Monday, February 29, 2016

Chairs and Easter Eggs

I took a picture of the four chairs I got with the kitchen set (because I decided to use the ones I already had) and put them up for sale on Craig's List. A few hours later, somebody called about them. Righto, sir, you can have 'em, he and his wife came over, paid what I had asked, and off they went. Good, good, good, now I just need to get the mahogany table over to Ellen's garage
I finally looked in the last place I could think of for my 2014 tax return--in the bench my Uncle Frank. I wasn't very hopeful and no, it wasn't there. I am absolutely sure I have it somewhere (unless it was accidentally thrown away), but I'm stumped. Called Michelle, who will do my taxes, and told her, but while we were talking, I mentioned I hadn't rented the house out until July, 2015. Then you don't need that return, she said, which was just as I had thought. I had told her this before, but she must have misunderstood.
In fact, says Little Miss All's Right With The World (Little Miss Sunshine's twin), it actually was a good thing I frantically searched for it. I was forced to go through a lot of stuff and get rid of some--or at least organize it better. I put some salable items in my trunk and will sell them at Ellen's yard sale the week after Easter.
Speaking of Easter, I came across the painted wooden eggs I put out for Easter for years. I had bought them from Kathy Burd, who works in Rider's University Communications office and will be honored at the Longtimers Reception on March 10 for fifty years service. I just got my invitation and boy, I wish I could go. I recognize a lot of names, many of whom I hired, but as time goes on, there are fewer and fewer. I no longer know those who were hired ten or fewer years ago because I retired 13 years ago. That gives me a funny feeling, not entirely enjoyable.
But back to Kathy Burd: She had relatives in Poland, many desperately poor. Years ago--20 or so--some of them painted and sold Easter eggs in the traditional Slavic manner. Kathy showed us at Rider and many bought them. I did several years running and have always liked the way they look in a basket with "grass." I went out and bought the grass and arranged them in a basket for my kitchen table. See below for pictures.
Took a quick trip to the post office and the library. Made the black bean soup I've been wanting to try; I'm firmly convinced beans, in particular black ones, which are loaded with fiber, are good for your innards. Besides, I like them. Incidentally, I bought two green zucchini the other day, mistaking them for cucumbers! Joke was on me, but I made zucchini casserole with them, so no harm done. Had the two concoctions for dinner and they were very tasty.

Kitchen Set

Sunday turned out very fun. Did the usual in the morning, then Ellen called. She said she wanted to go to a real estate open house in Riverview, where she lives, to kind of check out the competition, so she asked if I'd bop over there first instead of her coming here. But of course, and I got there at 11:00.
I thought the house was very nice, but it didn't have many of the features hers does and didn't seem as large. She was heartened by the price (this is southern California, so it's listed at an arm and a leg, and every drop of blood in the buyer's body), as she thinks she can get at least as much for her place.
We went to Subway for lunch, then I remembered that on Saturday, I had seen a small kitchen set--table and four chairs--at Goodwill Considering that it was very attractive, just a plain, rectangular wooden table, which is what I wanted, I thought it would fit perfectly in my tiny eating area. It was in excellent condition and included four matching chairs (which I didn't need and see later). Incredibly, the price tag read $24.99.
So after lunch, I asked El if she'd go back with me and take a look. We did and I saw it was now featured in the front of the large store--no wonder, it's really a terrific buy. To my amazement, the price sticker had been changed, and it now said $49.99. Of course, we slunk away after that...
NOT! I complained to some of the workers, then to the floor manager, then the assistant manager, furiously angry that they'd double the price over night. In fact, it was well worth fifty bucks, but would Miss Cheaparita dream of paying that price?
Long story short: They backed down and I got it at $24.99. They even took the legs off for me and El was able to get three of the chairs and the table legs in the back seat of her car and the top of the table partly into her trunk. We rode carefully back to her place, I got my car and went back to get the fourth chair. Went directly to my apartment, El put the legs back on, we moved the inappropriate-for-eating antique mahogany table across the room, set the new up and it looks terrific. Gives me so much more room and is much more in keeping with the rest of the decor.
After that, we drove off to Ojai and looked at several large and beautiful mobile homes. At first glance, the prices seem so reasonable compared to regular houses here: from the hundred eighties or so to the middle two hundreds. The kicker is space rent, which in Ojai ranged from $900 to $1000 a month! AND--unlike mortgage interest, you can't take it off your income tax.
We were out until almost 5:00, then said goodbye (El had to finish her report cards) and I went to WinCo for this and that. When I got home, I switched out the chairs that had come with my spectacular buy, substituting the Swedish modern chairs I bought years ago at the Workbench in Princeton. I like them better and they look great with the table. I'll put the others on Craig's List and if they don't sell--well, I'll donate them back to a thrift store.
I had been wakeful the night before last and I blame that on sitting too much of the day at the computer. Yesterday, we had walked here and there, in and out of the car, up and down stairs, and I had no such problem; slept soundly last night.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tax Return and Cauliflower

Well, I've been kicking up my heels the last week or so and yesterday, I had to pay the piper. (Nothing like two hoary cliches to start a blog entry.) I spent the earlier part of the day on financial matters--paying bills and so on. My method combines up-to-date on-line banking with the old "mark it on the paper calendar" ploy; what I actually do is too boring to record, but it works for me.
I also started my e-mail to the Santa Paula Theatre Company, to which I'll submit my three plays shortly. I re-read them and saw I needed to revise a bit more. Will do, and hope to get them off at least by Monday.
I continue my lifetime (somehow it followed me west) of going through things and came across a box of stamps from Singapore, Japan, and other countries. I had saved them when I got letters from my sons, thinking my great-grandsons might be interested, but I just forgot to ask them and I doubt if they would. Anyway, I hated to throw them out, so put them on Craig's list for free.
Not five minutes after I pressed "publish," I got a call from a guy in Oxnard, saying he'd like to have them. He said he'd pick them up here, but I wanted to meet at a public place and suggested the Bank of America main office, near me and not far from him. We met, I gave him the stamps, and he was so appreciative. He said he and his children put them in books and that they talk about the countries they come from. He was clearly of Mexican extraction and I was very impressed by what he said. He also invited me to meet him and his family at the Church of Christ, a nondenominational congregation (of which there seem to be many around here) for services today. Well, that ain't gonna happen, but I liked the fact he invited me.
Called El after to see if I could search my boxes in her garage for my 2014 tax return. She was filling out report cards--an enormous job, considering each includes a huge number of evaluations. (I told her at St. James, we got marked for academics and "deportment." The latter was all there was for personal characteristics.)
She opened the garage, I looked a bit, but didn't find the return. I did ask El to carry to my car some boxes I'll go through and soon --I hope--deal with a lot more stuff. She asked if I wanted to go to Ojai today to see some mobile homes she was looking at, and of course, I said I would. Niece Carolyn had said she'd come over "on the weekend," but I haven't heard from her yet and may have to postpone her visit (and the chair removal). We'll see.
Finally roasted the cauliflower, which took more than an hour and, frankly, wasn't that good. I ate the whole thing for dinner (it was small), but doubt if I'll go to that much trouble again.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nancy Lunch

Another pleasant day. I met Nancy at 1:00 at the Macaroni Grille (right across Telephone Road from me, about a quarter mile), where we've been before. We both had pasta verde, she a glass of white wine, I a Blue Moon. Had good conversation, too, of course. I invited Nancy to the BCNN coffee on Wednesday, which she may or may not attend (I'll go either way). Also mentioned the Ventura Senior Center lunch and she'll definitely meet me there next week.
After, she came to my place to see my A.C. pics and liked them very much. We then sat in my spiffy living room (okay, one side of the room looks good, the other is a work in progress) and continued our talk, confiding in each other with trust, as friends do. Nancy had been hurt by her stepson and his wife and told me about it. We also talked about the pain in the rear dealing with medical stuff. She's been having problems with Humana--the same drug insurance I have--paying for her infusions for anemia and what a drag, as I well know. She stayed about an hour, then I walked her out to her car to direct her how to get on the 110 back to Oak View.
I was pleased to have niece Carolyn tell me on Facebook that she (they) can come over the weekend, presumably to get the chair I'm giving her--good! I have a few more plans for moving furniture around that I want to put into practice soon.
Had my leftover curry from yesterday for dinner, which means I have leftover pasta from dinner yesterday for lunch today. I also bought a cauliflower Wednesday, meaning to roast it, as I had seen on FB. Then Ellen called, so I put it in the fridge. Will pair it with the pasta today.
Soon, at long last, February will be over and I'll be released from my self-imposed "eating down" regime. Cam't wait to stir-fry up from fresh hamburger, onions, and garlic!

