Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Yesterday was definitely NTTG--Nose To The Grindstone. I thought I'd sleep later, as I didn't get to bed until the witching hour. (Okay, okay, for me that's 11:00, not midnight.) Didn't, though, and got up at 7:30.
I've more or less designated Monday as wash day, so I stripped the bed, gathered up towels, piled them on my expandable net "hamper," and took them off to the laundry room. As ever, this was an annoying chore: trundle them over there, remembering to bring detergent and quarters; get home and set timer for 31 minutes; go back and put in dryer, remembering to bring a laundry sheet and moe quarter; go back in 48 and extract, fold, and trundle back. The only bright spot is, it's good exercise and I'm consciously aware of that.
During one of those waiting intervals, I put fresh sheets on, then got in touch with Panasonic to ask how to change the message on the machine. Wouldn't you know, if the phone's more than two or so years old, you have to pay for the advice! Naturally, I wouldn't dream of it, so I tried putting "change message on Panasonic phone" in the search engine and got some advice. Unfortunately, none of it seemed to apply to this particular model.
Discovered Target sells Panasonic, put the phone in my purse and gathered up the v-tech phone to take back to Wal-Mart. Darn, I'm pretty conscientious about keeping receipts, but I couldn't find that one. No prob, though, they gave me a store credit and I had a few things to get, anyway.
I also wanted to get a new double-brush type head for my Oral B toothbrush and stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond. To my annoyance, although they sell Oral B, they didn't have one that fit. Stopped at Ralph's Supermarket, also, to get Ellen some of the whateveritscalled that worked so well in my dishwasher. Didn't find it and I'll have to go elsewhere.
Made a few more stops and by the time I got home, it was after 4:00. Found Oral B on line, called, was put through immediately, placed my order, and I'll get the brush heads in a few days (and for much less than I expected to pay).
Very disappointed that I had a terrible time sleeping last night. I got up several times and finally fell back at--I'm not sure, but I know once when I looked at the clock, it was 3:00. Didn't get up until 9:30, which is okay, but I really don't like sleeping late.
Lunch today with Yvonne at Cypress Place Senior Living.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Phones and The Martian

A mundane morning: ran dishwasher, cleaned a bit, conducted supermarket visit.
In the afternoon, Ellen came and hooked up my new phone. However, after listening, she deemed it cheap crap and said she'd see if she still had her Panasonic line (she uses her cell exclusively).
We then went to Oxnard to see The Martian, starring one of my favorites, Matt Damon. Geez, I thought it had a kind of supernatural theme--little green men and so on--but no. Actually, it was future-factual, you might say, and we thought it was very good--a tad long, maybe. The acting was excellent, the story line interesting (although large junks of science and math whizzed by without stopping at my brain), and the special effects spectacular. It may have been just the novelty, as I seldom go to the movies, but I was with Ellen and the popcorn was loaded with butter, so what could be better?
After, we stopped in to see Greg at Whole Foods and had a nice chat. I was pleased when he suggested we go to dinner again.
El and I then went to her place to get her phone equipment. We sat and talked a bit about the differences in education from the time I was in school and when she was, and today. She's a teacher and enlightened me about present-day third grade. What a pleasure to discuss something other than what was on last night with somebody with a brain! I always enjoy hearing about her experiences.
El found the phone (with three handsets) in the garage and came back to my place to hook it up. The sound is better then before and I'll even get my money back for the one I bought. I just have to figure out how to change the message, which still has Ellen's recording on it.
Didn't say goodbye to El until well after 9:00. I then went on line and looked up "Rent4LA," which theoretically includes rent listings all over southern Cal, and put in my credit card info for $39.00, thinking it was worth it if they found some good leads.
Nope. After signing up, I specified "Ventura only" and "no dogs" and in the first six possibles, I got Rodondo Beach and "pets welcome." In the chat section, I said I wanted to withdraw and was told I had to send an e-mail to an address. Did so, and hoped that sufficed. I then sat down to my wine with Dateline (mid-western school superintendent murdered by husband of one-night stand lady) when the phone rang. It was a recording from Rent4LA, saying my credit card wouldn't be charged. Okay, I won that one, anyway.
Homesomever (my mother used to say that in a droll way), this morning I had a e-mail from that outfit, saying "no further charges" would be added to my card. I don't like that word "further" and will call them right now to be sure the initial charge is rescinded.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Veggies and Soap

