Saturday, October 31, 2015

Memorabilia and Pumpernickel

I'm finally getting serious about hauling myself out from under the memorabilia mountain I've erected for so many years. Spent the morning going through the things that were in the bench Uncle Frank made. Discarded some--reluctantly--and consolidated others. Came across my Aunt Marie's close to hundred-year-old photo album and called my cousin, Sally (her only child and she was adopted) to see if she wanted it. She did and I'll send it today. We had a good talk, also--Sally is two years older than I am and two weeks younger than my brother, Frank.
Sally has had her troubles: Her husband can't talk intelligibly or walk well after a major stroke and her son has a terminal disease. However, she's buoyant, although she had to stop running marathons when she turned eighty. I then called brother Frank. He wasn't in, but I talked to Marybeth, who has full-time aides now. Her memory problems didn't seem evident when we spoke, but I know her dementia is worsening all the time. We also had a nice chat--she never lost her brogue, although she left Ireland in her twenties. She said she'd have Frank call me, but he didn't. No matter; I'll call him tomorrow.
Finally was able to connect with the Tokyo branch, starring precious big boy, Mr. K., who called and said "hello." We had been having a problem with Skype, for some reason, but this time, it worked.
Went to Happy Hour at Cypress Place a bit after 4:00. I was sorry I was a little late, as part of the festivities was a birthday party for one of the residents, who turned 100, and I missed it. However, I managed to have two glasses of (mediocre) champagne (warm and in plastic glasses, a crime against nature, if you ask me) and a piece of cake.
There was a western band, the members of which sang old Hank Williams and other country song--come to think of it, they were kind of mediocre, too, or it's just that I don't like country music. Talked to my friend, Marion, who is leaving for Alabama on Sunday to visit her daughter, then going to Texas to visit her son.
Stopped at the supermarket on the way home for supplies and eureka>!--I found pumpernickel! I've never seen it anywhere else here, not even in bakeries. Forgot to get it sliced, I was so bedazzled, but I can do that myself.
Today, I intend to continue with the clearing-out chore--unless, of course, Ellen calls to suggest something; that always take precedence with me.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Future Dates

I saw a piece in the paper about a "brain gym" class to "help increase the ability to remember, increase physical coordination, reduce stress, and improve memory." Hey, they're all good things and the sessions take place at the SCAN Health and Wellness Center, a half-mile from me. It runs every Tuesday in November, the fee's only twenty bucks, so I went there and signed up. I intend to submit my "Acting for Everyone" proposal there, also.
In addition, I registered to attend an "end of life questions" talk at the Ventura Adult Continuing Education next week. Topic isn't particularly inviting, but it's interesting and includes a free lunch, always a draw for greedy me. In fact, the first week in November is jammed, as I have my Widow's Support Group lunch on Monday and a doctor's appointment on Friday. Niece Carolyn invited me to come over on Wednesday, too, but I'll have to defer that for a bit.
Talked to El, who said she had a lawn chair to lend me. I hope to see her over the weekend.
I'm looking forward to Happy Hour at Cypress Place today and here's some good news: I slept fine all through the night and just got up at an agreeable 6:45. Wish I could say I did something differently to achieve that, but I can't think of a thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Out and About

Felt pretty chipper yesterday. I was determined not to laze around--that may have caused my insomnia--and packed dishes, throws, and other items in anticipation of my move. Also loaded the four small area rugs I brought with me (not knowing what kind of floor covering I'd have) into my trunk to drop off at a thrift store. Did a few similar tasks.
Decided to take advantage of the "Changes in Medicare" offering at the Ventura Department of Aging, and drove over there. It's very convenient, as so much is where I live; if I move again after the next lease is up in September, I want to stay nearby.
Filled out some info sheets, then met with a nice guy named "Bill," who went over some things. Bottom line for me is that my prescription plan payment will go up very slightly, but all else will probably stay the same. Fine by me and I thanked Bill. Also asked if the place provides free income tax services; it does, but only for "simple" ones. This year, mine will be more complicated because of the rental, so I'll look around for a private accountant.
Got gas and, on impulse, decided to have the car washed. For the first time, I stayed in it (I never had before, either here or in Jersey). Scary! I kept seeing today's headlines in the Ventura County Star: "Woman Crushed When Car Wash Apparatus Goes Through Roof." Well, that didn't happen, but something just as bad did: Shortly after, I drove past a field being watered and some of it splashed my car!
Still on my quest for a beach/lawn chair, I went to Lowe's and a few other places. No luck, but I e-mailed Ellen and she said she probably has one to lend me. (I'm determined to sit in that park with my lunch.)
Found a listing for a "brain gym" class at the SCAN Health and Wellness Center nearby; costs twenty bucks and meets Tuesdays in November. I'll definitely call and sign up.
Did some computer/financial stuff, then made myself salmon burgers and peas for dinner.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Various and Sleep