Friday, February 26, 2016

A.C. Pictures

As promised, Ryan, the art hanger guy, came at 9:00 am. When he examined the two larger pictures of A.C., he said he thought they needed new "fittings"--I think that means screws, wires, an so on--because they had been on there for some time. The smaller, vertical picture had none on at all. I guess I must have hung that one with those stick-on-and-off picture hangers. They did the job, though--it hung in my dining room for ten or so years. Also, the mirror was slightly warped at the bottom, but that didn't seem to affect it to any extent. Ryan used a different method to hang that.
Anyway, he spent more than an hour in re-fitting, measuring, drilling, and so on; I was pleased he was so meticulous. In the meantime, we chatted and what a neat guy he turned out to be. He's 36 (looks younger), is married, and has two little girls, 4 and 10. He's very tall and thin--I'd say 6' 5" at least, and if he tops 160 pounds, I'd be surprised. He was so friendly and well-spoken, it was a pleasure to talk with him.
Anyway, the pictures are up and--
You know how, sometimes, you imagine how something will look and you envision it being so great, but once it's finished, but it turns out to be a big disappointment? You forgot this or didn't count on that and it just wasn't what you thought it would be-?
But this turned out TERRIFIC! They look just the way I wanted them to and with the charcoal couch (yes, Ellen, you were right again), they're perfect; they even make the place look larger.
Speaking of El, she called while she was still grading papers at school and asked if I could do dinner. Sure thing, but first I asked her to stop in and see "the surprise." She did, loved the living room, and was glad she had urged me to take the plunge with the sofa. We then went to Jasmine Thai where I had a delicious curry that I asked not to have spicy and they complied. Really good, and I'll order it again.
Lunch at Macaroni Grille with Nancy today.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Interesting and varied day. I left for the Senior Center about 10 because Marie had suggested I pay my $3 and get my ticket early. Did so and started chatting with Barry--a big joker and Beverly, the sweet lady who works on the desk. She mentioned that she had organized a dinner group at the Jasmine Thai; this isn't formal--you just call and say you want to go, then order off the menu separately. I've been at the Jasmine Thai several times (Ellen and Greg like it) and it's a pretty small place. If a number show up, it may be hard to seat them, but I'll chance it.
Marie came in shortly and so did Barbara, both of whom I like a lot. Marie and I sat together and were joined by Barry, Ron, and Chuck. Naturally, there are many more women then men (demographically invariable, I guess), but we lucked out with these three guys. They are all close to my age, if not quite up as far as I am, college-educated and intelligent, and we had some good talk and laughs. Lunch was good, too, entree was beef and gravy over rice, plus veggies, and of course, salad, bread and butter, iced tea, and dessert. (I'm compulsive--I have to list the food!)
I mentioned that I'm going to submit a proposal to teach "Acting for Elders" (or "...for Everyone" or "...for Amateurs"--haven't' decided). They were interested, although I'm not sure if the guys would join. We'll see if Hans, director of the center, will even accept my proposal first.
When I left, I went to the library branch that's just a block away. Picked up a book on twins who were separated very young, then reunited later in life. (Although I have four books at home I haven't read yet, plus more in my Kindle, plus the Kissinger audio, I just couldn't resist). On this beautiful sunny day, I then drove into town and went to a few shops and an antique store, where I had looked before at a table I like; can't decide to buy it or get new. I then walked down a side street and saw a funky little curio shop. Went in to look and started talking to Laurie, the woman who works there. We fell into a great conversation and I was there for about 45 minutes. She mentioned she was going to be sixty soon and I was stunned. Of course, everybody looks young to me at this stage of the game, but she's a pretty blonde and looks a lot younger. She said she had sold her large house and bought a small cottage overlooking Ventura. She loves it there. Something that really fascinated me, is the story she told of when she was in college. She enrolled in an acting class and her "partner"--they had to pair up--was Gene Hackman's son. They became friendly and later, Gene Hackman himself coached her in acting--wow!
After that, I drove to the thrift store near Ellen's, thinking I'd take a look. Oh, good, the sign said 50 % off, but I went in and it didn't start until 5:00. Went next door to Ralph's for lettuce and grapes, then back to Goodwill at 5:00 and picked up few things.
I probably spent more in gas going there twice than I saved, especially since what I bought had a purple ticket--which meant it was only 25 percent off! But it's a game; I don't really care (much) about the money. Walked out of there in high spirits. It was February, flowers were blooming all over town, I was in the middle of lots of social activities, and I was happy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I have no idea why, but after I put book titles in italics, it applied them to the last several lines of the following entry. In trying to get rid of them, I seem to have somehow applied them to the entire blog and I can't get them off--AAGH!