I cut up and oiled the big onion and added it to my (not yet cooked) veggies. Since I had another whole bowl in the fridge to heat up later, I divided the goodies into four zip-lock bags and put them in the freezer. Now I have a nice supply to pull out, cook, and eat for fall dinners.
Only problem is--you would never know it's fall here. It was 95 degrees today, following several other days in the nineties. Seems odd and weird to see autumn and Halloween decorations up all around. I hope it cools off soon.
I took a drive to the Senior Center, which is about fifteen miles away. Didn't realize they're not open on Saturdays, although somebody was there and I chatted with him. This is up in what could be called "Old Town," I guess, one main street, with storefronts and so on along it, and modest homes on side streets. It's pleasant enough, I guess, but I would never, in a million years, live there. Why? Because looming over the little town, practically pushing up to backyards on one entire side, is a huge mountain of what I believe is mostly soil. I suppose it's a foothill and it's quite impressive, even beautiful, but when the rains come, it's going to slide until it covers the houses and cars and trees and people and nothing on earth will be able to stop it.
Finally, at long last, I had a delightful SKYPE call from Singapore. Vivian and Violet both showed up with vampire teeth--very funny. Mike showed me around their three-story apartment, which is very spacious with not only a lot of rooms--I think ten or more--but the rooms themselves are large. A spiral staircase of wood and scrolled metal leads up to Mike's office on the third level--neat. I was informed that Mike and the girls are going to Australia for nine days shortly--they're off school for some reason and Mike has business there (he works for an Australian mining firm).
I'm almost afraid to record it for fear of a jinx, but I've been sleeping fine for days now. I credit that to the bar of soap I put in my bed. Contemplate that for a while...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Root Veggies and the BBB

I love roasted root vegetables and had bought red potatoes, yams, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and green peppers. Yesterday, I washed, pared, and cut them, melted coconut oil, added some seasonings, and mixed it all up. I probably had enough for ten people, at least--OH!
Just now, I realized I had forgotten the onions--darn! I had everything else in the refrig, I guess, so didn't remember I have two big onions on the counter. Oh, well, maybe I'll do them separately, then mix them in. I also had a little rock Cornish hen and I put that in the small crock pot along with broth. I had some of both veggies and chicken for dinner--delicious, if I say it myself. Good thing I was able to treat myself to something good, as I had something bad, too--the Better Business Bureau.
A recap: I had filed a complaint against my moving company because they tacked on a charge (over two hundred bucks) when I was just about to get my possessions delivered. This was in August. On Tuesday, when I was at the courthouse, I got a long voice mail message from BBB in Florida. I was so distracted I could barely make out what the person was saying, but I got the number. Called it on Wednesday, and didn't get a return call. Called again yesterday and finally got some freakin' idiot who asked why I had filed in Florida. I didn't file in Florida, I filed in Jersey.--.
Well, there's just no point at all in elaborating on this. I'll just record that I talked to BBB people in Florida, New Jersey, and Chicago. Why Chicago? Because, as in my case, when someone files in one state, but relocates to another, it goes to Chicago. Several long and pointless phone calls resulted in--I think, but I'm not at all sure--somebody telling me she'd look into it.
What gets me is the recording at one of the BBB locations mentions that So and So Heating and Air Conditioning "is a sponsor of this service." What if somebody has a complaint against So and So H. and A.C.? Do I think the BBB is pure? Sure.
About as pure as the post office.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Halloween and Meditation

