Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmasy Stuff

We went all around town doing last-minute Christmas shopping and otherwise preparing for the season.  I got a scarf for Greg's mother; wonder what I can pick up for him.  Town is bustling, although these are weekdays, but this time of year, that's to be expected, of course.
Talked to brother Frank in Alameda and made plans to meet him and Marybeth on Monday in King City.  It's about three and a half hours from here, slightly less for F.and M., and we'll all stay over.
I bought a new TracFon, but had all kinds of problems trying to activate it.  Finally, the company determined somebody had stolen the SIM card in it.  They could send a new one in my mail, but no, I'll take this back and get another.
Ellen continued to add to the lovely little tree, which we've now determined looks a little goofy blinking on and off, so have made steady.  We found at the door a beautiful floral arrangement from Mike, with a Merry Christmas note to both of us--very festive and pretty.  I also received a sealed card from my friend, with a note on the envelope to open on December 21, my birthday--yes!
Today, we plan to check out some possible apartments for me, in anticipation of my future move out here, although it's early, of course.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Day

We buzzed busily around town on our first full day.  Went to Kohl's where El got a jacket and Brita water filter, then to various other places for this and that.  Home, she made me a nice chicken sandwich, accompanied by a full-bodied IPA. She then brought in the beautiful tree, a Frasier pine, not huge--maybe six feet with the stand--but so full and fragrant, you'd swear you were in a forest.  A real one? But of course!  And just to get it over with, here's my rant from seven years ago:

--Yes, yes, most (artificial Christmas trees) are very attractive, look very natural, are so easy to put up and take down, don't shed needles all over the place, can be used year after year...I don't care! They just seem so...well, artificial. I love the idea that a live tree grew from a tiny seed and that 150 years ago, people hung their ornaments and lights and popcorn strings on one like ours. I don't want a perfect, machine-made, already lighted pyramid of plastic, the product of some ambitious young designer who graduated from the Parson's School of Design.... 
Incidentally, aside from my own children, I don't even know anybody else who puts up a live tree, but so what? 
I read that live trees are actually better for the environment and they smell good, too. 
Okay, that's the end of my spouting off about Christmas trees. Now about the Easter bunny...

Hey, but each to his own, kids.
Called back and forth to brother Frank and firmed up a plan:  We'll meet him and Marybeth on Monday in King City, where we'll stay over at a Days Inn and have a lovely sibling visit.  
We had great fun while Ellen put up the tree--with some difficulty, I'm afraid, as she had to go out twice for longer screws for the base--and it looks beautiful, in a minimal way.  She put lovely little lights on, then we had a debate--which continues--on whether they should blink or not.  She added a string of beads and three ornaments; possibly, she'll put more on later , but no matter, it looks fine as it is. She also strung lights over the front door and windows--very festive and Christmasy.
We started watching Hitchcock, which I found mildly interesting, but heavy-handed, and I went to bed after less than an hour of it.  Slept like a babe and got up at my usual east coast time of 5:15, feeling tip top.       

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Yay, yay, here I am at Ellen's. Reasonably smooth flight, but I took a tad too much Ativan nd the ride home was strange.  Fell asleep on couch and slept there all night.  However, I'll have my own room and bath hereafter, as Ellen's tenant, Linda, has gotten her own apartment in Santa Barbara.
Brother Frank called and we made arrangements to meet on Monday with him and Marybeth about a three hour drive away.  We have dinner, then all atay over.  I'm greatly looking forward to seeing my bro.
El made us a great breakfast of fried eggs, then we went to Kohl's and Bed and Bath and got few things.  Right now she's pepareing lunch of chicken salad and I'll have a yummy IPA beer with him. She'll set up the Christmas tree while I write out some cards--what fun to be with my girl!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting Ready