Plays and Lungs

Spent a lot of time on revisions to plays I want to submit to the Santa Paula Company. I was hard put to decide which ones--they accept only three--but have decided on Imposter, with the twist at the end; A Conversation in April, the mood piece; and the rhyming couplet comedy, Hell On Wheels. I still have a little to modify.
Sent off electronically my application for the Council on Seniors. Looked up and called several tax accountants to get an idea of their fees. Only heard back from one, but no matter, as see below.
Called Ryan, the art hanger, and told him I had forgotten about the third A.C. picture (true) and asked if he'd add it to the two large ones and the mirror, still for $180. He agreed and he'll come tomorrow to do the job.
Had a big salad for lunch, then showered and dressed for my appointments. The fact that the x-ray and the pulmonologist's office are in the same building is convenient. Actually, so is the colonoscopy doctor's office.
Got the x-ray, which was immediately sent (electronically, of course) to Dr. A. I saw him right after and finally asked--I hadn't thought of it before--why he wanted another x-ray, as the first had shown just a hiatal hernia. He said he had seen a kind of "smudge" on the lower part of the left lung. He was quite sure it was nothing to worry about, but he wanted another look at it. He said if it proved to be suspicious, he'd order a MRI. However, he said he wanted a radiologist to look at it, which I thought would necessitate another visit somewhere, but it didn't. He took me into his office, put the x-ray on the screen, and just picked up the phone and called a radiologist in the same building. The latter looked, assured both Dr. A. and me it was nothing, and that was that. Whew--good!
Stopped at the library and picked up three more books. I'm into Love in the Time of Cholera, but I want to switch off to non-fiction (and I've already got Kissinger--ugh!--in the car), so I picked up My Years in in>Service, Kitty Genovese, and True Tales of Hollywood, thereby feeding my addiction to British society, murder, and movies.
I was getting my mail when Michelle, whom I know from Golden Girls, came up and we chatted. She mentioned she was busy with tax returns and then I remembered she did them and hey, will you take a stab at mine? She agreed, of course, and gave me her e-mail address. I wrote her, she wrote back, and we made a date for a week from today at noon.
Going to the Center today for the three dollar lunch--whee!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I was smugly pleased with myself yesterday. I've again been getting up close to my former Jersey time: not at 5:16, but about 6:00 and that suits me. After computer stuff and my initial coffee (and the crossword puzzles), I didn't laze around. I took a wash to the laundry place, came home to eat breakfast, went back to put it in the dryer, then worked on a slight revision to my A Conversation in Summer. I've decided it should take place in April and will change the title to either "...In The Spring" or "...In April," although neither scans as well.
Went back to retrieve and fold my dry clothes, put them away, then went to WinCo for a few items. I looked longingly at some of the hamburger and other meat, but no, I'm determined to empty the freezer and whatever else, so I didn't buy. Got ready to meet my new acquaintance, Marie M., for our movie date.
The showing was at 1:55 and we got there at almost the same time. Oddly, though, I didn't recognize Marie. I had seen her only once, at lunch at the center last week, and I had an entirely different idea of what she actually looks like. However, she greeted me and we soon went into the theatre.
Race was pretty good, but uneven, it seemed to me. I never read reviews of movies I want to see before I see them (don't want to be influenced one way or the other), but I do after. The Time reviewer noted its lack of energy (especially in the first half, it seems to me) and also--something I greatly dislike--its twisting of truth when it glosses over unpleasant facts about Olympic chair Avery Brundage and Leni Riefenstahl. It was okay, though, and a nice way to pass a Monday afternoon.
We stopped into nearby Durgan's Irish Pub after and got to know each other better. Marie, a native Californian, is 72 and identifies herself a pantheist; that's more agreeable to me than a conventional religionist. She has been a dancer since she was a child and still dances as a member of several square dance groups in the area. I was surprised and interested to hear she had been diagnosed with tuberculosis when she was two years old and had been confined to a crib in a sanitarian until she was seven. She said she had to re-learn to walk when she was released--what a dismal story! She was divorced twice and has five each of children and grandchildren.
Marie lives right downtown in a small studio apartment. She's a walker--says she walks six miles a day, which, with the dancing probably shaped her slender figure.
Anyway, we hit it off well. She has lunch at the Center every day and I said I'd come tomorrow, as I have a chest x-ray and pulmonologist appointment this afternoon.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Another self-indulgent Sunday morning--but am I ashamed of it? Hell, no. After being on the computer, I made my usual breakfast, then settled in with another cup of coffee and the Ventura Star's Newsweek crossword puzzle. Just as I had in Jersey, I find the everyday puzzle too easy, the NYTimes one often too difficult, but like Baby Bear, Newsweek is just right.
I was happy to be interrupted by a welcome call from Larry, my Florida brother. We had a good long talk, filling each other in on our balance problems and other, happier news. Larry is a cheery, optimistic guy and I hated to hear him tell me his Helen seems to be experiencing further dementia. Boy, they've had a long, long marriage and have always been one of the most loving couples I know, so this is tough.
Finished the puzzle after, then decided to look again for a sofa table and possibly a floor lamp for the other side of the room. Went to a few places at the mall, and got some ideas, but the stores were so jammed--why do I go shopping on Sundays?--that I fled the place before long.
I'm glad I did because I got a call from my friend in New Mexico. She had designed a headboard and her husband made it with wood taken from a pallet (or "skid") they had picked up at no cost. She sent me a picture of it and boy, does the bedroom look nice. The new headboard is made of weathered slats from the pallet, different colors evident in subtle shades. Some are in the beige to darker brown spectrum, some are close to red, and some are yellow. They're all in earth tones as are the bedclothes and drapes. It looks great in that milieu because it reflects the colors of much of the land.
Later, I drove over to West Ventura and stopped in a few places, then went home to a mediocre frozen dinner. Can't wait until I clear out the freezer and cupboard!

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Greg was called into work yesterday, so the engaged couple couldn't look at real estate in Ojai, as they had planned. Ellen called to see if I could go with her to a nearby complex, instead; she was interested in two possibilities there. Sure, I could, and she said she'd be over in the afternoon. I spent the morning vacuuming, dusting, moving furniture here and there, and generally tidying up, more or less "staging" the place for the first time El saw my new sofa.
Betty called to say she was going to list some things for sale on line and she wanted to know what contact moniker she should use. Why in the world she couldn't just come up with something herself I don't know, as a username is surely the least important thing about selling. I told her I use "mimiisselling," and she immediately said she'd use "bobbiisselling" (Mimi and Bobbi were our babyhood nicknames.) I told her about meeting my hitherto mysterious neighbor and mentioned she looks about thirty. Betty expressed surprise, as she thought I lived in an over-55 community; I can't imagine where she got that idea.
El called to ask if I'd come to her place first, as the properties were closer to her. Sure, and I did.
We went to "Stardust," a name that just tickles me--I'd move there in a heartbeat for that alone. It's a mobile home complex, but of course, the prices invariably run gst more than what I paid for my fair-sized house in Little Egg. The kicker (right in the rear) is that owners are also obliged to pay "space rent," which varies from three-hundred plus a month to six and more. Of course, this is in addition to a mortgage, utilities, taxes, fees, and any other items that can be thought up to separate homeowners from their money. I must say, it's very nicely kept: clean and scrubbed looking and just about every home has nicely-maintained shrubbery and flowers.
The first one we had seen before and oh, boy, it's a dream. It's brand new, with an enormous and beautiful kitchen, with up-to-date appliances, granite counter tops, a breakfast bar, and more. There's a large living room, three bedrooms, two baths, a good-sized laundry room, good storage inside, and an outdoor--well, I guess you'd call it a "shed," but a large and well-made new one. I love the way it's laid out, as the master suite is on one side of the living area, and the two guest rooms on the other. Of course, it's about what I would expect to pay for a villa on the Riviera, but El said she can afford it if she sells her condo for a reasonable price. Ellen asked the agent about a contingency clause and they discussed that.
We then saw another in the same park. This was built in 2007, practically last week, but El considers it elderly and wasn't enthusiastic about it. I thought it was a steal for the price. It has vaulted ceilings, a large and beautiful fireplace, and a kitchen even larger than the first. It does need a bit of updating, but is livable just as is. An outrageous twist--this is California, folks--is that, although the cost in considerably lower for this than the first place, the space rent is a more than a hundred a month higher. It's nine years older, so how can this be? Because with each subsequent sale, owners are allowed to raise it by certain increments, and this was sold to the present owner three years ago. Anyway, El still hasn't yet put her place up for sale, so all of this is moot right now.
It was after 4:00 when we finished and we went back to El's to get my car and drove separately to my place. El likes my couch a lot and we sat on it and chatted for a bit before saying goodbye. Still following the eating down project, I had another somewhat odd dinner: Rice-A-Roni and red grapes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Neighbor, Theatre, and Jim

Lots going on, and all pretty good.
For openers, I got to meet my neighbor--yes, the one who's been gone since I moved to this apartment. For some reason, I had envisioned a little old lady in an apron--something like my Aunt Maggie, but not as sweet. Nope. Laurie looks to be no more than thirty, and is very pleasant and friendly. She had been gone, unfortunately, because her mother died (in San Antonio) and I guess she had to settle the estate. A FedEx guy was bringing box after box for her as we talked and it almost filled up the area between our front doors. Laurie said she had a storage place, too--never a good idea in this situation, if you ask me--but hey, not my call.
We chatted for just a few minutes, then I went off to switch my laundry from wash to dry. I had stopped into the office earlier to 1. thank them for the prompt response to my faucet and door stop requests the other day and 2. tell them the laundry room was pretty messy. It looked as if a washer had leaked and there were lint clumps or something on the floor. I was pleased when I went back that it was already cleaned up.
Put my clothes away, had lunch, then went to the library. Picked up a few books and talked to the librarian for a time. I stopped at Target and another place to look at end tables. So far, I haven't found exactly what I want.
Ellen was going to come over this morning to see my sofa and also, to go to the bank with me so she could co-sign for my safe deposit bank. I figured it would save time for me to go yesterday afternoon, get it set up, then just have El come in with me and sign. I had a box for years at home, and I thought I should here. Waited for a good 45 minutes to see somebody--I should have realized Friday is busy--and when I finally did, it took another fifteen, at least, to get me all documented and certified or whatever they do. Here's the kicker: When I saw the sizes they had, and the fees, it occurred to me I didn't really need such a thing. All my important documents were already in my brief case and there are only a few other items I usually kept there. The paperwork was certainly on file at Chase (mortgage) and all the other places with which I had business, so why bother? No need, I decided, and thanked the bank officer. Called El when I got home and told her I wasn't going to get the box after all (she agreed it wasn't necessary). She and Greg are going with the R.E. agent to look at some places in Ojai today and we'll get together tomorrow when Greg is working.
And there's welcome news on the artistic front: I discovered that the Santa Paula Theatre Company is accepting one-act plays until March 15 for their "Black Box/Backstage" production, which opens in May. Will I submit? Better believe I will and let's hope one of mine might be picked.
Got a birthday call--his, not mine--from my dear brother, Jim. Yesterday was his ninetieth and I had put a partly-joshing tribute to him on Facebook, along with a picture of his and Thereses' wedding. They were married one week after Pat and I were and of course, we attended each other's. He walked me down the aisle at mine, given that my father had been killed when I was 13. I wished him ninety more and I hope that comes to pass.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Where To Invade Next

