Thursday, December 31, 2015


Yes--another enjoyable day. El and I got to Montecito a little late, due to both of us mixing time up a bit, but we got there. We found the house Mike rented and yo mama, what a place! You have to press buttons on a pad, then Mike has to use a remote to open the gate. The house itself is just quintessentially California; build in the thirties, Mike thinks, of massive beige stone with dark, seasoned wood--looks like mahogany inside and maybe oak out. There's a high entrance hall,large living room and dining room, huge kitchen, and other amenities. It's furnished in beautiful, comfortable, and obviously expensive furniture, its size fitting the big house. Outside is a kind of stone structure of several levels that includes a putting green, hot tub, fireplace, and so on. Next to the big house is a smaller--but still large--guest house in the same style. Big trees and beautiful foliage grace the whole complex and the place is just a few yards from the beach.
When we got there, the rest of the crew were down there. That consisted of Betty, her daughter, Carolyn and her Finn and Claire, plus son Stephen, DIL Robyn and Dexter, and, of course, Vivian and Violet. El went down to meet them and when they got back, Paula served a wonderful late lunch of quesadillas (beef and cheese), pasta salad, avocado dip, all kinds of fancy cheeses, plus sides, in addition to wonderful pastry desserts, soda, wine, iced tea, and so on. Unfortunately, the L.A. contingent (Steve, Robyn, and Dex) had to leave, as Steve had a writing assignment that had to get done.
Mike and Paula's college friend, Sarah, came in and we were all glad to see her. The kids jumped in the hot tub and scampered up and down here and there while the adults laughed and talked around the table. In the middle of all the hubbub, the Tokyo Tyke Skyped us with this Daddy and we all were able to see and hear them on Mike's phone.
Carolyn left, taking her own two, plus V. and V. with her. There wasn't room for Betty in the car, so later, my friend and her man took her home. El and I sat talking with the three until about 7:00, then Mike went to pick up the girls.
However--many of us will be back tomorrow, as we're all invited there for a New Year's Eve party. Can't wait, and Greg will come, too, so that will be even better.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Park, the Pacific, and Making Plans

Whatta day again! After a lot of back and forth phone calls, Mike and Paula arrived at my place about 1:00. They actually thought it was pretty nice for a single person and, as time goes, I do, too, more and more. Then Mike went out to look for my friend and her guy, who had parked their car near the leasing office, but had walked the wrong way. Mike and Violet rounded them up and they came in. They thought it was pretty nice, too, and thank Zeus, they took my mother's china!
This was a twelve-piece set Mom had gotten when she was married, some 98 year ago and we always dined off it on holidays and special occasions; of course, we sat in the dining room, not the kitchen, too. It's a beautiful pattern, with silver around the rim and tiny, delicate roses in shades of red and pink on the edge. However, in the modern day, the fact that it can't be put in the dishwasher is a major problem. (Of course, when we were kids, there were no dishwashers, so it wasn't an issue because everything was washed by hand.) I used the good china on Sweetwater Drive for a few dinner parties and other events I wanted to make particularly nice. It was admired by all and looked elegant, but then I'd be up until 1 am washing it. So, okay, out it goes to New Mexico and I'm glad because it stays in the family and the bonus is, it frees up more space in Tinytown.
We stayed here just a half hour or so, then all went to Ellen's. She had yet another yummy lunch ready for us and after a bit of conversation, we dug in. That enjoyed, we all put on outdoor wear (it's far from warm here just now) and took off for the Ventura Beach. We went to an area that has a zip line for the kids, plus a lot of playground equipment, and Vivian and Violet made full use of it. The adults strolled here and there, then down to the iron mermaid sculpture that was "a gift from Russia," according to a plaque. This is quite large and is on a stone pedestal, so I suppose is about twenty feet high. It depicts a somewhat homely mermaid blowing a horn and struck me as rather weird, but is certainly eye-catching.
What really caught the eye--and in my case, the heart--was the Pacific Ocean, rolling majestically shore ward and looking like the purest blue with whitest white foam imaginable. Just beautiful, as is the whole coastline here, which you can see for miles.
We all went back to El's to open a few more presents--mine to Mike and his family, theirs to me, and El's to them. By that time it was after 5:00 and some of us called it a day. My friend and husband went to Mike's in Montecito for dinner, as it was on their way and they were taking the girls to stay over in the RV. Did they want to? Of course, yes, yes, yes, and there was great excitement over this.
El took me home after another wonderful--and need I say, strenuous--day. Called Betty and the plan today is, we'll all converge on Mike and Paula's, including Betty, Carolyn, and her two kids, and possibly, her son Stephen, and his family.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Wow, yester was a day that WAS a day! El called to say our friend had texted her that they were a few hours away from Chumach Camp Ground. We decided El would come for me about 11:30 and we'd drive up there--over the San Marcos Pass.
Uh-oh, the San Marcos Pass; that sounded ominous. Ellen, that sweetheart, said she'd be willing to take the long way around, but it would add anywhere from a half hour to an hour of travel time. I decided to check on YouTube and found many videos of the Pass. In fact, it didn't look too bad: Most of the sheer drops were bordered by guard rails, so I told El I'd be okay with going that way. And I was, pretty much.
Got to the campground, and amid great rejoicing, greeted each other. Had a quick lunch of leftovers, and was delighted when my friend got a call from Mike to the effect they were just leaving the Madonna Inn and would come to the campground, too--oh, joy! They wouldn't get there for two or three hours, so the four of us set off on a walk to Lake Casitas, which is part of the campground.
Whew! Was it cold and windy! The huge lake is beautiful, but we thought its level was lower than normal. We walked a trail or two, then went back to the RV. My friend brought out gifts of lovely necklaces she had made herself--mine a depiction of "the family tree." She represented members of our family as yellow flowers on a full green tree, with Pat and me at the top, our two daughters on one side and two sons on the other.
Soon, Mike, Paula, and the two dynamos got there. Vivian and Violet are both non-stop talkers--and doers--and we had a wonderful time with them. My friend gave out presents, then we all went for yet another walk, this time on a different route to the huge lake. (That's more exercise than I've had since I left Jersey and--brr, to say the least, but I was game.)
After a strenuous 45 minutes or so, we got back and a ranger slowed down near us in his truck. Mike chatted with him, remarking that he and Paula had come to the lake when they were at UCSB twenty yeas ago and were surprised at how much lower it was. The ranger asked them to guess how much and Paula said twenty-five feet, Mike sixty. We were amazed when the ranger told us it was eighty-eight feet lower than it had been even five years ago. Sobering fact, which drives the reality of the southern California drought home.
We went back to the RV (the living room bigger than mine), talked and laughed more, then made--tentative--plans for today. M., P., V. and V. would come here to my Tinytown first, then we'll all go to Ellen's. Possibly, she'll take the girls to the movies--we'll see.
We then parted and went our ways, the Singapore Four to their rented house in Montecito. (I guess Santa Barbara is no longer ritzy enough for my boy, as here's what Wikipedia has to say about the place: "Montecito's ZIP code, 93108, is one of the wealthiest in the entire nation. ...Today, Montecito harbors many a celeb, from Oprah Winfrey and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss to Rob Lowe and Jeff Bridges. ..," and so on.)
Betty had asked me to call her when I got home; I did and possibly, she, plus Carolyn and her family, will join us today.

