Monday, November 30, 2015

Continuing

Yesterday was a more relaxed one; I sat over coffee and the Ventura County Star (of the same rag genre as the Atlantic City Press), happily finishing the Sunday Newsweek crossword puzzle. Putzed around with this and that, then called Ellen to ask if she could take away the empty containers. Sure thing and she asked if I could spare a small table for her guest room. Yes, indeed, and she came over and got it. She also put some picture hangers up for me, showed me how to work the T.V. and did a few other things, that gem of a gal. When she removed the table from where it was, she suggested I substitute my grandmother's table in the space. I did so, and that area looks better than before. Now I just have to keep up my momentum to clear out and get my peewee place in shape.
Betty called and we talked about our Thanksgivings. She had a good time with the Chicago Six: son, daughter-in-law, three little girls, and Jersey, the lab.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Working

Boy, did I work my little boodie off yesterday. I was able to empty more than ten large boxes and containers, toss some stuff, put some away, and prepare some for the thrift store. I had e-mailed my niece, Carolyn, to see if she wanted the hope chest and yes, she does. She'll have to arrange to get it, which won't be easy. Said she'd see if she and husband, Dana, and/or son, Finn, can handle it, possibly today. If not, she mentioned Wednesday, in which case, I'll see if I can pay two guys on the maintenance staff to get it to the car. I had listed it on Craig's List, but took it off.
I worked until after 4:00, then went to the supermarket to stock up on provisions. I'm really making progress and that's all to the good.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nada

Nothing going on except the usual of digging through boxes, sorting, tossing, and re-packing. Didn't go outside the door all day. As I mentioned earlier, Ellen called as she was waiting to have her tires put on and we talked for about an hour. It still seems so neat that we're able to be in such close contact. E-mailed niece Carolyn to see if she wants the hope chest that now getting rid of seems the key to getting my apartment in shape. Tried to call my new friend, Nancy, but her line was busy all day, so e-mailed her, too. Sat down at 8:15 to watch television and couldn't get the damn thing to work. Went back to the computer and watched Property Brothers for a bit.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving, quiet and low-key. El came over early and loaded up her car with my empty boxes and mine with thrift store donations. We then went to her place and watched "Big Eyes," an absorbing story of a pop culture art story. Greg came home early and we left for Santa Barbara.
Got to Greg's mother's about 4:30 and as our reservation for dinner wasn't until 7:30, played gin rummy for a few hours. As she's done before, Rory, 84, roundly beat the rest of us.
Got to Harry's at the appointed time of 7:30 and were seated immediately. It was very crowded--I hadn't realized so many people go out for dinner on Thanksgiving--but we were comfortable. We all had the traditional--I asked for dark meat--with the usual trimmings, and it was pretty good, if not exactly home style. By the time we left, it was chilly,maybe 60 or so.
Went back to Rory's while Greg tried to get in touch with his son. He wasn't able and we said good night to Rory and took off. However, Ellen had driven just a few yards when she got a flat tire. She had to call AAA and we went back to Rory's to wait. In the meantime, Greg's son and his mother arrived and we made small talk until the repair person got there.
Tire replaced with a temporary "doughnut," El had to drive under 50 on the Freeway, but we got home to Ventura safe and sound.
Unfortunately, when I got up this morning, I found my desktop is dead again. I'm typing this on the tablet, which is very awkward. Not sure how to handle this.
Later: Luckily, El called from the tire place and walked me through reviving the machine. There's no point in going through the whys and wherefores, so I won't; I'm just glad it's up and running again.
Startling Note: For the first time since I got to California, I turned the heat on this morning.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mundane

Got a lot more of the same done, but I don't want to obsess over it. Had a couple of pounds of tomatoes, so took time to make a sauce, stewing them together with garlic, onions, and oregano. Had it over pasta for dinner; very tasty. Went to a few stores for stuff I can't find right now, such as band-aids (I cut my finger when I was slicing the tomatoes).
Betty called from Chicago where she's spending Thanksgiving. Got some financial stuff done. Other than that and a bit more of the mundane, nuthin' much going on.

Unpacking Plus

Went to the last session of "Brain Gym"--which was okay, but not particularly helpful, I think. I talked to the director of the SCAN programs, asking if he had been able to look over my "Acting for Everyone" proposal. He had and said he was "impressed" with my background, but wanted to concentrate on one- or two-session courses, rather than longer ones. Also said he wanted to attract new people, rather than ones who had taken SCAN courses before. Asked if I could submit something that would follow that format. He also said he'd like to have it as soon as possible. Hmm...now I'm not sure I can develop anything effective in two sessions. Maybe I could, but do I really want to go to that much effort for what would surely be an insignificant monetary reward? Mulling it over.
Spent a lot of the rest of the day unpacking, putting away, and preparing donations. I'm determined to rid myself of as much as possible, painful though it sometimes is. I got a lot of the place better straightened out, particularly the kitchen/dining area.
Betty called from Pomona Airport to ask if I could hear the alarm--actually, I couldn't hear it very well. She said it was announced that the doors were stuck or something, but hearing the racket made her nervous about getting on the plane and I don't blame her.
Brother Jim called just to say hello and we had a nice chat. I stopped at the supermarket for raw shrimp and stir-fried that for dinner--delish. Forgot I had taken home some of Monday night's Thai dinner, but will have that for lunch tomorrow.
Ellen called to see how things were going and asked if I'd like to come over early on Thanksgiving to see a DVD called Big Eyes. It's about the artist of those tiresome huge-eyed children that were in vogue forty or so years ago. Sure, I'd love to, but if she can't get it, we'll see the Thanksgiving Day parade. Greg works until 4:30 or so and we'll then pick up his mother and go to Harry's. It's the first time in my life I've gone out for Thanksgiving dinner and I'm looking forward to it as a great adventure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In the New Place