Went to Camarillo to see Where To Invade Next and put my review on Facebook: "Conservatives will hate it ("taxes'll go up by 50 percent!"); quasi-liberals will love it ("that's just what Bernie says!"); pacifists will be disappointed ("he barely touched on militarism!"); and the general public will ignore it. As for me, I thought it was worth seeing. Yes, Moore's garb--his shtick--gets old, but that's a minor item. He introduces things that need to be examined and you get to see some gorgeous countries and interesting people. Flawed? Sure, but it gets you thinking--or it ought to."
Of course, he didn't go into any depth--couldn't, considering the countries he explored. Aside from Tunisia in North Africa, he sticks to Europe, possibly thinking Americans couldn't "relate" as well to Asians or other ethnic groups--a telling idea, it seems to me.
It's plenty flawed, partly because he strays away from his main thesis into slavery here, the Holocaust in Germany there, and anti-feminism here and there. To illustrate, he mixes law, tradition, history, culture, and anything else he can throw at complicated subjects to see if they stick. Yet for what he was aiming at, it's not bad. Other countries--almost all the "developed" ones--have universal health care and many have free education. In addition, other penal systems are light years away from our dismal belief in incarcerating for minor infractions and what often seems cruel and unusual punishment. In particular, the Norwegian method is startling: They believe in rehabilitation (which seems to have been rejected in the U.S. years ago) rather than revenge.
Anyway, all in all, I'm glad I saw it.
Ellen called last night and will come over tomorrow to accompany me to the bank. I've been meaning to open a safe deposit box since I got here and I asked her to co-sign so, if I kick off all of a sudden, there won't be any legal hassles to get into it. She has an appointment after with her real estate agent to see some places in Ojai.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Senior Gatherings

I attended the Ventura Council for Seniors meeting at 9:30 and found it mildly interesting. A woman named Suze Montgomery chairs it; my widder dinner friend, Barbara, had mentioned the other night she's a friend of hers. Suze said that senior citizens make up 27% of Ventura's population. That's quite a large percentage and there are a plethora of organizations, county, state, and private on or for seniors. Sometimes officials are tone-deaf to their needs, though. The speaker was a guy from the fire department who talked about a program on how to help yourself in case of an earthquake. This is a six meeting course open to all and those who successfully complete it go through a "graduation" and are given a backpack with various supplies. There was quite a bit a enthusiasm for it until the man blandly announced that it meets at the county services building from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Don't these people know that older people can't, or find it difficult to, drive at night? The only place I'll drive at night is to Ellen's or Yolanda's because the routes are straightforward and I know them perfectly. Anyway, Suze asked if the department might consider having one for senior citizens during the day; guy will check and get back to her. The meeting broke up a little before 11:00 and I decided that, instead of driving right home, I'd go to the senior center for their regular lunch.
Now this was worth doing, pricey though it is, so I paid my three bucks (heh, heh). I started talking to a woman named Barbara, who turned out to be a frequent visitor. She invited me to sit with her and we were joined by Betty (who looked to be about my brother, Jim's age--ninety), Holly, and Marie, both of whom looked younger than senior age to me. We started chatting and I found out the Barbara lives right next to the park on Poli Street, where I often stop to drink in the view. Holly crochets little animals, some of which she had with her--the kitty is really cute--and was very congenial. Marie is a movie buff and we have many of the same favorites, such as Chinatown, Fargo, The Godfather I and II, and others. She said she often goes to the theatre in town and that certain showings are only five bucks for seniors. We decided to get together some time and exchanged e-mail addresses. The food, as ever, was good; salad, iced tea, and a main course of beef and broccoli on rice, with mixed veggies; peaches on yogurt for dessert.
Marie said she had lived all her life in L.A. and Betty suddenly came to life, saying she had, too. Her father was a dentist and they lived near--Wiltshire Boulevard? Hollywood and Vine? Can't recall, but I recognized it was a famous area. Loved to hear them talk about the City of the Angels in the olden days.
When I got home, Marie had already e-mailed me just to remind me we had met at lunch. I wrote her back, suggesting we get together, maybe for lunch and a movie. Speaking of movies, today I want to see Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next, playing in Camarillo about 10 miles away. Hope I can get there all right.


It was a day of welcome arrivals--not people, but things.
Now that I'm getting serious about decorating the place, I was thrilled to get the sofa (delivered smoothly about 11:00) and it looks good. I had thought I'd flank it with the two end tables from my bedroom and put my antique side table in the bedroom, but that definitely won't work. The bedroom tables are in a vaguely English Victorian style, dainty and with curved legs and so on. They don't go at all with the coach, which I guess is modern, but not the dreary cubist kind. What's more, the sofa is 37.5" deep and the tables are much too small. In addition, my grandmother's antique side table looks nice by my bed, but it has no drawers and I need one for various items. I'll look for other end tables for the sofa and maybe sell or donate the others.
Stopped at the office and talked to manager Janel. I asked if one of the guys could look at my kitchen faucet, which was getting harder and harder to turn from one side of the double sink to the other. Also asked if I could have a door stop for the bathroom door, which opens into what I laughingly call "the hall" (about three feet by three feet between the bath and the bedroom). We discussed the large picture hangings I hope to have up soon and she assured me that, unless the wall gets badly damaged, it would probably be fairly easy to re-do (read "inexpensive," which is all I was thinking about) should I move.
Drove into town, meaning to go to the library, but decided not. Saw an antique store and stopped in. I chatted with the woman and asked if she could recommend an appraiser--I still have my mahogany table on my mind. She took my name and said she'd have the appraiser call me, but when I walked out, I remembered Ellen had said she'd like the table for when she sells her house and gets a new place. I had asked if I could store it in her garage if I got rid of some of my boxes, and she agreed. Must work on that.
Got home and was pleased to find a big box at my door containing the shoji screen I had ordered. Before I got it inside, Israel, the maintenance guy came. He put the new doorstop in, then examined the faucet and said I needed a new one, which he promptly got and installed. Hey, good things going on!
It was easy to get the screen out of the box and I set it up immediately in my bedroom in front of the horrible vertical blinds. I was delighted that, just as I thought, I can keep the blinds open and sunlight in the room, but retain privacy, too.
Speaking of sunlight, it was surely close to ninety yesterday, but not humid, just delightful. It's supposed to cool off today--we'll see.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sofa and Dinner

