Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Not Much

I found a few other pictures I wanted to hang, so went to the hardware store and bought myself a small hammer and a box of nails. Decided to move around a few El had put up for me. In the middle of this, I heard a noise and darned if the "picture box" with the antique perfume bottle in it had fallen off the wall. I had put this up myself with one of those Command hangers--this is the third one of those fell. Luckily, the glass part didn't break, but the back separated from the front. I bought Super Glue to fix it.
Mike and Paula had given this to us when we moved into the Sunrise Bay house. Supposedly, it improves the Feng Sui hanging next to the door, which is where I had it for thirteen years. I put it next to my door here, too, but will hang it with proper nail.
Drove into town, which was mobbed with people. Went to a few shops, but didn't buy anything. Parking my car a distance away from all the places I went, I believe I got my mile walk in. Made a stir-fry for dinner, then took a drive, but not far.
Other than that, I didn't do much but a few chores here and there.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Park and Pictures

Sundays are one of my favorite days. Well, I like the other ones, too, but for some reason, I still think of Sundays as no-work, do-whatever-you-want days. I follow the same morning routine I do most other days: up when I awaken, the usual ablutions, coffee at the computer, breakfast (the same every day: one slice of whole grain toast with cottage cheese on it, half an orange, and more coffee), then I settle down with the Ventura Star. I glance over what passes for news, then other stuff; then I turn to what I look forward to all week: the Newsweek crossword puzzle. Yes, I do the NYTimes crosswords on other days, but for a number of reasons, after Monday and Tuesday, they're not very enjoyable.
Yesterday, I followed the above routine, then drove over to the dollar store for a few things. Drove to the park and walked my mile. I want to keep up a faster pace and did pretty well, at least marginally. I'm also planning to walk to the park, rather than drive, which is certainly doable.
The high point of the day was when El came over to hang my pictures. We sat and chatted first and tossed around the pros and cons of the condo I had seen. Tempting as it is, I just don't want anything that big. Instead, will remain here at least until my lease is up in September, then possibly move, or just sign a new lease. Either way, I'm not going to think about it now.
We actually had fun with the pictures. El, of course, did all the work while I nagged about an inch here and crooked there. They look great, though; my father's college picture, plus several ancestors on the dining area wall, and the older son and DIL's two wedding portraits in the bedroom. One shows the bride and groom in traditional Japanese dress and the other is formal wedding attire. I always loved those pictures. On the longer wall, I asked El to put up an early pic of Pat and me with our first two children, as well as a triple-framed picture of my older grandson and his two boys at about the same age, dressed in the same sailor boy outfit. Added to those is a picture El had done herself for a teacher project. I have other framed pictures--oh, plenty of them--but these are the ones I just happened to come upon or unpacked first.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gabrielle

It just shows to go ya, guess: I had pegged Gabrielle as a kind of glum, everything's coming up stinkweed type, and regretted making a lunch date with her for yesterday. Just to make me more reluctant, I didn't have her phone number and wasn't quite sure about the restaurant. Luckily, she called me beforehand; otherwise, I would have been waiting in an entirely different place, about a mile away.
We met at noon and lo and behold, I found that we're actually pretty compatible. She hasn't had an easy time in life: married at 17, one daughter, divorced after eleven years from her alcoholic husband; both siblings (brothers) died in their fifties within a short time of each other; granddaughter, 27, lives with her and is bi-polar, and has other "issues." Gabrielle's daughter has five other children, the youngest of whom just finished kindergarten, so there are 20 years between her first and last--wow.
Gabrielle herself is 69, but must still work; she's with the county in worker's comp. Has a masters degree and "works at home" on Fridays, although she said can handle that in just a short time. She was very interested when I told her about T.O.P.S. and said she'll meet me there next Friday. (She actually doesn't look that much overweight, maybe fifteen pounds or so.) She asked to befriend me on Facebook and had a few hours later.
Anyway, we had a good Chinese lunch and an enjoyable getting-acquainted talk. I ate only about a third of my orange chicken, we gabbed so much (but I certainly finished off my Stella Arios). I took the rest home, but later realized it wasn't a good thing to have: The chicken was in a syrupy sauce, I didn't need the rice, and the rolled-up thing was mostly carb, too. I was quite proud of myself for throwing in the trash; I have plenty that's better for me in the fridge.
I didn't want to let myself off the hook re walking, but the park was filled with Memorial Day picnickers, so I drove to the Kohl's Shopping Center. Parked my car far down one end, and walked the length of it and back. I think that'a just about a mile, which is what I want to do every day.
El called and asked about coming over today to hang my pictures, so I'll see her this afternoon. I called Lawrence-of-the-condo-for-rent and left a message of thanks, but no thanks. Yes, I've decided to stay here for now, at least.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

T.O.P.S. And Etcetera

I am now a full-fledged member of T.O.P.S. Got there twenty minutes early, so virtuous Mimi, I took a walk around the block. Got back, weighed in, paid my 32 bucks, filled out the form, and was presented with some material on the group, which I'll never read. I had been weighed as a guest last week and, of course, was weighed again. Gee, I was the biggest loser at 2.5 pounds* and got to pick from the goodie box; I selected a jar of honey. There was a short meeting about this and that; nothing of much interest. I remembered some of the names (including the only guy member, "Bob") and we marched in place for one minute, as we had last week. I can't imagine what this is for, except to remind us to walk. However, it's harmless, so I did it, of course. These meetings last only an hour, which suits me fine.
Had breakfast when I got home at 10:00, although I was meeting Carole and Doris for lunch. However, that wasn't until 1:30, so I had plenty of time in between.
I was happy when my friend called shortly thereafter. They are now in Colorado and on their way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. We had a good talk and I mentioned my dilemma about the condo--did I want a place that large? My friend remarked how much faster and easier--a fraction of the time--it was to do housework in their 39-foot RV compared to the good-sized houses they owned and still own. Well, I'll consult Ellen, too, but I'm certainly leaning to staying here.
Went to WinCo for chicken and veggies--no more processed food for me--then took off for Milano's to meet Carole and Doris. We had a good lunch and good talk. Carole is just about ready to scuttle her horrid husband and move out and we talked about that. She had to leave, as she was taking 93-year-old Jean to the hairdresser. Doris and I then went to the music program at The Townehouse (assisted living facility) and greatly enjoyed the trio, as well as the Chardonnay. Didn't get home until after 5:00, at which point, I seasoned my chicken breasts and put them in the oven. Shortly after, my friend called again; they had made it to the dunes in Colorado and enjoying it.
*Others congratulated me, but good grief, I know enough about weight loss to know this isn't an impressive first week loss, which is mostly water, anyway. Sustaining that--or adding to it (or subtracting, as it's a loss?) will be the test.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Possible Place And A Pal

