie Nobody’s Fool.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Another One Bites the Dust

The new Community Manager quit!
My buddy Apache texted me the news yesterday afternoon.
Her first day in the office was Friday September 14. Her last day was the Day of Infamy ─ December 7.
The turnover around here is beginning to look a lot like the White House.
Her leaving is the same old song ... Corporate wanting Community Manager to do one thing, and the Community Manager wanting to please Corporate, keep her job, but not wanting to put herself in the position of doing something she was uncomfortable with that may later come back to bite.
Reminds me of a similar situation I saw a coworker wrestle with at the agency I retired from ─ the agency with the racist CEO.
The CEO ran the place like his own personal plantation, along with an Overseer and various klansmen/klan girls, and they were lying their arses off to federal, state, county agencies about how funds were being used, had been for years, long before I arrived. Nothing lasts forever and so something came to light that caused all kinds of auditors to swoop down on the agency.
Fortunately for the agency, the auditors announced WHEN they’d be arriving, which gave the CEO time to issue the order to shred documents.
They knew better than to ask me, but a coworker who wasn’t part of the klan, but who went along to get along, was told to stay after hours and help destroy documents.
She liked me, respected the way I handled my difficult situation, trusted me and expressed how torn she was .... “Do I do what they’re telling me to do and risk going to jail, or do I not do it and risk losing my job?”
She went with keeping her job, but the heat was on. Auditors smelled blood in the water and kept coming. What they call “findings” were made, which findings indicated all the areas the agency needed to get its stuff together or lose funding.
It must have chapped the CEO that, with all the “findings”, the only thing the auditors found right was my contracts records keeping system, putting in their report that it was “The best seen at any of the agencies they’d audited”.
Though some corrections were made as a result of the negative findings, it was like the Mueller Investigation. The deeper the audits went, the more fraud was uncovered. As the noose began to tighten, the Overseer jumped ship, went to another agency. One by one, the klansmen scattered to the wind, the CEO got scared and retired ahead of a possible indictment. The one remaining klansman, left behind to try to come up with an explanation for past discrepancies through many more years of audits, because he was not able to get a job elsewhere, fell to his death off a balcony (I think it was  suicide). The klan girls are still at the agency, because they’re not skilled enough to get a job anywhere else but, with the demise of the klan, I have on good authority they are no longer displaying those kinds of  behaviors.
At least this Community Manager was smart enough to get out with her integrity intact and before the stress of having to please Corporate/keep her job at the risk of putting herself in legal jeopardy, began to affect her health, like it did the last Community Manager ─ the one who was fired for not pleasing Corporate.
In this day and age, no matter how desperate an individual is for a job, I don’t think Corporate is going to find anyone who’ll put themselves in jeopardy.
So here we go again, without a Community Manager.
As for that former coworker, she got religion, found another job. She and I are facebook friends.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Returning to the complex from picking up prints at Costco yesterday, I observed a few residents hard at work setting up holiday patio decorations.
It’s beginning to look pretty darn festive around here. Except, I'm the only one in my quad to put up decorations. Next door neighbor said she's not feeling it. She put a wreath of sorts on the door, called decorating done, but says it always makes her feel good to open her door and see my Santa doormat and colorful wreath.
Walking through the Community Room this morning, I saw two of the boys decorating the entryway Christmas tree.

This is new ... the guys doing the decorating.
The little guy is Greedy Grabby’s husband. He volunteered and appeared to be enjoying the adventure.
The other guy is Shadow. He obviously did not volunteer of his own accord and appeared as sullen and grumpy as ever.
There was a woman sitting in the corner directing the operation ─ The Seer, which is why Shadow was involved. I’m sure he’d have rather not, but inasmuch as he’s whipped, does what she tells him to do and can’t detach himself from following her around, he ended up saddled with tree decorating duty. LOL.
The prints picked up yesterday were from Thanksgiving in Long Beach, 112 of them.
Since there are so many photos, it wouldn’t do to add them to my album. So, I decided to make a separate album for those photos alone and found a perfect Fall cover set.
Creative Memories Gather Together Album

