Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pizza Tuesday

Giving up needlepoint time to visit with the seniors this morning was worth the tradeoff.
I learned how Monster’s Ball came to be shown.
My buddy Apache was given a whole bunch of used DVDs, so he put them on the table and asked the Little Helpful Lady to pick one. She saw Haley Barry’s name, remembered Haley had won an Academy Award for the film and chose that one.
Then, once the film was shown and all heck broke out, she blamed Apache for showing such a “nasty” movie.
“I didn’t know”, said Apache, “But you chose it”.
So that was that, but bad luck followed.
There was no movie last Friday because Apace became ill and the Little Helpful Lady took a fall and broke her arm in three places.
I hope they threw the DVD in the trash, because it appears to be cursed.
On another topic, there’s been a wedding.
No, not The Seer and Shadow, not yet but, as I was being told by The Seer which resident was married Sunday at their church, it was on the tip of my tongue to ask, “When are you two getting married?” Fortunately, this time I had the thought just before the words rolled off my tongue and consequently was able to bite my tongue and not get myself in trouble.
The new couple is The Lady Who Wants Braids (LWWB) and the gentleman she lives with, who she told me was someone her mother had been caregiver to and, when mom died, she took over as his caregiver.
Since LWWB is one of the group that attend the same church, I guess that was a story to cover what their church would have considered living in sin. Now I’m finding out they’ve been a couple for 22 years.
She needn’t have lied to me ─ I’m not antiquated or judgmental like that, but whatever.
Wanting to give her a wedding gift, I Googled “Wedding Gift Ideas for 60 Year Olds” and came up with a lot of impractical stuff, like:
Cleaning service (too expensive)
Personalized gift basket (too much trouble)
Gym membership (get real)
Coupon for activities in the city (they never leave the complex, other than to attend church a block away)
Tickets to an all-paid vacation (living here IS a vacation)
Then there was:
Good old cash
Ding ding ding ding.
I rushed out, picked up a Congratulations on your Wedding money card, and sent to them via The Seer.
So, gifting is done and behind me.
Speaking of gifts .... Catching up with my Buddy Apache, I learned he’s being pursued by an 80-year-old.
A relatively new resident, the woman in question is in really good shape for her age. She’s thin, lively ─ always dancing around, and has been leaving little gifts at Apache’s door. She's also spicy, having been overheard to say someone, "I've still got a fire" as she swiveled her hips.
I like her.
Even though Apache is nowhere near her age, he could do worse.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A New Friend, A Compliment and Flipping the Bird

That’s been my day this Monday.
I’ve been indoors since my last post, working on that needlepoint project, watching television, enjoying my solitude ─ except for Friday, when I went down to the Community Room just long enough to check the bulletin board for what movie was showing at that evening’s Movie Night.
No movie was posted to the board.
Church Lady, working on a word puzzle, was the only senior in the room.
This being my first contact with a senior I could pump about last Friday’s showing of Monster’s Ball, and wanting to know how the seniors reacted to those raunchy sex scenes between Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Barry, I “slyly” worked in “How are you … bla bla bla bla bla ... How was movie night last week?”
Now Church Lady walks with her back hunched over, like she’s carrying a heavy burden. I don’t know if it’s a medical curvature of the spine issue or a poor posture habit (I think habit), and she also sits hunched over. When I mentioned last week’s movie night, she got highly animated, sat straight up (so for sure it’s a habit) and said, “Girl! We were shocked! There was some stuff in there!”
“It wasn’t like it wasn’t something we never did, but we were embarrassed” and put her head down to look at the floor indicating how people in the room had reacted and not made eye contact with each other.
I didn’t think to ask if anyone had walked out, but I assume everyone was too stunned to move.
Church Lady went on to say there was a huge bruhaha AFTER the movie, with questions being asked as to whose idea it was, who provided the DVD and why it wasn’t reviewed before being offered to the seniors.
She said there was a lot of “it wasn’t me” going around.
So now my quest is to find out if no movie night this last Friday is a consequence of complaints about what was shown the previous Friday.
Running out of supplies, it was with great reluctance I put away the needlepoint project today and ventured out into the world to run errands. Reluctant because, you know .... people.
I’ve amazed myself in how much progress has been made on that needlepoint project in one month but, ten to twelve-hour days, at the expense of grocery shopping, PokémonGo hunting and exercise (except for that one day I worked out on the indoor bike and threw in some yoga) made the difference.