I finally forced myself to discard the letters Pat received sixty-plus years ago when he was in the air force. Sent along with them other material I simply have to jettison or I'll drown in them. And I promise myself, there will be a lot more to come.
I was pleased to get an invitation from Yvonne at Cypress Place to Happy Hour on Friday. I'll go and my friend, Marion, said she'd see me there.
I always kept a folding lawn chair in my trunk, so I'd have it when I wanted to sit at Graveling Point or the park, or whatever. Of course, I got rid of it before I moved, but when I was at the Ventura park, I realized I'd like to have one so I can sit under a tree instead of that not-always-shaded bench. Went on-line and was pleased to see Target sells a number of just plain, old-fashioned such things--I don't want a fancy or cloth or heavy one. I sure don't want the low kind, as I'd have to be buried in it. Decided to go to Target on my way to the park and get one. Did I? No. I went all over the store for twenty minutes, trying to find the right department. Finally asked and was told they have none, as they sell them only in the summer.
What? This is California, where it's still warm in late October, so why...? To cut it short, I wasn't able to find an inexpensive such item anywhere. Even tried thrift stores, but no.
A little sulky, I decided to skip the park and go to the Senior Center for the three-buck lunch. Did so, and it was pretty good: salad, stuffed peppers, succotash, an apple and cheese. Sat and talked with two women who weren't regulars, either, and was relieved that Kay, of last week, wasn't there. From there, went to the library and got two books on William Randolph Hearst.
Had a bad sleep night. Just couldn't drop off and finally got up, went on the computer and even watched television. Didn't get up until quarter of nine, not at all agreeable to me. Darn, this is tiresome (heh, heh) and I hope I can get back into my good-sleep routine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Park and Bekins

Did my Monday chores: washed, dried, changed linens, tidied up, and so on. Cut up a lot of broccoli, onions, garlic, added seasonings, and put it in the slow cooker. All that took until 1:00 or so and I decided to take lunch and eat it at the beautiful park with the ocean view. I had the ingredients for a Cobb salad, so I made that, then filled an empty cottage cheese container with ice and iced tea, and went off.
This isn't a fancy park by any means. Although it's in a good neighborhood, it's really simply a sloping city-block worth of grass with a few trees and just three benches. The real draw is the gorgeous view.
Only one of the benches is under a tree and, as ever, it was very hot--plus, by the time I got there, the sun had moved and the bench was no longer in the shade. I sat anyway, as I had my straw hat, and enjoyed my lunch while gazing at the majestic scene of palm trees, then the shining Pacific, with the Channel Islands just rising out of a faraway mist.
I left after a time and drove into old Ventura--not fancy old Ventura, but modest old Ventura. I then drove to my favorite thrift store at the other end of town and dropped off a lot of wonderful things I may regret donating. But there's so much more I want to get rid of and I will.
Stopped for oranges and had a nicely balanced dinner of the broccoli and green grapes and enjoyed it. I looked up Target on-line and saw that they have plenty of folding beach chairs, some at modest prices, so I'll stop there tomorrow and get one for the park.
NOTE: I finally got what I guess is the final answer from Bekins, which took more than two months. The first part is a self-righteous justification for the charges, with an involved explanation of their right to charge any damn thing they want, even though the error was on their part. This sanctimonious bullshit followed:

Please accept my apologies that you were not advised of the charges prior to the day of delivery. I also wish to apologize for the actions of the representative that spoke with you on the day of delivery. The circumstances you describe are clearly at variance with Bekins Van lines' quality performance standards.
Ms. Molloy, I hope this helps you to understand why the additional charges were necessary.

Sincerley,

Kathy Kendall
Director, Claims & Consumer Affairs
Wheaton World Wide Moving I Bekins Vanlines,INC. I Clark & Reid

("Sincerley?" Guess sloppy Bekins doesn't bother to proofread, either.)

What slays me is that this smarmy company sent me an evaluation sheet shortly after my move and I responded by filling it out honestly, indicating my displeasure; I attached a full-page sheet detailing my complaint. This was in August, two months ago, and they never responded to it at all. No "Please accept my apologies" then, and no self-serving crapola about their "quality performance standards" until they got my complaint through BBB. What bugs me most, maybe, is the canned, cliched language and the not-so-subtle hint that I'm some kind of Neanderthal who needs help to understand their legalized highway robbery. There's no point in pursuing it, of course, so Bekins Sea Cure be damned and the hell with it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ivy Lawn

I'm on a roll again! I attended a talk on Ivy Lawn Memorial Cemetery in town. Almost turned back, as it was difficult finding a place to park, but I finally did. Greatly enjoyed the author's talk (with slides) about this historic site. The kicker was, her book was free and she would sign it, if you wanted to stay, but I didn't. Interestingly, several semi-famous or quasi-well known people are buried there, including the founder (female) of AARP and a number of early statesman and other notables. I've always had a great interest in cemeteries and although this isn't on a par with the very early ones I've seen in Savannah, Trenton, and other parts (it was established in the 1880s), it was an interesting excursion.
Drove up in the hills after, enjoying the gorgeous scenery. When I got home, I saw that my dear friend, Marge, had posted on Facebook and I immediately called her. We had a wonderful chat, catching up. I found she had a new computer, so decided to post on FB again, and I'm glad. Poor Marge suffers from dreadful allergies and was hacking and coughing a lot. Anyway, it was so good to talk to my dear sister-in-spirit.
I had sent Marion an e-mail after our lunch, and suggesting other excursions, but so far, haven't heard back from her. That's the trouble with e-mail: You don't know if the person doesn't check his or her messages (it's surprising how many people I know don't, so what's the point of having e-mail?), if you have the wrong address, or if you're just being ignored. I'll call her today or tomorrow and find out.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Teacher Work and Chinese

