Saturday, April 04, 2020

Trader Joe's And Other Stuff

After breakfast, I called Carolyn B., Nancy's and my erstwhile Soaring Spirits/happy hour/lunch friend. Carolyn said she had just had a Zoom meeting with Toastmasters and she had delivered her talk. I asked her what her topic was and she said she didn't follow the topic schedule; however, she didn't say what she talked about.
This is typical of Carolyn, as Nancy and I have noticed. It's amazing how uncommunicative she is about unimportant subjects. She also said she had been "tired" lately. Considering she seems "tired" most of the time, that wasn't big news. It was sad that, when I asked if she and her two children, 20 and 23, had played games or otherwise done things together, she said, no, they had pretty much done their own things. However, she was pleased that I had called and we had a pleasant talk. I called Nancy after and we chatted, also. She said she had been on Zoom with her knitting group, but since some are in Finland and elsewhere, the language thing was a problem.
I then took off for Trader Joe's for their frozen salmon and ahi tuna, which I've bought there before and like a lot. Outside, the line, people six feet apart, stretched all around the front and side of the building, but no matter; it was a beautiful day and I had no pressing other matters. I put on my mask and gloves, of course, and when I got up to the door, I was greeted by the--well, greeter. I was amazed to see he had neither a mask nor gloves, although he talked to me from about three feet away.  I asked an employee where the fish was and he directed me; he didn't have mask or gloves either. Nor did he cashier. Nor did he security guard outside. I asked each of them if Trader Joe's provides masks and/or gloves and they all said no.
This is incredible. Just like Von's, this supermarket, which makes huge profits, spouts all the sanctimonious bullcrap about how much they care for their employees and customers, but when push comes to shove, it's all talk. I was glad to have gotten the walk in, though, a total of 3.8 miles.
Home, I had lunch, then started on my quest to see if FPI Management, which owns this place, is cheating me or not. Talked to somebody from Ventura County government and she gave me number
I'll call on Monday. I also PM-ed my attorney nephew in Chicago and will call him over the weekend.
Betty called, having gotten the second "edition" of Byrnes' Beach, which she greatly enjoyed. She also got a letter from Ellen, which she read to me, about Patrick's visit and so on.
And speaking of my girl, El, she stopped in after work and we had a nice visit. She's got a lot on her plate what with making up packets, being in touch with her students, and trying to continue to educate. Anyway, it was so good to see her.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Rent And The Roosevelts

After breakfast, I walked down Victoria, then went over to Von's for tangerines and shredded cheese, donning my mask and gloves before I went in. As for paper goods, they had exactly four very thin and beat-up looking boxes of tissues. It was an obscure brand that surely held an inferior product and it was priced at $1.99! Luckily, I have six boxes of better tissues that I might very well have to use for something else someday--eew-w-w!
As for the ConService bill, about which I expounded on Facebook, I'm pretty sure it's legal. I'm also sure FPI Management has a stable of lawyers to check and make sure of that. But here's why I say it's rent increase: 
My rent was a certain amount when I moved here three years ago. It was raised by $80 a month two years ago. I now get a bill for water, sewer, and trash removal. I never received a bill for these before last month, but of course, there's no question it was factored into the rent. Presumably, I paid a percentage of the total usage for all the apartments here. In other words, say there are 500 units here and the trash removal bill is a thousand a month. Wouldn't my rent include, say one-five-hundreth of it? Since rent remains what it was, isn't that double payment? I'm going to pursue this.
I walked out to get the mail which, incidentally, has been extremely slow, and met up with Michelle. We talked and talked for about an hour about the rent situation and I tried to explain the above. She asked for my phone number, so she can call me and I can tell her husband. What good that'll do is questionable; Michelle seems a little kooky.
Betty called to say how thrilled she was about "Byrnes' Beach" and I was so glad she had enjoyed it. Sadly, she didn't remember when she first got it thirty-five years ago. I was thrilled to also get a call from someone I love. El called later, but just on the phone, not Zoom. We decided to invite the other person to join us on Zoom over the weekend.
I had registered for a group called "Shut Up And Write," now virtual, thinking it was some kind of writers exchange or something, but it wasn't. Turned out that the leader, Hillary" simply called time on email, during which participants were supposed to work on their projects, then ended it after fifteen or so. Dumb and I dropped out.
I did something last night I haven't done for an age: watched the "news" on television, both local and--some of, but not all of--national news. I was stunned to find that, as far as I could see, there was not one single item about anything else but the virus. There must be some other activities.  Aren't we still slashing and burning around the world? Don't we still have an embargo on Iran? Isn't Venezuela still on our kill list? Aren't the criminals in Washington still stealing and conniving? Apparently not.
Later, I came across a Ken Burns PBS bio show on the Roosevelt families, both Theodore's and Franklin's. That was interesting, but it continued after 9:00 and I went to bed. I'll check to see if it will be run again or on YouTube.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

