Monday, October 31, 2022

Goodbye Halloween, Hello Christmas

Judging by the Christmas tree and reindeer I saw during yesterday’s trip to the mall, I guess we’re skipping Thanksgiving altogether this year, jumping ahead to Christmas.

Jumping ahead my own darn self, I pronounced my holiday shopping as "Done!" when I walked out of Starbucks with a gift card for Trainer and the Mail Carrier, to be given out when I get ready to leave for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Making my way to the sporting goods store, though not feeling uncomfortable, I was very cognizant of the fact that, as the only Black female in the crowded store, I stood out like a sore thumb.

The place was the Disneyland of sporting goods stores, with an upstairs and a downstairs, no clerks or helpful salesmen in sight. So, as I roamed around looking for walking poles, while enjoying the country music festival vibe, I’d assumed every security camera in the place was focused on me.

The fun vibe of the store began even before I entered with the footprint of bears leading to the door and antlers as doorknobs.

Upstairs was a Shoot’n Range, which brought back the memory of having been here before — back in 2007 when this sporting goods store first opened in the area.

My oldest grandson (about 10 years old at that time and who is now in ICU fighting for his life after being seriously injured when a car struck his motorcycle) was visiting his aunt (Twin 2) who was living in the area at that time. I’d taken the afternoon off from work to kick it with grandson and we’d ended up checking out the new sporting goods store because I’d read they had a rock-climbing wall.

I remember that I most definitely did feel uncomfortable during that visit. Grandson and I both stood out like sore thumbs, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it is now.

He never tried out the rock-climbing wall, but we both spent quite a bit of time playing with the rifles at the shoot’n range.

It wasn’t free — didn’t get close enough to see if it is now, but back then the machine took $1 bills per so many shots.

I wanted to try my hand at the rifle yesterday, but the gallery looked to be the most popular place in the store, so I passed, found the walking poles — which I’ll probably be returning for cash back, as they only had the one middle of the road in price, off brand type, which I can’t get to lock.

Remainder of the time, I roamed around taking photos while enjoying the country music.

I’ll bet the folks monitoring the video cameras thought I was some kind of photo taking geek (which I am) or a BLM spy casing the joint.

Skillet Candle

No shortage of Moon Pies, Yuk!

This mural is the door to the elevator.

Elevator has a glass wall that looks out over the store and into the fishpond.

Not pictured is the Candy Corn concession that was calling my name. I walked away before I hurt myself by indulging.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Weekend Update

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was exhausted on Friday.

Returning to my unit after sneaking out of the costume party, I sat down on the couch to relax, watch TV and, first thing I knew, I awoke from a long nap I’d not planned to take.

I didn’t even keel over.

I napped — more like passed out, sitting straight up.

Then I slept straight through that night and most all of Saturday.

Feeling well rested today, I'm heading out of the area to pick up a package and pop into a sporting goods store to purchase walking sticks.

I’ve determined I can train on inclines until the cows come home, but it won’t help on the trail because the problem is the pressure inclines place on my hips and back.

This year's local Turkey Trot is a week before Thanksgiving, which is genius. Genius because the event, generally held Thanksgiving Day, has been rained out — stormed out actually, so many times that registration comes with the caveat that the race will go on "whether or not". Which places the onus on us participants to risk pneumonia by showing up or opting to eat the registration and stay home instead.

I think there's some kind of curse on the property, like the curse the Serrano Indians placed on the land where the annual Orange Show Fair takes place that it would rain on the fair.

Matter of fact, it has rained nearly every year since that event went national, and this despite the organizers moving the date all over the calendar.

Consequently, moving the Trot a week ahead will beat the bad weather — unless of course, like with the Orange Show, the curse is not fooled by the change of date.

We'll see.

Had the date not been changed, I'd have not been able to participate rain or no rain because I plan to be in Long Beach to spend time with the new baby — my great grandson on Thanksgiving Day.

