Sunday, May 31, 2020

This Ain’t My First Time at the Rodeo

Though appalled by behaviors I saw on the news last night ─ where the peaceful protest in Los Angeles morphed into rioting, I wasn’t all that surprised because this ain’t my first time seeing such a thing.
I was a young woman during the Watts Riot ─ dating a cop, of all things. The cop that later became my husband, fathered my Twins.
I remember the looting and burning of businesses. I also remember how there was a favorite Mexican restaurant I’d frequently ordered from. That restaurant was right in the epicenter of the unrest and the white woman whose restaurant it was, along with her mexican husband who did the cooking, were much respected and liked by the neighborhood. So liked and respected that groups of neighbors stood outside the restaurant to protect the business, stop those looting and burning from destroying that business.
I also remember how quite a few of those looters were hunted down after-the-fact and charged. Best I can recall, looters were found through house-to-house searching of homes in that area for stolen goods.
Was that search legal? I don’t know. It’s just what was done at that time, which makes me think that, after things settle, license plates, seen on news feeds, will be tracked to looters and surveillance cameras will be looked at to determine those looters who let their masks slip during the looting.
I was very happily divorced, my Twins were living on their own, and I was at work in the law firm when the verdict on the officers that beat Rodney King was announced ─ not guilty of excessive force.
All of a sudden, the office manager ran up to my desk, told me riots had sprung up all around us and told me to go home immediately, as I might not be able to get out later.
I was completely oblivious to the verdict and the smoldering anger on the streets, but took her seriously because she didn’t like me (no reason, just one of the many evil humans I had to tolerate in the working world) and the fact she looked concerned about me, a woman she didn’t like, carried a lot of weight. I took off and headed for the metro. Just in time because, inasmuch as the train travelled straight through the rioting areas (I could see looting and burning from my window seat), service was discontinued after the train I was on reached end of the line.
I was home/off work for a week, with pay ─ which was pretty sweet and, from my patio, I watched tanks rolling down the street. The National Guard set up their command post on the roof of the old J.C. Penny building at the mall, adjacent to where I was living. We were under curfew orders and there were armed (rifles) guardsmen stationed at intersections to enforce the curfew.
Now here we go again.
I’m in a safe place ─ no protests, no riots, no curfew but, when I saw where businesses were being destroyed in Los Angeles and the posh Melrose area, I became concerned for the guy who makes my glitter masks, as his business is near those epicenters.
Checking on him, I find he’s okay, his business is okay, but I feel for the businesses that are not, as they were already under water due to the pandemic, now this.
I’m no expert, but it’s been my experience that though peaceful protests will continue, the rioting runs it's course in two/three days.
However, if they don’t do something about having charged murder cop with only third degree and/or if he goes to trial and is acquitted, I’ll be worried about what is yet likely to come.
Again, I’m no expert about the justice system, but it seems to me that when you’re kneeing an individual on the neck, all lackadaisical like with your hand in your pocket, the individual is pleading “I can’t breathe” and you’re taunting him with “Well, get up. Get in the car” knowing full well he can’t get up because you’ve got you knee in his neck and your buddy cops are on his back and legs, that’s Malice Capital Murder, murder cop intended for Floyd to die.
So anyway, amidst all the chaos on the television screen, I gathered supplies and assembled a week’s worth of tamales.

I steamed them in the instant pot, as I didn't have a tamale steamer. The instant pot could only hold so many at a time, so it took some time to get 'em all steamed in batches, and the lid squished 'em down a bit, but they came out delicious. However, I'll be purchasing a tamale pot for next time so they can spread out and fluff up.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Today Was THAT Day

Today was a perfectly pleasant day of running errands ─ got Jeep’s tire pressure checked, stopped by bank’s ATM, stopped by Home Depot for cricket glue strips to lay by the patio window to keep crickets from coming in ─ when I open the patio window for air in the late evenings, and was headed to Sprouts, bopping and singing along to music on country/western station KFROG. THEN I saw this.

