Friday, November 29, 2019

Home Again, Jiggity Jig

The plan to leave early Wednesday, before the second wave of bumper to bumper traffic hit the freeway, worked out perfectly. I practically had the freeway to myself; and the rain, just beginning as I headed out, was coming up behind me on the drive, so I reached my destination before it caught up.
Race Day didn’t work out quite so well.
Though it was raining Race Day, Twin 2 and I grabbed our umbrellas, and headed to race site thinking the weather would get better, or at least remain at a level we’d be able to compete in.
The weather did not get better. Nor did it remain at a doable level. It got worse and, by the time we reached package pickup, it was a full-fledged storm. Deciding neither one of us wanted to risk pneumonia, we picked up our package, I snagged a few photos, after which we headed out to Twin 1's place in the beach area.

So, no new medal this time around. The next opportunity to earn a medal isn’t until January 2020, when I participate in Run to the Beat 5K. The Archeologist turned me onto that 5K and, the way she explained it, musicians will accost us on the course and play music at us. LOL.
Sounds like a blast.
Had Twin 2 not been driving, I don’t think I’d have made it to the brood this year because driving in the storm was scary. I can’t tell you how many automobiles we saw that had hydroplaned and turned themselves around ─ some all banged up from hitting something. But we ourselves made it safe and sound.
Having passed on the 5K, we arrived early at Twin 1's and, planning to leave early ─ because Twin 2 didn’t feel comfortable driving in bad weather at night, I only got to touch base with a handful of the brood. Others were arriving later. But that handful was enough. More than enough.
I’m just happy Thanksgiving is over and hopefully I’ll have no other family obligations for at least a year.
Twin 1 loved the needlepoint I made for her.

Back Left Corner

Twin 1 also cooked her butt off ─ not just for family, but so she could see to it the Skid Row homeless were fed today, the day after.

Since I didn’t get to race in my pilgrim’s outfit this year, I put it on to present the meal for what Twin 1 refers to not as Thanksgiving, but as Stolen Land Day. 

Twin 2 dug up and presented me with two old photos, for scrapbooking, of me in my younger years.

My reaction was one of surprise"Damn! I didn't realize how hot I was back then". LOL

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Happy Trails to Me

Now that I’ve got my weeks straight, and have confirmation it’s the right time ─ because the hotel sent an “about your upcoming visit” email, I’m mostly packed and ready to join the multitudes on the road first thing tomorrow morning. Hopefully at the crack of dawn, when those stuck in traffic on the freeway, as we speak, have reached their destination and are off the road, before the next wave of traffic commences and before the projected storm hits this area.
I can’t check into the hotel until 3:00, but I'll spend time at Twin 2's condo, a 2 minute walk to/from the hotel.
Why, you ask, am I staying at a hotel when Twin 2’s condo is a hop skip jump away?
Twin 2 had offered/suggested I stay with her, but I’m accustomed to being alone, having my own space.
Twin 2 has a guest bedroom, and I’ve spent time with her before. But she’s married now, and the guest bedroom has been taken over by a stepdaughter. She has a pull-out bed in another room, which is where Twin 1 sleeps when she’s visiting. But a pull-out bed in a room that doesn’t have its own bathroom and TV is more like camping for me ─ not my thing. Plus Twin 2 has a dog ─ my grandson Patches, a jack russell terrior. Not to mention every member of that household is very social. I expect friends and neighbors would be dropping in/out ─ also not my thing.
At any rate, so Twin 2 won’t be mad because I opted for a hotel rather than her place, it would be good if I could arrive around breakfast time and spend the day there until check-in.
There was no fooling Trainer. Inasmuch as he knew I’d be doing a 5K on Thursday, it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to figure out I’d be skipping Thursday’s session without my bringing it to his attention. So he pushed me pretty hard Monday and Tuesday. It was two sessions of my grunting and groaning and utterances of Oh God! ─ using the Lord’s name in vain. At the end of which, I yet and still gave him that Starbucks Gift Card and wished him Happy Thanksgiving. LOL.
The seniors had their Thanksgiving Potluck today, sponsored by Activity Director. I was way too busy to check in, so no idea if it was a success or if few showed up.
Thanksgiving Day is likely to be a ghost town around here.
Seniors with family will be picked up and taken out, or to a relative’s home, for the day. Those with no family will do their own thing here in the Community Room. Probably bingo with another potluck.
Last week, I saw the Residents Volunteer Activity Committee was raffling off a Wookie at today's potluck.
That’s how the RVAC funds itself. They take a donated new item ─ quite a few of which come as casino gifts given to Apache for being a high roller, raffle it off, and use the money collected to purchase prizes for bingo winners.
The casino has given Apache a lot of great items that he says he doesn’t need nor want, such as cookware, kitchen appliances, a dehydrator, cordless tire inflator, etc.
It’s not always Apache making donations, sometimes it’s a resident donating a new item for the raffle. I myself have had a few impulse buys I donated rather than returned.
The Wookie was an impulse buy by Apache. He saw it, liked it, bought it, then decided he didn’t want it. Instead of returning, he offered it up and I saw the posting.
Geek that I am, all over Star Wars and finding the walking talking Wookie cute, I purchased six one-dollar tickets. I could, of course, have gone to Walmart and purchased a Wookie, but I’m not a collector of Star Wars memorabilia. Just thought Wookie was a toy I'd like to play with and jumped on the opportunity to win it.
Win it I did.