The Floors And Futility

Reluctantly, I texted Gail about 8:30 that I wouldn't be joining her for our walk. She wrote back immediately to say she was already here (outside the gate at Hill Street). I called her and said my daughter was concerned about us meeting, so I thought we'd better not, at least for a time. She was okay with that. The truth is that I'd just as soon walk in the afternoon, but maybe later, I'll contact Gail and ask if we could resume.
Maybe later. What's going to happen "later"? I hope before too long, things will go back to normal, whatever "normal" is.
Made up my little newsletter packets for Betty and my brothers and walked to the P.O. to mail them. Met up with Suzanne as I was going out. She was coming back from Von's and we chatted a bit. I was surprised to see she wasn't wearing a mask or gloves; didn't think to ask if she wanted me to give her some of the latter.
I cleaned the hard floors with the Bona process and washed the bathtub mat and bath rugs and so on. Rather than putting them in the dryer, I laid them out in the sun. I know the sun is a germicide and besides, I remembered Wilfred Owen's "Futility":

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

The operative phrase, "Was it for this the clay grew tall?" makes me think of the present situation and its dire ending for some. I was in a a reflective mood, I guess. 
After lunch, I oiled and seasoned two chicken leg quarters and put them in the oven to roast. I then tidied up a bit until Ellen and I zoomed at 3:30.
It makes such a difference to me that we were able to see each other and not just hear ourselves. She showed me her newly-arranged guest room, now her office and it looks great.  After that, I walked the footpath--my new fave walking place, but didn't go more than about two, as it was getting a little cool. Betty called while I was walking to tell me about various word games Carolyn had devised and brought her.
Had one of the legs, plus spinach and zucchini for dinner. I put on Wall Street, but lost interest after a half-hour and turned on the television for Dateline about a grisly murder in Miami.  I had forgotten there were so many commercials, but was mildly interested because it's been so long since I watched television, I had never seen them before. Several of them were quite informative, as I learned how very altruistic, civically enlightened, and wonderfully compassionate these big corporations are as they react to the crisis. They care only about their customers, not dirty money, of course, and so does FPI Management, which just raised my rent.
Are these new times? You'd better believe it. Here's the 101 from the footpath over it, yesterday. It was Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 5:14--that is, rush hour:
Well, I'm rambling on, so now I'll just ramble away...

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Byrne's Beach

I thought it was a stroke of genius for my niece, Carolyn, to send out a message to family and others, asking them to write to Betty through the actual U.S. Post Office. Many agreed to do so and of course, I will. What's wonderfully coincidental is that last week, I came across the following, a kind of (extended) family newsletter I had created thirty-five years ago.
I had sent out a teaser first, telling everybody to be on the watch for it, then sent the first "edition," dated January, 1985. It chronicles the comings and goings and doings of our big family and everybody got a kick out of it.
I thought it was the perfect mail to send Betty, so I copied it, added the teaser and sent it off. Since I thought they'd enjoy it, too, I sent the same to my three brothers.  
(Hmm, after I added the above, this damn machine is refusing to start at the left margin--guess I'll have to make do with the center.)
After I had copied and otherwise prepared it all, I walked to the P.O. to mail them. I'll send the second edition tomorrow; unfortunately , that's all I ever got around to doing originally. That was odd, as I didn't have anything else to do: just care for a house, a husband, four children, a full-time job, and college classes.
Stopped at Von's for romaine, batteries, and Oxy-Clean on my way home. Put in a load of whites. adding the aforementioned (I can't help myself!), and they came out beautifully. Had lunch, then set off for my walk. I called Betty once I reached Kimball Park and we had a good chat. I didn't tell her what I had sent--I want it to be a surprise. We said goodbye and I started off again, the ran into Diane, one of my walking buddies from when I did Kimball at 7 every morning. We talked for about twenty minutes, conscientiously standing blah, blah, blah. She and Irene still walk everyday and she invited me to join them, but I've gotten out of the early-walk habit and prefer later.
Went on my way and circumnavigated the park, then walked home via the bridge. I figured this was a good five, at least, and probably a bit more. It was a gorgeous day, 70 degrees and sunny, but with a gentle breeze. 
Had another vegan meal--black beans, cabbage, and butternut squash, but today, I think I'll bake the chicken I had in the freezer. 
Talked to Ellen. She has a Zoom meeting with her colleagues this morning and this afternoon, we'll zoom together and she'll show me her newly-arranged home office.
(This being forced to be aligned in the middle in driving me crazy!) 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Illuminati And The Virus