Barely functioning, but I'm in and I'm determined to rid myself of lots more stuff! That isn't even a choice, as there is so little room for anything. The items with which I couldn't bear to part for so long are getting the heave-ho starting today.
After the movers had come and gone, and Time Warner guy had hooked up the electronics, I couldn't find my keyboard. Frantic, I called the movers and was told one had put it in a shallow container that fit under the bed. Problem was, I could lift the frame and at the same time, slide the thing out. Had to call my ace in the hole, still at school, and she cheerfully said she's be here as soon as she was finished preparing for the next day. In the meantime, I managed to empty and put away the contents from a lot of boxes.
When El got here, she got the container out; keyboard wasn't in there, but we opened a few others and found it. Even better, she took away the boxes, containers, and packing material I had amassed, so that gave me a bit m ore room.
We went to Jasmine Thai for dinner, where El got a call from Greg, who had left work early and was a few doors away at Peet's Coffee. We strolled down there and chatted with him for a few, then El took me to my new home. Am I going to like it here? Was it a good decision to make the move?
The jury's still out...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Moving Day

Anybody who's ever moved from one place to another knows what we went through yesterday, so there's no point in describing it. Enough to say Ellen and I worked all day, almost without stopping. Since she has an incredible amount of energy--you need plenty when you teach third-graders--there's no question she did more than half of it. She also brought tuna fish salad, organic tomatoes, and good, whole-grained bread and made us lunch. She didn't leave until after 5:00 when just about everything was done. It's a marvel to me that I have such an incredible woman for a daughter. I never could have moved to California or, of course, contemplated the move today, without her. Come to think of if, I never could have left Jersey without the help of my older daughter (who's birthday this is, by the way). I'm not sure what I did to deserve the two of them, but it must have been something wonderful.
Now I'm just counting down to when the movers get here. They're due at nine-thirty--three and a half hours from now and I'm ready for them.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

El to the Rescue

I thought Satur- would be an okay day, but I was barely out of bed when I changed my mind: computer seemed to be down. I rebooted and so on, but that didn't seem to work. Considering how cranky the tablet gets, I was beside myself. However, I had breakfast, read the paper, and straightened up, then went over to the Colony Parc office for last minute financial stuff. Chastity (yes, that's her name) took me over to Tinytown for for a walk-through. Aside from the general overall smallness, I noted some other negatives--for one, the refrigerator opens the wrong way, but I hope that can be altered. I was pleased to see the lay out in the kitchen is much more efficient: Cabinets are more accessible and there's more counter space.
Ellen came over about 11:00 and was I glad to see her. She did this and that and like magic, my computer was operational. I had loaded up the shopping cart and other wheeled thing and we took some stuff over. However, I had a slew of boxes, containers, bags, and stuff, some of which I hadn't even looked at since I got here, and I was frantic that they'd fill the place. What to do? All I could think of was to rent a storage space and a van, and put the stuff there. Ellen, however, said she had room in her garage and we would get a U-Haul to transport it.
And that's what we did. It took all day, of course, what with the back and forth and filling the truck. El did virtually all the heavy work--I've lost a lot of the stamina I used to have--then drove to her place and unloaded. We took the vehicle back, she want home, and I'm thrilled and overjoyed that the place is so much less cluttered.
Today, she'll be back and we'll pack up more in preparation for the moving people, who come on tomorrow.
Whew!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tinytown

I layered some of my most cherished breakables between pillows and towels and put them in my two "movers" (shopping and other cart). Packed up some kitchen stuff. Spent an inordinate length of time on-line and on the phone changing my address. Considering how often Americans move, I'm amazed it isn't an easier process.
Went to WinCo for oranges and a few other things. Thought I'd stop over at the new apartment to see if I could get in. I could, as the door and wndows were open, I assume because the carpets had been cleaned. I stopped in and--
Ye Gads and Little Fishes! Is this part of Tinytown? The place is about the size of my living and dining room at home combined--the whole place, that is. Considering the kind of money they get, you'd think it was in the middle of Manhattan! The living room may or may not hold my furniture and the bedroom--well, my double bed will fit and my antique bureau, I guess, but that may be all.
I'm actually not sure if I can get all my possessions in the place; I mean that seriously, although I've discarded, donated, and sold an enormous amount, both in Jersey and here. I was horrified to see that the walk-in closet is about half the size of what I have in this apartment. (I won't even contemplate the size of the master closet at my house).
As for storage--why no, there is no additional storage, aside from a rather rough "closet" off the enclosed patio. Guess I'll have to keep my vacuum cleaner in there. In fact, I don't even recall seeing a coat closet--hope I just missed it.
But...but...there are some positives. The big thing is the location: I will no longer have to go up and down stairs every time I walk outside. Also, I was told my assigned parking is closer to where I'll live than the one I have now--that's all to the good. More: the carpets are newly cleaned and look very good. The kitchen is actually a little bigger than my present one and the eating area is directly off it, which is a plus. Remarkably, the bathroom is also larger than what I have here. There is, of course, only one, but still...
So-o-o, I'm going to scale down, even more than I already had. Maybe this is a good thing, in fact. I went from a good-sized house, filled with all kinds of possessions, to a rather modest two-bedroom apartment, also pretty over-filled, and now I'll be down to a minuscule place. Next is a cardboard box under a bridge, I guess.
Oddly, I'm getting happily excited about the move. Maybe I'll like living in a scaled-down way and the bottom line is--I'm still where I want to be.
Got a welcome call from my friend in New Mexico, who received her birthday gifts, and we had such a good talk. I described the new place and we laughed over it--can't wait to show her and everybody else! Talked to El, and she'll be over this morning to help with the move.