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Lull and Dull, But Picked Up Later (Plus a Medical Update)

Still a lull and then somewhat dull. I stayed in and did more tidying up and stuff. Called and ordered the bookcase I wanted from Mayfair. Wouldn't you know, I didn't order when it was on sale and even after negotiating with the rep, I'm paying twenty bucks more. Talked to El, who was out getting ingredients for turkey soup. Called my friend, who had sent me eleven texts, which I didn't get because my cell phone was in my pocketbook and I couldn't hear it. My left ear is still inoperable. Called Betty twice and left messages; even texted her.
Things picked up later in the day. Betty got back to me and we agreed we'd just play the getting together stuff by ear. We each said we'd just do what our kids come up with. Took the tablecloth back to B, B & B and got a different size; happily, it fits fine and looks nice. Now I need to find a fabric store that will cut the pad down for me.
I sliced down the leftover pork roast for dinner, and added Ellen's stuffing and gravy; very tasty. After, I went into town to drop a book off at the library and, of course, came back the scenic route on Poli Street. Took some pictures; I wish they did justice to the beauty there.
Got home to find a message from my friend, telling me they were three or four hours from their destination (which is on the other side of Santa Barbara, about an hour from me) and she'd call me tomorrow morning. YAY! Can't wait to see her!
UPDATE and background for the following saga:
I got a call, I think on December 23rd, from the medical assistant at Primary Medical. She conveyed he message from my doctor that my anemia is--can't remember if she said "much improved," "much better," or something else, but I could have told them that. She then said, "And you're taking iron every day, right?" NO, not right; I was never told to take iron that I remember. The assistant--whose name, incidentally, is Becky Wade (why does that suggest a teenager in the deep South who already has two kids?) said she'd find out the dosage and get back to me, but so far, hasn't. If she doesn't call by the day after Christmas, I guess I'll call them and tell them I'm pissed. Gregg was nice enough to get me iron from Whole Foods they day after Christmas and I've been taking one a day; they're 22 mg.
This morning: As I had never heard back from Primary Medical, I called the medical assistant to find out what dosage I was supposed to take. Finally, after a long wait, I was switched to voice mail. Got a call back in a few minutes from Becky, who airily informed me I should be taking 325 milligrams with vitamin C.! That's a whole hell of a lot different from 22 mg, isn't it?
Now I'm wondering if I should switch from this group to some other doctors. That's a hassle, but I'll mull it over.
Later this morning: Went to CVS for the iron and found only 65 mg; none with vit. c. Asked the pharmacist and she said it is 325--there's a paraenthesis on the label that reads "325 Ferrous Sulfate," but they had none that contains vit C., so I just bought it separately.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Lull day, but not a dull day. I was awakened by a phone call that brought unsettling--although not entirely unexpected--news. I fervently hope things improve on that front.
Ellen and Greg were going somewhere and I called Betty to see if she and I could get together. However, her children and older grandson were going to the movies and she had the younger two to watch. I considered taking a train, but there's be no way for her to pick me it. Also considered driving to Santa Barbara, but just didn't want to risk it. Just as well, as Ellen called later to say the 101 was closed both ways because of a fire about ten miles from here. (I was touched to get an e-mail from Susan at home, asking I was all right.) Anyway, I suggested Betty might take the train here today and I'd pick her up, but dunno at this point.
I had a list of things to do and buy, and I got most of them done. Actually got a nice tablecloth at Bed, Bath & B.--it's attractive and at a reasonable price, but is just a tad small. I'll exchange it for a bigger size. Picked up a few fifty percent off Christmas things there, too, notably some chocolates to add to my gifts. Pushover that I am, I couldn't resist a large velvet Christmas stocking, with "R" on it. Well, it was only five bucks and I stuffed it when I got home and hung it on my front door with the wreath. Looks very cute.
Other than that, I went to WinCo, did housework, watered plants, had turkey leftovers for lunch, and generally completed various chores.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Had a quiet, but very enjoyable, Christmas Day. Got to El's by 11:00, and we three sat down to open presents. I got some much appreciated gifts from Ellen and Greg and they were pleased with their presents. It's quite a relief in the present day to realize you don't have to spend huge amounts to show how much to care about others. We were interrupted by a Skype call from Lake Tahoe, where the snow was still coming down in beautiful, but sinister abundance. The girls were whirling around, their usual mode, all excited about their "big" gifts: the smartest of new smart phones for 7-year-old Violet and an Apple watch for 11-year-old Vivian. (My second sentence above doesn't exactly apply to Mike and Paula.)
Mike himself was given (gasp! unbelievable!) an adult skate board. While we were talking to the girls in the foreground, he glided back and forth in the back. This is a formidable board, I think designed for adults--those with a screw loose. Mike was a good skate boarder as a boy and teen, but hey, now he's on the cusp of fifty and, really, is this the best idea since pumpernickel?
Oh, well, we're looking forward with great anticipation to seeing them soon, and the rest of the brood (except for those in the far east) soon.
Greg was a bit under the weather with a sinus headache, so El and I went to Ojai together. We went to Libby park and walked around a bit; there's a new small amphitheater there that we explored approvingly. However, it was really chilly and the wind was fierce--weather conditions reversed from the east coast, it seems--and we didn't stay outside long. We looked at some mobile home communities--I still marvel at how expensive they are, considering the actual cost and the "space rent"--then drove home.
Greg was making a delicious miso soup when we got in, and Ellen prepared leftovers from our turkey feast the night before, so that was dinner and it was so good. El and I then went out to view the Christmas lights, which is a ritual with us, I guess. They were suitably bright and pretty; I always enjoy that.
Got up with a call from my friend. She and her husband are on the road from NM--can't wait to see them tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Eve of the Day

A neat Christmas Eve day. I did wash in the morning, then went to Target--jammed to the rafters, of course--for one or two things I had overlooked. Went home to call Ellen, shower and dress, and got to her place about 1:30. She was up to her elbows in making a great turkey dinner with all the homemade fixings. While she worked, I chatted with her, had half a sandwich and a Blue Moon for lunch, then Mike, Paula, and the girls Skyped us--they were having LOTS of snow in Lake Tahoe--and we enjoyed seeing them. Immediately after, the Tokyo Trio finally appeared--we had had a hard time catching up with each other--and little Sweetie Boy wished me happy birthday several times. So good to see them all.
Then--I should be ashamed, but I can guarantee I'm not--I lay on the couch and watched North by Northwest while El continued working and made the entire dinner. Well, darn, I offered to help--maybe not with great enthusiasm--and I did tear up half a loaf of bread for the stuffing, but that was my entire contribution. Then it was just Cary, Eva Marie, and me at Mount Rushmore. I had forgotten just how badly Cary played love scenes--"wooden" barely describes it--but the movie itself was great good fun. For those days (1959) it was remarkably sexy, too.
Greg got in from work about 6:30 and we sat down to eat a half hour later. Gee, was it good! To go with the bird, Ellen had roasted root vegetables (a much better choice than mashed taters, seems to me), and served fresh string beans, cranberry sauce and gravy she made from scratch, plus fancy olives and pickles. We had a good pinot grigio with it, then pumpkin pie (well, that was bought) for dessert.
Full of good food and good talk, we said goodnight and I drove home happy. I'll go over again today about 11:00, we'll open presents, then go to Ojai. Greg said he'd make soup--he bought ingredients, all of which, I know, are organic and bursting with freshness and good taste.
This is my first Christmas here since I made California my home. Aside from the people in my life, that's the best gift of all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Pretty much of a bore/chore day. I spent what seemed like half the time on the computer, clearing up some financial and other mundane stuff. Niece Joan called to wish me a happy birthday. Chastity from the office (who has the same birthday as me, but she's about 200 years younger) came to the door with an Urgent Express envelope from Mike. He had the old address on AGAIN, which is why it was left at the office. I'll open the inner envelope on Christmas. Put stuff in my ear with no result; will try again tomorrow.
Decided to cook my pork roast for dinner. Called and asked Ellen if she'd like to come and have some. She called back, but was busily making preparations for Christmas Eve dinner--turkey and all the homemade fixings--and declined. However, she called several other times with advice about iron. To wit: I took one of the iron tablets Greg brought me and the topic prompted discussions with Ellen, who said I should call the doctor to see if the dosage (22mg) is right. Well, I'm not about to call the doctor--I'm taking the stuff, so what's the problem? If the med assistant doesn't call me by the 26th, I guess I'll call.
Oh, maybe I didn't mention the lead-up to that: I got a call, I guess two days ago from the medical assistant at Primary Medical. She conveyed he message from my doctor that my anemia is--can't remember if she said "much improved," "much better," or something else, but I could have told them that. She then said, "And you're taking iron every day, right?" NO, not right; I was never told to take iron that I remember. The assistant--whose name, incidentally, is Becky Wade (why does that suggest a teenager in the deep South who already has two kids?) said she'd find out the dosage and get back to me, but so far, hasn't. If she doesn't call by the day after Christmas, I guess I'll call them and tell them I'm pissed.
Went into Amazon Japan and ordered a gift for Doll Baby, K. It won't come until the 26th, unfortunately, because I waited too long. However, he won't know the difference. BTW, dealing with Amazon Japan is a trip. The pages say they've been translated, but what you see is more like a fifty-fifty mix of Japanese and English--and the English is peculiar, to say the least. However, I negotiated it okay.
I've got a fair amount still to do today, but that's okay. Looking forward to turkey dinner and being with El and Greg.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Shopping and the Battle of the Wires