Another day from--if not hell, than maybe a minor purgatory.  Took my car into Acura at 10 and didn't get back on the road for three hours. At my request, I was shuttled to Boscov's. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the rest of the mall was closed some time ago, so I wandered--bored out of my skull--around B.'s the whole time.
I guess it was worth it, though: They not only reprogrammed me a new set of keys and remotes, they replaced the air bag and gave me a list after checking various systems of the rest of the car.  All got checks in the "green" or "good" column, so that's gratifying.  But here's an example of "you hear what you want to hear" (see post below):  I was sure Gabe had told me the new remote would cost $19.98, but he had actually said "ninety-eight," meaning dollars. But okay, it's worth it to have dups of both.
On the way back, I stopped into the library to say hello and goodbye to Aline. She had a lovely time with Wagner and The Nutcracker in Manhattan over the weekend and when I get back, we'll catch up more fully with each other.
Finally home after getting cash at the bank, I did several loads of wash, packed my suitcase, changed pocketbooks, watered the flowers, assembled various and sundry, and otherwise prepared for my trip.      
Got a lovely Skype call from sweet K. in Tokyo; had breakfast with him and enjoyed it.  My friend called to say godspeed and--assuming Walter stays on the road (never a certainty with him)-- my next stop will be Absecon station.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Party and Pills

Puttered around with this and that before showering and dressing after lunch for caroling.  I donned the full regalia this time: long black dress, black lace over-skirt, black net top over white blouse, and of course, the jaunty Hedda Hat.
I went with Frank and Barbara from next door, about ten of us assembling at Seacrest--specifically, the Alzheimer's unit--and we sang for more than an hour.  This wasn't terribly stimulating; most of the audience were in wheelchairs or rolling lounges and virtually all were out of it, although some sang along and even applauded. Most dozed or were dazed.  Depressing?  Yes, it was.
After that, we sang at The Terraces, a few miles away.  This is owned by the same family, but is an independent living facility and the differences are striking.  The residents are ambulatory and all, it's pretty evident, were as lucid as I am (yoicks--maybe that's faint praise!).  We chatted with them after, then strolled around a bit, admiring the elegant decor and beautiful Christmas decorations. Ah-h-h, but after that, we all drove over to Jim and Mary's for hot buttered rum, cheese soup, pulled pork, and an array of luscious desserts.  
I had never had hot buttered rum before and oh, mama!  It immediately became my new favorite drink (although in warm weather, that may be a bit problematic).  I like the taste of rum and, in my book, butter combined with cream and cinnamon proves this is the best of all possible worlds.  They were so good I had two, along with an initial Corona with lime.
Somehow, the talk got around to drugs and I casually mentioned that my obstetrician wasn't happy with the few pounds I had gained early in my second pregnancy and had prescribed "diet pills," which are amphetamines, of course.  I was supposed to take half of one in the morning, but--as I innocently explained--after a time it didn't seem to have an effect, so I increased the dosage.  By the time I was ready to deliver, I was taking six at a time--hey, they were very tiny--which was certainly effective.  (In truth, I weighed less when I was nine months along than I did when I became pregnant.)  I had no problem obtaining them, as it was an open-ended prescription.
Now, Jim is a physician and while I was recounting this, I thought he'd explode.  "W-h-h-a-a-t?" he cried, his eyes almost popping out of his head.  One of his charms (to me, that is; it may not be so for everybody), is his open, exuberant, not to say boisterous, personality, and he exhibited every facet of it last night.  The rest of the company chimed in with both horror and amusement and--slightly propelled by alcohol, I guess--we discussed my fifty-three-year-old transgressions for some time.  Jim had plenty to say and Mary, who teaches nursing at Penn, chimed in with the rest of the group.  Instead of being embarrassed, I found it a lot of fun.
I was home before 8:00, as we had started out early, and skipped my wine (the hot buttered rum was enough) for iced tea, then went early to bed.
Going to Acura in Egg Harbor this morning, then home to pack.      