Filled

Spent most of the day planning, packing, and putting out trash. Did wash--the last time from here, I'm happy to say--and contacted lots of places to change my address. Betty called and I talked to her for a bit. Stopped into the Colony Parc office to ask when I can see the apartment and was told probably today. Took a short drive late in the afternoon to clear my head. Send e-mails to family and friends alerting them to my new address. I had made a large batch of meatballs last week, froze some, and that's what I had with angel hair for dinner.
All the preceding doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to fill the day. After dinner, I had had enough of chores and quit to play my hidden object game.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good One

Joy has come back to my life!
But first, the dark side: My little darlin' computer was still sick in the morning, of course, so I had to make do with her evil twin, the tablet. Barely was able to access my e-mail and bank account; couldn't get into my own FB page at all, OR my friend, Pat's, blog, and soon gave up. If I had persisted for a time, I'm sure it would have remedied itself, but it was so slow, I lost patience. However, I drove to the library and accessed all the sites I wanted.
After, I remembered that my trunk was full of thrift store donations, so while I was downtown, I drove the few blocks to The Coalition to drop them off. While there, I discovered a kind of stroller-type thing that's perfect for when we move some of my smaller possessions to the new place. Bought it for twelve bucks and, along with my shopping cart, it should be a big help.
Advertised my Kitchen Aid mix master on Craig's list. Much as I hated to part with it, I have a hand mixer, and I don't think I'll be making the elaborate cakes and so on I used to. Besides, this is the big model: extremely heavy and takes up a fair amount of room. Three people called about it and I sold it to one who came right over and got it, cash in hand.
RescuTech guy came a bit after 3:00 and was here for two hours. He got my computer back to glorious health and besides that, we had a ball talking together. Turns out he's a pacifist and has a lot of other beliefs in common with me, too. He advised me to uninstall some of the games I have--a lot--as they're taking up a lot of memory. Will do. I thought his fee was reasonable and what's more, he's a terrific conversationalist, so I made out like a bandit.
To top it all off, I slept well last night--yay!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stress

Pretty stressful. Time Warner guy came yesterday (Tuesday) and fixed my t.v., but looked at computer and said it looked like a virus and he doesn't do that, it's a computer issue. He did get me back on Wi-Fi; for some reason, the tablet wasn't hooked up to it, although it had been a few months ago. Called a tech place and somebody's coming to look at the computer this afternoon. All this is complicated by the fact that SoCalEdison is turning off the electricity from 9:30 to 1:30 today. Oh, well, I'm at the library now and later, will gather up wash and to to the Laundromat with it.
Went to Kohl's and got birthday gifts for my friend and my granddaughter-in-law, whose birthdays are both on this Monday. Rushed home to wrap and went to post office to send. I know I was engaged in some other errands yesterday, but can't think what they were.
Got a call from Newfriendnancy and the more I talk to her, the more I like her. We decided to go to the Santa Paula Theatre for a matinee in a few weeks. It turns out she has what she calls "a tiny, tiny place," her son't former garage, which was renovated into an apartment for her. Told her I'd like to see it--it's hard to believe it'll be tinier than the place I'm going to. Our mutual Othernewfriendjoyce is due to have her knee replacement today; think I'll see if she's in the Community Hospital nearby and will send her a card.
Speaking of which: I still have plenty to do to pack up and I'm getting a little nervous about it. Also, my trunk is filled with donations for the thrift store, which I haven't dropped off yet. Must do, so I can put more in. I still know I'm going to be taking too damn much with me.
Slept very poorly last night; just stress, I guess, and what a mess, I must confess--uh, can't think of anything else.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Woe Is Me

Time Warner guy was here, fixed the t,v, and got my tablet back on wi-fi, but woe is me, there seems to be a virus on my computer and I have to get a compter fixer. Hard to type on here, will go to library.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Continuing On

Oh, boy, was I exhausted at the end of the day! I spent virtually all of it in opening boxes and containers, going through them, separating out things for the thrift store, and discarding an enormous amount. Undoubtedly, I continued my bad habits by retaining more than I should have, but at least, it's being whittled down. I do have some momentum going and feel good about what I've accomplished so far.
Got an e-mail from Nancy P., asking if I wanted to go to one of the bus tours she had suggested. She also asked if I'd show her some of the playbills from productions I've been in. Will do eventually, but in the meantime, I sent her a picture of me as Aunt Juliana in Hedda Gabler and one of the full cast.
Ellen came over about 4:00 and hauled a lot of trash to the disposal place, then put two huge containers with thrift store donations in my trunk. What a relief to have those things out of here, but some I'm wistful about losing. That includes wall sconces from Westminster Choir College, which I was given about twenty years ago. They had graced the walls there when the place was opened in nineteen twenty-something and I always meant to put them up in my house, but never did. Hate to see them go, but since they had languished in the basement in Ewing and garage in Little Egg, maybe it was time.
El and I went to The Avenue, a neat bigger-sizes shop, where she got jeans and some nice tops. I had been sent a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift card for fifteen dollars by Presto Pasta, so we went there for dinner. It was actually pretty good and cost a total for both of only four bucks and change.
My television starting acting up; Ellen looked at it, but couldn't remedy the problem. No doubt I pressed the wrong buttons and I'll call Time Warner today. I'm not that concerned, as I can see this and that on YouTube, anyway, which I did for an hour last night.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Packing