I didn’t have to be present for the drawing and wasn’t present but, along about 3:00, Apache knocked on the door and there was wookie in his hands.
So the Thanksgiving Holiday is starting off on a good note, i.e., I’m done working out for the week, I won Wookie and all I need now is for the predicted rain storm to not happen ─ or at least wait until I’m out of the area before it starts.
Have a Great Holiday. Type to you when I get back.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Are We There Yet, Part 2

Why did not one of you tell me Thanksgiving is not until next week?
Here I was planning, pulling out luggage, ready to pack tomorrow THEN, wondering why the hotel has not sent me a reminder, I double-checked and discovered I’m booked to arrive next week, NOT this week, because Thanksgiving and the Trot are not until next week.
Do I feel like boo boo the fool?
Why yes ... yes I do.
Holy cow! Thinking this was the end of the month, I even paid my rent for next month and already posted a Happy Thanksgiving message on the blog.
Oh well, looks like I’ll be in the pain cave this Thursday, rather than hanging out with the brood. And it’s a good thing I learned of my confusion before I informed trainer in today’s session that I’d be absent Thursday and gifted him that gift card, because he would have laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed, and held it over me like I’m planning to tease him about not knowing what ROFLMAO means.
Fortunately, only you blog readers know of my faux pas, and I'm sure you'll have one good laugh about it and move on.
Actually, knowing I’ve yet another week to prepare has me feeling less stressed.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Are We There Yet?