My mood changed and I found myself trying to telepathically transmit the thought ─ “So, how’s it going?” to the driver of that car.
If I were she, what with the pandemic, murder of Black people ─ though not a new thing but a thing getting a lot of attention because it’s become so openly egregious, and the subsequent rioting, I’d have been too embarrassed to sport that bumper sticker, would have scratched it off.
When the light changed, and I saw the car looked to also be turning into the lane leading to Sprouts, I told myself that, if she parked near me, I’d point to the sticker and ask her in person, “How’s that working out for you”.
Unfortunately, or lucky for me to save me from my now off-centered self, she turned away from Sprouts and towards Burger King.
I don’t even remember what I’d gone to Sprouts for, but I lucked up on gluten free hot dog buns and organic masa ─ which is the same as gluten free, nothing in it but yellow corn and a trace of lime, which purchases put me back on center, out of thinking about the ugliness going on and that MAGA crap.
Back at the complex, I ran into Next Door Neighbor coming up the stairs same time as I. She indicated she’d gotten onto Yelp, read the review and said, “It’s a good thing they didn’t hear from me!” 
She then went inside her unit, I opened my door, walked in and, before I could put the groceries down, my eyes went to the smoke detector still hanging from the ceiling since January 9 ─ in spite of management saying, “We’ll look into it” at the February 24th Community Meeting, well before the lockdown.

Funny how it is that I’ve become so accustomed to the hanging smoke detector that I stopped noticing it ... that is until today. Something inside rose up and said “Today is that day”.
Suddenly remembering what I’d said about companies paying attention to Yelp reviews, I didn’t even wait to put groceries away. I booted up the laptop and posted a review.
“I’ve been living here 8 years and, although overall it’s a nice place to live, there have been annoying issue that go unresolved. One, like the previous reviewer, is the call box not working … for years. Another, for me, is a defective smoke detector in my unit, reported so many times, with no permanent resolution, that I just gave up reporting, purchased batteries and learned how to replace batteries myself to stop the hours and hours and hours of incessant beeping, every few seconds, every few weeks. When whatever is wrong with the detector caused it to fall out of the ceiling on January 9, I didn’t figure anyone would pay attention if I reported it so I've been living with it. However, at the Community Meeting on February 24, I took a chance at being heard and reported, in that meeting, in front of resident witnesses, that it had fallen out of the ceiling. It was the same ole same ole “We’ll look into it”, and I’m still waiting. It’s been like this since January 9.
I attached that photo to the review and, the only rating options being a low Meh ─I’ve experienced better or a middle A-OK or top Yah! I’m a fan, gave the complex what I thought was fair … the middle rating.
Though I’ve had good results with Yelp reviews producing resolutions in the past ─ once at a car dealership where us customers waited for hours and hours and hours, after our cars were serviced and ready to pick up, before we were told our cars were ready and had been. They even lost one woman’s car. Told her she’d picked it up already. LOL.
I was contacted after that negative review and not charged for several future maintenance services.
Will be interesting to see if management pays attention and finally does something about my smoke detector.
I’m not holding my breath.
So anyway, with buns to freeze for the next hot dog day ─ 4th of July and, with chicken now in the slow cooker for filling, tomorrow will be masa day and tamales to the freezer so I won’t have to cook again for days.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Not Moving?

Now that word on the new interface changing from “default for all users” to “legacy interface will still be optionally available”, looks like I’m not moving after all.
Inasmuch as I’d already purchased space at WordPress, I’ll just freeze it, not go live, keep it on the back burner ... just in case.
Must have been an enormous hue and cry to cause the change from “default” to “optional”. I don’t know what others didn’t like about the new interface, but for me I didn’t find any bugs, it was just such a convoluted set up, definitely not user-friendly. And the having to go back/forth through a separate portal to read blogs was for the birds. The little bit of time I was stuck in it, before Plain Jane pointed to the way out, reminded me of the time, in my teens, I went into a hall of mirrors at the Pike.
The hall of mirrors was too much, overwhelmed me, I felt trapped, I didn’t know which way to turn. Same with that new interface, it was too much, my eyes were darting this way that way to locate what should have been obvious but was not, my fingers didn’t know what to do with themselves, it made my head hurt. When I got back to the legacy format it was like everything in me settled down and there was one huge WHEW.
Do they still have Halls of Mirrors? Do they even still have a Pike at the beach? I don’t know, but I never went back into the hall after that one time and, though I’ve always been interested in visiting a Maze, I know not to because I know myself. I’d freak out, get frantic, start screaming for help. LOL.
So anyway, back to our normally scheduled program ... there was a knock on the door yesterday. Oh Good! thought I, my gluten free masa is here.
It wasn’t.
It was a Meal Relief Kit from the California Food Bank.
A delivery person was dropping one off at every door.