I met the owner, Lawrence, at the condo he has for rent: two b., two b., two car garage, and some very nice extras, such as a brick-paved patio with a pretty garden and two large trees--grapefruit and orange. That alone made it enticing to me. It's in a quiet, yet very convenient neighborhood and there's a side entrance to the garage. The front door opens onto a pleasant, flower-lined walk and many of the windows look out on a grassy area. A full-sized washer and dryer is included and there's plenty of storage. The kitchen isn't bad and the stove is so brand-new that Lawrence pointed out the papers are still in the oven. There are some negatives: The bathrooms are both very dated--I'm not sure when the place was built, but maybe in the sixties--and the carpets aren't great.
Lawrence will rent it furnished or not and I think he'd like it if someone wanted the furniture. There were actually a few pieces that were very attractive, in particular, a small desk in the second bedroom. However, I have my own and didn't care for most of his, anyway. The maintenance fee, which covers lawn, flowerbeds, and all other outside maintenance, would be paid by Lawrence (I pay the same for my house in Jersey). What floors me is that he's asking only $1495, which is considerably less than I pay, and the place is at least three times larger. We talked about it--I had been very upfront about my lease running until September--and I said I'd talk to the office about possibly being released earlier.
I did, and was told I would have to give a month's notice and pay an additional full month's rent. Hmm...much as it kills me to part with money, I could actually handle that. I decided to e-mail my advisers--my four children--and get their take on this. As I was starting to write the message, it occurred to me: Do I really want to go back to gardening and decorating and cleaning and keeping on top of a fair-sized home?
Yes, I'd like a larger place, but maybe just slightly larger, not three times as big. I don't want to go through the hassle of changing my address, either. So, okay, I'm going to think long and hard on this. Also, I want Ellen to see it; I'll call her and Lawrence later to arrange a time.
As I had said I would, I called Marge at home. Fred answered and said she had been in Atlanticare since Tuesday. They found that she has four fractured vertebrae, clearly the source of the terrible pain she was in. As she hadn't fallen, I surmised they may have broken spontaneously--maybe Pat can enlighten me about this. Fred said that Eileen, Marge's daughter-in-law, was with her, but he gave me her number and urged me to call. I did, Eileen answered and said Marge was asleep. I told her I'd call back at 6:00 their time. Did so, Marge answered and oh, she sounded so much better than she had at home. She's still very, very frail, but is getting morphine and happy day, that's keeping her more comfortable. She said she had to go through some unpleasant tests and procedures, but at least, something is being done. She said Eileen had just left, and daughter Sharon was coming shortly. We talked for about ten minutes and I said I'd call back in a few days. I'm very relieved and hope this means she'll rally.
Went out and bought a nice piece of salmon for dinner and preceded that with a bowl of avocado, livened with lemon juice. It was the whole fruit and I just ate it with a spoon--very yummy.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

SCAN Walk

Got my walking in yesterday. Went to SCAN at noon and registered; also signed a waiver. I didn't bother to read it, but presumably, it said something like "if you drop dead on this walk, don't blame us." Doris came in--I guess there were about 20 people in all--and at about quarter after, we started off. The leader was a woman named Colette? Colleen? Well, Co-something, who runs the harbor walk every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 am. I'm thinking about joining in--maybe next week. There was also a volunteer named Bob, who used to work at SCAN; he hastened to tell us he's 82. Bob turned out to be another rah-rah type, but not a bad guy.
We were first asked to pose for a picture outside. No prob, right? No prob, wrong! I don't know what idiot decided on this, but we were asked to go up on a "grassy knoll" (shades of the assassination!) next to the SCAN building. Well, neither Doris nor I wanted to risk going down again, so we hung back. I'm not sure what kind of picture it turned out to be and I don't like having mine taken anyway and I thought this was a weird idea.
Anyway, we finally started off. Unfortunately, Doris has some serious hip and leg problems and can only shuffle slowly. I didn't want to leave her by herself and Bob was the backup person, so we walked with her and quickly fell far, far behind the rest of the group. About halfway in, Doris said she didn't want to continue, so went back to the SCAN building; I then caught up with the rest and strode quite vigorously for the rest of the walk. I'd estimate we went about a mile--maybe a bit more--which pleased me, of course.
Back at SCAN, we all received various "prizes." I won a free back and neck massage from a woman who works at SCAN. She came in to be introduced and I'm actually looking forward to it; I do have to make an appointment.
Got back home about 2:00 and--my usual most days--made a big salad for lunch. I decided I need a potted plant for the living room. Went to Trader Joe's, The Green Thumb, and a few other places, trying to decide what to buy. I should probably get a plain old philodendron, which are almost impossibly to kill, but I loved a purple campulula (or something), so may get that, but can't decide. In the meantime, I took one of the small patio plants inside.
After dinner, I drove to the library--I appreciate the fact they're open until 7:00 weeknights except Fridays--took a few back and got a few. I'm still on the Kennedy kick--not sure how long it will last and then I'll get enamored of another subject.
I was surprised to get a call from Leatrice in the evening and we had a pretty long talk. I hadn't heard from her since our lunch at Jasmine Thai a few weeks ago and am not sure if she's as compatible as some of my other new friends.
I didn't sleep well the last two nights--not sure why, but hope it isn't a pattern.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Just as I had when Gabrielle called, I reacted with puzzled silence when "Lawrence" called in the morning. He identified himself as the owner of the condo about which I somewhat half-heartedly left a message to see last week. I doubt if the place is for me, for a variety of reasons, but thought I'd look at it and made a date with him for tomorrow at 10:00.
As planned, Nancy and I met at Milano's at noon. We were taken aback to see that the the patio overlooking the harbor was filled with what looked like middle school kids. Yes, the waitress said, several different classes made reservations and more will be coming after this group had eaten. They were a little noisy, but not bad--we had to sit inside, but no prob. A man at the next table assured us they were good kids; he was one of the teachers and we bantered back a forth a bit.
We both ordered meatball sandwiches, but Nancy suggested we share one, as they're on long torpedo roles. Good thought, especially as I had had a late breakfast and wasn't really hungry. In fact, we both left the roll and simply ate the meatballs with forks. Nancy still is undergoing dental work and I was happy to skip the calories.
We were way early for the movie, and Nancy wanted to stop at Aaron Brothers to get mats for her three latest paintings. Boy, they're beautiful: Two are of delicate pink roses, a full-blown and a bud, the other an artichoke. She chose mats for all and at the cash register, the salesperson suggested she might contact the Ventura Art Group as a possible outlet for selling her work. Hope so.
We had time to sit and talk before the movie, then paid our dollar each, and went in to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. I hadn't seen the first one, but the other movies they had showing didn't look very enticing. I actually enjoyed the movie, which was very funny in spots. Of course, it consisted entirely of broad, broad, very broad humor, never leaving a cliche unturned or a stereotype undepicted: An elderly couple was always warring, but deeply in love; a black-clad grandma didn't speak English; a gay couple was embraced by all; a sullen teenager turns lovable halfway through--and so on. Naturally, everything turns golden by the end. It was cute, though quickly forgettable and not at all a bad way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.
We agreed we'd like to do this again on a dollar Tuesday when they show Mother's Day. I realize that's another I-could-have-written-it-myself comedy with a big dose of pathos for contrast, but so what? I don't see movies often, so d when I do, I enjoy them and tend to forgive a lot.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Varied