The holiday travel hasn’t even begun and I’m feeling stressed and exhausted already.
Fortunately, the utility company did not add to the stress with an outage, so I was able to bake grain free bagels to take on the road and, tomorrow afternoon or early Wednesday, before heading out, I’ll make cassava flour naan bread to go. A couple of boiled eggs, avocados and a cooked protein I’ve not yet decided upon (either organic free-range chicken or wild shrimp) and I’ll be all set insofar as feeding myself in the hotel room that doesn’t have a kitchen.
Did you know you can heat a meal in a hotel’s ice bucket?
When I did the Batman 5K, I took cooked organic potatoes and boiled eggs for breakfast. To heat the potatoes, which I’d stored in clear plastic microwave containers, I placed a container in the ice bucket, made hot steaming water by running tap water through the coffee machine, poured the hot water into the ice bucket over the container, popped in a boiled in-shell egg, put the lid on the ice bucket and, in not so many minutes, voilĂ ... hot potatoes and a warm egg.
Lunch, when I did Batman, was apples with almond butter or bananas. Dinner was pre-cooked salmon and cassava flour naan bread. Both were wrapped individually in tin foil, and I literally ironed the salmon, through the foil, to a nice warm consistency by use of the hotel’s iron and also used the iron to toast the in-foil naan bread.
Just a few hotel hacks for you on how to manage without a kitchen and an inability to eat out.
Feeling stressed, exhausted, blood pressure running high, I did manage to get laundry done over the weekend. The unit, not needing a deep cleaning, is being dusted and straightened out as I go, I took a deep dive through the containers in the patio storage area and dug out my pilgrim’s outfit to wear for the Turkey Trot, and I managed to make it through this morning’s workout, hoping for a second wind to make it through tomorrow’s last workout of the week, and Thursday's trot.
A funny thing happened in the pain cave today.
Over the weekend, Trainer messaged me a funny gif of a dancing Batman, to which I replied ROFLMAO.
He said, in today’s session, “I’m not sure what you meant by ROFLMAO. I thought maybe it was a typo”.
I was aghast, “You don’t know what ROFLMAO means!?” and spelled it out for him.
He said he started to turn to his wife and kids, ask them what it meant, but thought better of it.
”It’s a good thing you didn’t”, said I. “Your family would never have let you live it down that you didn’t know what that meant”.
I probably won’t let him live it down either. LOL.
Not exactly sure why I’m experiencing such an energy drain right now, but highly suspect it’s dread because Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday and getting together with the family not my favorite thing.
But I’m a mom, a grandma, an auntie, a sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and I’m the oldest and only one left of my mother’s children ─ as all my brothers and my one sister are deceased. So I’m kind of the patriarch and need to show up ... even if it is only once a year.
To other relatives (the children of nieces and nephews), I’m like the mythical unicorn ─ they’ve heard about me, been told I exist, but have never seen me. LOL.
If I don’t get another opportunity to post before I head out ....... 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

The wind kicked up again today and, shortly thereafter, here comes a warning from the utility company of a possible power outage tomorrow, Sunday.
Because of the previous threats of possible outages, after using up all the items in the freezer, so as to not lose product if an outage did occur, I’d been putting off replenishing the fridge.
Wouldn’t you know, the Santa Anas having passed, the utility company given us the all clear, just when I thought it was safe and had loaded up the fridge yesterday, here we go again.
Hopefully not, because going out of town Wednesday, I’ve got daily do’s.
It’s not like my carefree younger days, when all there was to a road trip was a moment’s notice, a toothbrush and off I’d go.
I’d eat in restaurants, in hotels and, if I needed a change of clothes, I’d go shopping.
Now it’s do laundry before I go, clean the unit so I don’t come back to an untidy place, wash my hair, pack make-up, lotions, day clothes, night clothes, athletic shoes, sandals, cook and package breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack meals I know I can reheat in a hotel room so as to not get sick.
Going anywhere these days is so much work that it’s sometimes easier to stay home. Consequently, I have declined a friend’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Party this year, two events at my friend Q’s home and numerous out of the area 5Ks.
No to mention how an outage is going to impact those who've stocked their fridges with plans to cook for the holiday, so fingers crossed we’ll get lucky again.
There are no holidays at the Pain Cave. Trainer has so many clients that he’s working night, day, holidays — but I guess that’s what one has to do when one is self-employed, and he seems happy and grateful that his business is doing so well.
I’ve not yet told him I will be out-of-town Thursday, thus missing that session. I’ll tell him at the conclusion of Tuesday’s session because, if I tell him sooner, there’s a good chance he’ll push me harder in Monday's and Tuesday’s sessions to make up for the missed day, and I don’t want to be worn out when I’ve got the Turkey Trot to do on Thursday.
Trainer and I have forged a close bond. He’s demonstrated that I’m one of his favorite clients, even telling me recently that “should anything happen, I’d come there (indicating the senior complex) to train you”.
And I know he’s proud of my progress and that he uses me to shame his younger clients when they complain how hard it all is.
Inasmuch as, after Tuesday’s workout, he won’t see me again until the Monday after Thanksgiving, I thought to give him a Happy Thanksgiving card.
THEN, I thought to make that card a Starbucks Coffee Gift Card, because he too is a Starbucks devotee.
THEN today, when I stopped by Starbucks for the gift card, I thought to put the card in a coffee cup and found a cute image to print out and affix to the top of the cup.