Nice, but though everyone here is limited-income, not everyone here is poor/needy. I drove the box over to Apache’s unit ─ drove instead of walking it over because the box was heavy and it was 100˚ outside. Apache wasn’t home, probably at the casino now that the doors have reopened, so I left it at his door with a note to pass on to residents who might be in need.
Before dropping it off, I did open to peruse the contents ─ grape jelly, 2 canned carrots, 2 canned tuna, pasta, lentils, 2 oatmeal packets, some kind of non-fat milk that doesn't or didn't require refrigeration ???? 

And a chicken/rice dinner.

Not a bad care package at all.
I’m not clear on whether this care package is an every week or every month thing during the pandemic OR if one has to sign up for it though the organization that sponsored the delivery.
Time will tell.
When I opened the door at the knock, Next Door Neighbor (NDN) simultaneously had received a knock, a box and opened her door ─ NDN is the socially conscious one, the outspoken one, had a career as a State Commissioner of Education and is now involved in local politics, always has so much to say ... even after getting herself impeached as President of the Volunteer Residents Activity Committee for treating others on the committee like servants.
She and I haven’t connected since long before the shutdown ─ she busy with her away from the complex activities, I with my keeping to myself, but she enjoys a little gossip just as much as I do, so I took the opportunity to ask, “Have you been reading the Yelp reviews?”
“What’s a Yelp?”, asks she.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Made the mistake of pushing the button that said “try” the new dashboard, which is going into effect June 1.

“Try” turned into I’m stuck with it now and I really don’t care for the new setup ─ a lot of unnecessary steps, setup is too confusing, not to mention the dashboard is not attractive.

As soon as I can figure out how to do so, I’ll be moving to Wordpress.

Hopefully, I can manage to do so without losing everything, but already I’m running into a problem with the domain name. It might end up bootsbraids.wordpress rather than bootsandbraids.wordpress.

Either way, I’m outta here in a few days. Hopefully, I’ll see you on the flip side.
And good luck to those of you who will be stuck with the new dashboard setup in June.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Happy belated quarantined Memorial Day.
In the good old days ─ good old days being ten/twelve weeks ago, us seniors would have gotten together and given ourselves a BBQ outside in the patio area by the pool.
There’s still a lock on the pool gate ─ rightly so, and we’re all in masks staying away from each other so instead, craving a Memorial Day themed meal (slaw, potato salad, turkey dog in a bun), I spent time in the kitchen.
The yeast having arrived before the gluten free masa (thanks again Anne Marie), I put tamales on the back burner and went back to my original plan of baking gluten-free hot dog buns. That project ended up being a waste of time, energy, flour, eggs.
The first recipe allowed the dough to be shaped as a bun before baking, but didn’t translate well substituting all-purpose flour with gluten free and baking powder with soda. Epic fail.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
The second recipe was specifically developed for gluten free flour and translated well with soda instead of powder, but called for a hot dog panwhich I didn't have. Substituting a cake pan for the hot dog pan turned out a bread cake. Taste wasn’t bad, but impossible to shape, after baking, into a useable bun.
If you don’t succeed a second time, go with what you know. I just wrapped those turkey dogs in a tortilla and called it a Memorial Day meal.