Changed my bed and did the wash-y dry-y thing right after breakfast, glad to be finished by 10:30. I had a large cauliflower, so cut it into florets and put it in the slow cooker with lemon pepper.
I'm continuing to go through some of the pictures I brought from Jersey to try to get them in some kind of order. Did that for several hours, then went to nearby Thille Park and walked--I think the route was about a half mile, maybe three-quarters. That's not much, but it's better than nothing and consistency is important. I'm determined to walk every day, steadily, for at least a total of a mile.
Had lunch, then took a dry run to check the route from Milano's to Regency Theatre, where Nancy and I are going today.
I was pleased to get an e-mail from Susan confirming our date in L.A. We made it for Thursday, June 9, and will meet at Union Station, probably just for lunch, as she and her friend, Pat, have to get back at 6:30 for a meeting. I'm going to check the train schedule; if I'm able to get back in daylight, I'll leave my car; otherwise, will ask somebody to take me and for Ellen to pick me up.
Got a call from Doris T. to tell me she's not going to the YMCA for the health and fitness thing tomorrow, but may to the SCAN Health Walk. Actually, I hadn't planned to go to the Y thing, anyway. I will see her and Carole the next day at Milano's for lunch, then for music at The Townehouse.
Went out to pick up a few things at the dollar store and, I must admit, to continue to listen to an audio book. I was so interested, I drove around a bit to hear more.
Home, I was about to sit down for early dinner, when the phone rang and I heard "Rosemary? This is Gabrielle." Gabrielle? Who's Gabrielle? The young woman who lives here whom I see at the laundry? It didn't sound like her and I was stumped until the person said she knew me from Golden Girls. Oh, of course! I had run into her near Ellen's the other day, we chatted and decided to meet for lunch; I gave her my card, but--I didn't remember her name! I didn't tell her that, but I apologized for my initial silent reaction and we made a date for Saturday--lunch at a Chinese place not far from me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Marge and Margaritas

After my usual Sunday morning rituals, I called Marge at the appointed time of 11:00. I was dismayed when she answered the phone in a slow, barely audible voice. "How are you doing, Margie?" I asked and she replied she wasn't well. She had been taken to the hospital on Saturday, although not admitted, because of pain in her ribs and other places. I'm not sure about the source of the pain and didn't want to ask. She said she's taking Tylenol with codeine, but it wasn't helping. I asked if she felt up to talking for a minute, but she said she was afraid she wasn't able. I ended the call after I told her I'd get back to her in a few days. I e-mailed her son and daughter-in-law to let them know. I'm afraid my friend is closing down her body and her life. So very sorry for that; I just hope she doesn't have to suffer much more.
Doris T. called to suggest that after Carole, she, and I go to Milano's for lunch on Friday, we stop at The Townehouse independent living place. They have music and wine every week, which is free for visitors. I told her I had been there once and would love to go again, so we will.
Aside from Marge's sad situation, it turned out to be a good day. Ellen called and asked if I wanted to go to lunch. Well, sure, I did, and she came over at 11:30. She left hammer and nails, as she'll be hanging my pictures the next time she comes. We went to Santa Cruz Mexican Restaurant and I had a good shrimp salad.
After, we stopped at Bed, Bath, 'n' Bodacious prices, as El wanted to look at something, but didn't buy. We then went to her place and took a lovely walk by the dry riverbed in the glorious sunshine. We went about a mile, all told, which isn't much, but better than my usual nowadays.
When we got back, she made us both yummy Margaritas. We drank out on the patio and I happily sat and watched her pull weeds and water plants. (Well, I offered to help, but maybe a tad half-heartedly.) She took me home a little after 4:00 after a lovely day. In fact, much as I enjoy my new friends here, spending time with Ellen beats any other activity. I feel as if we're not only mother and daughter, but good friends at the same time. I'm so lucky to be here now and to spend time with her.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Messages and Marge

Got some interesting messages--two good, one not.
1.) My New Mexico friend wrote a good, long e-mail to bring me (and other family and friends) up to date on their travels. She included several web sites from that area--I didn't really know how very beautiful the state is until I saw them. She calls me every week or so, also, and I'm happy about that.
2.) Susan G., my across-the-street neighbor in Little Egg, walking partner, and friend of 13 years, wrote me to say she'll be near L.A. in a few weeks to visit a friend and wondered if we could get together. I was delighted to hear that and immediately wrote that I can take a train there (it's only 65 miles, but I'd never dare drive it) so we could meet. Her friend, Pat, will come, too; I've met her, as Susan had me over for dinner a few years ago when Pat was there. This will be great fun.
3.) I wish the third one was as good: I received it from the son and daughter-in-law of my dear friend (in Sunrise Bay), Marge. They wrote that they were worried about Marge, as she had started staying in bed for long periods, too exhausted to get up. Marge is exactly (to the week) ten years older than I am, so she's--well, pretty old. Of course, I immediately called her, but the message machine was on. I said I'd call her again in an hour, but in the meantime, got another message to the effect that she might be being taken to the hospital. An additional message asked if I'd call her tomorrow (now today) at 2:00, east coast time and naturally, I said I would. I assume she wasn't hospitalized after all, but I have an uneasy feeling about her condition.
Aside from that: Because I want to increase my walking and active time, I drove to town, parked the car, and went to various shops several blocks apart. Stayed about an hour, on my feet all the time. I didn't buy anything, but enjoyed being out and about on a beautiful day, in a bustling town full of people of all ages and all walks of life. I passed a woman about to get in a a shiny black Jaguar, young couples chattering in Spanish, children and babies, old people with canes, and teenagers prancing along, sublimely confident they'll live forever. What a fine day.
Home, I oven-heated the already-cooked chicken and root vegetables I had defrosted for dinner. Betty called and we chatted for a bit.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A SCAN Day