I started to get nervous about my approaching move deadline, so went through still more memorabilia, the never-ending task. I threw away an enormous amount, as I'm determined to allow myself only one large container for all of it; whether I'll achieve that goal, I don't know.
Was interrupted for the best possible reason: a call from my NM friend. She and hubby are still in Arizona, having traveled to Tuscon, where they met up with a former colleague of hers from the occupational therapy field. That person must be the same kind of glutton for punishment as they are: They all ran, hiked, climbed, and otherwise punished themselves during their stay. They're head back to New Mexico next week.
Went to Goodwill to ask if I could rent one of their lightweight, two-tiered carts, which would be perfect for moving my stuff to the other apartment. The manager was very cordial, but regretfully said he really couldn't allow it and I understood. On the way home, I stopped at an open house at a modular home park. I'm in the habit of thinking of these as trailer parks where druggies hang out, but boy, have things changed. This was brand new and as spacious as any regular house--large, beautiful kitchen, a powder room and two full baths (with walk-in showers and tubs), big closets and so on. However, the price reflected it; probably fifty grand more than I could get for my house and space rent of $740. Boggles the mind.
Ellen had asked me to call her today and I'm going to see if she'll load up her car--I'll do the same--and take it to the thrift store. After that, I'll generously buy her lunch. (Heh, heh, I have a coupon for a pasta place.)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Various and Sundry

Housework, chores, and errands day. Gathered up trash, hauled it to the enclosure in my trusty shopping cart (just like Aunt Maggie used to have), got groceries at WinCo, went to the library and P.O., and otherwise addressed everyday stuff. I steeled myself and threw the ship away, as well as piles of paper memorabilia. Thought I'd be melancholy, but far from it, found it liberating.
Made an appointment for therapy (knee and balance) for December 1, two days before getting my blood work done.
Betty called and I got welcome e-mails from the two left behind I miss most: Aline and Marge. I'm still looking for replacements, which I know isn't entirely possible, but I hope at least to find spirits as kindred as possible.
Ellen called. She's finally finished report cards, a major chore, as grading has expanded and no longer simply indicates how children are keeping up with classwork. Now, all kinds of other peripheral behavior is noted, which must be hard to evaluate. She also reminded me I'll be starting my move in just one week--yoicks! I'd better start getting serious about this.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lunch, Train, Car

Met my new friends from the widows' group, Nancy and Joyce, for lunch at Lure Seafood in town. It's pricey, but worth it; I had sea dabs and sides, which were excellent. I decided on my usual beer (a local brew, which I like to try) and my companions shared a bottle of Chardonnay.
Quick run-down: Joyce was married twice, Nancy thrice, both widowed more recently than I (Nancy's husband died only six months ago), five or six children between them, plus grandchildren and great-grands, in addition to stepchildren, and for all I know, kiddies left on the doorstep. Joyce is having her knee replaced next week and Nancy is a big talker. Neither are conventionally religious, but both seemed to put some credence in astrology, a negative but one I can ignore. Both had had spouses who either drank or were abusive or both, but not the sainted last ones.
Anyway, it was enjoyable in a low-key way. I know I'm still going to be looking for kindred spirits--these ain't them--but I wouldn't mind seeing more of them. Nancy, in particular, asked about going on one of the bus trips the city sponsors and I may very well take her up on it.
We sat and talked for close to two hours, then said goodbye. I then immediately went to the station (really just a stop) nearby and waited until the 2:19 came in. Took pictures which I later sent to that two-year-old train devotee in Tokyo. I was sorry there are no ding-dings, but will try to get some later.
Made an appointment for blood work, called the moving company to make sure they had me down, and took care of similar chores. Went for a 4:00 appointment to get my oil changed and while waiting, heard back from brother, Jim. I had called to ask when his birthday (eighty-ninth) in November is so I could send him a card and found it's actually in February, ha-ha. So good to hear his voice.
I was annoyed to be told my battery is low or high or upside down or something--anyway, needed to be replaced. I didn't think that should be, as I bought the car so recently and I intend to go to the Hertz place and see if they'll cover. Unlikely, but worth a shot.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Aside From The Hair...

Back on an even keel--almost.
Changed the bed, got the various errands and chores done, and even had my hair colored. The last, I'm afraid, was not a success. I stopped in at a hairdresser's on Kimball Avenue in the morning, asking if I could get something later in the day. Two o'clock? Perfect!
Went back then, taking a paper with the formula on it which my hairdresser in Jersey had given me. However, the sun had gotten my hair several shades lighter than I like. I mentioned this to Beth, the hairdresser, and she asked if I'd like to have my whole head in the color supposed to be for my roots. Sure, I said.
DARN! I'm not sure why, but it came out very dark, almost like my natural deep brunette. Makes me look like Moe Howard of the three stooges, but I'll live with it, I guess. I know it will lighten up in the sun eventually and I think I'll look for some kind of spray highlights I could add.
Had a nice piece of salmon for dinner, along with peas.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Not So Hot