Another neat day. Got up unusually early for my present life: 6:15. Just tidied up a bit after breakfast, then Ellen called. She had asked earlier if I would come over to help a bit with a variety of chores. Sure thing and I zipped over there. My trunk was full of the consignment rejects and I wanted to show them to her first. Nope, nope, nope, except for an attractive throw, so off they'll go to the thrift store.
We lunched at Subway, then drove to her classroom and plunged into the teacher-y duties she didn't have time for earlier. She was very appreciative, but the thanks were all on me; I enjoyed it immensely. Lots to do and we didn't finish up until after 5:00.
On the way home, El got a call from Gregg, who would be off from work shortly. He asked if we wanted to go to The Curry Leaf, the Indian restaurant in Camerillo we've visited often. Yes, indeed, and El tried to make a reservation, but the mailbox was full. We decided to go anyway and took off.
Well, darned if it wasn't dark with a closed sign on the door. Didn't say why. After debating for a bit, we decided to try the Chinese restaurant a few doors down. It was very small, but nicely decorated. Food was pretty good, if not spectacular; we more or less shared beef with broccoli, plus chicken soandso, and a string bean dish. I had a beer called "805," which is the area code here--I love to try local beers.
Got home close to 9:00, spectacularly late for me, but even watched T.V. for fifteen before contently curling up in bed. I've been sleeping a lot better, I'm happy to note--hope it lasts.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Red Letter

After the sort of blue funk Thursday, yesterday turned red--a red letter day, that is, because I think I found a friend.
At noon, I picked up Marion D., (the person I had lunched with at Cypress Place last week). Took her to the Macaroni Grille where we both got pasta; she accompanied hers with Chardonnay (a girl after my own heart), I with some kind of Italian beer I wasn't nuts about, but drank anyway.
We talked and talked and talked. Marion is older than I--maybe even by as much as ten years, as my dear friend, Marge is--but is physically active and in good shape. She does have some kind of vision problem--can't recall what, as we didn't get into that yesterday, but she no longer drives. Born a Quaker, brought up in Havertown, PA, she and her husband lived in Arizona until he developed a brain tumor and died within a month of diagnoses, ten years ago. They had three sons, all of whom live in California, and a daughter in Alabama; ten grandchildren and four great-grands.
With our family resumes out of the way, we started talking for real. At one point, I somewhat diffidently mentioned that I'm not religious. She actually gasped, then looked at me, and said, "Neither am I!" I already knew she was a pacifist--and a committed one, not the kind who differentiates between "good wars" and bad--but what about the Quaker background? That was my parents, she told me, and she stopped with the supernatural as a adult.
What's more, she reads! And I'm talking Plato's Republic! And wonder of wonders, she not only knows of William Butler Yeats, my favorite, but matched me in quoting some of his poetry!
Icing on the cake? Marion was an English and drama teacher and put on very ambitious productions for years. At Cypress Place, she recently wrote, directed, produced, and choreographed (some of the cast in walkers) "Follies," which I saw in the local paper. She's also an opera devotee, as my friend, Aline, is.
Un-friggin'-believable, sez I and we had a great time together. I'm going to e-mail her and suggest we get together once a week or so. I also have skipping around in my mind (my ideas don't float, they skip) the notion that she might be interested in arranging a readers' theatre show of some of my plays at Cypress Place, actors being residents. We'll see.
Incidentally, I've also joined a "Golden Girls of Ventura County" (women over 50) and will meet others at the ARC Thrift Store in town, then go to Durgan's Irish Pub for lunch. This looks like a fun group, too. So far, the BCNN (Beach Cities Neighbors and Newcomers) has proved to be somewhat of a dud, but I'll hang in, as I've already paid my dues.
I was pleased to get a call from Ellen, asking if I'd stop over tomorrow and help her with a school project. Sounds good and I'm looking forward to it. Called my friend, who said she and her husband are going camping in Arizona next week and good for them. With Mike in Australia with the his three girls and his brother enjoying the Tokyo Tot, this family's having a ball.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Wheels Go 'Round...

Had a kind of a spinning my wheels day. I got in touch will several moving companies* and chose one, who will move the big stuff on November 23. Then I looked around to see what I might offer a consignment shop; decided on my big ceramic turkey, my mother's china, a large picture of birds, and my great-aunt's tableware (silver plate, not sterling). Looked up consignment shops and drove to one in town. Chatted with the proprietor, a very nice woman who reminded me of Baby Jane, considering her bouncing blonde curls and red lipstick, but so what? She liked herself that way and so did I. I showed her picture so what I have and she asked me to bring them in.
Went home, had lunch, then put the stuff in my car and drove back. She looked carefully at each, but unfortunately, the turkey has a crack in it, the silver had only 11 spoons, and the picture was faded. As for the china, she suggested I take it to an antique shop. Maybe, but would they want it? I understand old china is a drug on the market, considering it can't go in the dishwasher. The alternatives are 1. to go the the "swap meet" at the college that they hold every weekend or 2. to simply donate to the thrift shop or 3. a combination thereof.
Had a nice talk with Ellen and she volunteered to come over on Saturday with containers and so on. Hope we can maybe go to dinner or something after that.
Other than that, really wasn't up for doing much yesterday.
*The one I chose charges a certain amount per hour, of course, but my policy is "everything's negotiable" and I suggested a lesser amount. After consulting his boss, I guess, the guy called me back and darned if he didn't agree to it. Got a kick out of that.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Apartment

