Sunday, December 15, 2019


I got plenty done yesterday. Wrapped the Singapore presents and walked to the P.O. to send them. Whether they'll get there by Christmas is problematic--and the footloose family leaves for Japan on the 25th--but if not, they'll just have to be for later.
Went to the office to get my new key for the pool enclosure, side gate, and laundry. On the way, I met up with Lauren, little Brindley's mother, and another neighbor, Debbie.  We commiserated on the inconveniences associated with the new owners, especially the dog thing, but we'll have to live with it.
Debbie works in property management herself, but she works in Encino, which is a distance from here. I'm not clear on whether she has a place there, too, and comes here only on weekends, or not, but she's had her place here for twenty years.
Got  my key and the office person said new locks for our apartments are being installed. Mine should be done tomorrow, but late in the day. The resident has to go over and get the new key after they're installed. Manager Bianca--oh, I forgot, she's now "community director"--will stay late, I was told, but I'm concerned about how late. I'm going to the surprise party for Alex in Santa Paula at 5:00 and I'm wondering if she'll be here when I get home. Darn, I'll have to find that out.
After lunch, I took the bus to town. Walked Main Street, stopping in here and there at the shops I frequent. I bought Christmas cards and some gift bags. Ellen called and we firmed up our plans for today. She'll pick me up at Dudley House, go here for lunch, then take my stuff to Goodwill. We'll also go to a  few other stores for this and that.
My brother, Jim, called once again to get Betty's phone number. I'm not sure what the problem is, but he says he can never get it to work. I'll give it to him again and/or send it in writing.
Stopped at the mall on my way home, just to get blueberries.  Put my goods away and knocked on Suzanne's door to chat a bit. Cooked up some fresh shrimp and string beans for dinner. Have been too busy later to make myself a proper dinner, but will one of these days.

Saturday, December 14, 2019


What. A. Day.
Having skipped T.O.P.S., I had breakfast and was out of the house (okay, apartment) by 9:00. Walked down Victoria, then farther to a store for rice cakes, grapes, and Parmesan cheese. Annoyingly, I forgot the latter, as I discovered after I took the bus home. Dropped my things off, then went over to Von's for cottage cheese and a few other items. I usually go out the side entrance for Von's; my clicker doesn't open that drive-in gate, but there's one for walking, too, which uses the same key as for my front door.
Only it didn't. I had gone to the office the other day to get the new key we were told was coming, but Bianca was busy and said she'd "send it over." Well, she didn't  and I didn't realize the locks had been changed already. (Luckily, a different key opens the mailboxes.) When I went to the office for the key, I saw a notice on the window to the effect that the office was closed on Thursday and Friday. And Friday was for "a holiday party." Now, we had holiday parties every year at Rider, but NOT DURING WORK HOURS. (I feel like Mrs. Scrooge for writing that/)
I wasn't so annoyed at the key thing or even the two-day closing, except why in the hell didn't they send out an email and let residents know about it? Bush league, if you ask me.
Anyway, after lunch, I walked again down Victoria and got a bus at Telephone. Went to Michael's and Pier One for some gifts. I then hopped a bus to the Transit Center, switched to another and traveled to town, went to the library, and picked up Stephen King's new book, The Institute, which I had put on hold about two months ago.
I immediately bused back to the mall and went to Trader Joe's to pick up some things I'm giving as smaller gifts--I won't say what they are yet. Betty called as I waited for the number 6 bus and we chatted. Got off and stopped at Von's for Romaine and parm cheese--I'll just have to write off as a loss the one I left at the other store. Now today, I have a hell of a lot of more things to do, but after I send off the gifts to Asia--which will almost surely not get there in time for Christmas--I'll have a little down time.
Just got up (6:15) and got my paper at the door. I found with it a lovely handmade card from Suzanne with a note saying how much she likes having me as a friend. Yes, I think I landed in the right place.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Camarillo And Birthday