Cute idea, is it not?
The seniors are celebrating Thanksgiving Tuesday.
I’m tempted to stop in, after that day’s work out, just to see if Quiet Old Guy (QOG) is in attendance or if he’s still hiding out from the women, but the event is 11:00 to 1:00, I won't return until around 12:30 and might not feel like bothering with the tail end of it.
I ran into QOG the other day, as he was walking to his car, and he seemed fine. But I no longer see him heading to the Community Room daily to meet up with Church Lady. He’s uncharacteristically staying indoors, blinds and windows closed.
Church Lady blew that one.
I’ve no doubt the Seer and Shadow will be in attendance. The both of them have slowly been coming out of seclusion, seen here/there on the complex.
There’s a good chance Handsome Guy will be in attendance, as he seems to have a lot of time on his hands lately, palling around with Big Friendly Guy.
I doubt I’ll have time to hang with the seniors until some time in December for the annual Cookie Decorating event. Hopefully, it will be scheduled around my time in the pain cave. If not, I’m going to have to change my training schedule for that day, because cookie decorating is such a fun activity.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Forward Thinking

Absolutely nothing is going on my side of the world.
I'm still maintaining a low profile, away from the Community Room, and it looks like Quiet Old Guy is doing the same.
He's not been seen outside his unit since I last saw him on that day Church Lady and Hoochie were vying for his attention.
His car hasn't moved, his blinds have not opened, so I'm beginning to worry.
If I don't see signs of life soon, I'm going to ask for a welfare check, as it may be more than his deciding to keep a low profilehide from the women.
With not a lot going on to distract me from forward thinking as I sit on the couch ─ engrossed in needlepoint, I'm seeing time fast approaching the Thanksgiving holiday when I do an annual visit with Twin 1 and her brood.
Annual, only since 2017.
Prior to 2017, after years and years and years of hurt and disappointment, being collateral damage to what Twin 1 now recognizes as her period of “being lost”, I’d become less and less and less involved in family gatherings until, in 2011 I decided, in order to save myself, I was better off without family.
A reconciliation of sort occurred in 2017 to where I now once a year give that side of the family a go.
It’s become somewhat of a duty as Twin 1 is insecure, and for me to not show up would read to her as not loving her, not forgiving her for the past, so I go.
It’s been okay, even though I really don’t relate.
Twin 1, though now an awakened soul, with a deep spiritual awareness, also intelligent and well spoken, at the same time is very ghetto ─ loud, Afrocentric. Her three sons are their mother’s children. Although they are all nice boys, they are in no way awakened. The boys are totally asleep in the dream ─ loud, Afrocentric, caught up in ego, sports, rap music, thinking they know stuff when they don’t know jack.
I don’t do ghetto, rap music, sports ─ except for the Tour de France and America Ninja Warrior, I’m more redneck than Afrocentric, and a big ego is laughable to me, so it’s difficult to relate to the grandsons.
Granddaughter, although rife with traumas resulting from growing up with the way her mom was during mom’s “lost” period, was somehow born an awakened soul, has a great relationship with her ghetto brothers, but is in no way ghetto herself ─  which makes the two of us more relatable.  However, since recently becoming aware of just how many issues she's dealing with, I've decided I can no longer allow myself to become too envolved.
At any rate, as they say, it’s all good in the hood ─ or as good as it's going to get for now. They all have their own lives, let me live mine, but it’s draining to be around people who are insecure, deeply asleep in the dream, traumatized, Afrocentric. Touching base once a year is all I can handle with that side of the family.
This year, however, instead of booking a hotel and spending time in the beach area so I can be with the brood Thanksgiving Day, I’ll be booking a hotel in the Murrieta area, as Twin 2 wants me to do the Riverside Turkey Trot with her Thanksgiving morning, after which she’ll drive us down to the beach area for time with the brood.
It’s been a tradition to pull out the Christmas decorations and deck the patio Day after Thanksgiving. The tradition this year will depend on how my body feel, because I’ll be driving back that day, and whether or not the family visit turns out to be draining or invigorating.
The activity calendar indicates Thanksgiving Potluck, 11 a.m., on the 26th.
Looks like Activity Director will be providing “fried chicken, rolls, drinks”, so the seniors will come with their side dishes, but it’s not worth changing my pain cave schedule to attend so no.
There’s going to be hell to pay if there’s a repeat of the event being cancelled because Corporate fails to give Activity Director a check.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Yesterday Was Monday