If I wasn't a lady, I'd say it was a piss-poor day, but I'm a lady, so I won't.
Started off okay at the Brain Gym session at SCAN. I'm still a little puzzled at some of what Joyce, the leader, tells us, but it was all right, I guess.
The session runs from 10:30 to noon and after that, I was hungry, so had lunch before I went to the post office to mail a few things. I also planned to make an appointment for color, gather and get rid of trash, buy oranges and bread for breakfast, get my oil changed, and do wash, as I had been at Carolyn's on Monday, my usual day for such chores.
There was a long line at the P.O. and I decided to come back later. Went home to get wash, piled two sections in the hamper and shopping cart, went over, put them in two washers (the whites with bleach, so shoot me), then went back to the P.O. After a few annoying snafus, I left and went back to transfer the clothes to two dryers.
My home phone still wasn't working, so I called Time Warner. Got advice as to what to do, but couldn't really follow it, so called Ellen and left a message, asking her to come over after work.
I was about to get my clothes when Mr. K. called on Skype in order to show me some important items, such as a blue kitty almost as big as he was, several interesting trains, and dishes and pots in which he can cook dinner. I was delighted to hear him say "hi, Nana" and when he was signing off, not only "'bye," but "see you."
So I was a few minutes--maybe five--late getting my clothes out of the dryers and found that someone had removed the load and put it on top where they could get nice and wrinkled. I was mystified to see that the whites were still drying and had 30 minutes to go. When I went back in a half hour, a fellow tenant informed me I had put the quarters in the top dryer, which was on when she walked in, but my wet clothes were in the bottom. AAGH! She was nice enough to add quarters--I didn't have any with me at that point and she waved away my offer to get them and repay them. Anyway, all this stuff was enough to upset me. Damn, I'd take a cardboard box under a bridge if I could have my own washer and dryer. In addition, I never did deal with the hair, the car, OR the oranges and bread for breakfast.
On the plus side, El came over, talked to Time Warner, and got my phone working. Also, I'm free today, so I can make another try at getting hair colored, car oiled, and breakfast items bought.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

At Carolyn's

Had a lovely day at niece Carolyn's. I got the 9:35 train from Ventura and she picked me up in Santa Barbara 45 minutes later. We went to a little seaside place for coffee and talked and talked and talked. By the time we left, it was almost lunchtime. I was taken on a short tour of this lovely town (where I've been many times before), then we were both hungry for lunch, so went to the Paradise Cafe. I had met Betty and her friend there years ago and right across the street was a little place where Ellen and I met Greg, his mother, and his son for Christmas morning breakfast last year.
Had a leisurely lunch, then went to Carolyn's, where I was introduced to Calvin, the family's new Dutch Shepard (looks like German one and I don't know the difference) mix. He's a mere pup, but oh, boy, judging by his paws and ears, this is going to be a big dog.
Carolyn sits in once a week on the after-school Spanish lesson attended by daughter, Claire (fourth grade), and I said I'd love to go. Did, and enjoyed it immensely.
Son Finn (14, high school) was home by then and we had a good time with hot chocolate and Calvin. Carolyn made dinner for the kids (I begged off, still full from lunch and hot chocolate), as her husband, Dana, had a late meeting. Luckily, he came in fifteen or so before I had to leave, so I got to see him, too.
We said goodbye and Carolyn drove me to the station. I had been a bit nervous about driving home in the dark, but had no problem at all and I got in by 8:00. Happy to have been there and happily looking forward to having them here.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Maritime Museum and My Left Leg

I was pretty much dragging yesterday--lack of sleep. Returned Betty's call, then called my friend. She and hubby are still in Arizona and loving it; were leaving for Tuscon shortly. We talked about my piles of heirlooms and artifacts and she said she like to take my mother's china. I was thrilled to hear that and even more thrilled to hear she'll get them at Christmastime because they're going to be here! Happy day and I only wish the Tokyo contingent could come; we haven't all been together since Pat's funeral.
After I talked to those two, got a call from Ellen and, unfortunately, after a lot of back-and-forth, we surmised that there's something wrong with the landline phone. I checked the wires and so on and didn't see anything amiss, so will call Time Warner. Got my tickets for my train trip to Santa Barbara tomorrow when I visit niece Carolyn for the day and used the cell to call her and confirm.
Packed up the sailing ship I had given Pat years ago, as the thread-like "rigging" was cut. I had made an appointment with a model ship maker at the Maritime Museum to look at it and estimate how much it might be to repair it. Ellen agreed to go with me, so I drove over to her place and we went off to Oxnard.
The model builder was an old guy named Bob Little, a case of name matching physique; he's only about my height and maybe half my weight. Bob carefully looked at it and first asked if it was a family heirloom (no, I had bought it at the Lambertville Flea Market), then pronounced it not worth repairing. He said it was one of the ships made for tourist to buy and wasn't worth the one to two hundred bucks it would cost to repair. I had no problem at all with that, was glad to learn it, in fact. I asked if possibly, the museum might want it gratis; he said no, it really wasn't museum quality. No problem with that, either, and I thanked him sincerely. After, he gave us a truncated tour of the museum and we said we'll come back when we had more time to see everything. We stopped at Wal-Mart after and got some stuff, then said goodbye.
I slept pretty well last night, aside from waking from a sudden pain in my left leg--the one with the bad knee. It passed shortly, but it worries me a bit because it had never happened before. I hope it's simply the result of walking as we did around the museum.
Soon, I'll be off to Santa Barbara on the train, which should be fun.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Golden Girls of Ventura County