I decided to bite the bullet--or the hypothetical salad--and join T.O.P.S. ("Take Off Pounds Sensibly") at SCAN. Got there at 8:45 and Carol introduced me to some of the other members. (She didn't stay for the meeting, as her son is visiting.) We were weighed--hell, no, I'm not telling, although at least I wasn't back up to my highest weight of 204 pounds--then sat around a table. Eileen was on my left and "Lennie" (given name Eleanor) on my right. There were nine other women there, including Lolly (not to be confused with Dolly who goes to the lectures), the leader. I liked all of them, with the possible exception of Colleen, the weigh mistress or whatever she's called. Reminds me of a bossy and not-too-bright nun. She sat at a small separate table, laboriously totting up the poundage with a pencil and paper.
It was pretty standard: Some hoary homilies and words of encouragement, then Colleen announced the pounds lost and the pounds gained in aggregate. The biggest loser was announced--somebody who lost 2.5 pounds. She got to pick from a box with little odds and ends and trinkets donated by others in the group.
Anyway, I'll go back. It sure beats Weight Watchers, especially as no special diet is dictated and the other members are friendly and welcoming. It's only $32 a year and includes a magazine. Hey, what do I have to lose? (WEIGHT, that's what!)
It was over at 10:00, so I went home and made a large salad with Romaine, tomatoes, olives, beets, and raisins--all the fixings I had at the moment. Had a big bowlful for lunch, adding a hard-boiled egg. Got a call from Nancy, who said she couldn't go to the play on Sunday in Santa Paula after all. Actually, that's fine by me, as I wasn't anxious to go, anyway. She suggested we go elsewhere one day next week and we decided on lunch and a movie on Tuesday.
Called my niece, Carolyn, in Santa Barbara and we had a good chat. Then called brother Larry, in Florida. I was surprised and glad to hear he and Helen will move closer to two of their children. Their younger daughter, Jeanne--the one with all the money, married to Doc Vic--bought a house for them within walking distance of her sisters, Elaine and Nancy. Larry and Helen have lived in their present home for at least fifty years, maybe longer. Even when they moved to Indonesia, they retained it. It's not a bad place, quite large, five bedrooms and four baths, plus pool, of course. However, the neighborhood has "changed," as the saying goes (a euphemism for "a lot of darker-skinned people have moved in") and I was surprised at how low their asking price was. Well, location, location... I was sorry when Larry told me Jack Bihlmier had called to tell him Matt Gallagher has died. I had a major crush on him a hundred years go.
Went back to SCAN for the lecture, this one on palliative care and end of life issues. I was pleased to see Sue had come, although she had to leave early, as Mac needed her at home on the boat. Of course, Doris and Carol were there and since there won't be a lecture next Friday, we three decided to meet for lunch on that day.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sue and Blue

Met Sailboat Sue at Milano's for lunch. Sue and her husband know the owner, Bruce, who has a boat near theirs and they eat there a lot. Bruce greeted Sue warmly and they commiserated with each other about how high the dock fee has gone up. The restaurant is under, and in front of, Brophy Bros. and I like the location better. The part overlooking the harbor has a nicer view than B.B.'s; not sure about the food. I got a "chicken caprese" sandwich, which didn't thrill me, but of course, the Shocktop was delish.
Sue is a big talker and went on and on about how she met her husband and when she used to take her Siamese cat when she drove the semi. She also drew me a sketch of their 50 foot boat where they live, which interested me mildly. She's very worried about Mac's neuropathy (AAGH! This idiot computer doesn't know how to spell it! Thinks it's incorrect, but it isn't. Illiterate nerds!) which started in his feet, but has now spread to his leg and even his arm. She's also very worried about his increasing dementia. However, we had a good lunch. I invited her to the SCAN program today--end of life issues--and she's going to go.
After I went home, I felt, for some reason, kind of blue. Didn't feel like doing anything and lay down--not a good idea if I want to lift my spirits. Took a short nap, but made myself get up and go out. I went to Five Points Car Wash--they're the best in the area--and paid twice as much as I do elsewhere to get my little darlin' spiffy--boy, does she look good. Took a drive after and found myself back on an even keel.
Betty called when I got home. She had taken Helen C. to the hospital, as she had fallen outside in her garden. She wasn't badly hurt and they didn't admit her, but she needed a possibly-broken wrist treated, as well as other things.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Meeting and Acorn Squash

Attended the monthly Council for Seniors at the Adult Center. Suz greeted me with her usual almost overwhelming enthusiasm and a hug and a kiss. She's just back from Sacramento where she met with state politicians to push the elder agenda. My friend, Doris, came, but had to leave before the speaker really got started (lucky her: see below). The meeting was pretty sparsely attended in contrast to the full house that's usual when it's held every other month at Silvercrest.
Maybe non-attendees knew something I didn't: The program, Identity Theft, was so intensely boring, I almost got up and left. However, as I'm a member at large and was in the front row, I stuck it out. Steve, whom I know from lunch, came to tout next week's something-or-other for seniors at the YMCA; he sat next to me and we both threw out some--well, maybe gratuitous remarks.
I've done a fair number of workshops, seminars, and presentations and this hit all the no-no points for such things. First of all, the speaker, an earnest young woman from the credit union, opened by announcing that this talk usually takes an hour and a half, but she'd try to cut it down. Hey, I'd barely sustain interest that long for the Second Coming, let along identity theft, one of those trendy topics that's been done to death. Speaker handed out a big bunch of papers stapled together. She then started up a power point presentation which contained the exact same material. To top it off, she proceeded to read every point one-by-one. So there were three identical methods by which she presented the same material. Incidentally, it was written on about a sixth-grade level and there were grammatical errors here and there, but I was so benumbed, I didn't even point them out.
The topic itself is mundane and is one of those designed to keep the populace frightened out of their wits, the better to be fleeced by the powers that be. Also, it seems to me that anybody stupid enough to fall for some of the scams mentioned wouldn't be in a meeting like this, anyway.
Steve suggested I stay for lunch, but I didn't, as I didn't see Marie, whom I like, that day. Went from there to the library; took a few back and requested a certain book, which will probably come in next year. Stopped to buy grapes, cherries, lettuce, and tomatoes, then went home to chili for lunch. It was after 3:00 by then, but I took a load of wash to the laundry and, as required, did the back and forth thing.
I used to eat acorn squash a lot, but haven't for some time. Bought a nice one the other day and decided to have it for an early dinner. Roasted it and ate half; took a drive later.
I'm looking forward to lunch with Sailboat Sue today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Real Estate