This morning started off like a 1986 episode of Twilight Zone that so fascinated me that, some 33 years later, I still remember it and apply that episode when I’ve looked for something, found it not to be in its normal place, only to later find it in it's normal place ... where I’d first looked.
The episode was titled “Matter of Minutes” and was based on the science fiction “Yesterday was Monday” story and told of a couple waking up to find themselves surrounded by construction men and everything being changed around them.
The couple had somehow slipped into a loophole and while they should have been waking in at 9:33 a.m. ─ for some reason they have hopped over into 11:37 a.m, catching how the universe works with little construction workers building a separate world we’re not to know about. When it’s our tune to awaken, the separate world is torn down, we awaken to our own world with things just as we’d left them. HOWEVER, sometimes the construction workers make a mistake, we can’t find an item where it should be, the construction workers realize oh oh, slip back in and put the item in place.
So this morning, when my Wonder Woman coffee cup was not on the counter where I’d left it, and I’d checked every single place it could possibly be, I told myself the little construction workers had forgotten to return it and it would show up later.
It did show up later.

Inside the microwave. The only place I didn’t think to look.
So maybe I was wrong about the little construction workers this time ... or was I?
I’m avoiding the Community Room for a while, as I ponder what’s going on with Handsome Guy.
He’s known me some five years and its been friendly chats with him looking out for me, just like Apache does.
Now he’s joking around (or is he) about spending more time in the Community Room because, as he put it, “I was waiting for you to come in”.
It really threw me for a loop when, after following me around at the Halloween Party, he got up from his seat, caught me at the door as I was leaving and hugged me saying “Happy Halloween”.
I’ve been spontaneously hugged before, but a Happy Halloween hug is a first.
The room was full of residents, everyone saw and their 2 plus 2 is going to add up to an incorrect 5.
I can live with that but the plan is to avoid Handsome Guy until he calms down and slows his roll.
It’s probably just with the holidays coming, guys want to be with someone but Handsome Guy has a mother living in the area to turn to, several women here who’ve (according to what he’s told me in the past) have expressed an interest, invited him to dinner, in addition to the many women in his church charmed by his handsome self so he doesn’t need to be alone or try to change our status quo.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Framed It

Walking to the mail box Saturday afternoon, I thought I still smelled smoke from the Hillside fire. However, I saw later on the news that there was yet another fire on Little Mountain earlier that day.
Fortunately, it was a small brush fire, quickly extinguished, near homes but with none lost.
The Archeologist came close to losing hers.
Video she’d posted from her security system, showed flames fast approaching from across the street.
Video she posted from the camera in her car, showed flames on either side of the car as she fled 2 a.m. with the kids and their two cats.
It was a pretty terrifying thing to see from the vantage point of the person experiencing it, and worse for her and the kids to experience, but she came out with no fire damage ─ just smoke and, except for one house across the street with fire damage, her immediate neighborhood is intact.
And would you believe, some test tube baby was setting off fireworks that whistled around 10 o’clock last night. It wasn’t the noise that irritated, it was the fear of his/her touching off another blaze.
Looking at how well-connected the Archeologist is ─ cameras recording what’s going on outside her home, a GoPro (or something like that) recording from the car, brought home how technology has passed me by.
I often see things, as I’m driving, I’d have loved to have captured a photo or video of, but wouldn’t know the first thing of how to install recording equipment, or how to extract what’s recorded from it. Then there’s all the various social media sites ─ Reddit, some new TikTok thing and others that I can’t figure out.
I do have a Twitter account, but can’t for the life of me figure out how to tweet or respond to a tweet. Not to mention all the fancy doodads on my own laptop that I don’t have the patience or mindset to learn how to use.
It’s just all too much insofar as technology.
I do, however, have the patience to stab something with a needle for 13 months, 3200 hours.
For instance, this needlepoint for Twin 1 ─ all finished, framed and ready to present when next I see her on Thanksgiving Day.