Looking at what's available in Long Beach, there is a Trot on Thanksgiving Day and another the Day After, but both have indicated parking is a problem, so I figured I’d be missing out on a Turkey Trot yet again this year until I saw the local Trot has been moved up to the 19th.

The course has inclines and not wanting to experience the back, hip and leg pain that took me all of this week to recover from — and probably contributed to my feeling so exhausted, walking sticks seems a simple solution to taking the stress off my core.

They are supposedly lightweight, so I can carry and use only when the going gets tough due to a steep incline.

Yesterday was Day 20 of Mildred's 30 Songs in 30 Days Challenge, and I’m impressed she's managed to come up with so many challenge questions.

Saturday’s "A song that has many meanings to you" is a toughie, because all songs carry some kind of meaning for me, but I've decided — this being Sunday, to take you to church with a song that speaks to me.

My two favorite versions are sung by Kathy Mattea and a duet version by Kenny Rodgers/Wynonna Judd.

I love both versions, maybe preferring Kenny and Wynonna's a tad more, and have them both on my everyday playlist.

It just so happens that today's challenge is "A song you like with a person’s name in the title".

I'm pretty sure two versions of "Mary, did you know" meets today's Day 21 challenge.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Bring in the Clowns

Two residents turned up at today's costume party as Penneywise, that creepy clown from IT.

Inasmuch as some residents don’t have blog names, as they are barely if ever mentioned, I’m going to start using the letter of the first name of those lucky enough to have not transgressed into a blog name.

Dream Lover


Dream Lover’s face was a mask, while G’s was a makeup job her nephew did for her.

There were three categories in the costume contest — Most Creative, Scariest, Best Overall.

My Vampire Batman didn’t have a chance up against the Baker’s Most Creative.

Nor up against G’s clown.

And most def not up against R’s witch outfit, which won the Best Overall.

From the rear, R very much resembles the Adams Family’s Cousin IT.

I wish I could say I had a good time, but I’d be lying.

I was already exhausted from an overload of the month’s activities, had a strenuous workout this morning, and was just not in the mood.

Others read that I wasn’t my usual self, inquired, so I said I didn’t feel well — which was kinda sorta true as I was exhausted but mostly just bored.

I hung in there for two and a half hours, as seniors played games and I sat on the sideline watching, snapping photos for their website, thinking that after the meal was served, they’d get on with announcing the costume winners and it would be over, but nooooooo.

After the seniors feasted on fried chicken from the market’s deli, potato salad, mac and cheese, corn on the cob (there was also a dessert bar with sweets up the wazoo), Red Light announced, "We’re going to play more games", at which point I excused myself from my table mates and snuck out.

Before I headed out, I overheard Red Light say something about a Thanksgiving Party.

Holy Mother of God!

It’s just party party party with her.

Candy coated oreo cookie pops

Candy Coated Pretzel Sticks

Cupcakes were made by the Baker, while the candy-coated items were made by Red Light and her adult daughter.

Mildred’s Day 19 challenge is "A song that makes you think about life".

That would be The Dance by Garth Brooks.

It’s not a melancholy song per se, but every time he gets to the line … "And now I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance", not to sound morose but I think how even though I've had a fairly decent life and it continues to be so, and even though I've survived quite a bit of trauma and came out stronger, when all is said and done, without a doubt, I’d still would have rather escaped the pain by missing the dance that life is.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Though the month of Halloween is my favorite, there has been just too much goodness what with a Spa Day, management hosting a Costumed Pumpkin Decorating party and the Mission Inn 5K.

I am exhausted and was very much looking forward to ending the frivolity with tomorrow’s costumed bingo, where I could sit, relax, just play bingo, but dressed as Batman.

Not gonna happen.

Red Light tells me bingo is out, yet another costume party, with food and games is in.

She said she’d even planned for pumpkin painting, like management did, but there wasn’t enough money in the bingo budget to purchase 20 or so pumpkins.

Thank the Lord for that!

She didn’t go into what’s on tomorrow’s menu, but assuming it wasn’t anything my sensitive stomach would allow me to eat, asked what she could bring that I could eat.