I bought myself a sofa!
It's the one I went back to look at several times. This is charcoal gray, so maybe a bit darker than ideal, but as Ellen pointed out, when I get the big Atlantic City photos hung, they'll harmonize with it nicely. I was pleased to discover, incidentally, that Sofas, Etc. is privately owned. Somehow, I like that better than a huge, 700-store conglomerate.
I had dealt all along with Sharon Somebody, but she was off yesterday. I asked Gabrielle, the young woman who wrote up the sale, if she and Sharon could split the commission, but she was perfectly fine with Sharon getting it. I must remember, once the sofa comes and is satisfactory, to comment favorably on the store via Yelp.
I was told the guy who delivers the furniture (for $65, as they contract it out) was getting some kind of medical procedure and wouldn't be able to deliver until the 23rd. That was okay with me--after all, I haven't had a sofa for seven months--but the guy called a few hours later and said he could deliver it today. All the better.
I then called Ryan Somebody, whose business is art work and told him what I wanted. We haggled a bit over his fee (300 smackers? No way!) and agreed to $180 for the A.C. pics and a fair-sized mirror. But darn, I forgot about the three-panel pic--I'll call and try to persuade him to include that for the original amount.
Went into town to drop some books at the library, then stopped into a few stores. I didn't sleep well Sunday into Monday and I think that's because I spent too much time immobile at the computer and not enough walking and other exercise. (Maybe a valid assumption, as I slept well last night.)
Got home to shower and prepare for the widder dinner--which almost, but not quite, rhymes, something I have a tiresome habit of noticing. I was very early, but so was Gayle, the only one in the group I dislike. She's a self-absorbed, motormouth talker, supremely confident that everyone wants to know all the boring details of her life. No wonder hubby kicked off.
Soon, others came, too, including my pal, Nancy, so there were about twelve of us. I gave Pam (whose four-month anniversary of her husband's death it was; I hadn't realized it was so recent) and her fiancee, Chuck (whose loss is pretty recent, too) the letter I had intended to e-mail them except I lost her e-address. It contained suggestions about getting into acting. Will they? Hmm...I've been asked to do this before, several times, but to my knowledge, the asker never followed through. I might refer the reader to my entry of January 19 for the Mozart story.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Condo and a Couch

Spent the morning and early afternoon describing and listing sale items on CraigsList. Ellen called about 2:00--Greg was working--and asked if I wanted to come over to help her out a bit. She had already done a thorough job of cleaning a lot of the upstairs, including the bathrooms, but I helped her move a tall (and heavy) chest from her bedroom into the guest room. That sweet girl then presented me with flowers and a beautiful card for Valentine's day. After that, we went to see a condo for sale not far from where I live, just to get a feel for what's out there.
This is a nice set up. It's in a gated community (you have to punch in a code to drive through the gate) and it's the end unit on one floor, with two bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage. The place itself is somewhat dated, and the bedrooms aren't large, but with some re-doing, it would be very nice.
Unfortunately, the asking price isn't. It's astronomical in itself, and the maintenance fee is almost four hundred a month. I remarked to the real estate guy that my fee in Little Egg has been $120 for thirteen years--and it includes snow removal. Yes, he said, but isn't that why you're here--to escape snow, cold, blustery winds? We laughed and agreed it was so, then stepped out into the 84 degree sunshine.
We had taken two cars and met at Green Thumb nursery, where El bought impatiens to plant, plus a pickax Greg had requested, so he can get a stubborn jasmine vine out. It was after 4:00 by then and we parted.
I've decided to buy the couch I've been looking at for weeks and will do that today. Called niece Carolyn to ask if she still wanted the easy chair I dislike and that's too big for the living room. Happily, she does, and that will free up space for when the couch takes over.
Following my "eating down" routine, I had an odd--but to me, perfectly normal--dinner of two vegetarian burgers and a full can of peas. Tasty.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Antiques and Related Stuff

I didn't plan it that way, but it turned out to be an all antique-y, things for sale, Craig's List day.
Ellen called in the morning and said she and Greg planned to start cleaning her house, preparing for its sale. She may want my help today--otherwise, we can probably do something fun together. I told her either one is fine by me.
I suddenly decided to finally unpack the three large picture containers that have been sitting unopened against the bedroom wall for three months. Before that, they were sitting unopened in my other apartment for four months. I didn't even remember what was in them, but discovered the two original paintings by my Uncle Frank, plus the two large pictures I got in Virginia years ago, plus the large picture I bought from Betty's neighbor's estate sale about twenty years ago. I really like all of these and if I ever get around to finding somebody to hang them and the large Atlantic City ones, I'll be happy.
I had to take three trips to the trash enclosure with the cardboard and other wrappings, but I did it. On a roll, I then went into one of the many boxes of pictures--these were framed--I still have. Retained some and took others out of the frames; put the frames in the donate box.
After switching out my jewelry, as noted before, I remembered I wanted to offer my original oriental jewelry chest on Craig's List. Took a picture of it closed, then with the drawers opened and few pieces artistically arranged. Decided on a price, wrote out a blurb, and put it on the list. I renewed my offering of the antique table--still no takers.
I wanted to get out then, so took a drive into town. I suddenly saw an antique/collectibles shop on a corner and turned in, as I had picture of my table in the car. Geez, that place was jammed to the rafters with artifacts of every type imaginable. However, they don't handle furniture, said the very pleasant and accommodating proprietor, but he suggested I go to Antiques Adventures, a collection of dealers, and he ever drew me a little map on how to get there.
It was no problem,as it's right off Victoria Road, with which I'm familiar. However, the man there said they don't buy furniture, but have it shipped in from--Ohio? Well, somewhere, for some reason. So I left, but when I got home, my eye fell on my Rider memorabilia.
Now this I need like a hole in the head, but I used to collect it and I have quite a lot, ranging from a 1912 tuition bill to postcards from the thirties to a program for the dedication of the new School of Business in 1988. I took pictures of the items, then spent several hours describing each piece. Will put them on Craig's List sometime or other, but I also want to list them on various Facebook flea market pages. I'll also try getting the info on Rider's FB page--that may fly, but probably not.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hazelnut and Dan

Did a lot of mundane house work and paper work--there seems to be no end to it. Later, I went to WinCo. I'm continuing the Diana Challenge of "eating down" the cupboard--or whatever--but I needed detergent and stuff. I knew WinCo had a bulk foods area, but had never ventured near it. This time, I did, and dished myself up some prunes to snack on at night. Then I saw the coffee section and decided to treat myself to hazelnut. Arranged the bag underneath, pulled the lever, and a pound of coffee beans came out. There was a grinder, but I didn't know how to use it until one of the very pleasant and courteous employees showed me how. Just to top off my self-indulgent spree, I bought myself a small container of heavy cream. That, to me, made for the most decadent and delicious morning treat ever, which I'm drinking right now--yum!
Drove to town, thinking I'd return some books at the library, but decided I didn't feel like getting out of the car, so I just enjoyed the drive. Stopped near the park to call Ellen. I had texted her about the medical miracle (my restored hearing), but hadn't heard back. At a bit after 4:00, she was still at school, but we chatted. I asked if she wanted to go with me over the weekend to Michael Moore's Where To Invade Nexta. She'd like to see it, but plans to spend today getting her house in shape to sell and tomorrow Greg is off, so they'll do something together. I offered to help clean and she may or may not take me up on it.
I had thought the closest place to see the movie is Santa Barbara, but found it's also showing in Camarillo, which is less than 9 miles from me. Plus, there are matinees not only on Saturday and Sunday, but all next week, so I can go by myself then.
Got a call from Dan G., husband of Annie, to ask if he could come for the silver set after work. Sure, I said, and he did. From talking to his wife (Annie) and him on the phone, I had the impression they were about my age, but they're considerably younger, I'd say early sixties. He teaches in L.A.--special ed--and lives in Ojai; that's a 140-mile daily commute--geez! Anyway, I invited him to sit down and he stayed for a half hour or so and we talked. Interestingly, his son is also married to a Japanese woman, for whom the son is trying to get citizenship. They have another son--who did his junior year abroad in Singapore, another coincidence--and a daughter. Before he left, he said he still had my number and maybe he and Annie and I could get together some time. Hmm...
When Annie first called asking about the silver set I had on CraigList, I liked the fact that she was articulate and clearly well-educated. I actually thought she might be an interesting friend to have and wondered if I it would sound too pushy--or needy--to approach her about it. Incidentally, she has MS and is in a wheelchair, but with Dan, she probably could meet for lunch or something. It's Dan I have some trepidation about. (Oh, I know it's "about whom I have some...," but that sounds so stilted.) He said he's had "several careers," the first in the military (ouch); not sure about the others before he got to the classroom. The problem is, somehow he came across as one of those annoying Man is King, Woman His Handmaiden, types and not very introspective, either.
Oh well, maybe I'm misjudging him, and I would like to get to know Annie, so if they call, I'll respond.