Before logging off last night, I checked Yelp to see if the complex received any further reviews, other than the two.
It did not.
However, instead of two reviews there was only one ─ the original negative review. The positive review from across the quad neighbor Quiet Old Guy, had been move off the main page and, in its place, were the words “1 other review that is not currently recommended”.
How interesting.
My inquiring mind had to know why, so I Googled “Why would Yelp flag a review as not recommended?” Google replied, “According to Yelp, their algorithm chooses to not recommend certain reviews because it's believed that the flagged review is fake ...”
I can’t imagine that positive review did not come from Quiet Old Guy. It read like something his strait-laced, deferential to those in authority self would say. However, I can’t say it’s beyond the realm of possibility that management would have been so stupid, so desperate, as to have posted their own positive review posing as him.
Either way, there are no further reviews and seems there won’t be. It was incredibly ostentatious to ask residents for reviews in the first place. Especially when folks have other things on their minds, like surviving this pandemic. Management will now have to live with the one negative review, and suspicions they faked a positive.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Having no access to the scale in the Game Room to check myself since the lockdown, and curious to know how I’m doing, I invested in one.
The good news is I’m still at my pre-pandemic weight. I haven’t gained.
The bad news is I’m still at my pre-pandemic weight. I haven’t lost.
I’m not on the Weight Watchers program, but ended up choosing this scale for no special reason. It arrived yesterday and, looking at the box, I found it’s one of those fancy scales that has fitness modes, which modes tells the user all kinds of body analysis stuff, i.e., fat, water, mass.
I have no idea how the scale can go into that level of detail, and looks like I’ll never know because, once I opened the box and began reading the manual for setting fitness mode, I read … “The age range for fitness mode is 18 to 75”.
At 76 years of age, I’ve aged out of fitness mode. LOL.
No matter, I probably wouldn’t understand all that data even if I could get access to it. I just want to watch my weight — preferably watch it go down.
With no walking competitions on the horizon, because of restrictions on group activities, I’ve been depending on Virtual 5Ks. I’m getting emails every day about this one and that one, but few have caught my fancy — other than the Wonder Diva I just completed, and one other coming up soon — the Covid 19 Over it 5K.
I’m certainly not over Covid. I don’t think any of us will be over it in many years to come. I think we’ll just learn how to survive in it. So, though not actually over it, I registered because of the fabulous “over it” hair buff they’re offering, as the words tell the story of a great many things in life I am actually over. LOL.

THEN, on Thursday, another interesting virtual popped up in email.

Interesting, not because of any special bling. Interesting because I did the ridge run September of last year, was looking forward to this year’s run — which Covid put a halt to, and thought their virtual worth participation.
While registering for the event, I saw that participants are expected to pick up race packets.
For a virtual?
Expecting participants to pick up race packets for a virtual — especially when the reason going virtual is because of a pandemic, makes about as much sense as when the bank originally had us spaced out in line, but too close at the teller windows.
I backed out of the registration process, and thinking this having to go virtual is new to the organization — they just didn’t know, I emailed the organizers — “In case you didn’t know, it’s customary to mail packets to participants in virtuals”.
That was bold of me, I later thought, not knowing what, if anything, would be coming back at me. Surprisingly, they replied … nicely.
“Thanks for connecting. We were trying to at least have a little contact with runners so we could at least say thank you for participating. Also then we would not have to charge the participant for the mailing. I think shipping would be six or seven dollars. What are your thoughts? Are you local?”
Well that’s just silly — the wanting contact to say thank you. I ignored it and addressed cost of mailing with … “One of the advantages of a virtual is race packets are mailed to participants with cost of mailing included in registration fee. Since you’ve already posted pickup, I guess it would be difficult to change now. However, I’m thinking maybe you could have two registration fees – one pickup, one mail to cover cost. Or at least an option button to have mailed, at cost. Thanks for replying. I’ll check the site later to see if any changes. If not, good luck with the virtual. Hope it’s as successful as last year’s event was.”
It won’t be, as successful that is. Not with having a package pickup, I thought to myself. But that was that.
Then whatdoyaknow. I wake up this morning to a reply … “Shirley that’s a great idea”. 
Look at me … being an influencer. LOL.
I don’t know which idea, but they are going to change the registration process. So, I guess I’ll be adding that 5K to my workouts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Yeast Less

Which one of you is hoarding all the yeast?
Needing active dry yeast for a baking project planned for the weekend, I went to the two local markets yesterday and found none, so I headed out of the area today, checked two markets in that area. Still no yeast.
There must be a lot of baking going on in self-isolation.
Not planning to go any further out of the area, I gave up on the idea of baking and decided to try a different recipe.
Can you guess what it is?