I appreciated the thought, and told her so but remembering I’d seen her kitchen, asked her not to worry about me, I’d bring my own.

So there I was in the kitchen, preparing veggies to make sushi for tomorrow and this commercial comes on.

I don’t mean to make light of anyone’s condition, but why did they have to demonstrate the condition with carrots? And why did the commercial come on as I was preparing to shred carrots for sushi?

Something I saw on TikTok turned me off strawberries; and now that commercial has me picking through carrots to determine which ones I won't eat because they look weird.

Day 18 of Mildred’s Challenge is "A song from a decade you were born".

With no memory of what songs were played in the household during that time period, I had to cheat and look up songs from that decade.

A song by Nat King Cole is kismet, because here he is singing about Route 66 back in 1946, when I was two years old, and here I am at age 78 living near/frequently travelling down the Corridor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Check Yes or No

So, this was on my ballot.

It’s insane.

Say we secede from the State of California and then what?

Shirleyville is out of the question because I don’t want the responsibility.

Hopefully, the voters will decide we don’t need any more needless trauma and vote the measure down, but who knows.

At any rate, the Mail Ballot Voting Instructions were to share my voting experience on social media by taking a Mail Ballot Selfie with the "I voted By Mail" sticker and ballot envelope.

I forgot the sticker but the envelope alone should be enough to say "I voted By Mail".

Wasting time on TikTok last night, Michael Cohen’s latest rant popped up.

I didn’t find what he had to say very interesting ─ nothing we haven’t heard before about No. 45’s misdeeds and what should happen to him, but I loved what Cohen was wearing.

Did I track down where the shirt came from and buy it?

Of course, I did. How could I not.

Mildred’s Day 17 challenge: "A song you’d sing a duet with someone on karaoke", takes me back to my first karaoke experience.

The law firm’s annual Christmas Party was one year held at a venue called The All Star Country Hollywood.

Right up my alley.

I even remember what I wore — jeans, boots, and a western shirt with fringe.

The after-dinner entertainment was us.

Someone came around to the tables with a book of songs, and we’d pick which song we wanted to get on the stage and sing along with.

Coming into my own power back then, feeling myself, I chose a song that personified the hardened heart I'd become, the respect I insisted on and essentially sang a duet with Shania Twain.

Leaving the event end of evening, we were greeted with the sight of an attorney’s wife slumped and spread eagle passed out drunk in a chair by the exit door.

I’d heard rumors that the wife was an alcoholic — I’d assumed she became one because living with him, judging by the way he carried himself in the office, had to be tough going.

A few weeks later, while on a day off, I got a call from a coworker that the wife had died.

"Did he kill her?" asked I, because homicide had seriously been my initial thought.

The story was that, in a drunken state, she somehow perished in a house fire.

The husband didn’t seem to mourn her. Instead, he appeared happiest I'd ever seen and had himself a girlfriend pretty quick.

So, who knows.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Beating a Dead Horse

It’s beginning to feel like I’m beating a dead horse to continue to go on about the snafu’s of Sunday’s 5K, but the snafus just keep on coming.

In an attempt to rebuild that which was never recorded, organizers sent us an email link to a form … "If you have a finish time to submit for your run or walk, please fill out the doc below".

Can you guess what went wrong with that?

If you guessed that the link was broken, went nowhere, you’d be correct.

I’m beginning to feel sorry for those in charge this year because, how embarrassing is this on top of everything else.

A follow up email with a working link soon followed, so I submitted what I thought the clock showed (58:35) just before I stepped over the line.

Wish I’d taken a photo of the clock, as I usually do but, so close to hitting 1:00, not wanting to go over and thinking my results will be on the computer anyway, I passed on pausing to capture a photo.

I imagine the next snafu will be that the usual Official Race Photo will not be forthcoming, that something went wrong with that part of the program as I crossed the finish line.

We'll see.

Woke up this morning to more news about Ye’s further downward spiral.

Adidas ended its partnership, The Gap will not be opening branded Yeezy stores, Instagram is deleting some of his content, Twitter has locked his account, Balenciaga severed ties and CAA (Creative Artist Agency) has dropped him as a client.