Friday, February 12, 2016

All Around Town

Went to my 11:00 appointment and got my ears dredged. Doc looked in both and said the right one was blocked, too. Gawd, that's the one I thought I could hear with. He didn't do the job, a nurse did. She said she had done it hundreds of times and I'm sure that was true. She was very efficient, but I won't describe the procedure, as I HATE like poison anybody sticking things in my ear. It took a good fifteen minutes on each side, but the result is--
--I CAN HEAR! Wow, what a difference; not only can I hear, but I can hear out of both ears. Also asked the nurse if she would order my medication from Humana. Darn, no, because the original Rx was from my doctor in Jersey. However, she told me to call Humana and give the fax number for Primary Medical and they'll take care of it. I did and they will.
The gastrointestinal doctor had sent me a form for another blood test. I have a follow-up with him on March 18, so I had plenty of time, but thought I might swing over to Quest to see if I had to fast. No, I didn't, and what was better, they accept walk-ins on Thursdays and said it would be a wait of only about fifteen. Got it drawn, thanked the drawer, and was on my way.
Betty called to ask me to provide her with questions to ask eighth-graders at Star-of-the-Sea who are up for scholarships at Holy Spirit. She's on a three-person committee that talks to the kids before the principal decides, I guess. This isn't rocket science and I gave her several that struck me as obvious.
I called my friend in New Mexico (yesterday was her Dad's birthday) and caught her at the library. She asked if she could call me back when she got outside, and did. She said she was walking home and I was surprised that she became somewhat out of breath (but could still talk), considering she's a runner, hiker, and all around vigorous person. She told me it was uphill, which explained the puzzle.
Got an e-mail back from my long time colleague at Rider, Dave Perry. I'll wait a few days and respond.
I've decided to sell my jewel box. It's a large, oriental style chest, which I've had about forty years. However, it's big and heavy and I really don't have a place to put it in the bedroom. I had been given a smaller one (with music) for my twenty-five years at Rider and that fits on the lower shelf of my bedside table. I started transferring jewelry, then realized that, even though I separated out some for the thrift store, there wasn't quite enough room for what I wanted to keep. After lunch I drove to the Coalition Thrift Store in town (larger and better than Goodwill where I usually go) and picked up an auxiliary jewel box for four bucks. It's just right to hold the overflow and is actually very attractive with a dark brown cloth covering embroidered with birds and flowers.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thrift Stores, Silver, and Pat

Various and sundry. Changed my bed linens, did two loads of wash, and dusted a bit. That takes a few seconds to record, but several hours to complete. I went to CVS to get the rest of my Ome--(?) medication, then to Goodwill store for their fifty percent off sale.
I'm not sure why I like to buy certain things at thrift stores. I actually can afford to buy them new, but it bugs me to pay full price for some items--drinking glasses, for instance. Now that I no longer drink wine in the evening, I drink soda, which is strange, as I was never a soda fan; I don't really like carbonated beverages. However, I drink iced tea at lunch and dinner and I wanted a change at night. But that means I use three glasses a day and not having had the foresight to bring many from Jersey, I needed to stock up. (Why, yes, she could wash some by hand, but Her Laziness doesn't feel like doing that.) So I bought four tumblers, plus two small baskets for fruit and veggies. Total cost: two dollars. (It's a kind of game, I guess.)
Betty called to tell me she had a solar panel guy come and may get them. I can't imagine deciding not to; I've had mine for years and saw my electric bill drop like a stone. The outfit Betty might use doesn't even change a leasing fee, which seems peculiar, but hey, better than the forty dollars a month I pay.
I again called Dan, the husband of the woman who said she wanted my silver set, and yes, he'll call me to say when he can come. He teaches in L.A., not sure where, and she's in a wheelchair. They sound elderly on the phone--can't imagine why they--actually, I guess, she--wants to add to their possessions.
Went to the library and got Kissinger's Shadow in book form. I've been listening to the audio version and can hardly believe the horrors this man has set into motion, which persist to this day. The blood drenching his loathsome ninety-two-year-body will pollute the River Styx when he goes and the world will be better off when he does.
Also got Stephen King's newest, plus I'm almost at the end of Johnny Carson. In addition, I have two books by and about George Carlin. Talk about your heroes--there's no justice when he left us so early and H.K. hasn't. Anyway, I have kind of a lot of reading to do.
My husband, Pat, would have been 85 today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Closets, Produce, and Aline

I kept pretty busy with closet clearing in the morning. Went through my clothes and selected several to donate. That's not so virtuous; they're ones I can no longer wear because of--well, tubbiness. I also went through some of the multitude of things I have that are office-related. I had a large study at my other house, with lots of drawers, closet space, and bookcases. I seem to have filled them with pens, pencils, tape, stickers, scissors, paper, envelopes, and enough accumulated crap to open a Staples. Put a lot in a container to donate when I go to Goodwill today.
I called the woman who had said she wanted to buy my silver. Her husband answered and said she was under the weather. I explained why I was calling and said I needed to know if she still wanted it. I took it off Craigslist, as she seemed anxious, but she hasn't called again. I'll call once more, then put it back on.
Went to WinCo for lettuce, grapes, and cottage cheese; I'm still following Diana's challenge. I found a package of rice in the cupboard and cooked that. I always get the regular kind, not instant, and it takes twenty minutes to cook. I used what was left of a good-sized package and good grief, when it was finished, it looked as if I had enough for the entire population of Beijing. I had a bowlful for dinner with butter, salt and pepper, and that's all I had. Put the rest in the fridge and will maybe combine it with the frozen shrimp I still have.
I called my friend, Aline, at my 7:30 am, her 10:30. Ordinarily, I would never call anyone that late (just as I would never call Pat R. at 7:30 am), but we had talked about this and she assured me she was up and awake until the wee hours. So I did, and we had a fine time catching up. As she does at least two weekends every month, she had traveled to Manhattan a number of times since we were last in touch, often to attend an opera. We had planned for me to go with her some time, but never did that. I miss her and my friend, Marge--the two of them especially, but maybe not as much as I used to. Those conflicting adages come to mind: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," as opposed to "out of sight, out of mind."

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Lunch with Carolyn

Got a call in the morning from a woman in Ojai interested in the tableware set I had advertised on CraigsList. Her husband teaches in at UCLA and could stop here to pick them up (and pay me) on his way home. I couldn't accommodate yesterday for the reason below, but said he could come today. (I wish somebody would fall for the antique table.)
Had a neat time with my niece, Carolyn. I drove to her house in Santa Barbara and, after she took care of some necessary business on the phone (she's a self-employed grant writer), off we went for lunch. I asked to go to a restaurant she, Ellen, and I had gone to a few years ago which overlooks the gorgeous beach. Well, it was 84 degree and the place was jammed. There was a 20-minute wait and we decided not to stay. Carolyn suggested the harbor and we went there. First place we went to was also jammed, but we found another great place. Sat on a side porch with great views. It was fully shaded, I'm happy to say, as the sun was fierce. Temperature? 84 degrees, but not at all humid, as it would be in Jersey. It was heavenly.
We got soup, Caesar salad, and each beer, then talked happily. It was great to catch up with her and her family's doings.
We drove back and I said goodbye, as I wanted to get on the freeway before the heavy going-home-from-work traffic. Did so with no problem.
Got home and checked my e-mail. I had a message from my tenant, Eileen, to the effect that the light fixtures on each side of the garage and on the porch were flaking and needed to be replaced. I called my old neighbor, Bill G., who's a contractor and had a nice chat with him. He said he'd buy the fixtures and install them and send me the bill. Okay, no prob.