Then I had to start thinking about background papers, which was complicated by the local family-owned scrapbook store going out of business — a place where I could always find high-quality themed specialty paper, unlike the flimsy stuff found in Michaels and Joann’s.
Fortunately, I found some papers in my own stash I could work with and, after hours and hours of online searches over a number of days, managed to get my hands on other background papers to fit the bill, but I really miss the local store.
So, though I really need to get out and put in some walking miles, my schedule for this week looks like a whole lot of sitting — on the couch needlepointing and at my work table scrapbooking.
Probably best, as it looks like it’s going to start raining again.
While at Costco, I walked over to the Christmas section, not to buy anything, but to look because I’ve always enjoyed looking at the Holiday Décor they offer — usually big tall pre-lit things. Only, when I went to the front of the store, where the Christmas section is usually set up, there was no Christmas. Instead, there were toys ─ lots and lots and lots of toys.
Glancing around, I thought I saw what looked like Christmas way far away towards the back of the store. Checking it out, I found a few lights, but gone are the big tall pre-lit things.
Everything is changing.
No scrapbooking store.
No Christmas display at Costco.
What’s next?

Friday, December 7, 2018

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday and day before it was rain rain more rain and flash flood warnings.
Today, the sun is shining, outside is dry and looks inviting.
My buddy Apache, who keeps me pretty much informed as to what’s going on via text, sent me a message, in the height of yesterday’s storm, that the office was closing early because the street in front of the complex was flooding. Head Maintenance Guy lives on the property, as does Assistant Manager, so no problem there. However, Complex Manager and Assistant Maintenance Guy live off premise, and closing early was so they could make it home.
Upon receiving the text, I of course wanted to head outside and photo document what was happening out front, but the heavy downpour was too intense.
Warm and cozy inside, I put the two-day forced indoor time to good use. I finally finished Bob Woodward’s book Fear.
Ordinarily, since it’s not a book I want to keep, I’d put it on the book shelf in the Complex Library for others to read, but we’ve been instructed “paperbacks only”. So, I’ll donate to the Public Library.
I also put in eighteen to twenty hour working on that Black Panther needlepoint, begun back in March.

Progress March to September

Progress September to December

Doesn’t look like much has been accomplished between the first and second update but honestly, with teeny tiny 18-count Aida Cloth, progress on that corner represents around 700 hours. All told, I estimate I’ve devoted at least 1,080 hours to this project, and still a long way to go. I think I'm looking at a 2020 completion date.
It’s a good thing I’m a patient soul.
Speaking of patience, during my forced indoor time, I began mentally mapping out a strategic search plan for finding that Elf store employees are hiding in the local market ─ Phase 1, search the perimeters first, check all the ledges, look in high up items ─ like the pet carriers and grocery carts for sale over by ice cream; Phase 2, check the store decorations; Phase 3, walk the isles.
One facebook friend posted having found Harold holding onto a bottle of wine.
Another reported finding him on a ledge above the Deli Department.
He’s moved every day, sometimes multiple times during the day, and a candy cane appears to be the only prize being offered. 
Waking up this morning to the sun shining, with packages to be picked up at the Amazon Locker, I headed out but first detoured to the market. I didn’t really need any groceries, but I found things to stock up on so I could search for Harold.
Phase 1 complete and no Harold.
Phase 2 complete and no Harold.
So sure was I that Phase 1 should have turned him up, I did another pass and, at 0.33 Fitbit miles, there he was, right by the grocery carts, where I’d previously looked and he wasn’t.

No way did I miss the little bugger on the first pass, so must have been in transit.
At any rate, mission accomplished. I didn’t claim the candy cane prize. Instead, I treated myself to that Elvis Presley coffee mug.
Back at the complex a couple hours later, I ran into The Baker who reported she also found Harold, still over ice cream by the grocery carts. She claimed a candy cane, which she reported is her second. The first was when she found him on a ledge over by shrimp.
So much fun this is.
Baker says she doesn’t even want to claim any more candy canes. She just wants to see how many times she can find Harold.
Me too.
One store employee told her a guy had searched for 3 hours, with no success.
I find that hard to believe. Three hours has to be an exaggeration.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hide and Seek

Got my car back.
The renegade has actually been ready for pick-up since last Friday but, for some reason, I never saw the text message from the dealer, that the oil pan had been replaced/come get her, until I went to text an inquiry to them this morning.
As for next service, I’m told 10,000 miles.
“I drive so little that you’ll be retired before I hit 10,000”, said I.
“Well, one year”, he laughingly said, “And if you want to come in for tire rotation before that, please do”.
I really don’t think, with so little driving, I’ll need the tires rotated, but I’ll keep it in mind.
Heading back to the complex, I stopped at Sprout’s to pick up things I can only find at Sprout’s and found a sweater cookie kit that peaked my fancy.