I'm getting luckier and luckier with the groups I've joined. Yesterday, I met the "Golden Girls of Ventura County"--and what a neat bunch. The itinerary was to visit the thrift stores in town, see what we could find, then meet for lunch at Durgan's, an Irish restaurant. In view of my knee, I decided to skip the thrift store stuff (the last thing in the world I need is more stuff) and just meet the women for lunch.
When I strolled into Durgan's at noon, I told the hostess I was with a group. "Do you see your group here?" asked the beautiful young woman.* "I--well, I don't know what any of them look like." "Oh. What is the name of the person who made the reservation?" "I'm not sure." By this time, we were both laughing and she said, "Look, there's a group of ten coming and I put them in the alcove. I could seat you there and when the rest of them come in, you can see if that's your group." "Great," I said, "And if it isn't, I'll just join them anyway."
Well, it was "my group." Shortly, in trouped Cheryl, the founder, plus Belinda, Katherine, Meg, Maddy, Nancy, Christina, and Isabelle, who said she recognized me from the widow's group. (There were two others whose names I didn't catch.) I guess they varied in age from fifties to--well, I was surely the oldest; Cheryl is in her late sixties. As we chatted, she and I found we live practically next door to each other. I wasn't quite clear on whether she lives in Colony Parc, where I do, or in Weston Villa townhouses, which more or less surrounds C.P. Anyway, we had a ball talking as I did with my other table mates. They seem so much more down to earth and fun than those at Beach Cities. Of course, I also like the people in the widowed group--I just found out it's called "Soaring Spirits"--dumb name, if you ask me--and is an "international" organization, whatever that means. I sat next to Isabelle and she noted she's a member of that, too, and had seen me at lunch with that group last week.
Anyway, this was such a pleasure. I'm anxious to be with them again; I know a brunch and activity is planned for next time, as well as a harbor cruise in December. Yay!
In the evening, Nancy from Soaring Spirits called and we had a good long talk. Her husband was also very ill for a long time before he died--can't remember exactly what the problem was--and there's nothing like being about to discuss and understand what that means to feel like kindred spirits. She and Joyce and I will meet on Thursday for lunch.
On a down note, I had a hard time sleeping last night. Just got up at 8:30; darn, I hope this doesn't last.
* Everybody in Ventura either looks like a movie star or is overly hairy.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Doctor

Went to the doctor today, at a group called Primary Medical--very smoothly run with about six docs, I think. Each has his or her own receptionist, so it was efficient to fill out the papers and so on. Didn't wait too long to go in. I liked the doctor a lot. I think she's in her early forties, dark hair, pleasant manner: brisk and businesslike, but warm and unhurried. I told her about my knee and my balance problem and she had me do some exercises (place one foot in front of the other and walk a few feet; touch her moving finger, then my nose as rapidly as possible, and so on). She gave me an Rx for therapy and some other script I haven't looked at yet. Blood pressure, pulse, heart beat, and lungs good. Ordered blood work. Had the nurse give me a flu and a pneumonia booster shot. I was pleased that she asked what I did before I retired and when she was leaving the room, smiled and said, "Welcome to our practice," so she was connecting as another human. Interestingly, her first name is Dana, same as my niece's husband.
After I went home and changed, I decided to take a dry run to the Maritime Museum in Oxnard, where I'm meeting the guy who's going to look at my ship on Sunday. I got lost for a time and I'm not sure if I was actualy near it or not, but found my way back. Called Ellen to see if she might be free then, and maybe.
Otherwise, I went through boxes of priceless relics and threw about three-quarters away. These included yet more letters to Pat (not our letters to each other), various HSHS artifacts and so on. It gets easier the more I do it.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Freebie

A free day, for a change. I have a habit of writing down what I want to accomplish and/or where I want to go. Fairly often, I don't get to cover everything on the list I wanted to, but yesterday, I did. To wit:
1. Gathered up all the recycle stuff--more than a week's worth of newspapers, plus a wine bottle, two jars, and a can, and took it to the enclosure on my way to
2. the library in town to pick up a book I requested, then swung around to
3. California Street, just down Main, to check out Lure Seafood Restaurant, where my new friends, Nancy and Joyce, will meet soon, then
4. continued to the Amtrak Station, as I'm nervous about driving home from Carolyn's in the dark, but it's okay, an almost straight route;
5. next, I went to Kohl's for undies before
6. stopping home for lunch, after which, I mixed the ground beef I had bought Wednesday with eggs and breadcrumbs, formed them into balls and browned them;
7 then fried up onions and garlic, filled a big pot with spaghetti sauce, added the meatballs and o. and g., then let it simmer while I
8. checked out a few things on the computer and revised one of my plays until I figured the meatballs were cooked, so I
9. took them off the stove and let everything cool while I drove to the Farmers' Market (every Thursday at the Kimball Street Park),
10. where I took a knife and sought out my co-widows' group member, Chuck, who sharpens them, plus bought a bunch of beets and a bag of grapes.
Whew! I had quite a sense of accomplishment when I got in the shower (doctor's appointment today), then sat down to play a hidden object game. (I allow myself to play only after 5:00 pm.)
Got a call from a guy named Bob Little, from the Maritime Museum. I had called there to see if they had anyone who could repair the ship I gave Pat years ago; the rigging (actually threads) broke and some of the sales came off. I'll meet with Bob on Sunday to get an estimate on how much it would cost to repair. If an enormous amount, I think I'll just ask if he'd like to have it and give to him free of charge.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

HTML Problem

Don't know what happened. I went back to edit something on today's post and when I tried to update, got a message that my HTML brace tags are broken, so I couldn't change it. As it stands now, the beginning doesn't make sense. What was omitted and I can't add is that a woman named Kathleen at our table texted through the speaker's talk, the jerk. After that came "And the speaker was terrific." Ugh, I hope this isn't a continuing problem.