Monday, February 08, 2016

"Awakening the Dreamer," But Not This One

Last week, I had seen in the paper information about a meeting of a "peace group" at the Ventura Library from 3 to 5 on Sunday, and I decided to attend. It's called "Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions" and I assumed it was a pacifist outfit.
It isn't, not really. I was greeted by a pleasant young woman--well, maybe in her forties--named Kristin Jensen and we chatted a bit. The meeting was in a very large room with a screen, laptop, projector setup, and chairs arranged in a circle. I was taken aback to see a man with a "Bernie 2016" tee shirt on. Talked with him for a bit and of course, he had the same old "lesser evil" thing going on. I mentioned that Sanders had said he'd continue Obama's drone murder program and this guy--Jim--said he had never heard of that program! I said it was in the NYTimes--he said I shouldn't believe everything I see in the Times. I said the information had been provided by the White House, that this isn't a secret, but he was still very skeptical; he said he didn't see it in the LATimes--talk about parochial! I asked for his e-mail address and said I'd send him the info. It's this kind of willful ignorance that makes me pretty much certain we ain't goin' nowhere when it comes to the "peace movement."
At 3:00, the meeting started. Kristin and a man who said he was a family practitioner (he may be Kristin's husband) conducted it and Kristin remarked several times she was thrilled that so many came; she had expected only six or seven. I counted 17 people, hardly a mob and that alone was telling. Even more so, I'm afraid, was that, just as at the Amnesty International letter-writing session, there surely wasn't an attendee under fifty and most were considerably older than that.
Part of the program was a video called "Awakening the Dreamer," but unfortunately, there were technical problems and it didn't get started until 3:30. Throughout the showing, it either stopped on its own, or the facilitators stopped it for various reasons. At one point, we were asked to form groups of four and come up with assumptions about people; presumably this was to emphasize--well, that we shouldn't make assumptions about people.
The video was one of those "we're all connected" things, heavy on dark-skinned people, animals in the forest, and if we have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge, we're luckier than lots of our connected brethren and cisterns (heh, heh). This dragged on and on and seemed sophomoric to me--very artsy, touchy-feely type stuff, dated and dull. Kristin is an eighth grade teacher and frankly, she and the doc, studiously sincere though they certainly are, seemed to think the group needed to be instructed as if we were, too. In fact, K. mentioned that she shows the video to her students.
The problem for me was, I had expected some kind of pacifist group and it really isn't. That's not to say it favors militarism, but along with a lot of other concerns, stated on cardboard with big letters, such as the environment, social and economic justice, it was skimmed over. Also, I didn't ask, but if the latter was one of their concerns, why was the evil Trans Pacific Partnership not even mentioned? Judging from Jim--I know I'm making an assumption--possibly, they didn't even know what it is.
The thing didn't end until quarter of six when we were asked to form a circle and yes, hold hands. Any minute, I expected we'd have to sing out Come Bye Ya, but no, a basket was passed around and each person got a crocheted bracelet from Peru. The doc then announced that their regular meeting, held on the first of each month, had been preempted in March by a group devoted to saving the earth from plastic throwaways. However, he urged people to go to that, as it was connected to...well, to all of us, I guess.
Okay, it was just sort of a wasted day, but at least I wasn't subjected to the Super Bowl.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sleep, Battery, and Uncle Frank's Farm

I'm happy to record that my sleep pattern has become much better in the past week or so. I sleep through the night, usually until about 5:30, which is when I prefer to get up. I'm not sure if it's because my worry over my ordeal is over or because of the iron and other medication I've been taking to treat the anemia and ulcer. Anyway, it's wonderful and I feel well rested and energetic all day.
Speaking of energetic, I'm still trying to decide whether I want the 84-inch sofa. I'm just afraid it's too long and will overpower the room. I measured again and saw I can just barely fit end tables (the ones that had been in my bedroom) at either end. If I get it, it would also mean that I could have a sleepover guest--that would be nice. Just can't decide.
I went to Pep Boys to finally have my battery looked at, as I had been told at the other auto place it was too low. Or too high. Or something. Anyway, it was checked and yes, I needed a new one. Total cost: $159.85. Ordinarily, I would shop around for a lower price, as name stores are almost invariably more expensive than smaller ones, but I decided the hell with it, I'll just get it. However, they didn't have any of the right size and the guy was nice enough to send me to Auto Zone, one of their competitors. I went there and after a lot of this and that, they put it in. Cost? $122.20, so I saved almost forty bucks--not too shabby.
Went after to Winco for produce and got tomatoes, grapes, sweet potatoes, and a few other things. I'm still following my cousin Diana's "eat down the larder" program and had the other half of yesterday's lunch for--well, lunch.
Trying to decide another major question--whether I wanted to switch the computer and desk to the other side of my bedroom--I shifted a chair, slid the bed a foot sideways, and found the campaign desk will fit fine. That will free up the other side, where I'll put the much smaller bookcase. Guess I'll call Time Warner to come put another outlet in.
Mike Skyped last night and adorable little Violet played her ukulele for me; caught a quick glimpse of Vivian. The kids are off school for Chinese New Year.
I was surprised and pleased to get an e-mail from Jeremy Coleman. Here's the back story: Forty or more years ago, my Uncle Frank had written out his "memoirs" (well, that's too grandiose a word) what he remembered of the Byrne family's years on the Domino Lane farm in Roxborough. It's an absolutely charming account, partly because he didn't try to *W*R*I*T*E*, but just put the words down, one by one, using an old manual typewriter. I used to visit him, Aunt Claire, and his beloved daughter, Judy, my cousin. One day, Judy asked if I wanted to read the manuscript. Of course, I did, and loved it, especially as my father was mentioned. Uncle Frank told me I could keep it and I took it home. Ten years ago, after they had all died, I made up a blog called "Uncle Frank's Farm" and recorded it word for word, except for a few minor typo changes. Later, I added some shorter family reminiscences by my Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed, plus a piece by cousin Judy on the home care of quadriplegics, which she was.
Where does Jeremy Coleman come in? Some time ago, he e-mailed me, saying he had read the blog, was an amateur historian, and would like to learn more about the area and the era (very early twentieth century; Uncle Frank was born about 1905). He had a lot of specific questions. I wrote back that, aside from the blog, I knew little of it myself. At that time, too, I was in the frenzy of preparations for the cross-country move and said I'd have to put it on the back burner, I was so busy. I promptly forgot all about it until I got his recent e-mail. Wrote him back right away, asking if I could refer him to my cousin, John, who's much more knowledgeable about those topics than I am. I also sent him a picture of my father and five of his six siblings from about 1913. Here's the site of the blog:

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lunch With Diana

Niece Carolyn called in response to my message and we made a date for lunch on Monday. I'm happy to say she agreed to accept my unopened bottle of vile Gatorade; she doesn't like it, but her kids do.
Spent the morning on this and that, then washed and dressed for my lunch date. Diana and I met at Macaroni Grille (that strikes me as a stupid name for a nice restaurant with really good food). I had sausage rigatoni and was able to take half home for dinner, plus a Blue Moon. They bring a nice little loaf of bread to the table, too, along with the obligatory olive oil dish.
We talked and talked and talked for two hours. I got to know about her siblings, deceased parents, and ex. About the latter, I was interested to hear he teaches at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where my daughter-in-law, Paula, got her master's. Mike and Paula lived in Savannah for several years.
Diana is probably about 65, but looks younger and is very attractive. She's tall (well, compared to me), blonde, and slender. I'm always in awe and envy of these types who seem to have little attachment to food. She's a native of Rochester, NY, but has lived in California since she graduated from NYU. She's still a practicing psychologist, but only on a on-call basis for the court system.
I told her a bit of my family story--not all of it, as we didn't have three days--along with my acting background and my hope to resume teaching my acting course. We finally left after 3:00, assuring each other we'd keep in touch.
I then drove directly to the post office to mail off yet another forwarded document to Mike, and stopped at the library after. Picked up a few books on or by George Carlin, one of my heroes--I wish he was still around, as he'd surely act as a bracing antidote for Politician Worship Disease (Sanders, Obama, Trump, or Ish Kabibble).