While simultaneously finishing that piece, I also began working on one for Twin 2. Thus far, I’ve made pretty good progress on, what looks to be,  a massive 35 month project, having stabbed it with a needle for only 240 hours.


Progress: October

Friday, November 1, 2019

We Now Return to our Regular Schedule

Winds have died down
The Archeologist was allowed back into her home around 6:00 last night.
Also allowed back was the Baker’s daughter — married to a firefighter, who’d also been evacuated.
I was still smelling smoke as late as 10:00 p.m., but the hot spots must have been cleared otherwise evacuees would not have been allowed to return.
Hopefully, that’s the last of the Santa Annas as today we return to our regularly scheduled programming, with me fiddling away the morning, rather than rushing around performing just in case preparations.
Yesterday’s costume party was a hoot.
Residents showed up in groves.
Even the Seer and Shadow, though not wearing costumes, came out of seclusion to join the festivities.
Having not seen Shadow for many months, I was shocked to see how his physique had deteriorated. Too much sitting, not doing anything other than back and forth from his unit to the Seer’s, has him now with a protruding belly that reminded me of how I looked 9 months pregnant with twins.

Inactivity is a slow death around here.
Church Lady was of course in attendance, looking cute in an angel outfit.
Surprisingly, her “friend” (Quiet Old Guy), who is always always always in the Community Room, did not come out to play. Neither did Hoochie Mama, who also is now always in the Community Room.
Were the two of them off somewhere together? Maybe when Quiet Old Guy asked Church Lady to be his "friend" he meant exactly that, i.e., I'm not interested so let's just be friends. Time will tell.
Though the number of residents in costumes was disproportionate to the many in the room, with twelve entering the contest, it was an improvement on the usual three or four. With so little competition in the past, I always came in first place.
Not this time. My winning streak was broken by a Wicked Witch outfit, complete with apple in hand.

So sweet she was. Surprised and happy to have taken first place, she cried.
I didn’t mind my streak being broken. I’d actually done nothing special by way of costume this year. Because I was coming to the party directly from working out, I’d repurposed the leggings and top I’d worn to the Batman 5K as everyday workout gear but, for this event, called it a costume.

It fit the bill and garnered lots of compliments from the seniors. Especially from Handsome Guy, who rarely participates in group gatherings, but was in attendance and paid a little too much attention to yours truly.
At one point, he asked me to pose for a photo to his phone.
I obliged, but not sure how I feel about that — his having a pic of me on his phone.
From past experiences of guys lying to boost their street creds, “You’d better not go around telling your friends this is my girlfriend”, cautioned I. And just in case he didn’t get the message, I worked into a conversation we were later having about people in the room that, at 75, soon to be 76, I was older than a great majority of folks in the room.
Handsome Guy was surprised, but continued to follow me around.

With not much in the way of eye candy around here, I do enjoy seeing Handsome Guy flashing his pearly whites (That's not a protruding belly on him. It's the way the top falls), but flirting with me is a waste of time. I’m too busy and content to be bothered.
Apache, in his Big Bad Werewolf outfit, was pretty much in character.

He tried to rile the room by bringing a friend ….

Like I said in previous posts, residents have learned to ignore his nonsense. No one paid the 45-Jack-O-Lantern any mind.
Apache tells me there's a new manager in the office, and that he’s already told the guy, “I’m going to be your worst nightmare”.
The new guy has barely put his foot in the door and Apache is already planning an attack.
That's not right and, just like his buddy No. 45, Apache is going to find himself one day impeached.
Church Lady's Angel outfit, took 2nd place in the costume contest.

Third place was a cute little resident dressed as a brown cow.