I'm getting a different apartment and I'm thrilled!
The manager took me to see three of them. The first was completely out, as it also has steps. Second? Not good, as it's even closer to the pool than I am now--directly across, in fact, maybe twenty feet away.
The third: IDEAL! It's in a quiet area, facing foliage before other apartments; it's really first floor, has no steps at all; closer to where my parking space will be, and closer even to one of the laundry rooms, plus the office.
This is, of course, considerably smaller with one bedroom, but I can certainly manage with that. Plus, I had understood it was $235 less per month, but the manager looked and discovered it actually went down $30 dollars, so it's $270 less per month. Considering my house mortgage went up by $100 a month, that helps a lot.
I was given the choice of keeping my present lease, which is up in June, or signing a new lease, which is up in September. I first told her the present one, but then changed my mind. True, there's still the dog thing, but I'm hoping I'm going to be happy with the new place and if it was up in June, the rent would almost surely go up then, too. So I called her and told her I'd like the new lease, which is only a ten-month, anyway.
Even better: I'm not expected to give them a new security deposit; they'll just roll it over. As for when--I can move in over three days: November 21, 22, and 23rd. Over that time, they'll charge me only for the smaller apartment rent (for the three days).
Now I have to get busy with getting rid of more things. I don't have that much furniture, so that isn't a problem, but I must rid myself of all kinds of doo-dads and decorative items I need like a hole in the head. I took a lot to the thrift store yesterday, but a lot more needs to go.
Boy, am I happy about this. No more steps and no more screams and screeches from the pool day and night. Okay, dogs, but as long as they don't bark a lot, that's okay.
I called two moving places. I liked one better--Burger Brothers (and they actually are brothers), but he's ten bucks an hour more the other, with a three hours minimum. He also has an extra charge for materials to wrap table legs and so on. Even Sea Cure, the crooks, included that as part of the overall cost. Think I'll visit him and try to negotiate a lower price.
Drove way up to Poli Street (which turns into Foothill Road, so it can be imagined how high up it is), trying to find a consignment shop I might want to deal with. (In Jersey, I sold a "lady desk," a number of antiques, and so on for a good price). Didn't find it, but as I drove up and up, I turned my head and saw the incredibly beautiful Pacific, spread out far below, shining in the sun like molten silver. It took my breath away and I was so glad to be a Californian.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Looking Up

Well, things are looking up. I'm meeting Janel, the business manager at my apartment complex, this morning and she's going to show me some apartments more in keeping with what I need. Okay, that's progress, but of course, lots have to be done before this all comes to fruition.
The major program has been the steps leading (down) to my supposed-to-be-first-floor apartment. Another was the fact that all my windows aside from the one over the kitchen sink, face the pool, which is only a few yards away. Noisy. I also disliked the fact that the eating area is carpeted--the kitchen is too small to eat in, so for every meal, you have to essentially walk into the living room--on white carpeting.
I told Janel I need a one-bedroom, one-bath, rather than the two I have now. The two and two is several hundred a month more and all I use the guest room for is the computer and storage. As for the guest bath, aside from Ellen and Carolyn, nobody's ever gone into it because I ain't had no guests.
Took a load of stuff to the thrift store to donate and there will be lots more--some of the multitude of things I should have left in Jersey. I'm also anxious to get in touch with some consignment shops, as I'd like to sell the better stuff. I'll look into flea market, too.
Talked to the head librarian and asked her to get the book about Ma Duncan. She agreed immediately and we chatted happily. Stopped here and there after and somehow managed to stay out until after 4:00, when I went to WinCo for supplies and to Kohl's for a new pocketbook.
I'm psyched about looking at another apartment, but don't want to get my hopes up too high at this point.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday Chores and the Windows* Group