Only thing missing is gluten-free masa, which I hope to arrive by the weekend so I can get started. If it doesn’t arrive, then it’s back to the drawing board as to which recipe I’ll experiment with this weekend.
I’m having better luck with finding needlepoint floss.
I managed to get the two colors I initially ran out of. One source, I found after scrounging around on the internet, would only sell in bulk — lots of 12. But okay, I needed it, so went for it. I was able to purchase three of the other color from a source I found in the United Kingdom. I repeat … THE UNITED KINGDOM YALL! But I got my missing colors and feel lucky to have found them.
It cost me though. What pre-pandemic I could walk into a craft store and purchase for $4, ended up costing $41.
Once active dry yeast becomes available, I imagine the yeast won’t be the only thing to rise. What normally runs around $3.99 a packet is going to rise in cost exponentially.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Then There Were Two

Another review popped up on Yelp.
I didn’t personally know the first reviewer — at least I don’t think so. I’ve probably seen her around, but I don’t know the name of everyone I pass and greet. But I immediately recognized the second reviewer to be my across the quad upstairs neighbor Quiet Old Guy — Church Lady’s “friend”.
Whereas the first reviewer gave management a two star negative, Quiet Old Guy gave management a five star positive.
“I have lived at this location for 2 years. We have the best management and maintanance team. The team don't work for us, they work with us. Some residents think they live in a rent to own location and complain when they can't have their way. We should thank God for an affordable location and a caring staff”.
My immediate reaction was bless his heart, then I laughed out loud.
Fact checking through the blog, I find Nosey — downstairs corner unit across the quad, informed me a resident had moved into the vacant unit just before the 18th of October 2018 and described him as “a Black man and doesn’t walk so good”. So, not quite two years.
Though he still drives, he does appear to have medical issues, is very slow moving, depends on a cane.
He comes across as quite a nice old school gentleman — stiff, formal, respectful of women, respectful of authority, and it’s quite obvious from his physicality/his aura that he’s not had an easy time in life. So, I understand the five-star rating.
QOG has never shared with me where he was living before, but others have: Shadow came from a rundown property where there was drug dealing, assaults, burglaries. The 33-years married couple, that had a domestic violence issue last year, came from a community where there was unchecked reverse racism — residents called them names and were mean to them because they’re white. Then there was Christian Writer, who’d complained of being treated badly by neighbors in her previous community. And, on two other occasions, new residents stopped me as I was walking, introduced themselves and said how happy they felt to get a unit in this complex after having been on the wait list for a great while. So, to residents having experienced worse, here is nirvana.
So, I understand QOG’s five-star rating. He now has a safe, clean place to live, nice friendly kind neighbors, even has a lady friend — probably the best he’s had in a long time.
However, “best management and maintanance team … they work with us”?? That’s a stretch. But, we see through our perceived notions, expectations and past experiences.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Be Careful What You Ask For