I wasn't absolutely sure I wanted to go to the "Living In The Present Moment" group. I thought it might be airy-fairy supernatural, which I find boring in the extreme, and/or sob stories by those who don't--live in the present moment, that is. Finally decided to go, however, and I'm glad I did.
The meeting was held at a member's home who lives near Ellen and I had no problem finding the street. As for finding the house, that was a different story. I drove up and down several times and finally had to ask a woman I saw outside. Didn't I have the house number and didn't the houses have numbers? Why, yes, but--they were not in any kind of sequence. I saw 387 and next door was 435; across the street was something like 332, and so on. This is an up-scale neighborhood, with large houses on nicely-landscaped lots, so I simply can't fathom the reason for that. Weird.
Anyway, I found it and walked up to the front door, which was guarded by several life-sized skeletons holding the leashes of two life-sized skeleton dogs. That was just the barest preliminary. The inside was decorated for Halloween in a manner you would never expect to see except maybe in Macy's New York. There were skulls covered with silver, spiders and cobwebs galore, Dracula sitting in an easy chair holding a martini, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, witches on brooms, witches in corners, witches that talked and danced, skulls that cackled, orange and black lights, rats and mice, tombstones and full moons, and on the island in the kitchen a huge glass ball--think very large fish bowl--inside of which was a head that talked, laughed, rolled her eyes, and cackled.
Oh, there was so much more and everywhere were garlands and ribbons and floral arrangements in autumn colors, combined with black.
The thing is, NONE of this was cheap crap from the dollar store. It was all obviously expensive and--hard to believe, but believe it--in what might be called over-the-top good taste. You just had to love it and I did.
Funny thing is, Nancy, the homeowner, has grandchildren, but they live in Seattle and have never seen this (which she does every year, adding more and more). Plus, when kids come for treats, she greets them at the door--she doesn't want stranger in her house, I guess. Anyway, it was great to see.
We sat in the back yard patio, a lovely place with fountains, beautiful flowers, and statuary. The facilitator, Joanne, a former counselor (she's 83) opened the gathering by what I suppose is standard: ten minutes of meditation. I don't meditate as a rule, but this was so peaceful and comfortable, I liked it. Beside the hostess, Nancy, Joanne, and me, there were four other women, but darn, I can remember only the names of Judy and Marlene. After we meditated, Joanne gave out printed sheets that had to do with topics such as trying to avoid thinking you must be perfect in order to speak up for something for which you're passionate. We had a good discussion after that and I brought up pacifism and how difficult it is to explain what it actually is and also to avoid being either squelched or acting holier-than-thou.
Well, there was a lot more to it than that, but I won't elaborate. I want to continue with this group, which meets twice a month, as I liked them. Clearly, they're thinkers and I need people like that in my life along with the fun ones.
Called Yvonne at Cypress Place Senior (independent) Living and made a date for lunch there on Tuesday. I'm still not convinced at all this is right for me NOW, but I'm certainly not rejecting it entirely. Looking forward to getting the real lowdown on cost and so on.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Active and Varied