Busy, busy, and productive--yay!--day. El asked if I wanted to go to B & B & B with her, then have her come over to move my tables around. Yes, sure, and she picked me up about 11:30. I had cleared away all the small items, such as lamps, pictures, books, the kitty I got at Albert Einstein's house, and the other stuff I somehow accumulated without knowing it.
We went to B. B and B., the world's most overpriced store, thinking it would be crowded, but it wasn't bad. I was in the market for a vinyl-backed flannel tablecloth to use under a decorative one to guard against spills on my antique table. They didn't have any and I didn't buy anything. El bought several Christmas presents--and very nice ones, of course. I'll say this for the three Bees, they do, indeed, have a lot of great stuff. They also have a lot of crapola you can buy for half what they charge anywhere else.
We then went to Wal-Mart, where they didn't have any vinyl-backed flannel, either. However, I was glad to find a "table pad" which will do as well--actually better than the other. Happy with our purchases, we went to the Hill Street Cafe, in the government complex, for lunch. We had been there months ago for brunch and liked it. The food was good; I got pastrami and skipped beer for plain water, El had tuna salad and we traded halves.
Back at my place, we started in on the furniture moving, not nearly as simple as it sounds because of the electronics. Actually, getting the smaller table on which I had the computer, from my bedroom to the living room to hold the television, went pretty smoothly. So did transferring the campaign desk (you can practically see Teddy Roosevelt writing back to Oyster Bay) into the bedroom. The next step was just to get the computer and components set up--simple, hey?
HA! There was an absolute rat's nest of wires on the floor, thanks to the idiot from Time Warner who set it up. Of course, the apparatus includes the computer itself, the screen, the copier, the speakers, and the web cam, as well as a mysterious flat piece of plastic with pretty blue lights on it (have no idea), all of which were twisted and snared up together. My phone and a small lamp also go on there, but they could be added without too much problem.
Poor Ellen spent a good hour, at least, untangling, disconnecting, reconnecting, moving here and there, testing, pulling, and tracing wires to their hidden sources--what a job. Finally, it seemed to be all set back up and she pressed the button to turn it on. AAGH--the button stayed depressed! Dr. Ellen then told me to get a butter knife. Wh-a-a-t??? I begged her not to stick a knife in there, thinking she'd be electrocuted or worse, kill my computer. But I did as she asked and, in fear and trembling, watched as she stuck it in where the button is, pressed and probed and--IT WORKED! The button popped out, my little darlin' came to life and we rejoiced.
Whew! Boy, El is a trip. She'll tackle just about anything and usually manages to get where she wants to be. As for me, I was like a wet rag when it was over.
El left with many thanks, but called later to say Greg had gotten me iron pills from Whole Foods and would drop them off. He did, that nice guy, and now I'll be building up my iron reserves.
I must say the living room already looks so much better looks great--and half again as big as it did. Soon, I'll look for a sofa and get some of the A.C. pictures up. I love to decorate and it should be great fun.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Yolanda's and Beyond

The festivities continue: Went to lunch at Yolanda's with the widow and widower group. Had a "Cadillac Margarita," which was yummy--lots of lime, plus the booze--so good. Somewhat surprisingly, I started talking with Chuck, one of the few male members and the only one, I think, who frequents the meetings. I was interested to hear his career was as a paralegal, but he left that (can't remember why, maybe to open a business) and now, ast the age of 57, is finding it hard to get any job at all--a common story, I'm afraid. We talked about what we'd do on Christmas Day and I was surprised anew when he said he'd be serving the poor in Victory Park in Ojai. Oh? Yes, with church members, as he's an evangelistic Christian. Interesting.
My pal, Nancy was there, too, along with about eight others (founder Vera was out of town) and it was good to be with them. We said goodbye and I immediately zipped over to Wal-Mart to get a few things, many of which I couldn't find, but they're weren't absolutely necessary, anyway.
Went home to take my bench in from the patio because it was supposed to rain. Got a card from former neighbor, Judy K. with a snowman on it; she wrote something cute inside: That white thing on the front is called a snowman; we grow them in Jersey." Got a remarkable number of birthday greetings on Facebook, and more via e-mail. Nice of people and I'm so grateful for family and friends.
I was delighted to finally be able to get to Mike and the girls on Skype. They're in a house in Lake Tahoe and are thrilled with the snow (ugh, sez I!). Vivian and Violet are so bright and beautiful and so full of life, I can hardly believe they're mine, once removed. Can't wait to see them next week. Tried a few times to get to Patrick, but he wasn't on line. Hope we can get it together today.
So that was my actual birthday and it was fun, but I'm just as glad it's over.
Looked at my mail just now and had a note from El, asking if I wanted to go to B., B., & B. with her today, then have her move my things around. Sure thing, as I'm in the market for a few items myself.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Birthday Party

Had a really fun joint birthday party at Ellen's, hosted by her and her cousins, Betty's daughter and daughter-in-law, Carolyn and Robyn. Got there at the appointed time--noon--before the rest. Ellen's house looked so nice--she had a fire going and various decorative touches here and there. Stephen, Robyn, and Dexter got in from L.A. about the same time Carolyn and little Claire from Santa Barbara did. Dana and Finn came separately in the RV, as we planned to have them come to my place after to get my table. We had a ball talking, laughing, and generally enjoying ourselves because this was family and we have a history and everybody knows who's this and who's that and who believes this and doesn't believe that and it was just us, and what a fabulous family that is.
Food was yummy. Ellen put out cold cuts, pickles and olives, pesto, several kinds of great bread, and all kinds of other sides; Carolyn brought a good pasta salad; Robyn made a fabulous cake that said "Happy Birthday, Mimi and Betty" and had a small volcano in one corner out of which lava spewed. I got a big kick out of that and here's the joke: Robyn had called the night before to ask what kind of cake I wanted, vanilla or chocolate, or no cake, or whatever. Just kidding, I said something that included, "I want a pistachio cake with candied violets and molten lava coming out of the top." Well, darned if she didn't have the lava and the "volcano" was surrounded by violet atolls. The cake tasted great, too. There was Blue Moon for me (El even got an orange for the garnish) and red and white wine for those who indulged, plus soft drinks.
Ellen hadn't forgotten the kids: She had gotten games out for them, and had provided the weird ingredients for making "snow": baking soda and hair moisturizer. This can actually be molded into "snowmen"; luckily, it was warm enough for them to do this on the patio, as the concoction tends to crumble.
Betty and I got nice gifts and exchanged funny cards to each other; we had agreed we wouldn't exchange presents. I did, jokingly, give her the "gift" of arm covers for the living room furniture she had taken off my hands when I moved; they had somehow gotten packed with my stuff when I left Jersey.
We ate and talked until about 4:30, then said goodbye to the L.A.ers and the Santa Barbara contingent, plus Betty, plus Ellen, zipped over to my place for the table. Luckily, they were able to get it out and into the RV without removing the legs; they packed it up and we said goodbye. Ellen stayed long enough to get the antique table over to the dining area and put the T.V. on a small table until we got the rest of the reconfiguration done. I said goodbye to her with many thanks, then called my friend in NM, who had given me a pretty necklace.
It was a fun party and a great day. Today is my actual birthday and I'm not thrilled to be the age I am, but at least, so far, so good, in the physical department--I hope. I'm going to lunch at Yolanda's with the Widdows and Widdowers, which I invited my friend, Nancy, to join. She did and will be there today, too.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas, Jeanne, and Shangri-La