Friday, February 05, 2016


Continued clearing up various "business" business--that is, financial, medical, and so on. These are the mundane things most adults have to do, so I won't go into particulars. Sent the little girls in Singapore their Valentine cards, and made up two for the two (big and little) boys in Jersey. (I tucked a bill into each of theirs.)
Called Betty to tell her the results of my ordeal and we had a good chat. Called her daughter and my niece, Carolyn, to see when it would be convenient for us to get together. Continuing cousin Diana's challenge, I had a big salad for lunch, with hard-boiled eggs I had had in the fridge. Heated up the delicious pork roast I had made the other day for dinner.
I got a nice e-mail from Dave Perry, who was our Information Systems Manager at Rider when I was there; he retired last year or so. He didn't know I had moved and I got a Christmas card forwarded about three times. I wrote him a snail mail letter to tell him he and his wife may want to take me off their Christmas card list. I always liked Dave a lot--we could happily bitch about others together and we shared some of the same spiritual--read "non-spiritual"--ideas and beliefs. I'll write back shortly.
Finally wrote back to Grey about his mother with the brain tumor. He's another guy with whom I seemingly have nothing in common--he's 54, younger than two of my children, gay, and Jewish--yet we clicked and are as open (and irreverent, our language being sometimes downright lewd) as teenaged besties. I met him several years ago at Players & Playwrights, which he's more or less abandoned as an interest.
Ellen's car was in the shop and she had a meeting at a different school, so asked me to pick her up there at 4:00 and drop her at the garage. Just as she called, I got a message from my Two Guys in Tokyo asking me to Skype and I did, but we could only talk for a few minutes. I'll try to catch them another time. Picked up Ellen, dropped her off, then zipped home.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Busy Day and Diana

Very busy, productive day. I like to wash bed clothes soon after they come off, so did a wash early. Made a multitude of phone calls I had been putting off, including to Time Warner so they'll come and put my computer outlet on the other wall when I decide if I want to. Got a bill from Community Memorial for when I got the transfusion--charge was $5,192, which made me laugh. I called just to be sure Medicare and Horizon had kicked in. They had and my portion is $238.70--okay, not too bad. Called Horizon to ask them to send me a check for the double payment I accidentally made for January. They will, but it may take 30 days. Very funny, because if it does, I might as well just have them keep it for the February payment. Signed up by phone to attend an "Aging for Women Symposium" in June. Funny name--as if women will be instructed in how to age. (Could you decline and decide not to age?) Called Diana N., whom I had met at the seminar on Saturday and we made a date for lunch tomorrow. Made a few other calls in between the laundry runs.
My cousin, Diana Figenshu S.,* has a clutter control business in New Hampshire and she issued a challenge, to wit: To resolve not to buy food for the month of February, but to "eat down" what was already in fridge, freeze, and pantry. Well, I accepted that and found a nice small pork roast in the freezer. Put it in the slow cooker and added a can of cream of mushroom soup and envelope of Lipton Onion, set it to simmer and went out, hoping for the best.
Stopped at DMV to ask how many times you can take the written test if you fail the first (two more--goes to show how confident I am). Went to a glass company on Market Street to ask how much to cover my desk ($51 plus tax; I'll shop around). Saw a nearby auto collision place and got an estimate for fixing the scrape on my rear bumper from when I back into it at the library ($425--ouch, but that may be a good price). Got gas, then say they had a car wash and got mine done. Last stop was WinCo, where I got ONLY Romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, oranges, and bread, things that don't keep.
Home, I had the aforementioned pork for dinner. It was delicious, wonderfully tender and flavorful. I ate half (that's all I wanted for dinner) and will have the other half tomorrow.
Called Nancy after dinner and we chatted for some time. She's had yet more problems, now in the dental area. The bridge in her mouth split or something and, considering it was anchored to a tooth with a root canal, that could be a major problem. Also, she continues to battle the insurance company to pay for her infusions for anemia.
Called Ellen. She had to take her car in for service and had asked if I might be able to pick her up after work (Greg will take her in). One of the other teachers may be able to drop her off; if so, she'll text me, otherwise, she'll call me.
* Actually, Diana is my first cousin, once removed. Her Dad, Tom, was my first cousin on the maternal side.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Oh, joy, and hip, hip, hooray! Unpleasant as the prep was, the colonscopy went fine and the great news is that I have an ulcer! I was deathly afraid of a malignancy, of course, little Miss Sunshine that I am, and this was the best I could have heard. Doc prescribed Omeprazole, one a day, which I assume heals the ulcer. Anyway, I'm over the moon about it.
Ellen was with me the whole day. She picked me up at 8:40 (the place is only about six minutes away) and stayed while I had the procedure. Luckily, the nurse had the foresight to suggest she be with me when the doctor was telling me the result and instructions because I don't remember even seeing him after. I was given a written summary, of course.
I was ravenous when we left, but patients are cautioned to eat lightly after the procedure. Usually, I follow medical instructions to the letter, but that one? Forgettaboutit! We immediately went to the Two Trees Cafe and I had scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast, and three cups of coffee. (It may have been unwise, but I'll die happy.)
We then went to Ellen's, said hello to Greg (who was on his way to work), and started watching Annie. However, it's pretty dated and I didn't care much for it to begin with, so I asked El to come over to my place and help me with laundry and re-do my bed with the new bedding. On the way there, I called my friend in New Mexico and told her the good news. Later, I e-mailed my boys to let them in on it.
El and I got my clothes washed, changed the bed, and handled a few other chores. We also moved the settee (a bench my Uncle Frank made for my cousin, Judy in 1963, and which I cherish) to behind the table, which my DIL, Paula, had suggested. Good idea, as it frees up more in the living room.
El left about 5:00 and I settled in to enjoy my relief and happiness at escaping what I feared most. Went to bed at my usual 9:00, read for forty-five or so, and slept soundly until 7:30.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Cold and Concoctions

Good grief, it was freezing yesterday--down to 58 degrees. I actually wore my all-weather coat, which has a warm, zip-out lining, to go to the library. Had the "light breakfast" (what I have everyday, one slice of toast with cottage cheese and half an orange; coffee, too, of course)but started the regime at lunch and had just chicken broth and soda.
Then, to keep my mind off my stomach, I went though my financial papers--receipts and so on--for income tax purposes. Must find an accountant soon.
I suddenly decided to get a manicure to match my toes. Drove to "Jessica's Spa" and had to take off my shoe and sock to look at the color. Couldn't find an exact match, but the manicurist was able to come up with something close. Had them done and they look spiffy.
El called to say she had fulfilled her jury duty obligation, so we don't have to worry about that anymore. She'll be here at 8:30 to take me to THE ORDEAL PLACE.
Stopped at my mail box before I went in and found an envelope marked "fragile" from my friend in New Mexico. Hurried in to open it and found a beautiful, handmade necklace. I love it and called her right away to thank her.
As for my activities after 6:00 pm, when I had to take the first of the vile "prep" concoction for THE ORDEAL, I'll leave that to the imagination. It's now just after 6:00 AM, and I've downed the second horrible sixteen ounces. Ugh, ugh, double ugh, and now I have to drink 32 ounces of water by 7:00. No coffee, either--can't wait until this is over.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Rain and Pedicures

I was startled to see rain in the morning--it's so unusual here, it seems almost unnatural. We surely need it, though, and it felt cozy as I happily hunched over coffee and crossword puzzles for several hours. My dear brother, Jim (the guy who will be 90 in less than three weeks), called and we chatted for twenty minutes or so. Later, my electricity blinked on and off several times and when I went back to use this computer, it was out. Darn! I knew if I tried to get on the floor to manipulate the wires, I might not be able to get up, so I didn't.
Hopped in the shower, then met Ellen at Jessica's Nails for our joint two o'clock appointment. Both got pedicures, both in a pretty mauve color, but while we were sitting there, the lights went out. There was much laughing and chattering about that, just as there always is when electricity first goes out. After a time, though, it's no long a fun, novel occurrence, but a total pain in the rear. Luckily, it was out only for about a half hour, so that was okay.
Dear El came back to look at my computer, unplugged a wire, we waited a few minutes, then she plugged it in again and it worked. I hope the next time, I'm not such a boob about it and can do it myself. We chatted for a bit, then said goodbye. I'll see her tomorrow, of course, when I start with The Ordeal.