Progress: September to December
Progress: December to January

At any rate, the first people encounter was a woman pulling up in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s playing a tape I recognized the voice as being my spiritual teacher.
I approached, explained that was my teacher of 35 years she was listening to. She said she was led to the teaching 5 years ago. We felt such a kindship at lucking into a like-minded individual that we hugged each other and exchanged numbers.
So, a new friend.
Then, as I was heading to the car, a girl commented on my camo leggings, saying how cute they were, asking where I purchased.
“Oh thanks”, said I “Walmart, online”.
“Oh, soooo cute”.
So, a compliment.
THEN, I stopped by Victoria Gardens, with plans to do a little walking, hit up the PokémonGo stops since I was in the area.
After parking the car, I walked to a sidewalk, stopped, turned on the app to check for the nearest Stop when, all of a sudden, I hear this female voice yelling from a passing car, “Do not text while walking! and bla bla bla bla bla bla bla”. I couldn’t tell what else she was saying as she cowardly sped away.
Since I wasn’t able to yell back to her that one, I was not walking, I was checking my phone while stopped; and two, I wasn’t texting, I was playing PokémonGo, I made my thoughts known by standing where she could see me in her rear-view mirror, arm raised and flipped her my middle finger until she drove out of sight.
So, I momentarily lost my religion for a bit and flipped a stranger the bird.
Two good people encounters out of three.
I may give it another go tomorrow, head down to interact with the seniors on Pizza Tuesday.
We’ll see.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Done and Overdone

Saturday was a nice day for a drive, so I headed back to the medical center for bloodwork.
Arriving at 9:30, judging by that last experience, I was prepared for a long wait with two Woman’s World magazines and the iPod to entertain me, just in case I finished reading the mags.
My number was 10.
The number being served was 93.
Seventeen ahead of me. About the same number as were ahead of me the day before but what a difference a day makes.
The Saturday crew was way more efficient than Friday’s crew, because numbers began to click down at such a rapid pace that I didn’t get through the first magazine.
My number was reached at 9:53 and I was on the road headed back to the complex by 10:02.
So, bloodwork is done.
Overdone was my latest foray in the kitchen.
Deciding on sweet potato chips and coffee for lunch that day, I thinly sliced a sweet potato, dusted with a Cajun spice mix I put together myself, olive oil and put in the oven to slow roast.
It usually takes some time for the slices to crisp, so I logged onto the computer and was surfing around during which surfing I became vaguely aware of a weird smell.
Not nearly enough time for the chips to be done. Not even close, though I, so I ignored the smell until it was so bad that I finally got up to investigate.

I’d forgotten to set the oven to slow and low.
At least the smoke detector didn’t go off this time.
A funny smell hit my nose just the day before, while on the couch deeply engrossed in that needlepoint project after returning from the failed trip to the lab.
What is that? thought I, but that’s as far as it went.
A short while later the smoke detector went off, which caused me to look up from the needlepoint and see the room I was seated in was filling with smoke.
Turns out, I’d placed a cast iron skillet on a burner that hadn’t been turned off.
Opening the front door and patio window to allow smoke to flow away from the smoke detector and turning on the stove fan to suck smoke out got things under control rather quickly, and you think I’d subsequently pay more attention to my sense of smell.
But nooooo. The very next day, I ignored the burning smell until the sweet potatoes burned to a crisp.
My mom, in her senior years, burned down her kitchen ... three times in a row. Homeowner’s paid for a brand-new kitchen each time, but still.
Renters insurance isn’t required for this complex, but I’m glad I finally broke down and decided to get it a little over a year ago.
Still wanting chips for lunch, I gave it a second go.