Just winding up last-minute Christmas stuff. This year was a far, far cry from the weeks of choosing, buying, wrapping, sending, baking, decorating, planning, and so on and on that comprised my Christmas season for so many years. Do I miss those days? Not really. I certainly miss having my children around me, but the rest of it would be difficult for me at this stage of the game.
I was delighted to get a beautiful gardenia plant from the Singapore contingent. Now that I'm in California, I hope to be able to nurse it along for years, if not decades. Got a darling original Santa card from the Tokyo Trio. It's a droll little stand-up and has a cryptic note inside: "of Christmas with (then their names and K.'s "signature" 3 of 4." The last mailing I got from them was for my birthday and I won't open until tomorrow, but I'm puzzled at what this means. Will report here when I find out.
Got a call from Jeanne Dollard Painter. She's still with John in Florida, but they're leaving for Jersey today; some problem with his tenants (I told her I had the best tenant in the world). Jeanne wanted to know if I remembered Carol Marendino and her father, a doctor. Carol and Jeanne were contestants in the Miss Atlantic City Pageant contest millennium ago when we were young. However, I never even heard of Carol Marendino, let alone her father. No relation to Don Marandino, the religious fanatic, I'm quite sure. Anyway, Jeanne's brother, whom she characterized as a hypochondriac, was treated by Dr. M. years ago and, for some strange reason, wants some information about the treatment so he can tell his present doctors at the VA. Gaga. Jeanne herself has some kind of vision problem, but luckily, it's being treated adequately, it seems.
Got a thank you note from my sister-in-law, Lois, to whom I sent that old copy of the HSHS Spotlight, which featured her late husband, Mike. It always strikes me as so strange that her children and mine are first cousins, but have barely ever seen each other. Her daughter just got a Ph.D in some science field, granddaughter has passed the bar in NJ and Pa, but can't find a job, grandson (who was born without eyes) is now in law school, too.
Got a call from Ellen and we had a long talk. She was cleaning the house for the party today. She and Greg went to the school Christmas party last night, which she said was okay, but nothing special.
It actually rained in the afternoon, a momentous event here. However, it sure wasn't enough to assuage this long-standing drought. After it stopped, I took a drive to Poli Street and saw incredible views of the ocean and-- far off, rising from the mist like Shangri-La, the Channel Islands. So eerily beautiful and I took several pictures, but for some reason, can't get them onto the computer. Will charge the batteries and see what happens.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Not Much and Cake

I was relieved to see in the paper that the accident at Telephone and Victoria was bad, but not fatal. Story said two people were taken to the hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries. Good.
Thought I'd go to the mall for Christmas presents, but it was so jammed--actually, all the eight or so streets leading into it were bumper-to-bumper, that I just drove away and went to Target. Got most of what I wanted, then decided my patio/"balcony" would look nice if I got poinsettias to put on the bench. Got them, but then I saw there might be showers Saturday afternoon, so I took the bench in. Will put it out again on Sunday with the three pretty poinsettias I bought.
Aside from that, not much going on except household chores. Had a personal pizza for lunch and it was pretty good. Roasted some Brussels sprouts for dinner. Bought some "Mexican jello," whatever that is, but it looked good so I thought I try it.
While I was watching Forensic Files last night, I suddenly saw displayed on the screen, Betty's name and phone number. I didn't realize it, I guess because my left ear is blocked, that somebody was calling from the at number. It was Robyn, Betty's DIL, asking if I wanted chocolate or vanilla cake at the party, or no cake at all. Asked me to called Betty this morning to tell her. I did, and talked to Robyn. Said I liked both, but finally--pushed to choose--said vanilla. Whatever the three girls want to do, though, is fine by me.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mundane This 'n' That

Got up to enjoy my coffee black--not too bad and I zipped over to Quest shortly for my 9:00 appointment. There were twelve people in there already, but aha, I was taken shortly after nine and was out in ten minutes. Got back home for breakfast and house-keeping, then took off for Santa Paula.
Why SP? I don't know, I just felt like driving and I had to get gas, anyway. Just as I've had to reconcile myself to the laundry thing, I've reached the point of accepting I have to pump my own gas (not that I have a choice). Actually, it's not so bad, though I doubt if I'd say that if I lived in one of the snow states.
I like to drive back from SP partly on Ralston Street, which I can catch a half mile or so after Ellen's street and take right to the entrance to my complex, thereby skipping more major roads that are more heavily trafficked This time, though, I was surprised to see Ralston barricaded off and a police officer waving cars down the street. I circled around here and there and finally--after a detour of about twenty minutes--I got to Telephone. Here, there was a huge line of cars and up ahead, at Victoria Road, a slew of police cars, ambulances, and other service vehicles. They surrounded a horrendous accident that looked to involve several cars; I actually saw two people lying in the street being administered to by EMT personnel. Boy, if anything will make you pay attention when you drive, that will. I fervently hope nobody was killed--will look for it in the paper today.
I had a coupon for a car wash for $6.99--outside only, but that was okay. My car was covered with dust and with muddy spots from the rain on Sunday when I was trying to get back from SP. Found the place, got my little blue darlin' spruced up and she looks great.
I was delighted when I got home to find my coat rack in a box at the door. It has to be assembled, but I don't think it needs tools for that. I'll take a look, but may ask Ellen or Craig to do it. Betty called to announce she reached Pasadena and is domiciled with son Steve, Robyn, and Dexter. I'll see her Sunday at our birthday party, of course.
I called my new acquaintance, Gabrielle D., who's a rehab counselor with the state, and we had a nice chat. She said she's not looking forward to Christmas because she has a large family--six granddaughters, one of whom, who's 26, lives with her. Also, a daughter has six children and there's a lot of upheaval due to work schedules (not sure exactly what that meant). Gabrielle is one of those people whose normal expression is kind of woebegone, maybe with good reason. However, I like her--tentatively--and want to know her better and we agreed we'd get together after the new year.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chores and Stuff

Did lots of put-off chores, including trash-emptying and wash. That has gotten easier, as I guess I'm more reconciled to actually taking it around the corner, going back, going back, and going back again. Anyway, it wasn't bad.
I had the Italian-seasoned ground turkey in the fridge, so stir-fried that up with onion, garlic, and little cherry tomatoes. (I like to just pop them in my mouth for a snack, too.) Decided to see how the bench which I have for sale on Craigslist would look on the patio. Put it out there and actually, it looks pretty good. It also frees up more of the living room, so I'll leave it there for now, or at least until it rains.
After lunch, went to the library and exchanged a CD I didn't like for one I hope is more interesting. Drove up in the hills a bit, still marveling over the magnificent views. Went to the supermarket for various. Called Nancy to tell her I'll go to the Widows and Widowers lunch on Monday; she was glad to hear it, and said she'll go, too.
And that was just about all for the day.
Now I'm sipping black coffee, waiting until it's time to go for my 9:00 appointment at Quest Diagnostics.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