At this rate, Ye may end up on Skid Row, desperate enough for clothing to be wearing his own shirts — the ones the manufacturer dropped off.

What with Will Smith, Herschel Walker and now Ye/Kanye showing their ass (as my mother described Black men behaving badly), I just want to bury my head in the sand.

I’m halfway through Mildred’s 30 Songs in 30 Days Challenge. Today’s Day 16 challenge is "A song that’s a classic favorite".

When I think "classic", I think nostalgic, old Hollywood, and the first song to pop into my head is the Christmas song from Meet Me in St Louis.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Glitch in the Matrix

Another snafu from Sunday’s 5K.

The race organizers sent us their congratulations on a "Great event, it was an amazing weekend", but "Due to technical difficulties, we missed a few of your finish times".

"A FEW"!!!!!!?????

From what I can tell, when the start line was located at the wrong spot, those racers (the ½ milers) got their results recorded.

However, every race that went after the start was relocated to the correct spot, our results were not recorded.

Tracking works though the magic of radio frequency identification (RFID). There is an RFID reader embedded in a mat on the ground at the start point, and a RFID chip on back of our bibs. As we pass the RFID ground reader, data from the chip is sent to a computer indicating our bib number, time we crossed the reader heading out, time we crossed the reader coming back in.

Thinking perhaps they failed to lay the RFID ground reader after relocating the start, I looked through the photos I’d taken and found one that shows the reader had been placed.

What looks like a blue and pink line is actually the raised mat of the reader.

It was where it should have been.

Consequently, logic tells me the RFID ground reader had not been properly reconnected after the start was moved.

At any rate, snafu on top of snafu on top of snafu, multiple glitches in the matrix, is not the end of the world, just darned irritating.

Whoever they contracted with to run this year’s event needs to be replaced as thousands of us are inconvenienced.

Mildred’s Day 15 challenge is "A song you like that’s a cover by another artist".

Lots of that happening, the covering of someone else's work.

Back in the day, it was more stealing than covering, as quite a few artists got famous on the back of music originally created and sung by Black artists who were never given credit nor paid for their music.

Covering is more civilized these days with credit forthcoming.

After two Epsom salt soaks in the tub, my leg muscles have relaxed, so I made it to this morning’s workout, but the back is still out of whack in spite of soaks, various ointments and heat pads.

When Trainer asked how I was feeling after yesterday’s inclines, I said "I hurt", so we worked on lifting/stretching motions, and I left the cave with my back still aching but loosening somewhat.

Another day or two and I’ll be recovered, ready to go again.

In the interim, this feeling of hurt has led me to a song I like that’s a cover, actually a tribute to the original artist, by another artist.

Though Johnny Cash’s hurt was not for the same reason as mine, "Hurt" as covered by Nine Inch Nails seems fitting for this challenge.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Ecstasy is I was a finisher at this morning's 5K.

The Agony was getting to the finish line.

I was doing fine until we got to the steep inclines at Mile 2, where my back began to ache, the muscles in my legs stiffened and I could barely walk.

My struggle was noticeable because I got encouragement from other walkers and those sitting on the sidelines — "You got this mama" … "Almost there" … "You can do it".

I have no idea where I placed in the race, because the computers were down. I’ll have to wait until everything gets tabulated and results go online.

There were a few hiccups on the part of the organizers.

When I went out early to check the start location, it was about a half-a-mile from where it usually is.

When I went back down at race time, they were in the process of moving and setting up the start location at its usual site.

A new guy on the microphone, as the regular guy sadly passed away of cancer a few weeks ago, failed to call which race was up .... and there were four (1/2 mile marathon, 10K Run, 5K Run, 5K Walk) not the three I previously mentioned; five if you count the Wag and Walk doggie race.

With not the proper call on which race was up, most of us went rogue and just took off with the 5K Runners.