Meeting and "Morsals"

The BCNN Coffee turned out to be very enjoyable.
I sat with two women named Barbara, who discussed their gluten intolerance. That seems to be the allergy du jour And that speaker was terrific. She's a master chef named Amy Tyrell, who owns a catering firm named "Morsals As You Wish," (a clunky, somewhat awkward name, if you ask me, but no one did). Anyway, she has a fascinating personal, as well as work background, having been married three times. First hubby walked out when their daughter was diagnosed with cancer, second died at 46 of a brain stem tumor, third was the keeper and they have a place in the Channel Islands, plus one in San Francisco. Not too shabby.
Amy had worked in the corporate world for years, but finally was able to follow her dream and go to culinary school. She mentioned how much that cost: $87,000. Boggles the tummy.
Incidentally--or not so--she demonized GMOs, which she said are poisons and she cautioned about processed food. She uses only "certified organic," as opposed to just plain organic (I never knew there was a difference) and mentioned with approval Whole Foods.
During her career, Amy worked with many of the well-known T.V. chefs, including Andrew Bourdain, whom she called "a hunk" (well, yeah, I've seen him); Wolfgang Puck, whom she said was very supportive and kind; and the pretty young woman (Italian descent) who weighs about 80 pounds and is the daughter or niece of a famous director (too lazy to look her up), whom she said was wonderfully warm and sweet-natured. She mentioned others I hadn't heard of and had some less-than-complimentary things to say about them.
Let's face it, food means a lot to me and that's probably the reason I was so enthralled--but so was everybody else. Amy is a terrific speaker: good, strong voice without theatrical tricks; lots of fascinating info; and she delivers her pitch with a balance of enthusiasm, solid information, and sly jokes. She wowed the crowd.
I signed up to get her newsletter and will check out her blog, as well as her business. Sent Ellen info about her because I thought Greg, who's a very creative cook himself, might be interested.
I was pleased to hear back from the other of my--I hope--newly-hatched friends, Joyce, and she, Nancy and I are tentatively set to meet for lunch next Wednesday.
My cousin, Sally, called to thank me for her mother's album, and we had a good long talk. She suggested I come visit her in San Diego on the train and I'm definitely planning to do that. Sally is full of zip, although she has her hands full with a rapidly-failing husband (several strokes, heart failure, and other problems) and a son who is also gravely ill.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Brain Gym

Went to "Brain Gym" at the Health & Wellness Center; also met the manager and gave him my proposal for Acting for Everyone. Now I'm sorry I didn't emphasize the quasi-health benefits--concentration, increased confidence, and so on--as that's the direction in which most of the courses go. However, if I get to see him, I'll add that.
Brain Gym was fun, if a bit different from what I thought it would be. The director, Joyce, is a physical therapist and very engaging. There are about twenty-five people in the class, including two or three men. (I think that proportion is pretty much the usual in older people groups.) The exercises included a number of what seemed to me new-agey type info: for instance, massaging your "brain center," which is, we were told, between one's collar bones. At the same time, the other hand must rest on the stomach. Similar directions were given and we did those. I'm just not convinced there's research to support the idea that, for instance, your left brain is stimulated by putting your thumb behind your right ear. But hey, who knows and who cares? I enjoyed it, anyway.
It was over at noon and I immediately went home to take my wash to the laundry place. For some reason, I was even more irritated than usual with the chore. However, I got it done and in between, changed my bed and went to the supermarket.
I was pleased to get a message back from Nancy, whom I had met on Monday, saying she'd love to meet for lunch. She also sent a listing of bus trip outings from Ventura, asking if I might be interested in any. Told her I'd look it over and let her know. Didn't yet hear back from Joyce; if I don't by later today, I'll call her.
I got back to niece Carolyn and told her I could come next Monday on the train. Must look up location and times. Talked to Betty and sent (via scan) a picture of her at her real estate agency in Ocean City. Must be forty years old, at least.
BCNN meeting this morning.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Widows' Group