GG of VC

Commonplace day at the beginning and a fun party at night, the Christmas dinner for Golden Girls of Ventura County. Met my new friend and fellow Colony Parc resident, Michelle T. (same age as my daughter, Ellen), at her car at 6:00 and we picked up Jeanne M., who lives in Via Ventura a few streets away. Zipped down (up?) the Freeway to Oxnard and the Lazy Dog Restaurant.
Boy, was it booming. It's a huge place ablaze with lights, with high ceilings, a number of large rooms that flow into each other, and fun decor that doesn't include canines--thank Zeus--but displays of various state license plates, cowboy and cowgirl murals, and other vaguely western decor. It was jammed, but we had a long table on one side, not secluded but reasonably separate.
This was only the second GG of VC gathering I had attended and I saw some of the women I had met at the lunch last month, plus lots of others. I'd say there were forty or so there, including the organizer, Cheryl G., who also happens to live in my complex. Attendees were encouraged to wear "ugly Christmas sweaters" and some did. However, the only sweater I have is one of Pat's less-than-elegant old cardigan, that I wear when I'm cool inside, so I didn't. The theme was a Christmas ornament exchange and we passed ours to the person on our right. I had bought a Father Christmas head at the dollar store, worked up a story about how it had been made by people in the salt mines in Mussa Kor, had been in my family for years and was easily worth 2.5 mil, but I was glad to give it up. Passed it to Brenda, on my right, who was well into her cups by then, but I hope she saw the joke.
Isabelle, who's also in the Widow and Widowers group (I just can't call it "Soaring Spirits"--too phony-inspirational and trite for words), was there and I was glad to see her. I had a yummy shrimp and rice dish, plus a cold Shock Top, and a good time with the group. On my left was Gabrielle, closer to my age, and we bonded a bit. She invited me to a Christmas concert at a church on Telegraph Road on Sunday. I would have loved to have gone, but that's the day Ellen and her cousins are giving Betty and me our birthday party, so I had to decline. I asked for her number, though, and will call her and suggest an outing soon.
We took a group picture after we ate, chatted a bit more, than headed home. Didn't get in until 9:00, after which I watched something or other for an hour, then turned in. That was a fun evening!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Usual Rounds

I slept late, almost until 8:00, but I have been lately. I feel good, so I guess I can use the extra rest. Spent a leisurely morning on this blog, breakfast, and crossword puzzles, then tidied up a bit and shifted a few more things around.
Betty called. She's now home in Ventnor after a horrendous experience with Spirit Airlines coming back from Florida. She'll leave for the west coast on Thursday, spent a few days with son, Stephen, in Pasadena, then they'll drive up to Ventura for our joint birthday party on Sunday. We agreed we wouldn't exchange present; I would really prefer not to have my children give me anything, but I don't think they'd comply.
Wrapped up some little pre-Christmas presents for the Tokyo Tot and took it to the P.O. It was an absolute madhouse there, of course. The older I get, the more tedious and the less reason for jolliment this season seems to be. (Okay, okay, I'll drop the Mrs. Scrooge persona now.)
From the P.O., went to the library to take back the Mary Tyler Moore Show disc and get some Stephen King stories. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I looked when I was in the car that they're from 2002 and really, the first one, anyway, isn't up to him usual. Well, maybe I'll try the others and keep it or not.
Drove into Ralston Courtyards on the way home. This is one of the complexes I may--or may not--relocate after September. I like the look and I know renters have their own washers and dryers, but I'm not sure the location is to my liking. We'll see.
When to the office when I got home to ask about the refund--I'll get a check, shortly, Chastity said, but I'm still not quite clear why I'm getting it--something to do with the security deposit, I think. I also asked why my friend, Michelle, is paying a hundred less than I am for the smallest apartment. I expected to be told because mine is equipped (sort of, in a very minimal way) for amenities for the aged or disabled. This includes wider door openings (wheelchair accessible) and two grab bars on the tub. As far as I can see, that's all, but in truth, I'm very glad to have the grab bars.
However, I was mistaken about the reason for the higher rent. Chastity told me it depended on when Michelle moved in and what the demand was at the time. So it seems the rent fluctuates depending on how many apartments are available. I was surprised to hear this, but I guess it make sense.
The other thing to which I wanted to call their attention was the fact that, in the apartment across from mine, I have reason to believe the tenants--if there are any and if they're still breathing--don't seem to have gone in or out for several weeks. There's a certain configuration at the door that puzzled me, as it hasn't moved an inch. I mentioned it to the staff and they'll ask the maintenance guys if they may have seen anybody going in or out.
Got my mail and was pleased to see a package from Japan. E-mailed son P. to ask if I should open it now or wait. He wrote back to wait until my birthday, so I will.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ninety Percent

Well, I had about ninety percent of an enjoyable day on Sunday. The other ten? Read on.
I called Carolyn to ask when she thought she might pick up the table. She mentioned that she, Robyn (Betty's daughter-in-law), and Ellen were planning a joint birthday party for Betty and me next weekend. She thought she and her husband could get the table after that. Okay, I guess I can live with that.
Met Nancy outside just at noon, both of us exactly on time. Introduced her to Tinytown and she said hers may very well be smaller than mine. We chatted for a bit, then headed to Macaroni Grill in the nearby Barnes & Noble Shopping Center for a good pasta lunch.
Nancy didn't know the way and lives in Oakview, near Ojai, so I had promised to drive to Santa Paula for the play. Matinee was at 2:30, it's only ten miles or so, and we got there in plenty of time. We were able to sit and have coffee in the kind of sitting room lobby, which adjoins--very pleasant. The play itself, an original called Clean House, was really, really good. Actors were excellent, the set was superb and the script was both funny and poignant. There was a full house--always more festive than a sparsity, even for the audience--and we had good, unobstructed seats. Very enjoyable and we had a good time.
When we got out, however, it was about 4:30, and we were surprised and a little disconcerted to see it was not only getting dark, but was raining in a misty, somehow menacing way. Nancy had been apprehensive about driving home in the dark and this was even worse, but we set out, me at the wheel.
I took 126, and had planned to get off at Victoria Avenue, but it was so hairy--my windshield clouded up, too--that (my first mistake) I decided to get off at Wells Road and take Telegraph after. Did that, then saw Petit Avenue. I know Petit bisects Telephone, so turned left to get there. That was my second mistake. I had forgotten, or never knew, that there are two Petit Avenues or rather, that it doesn't go straight through.
Well, I'm not going to go on in any detail--I don't quite remember what happened, anyway--but I accidentally took Foothill Road (ominous name!) then, after a number of twists and turns, we found ourselves right back in Santa Paula!
Well, at least I then took Telegraph all the back to Victoria and from there was home in five minutes. However, I never, never want to drive in that combination of dark, rain, and wind--it's fearsome.
I must say Nancy was patient and uncomplaining as she could be, even though this meant she had to drive home not only in pitch black, but in rain, too. I asked her to please call me when she got in, she did, so that was the end of the adventure and I'm breathing a sigh of relief.
Called El after, but she didn't seem alarmed by the saga at all. Not nearly as much as I was, anyway. Betty called just now (Monday, 9:00 am), having gotten back from Florida yesterday. She had a horrendous flight on Spirit, an airline nobody in his or her right mind should ever approach. However, she's back in Ventnor and will be coming in to Pasadena Thursday, then to our joint birthday party Sunday at Ellen's.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Amnesty International and Mary Poppins