Nice and crisp. Spicy, healthy and addictively tasty. Worth the effort.
On tap for today is to find out how the seniors reacted to those raunchy Movie Night sex scenes between Billy Bob and Haley.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sun’s Up

Yesterday, the day before yesterday and the day before that was all day all night unrelenting this ...

Today there was a break.

Not at all sure how long it would be before the universe once again expressed its displeasure with the state of the union, first on my to-do list was that long over-due bloodwork ─ but only because I’d run out of a floss color, knew there was a craft store in the area of the medical center and determined the errand an opportune time to kill two birds with one stone.
But for the floss, I would have kept to local errands and put off bloodwork to another day.
I signed into the lab at 10:45.
It’s a numbering system ─ served in order of arrival.
My number was 31.
The number being served was 13.
At 10:55, the number being served was still 13.
Interesting, thought I. My number 31 is 13 backwards but for heaven’s sake! … How long does it take to draw blood and call in the next number?
At the rate things were going, I estimated at least an hour and a half wait.
I didn’t bring a book to read or needlepoint to work on and life is too short to sit idly by, so I headed back to the receptionist and asked for a refund of the $35 lab fee or a rain check.
No problem. Whichever I preferred.
I took the raincheck, headed for the craft store, loaded up on avocados and almond butter at Sprouts, salmon and veggies at Stater Bros, and was back at the complex before outside turned bad again.
The Stater Bros I dropped into was the one near where the new senior complex is scheduled to be built, a hop skip jump from the fire department. When I patronize this store, it's not unusual to see fire personnel. And so it was today that four very handsome well-built young men in uniform walked in. Of course, I went gaga, and remarked to the cashier how fortunate she was to see that kind of eye candy coming in on a regular basis. “I'm married”, said she. “So I hardly notice”.
“Are you married?” she asked. 
“No. I've been very happily divorced for 50 years.”
“Oh, no wonder you notice them”.
Guilty. I do like eye candy, but the encounter got me to thinking .... I hadn't realized it's been 50 years divorced. I escaped my ex when the twins were six months old. They're 51 now, so wow!
I've had gentlemen friends of course, even been engaged a couple times. But I had no intention of ever remarrying. I just said yes because it was easier to say yes and then not than it was to say no and deal with attitude. Besides, my saying yes was a trap, a test of sort. Because I found that when a guy thought he had me locked in, he relaxed, the mask came off and the real him began to show. Which real him gave me the excuse I needed for kicking him to the curb six months to a year later.
One of the gold chains I wear was a goodbye gift, when I left a job, from a group of girls I'd worked with. It has a pendant that says, "Special and Single". Now that I realize it's been 50 years unmarried, I'm thinking I should have one made that says, "Single because I'm Special".

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I Can’t Stop Laughing

Saw this posted to Facebook last night and can’t stop laughing.

Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan has invited Clemson to a "proper meal" of Lobster, to make up for those “Hamberders”.
I hope they accept.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Cats and Dogs

That’s what it’s been looking like around here since last week.
There was a long enough break in the weather this afternoon to allow me to finally take out the trash, check the mailbox and make a quick run to the market, but that’s as far as I could get before the downpour started up again.
I’d been trying since last week to get to the medical center for blood work, so the doctor’s office will stop harassing me, but looks like there won’t be another long enough break in the weather until Friday.
I’d actually driven to the medical center in October to get that blood work off the table but, upon checking in, was told it was not in the system that the doctor had requested.
It was a good thing it was a non-fast because, if I’d starved myself since the night before only to be turned away, I’d have been a lot more annoyed than I was.
At any rate, I’d sent an email to the doc (10/15) that I’d been unable to comply with her request and why.
It wasn’t until 12/05 I received a response ─ “The labs are now in the system. Please stop by to complete these labs when you get a chance”.
Well since they didn’t rush to get their act together, I was not in a rush to comply, so I tabled blood work until I decided to get around to it and have endured a steady stream of harassment since. There are constant Action Required messages, her office has even been so bold as to schedule appointments for me ─ appointments which I’ve immediately cancelled because how dare you.
Having barely moved from the couch since the Holidays, a drive out of the area to the medical center is beginning to look like a pleasant change of pace, so I’m ready ─ but not in the rain.
Yesterday was the day I started feeling like being active again. The Ontario 5K is this coming Saturday ─ too soon because I haven’t trained since November. There are some fun looking races coming up in Long Beach and Santa Monica in the near future, but too far.
I might, change my mind, so thinking I might book a hotel and register for one or two or three, I put down the needlepoint yesterday, got off the couch and made it all the way across the room to my mini-gym to start indoor training until I can get out walking.