After Sprout’s, I stopped by the local grocery store to pick up items I can only find at that location, and went on an 0.95 mile walk (according to Fitbit) through every isle looking for an elf because my friend the Archeologist had yesterday posted to facebook that the market was “Hiding an elf named Harold. Spot him and you win a prize”. Her daughter found Harold and won a candy cane.
I walked my hiney off, looking up, looking down, looking in-between but no Harold.
As I was snapping a photo of the flyer, the cashier said finding Harold will continue every day up until Christmas. He also said the prize wasn’t much ─ which I already knew from the Archeologist’s daughter winning a candy cane, but didn’t care because the prize doesn’t matter, it’s the fun of the challenge that interests me.

It’s not important enough to go browsing store aisles every day until I find Harold, and I’ve plenty of groceries, but eggs go pretty fast, so I’m sure I’ll get another opportunity fairly soon.
If and when I do find Harold, maybe I can talk the store into giving me something I saw that’s really calling my name, even though I don’t need it.

While there, I also picked up those cookies for The Baker.

So cute, a whole gingerbread family, including a dog and cat.
If the cookie decorating event isn’t a complete bust, the folks can decorate those (I bought two kits). I’m not sharing the kit I purchased from Sprouts, that one is for me to either do upstairs in my unit or next week if the event goes forward.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Maybe I’m Wrong But

Heading out yesterday afternoon to check on a cat that’s been stuck in a tree since Thursday, I ran into The Baker.
“We’re having the Holiday Cooking Decorating on the 18th”, said she. “Only I told C_____ (Activity Director) she’d have to do it this year”.
I suppose she’s turning her personal event over to management because of the bruhaha over her dog Fancy.
In support of The Baker, I had no plans to be involved in any activity she’s not involved in because it upsets me that management has hurt her, but it appears she’s not opting out but scaling back in contributions to this community ─ the let management do it school of revenge.
I can dig it.
At any rate, each year the Baker has been organizing a Cookie Swap AND baking most of the cookies involved in the swap herself. Last year’s Cookie Swap included Cookie Decorating, which I was disappointed because I thought we’d be decorating those pre-made sweater cookies. Instead, it was round cookies baked by The Baker.
Not wanting to be disappointed again this year, I told The Baker I’d pick up a couple pre-made cookie kits and extra icings.
She in turn said she also supply icings. “In a tube?” asked I. “No, in a can”.
Well that’s not going to work well for decorating, but whatever.
THEN, later in the afternoon, management posted this months Activity Calendar to our doors, which indicated Holiday Cookie Decorating Social on the 18th, Holiday Potluck on the 19th.
And we’re back to potlucks, thought I.
What happened to the annual Christmas Party ... music, residents dressing up, gifts etc?
What happened to the Ugly Sweater event?
Cost-cutting at its finest.
THEN, I saw this blurb.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it tacky to invite folks to a cookie decorating event expecting them to bring their own cookies.
Why would they purchase or bake their own cookies then come down to the Community Room to decorate?
Doesn’t make sense.
It's not a swap, where one would bring her own cookies to exchange, but a decorating event.
I’m expecting a complete and utter failure of an event, just like Karaoke, with the Activity Director sitting alone.
Not looking forward to it, so I’ll drop off one or two kits to The Baker, because I said I would, and she can give to her great grandkids to decorate if no residents show up but, done with tacky, I’m out.
Also out is that poor cat.

Apache heard it mewing for help and spotted it high up in that tree on Thursday.
The Fire Department was unsympathetic and told Apache to get a ladder.
The cat was too high up for that, and Apache is a senior. It would have been suicide.
I suggested Animal Control and, the cat still in the tree the next day, assumed they’d also said no.
By yesterday, fearing the cold weather, no food, no water, the cat was going to die a slow death, I researched organizations in the area, thinking there must be someone in the business of rescuing cats from trees.
I did find some states do have people performing that service, but not anyone near us.
I then got on the phone and called the Vet up the street to ask if maybe they knew someone we could pay to get the cat from the tree.
After listening to a long message only to be referred to Animal Control, I got frustrated and gave up, as did the cat. Along about 7:00 last night, I got a text from Apache, “We got kitty down”.
“How”, asked I.
“He was coming down hungry. S___ got step ladder, reached him”.
No news on my little Renegade, so looks like the dealership won’t get her back to me until sometime next week.
Today, is December PokémonGo Community Day, so I’m going to bundle up from the cold and head out to the University to take advantage of today’s bonuses.