Got a call from Nancy P. and we firmed up our plans to go to lunch and the play today. Also discussed some of our "medical issues," as the saying goes.
I started my rounds by going to the library. Took back Gore Vidal's essays (his I.Q. must have been in the stratosphere--a marvelous writer and thinker), plus a DVD on rape in colleges. Somehow, although I'm very much interested in true crime, this didn't catch my interest. Got out a new(ish) book on the Lindbergh kidnapping, about which I've read an enormous amount. Ewing, where we lived for forty years, is only a few miles from Hopewell, where the family lived and where the baby was taken. This should be interesting, especially because the "lock" on original materials--transcripts, notes, and so on--has been lifted and the author made use of all of them. Took out a DVD on the making of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I like the topic, but can't stand the breathless, actress-y delivery of the reader, so the hell with it. When I listen to books on discs, I want the reader to maintain an even tone--I'll supply the theatrics, as I do in my head when I read something with my eyes.
Went from there to the College Methodist Church. No, I haven't gotten religion, but I had read in the paper that Amnesty International was holding a Write-A-Thon there. Volunteers write letters to officials in various countries, asking that specific political prisoners be released or receive a fair trial or escape torture, or whatever. I stayed for an hour and wrote several letters--to Iran, different countries in Africa, and so on. Also talked to the organizer, hoping to find a pacifist group. She sort of has one, but it's--well--she and another woman dress in black, stand at the Mall intersection and hold a sign urging peace.
What was bothersome about this group? Two things that I find, I'm afraid, in practically every such organization: One, the dearth of young people. I guess there were fifteen people at the three tables; almost all women and incredibly, many were probably older than I am. Two middle-aged men played and sang peace songs on a flute and guitar. Exactly one person was young, a student at Ventura College.
I stayed about an hour, then left, but before I did, I got into conversation with several people. They all brought up Trump, actually taking him seriously (as a menace, since this was a leftist-type group). I mentioned my theory that he's simply a diversionary tactic, so Clinton, drenched in blood as she is, will be elected. The second problem I see as deplorable is that people in these groups defend her and Obama (and/or Sanders), as if, if they're democrats, they must get a pass. Don't they know Obama meets weekly with the honored Fordham grad, CIA Director Brennan, and they decide who to kill? It's amazing how many people think I made this up; geez, it was in the New York Times, the news released by the administration itself.
Oh, well, at least they're writing to dictators and heads of judiciaries to try to rescue a few poor souls. I doubt, though, if the letters will ever reach the recipients; if they do, said dictators and dignitaries will show them around to their cronies for a few laughs. That's better than adding to the mayhem, I guess.
Went home to move my big pictures here and there just to get them out of the way. Found my puny little box of Christmas things. I'm not sure how they, in particular, survived the general clearing-out of what amounted to a store's worth of holiday items, but what I have left are eight members of my Father Christmas collection and the four battery-operated "candles" I always liked in the windows. Since I no longer exactly have windows, just sliding glass doors in my two rooms, I put them on the tables in the living room. Bought a pretty poinsettia plant--bright red, my favorite--and it looks nice in the dining area.
I was just finishing up when El called; she was coloring her hair and as ever, it was good to talk to her. While we were chatting, the adorable and precious baby boy Skyped from Tokyo and we both were able to see him him, Daddy, and Mommy. He was talking a blue streak and could say where he lived and so on. What an angel--seeing him topped off a good, active day.
After that, I surprised myself during my daily t.v. viewing by coming across Mary Poppins and watching it for an hour. True, the story line is trite, but I was fascinated by the bright colors, Julie Andrews' beauty, and the very artificiality of the sets. That's what happens when you don't often watch--you're rewarded by great enjoyment of things like scenery and props, rather than being jaded. It really is a marvelous--but oh, so dangerous--invention.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This and That and My Lungs

Niece Carolyn got here at 10:00 and we zipped over to Caregivers, the organization for which she's a grant writer. They had a hot and cold brunch spread, including champagne, a nice touch. I met a lot of people and chatted, then we went upstairs for a presentation. It lasted about forty-five minutes and consisted mostly of college students explaining the research they had done as part of a class. They demonstrated the deadly error of showing slides with lots of info on them, then reading it--oh, mama, wake me when it's over!
Actually, it wasn't as bad as all that, but after, Carolyn and I agreed it was pretty dull and could have been a lot more imaginative. After, she came in to chat and I mentioned I think I'll get rid of my kitchen table (white wood) and use my antique one, instead. I could then put the t.v. on the smaller table the computer's on now and put the campaign desk in the bedroom. That would free up a wall for a sofa, THEN I could finally put things pictures up. Carolyn said she's like to have the table, so that would work out fine, I think.
As she was leaving, a tall blonde woman, in her fifties, I guess, come up and introduced herself as Michelle T. She's in the group I joined, Golden Girls of Ventura and had volunteered at the Meetup site to take me to the dinner on Tuesday. It's in Oxnard and I have to work up my courage to drive there in the daytime, so at night--no, sir! Anyway, I invited her in, showed her around Tiny Town and she told me she has one of the smaller units, too. She lives just a stone's throw away and I went with her to see her place.
Big differences: It's on the second floor, which is out for me, plus has vaulted ceilings and a actual, very nice balcony, plus a much larger closet, and other amenities. What pisses me off is she pays a hundred bucks a month less than I do! Why? You'd better believe I'm going to find out. Anyway, it was nice to meet somebody here.
I called Santa Paula Theatre to make two reservations for Nancy and me for the play tomorrow. Took a dry run to Santa Paula, which is only about twelve miles and had no problem. I've had a hankering for chili lately, and had the fixings, so made myself a batch for dinner--delish.
Now for some medical news: When I got back from SP, I had a message from the medical assistant in Dr. Jennings office to the effect that part of my lung isn't getting enough oxygen and if symptoms should increase, to call the doc right away. W-H-A-A-T?!? I called back immediately and tried to get an explanation, which wasn't really forthcoming, at least not to my satisfaction. Looked it up and calmed down, as it looks as if it isn't necessarily serious or life-threatening. I see the doctor again in a few weeks, but still...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Strenuous Stuff

Pretty strenuous day--but satisfying, as such days often are. First, I got my wash done, always a lousy chore, but this time, the washers and dryers at least performed as they're supposed to. That took up most of the morning and I spent the rest of it writing a note to Dr. Jennings. I thought it would be easier and clearer to write rather than tell the receptionist, who would tell her, then reverse the process, and so on. The note just outlined the problem with the colon consultation, which I can't get until January 5, the day before I was to see her. Asked if I could go elsewhere or was it okay to wait. I'm a bit uncomfortable not knowing why the hemo is low, but if it's okay to wait, I will. Dropped the note at her office. I will have bloodwork a week from yesteday, and I'm confident results will be better because I have so much more energy than I did--in fact, that's where the strenuous part comes in.
I was getting more and more nervous over the fact that my prized pictures of the Atlantic City boardwalk and beach were still on the balcony (well, it's a balcony that's on the ground floor). They're still in the heavy packing cardboard the movers put them in and have been that way since they were loaded on the truck in Jersey six months ago. Today was cloudy, unusual for here, that's a cinch, and I was sure it would rain, in which case, they could be ruined. (Of course, I've been hearing for weeks that El Nino is coming, but nary a drop has fallen so far.)
Still, I was nervous about them getting wet; at the same time, I don't want to hang them until I get some semblance of how my place will actually end up. I want to sell or donate both my bench and my table, probably get rid of the big ugly easy chair, and add a sofa and maybe a few other items. Don't want to decide where to put the pictures until that's done. I know Ellen would have immediately offered to get them moved for me--in fact, she already has--but I didn't know where they could go, so refused.
Anyhoo, to make a long and boring story shorter, I realized that if I shifted a few things around, they would actually fit in the dining area, still packed. Once I decided that, I lifted, dragged, "walked," and tugged all those suckers--five of them, the boxes ranging from about six feet by three to slightly smaller. Damn, they were heavy, but slowly and carefully, with plenty of stops to sit down and rest, I did it all by myself without going into a hemeostatic coma (just made that up) or dropping dead. I also did some pretty serious moving around and clearing out of the rest of the apartment--looks much better and feels much better.
Went to Winco and got myself some chili fixings I want to put together for dinner, plus wine and stuff. All in all, a really good and fulfilling day. Good news, too, in that my social life is picking up. Today, I'm going with Carolyn to that Open House; Sunday, Nancy and I are going to lunch and the play at Santa Paula Theatre; Tuesday, dinner with the Golden Girls and then my birthday and you-know-what are coming up fast.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Buzzin' Around