Also, Mile 3 seemed extra specially long, so I'm not at all sure the race organizers didn't make a mistake there as well. My step counter registered 12,936 steps for the morning, which is a lot more than I usually get on a 5K and checking out sights after.

Plus, of course, the Result Computers were not working.

I did glance at the clock as I crossed the finish line, thought I saw around 58:35. If I read that correctly, after all the training I’ve done, that’s not much of an improvement over last year’s 1:03:49. Especially since some teen ran the course in 18 minutes.

It’s got to be an age thing.

I didn’t have to worry about it being too hot. In fact, it was an ice cold windy 55 degrees on package pickup day, and 55 degrees without the wind on race day — which felt just right once I warmed up on the course.

I’m now stiff, sore, my back aches and I’m telling myself never again, because I've never felt this bad after in previous years; but I had so much fun that I’ll train on higher inclines, try again next year.

Package Pickup Day

This Knight offered to Knight me if I took a vow to God.

I'm completely comfortable with my concept of what God is, so I passed on a vow to whatever his concept is.

He then offered to make me a Templar.

Asking what's involved in being a Templar, he rattled off:

1) Believe in God.

I do, but not the Santa Claus in the sky God who grants your every wish if you pray hard enough.

2) A Templar must always do good.

I'm not perfect, but I don't do anything really really bad. Nothing that will create negative Karma for myself.

3) Stand strong in the face of enemies.

You know I already do if you've been reading this blog.

4) Help Others.

I think I do pretty well in that area as well, so I told him I'm already a Knight Templar.

He made it official.

Race Day

Unlike previous years when most all the homes along the course were decorated for Halloween, I only saw two.

It didn't appear the first home put much effort into decorating, so I passed on a photo.

Decorations on the second home — pretty much the same as last year, put the rest of the neighborhood to shame.

Print on the second poster is difficult to make out on the photo, but it says "I'm sure it sounded like a good idea 4 months ago".

True that!

Dickens Society booth

Lovely costumes. However, upon closer inspection, looks more like the Plantation owners of days gone by, which begs the question ... did Charles Dickens keep slaves?

Day 14: A song you’d love to be played at your wedding.

ME? … get married again?

Should I lose my mind, get married again, it will be the end, so …………

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Oops, She Did It Again

Twin 1, for the second time, landed in my newsfeed.

With no plans or time to post today, I was nevertheless moved to do so when I saw a face in my newsfeed that looked an awful lot like Twin 1.

Fact of the matter, it was she.

One’s heart stops a little when one sees a family member’s face in the news, as one doesn’t know if it’s something good or something bad.

It was something awight.

Evidently Ye — the musician formerly known as Kanye West had ordered a ton of shirts with the triggering logo "#WLM (White Lives Matter)".

Not to say White lives don’t matter. All lives and All forms of life matter, it’s just that the phrase #WLM has been coined by the white supremacists and has now been categorized as a hate slogan.

Ye appears to be in crisis since losing his Kardashian wife to comic Pete Davidson. Seemingly now desperate for attention, I guess he figured selling these shirts in his clothing line would get him the attention he so craves.

THEN came those recent antisemitic remarks on social media, which prompted the manufacturer to dump the shirts.

The manufacturer probably thought dumping the shirts on Skid Row to be a humanitarian act, unaware the shirts are triggering and can cause harm to be done to the wearer.

So, anyway, trying to get the shirts off Skid Row is why Twin 1 ended up in my newsfeed.

Before I sign off …. Mildred’s challenge yesterday was "A song from your pre-teen years”.

I was a boring, painfully shy, unhappy child during my pre-teens (teens as well). My escape was the fantasy of losing myself in the lives of others. The person that seemed to be living the life I most wanted mine to be at the time was that of Annette Funicello as a Mouseketeer. So, of course, the Mickey Mouse Club theme was my pre-teen song.

Day 13: A song you like from the 70s.

I loved the sound of Karen Carpenter’s voice. Now that I know she was struggling, as I was, her voice probably spoke to me as that of a kindred suffering spirit.

That’s it for today, I’ve lots to do and have to get cracking, so Raines out.