I guess Mondays are, indeed, going to be reserved for necessary chores. From after breakfast to late lunch, I gathered trash, took it to the appropriate place, stripped the bed, took linens and other wash to the laundry room (back and forth, forth and back, as I was determined to use bleach for the whites and did them separately), re-made the bed, retrieved all, vacuumed throughout, and finally sat down for lunch. Mindful of my weight, which I recorded, said meal was a big salad with hard-boiled egg for protein. That satisfied me, but I'm not ignorant enough not to realize that on the first day that I try to eat right--I'm not using the word,"diet"--whatever I eat will satisfy.
Got a nice e-mail from niece Carolyn, inviting me to come up to Santa Barbara on the train and stay over. Yes, indeed, I'd love to, and I left the date up to her.
Showered and washed my hair, then for some reason, started reading some of my blog entries from a year or so ago. Boy, was I active, busy, and engaged in all kinds of interesting activities. I hope I can build up that kind of life here. Must remember I'm still newly-arrived and can't expect everything to fall into place immediately.
The widow(er) support group was scheduled to meet for dinner. I had signed up to go, but as I always seem to, wasn't enthusiastic about it at the last minute. I don't like driving at night--since I got here, Ellen or Gregg have driven when we were out past sundown--and thought I might skip it. However, I changed my mind and, as often happens, am glad I did.
I was early--so what else is new?--but Vera, the organizer was there already. Others came shortly, and here's the lineup sitting close enough to me to chat with:
Vera, who organized the group. She's a very pretty, slender blonde who's going to school to become a paralegal. She was 22, had an eighteen-month-old, and was eight months pregnant when her husband was killed. That was 14 years ago. Interestingly, she had mentioned at the lunch a few weeks ago, that she was engaged. However, last night I learned the wedding was off, the guy is a jerk and guess what? He lives in Colony Parc, where I do. I told Vera I'd be sure to trip him if he walked by.
Next to Vera was Chuck, a neat (as in "neat to know") man in his early sixties, I'd say, and full of good-humored intelligence. His wife died after an illness; not sure why. I have the idea he's recovering alcoholic. I overheard him telling Vera that he goes to Mission Church, but sometimes (some other) church, and sometimes ---. I think they're A.A. meetings. I noticed he was drinking iced tea.
Gayle: Just one of those motor mouths, spouting crapola of no interest to anyone. 'Nuff said.
Steve: Not sure of his bereavement history. Used an inhaler and said he had COPD. Seemed a nice guy, although we exchanged only a few words.
Julia: Last night was her first attendance. Her "loss" (gawd, I hate that expression) is very, very, painfully new and clearly, she's still reeling and openly bereft. Her husband was killed in September--yes, a month ago. Motorcycle accident in Moorpark. Interesting back story: Julia and he were in some kind of group and dressed up as Batman and related characters. They went to parties, festivals, store openings (but gratis, I understand) etc. as attractions. Julia made the costumes; she had a lot of pictures on her phone and wow, they were incredible. Her husband was Batman, and she had made his custom, mostly in leather (see below). In conversation, I mentioned "Ma Duncan" and oddly, Julia said she has a MIL like that. Odd Story: Her mother-in-law had lived with them and they can't stand each other. Now that the husband/son is gone, Julia wants her to leave and she won't.
Carolyn and ?? had been at lunch and I liked both of them. However, we were at a long table--wish they had round ones--and they were at the other end. There was also a man there, whose name I didn't get, and a new member named Rosie, as well as two others, but I wasn't close enough to talk with them.
When I got home, I looked up info on the accident. There's a lot in the Ventura Star on-line and there's also this:

https://www.gofundme.com/thebatcosplay

Reading about the accident, I learned that the driver of a car veered into the on-coming lane and hit and killed both Julia's husband and an Emmy-winning sound editor. Wow.

* Funny: When I came in, I told the hostess I was there with a group. "The windows group?" she asked brightly. Well, I guess it's a window on fellowship or something.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Lull and a Scale

Still in a sort of lull period. Read the Sunday paper and did the crossword puzzles from Newsday (completed) and NYTimes (not). Fooled around on the computer. Talked to Betty, who called me with a dirty joke--really, just mildly risque. El e-mailed me asking for somebody's address, but I don't have it either. Decided to hard-boil some eggs, then realized all my pots are too big. Went out and bought a small Revere Ware pot and boiled 'em up.
Heard back from my tenant, Eileen, with her phone numbers and called Bill and Bob to relay the info. Went to Wal-Mart for nail polish remover and ran into Ellen. We just chatted for a few minutes, then went our ways.
It occurred to me that I didn't have a scale--no news is good news, yes? But that's stupid because I know I've put on weight since I got here. Looked on-line at Target and found one that was 10 percent off for today only. I didn't want to wait to have it delivered, so drove over there and got it. Weighed myself as soon as I got up this morning, sans clothing and breakfast and--well, will draw a veil over the result.
Hey, I'll say this: I haven't gained back the entire 72 pounds I lost once upon a time.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ma Duncan and Me

Low-key day. I slept late, until after 8:00, and didn't get dressed for another hour. Paid some bills and did household chores. Wrote, then honed my reply to the apartment person's e-mail and will probably send today.
After lunch, I drove to the library in town for a particular reason: To borrow a book about a grisly local murder. El and I learned about it during the ghost tour on Friday night. We were taken into the courtroom and told about the notorious "Ma Duncan," one of the last women to be executed in California (1962). She was convicted of hiring two men to kill her daughter-in-law, as she was obsessively devoted to her son, Frank. The family lived in Santa Barbara, but the DIL's body was found in Ventura County, so the trial was held there. What seems remarkable to me is that the son, Frank Duncan, was and still is, a practicing attorney in L.A. Criminal law.
I looked up info on the case and, it seems, the ghost docent we heard got the story a bit confused, but the essential facts were there. There's a book about it that I want to read, but when I looked it up, I found that Ventura Library doesn't have it. (Geez--the trial was a half-block away!). I was told Ojai Library had had it, but can't find it; "it's missing." The Ventura Museum has it, I guess on display, but they don't lend books out. I told the clerk that the library should buy it, for Pete's sake, it's local history, grisly as it is, and she suggested I see the librarian on Monday and mention that, which I will.
Not much else going on. The heat has broken, I'm happy to say, and it's very comfortable.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