After so much time being inactive, thought I'd have a hard time restarting, but nooooo. Thirty minutes on the bike, 20 minutes yoga was easy peasy.
While picking up mail during the break in the rain this afternoon, I made a stop in the Community Room to see if any activities had been posted to the board.
There are none.
However, I did see Friday’s Movie Night is “Monsters Ball”.
I wonder whose idea that was, because the sex scenes between Haley Barry and Billy Bob Thornton aren’t really senior-appropriate. Going to be some red faces, closed eyes and hands covering the ears to block out naughty talk.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Seven Days In

I don’t know which is worse about living in the Inland Empire ─ the triple digit soaring heat or the freezing cold.
We don’t experience four seasons here. Instead, it’s Summer or it’s Winter and, with one extreme to the other, it’s either too hot to go out and be active or too cold, wet, windy.
Other than bemoaning the weather, using weather as an excuse for turning into a couch potato, it’s a whole lot of nothing going on. With nothing on my plate, nothing to do, nowhere to go, I’ve been able to put in 10/12-hour days into that needlepoint project.
At this rate, I might be able to complete this project by end of this year rather than 2020.
Looking at the January activity calendar, it doesn’t appear any senior activities will break into my needlepoint time as there is not a single activity listed.
The position of Community Manager is still advertised as open, applications being accepted on Corporate’s website. It’s been up since November, so the fact there appear to be no takers might indicate people are getting wise to the perils of working for Corporate.
It behooves one to do due diligence, research before submitting an application whatever the agency.
It’s also a good idea, in the interview, to ask about previous holders of the job ─ how many have been in the position, how long they held the job, why did they leave.
If the interviewer looks uncomfortable with answering those questions, run.
If the answer sounds like the job is like working at the current White House ─ a revolving door, run.
Looking at the photos my buddy Apache finally got around to posting on the community’s Facebook page, there was indeed a New Year’s Eve celebration. Didn’t seem like much celebrating went on with only four photos and what looks to be a handful of seniors, maybe six ─ The Seer and Shadow included.
Glad I didn’t waste my time going to that.
I did spend some time trying to work out how I could fly to New Orleans, spend a week there without getting sick because of my gut issues.
Unable to figure out how to manage taking my own food and cooking equipment on the flight and/or how to get what I needed in New Orleans, I had to turn down the opportunity to accompany Twin 1 as she presented what she does for the homeless at an event.
I’m not sorry though, as I’m not fond of travelling, especially by air now that there are so many restrictions.
I did think about driving the 1,845 miles (28 hours), with planned stops, the Instant Pot and safe foods in the trunk of the car. 
Having had the Jeep since February of last year, and only 3856 miles on it, I do need to put in some drive time. The event isn’t until March, so a road trip is still an option. Except, I’m not getting a good feeling about the organization hosting the event, don’t wish to go to so much trouble for them and feel Twin 1 should also say thanks but no thanks ─ even though they’re paying for her flight and hotel.
The farthest I’ve ever driven in my life is straight through to Sacramento (around 8 hours, 500 miles) through a scary stretch of highway known as The Grapevine. I was driving a Toyota back then, only had to make one pit stop.
Back then, the sign of a safe clean place to stop was a golden arch. There being no such logo along the route when nature called, I pulled into the only place available, another easily recognized chain known by its bright yellow five-pointed star, which should have been okay.
It wasn’t.
Because it was the only sign of civilization on a long stretch of mountainous road, many others had pulled in for the same reason as I. There was a long line and staff cared nothing of making sure the facility, so close to where food was served and eaten, was clean. It was disgusting. The experience scarred me for life.
Now the sign of a safe clean place to stop is a circle with a mermaid/siren in the center.
Looking at the route I’d be taking, it appears I’d be travelling through Arizona, New Mexico, crossing into Texas, and there are Starbucks along the way, some in malls, but I'll pass on this trip, wait for something that has a better feel about it ─ like a faraway meditation retreat or 5K.
Speaking of putting on miles, while the Jeep isn't getting much drive time, my body has been on the road racking up miles at a fast pace because, according to science, on an undisclosed date, because I don’t celebrate, the body reached the 75th time travelling 584 million miles around the sun.
Same route 75 times ... and I’m still not bored. Always an adventure of one kind or another.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, Business as Usual