Wednesday was one of those active and varied days I like. Got to the Beach Cities Newcomers and Neighbors (BCNN) meeting at 9:30 and fell into conversation with a woman named Pat and her friend, Linda. I sat with them and enjoyed it.
Membership in BCNN totals 366 and almost all were probably there. There was the usual excellent coffee and yummy homemade muffins, fruit bowls, croissants and so on. The speaker was a woman who teaches Rekki (?) and is a dancer and she demonstrated how to dance through life. Sounds boring, but it was actually pretty good.
After, those who wanted to could stroll down the street for lunch at a certain small restaurant. I decided to go and was glad I did, as I met several other women, all of whom I liked. Plus--a big plus, the food was superb. I had a turkey sandwich, but not an ordinary one. This was turkey on a thick slab of rough bread--I love that kind, don't give me "marshmallow bread," that is, supermarket white--with what I think was store made dressing, onion, tomato, and lettuce, all bound together with melted Swiss. Mighty tasty and so was the locally-brewed Belgian ale I had with it. Good talk topped it off and it was fun.
My erstwhile "friend," Angela D., whom I had met when she appeared in Mad Gravity last month, called yet again. She called me yesterday while I was at the courthouse and left a long, long voice mail message that made it run out, then left another one. These must have totaled ten minutes of talk, telling me this, that, and the other thing of no interest whatever to me and how she was tied up with going to L.A. and other obligations, which is why she hasn't called me for lunch. I was too wiped out on Tuesday, what with my citation and all, to call her back and she called again when I got home from the BCNN meeting. We talked a bit, but I'm beginning to wonder if I really want a more intimate relationship with her.
Speaking of relationships, one of my best--my friend in New Mexico--called, then Skyped me to show me her new house. Wow, it's beautiful! It's perfectly in keeping with the setting and the furniture they had chosen with such care for their semi-rural New Jersey house is just exactly right for that house. The house is clearly southwestern, but subtly so, without the overkill you sometimes see when people try too hard. It has a fair amount of wood, a wonderful fireplace surrounded by rough stone, and floors, counter tops, and other surfaces of various materials that are in keeping, also. My friend and her husband each have an office of their own (my friend's will soon also be guest room) and there's a two-car garage, a huge deck, and more than an acre of land. That land is mostly ponderosa pine and other plants indigenous to the area.
After that treat, I went to exchange a pocketbook at Kohl's, then took a drive, ever mindful of traffic lights and stop signs, getting back about 4:00. On Tuesday, I had bought several pounds of carrots; I cut them up, washed and quartered some clementines I had (peel and all), added them and cinnamon stocks to the slow cooker, and let it go. I didn't feel like eating them at the time, but yesterday when I got home, took them out of the fridge, and just had them cold. Gee, they were good!
Topped off the day by buying a new home phone at Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

My Day in Court

Well, I spent the day in court.
That's an exaggeration--it just felt that way. I went to The Hall of Justice about 11:00 because I wanted to see if I could pay the fine, then send a letter asking to have it rescinded or at least, reduced. However, when I finally--after a wait--got to the clerk, she strongly advised me to go to court instead. She indicated I had a better chance that way. Ellen had paid, then sent a letter and had had her fine forgiven--and she turned left on a red light, a much greater sin than mine, seems to me. However, this was 8 or 9 years ago and her fine was 200 something.
Anyway, for better or worse, I took the clerk's advice. She gave me an appointment to appear at 1:30 in courtroom 10. I went home and started writing out some of the points I'd bring up to the judge to try to forgive or reduce my fine. I then re-read my blog entry of yesterday and saw Pat's comment. Yoicks! Would I have to pay court costs on top of the fine if I was unsuccessful? I immediately called and got a recording that they answer phones only until 11:30. It was 11:34--damn!
I jumped in the car and drove back to the court (luckily, it's less than ten minutes away). Went back to the same clerk and asked and--no, they don't add court costs, win or lose.
Well, that was a relief, anyway. However, it's a long walk from where you have to park to the courthouse and it was then almost noon. I decided to stay and I did, having a so-so salad and water in the cafeteria. That meant that I had to hang out there for an hour and a half, but it wasn't too bad.
I had innocently--or ignorantly--thought there were actual staggered appointments: Mine was a 1:30, somebody else at 2:00, then 2:30, and so on. What a boob I was: EVERYBODY had 1:30 appointments. We all went in, filled out a paper, and waited to be called.
My turn came about ten people in, so it wasn't too bad. The judge asked what I pleaded, I said guilty and he immediately reduced the fine to $250. I didn't get a chance to mention I was only here two months, am on a limited income, am a frail old lady just like his sweet old granny--. Okay, it took about one minute, if that, and off I went. I was amazed that it was only 2:30 at that point; it seemed I had been in there so long, it must be 6 or 7.
Visited my pal, the clerk, and was going to put it on my credit card until she said there was a five dollar charge for that. Debit? Same thing. I found that so damn unfair that I rushed home to get my check book and went back. All right, I paid, it's over, and now I want to forget the whole friggin' ordeal.