City Hall and a Rejection

I had asked the secretary at Cypress Place to give Marion my phone number and ask her to call me. She did and we had a good talk; also made a date for lunch next Friday. I'll pick her up and take her to the Macaroni Grill near me. I've eaten there before and think she'll enjoy it.
Filled out the overseas Halloween cards, along with mail for Mike and Paula and took them to the P.O. Incidentally, I find it annoying in the extreme that they don't seem to print the value on stamps anymore. They have an enormous variety, all show biz or cutesy-poo; I just want to know how many 45-cent ones (that's how much it costs to send a postcard nowadays) to put on an envelope for Singapore.
Got an e-mail from my tenant, Eileen, asking about changing the furnace filter and turning off the sprinkler system for the winter. Glad she remembered, because I didn't. I called Bill G. and Bob S., who have performed those services for me (and others) for years and they'll get on the case.
Betty called, alarmed about the news about mudslides and stuff in southern California. There's no danger of that around here at all--I wish she'd quite watching what passes for news on television. However, we had a nice talk about other things.
Ellen called from school, asking if I wanted to go to the "Haunted City Hall" event at 8:00. Wow, late for me to just start out then, but it looked like fun and I said sure. We got there, along with about 30 others and were treated to a "ghost tour" for two hours. I'm not big on the paranormal, but the place is so incredibly beautiful, it was a treat to see it. There's a sweeping, gold-bannistered double staircase, marble floors and walls, ornate chandeliers that originally could alternate between gas and electricity, ceiling domes of stained glass, oak doors and woodwork, and other beauties of its era. Built in 1910, it's guarded over by a towering statue of Junipero Serra, and some of the most majestic palm trees I've ever seen.
Anyway, it was great fun, if strenuous (up and down that staircase and standing on those rigid marble floors did a number--but temporary--on my knees), and we both enjoyed it. Didn't get to bed until 11:30, but that's okay once in a while.
Got an e-mail from the management company about my request to shorten my lease. It was rejected. Now I have to decide my next move--or non-move.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Accident and Other

Mildly interesting day, with a disturbing side--to wit:
About noon, I went out and stopped at a red light on Ralston Street, which crosses very busy Victoria Avenue. Suddenly, a man on a bike sailed past me, then zoomed right across. He was an older guy, probably sixties or so, but tall and slender and he looked fit. However, he veered to the left, right into the path of a turning white van. He was hit and thrown up in the air, then crashed to the street. My way straight was blocked by the van and plenty of other people rushed to help, so I turned right and left the area. Hope he's okay and I'll look in the paper shortly.
I continued down to the beach area and got thoroughly lost, finding myself in, or next to, the naval base. I didn't mind, but stopped in a real estate office and got directions back. There was only one person there and she was no doubt bored to death, so we started chatting. I told her about my desire to move and she asked me to tell her about myself. When I did, she said any landlord would love to have me (single, mature, no pets, no smoking, superlative credit rating). Yes, I know that, but there have to be some apartments available to begin with. Anyway, I traveled on, but at loose ends, turned toward Santa Paula, the next town. Drove there, but didn't get out and went home to stop at the store for Romaine.
About 3:30, enjoyed a Skype call from that darling Tokyo Tyke. He's getting so big, he looks like a real boy. Well, he is a real boy, but no longer is exactly babyish, even though he's only two years and one month old.
Called my friend and had a nice chat with her. Also called Aline and we talked happily for 45 or so. Low-key day, but pleasant enough, aside from the accident.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Senior Center and Seaweed

I admit I'm easily bored and like to search out new and different activities. Naturally, what I enjoy and what others do often varies.
Yesterday, I went to the Ventura Senior Center for the low-cost lunch. I've been meaning to stop in there again (I did when I first moved here, but saw little of interest). This time, I was greeted by a sweet lady at the desk who explained--in ponderous detail--that I was welcome, details about the Senior Center, and please fill out this form. If I was over 60 (oh, just a bit), the suggested donation was two dollars, but I gave five instead and went to the lunchroom.
It wasn't crowded; there were only five tables with 4 or 5 people seated at each. I was a bit surprised to see four men, surely in their twenties, who were eating, too, and later, asked the director about it. I was told that when people come in, they can't turn them away, I guess because it's tax-supported. I assured the director I wasn't criticizing, just curious. Saw a table with two men,one black, one Asian, and a white woman (do they set things up this way for racial balance?), and asked if I could sit there. Absolutely! This from the woman, who immediately identified herself as "Kay," a volunteer who also has a little sewing class there. She sews, knits, and quilts and, for all I know, looms and tats. She was born in Colorado, but has lived in Ventura for 58 years, birthday in December, husband died ten years ago, twosonsgranddaughterandonandonandon...zzzz.
Funny contrast between this and my dining companions at Cypress Place, but I enjoyed both--somebody like Marion for the long term and a Kay person for comic relief. There were several servers, young woman, maybe from the college or culinary school. The food was pretty good consisting of salad, a kind of vegetable lasagna, mashed yams, string beans, iced tea, and pudding with a canned pear in it (seems an odd combination). One of the servers then came around and gave a cupcake to each patron. They had little Halloween rings on top, which made quite a hit with Kay.
Kay also regaled me with the fact that she talks to HIM every morning and he answers her, at one point advising her that her body was not hers, but his. At first, I thought she meant her boyfriend and hey, she seemed to veer into the kinky...
But of course, that's not what she meant.
Anyhoo, I stayed long enough to eat, declined staying for Bingo (called by Kay) or the movie (War of the Worlds, 1953), and strolled out, followed by Kay and her verbiage. Finally extracted myself and drove to the library--happily, open at long last, as the weather has cooled considerably.
Finally got around to contacting a medical group and made an appointment for November 6th. I chose a female doctor who graduated from U. of Pittsburgh. Didn't find any convictions for m alpractice, so I guess she's okay. I don't know if they need or want my records, but I'll bring them if I can find them.
I was delighted to get a call from Ellen after school, saying she and Greg wanted to know if I'd like to go to dinner. But of course, and she mentioned a Japanese restaurant. They picked me up at 6:00 and we went to Kobe Sushi, a tiny place staffed with real Japanese people from Japan. I told the server, a lovely woman, that my son lived in Tokyo, and she smiled hearing it. Had salmon sushi and California roll, so delicious; it's been long time since I've had Japanese food. Ellen had dressed seaweed as an appetizer; I had a taste of hers and liked it a lot; will order next time.
After, we went to Peet's and sat outside with coffee. As it was after 8:00 when I got in, I tried televising, but unsuccessfully--there just wasn't anything of interest to me. But no prob; I soon retired with my newly-borrowed book, a bio of Mrs. Astor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lunch at Cypress Place