How was my day yesterday? Here's a truncated version of my review on Yelp:
I had seen a sale sign on a mobile home and was interested in being shown the interior. Monday, 5/16, I called the name and number on the Superior Realty sign, an Anna U. was the agent I got a message machine saying her mailbox was full. How accurate that was I don't know because I was able to leave a number. When Anna called back, without any preliminaries at all, she blurted, "Did somebody from this number call me?" Duh--she wouldn't have had my number if I hadn't called. We made a date for yesterday, Tuesday, 5/17, for 11:00. I got there a few minutes early---and waited...and waited. I finally called her at 11:15, only to be again told her mailbox was full. In the meantime, I saw on my cell that she had called me. I immediately called her back and she said she had been in an accident in Oxnard; someone had rear-ended her. To be perfectly honest, I didn't believe her. However, she asked if she should try to get somebody else from the office to show me the place. I agreed and she said somebody would call. Well, they haven't yet a day later and if they do, I'll tell them to go blow. I don't know if this crappy outfit is some kind of front for something or what, but I would advise everybody to STAY AWAY FROM SUPERIOR REALTY!
Things improved later in the day. The high point was a call from my friend in New Mexico. We had a good talk and are looking forward to Vivian and Violet visiting in June and July. After, I went out and bought grapes, to which I've become addicted.
I was at loose ends, so I drove to Goodwill just to look around. Saw a cute half-mask in gold with feathers and a "diamond." Naturally, I had to buy it--I'm very judicious with my money, but conisder this an essential. Will wear it at Halloween.
This is in the same shopping center as Ralph's Market and as I walked out, somebody driving a car in the parking lot called, "Hi!" It was a woman from the Golden Girls group and she stopped to chat. I told her about my recent misadventure above and she commiserated; we decided we should meet for lunch and I gave her my card and asked her to call me. Now I cannot, for the life of me, remember her name. Oh, well, I'll find it out later.
Home, I got out the onions, peppers, and garlic I had chopped before, plus the meatballs I had made. Put the former to stir-frying and the latter to simmering in a pot of spaghetti sauce. I had planned to have it over pasta, but instead just ate it the way I cooked it. I have some left for a later meal and will put it on spaghetti then.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Clothes And A Crazy

I was determined to move around more yesterday and I did pretty well, I think. I've been wanting to supplement my ever-so-drab wardrobe, so went to Penney's in the mall and got two very nice tops. One is sleeveless (of course, never, ever would I wear it without something over it) with a collar and is a great magenta color. The other is black, white, and yellow and has a square neckline, which I always think are very becoming; wonder why you don't see more of them. Anyway, it's terrific. Went to another shop and got what used to be called "capris" in a pale green and a pink shirt.
Stopped near Wal-Mart to get gas and saw an obviously mentally ill man yelling at some unseen person. At one point, he took the iron lid off a receptacle. He also pulled off his shirt and whipped it around. He kept stomping his feet up and down and yelling loudly at somebody or something unseen. I was afraid he might hurt himself or someone else, so I called 911. The man answering said they'd send somebody. So sad. I'd say this guy was in his late forties or fifties, with blonde hair, not bad-looking, though unkempt. You wonder if he might have parents, a spouse, or other loved ones. Do they know where he is? Can't he get some kind of help? Thanks to the black-hearted monsters that run this country, so many of the mental institutions have been closed, so now we criminalize people who, like this man, are helpless victims.
Got a few items at the supermarket, then home to shower and get ready for the widder dinner. This is the last time it will be at Yolanda's for months, as they're renovating. I'm such a fraud: I commiserated with the manager and the others in the group, but the fact is, I don't like Mexican food and can't wait to get to Marie Callender's. I realize that's not a high-class joint, either, but it beats Yolanda's for me, for sure.
I was pleased that Sailboat Sue called and asked if we could get together for lunch on Thursday. I had planned to go to Brophy Bros. with the other dinner group that day, but I immediately accepted her invitation and changed my plans. As it turns out, we're going to meet at Malidono's, which is right next to Brophy's on the harbor. Sue is distraught over her husband's condition; he seems to be sinking more and more into dementia and I think she wants to talk about it. She's taking him to the V.A. in Santa Monica tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Looking at Mobiles

Ellen got here about 2:00 and we set off to look at a few mobile homes. I had compiled a list of about six, the only ones I found I had any hope of buying--if I sell my house, that is. Near one of them we saw an open house sign and stopped in. Wowee, this was just gorgeous. Three bedrooms, two baths--the master bath alone was about the size of my whole apartment--nine foot ceilings, glazed counter tops, new carpet, beautiful view of the foothills. I would have moved right in if it didn't cost considerably more than I could get for my house, plus with space rent and so on, it was 'way out of my price range, unfortunately.
After that, we looked at the only one that had an open house listed. This was within my price range and if I wanted to live in a dump, it was a possibility. The next wasn't so bad and the owner invited us in. This really was a possible, nice (enough) kitchen, two bedrooms, good-sized living and dining. However, the guy made me nervous as hell. Since I'm a devotee of Forensic Files (in fact, that's the only program I watch), I view grisly murders night after night and I got the vibe: This man would lure one of us into a back room, hit her on the head, then deal with the other when she investigated. El's colleagues would call when she didn't show up for work today...
Luckily, we escaped with our lives and looked at a few other possibles. The ones I would consider living in I may not be able to afford. Also, in talking it over, it simply may not make sense for me to sell, pay off the mortgage, sink the profit into a place here, pay space rent, etc. Anyway, it was a fun way to spend the day with El, and I may keep looking, but I doubt if it's feasible.
Betty called later. She's now having problems with the guy who's pouring her concrete walk and wants to take him to small claims court. I don't know where she finds these people.
Happily, I slept soundly last night. In fact, I didn't get up until 8:30, which is really too late for me. I think that's because I got a sufficient amount of off-my-rear and on-my-feet time yesterday.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Shallots and Sleep