I continue to buzz around doing this, that, and the other. Called Betty to tell her of the hobgoblin situation and asked her NOT to mention it to the family (Larry's) in Florida, where she's going today. I don't want all the gossipy talk if it concerns me and I'm not there.
Got an e-mail from dear niece, Carolyn, asking if I wanted to go with her tomorrow to an organization in Ventura, which is one of her grant-writing clients. It's an Open House, and I've been to plenty of such things, but of course, was delighted to accept.
I had bought several pounds of chicken thighs the other day (I much prefer dark meat to light, as I think it's more flavorful). Lightly rubbed them with coconut oil, sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning, and popped them in the refrig. When I got home about 4:00, I put them in the oven. Had two for dinner--so good!--and wrapped the others for the freezer.
Earlier, I sent two old Spotlights to brother, Frank, and one to sister-in-law, Lois; also copied a particular picture for my pal, Pat. Copied some pages from the HSHS Alumni book for other SIL, Regina and sent them off, too.
Before going to the P.O., I decided to scout out the gastrointestinal palace (or whatever it is) where I'm supposed to get my colonoscopy. Finally found it after some blundering around, and went in to see the waiting room jammed, even at 3:00. Talked to the receptionist and was told a "consultation" was required first, and the next open spot just for that was January 5. I have a follow-up with Dr. Jennings on the 6th, so I doubt if that'll fly. Think I'll write out a note for her, explaining the situation and see if putting it off would be a problem. I'm not crazy about the idea of waiting that long for an answer about my blood profile myself.
Measured and took a picture of my bench, which I intend to put on Craigslist. Thinking again of conserving space--without making it look as if I'm trying to conserve space--I experienced a sudden stroke of genius--or possibly, a cockamamie idea--but I'm going to consider it: What if I used my Aunt Claire's mother's antique table for a dining table and sell or donate the one I bought for fifty bucks when I moved here? I would definitely want to protect the surface, maybe by having a glass top made, but I do think it would be feasible. The table would look beautiful in the dining area and it would free up the living room so I could get a sofa. The t.v. could go on the campaign desk, which is now just holding books and a lamp. The more I think of it, the more I like it. I would need to hire somebody, I think, to move the two items out if they don't sell, but I could do that. I'm also thinking I want to replace the big, overstuffed easy chair (where Pat always sat at home in Little Egg) with a new one smaller and more attractive. I'll continue to mull that over.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Tests Ordered

Called the doctor's office when they opened at eight to ask what that "see Dr. Laurie" was all about. Nobody knew anything about it, so I can only assume I misunderstood "Dr. Jennings" for "Dr. Laurie." Kept my appointment at 11:30 with Dr. J. and, as I expected, she wants me to have some tests to discover why the anemia. That includes another blood test and I went to Quest to make an appointment for Thursday, the 17th.
I had had a chest x-ray in the emergency room, but Doc wanted another. Thought I'd take a dry run to Rolling Oaks Radiology and found it easily. As long as I was there, I went in to make an appointment. To my surprise, I was asked if I'd like to have it then--well, sure, why not, so I did.
The other test is a colostomy, which I'll schedule tomorrow. In fact, I'll go to "Island View Gastroenterology" (all these places have fanciful names) to make it and find out what I need to do beforehand--ugh! Drove into town for a bit, then to the supermarket for applesauce to have with my luscious pork roast. Went to Target for envelopes and by the time I got home, it was dusk.
I was filling my medication units (and removing the aspirin, which Doc told me to do) when brother Jim called. I was interested to hear that he and Therese are moving out of their facility to a high-rise nearby. Why? Because the place was sold and the fee is going up $300 a month in January, to $7500, plus another c-note a month for having a car. They were displeased by some of the drawbacks, including the lack of a stove, as Therese likes to cook, plus they weren't happy with a few other things. The fact is, although Jim will be 90 in February and Therese is about 87, neither have physical problems that necessitate close care. They're moving to a two-bed, two-bath (they have only one now) apartment in an Arlington high-rise which they think--as I do--will suit them better. They'll be even closer to their daughter and son-in-law than they are now, a big asset.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Varied and Interesting

Pretty varied day. On the stroke of 9:00, I took my eviction notice (well, I'm exaggerating) to the office, along with paperwork from the hospital citing my transfusions. I told Chastity (love it) I had meant to ask when rent was due (first of the month), forgot, and overlooked the bill. I asked if I could pay the rent automatically from my bank account and separately from water and sewer charges She immediately agreed to that and also rescinded the hundred dollar late fee. As I was leaving, she said, "I'm sorry if this frightened you." I said, "It didn't frighten me; nothing frightens me but my blood count."
Went to the bank to ask when it should be scheduled to be sure it gets here on the first and straightened that out.
Got an e-mail from my tenant, Eileen, to the effect that the dryer won't go on. I called her, then called Anchor Appliances in West Creek, with whom I've dealt for years. They'll send somebody out, then let me know what's going on. Since the dryer came with the house thirteen years ago, I guess it doesn't owe me anything and if I have to replace it, I will.
I found some old HSHS "Spotlight" papers, one with a picture of my brother, Frank, and the basketball team, and another with a gossip column type profile of my late brother-in-law, Mike, calling him dreamy and so on. Decided to send the first mentioned to Frank and the other to Mike's widow, Lois. I didn't have any large envelopes, so went to Wal-Mart and was annoyed that they had none of the standard manila ones--8 by 10 or so. Checked at Kohl's, but they don't carry such things and I didn't really feel energetic enough to go to Target, so I'll go today.
I didn't have Lois' address, but remembered she moved to a senior living facility in Newtown ten or so years ago, because she has epilepsy. Didn't know which one, so I called other SIL, Regina, and we had a good long talk. It's funny: Regina and I really don't have an enormous amount in common, except that we married brothers. She's old time Catholic, politically conservative, and quite a bit older than I am--graduated HSHS in 1944, with my brother, Jim, so is pushing ninety--yet in recent years, we've become friendly. She was able to tell me where Lois lives--Pickering Manor, in Newtown, PA. I looked at the web site and wasn't surprised to see Lois herself featured in several pictures. After all, she's slender, looks younger than she is (and actually is considerably younger than her fellow residents or was when she moved there), and has a pretty face.
Regina asked if I had bought the outrageously overpriced "Holy Spirit Alumni Directory 2015." Naturally, since I hold the title of Sucker of the Year, I did. She asked me to look up her class and so on, which I did. Told her I'd copy relevant pages and send them to her. Incidentally, Regina graduated from Star (most who read this know what that means) and was the school nurse at Holy Spirit for two or three years in--hmm, can't quite remember when, but maybe in the sixties. Anyway, we had a warm and friendly chat and I'm glad I called.
Later, I decided to cook the pork roast I had bought the other day; did so and had some with salad for lunch. Yum, was it good. After that, I drove into town to the library, picked up a few newbies and drove home up on Poli Street, drinking in the silvery Pacific filling the horizon.
Got in to find a message to the effect that "Dr. Laurey of Primary Medical would like to see me to follow up on my emergency room visit." What? Who the hell is Dr. Laurey and aren't they aware I already have an appointment at 11:30 today with Dr. Jennings? Guess not and when I called back at three minutes after five, of course I got a message they close at 5:00. Okay, I'll call in a few minutes.
Later note: I did call and nobody seemed to know a "Dr. Laury." He or she is not with Primary Medical; I did confirm my 11:30 appointment with Dr. Jennings, so at least they have that. Called Community Memorial's ER and asked if they had a Dr. Laury. Nope, so I guess this will just remain a mystery.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Eviction Papers and Toenails

Silly me, I stayed up until after ten Saturday night, watching Dateline. I wanted to find out if the guy really murdered the girls, but finally felt I had to sack out. Did and incredibly, slept until 9:00 am! That's just great--no waking up during the night, either. My weekend ordeal seems to have helped an enormous amount.
By the time I had breakfast and finished the paper and crossword puzzle, it was close to noon. Started out for WinCo and found on my door two notices by management, informing me they were fining me $100 for non-payment of rent and warning of eviction.
Was I upset? Nah. I had meant to ask when rent was due and forgot. I would much rather make automatic payments from my bank account, but annoyingly, electricity and gas use is added to the rent and of course, it fluctuates each month, so you can't pay automatically. I'm going to the office as soon as it opens this morning to see what arrangements I can make. You'd better believe I'm going to fight like hell to get the hundred bucks rescinded.
After as shower and hair wash, I went to Winco for a few things, then El came and we got our pedicures at Jessica's Spa and Nails. Oh, our tootsies look so nice--we both got bright, bright red polish for the holiday season. Nobody will see mine, but I don't care, it feels good.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Still Tidying Up