An enjoyable day. I met Yvonne at Cypress Place Senior Living at noon and we went off to the dining room. Yvonne mentioned that there was a resident she'd like me to meet, a woman who was into play-writing and so on. Shortly, the woman--Marion--came in and we were introduced.
I liked her right away, and even more when she said she had taught (English and drama) at a Quaker school. When I asked if she followed that persuasion, yes again, so I asked the jackpot question: "Are you a pacifist?" Bingo.
What a pleasure to meet someone who actually understands what that means! And, as the conversation proceeded, I found she knows where Toms River is, as she's originally from upstate New York and used to vacation there. More recently, she lived in Arizona and she runs a little drama club for the other residents (gratis, of course). She had been an eighth grade teacher and staged annual productions--well-known, full length musicals that had been hits on Broadway, for Pete's sake! Yoicks, was I impressed! I know how much work it is to stage even a drama--and a musical? Whew! Anyway, we had a great time talking.
We were joined by a male resident; I'm ashamed to say I first thought his name was Earl, then Herb, then Irving--?? (My kids keep nagging me to get a hearing aid; dunno why.) Anyway, he's lived there for four years, widower, I'd say eighty-something. He was in the military, then left to become a scientist--can't recall what discipline, but he was a good conversationalist. His son is an historian and Earl/Herb/Irving is also deep into history; does a weekly presentation on various eras for residents. He and I--with Yvonne and Marion joining in--had a lively discussion about the Romanovs. I introduced the topic of the Dionne Quintuplet (they were not only as a biological rarity, but interesting in a socioeconomic sense), and E/H/I said he'd like me to address his history group sometime. Said I'd like to, although that will take a lot of preparation.
Food was good, service excellent, and of course, it was absorbing and stimulating to talk back and forth with these intelligent, accomplished people over a leisurely lunch. When we got up to leave, I asked Marion if I could call her sometime and she said, yes, she'd like that so much, so I definitively will.
I went back to Yvonne's office to get some of the financial info about living there? Could I afford it? I think so, especially as everything is covered aside from cable. But--do I want to? Or more to the point, do I want to once I vacate this apartment? That's a much knottier question and I'm no closer to an answer than I was before. I didn't want to string Yvonne along, so I told her the truth: I'm not sure at this point, but if I do decide to move in, it would probably not be very soon.
Went home after to change, then drove into town to the library. Damn, it was again closed due to the godawful heat. On the way back, I drove a bit up in the foothills (not the highest ones, of course),just marveling at their beauty. Drove down to the Saticoy Library, which was open, and I was pleased to see little children there.
WinCo after for this and that, then home. Good, good day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NTTG

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Phones and The Martian

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Veggies and Soap

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Root Veggies and the BBB

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

Friday, October 09, 2015

Halloween and Meditation

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

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Active and Varied

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













Wednesday, October 07, 2015

My Day in Court

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

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Fine

I'm down, I'm up, I'm down again--'way down. Got the "courtesy letter" about the traffic ticket and the fine is FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY DOLLARS!
I was just stunned. Who sets these fines and how can they be fair? It wasn't vehicular homicide, I simply slowed to 20 at a red light, saw nothing was coming and turned. Yes, I should have stopped, but almost five hundred bucks!? Boy, what a stinker.
Luckily, I didn't open the damn thing until after I met the widow support group for lunch. They're nice and I liked them a lot. Most are considerably younger than I am (well, that includes the general population, I guess), but friendly and welcoming. There was one exception who, wouldn't you know, sat directly across from me and monopolized the conversation as much as she could, all about her monumentally boring life, of course: she just turned sixty, her daughter was married twice, son ditto, grandchildren--aagh! Luckily, I was able to turn my attention to others after a time and enjoyed the talk. They meet once a month for lunch and once for dinner--same restaurant, which is simple for me to get to, so good and I'll join them for dinner on the 19th.
After that--and opening the letter--I took a swing to a few apartment possibilities, but didn't tour any for various reasons, mostly because they were horrible. Aside from that, I just cleaned up a bit while mentally formulating the letter I'm going to send on appeal: old lady, just moved here, limited income, terribly upset, etc.
Hope it works, damn it.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Bright, Though Raining