Twenty eighteen was a good year for me. No major complaints. Nothing I desperately wanted or needed to change this year, so I didn’t lock myself into any resolutions per se.
That’s not to say there are not things I need to improve ─ like train/walk more, maybe go to the gym, it’s just that I no longer set those as goals because, now that I'm retired and my time is my own, I know I can’t go back to a schedule, a regiment. I’m more free flow nowlistening to the Universe and going with the flow.
However, it did cross my mind that I should rein in my shopping.
It’s a good thing I didn’t set that as a goal, was only thinking about it, because by 7:00 I’d made my first purchase of the year ─ not a need, but a want.

As seen on Debra's/She Who Seeks site

The year’s still young, so I’ll reset and think harder about reining in my shopping … that is after I order the same shirt for Twin 2, who will love it.
I want to wait until mine arrives and I can test for size before I order for Twin 2.
Second order of business for today was to tackle the patio’s Christmas decorations — box everything up, get things back in storage.
The wind was blowing so hard last night that I thought there’d be no patio decorations to store, that I’d awake to find everything gone with the wind.
Checking the patio around 6:00 a.m., I found nothing gone, someone’s empty fast food bag added, the chair, decorations, rug jumbled and shoved into a corner.

At any rate, by noon, the patio was back to pre-Christmas conditioneverything neatly stored, not to be seen for another year.
I’ll have to find out how yesterday’s New Years Eve party went — that is if there was one.
My buddy Apache texted me in the morning that instead of 2:00 PM to 1:00 AM, the festivities had been rescheduled — 5:00 to 7:00, because “the replacements don’t know how to set the code”.
What apache meant was that what staff we had on the property New Year’s Eve were temps working half day and none knew how to reset the code on the Community Room doors to remain unlocked past 7:00 PM.
That didn’t explain why the event start was moved from 2:00 to 5:00 but whatever the reason, I lost interest, decided it wasn’t worth the effort to brave the cold wind and stayed warm and comfortable in my unit.
Apache is not one to have his plans thwarted by management, so I expect his not being able to have the room past midnight is going on his list of grievances. And the fact he didn’t post any photos to the resident’s Facebook page means it either didn’t happen or no one showed up.
I’m expecting the worst because I can feel how angry he is ─ not at me, or the residents, but at management.
Figuring the market would be closing early yesterday, I made a quick trip for black bean soup ingredients.
The market was crowded and not much fun now that it’s back to business as usual with hide and seek over. Since hide and seek was so successful, hopefully they’ll bring back the elf next year.
Because the market parking lot was crowded, I’d parked way off in a corner. Returning to the car, I discovered that parking spot was pinging on a Pokémon GO Gym, under the control of Team Yellow (Instinct). I being Team Red (Valor) decided to hon my skills by engaging in a battle with the three Team Yellow creatures in the gym.
I won!
First time winning a battle and I won all three!
Not knowing what to do after winning, I shut down the game and returned to the complex.
Upon booting up the computer and researching what come next, I learned I missed an opportunity. After winning, I should have claimed the gym for Team Red and left a creature behind to fight off opposing teams that tried to claim or reclaim the gym.
Now I just have to figure out how to claim.
Living and learning. That should be my goal for 2019keep living and learning.