Considering the fact that I had nothing scheduled yesterday, I tied on my Suzy Homemaker apron and did a lot of food prep stuff. Put the nice pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, added mushroom soup, Lipton soup, and some shallots* and set 'er on high. Peeled lots of garlic cloves and added them. Cut up a large white onion, a big green pepper, more garlic, and put them in the fridge for what I'll probably make today. Cut Romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, added shredded carrots and cheddar, and put it in the fridge. Chopped up a big bunch of broccoli and had that for lunch.
Called Betty and we chatted. Texted my tenant re the info she had sent me from a solar panel company--or something--supposedly offering to lower the electric bill. Considering the highest bill I remember was about $3.90--and most were much lower--I didn't think it would apply to my house. I called and that was the case. I sent Eileen a text to that effect, but will also call the township tomorrow.
Went to the library and ran into my friend, Marie. We chatted for a bit and she gave me the number of her rep for supplemental health care. Her deal seems a lot better than mine and I want to look into it. Went to WinCo after to get cucumber and eggs for the salad. Hard-boiled the latter and added it; had a bowl for a second lunch (the broccoli was good, but not enough).
I took some DMV tests on-line and did okay. I'm getting more and more nervous over the fact that I haven't gotten my California license. I started the procedure, but haven't yet taken the written or driving tests. I have this great fear and worry about it--not sure why.
Darn--for the first time in months, I had trouble sleeping last night. Got up for the usual reason at midnight, then tossed and turned when I went back. Will make a point of getting more exercise today.
*Oddly enough, maybe, I had never bought or prepared shallots before in my life; I barely knew what they were. When I started peeling them, I thought I might never buy them again, as that was a real pain. However, I looked on line and found that if you cover with boiling water, let them sit for 5 to 10, then cool, they can't be easier to peel. Good.

Friday, May 13, 2016

SCAN On Skin

I enjoyed yesterday's SCAN lecture by Dr. Woodling more than I had expected. I had thought it would be boring, as it centered on skin and I'm not much interested in that, but it was pretty absorbing. I learned quite a bit about this largest organ of ours; whether I'll retain it is something else again. Doris and Carol were there, along with old, old Jean, but Dolly didn't come. I'll see the two former at the Council for Seniors meeting next Wednesday.
I had told Doris I was a pacifist and was looking for a group, but there seemed to be none in Ventura. She told me that Dr. Robert Dodge had founded Physicians for Social Responsibility in Ventura. When I looked him up later, I realized he was one of the facilitators at the Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions meeting I attended in February. I may give them another try, although the "scattering" of their efforts--a living wage for farm workers, climate care, breaking free of fossil fuels, and so on--doesn't seem to me to matter if we continue to kill and plunder around the globe. They're having a showing of Moore's Where Shall We Invade Next on June 5; I already saw it, but maybe I'll attend.
Didn't get out until after 4:00, then I went to WinCo for mushroom soup and Lipton onion. I have a nice pork roast I want to put in the slow cooker today. Had a simple, but to me, good, dinner of browned hot dog "coins" with scrambled eggs.

Red Lobster

Nancy got here about 1:00 after a hair dresser appointment, and we took off for Oxnard. I was glad to have her drive, as I wasn't exactly sure where Red Lobster was. She found it with no problem and we settled in, happily hungry, both skipping the lunch listings in favor of dinner entrees. I got a mixed shrimp plate--breaded, garlic-ed, and in a pasta dish, along with a luscious Blue Moon, which, happy day, they have on draft.
I remembered that, a few years ago, I was at the R.L. with Aline. I had been given an Olive Garden gift card by one of my kids and, thinking it was from R.L., tried to pay with it. The waiter pointed out the mistake, but asked me to wait while he consulted the manager. When he came back, he said it would be honored, as the same outfit owned both restaurants. I still had money left on the card for O.L. Mike gave me for my birthday and asked if I could use it yesterday. I was told the two places were no longer jointly owned, but--I could use it anyway! Guess they have some kind of reciprocal deal. I was surprised and pleased, especially as I was told after I paid that I still have twenty-five bucks on it.
Nancy and I had a fine time talking, of course, and brought each other up to date with our various doings. She's going next month with her son and daughter to scatter her husband's ashes in--I think Arizona and maybe other states, too.
After a leisurely meal (both of us had take-homes), she dropped me off. We're both going to the regular widder dinner on Monday--last time for a while at Yolanda's. Starting in June, we'll meet at Marie Callender's until Y.'s renovations are finished.
Spent some time on Realtor.Com, as I'm exploring the idea of possibly buying a mobile home here, if I can find one I can afford. Of course, I would sell my house in Jersey and would have to crunch the numbers to see if it's feasible. I've looked up a few and e-mailed Ellen, asking if she would go with me on Sunday and look at some. She said she will, so I'll at least get an idea of what's out there.
My cousin John sent me an e-mail, asking if I could give my brother, Jim's, contact info to our mutual cousin, Tom. I called Jim to tell him and he said he'd be happy to talk to Tom. Jim turned 90 in January and Tom will do the same in July. I spoke to Tom and his wife, Helen, and we had a good family chat. Tom is the oldest son of my father's oldest sibling, also named Tom. It gets a little confusing because on my mother's side, we also have several Toms.
I had brought broccoli slaw at Trader Joes and made a dressing to go on it. It was okay, but not that great.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Adult Center

It seems there's no end to the social round! Yesterday, I met Doris T. for lunch at the Adult Center. Talked to Director Hans first, to check that I'll be able to proof the blurb describing my acting class in The Silver Tsunami and Ventura Magazine. He assured me I would.
We were a little late going into the dining room, but found seats at a table with three other women. As ever, the food was--well, about what you'd expect for three bucks--but I enjoyed being with Doris. She told me about several trips she and Carol are going on and invited me to accompany them. These are in the Ventura mag, so I'll look them over and might do that.
One of the guys I sometimes eat with greeted me by name, which pleased me (and I can't remember if it was Chuck or the other one!) and another said hello. I also saw Marie and Barbara, both of whom came over to talk. I'll see Doris again (and Carol) at the SCAN lecture tomorrow.
After leaving the Center, I stopped at the library to return some books and pick up a few more. I'm still into the Kennedy thing and couldn't believe the system has nothing by either Sorenson, Bundy, or other aides, aside from the Schlesinger ones I already read. Geez, as Suz and I discussed on Tuesday, the area really doesn't seem terribly big on--well, snooty as it sounds, intellectualism or something like it.
Today, Nancy will stop over after her doctor's appointment and, at her suggestion, we'll go to lunch at the Red Lobster in Oxnard.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