Things are much brighter, even though it rained all day. It's desperately needed here, of course, but I'm not going to pretend I was thrilled about it, because I so dislike the clouds and gloom.
But no matter: My girl picked me up at 11:00, read the citation, said she had gotten one a few years ago, had appealed it and won. I intend to do the same, so the hell with it, I put it behind me.
We stopped at Macy's first, as El was looking for a raincoat in consideration of what was coming out of the sky. Didn't find one, but she had seen some on-line and has a fair amount on Macy gift cards, so will order from there.
We then drove the 45 minutes or so to Santa Barbara to Greg's mother's place. She plans to move before too long to a house that's being renovated. She's had her present home, a large condo, repainted and carpeted, and has added some new furniture. Gee, the place looks wonderful. Walls are sort of a linen color and the carpets in the bedrooms are pearl gray. The living room, dining room, hall, and kitchen have wood floors, mahogany or something and quite elegant. As for the views--gorgeous, especially out the huge bedroom windows. You see quintessentially California vistas of tiled roofs, palm trees, bougainvillea, swimming pools, and in the distance, the glorious Pacific.
We went to Harry's Plaza Cafe--I've been there before--and had an enjoyable lunch and good talk. Stopped in to Rory's after and visited for a bit.
Got home about 4:30, changed, and actually put on slacks and a long-sleeved shirt--it's gotten much cooler. Betty called at 7:45 my time, so an outrageous almost 11:000 hers, and we chatted happily. Finished my Sunday crossword puzzle, fooled around on the computer, poured my wine, watched my telly (Places Unknown or something, with Anthony Bourdain or somebody), and turned in. I actually wore a flannel nightie and put an extra blanket on the bed and, happy day, slept like the dead.
Wait, let me rephrase that: slept like a log--hurrah!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Insomnia

Well, I stayed inside all day, just brooding about that ticket. Stepped outside the door only once, to get the paper. Otherwise, I put pork ribs and barbecue sauce in the slow cooker, read more of Mr. S., fooled around on the computer, and took a short nap. I was licking my wounds.
My friend, Jeanne P., e-mailed me, so I called her and that helped a bit. Betty called and things got a bit brighter. Even better was a Skype visit from that sweet little guy from Tokyo, smiling and laughing and talking in two languages--so bright, so happy, and so engaged with the wondrous world. How could I help but come almost all the way back to normal?
My emotional rehabilitation was further advanced with a call from Ellen late in the day. She invited me to go to lunch today with Greg's mother, if she can make it. She'll pick me up at 11:00, we'll travel to Santa Barbara, and I'll forget my troubles. In fact, El gave me the lowdown on the controversial use of the traffic cameras that are enriching some company somewhere and may actually be costing the city money. Scumbags, the lot of them.
I experienced the worse insomnia ever. Went to bed late--at 10--and slept, but woke two hours later. Between then and 3:30 or so, I was up and down, terribly restless, maybe because I was idle all day. Finally slept and got up just now after nine. Wouldn't you know we have plans today and I'm groggy. Darn.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Good Day Turned Bad

It started out to be a good day; finally got several things done I've been wanting to, which included:

1. Got the car washed;
2. Got my hair trimmed;
3. Bought a new purse;
4. Got my nails manicured;

Left the manicure place about 4:00. Stopped and got my mail--hey, what's this? A letter from the Ventura Police Department--gulp!
It's a citation saying I failed to stop at a red light when turning right at the intersection of Mills and Telegraphs Road on September 23, at 6:33 pm.
Aagh! Boy, am I upset over this. I hope it doesn't send my insurance soaring. Also, I haven't yet gotten a California license. I hope, hope, hope that doesn't make it worse.
Early on, talked to Betty, but so far, the big storm didn't seem to be much. Got an e-mail from Jeanne Dollard Painter and responded.
Other than that, I'm just brooding over the citation.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Cypress Place

Saw some other apartment possibilities, including Ventura Terrace, which was fair. Almost all the places I've seen have something or other better than, or addition to, the usual. In this case, it was a small, fenced in backyard. This was with a bungalow-style complex--nice, but it was close to a major road, so I dunno.
Of more interest to me, I also kind of accidentally found Cypress Place Senior Living. Thought I might as well take advantage of being there, so walked in and was given a tour.
I actually like this quite a bit and--for me a plus--it's back from Victoria Road, a major street and near to shopping, restaurants, and so on. Bonaventure, where I took my acting pitch, is way out of town--gorgeous scenery, but I don't want to be that isolated.
At Cypress Place, a very pleasant and friendly, but at the same time, knowledgeable and businesslike, woman named Yvonne took me on the tour. It's two or three stories, but there is, of course, an elevator. Some of the apartments have balconies, others overlook a lovely atrium, and the models were very attractive. Of course, it includes the usual: meals, utilities, a gym, and so on. I've now been in a number of "senior living" facilities in two states and they're essentially exactly the same, but so what?
One of few negatives of Cypress Place is that it's significantly more expensive than Bonaventure. Of course, it includes the usual: meals, utilities, and so on, but I'm not at all sure I could swing it. However, I'm not rejecting it. Yvonne invited me to a meal--this is standard for possible residents--and I said I'd call her next week some time to arrange it.
I guess what worries me most is the idea of living among old people. That sounds stupid, I guess, but some will understand what I mean.
Took a dry run out to the house where the "Living in the Moment" facilitator lives. Wowee. It's a huge house right at the beach in Ventura, California, and if it isn't worth two mil, I'll eat my sandals. Guess I'll attend the session next Thursday, but I'm more looking forward to the Widow group at Yolanda's on Monday.