I was out front waiting for the Access Van at 10:45. It didn't come immediately, but no prob, as it was a beautiful day--sunny and fairly warm.
To get to Camarillo where the program was, the van dropped me at a stop there, then another picked me up and took me to a complex called "the Health District." This is a very attractive, quite new facility and someone in the office walked me to the classroom.
The program was actually for caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and, in fact, there were only two other people there: Ed, who's caregiver for his very far-advanced wife and Joan, who's caregiver for her husband, who isn't.
It didn't really tell me a whole bunch new, but was useful, I think. However, it started at 12:30 and lasted until 4:30. There was a short break in the middle, but I guess it was assumed participants would have had lunch. Of course, I hadn't since I left so early, but it didn't really bother me.
Noreen called me and left a message about an "ethical problem," for which she wanted my advice, a first for me. I'm hardly the person to go to for a question of morals, but I called her back. It seems she had ordered a fruitcake on-line for a friend of hers and somehow, accidentally, was going to be sent two, but they were going to charge her for only one and should she cancel, although she probably had ordered it for herself in August and had forgotten about it...
Good grief! I said I couldn't advise her, but whatever she did, she shouldn't agonize over it. I think the dilemma was that she'd get two cakes, but only pay for one. So do it. Or don't do it. I knew she was  insecure, but this seemed extreme.
Niece Carolyn called and said that Betty, Carolyn, Dana, Finn, Claire, Steve, Robyn, and Dexter could come to Ventura (along with Ellen, of course, and Greg if he doesn't have to work) for our birthday on the 21st. Great news and I suggested they come to my place. If it's okay with the L.A.contingent, they will. Said I'd have to check with Ellen, too.  but I thought she'd be happy with that arrangement.  She called later to say it was fine with her ("now I won't have to clean the house"--a girl after my own heart!).  I texted Carolyn not to bring anything to drink, as I have plenty of beer, wine, soda, and iced tea. Yay--that will be such fun!
Betty called and we talked. Unfortunately, she hasn't found her necklace. Now, it seems, the companion she wanted me to meet won't be there on Tuesday, when I was planning to visit. Since I'll see her on Saturday and I'd still like to go to the surprise party in Santa Paula that evening, I begged off.
I also begged off attending T.O.P.S. this morning. I'm just so frazzled with Christmas coming and things having to be bought and sent overseas and so on, that I know it would drive me crazy to sit there and listen to nothingness for an hour and a half. I have a long list of what I want to buy and do today and I want to clear the decks and do it.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Lunch With C.B.

Met Carolyn B. for lunch at the Busy Bee Luncheonette (her suggestion) on Main Street. This is a neat place, very much nineteen fifties in decor and mood, with Elvis and others of the era singing in the background. In keeping with the venue, I had a huge, greasy cheeseburger with jumbo fries and a big Blue Moon, which, happy day, they have on tap. It was wonderful, and filled me up enough for dinner. I got a kick out of this poster:

Carolyn and I had a good talk. Her daughter, Billie (yes, that's her name) wants to go to art school in San Francisco or elsewhere. I mentioned the Savannah College of Art & Design, where my daughter-in-law, Paula, got her graduate degree and, of course, Parsons in NYC.
We stayed for two hours, discussing mostly family--Carolyn doesn't see many of her siblings--and had an enjoyable time. We then parted and I walked to the library to pick up a bio of Edward Bernays, the originator, it seems, of modern advertising and propaganda, may he rot in hell.
Bused home and got in about 5:00. I lit my decorations (some candle, some battery) and rang Suzanne's bell to invite her to view them. I first did the same for hers--heavy on the angels and very pretty. She came over and admired mine after and we talked for a bit.
I received two packages, one from Land's End and the other from Tokyo. Mike said he's sending something he wants me to distribute to his stateside sibs, but it hasn't come yet. This is for before Christmas, h said.
Also got a card from the Tokyo trio, which I'll open on my birthday. I'm getting frazzled about what to get them and their families and how I can get it to them before Christmas, especially as so much travel is going on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"Knives Out"