I texted Gail early on to ask if she'd park on Hill Street, rather than drive into the complex, and she did. We did our five-mile walk again and I greatly enjoyed it.
I'm afraid, however, that I find Gail a bit tedious. She's one of those people who have absolutely no sense of humor and, seemingly, no idea of how to judge whether to obey "authority" or make up her own mind in various situations. However, she's okay to be with otherwise, I guess, and we made a date to walk tomorrow, too. (She rides her bike on Tuesday, many more miles than we walk).
El called while we were out to tell me about a site she reads which assures us that the Illuminati or whomever, would shut down the Internet and phones sometime between April 1 and Easter. Television would work and, presumably, we'd get instructions from that. Ellen doesn't necessarily  believe that, nor do I, but if it has to do with the evil government, shadow or otherwise, I won't discount it.
Met up with Andrea and Lauren and little Brindley outside and we chatted a bit. Nancy called and we chatted for a bit. For the first time in weeks, she went outside--to the pharmacy at 8:00 am to pick up her prescriptions.
After lunch, I cut up three zucchinis I had bought at Von's on Sunday, and put them in the slow cooker with chopped onions and seasonings. I actually sat outside on the patio for a bit, reading my germ book, which continues to be fascinating.
After I went in, I was surprised to find a message on my phone from Don S., a friend of my son, Mike's. He was cautioning me to take the virus threat seriously. He added several other cautions about it and I was nonplussed; I wondered if this was a hoax or a hack. Anyway, we exchanged messages back and forth for a few minutes and the upshot was that I called him. Yes, the messages were from him, he was just concerned about me, and so on. We talked for almost an hour, mostly about Covid-19, a topic which is getting old, dammit,  However, I like Don a lot and enjoyed talkiing to him. He hasn't had the easiest life--his mother left when he was an infant--and I was glad to talk to him. Since he lives in Jersey, it will probably a long time before I see him, if ever.
Had a vegan dinner, consisting of the cabbage and apple dish, turnips, which I had prepared on Sunday, and the zucchini. Yum, yum, and I want to do this more often.

Monday, March 30, 2020

My Schedule And Germs

It occurred to me that I need to set a new, tentative schedule. In the old days--pre-virus--I didn't actually follow one, exactly, but often did the same things at roughly the same times. My mealtime I do follow pretty religiously with breakfast at 8, lunch at 1, and dinner at 6. (I can eat after those time, but not before.) However, I was always ready to put into motion my policy: "never turn down an invitation," if something fun came up. On regular days, though, I'd walk down Victoria in the morning and go into town in the afternoon on the bus.
Well, that's over for now, but I'll probably follow loosely what I did yesterday: After breakfast, I talked on the phone, then walked over to Von's in this getup:

(I had the mask left over from the Thomas fire two years ago.) I got lettuce, cabbage, a big, fat apple, and Dave's Killer Bread. Prepared the lettuce for my lunch salad, cut up the cabbage and apple and put them in the slow cooker, and tidied up a bit. After lunch, I took off over the footbridge and followed the same route Gail and I had on Friday, putting in roughly five miles. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and fairly warm, although the wind blew up here and there.
I had called Ellen earlier to ask about how to hand renting an DVD from Amazon and she educated me. I then called my old Sunrise Bay friend and neighbor, Susan G., and we talked for more than an hour. I was surprised to hear the exercise group was still meeting at the clubhouse--I kind of doubt  the office people are in.
I just started the following and it's fabulous; I bought when we went to Bart's Books while Patrick was here:
I was incredibly ignorant and this is eye-opening, especially HOW MANY germs are in the body. According the Dr. Tierno, "There are more germs in our bodies than there are stars in the sky, some thousand billion germs per gram of matter...the combined weight of microscopic germs exceeds the combined weight of all living animals and plants." It boggles the mind! I'm only up to the fourth chapter and can't wait to continue.
Texted Gail and we'll walk again in a few hours.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


My niece, Joan, called me in the morning and we had a long talk. She and her husband, Jim, live in Manhattan, which seems a wonderfully exotic and interesting lifestyle to me. Joan is very active and had just come from the long walk in Central Park.
That put me in the mood to talk, so I called my friend, Aline, in Little Egg Harbor, and we brought each other up to date. I was alarmed to hear that her great-nephew, who is a college sophomore and lives in north Jersey, was tested and has been diagnosed with the virus. He was advised not to go to the hospital, but to be treated at home (no wonder!); happily, because he's young and healthy, the prognosis is good. Aline lives with her sister, Susan, and they've been eating a lot of take-out, such as pizza and so on. (Seems to me more a danger than the virus!)
Checked my mail and saw Suzanne drive in. We chatted--virtuously six feet away--at the mail boxes. She's going into the office at St. John's to go over her files and so on; the medical education classes she conducts have been suspended, of course. I went out for a short walk around the neighborhood after that, covering maybe a mile and a half, if that.
Called some loved ones, including Ellen, with whom I had a long talk and video visit on Zoom. I had been trying to set up Zoom for a virtual Happy Hour meeting, and El and I managed to do it, but now I'm not so sure it's feasible with Nancy and Carolyn. We'll see. El took exception to me allowing Gail to come in and use the bathroom on Friday and we had a long discussion about that. I'm not so sure if my two pals are up for a Zoom visit--or, for that matter, that I am.