VACE and Sue

Busy one again. As planned, I met with Carolyn V.W., director of Ventura Adult and Continuing Education (VACE) at 10:00. I was surprised to see Suz M. there, as I know she's flying to Sacramento early today; in fact, she has to be at the airport at 2:00 am. I had known Suz is a cancer survivor, but was taken aback to learn she was at stage 4 twice--breast cancer.
We met for almost two hours. I was anxious to know how this organization fits into Ventura County Aging, which I believe is a commission. Carolyn explained, but it's still a little hazy. Anyway, the program that most interests me is ENCORE, which instructs adults (or, as Suz likes to put it, those who are "fifty or better) on computer skills. I said I'd be willing to coach graduates on interviewing. I made clear that I'm not willing to do the whole shebang--job-hunting, resume-writing, etc.--as I did at Ocean Community College and Stockton State. It's just too much work. Anyway, they were both very enthusiastic about me helping out when the time is right. Oddly, we didn't discuss whether this would be volunteer or a paid gig. The latter would be nice, but I don't really care. I also gave Carolyn my Acting for Everyone proposal and she'll look it over.
It was almost noon when we broke up and and Sue and I were to meet for lunch at one. I had time to go to Staples to pick up my over-the-door purchase, then headed to Brophy Bros. at the harbor. Met Sue and we had a good lunch (my usual--I'm in a rut!--of a rare hamburger and an 805 beer) and good talk. First husband was missing his left leg and hip as the result of a submarine accident. He died many years ago and Sue married Mac, whom she says is beginning to suffer from dementia. No children, no siblings, no blood relatives at all, in fact.
After lunch, we strolled down the harbor walk and saw a large--Sue read on the side it was 57 feet--boat in shrink wrap that was being moved from one side of the concrete wharf to another. This was by means of a huge contraption that had tank-like tires and lifted the boat in a kind of sling.
Sue and her husband have lived on their 50-foot sailboat for twelve years and she's very knowledgeable about all kinds of nautical chores and duties. After we ate, she asked if I'd like to meet Mac. He was at a nearby storage place where they rent two large units. He has an actual workshop there, with a lathe and a lot of other tools.
Mac is a nice-looking guy, slender with a neatly-trimmed white beard. He showed me a kind of manikin, with a face, arms, and hands, that they use for signaling other boats. Ingenious. Sue's storage space contains a mountain of stuff, too, including some beautiful square dance skirts and slips, the latter many layers deep. Sue knits and sews and showed me a kishrug she had made for square dance friends--she said she's made dozens of them and volunteered to make me one. She drove me back to my car and off I went, agreeing to have lunch again, next time with Mac.
Got home and put the over-the-door thing up. I'm not sure what all I'll put in there. Right now, it just holds my detergent and other laundry items.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Monday

As Monday usually does, yesterday included a lot of doing chores, running errands, and generally catching up on things I've neglected. Changed the bed, did wash, and went to a new supermarket called "Fresh and Final" or "Quick and Final" or "Final and Final" or whatever the hell it is. Wasn't impressed.
Triple A had sent me a form, asking me to put my mileage on it; I think it could lead to a discount next year or something. I stopped at the office itself and dropped it off. Swung around to CVS for a few things, then went home again.
Spent a few hours moving things here and there to consolidate space. Actually, the apartment is shaping up pretty well, but I have a way to go. I actually hung a picture in the bathroom; must continue to try and place the six thousand others I have.
Waited until the mail came to see if there was anything else for Mike. There wasn't, so I went to the P.O. to send off some business correspondence to him. I'm beginning to wonder if her's in the CIA or maybe a drug-smuggling ring. If so, let's hope he's making plenty. I also sent off an application to work at the voting polls. Sounds interesting.
Went to WinCo for this and that. Later, Betty called and we had a chat. Pulled together some of the stuff I want to take to my appointment this morning with the director of the Ventura Adult and Continuing Education Commission. I'm not quite sure why we're meeting, except she and Suz Montgomery want me to be some kind of advocate. I'll take my Acting for Everyone info, too, and see if I can work that into the conversation. After that, I'm meeting Sailboat Sue for lunch at Brophy Bros.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Mother's Day

What a fine day! After my sons'contacts on Saturday, I got a call from "my friend" yesterday on Mother's Day morning. We wished each other a happy one, then she asked if I had gotten her present. Why, no--I realized I had checked my mailbox (it's several yards away from my apartment) on Saturday, but had no mail. I said I'd look as soon as we finished talking, and I did. There I found a loving card and a beautiful pendent of red and gray, which she had made herself, of course. Wow, I immediately decided to wear something with like colors and I did. Called her back to say I got the present.
In the meantime, we had a good talk. They're still in Santa Fe, but will be leaving for Four Corners shortly. She had gotten Mike's message about coming over with the girls in June and she'll pick them up in Denver and take them here and there. Lucky kids; I would have done anything for such an excursion when I was that age.
Showered and washed my hair after that, then called Sue Of The Sailboat (it fits!) to ask if we could change our lunch date from Wednesday. Doris asked me to go to the Adult Center on that day, as they have a "birthday lunch" with live music. Sue and I agreed to meet at Brophy Bros. at the harbor on Tuesday, instead.
El got here about 12:30 to pick me up, carrying a card and a beautiful bouquet of flowers--roses, daisies, and lovely little purple blooms. We took a few selfies and then set off for Ojai. Got to the Ojai Beverage Company (I suggested it and El made reservations) for 1:00.
I ordered a "grave stinker" hamburger--lots of garlic sauce on a pretzel bun, plus salad--which was delish. They made it rare, as I always request (El: "Ugh, it's hardly cooked!") and I ordered the beer sampler to go with it. That consists of 5-ounce glasses of four different domestic and imported beers. So good!
After a leisurely time, we drove up in the hills of Ojai. We had been going to go to the park, but it was a little cool, so we went to the Kristimundi Center. Walked the trails a bit, then I asked if we could pick some oranges off the hundreds of trees that surround the place. (The last time we were here, we were told to take what we wanted.)
We picked four oranges, Ellen taking one and me the rest. (I have half an orange every morning with breakfast.)
Drove back and said goodbye about 4:00 after a such a good day. We figured out that this is the first time I spent Mother's Day with Ellen since she moved to California in 1989--27 years! So it was a special day.
My friend called after dinner to say she had gotten my call about receiving her gift. She said her grandsons had sent her a video and at the end, Joel, Jr. said, "Say hello to Mimi" (that's what they call me, as my grandchildren call me "Nana."). She'll try to send me a copy, though it's on her phone.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Lazing and a Lamp