Back in the land of the living, I spent several hours arranging things in my minuscule closet. The addition of Ugly Shelf Thing opened a lot of possibilities and I took advantage. Removed lots of useless items to which I've clung for years and bagged them up for the thrift store, then lined my shoes up on the bottom levels. Packed away my summer clothes in one of my two suitcases that, conveniently, fits inside the bigger one. With a little more shifting around, I now have a fair amount of extra room--well, a few feet, but in this place, that's huge--and I'll be able to add a few things. I intend to get an old-fashioned--or new fashioned, I don't care--coat rack, as this is the only closet and I want a designated place for jacket and purse.
Went to my p.t. appointment, but not exactly for p.t. Diana and I sat at the computer and researched a particular condition. After, I went to Target, which was mobbed, of course, but I got oranges and stuff. Couldn't resist a holiday door mat and switched it with the beachy one; also switched my wreaths to match. Looks very festive.
I was pleased to get a call from my niece, Joan R., and we had a good talk. Haven't seen her since her son, Jeremy's wedding last year, and I hope she and her Jim can make it out here sometime. Today, I want to continue my tidying up, then I'm Looking forward to a mother/daughter excursion: El and I have pedicures scheduled for this afternoon.
Wonder of wonders: When I got up just now, I realized that for the last two nights, aside from getting up once for the usual, I've slept through. How good that feels!

Saturday, December 05, 2015


Well, Friday was interesting, but I just don't want to go into it right now. Suffice it to say--I can't help myself, I tell you!--I left home at 6:30 after being awakened by a phone call and didn't get back until close to 8:00. That's a teaser, all right, but at this point, I'm going to leave it there.
Later (actually, eleven days later): I'm going to add here what actually happened on Friday, December 5, but as succinctly as possible. I had been feeling lousy for several days--short of breath, achy, and so exhausted I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I forced myself to drive to various stores, but had to stop and rest every few yards, just to get from my car to the door. Went to bed early on Thursday night and was awakened at 6:15 am Friday by a phone call from a man. I still don't know who it was--found out later a doctor--although I'm sure he identified himself. He said I should go to the emergency room of the hospital right away and tell them I had a hemoglobin count of 5.6 and needed a blood transfusion. I was dumbfounded, but did exactly as he had instructed. Drove to the hospital, parked in the garage, and went in. I had to go down several long corridors and by the time I had made it three-quarters of the way, I was holding on to the wall. I desperately needed to sit down, but there was no place to do it, so I asked a passing staff member if she could get me a wheel chair. She did and a security person took me the rest of the way. They took some info, then immediately put me in a room, took a blood test (count now down to 5.5), did a chest x-ray and EKG, doctor came in, we talked, and so on and so forth, and I was there for ten hours and they gave me two liters of blood. I had called Ellen and my friend, asking the latter to e-mail my sons with the news. El came after school and we left. She folded my clothes, we went out for dinner, then came home, and I slept better than I have in weeks.


I got my blood work done this morning at Quest, the same outfit I used to go to in Jersey. That one was always a drag for me. I can barely function in the morning without my coffee and, of course, you can't have that before a blood test. The place opened at 7:00 and I would usually get there about 6:30, shivering out in the cold along with others. We'd all rush in when the doors opened and sign up in order. Usually, I was the fourth or fifth patient, so was there for a time.
The Quest in Ventura,though, is very pleasantly different; it actually allows appointments. I had made one a few weeks for 7:00, got there about ten of, and found five people already waiting. The receptionist said there was about an hour wait, but I told here I had an appointment. Glory be, I was finished and in my car going home at 7:15--yazzah!
The rest of the day wasn't so great. Took my clothes to the laundry annex to wash, did two loads (because I insist on using bleach for some), went back to put them in the dryer, returned when they should have been dried and they were still wet. Put in more coins, came back in 45, and they were still not dried. Complained to the office and at the third try, finally got my clothes dried.
Betty, back from Chicago, called and regaled me with all kinds of stories about this and that.
I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, which I made because I'm experiencing a certain problem about which I'm really worried. Don't want to explain further at this point.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Happy Day

Hip hooray and happy day! Carolyn came about 10:00 to get the hope chest. I called Matt, the guy I asked to move it out, but he didn't answer the phone and I wasn't sure if he had forgotten, changed his mind, or what. Went outside to see if I could find one of the maintenance people. I did and he agreed to help. (It turned out Matt had been on the phone when I called; he showed up about a half hour later, but the deed was already done.)
Incredibly, the maintenance guy lifted the hope chest and carried it, single-handed, to Carolyn's van. After that, he moved my bureau from the closet to the wall where the hope chest had been (I had removed the marble top and the drawers). It fits fine, as it's a good foot shorter than the chest. I was then able to take everything off Ugly Chest Thing, put it in the closet, and refill it.
At first, maintenance guy (I'm ashamed I don't know his name) refused to take the twenty, but I begged him to. He gets paid for Colony Parc for his regular job, but there's no reason why he should do personal jobs for tenants free of charge. He finally took it--let's hope he doesn't mention it to management--and I'm glad.
Of course, I didn't intend to keep the bureau, either; Ellen called to say she and Greg would come get it after dinner. They did and luckily, it proved to be not too heavy with the drawers and marble top removed and loaded separately. I'm happy that Ellen will use here great-grandmother's bureau and, for that matter, that Carolyn will use her great-great-aunt's hope chest.
Before Ellen and Greg left, El moved a small table next to the computer table and put the copier on it. Now I can put my legs under and am much more comfortable.
I moved my clothes (mostly underwear, tee-shirts, and odds and ends--the rest are on hangers) into two suitcases and will just dress from there, no prob. Soon, I'll look around for a narrower and higher chest that will fit better in the room.
Whew, I'm happy so much got accomplished!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


I moved all the linens and stuff out of the hope chest and put about half in the covered bench my Uncle Frank made years ago. The rest I packed into bags and put in the car to donate. Emptied the drawers in the bureau and put my clothes in two suitcases. Removed the other items from the closet in preparation for Matt to 1. carry the hope chest to Carolyn's car and 2. take the bureau a few feet into the bedroom proper. I'll then be able to move the ugly shelf-thing into the closet.
Had my physical therapy appointment in the afternoon. I liked "Lisa" right away; she's a native New Yorker (well, that isn't necessarily an asset) and very exuberant, open, friendly, and encouraging. As I told her, my knee, remarkably enough, no longer bothers me at all, but I do still have the balance problem. I've also developed a back ache, but it's fairly minor. Anyway, for balance and to strengthen the knees and, in particular, the muscles that lead to, and operate them, she had me do some exercises. I'm to do them three times a day and yes, indeed, I intend to. She also gave me some breathing exercises and suggested an insert for my right shoe. I made another appointment for Saturday, as she wants to see me twice a week.
Tomorrow at 7 am, I go for blood work.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


The usual. Also, finally got to the thrift store with my car full of donations; I went to the Goodwill in town just for the drive. Went to WinCo for various. I ran into a guy who lives here and asked if he's get the hope chest to Carolyn's car tomorrow. Said he would; of course, I'll pay him. The maintenance guys came and reversed the doors on the refrigerator PLUS removed the closet door. Boy, it makes the bedroom seem a lot bigger. And once El takes the bureau, I can put the ugly shelf-thing in the closet and have more room for other stuff--yay! I had complained at the office that the kitchen faucet would go only to spray, but I was shown that you just have to press the indentations on the top to change it. Must remember that.
My appointment with the PT is his afternoon. Annoyingly, I woke up with a backache, too. Hope that's temporary.