Especially if what you’re asking is someone’s opinion.
Management posted another Activity Packet to our doors yesterday. Included in the packet was a sheet asking, “How Are We Doing? Want to leave your feedback. Here’s how! Go to YELP.COM …. Choose star rating and leave review … Thank you for your FEEDBACK, it is greatly appreciated.”
My immediate thought was hot damn! this is going to be good.
Are they serious? Do they really not know they’ve put themselves squarely on the railroad tracks and the train is coming?
I right away went to Yelp to see if there were any reviews and whatdoyaknow. Someone had immediately, that very day, posted a review.
“Although it's a beautiful place, you don't get to "live" here. You can only have 3 plants on your patios. You can't hang bird feeders or wind chimes, anything that may need to be attached to the railing on the patios. There is no designated smoking area. You have to walk out to the sidewalk and stand by the road, a busy street and I don't find it safe with the fast cars, accidents in front of the entrance or the homeless/drug addicted people badgering us for a smoke. The wash rooms almost never have all of the machines working at once. We are responsible to call for maintenance (the number on the machines). Most of the time when I need to do laundry, someone has filled up all of the working machines and then I have to wait all day. If you want a visit from someone or a delivery, good luck getting them inside the complex. Half the time the call box out front is broken. If they do manage to get in, there is approximately 12 visitor parking spaces for the over 200 apartments. All of this has been a problem before and during this Covid-19 problem. We are just expected to sit in the apartment and watch TV. We can't grow tomatoes or other veggies, enjoy the birds, relax with a hot cup of coffee and a smoke on our patio, no simple pleasures are allowed. We just exist.”
She didn’t lie, and pretty much summed up how the majority of the old folks feel … just allowed to exist.
Lucky for this management group, few residents will post a review. But only because 1) many aren’t even going to read the packet posted to their door 2) many do not have access to a computer and 3) some are not computer literate — like the resident who long ago told me her daughter tried to teach her, but she was too afraid of the computer to learn. Also, for those who would like to post a review, but have no computer, the computer they go to in the Game Room is not accessible during this lockdown. All lucky for management because, otherwise, even though this management group is not the worst, they’d find themselves soundly trashed on Yelp.
Be careful what you ask for.
This reminds me of a kid who was courting me in the workplace. He delivered the mail to the floor I worked on, would stop by my desk, chat me up, try to impress me.
I was never interested, but not because he was young. It was because he was young AND immature. But I was nice, didn’t run him off, just listened to what he had to say.
Then came the day when I guess he figured he’d won me over. Looking for validation, that I was into him, he asked, “What do you think of me?”
Foolish me. I thought he wanted to know what I saw. Which was something to the effect, “You’re the kind of person that is all show, no substance. You don’t do nice things for people unless it’s in front of others, so those others can see and be impressed.”
I must have hit the nail on the head, touched an area he thought was hidden, because he forgot he’d asked me “What do you think of me” and I was merely giving him what he’d asked formy opinion. 
However, I learned from his reaction. Thereafter, when anyone asked me what I thought of them — and for some strange reason a few others have, I say, “Do you really want me to answer that?” After which, there is a brief period of silence as the individual considers, sees something in my eyes, then says, “No. Never mind”.
As for the mail kid … wanting to show me a thing or two — which demonstrated just how immature he was, he began vigorously pursuing another girl on the same floor. I was unaware of it at the time, wouldn’t have cared had I known, but his immature mind thought it would be a way of getting back at me. At any rate, the girl he was pursuing did not like him, found him to be too aggressive and, when he wouldn’t stop asking her out, she filed a complaint. Never saw or heard anything about him again after that.
Can’t wait to see how management is going to handle this Yelp review. They can’t call in their lawyers and demand the resident remove the review, because they asked for it. Their only option is to come up with a face-saving response or ignore and hope no one else reads the packet, gains access to a computer and posts a review.
If I were management, I would have posted a “How are we doing” survey, so they could control the narrative. I myself would be happy to get some things off my chest in survey form, but don’t feel my smoke detector issue is Yelp review worthy. But good on management that I woke up this morning and found the driveway gate had already been repaired.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Wonder Diva

Heading out for the university this morning, to qualify in the Wonder Diva Virtual 5K and earn my swag ─ already received on the honor system, I saw the driveway entry gate was down. Gone actually.

Gate down, no security, I fully expect our cars to be broken into and/or stolen.
While standing there, wondering what could have happened, a resident ─ whom I’ll name The Preacher walked up and said a delivery truck had “backed up into the gate”, essentially destroying it.
I don’t see how a truck could have taken out the gate by backing up, when there's an entry side and an exit side, but whatever.
I’ve seen Preacher around for maybe two years, but hardly say anything more to him that good morning because, the one time we did get into a discussion about ─ I can’t remember exactly, but think it was about something No. 45 was doing or had caused to happen, and Preacher’s response was, “I always go by the bible” and he began to refer to the Book of Revelations and how everything that’s happened with No. 45 was prophesized.
He wasn’t wrong. It’s just that I felt like he was mansplaining to me, like I was some idiot woman and he this all-knowing male.

Preacher was ─ against complex rules not wearing a mask and, at one point during our very short interaction, he coughed, which made me glad I at least was wearing one.
Earlier in the week, I’d spotted Younger Sister heading for the mailbox … without a mask.
“Where’s your mask?” chastised I.
“Oh you know how it is”, said she. “It bothers me”.
No, I don’t know .... But Covid-19 is going to bother you a whole lot more, I thought to myself as I walked away.
Then, a few days ago, a mask wearing woman in the market walked by me and asked, “Are you doing okay”.
“Un huh??????” answered a confused I, wondering why she was asking.
“I can’t breathe. Feel like I’m about to pass out”, she went on to say. “You must be used to it”.
“I guess”, was my reply as we both went our separate ways.
Some folks are making such a big deal out of such a minor thing, when the risk of what the alternative will do to your ability to breath is major.
At any rate, arriving at the University, I found barriers preventing me from parking on campus.
I ended up parking at a shopping center about a half mile away and began tracking my time and pace from that point. Once I’d made it onto campus grounds, I found the area to be a lot safer than the last time ─ when it was completely deserted. This time there were landscapers and construction people on the property. There were also campus cops ... a lot of them. I think I counted something like eight cars here and there.
When I saw they’d found a guy camping out near the closed food court area, I understood why so many cars. Campus and dorms are empty. Lots of places for interlopers to ride out this pandemic.