I left for the Widows' Support Group lunch too early, stopped at a supermarket, then took a different route and managed to get myself lost and was fifteen minutes late.
However, I had a great time. I'm getting to know some of the people who attend and met two others with whom I really clicked: Nancy, Joyce, and I exchanged e-mail addresses and discussed getting together outside of the group. Also met Carla who, interestingly, lives right across from Ellen in Riverview Townhouses. She announced that she had been named to the Board of Trustees there, obviously expecting me to be impressed. I asked if it included a stipend, but no, of course not, so why bother to take it on? (I didn't say that to her.) Unfortunately, Carla is the big talker/little content type and struck me a a bore. The only thing I found interesting about her is that she mentioned she had lost 105 pounds.
Nancy, Joyce, and I exchanged our husband death information; as I had remarked in this group to general agreement, our stories are all different and they're all alike. Joyce, who I think is about my age (Nancy said she was 77), had a harrowing how-I-reached-widowhood story: Her husband had some disease, but it wasn't considered life-threatening. He went out one day and an hour later, the police called to say he was in the hospital. Shortly after, her son called from Arizona or somewhere--the police had gotten his number from his father's wallet--to tell her her husband had shot himself in the head in a parking lot. Why in the hell the police didn't go to her home and escort her to the hospital is beyond comprehension.
Anyway, others whom I like were there: pretty Vera, who founded the group; Donna, who works for the county; and Chuck, who handed out flyers promoting fund-raising for Soaring Spirits. I gather that Soaring Spirits is a grief support group for widows and widowers, which is international. There's a web site and blog in which different widows write. I looked into it and found it interesting, but it's not quite for me, as most members seem to be young, whose husbands (or others) had died fairly recently.
When I got home, I wrote to the SCAN manager, applying to conduct my Acting for Everyone class. Added my theatrical resume (truncated) and a copy of the blurb from Stockton and will submit it when I got there this morning for the Brain Gym class.
Texted my daughters, both of whom texted back with words of encouragement and derision. ("Don't forget to proofread," wrote one.) Listen, it's hard on my dumb phone; the alphabet doesn't come up, for one thing. Hey, one of these days I'll get a fancy smart phone and thumb my nose at everybody!
Note: The weather has turned very cold; bone-chilling, in fact. The paper said it got all the way down to 69. I even wore a jacket. Well, a light one. Anyway, it's refreshing.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Stardust and Ca Marco

Fine, fun day. Ellen picked me up at 11:00 and we went to "Stardust," a mobile home community. It's a very neat, clean, and quiet place and we looked at the outsides of some of the homes. Went to Ojai after and saw a few others. This small mountain town was crowded on a beautifully sunny day and we didn't see a place where we really wanted to have lunch. Then I remembered that years ago--at least ten--she and I had eaten at a small restaurant a little way out of town. We weren't sure it was still there or if we could find it, but it was and we did.
It's called "Ca Marco"; El said "ca" is short for "casa" or "house," so "House of Marco." There were just four other people in the cozy dining room, which was decorated in an Italianate, but low-key, tasteful style. They had pizza, but not the usual thick slabs slathered with red sauce and piled with cheese. Ellen ordered one and it had a thin, delicate crust, with various thinly-sliced meats and veggies on top. She gave me a pizza and I liked it, although I'm not a big pizza fan. I had melon slices wrapped with prosciutto, really delicious and accompanied by tiny slices of strawberries and plums. I thought a Corona was called for and it came in a frosted mug with the obligatory wedge of lime. Altogether, that was about the best warm-weather meal I've had all year.
My friend texted El while we were out to the effect that they were just approaching Sedona on their Arizona trip. Think I'll try texting her sometime; she'll be amazed.
Back at Stardust, we went in one of the new homes and saw others from the outside. They're lovely and about as far as it's possible to get from a "trailer park" habitat, in both size and style. It was when the prices were mentioned that the reality of living in this area hit home. Not only are the places themselves expensive, certainly half again as much as they would be in Jersey, but the "space rent" on top of that is higher than my mortgage.
Good thing we were just looking around and speculating. Anyway, I love to tour both old and new homes, just speculating or not. El lent me a lawn chair and we put it in my trunk, as I want to take my lunch now and them to that wonderful park on Poli Street. She dropped me off about 4:30--the sun was starting to fade!--after a fine day.
Happily, I slept well last night and when I got up, had welcome e-mails from my friends, Aline and Vivian. I had met the latter at Wellspouse when Pat was so sick; she has cared for her husband for thirty-some years. He has MS and is almost completely immobilized. She said her son, who is a musician and had been employed by the Disney group (ugh!), had moved to L.A. and was trying to break in as a music producer. I wrote back to Vivian, but didn't mention I might approach my nephew's wife to see if she has any relevant contacts.
Or I might not.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Car Bad, Shrimp Good

Darn it all! I went to the library and backed into a metal post and dented my lower fender. It's badly scratched, too, of course, and AAGH!!! However, what if I had hit a person? A child, even? I would gladly have traded that for totaling my car, so I simmered down and will see what can be done.
Anyway, it was a red-letter day because I heard from ALL of my children; it's unusual that they all get in touch on the same day. Wait a minute--little K. Skyped me on Friday. All right, I heard from all my children over two days. El texted me and I laboriously texted her back. Then she called and we decided we'd go to a festival at the museum today. If we find it too crowded or it's not interesting, we'll go elsewhere.
Called my friend and we had a long talk. She and her husband are leaving tomorrow for Arizona, where they'll stay at several different camp grounds. It seems so wonderful that they had decided to do this--he retire, she quit her job, sell their house, buy an RV, move to New Mexico--and they did. My friend expressed surprise that they're still busy, even though neither are working. I feel the same way--I have plenty to do, although I don't have the obligations I did or the everyday care of a house anymore.
Mike Skyped me in the evening and I loved hearing from Vivian and Violet about the Halloween party they went to, and all their other little-girl news. Talked to Betty--she bought a car--and to brother, Frank. He said maybe he and Marybeth would be able to drive down once I get my new place and a sofa bed--hope so.
Bought bubble wrap to send my cousin, Sally, her mother's album. I know I have a lot of packing stuff left from my move, but can't find it. Oh, well, I'm sure I'll be using it soon. Took the album to the post office, then drove up in the hills. I still marvel at the beauty of the ocean and the mountains hereabouts.
Bought a pound or so of fresh shrimp and stir-fried it in just a bit of coconut oil. With wedges of fresh lemon and cocktail sauce, I had only that for dinner. Boy, it was good. I resolved never to buy frozen shrimp again, this was so delicious.