I  met Nancy at 10:00 at the Midtown and we saw Knives Out.  
We both loved it!  The story line was reminiscent of Agatha Christie and had more ins and outs than a sewing machine. It was fun to see Daniel Craig as a southerner--from the U.S., not the U.K.--with an corn pone accent you could cut with a knife. Christopher Plummer was great as the victim and Jamie Lee Curtis as one of his grasping children.
After, we went to Masa Sushi for Japanese, which was very good. We parted after making a tentative date for next week; Nance has something for me and I have something for her. I walked down to the museum, stopping in a few stores on the way.  Decided to take the number 6 to Target at the mall and get my supply of blueberries, but narrowly missed a bus. A nice woman offered to drive me down Main to Telegraph and I accepted, first asking if she was a serial killer. She said no and I told her I was, but only on Sundays. I enjoyed talking to her so much, I forgot about Target. She dropped me at Victoria and I walked home. I freshened up a little (that's a euphemism for visiting the bathroom), then went right back out and got the bus for the mall.
Walking from the stop to Target, I passed Johnson Dental, went in, and made an appointment for January 8.  I had been trying to force myself to do this for months--I'm terrified of the dentist, having been traumatized as a child--and was glad I finally did.
Got the blueberries, went back and bused home. Called El and we talked for 45 minutes. She was driving, on her way to Fullerton (a three-hour drive), for a lecture by the author of  Love and Logic in the Classroom. She'll stay overnight, having arranged to have a sub today for her class. I asked if she'd take me to the thrift store to donate some of my Christmas stuff and she will, over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas Stuff

Did a wash in the morning, then started in on getting my Christmas stuff out. I had it stored in two high cupboards and almost killed myself getting it, but I did.
Good grief, how could I have accumulated so much? I decorated here and there--it took me several hours and actually, looks pretty nice--but I have a lot more stuff for which I have no place. I want to donate the overage to Goodwill, but have to figure out a way to get it there. I want to do it now so somebody can enjoy it at Christmas.
After lunch, I rode to town. Dropped off a book at the library, then walked down to The Promenade, looped up to Main, and completed the circle to the library. I haven't done that for awhile and it was enjoyable. Idiot that I am, I stopped into The Coalition and bought some window cels that stick on the window: Santa and Ho, Ho, Ho. Okay, I just wrote I have too much Christmas stuff, but this I needed! Anyway, it'll look very cute once I put it up.
Also bought two packages of Christmas napkins. Since I did that, I HAD to invite Nancy and Carolyn for lunch next Wednesday. After all, I have to use the napkins, don't I?
Enjoyed part one of the sixth and final season of Downton Abbey last night.  I'm not sure how I'll survive last of it.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Museum And Mickey

A dark, rainy day in the morning that matched my mood. Happily, both cleared up later and it turned into an interesting and stimulating day.
I left for the museum at 11:00. On my way, Betty called to say that this time, she's lost a necklace. She's sure she had it at Carolyn's or Stephen's or at Al Capone's or who the hell knows where. Anyway, I haven't seen it and don't even remember it. Later, Betty's daughter-in-law texted me on the topic and we commiserated with each other. It helps to have allies.
The museum event was for members; I had just rejoined (at a fee of forty bucks) and got there just as director Elena started her address.  I hadn't had lunch, so was glad to see a nice spread of finger sandwiches and so on. I was even happier to see the fixings for mimosas--a carafe of orange juice and a tub of champagne bottles. I skipped the orange juice--who needs it?--and had a few glasses of the bubbly. I sat with and chatted with a woman name Jill and enjoyed our conversation. I gave her my card and asked her to get in touch; hope she will.
I took a tour of the archives conducted by the archivist and enjoyed it immensely. This is the kind of thing I like most: history found in letters, diaries, newspaper articles, and other homely documents. Incredibly, this portrait of Lincoln was done by writing out the Proclamation of Emancipation:

There was also an address by the author of a book about a ex-nun who was instrumental in improving the lives of Latina women, then the subject herself spoke. I left after that and walked down Main for a bit, then took the bus to the mall, stopping at Trader Joe's for a few things. Home, I rang Suzanne's bell and we chatted for a bit. She offered to pick me up after an Alzheimer's seminar in Camerillo and I accepted. Will register and go there on Thursday. 
On a whim, I called my old friend from Ewing, Michael Ann "Micky" Eldridge and we talked for a full hour. I met her roughly sixty years ago--my oldest was an infant--when we were both young mothers in back-to-back apartments. She had three boys, a philandering husband, and a cigarette habit as vicious as mine. Later, in the first houses we owned--hers in Fleetwood Village, mine a short stroll away on Lower Ferry--we continued our friendship. After many years, she moved to...  
Arizona!  Why, that's where I'm going in February and she's in Phoenix, only about 25 miles away. Of course, we excitedly made plans to meet and I'll follow up with my hostess.