They didn’t arrest him. Just made him pick up his belongings and leave.
No doubt he’ll be back under the cover of darkness and find a better hiding place.
At any rate, Wonder Diva Virtual completed. Took a little over an hour because, with no one to compete against, there was no need to hurry. Lol.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


I got carded this morning.
Deciding I needed to run by the bank for emergency cash, I drove out of the area.
Passing Costco, I noticed there is no longer a line around the building. There was a short line near the front door, so it appears panic buying is over and the line was probably due to a limit of how many can be inside at one time.
Entering the bank, I saw they’d finally caught on and spaced the open tellers every other window, rather than side by side.
If you will recall, it freaked me out last time I did banking because, though we were spaced self-distance apart in the line to the teller, once at the teller I found myself sandwiched between a customer way too close to my left and another way too close to my right, which prompted me to tell the teller to pass on to his manager the suggestion the open windows be spaced out.
I don’t imagine MY suggestion had much merit, but someone evidently woke up and distanced the tellers.
At any rate, I learned there is now a limit as to how much cash can be requested through the pin machine. I’m not talking about the limit imposed on ATMs outside the bank, I’m talking about there’s now a limit on how much one can request inside, using the pin at the teller window.
I don’t know if this is everywhere, but this new restriction certainly surprised me. I don't see the logic.
The funds were there so I say to the teller, “Do you mean this is all I can take out?”.
“No. You can take out more, but not through the pin. I have to write out a withdrawal slip for you”.
And that’s what the teller did, but isn’t that what we did before the age of technology ─ fill out deposit and withdrawal slips? Are we now reverting to kicking it old school?
THEN he carded me ─ “Do you have a valid form of ID?”
Pre-pandemic, it sufficed that I entered the pin, but I guess this new request is due to our mask wearing.
I showed him my drivers’ license, got what I wanted and was outta there thinking to myself that the license couldn’t have been all that helpful because I was wearing a mask and he couldn’t be sure the faces matched, but whatever. It’s a new world out there.
I swung by the craft store on my way back to the freeway and noticed there is also no longer a 3-hour line around that building. Just a few folks in line along the front.
I didn’t join in. I’ll wait until things go back to when I can walk right in.
I guess the golf course is essential, because I saw a group playing on the greens. Couldn’t see if they were wearing masks.
Safely back at the complex, I checked my phone and saw this ....

Ooooh look John Gray, Walking Dead’s Darryl tweeted me goodnight.  LOL!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Self-Isolating Mother’s Day

There being no Mother’s Day celebrations here at the complex, management posted little candy packets to our doors over the weekend, along with a new thing they’ve instituted to take the place of actual activities — an Activity Packet.

The packet consists of 1) a color me page (no crayons or color pens/pencils though, lol); 2) a couple crossword pages; 3) word search page; and 4) a couple mazes.
I do enjoy crosswords, word search and mazes, but I’m far too busy with my needlepoint project. I don’t have time for any of it, but I do think some of the seniors will enjoy the packets.
Also in the packet is “Resident Activity Suggestions at Home” which suggests we take a stroll over to the Community Garden to “Enjoy the shade from beautiful mature trees and birds who are always singing. There are 3 benches spaced more than 6 feet apart where you can visit with neighbors safely if desired. Pease wear your Mask”.
No thanks. I’m good without visiting outside. Besides, the Community Garden ─ created by residents before this management group took over, saved from being razed by thembecause it’s a Certified Wildlife Habitat, when management’s construction crew tried to plow it under, might have murder hornets in those mature trees. Lol.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Say What?