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lots More

More busy.  After breakfast, I made a batch of Nana Mix to send up north.  Packed it in the Post Office's "anything you can get in there, regardless of weight" boxes, which cost $12.65 within the U.S. Wrote out Christmas cards for immediate and birth family, arranged for an Amazon certain something, consolidated my multitude of notes (do this, pack that, don't forget these), and got a few things in the suitcase.
There are a slew of things I have to take care of when I get back, especially change of health insurance and new car stuff.  For some ungodly reason, Allstate is raising my premium by $46.20 a year. Why? Oh, yes, I'm going to call them Monday and chew them out.
Called Chuck, who sold me the car and he agreed to pay half the cost for a new wiper switch, although I have to take it to his mechanic.  Hey, fine by me, I'm sure it's cheaper than Acura.
Frank-Next-Door and Barbara are back. Today, they're carol with the rest of us in LETCO, so I'm pleased about that.  Don't know if they'll go to the Henry's after for the hot buttered rum, but you can bet I will.
I was pleased to get a call from my dear friend, Marge, and we had a good talk.  Marge is almost exactly then years older than I am and has a number of physical problems.  She and Fred are two of the major reasons I'll be sorry to leave here.
Finally got to Kohl's--a madhouse, of course--and bought shoes; hope they're as comfy as they look.  Dropped a blank check off for Mary S.; she'll pay the exercise person who will conduct weight training at the clubhouse, starting in January.  
Ellen Skyped me and we were happy to chat.  Linda, her tenant, has gotten an apartment in Santa Barbara, which means I'll have my own room and bath again.  Much as I hate to see Linda go, that will be refreshing.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lots of Stuff and Nonsense

Busy with getting ready for my trip.  Went over to the doctor's office to get a refill for Ativan.  Simple, huh?  Hardly.  New regs: You have to actually see the medical person (Dawn, in this case) and, of course, pay the $20 co-pay.  Even though I've been taking this stuff when I fly for twenty years and never had to before?  Yes, sure, whatever the powers that be can do to drive you crazy and to the poor house, they'll do.
However, I had a nice chat with Dawn, who told me her group, the Margate Players, will do Chicago next summer.  Wow, that's a coup; hope I have a chance to see it.
I also learned that my cholesterol is much, much better--bad down, good up--and my blood pressure is fine.  That on top of the stress test news: "no significant blockage," set me up for the day.
I asked to have Wal-Green's be sent the order, as I didn't think I'd get to Wal-Mart yesterday. Turns out I did, but it couldn't have been much less expensive there: ten anti-anxiety beauties cost me a whopping $2.04.
Talked to my new pal, Gabe, the Acura guy, and we made a date for me to go over on Monday to have the new key, plus a remote, made. Called Chuck, who sold me the car, and he agreed to pay half of what it will cost to fix the wipers, but his mechanic has to do it.  Will contact him after I get back.
My friend came for lunch and to say goodbye. She took the wicker chest I'm giving to granddaughter-in-law, Noelle, plus the three poinsettias I had, and a bag of onions.
Shortly after, Susan called to ask me for lunch, but I had already eaten.  She was having her lunch group (I went to dinner with mine last week) and one person cancelled.  I did go over later for a glass of champagne and what turned out to be a rather heated exchange about "terrorists" and the outrageous violations of travelers' rights at airports.  Oh, yes, they all thought it was "keeping us safe"; I was the only one who vehemently rejected that cockamamie idea.
Left to drive to Manahawkin after all.  Got a gift card from Pizza Hut for the gang in Wellsboro, then stopped at Wal-mart for a few things.
Home, I fried up the last of the bacon, then threw onions and garlic into the hot grease.  Walter came over with a bowl of lovely lentil soup and a big sandwich from Susan's little gathering and I had them for dinner.  Yum.
I was taken aback to see on Facebook that my granddaughter-in-law has written a book, which is coming out shortly.  She lists me as "editor," although I remember only going over a story of hers; didn't know she was planning a book.