Neighbor in the opposite downstairs unit — beneath next door neighbor, has been missing since the shutdown began.
Her car was gone, so I’d assumed she was sheltering in place with relatives.
Today she stopped by briefly.
As I was leaving for the Pain Cave — water bottle in one hand, trash bag to toss in the dumpster in the other, a young man I’d never seen before came out of her unit.
Rough looking character wearing a 49ers jacket.
Had I not seen him come out of her unit, I’d have paused at the door and been on guard as to whether I should step all the way out. But the fact he was associated with her, a relative I assumed, I turned the key in the door, locking it, and prepared to head down the stairs.
Hearing me come out, he looked up and said “Do you want me to take your trash to the dumpster for you?” said he.
“Why yes, that’s very sweet of you”, said I.
He trotted all the way up the stairs to take the bag from me and, as he headed down, I said, “This is so nice of you”.
“No problem”, said he. “I always respect my elders”.
HIS WHAT?! thought I. ME … AN ELDER?
How funny is it that I, at 76 years of age, somehow don’t think of myself as elderly. And hearing it put thusly, was a little insulted.
At any rate, when I got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked over to check on that penny — which yesterday was in its 7th week. Lo and behold, it was gone.
So either the neighbor stopping by her unit picked it up, or the young man with her saw the penny, picked it up and will all the day have good luck.
It WAS nice of him to help me out, but when I thanked him, he could have just said, “You’re welcome” and left off that elderly thing. LOL.
Remainder of the week, coming up on Mother’s Day, would normally find me making preparations to participate in a Mother’s Day 5K with Twin 2, after which we’d have a relaxing spa manicure/pedicure.
Covid-19 having put a kibosh on those activities, I was expecting nothing this Sunday … maybe a Happy Mother’s Day text.
Instead, I stop by the mailbox, find a package, in which was this from Twin 2 ….

How funny, sad, ironic and iconic is this tee. Not going to wear it, going to frame it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for This

Management — offices still closed, posted notices of Patio Inspections this week.
The world is struggling with a pandemic and management is concerned about residents being in compliance with no more than three plants, each not to exceed 50 pounds, on the patio?
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Then there’s the Census.
I received my packet just as the lockdown began and, again, with the world as we knew it seeming to come to an end, I had more important things on my mind than completing the census.
I shredded it.
THEN, a few weeks later, I received a reminder with the caveat “You are required by law to respond”.
Oh ffs, arrest me, thought I and into the shredder went the threat.
In yesterday’s mail was another complete Census packet, also a priority mailer. The mailer was from the guy who makes the glitter masks.
I opened it and began jumping up and down with glee, like a little kid.

Rainbow Design

A gift giver that keeps on giving. I didn’t ask for this mask, I didn’t order it, he just sent it and I love it.
When all is said and done, I’m going to have to make a special trip to Los Angeles to meet this young man.
I was all matchy matchy on my way to the Pain Cave this morning, because I accessorized with my rainbow hair buff.

And speaking of the Pain Cave, since yesterday, I keep finding myself glancing out the window, looking at the patio, gauging as to whether the space is suitable for working out, because I’m getting one of those feelings again of knowing something is going to happen before it happens.
This time the feeling I’m getting is Trainer’s studio might not survive reopening, due to Trainer and his partner (he has one who works with groups) not being able to hold group sessions.
Early on in our relationship, Trainer had said, “I’m very fond of you. If something happens where you can’t make it to the studio, I’d come to you”.
My thought about that was how sweet. Then I thought about 1) how the Illusive Unfriendly downstairs neighbor would complain about the noise and 2) management would never allow us to work out on the grounds, but now I find myself looking at the patio, determining what exercises could be done in the limited space.
Trainer has said nothing to me indicating the studio might not survive but, if it happens, I’ll take him up on coming to me and we’ll do what we can on the patio if he doesn’t come up with another location.
As for that Census … timing is everything. I still feel the census bureau should not have been harassing citizens with their survey, when so much was going on. But now that there’s toilet paper and paper towels back on the market shelf, I felt a little more hopeful there might be a future to make the Census relevant, logged onto the laptop and completed the thing.
It took less than 5 minutes.
I still feel it was an inopportune time for a Census, but had I known it took so little time to complete, I probably would not have been so irritated and resistant.