I spent half of the day lazing around, something I think I have a right to do once in a while. Lots of time at the computer, which seems to be gulping down an excess of hours. I later did bestir myself to hang a picture in the bedroom, but I have two others I want to hang there. There are many others I want on the living room walls, but I can't seem to get them done.
Had salad for lunch, then took a drive to Santa Paula. I didn't even get out of the car, but just headed back. I then saw an estate sale sign and being a sucker for "looking," I drove to the place.
Gee, the house was beautiful; so was the garden behind. It had been sold and has to have fetched close to a mil. There wasn't much I wanted or needed--considering the size of my place, I shouldn't have stopped--but I saw...
...a BEAUTIFUL white, porcelain lamp, kind of like a ginger jar with holes in it, that I need like Donald Trump needs another ten bucks. However, I had to have it! It was priced at $30, but since they were wrapping up at the end of the day, it was half off, so I got it for fifteen. I had to to shift things around to fit it in here, but I don't care, I put it on my bureau and it's elegant. Now I just have to figure out where to put the other lamp-I-couldn't-live-without from Lahaska, Pa.
Stopped on the way home for ground beef and made one of my favorite dinners: chopped onions, peppers, and garlic sauteed, then tossed with the browned meat. Yummy.
In the middle of this, I was interrupted for a lovely reason: The Tokyo Trio, including of course, the star, little Mr. K., who had all kinds of important information to impart. This morning, I opened my Mother's Day present from them--a wonderful card, created by Mommy, of course, that says, "Wishing a GOLDEN Mother's Day/To a GOLDEN Nana/In the GOLDEN state." All three signed it, of course, K. with an elegant scrawl. With it was a truly terrific picture of the three of them in traditional robes.
After that, I was again gifted with a Skype call, this time from the Singapore son and his girls. They're getting so big and so beautiful. They'll be here for a time in June, with plans to see El and me, of course, but also our mutual friend from New Mexico.
Looking forward to being with my girl, Ellen today.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

SCAN and Jasmine Thai

It turned out to be another full week--fine by me.
Attended Dr. W.'s Friday lecture at SCAN--this one less interesting than others, to me, anyway. The topic was "living in the moment," which seems to be the catch phrase/cliche du Jour around here. The whole talk was on a free-wheeling tangent, incorporating meditation, the power of mind over matter, and--annoying to me and maybe others in the audience--the importance of his brand of fundamentalist religion. (Oh, Lord, spare me this.)
However, Carol and Doris were there, along with 93-year-old Jean, and later, Dolly. The latter has an extremely irritating habit of constant coughing, clearing of her throat, and other, equally distressing noise-making. Maybe she has some kind of malady, such as nasal drip, but if so, I wish she'd get it looked at. Sue didn't get there; I didn't really expect her, as she said she wouldn't if she had to wait at home (the sailboat) for some kind of part for the T.V.
We got out at 4:00, so I had time to stop at Wal-Mart for face scrub and stuff before I met Leatrice for dinner at Jasmine Thai. She got there shortly after I did, and looked smashing in a pale aqua, long-sleeved shirt and a beautiful scarf--pink with little embroidery-like things hanging from it. She said she got it in London.
We settled in to read the menu and there arose a problem. Leatrice is very attractive, with a slender--not skinny--figure, and her diet is surely the reason. She does not eat meat--naturally--but nor does she ingest any oil or a lot of other things. She asked the waitress if something could be cooked without this or that--I don't quite remember what was on her taboo list--but the young woman came back and said it couldn't be done. (Actually, it may have been a language problem.) Leatrice then asked to have a bowl of plain broccoli and bowl of rice, which she ate along with a glass of water.
However, we got to know each other a bit. Leatrice is not, she says, conventionally religious, but she's "spiritual." (The next time I hear that, I'll jump up and down and scream.) Anyway, she follows Buddhism and has actually been at an ashram in India. She goes to classes at the Center For Spiritual Living in Ventura, which I've passed many times. I'm impressed with its size and soaring towers--always wondered what it was.
Leatrice is from Boston and has virtually no family. She and her husband did not have children (she's been divorced 30 years) and she had only a half-brother, who died years ago. She has a niece and nephew back east, but has no contact with them. She has a graduate degree in occupational therapy and works two days a week at an assisted living facility in Oxnard. She finds it very stressful, but presumably needs the money. Anyway, we had a pretty good talk. She's one of the people with whom I don't have an enormous amount in common, but I like a variety of friends, and want to keep in touch.
Got a beautiful roseola plant for Mother's Day from Singapore son, Mike, and family. It's inside right now, but I'll probably actually be able to keep it on the patio later.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Cinco de Mayo

I had a fine time at the Cinco de Mayo festival at El's elementary school. Got there about 11:20 and the small parking lot was already filled, so I had to park at the overflow one up the hill, but that was okay. Chairs were set up behind the all-purpose building--the weather is so benign here that they can confidently plan a lot of events for outside. Almost all the little girls wore bright and colorful fiesta dresses, with long, full skirts and pretty blouses. Many had pom-poms in their hair and/or braids with red, white, and green ribbons.
The different classes sang and danced to Mexican tunes and there was a hirachi(?) band from the high school. A lasso twirler did his thing and four dancers--they looked to be 14 or 15--danced. It may have been a tad long, as some classes or combination of classes performed several numbers, but it was wonderful fun. Ellen's third grade class acquitted themselves well, all singing and gesturing enthusiastically.
I had a seat in the front row and the children sat on the grass. The little ones were so exuberant, so agile, so filled with life and so careless of their good fortune! Most are of Mexican descent, common in California and especially, maybe, here in Ventura. They will inherit the earth, I'm convinced, and let it be. It seems to me there's nothing intrinsically superior about people from Europe, although that seems to have been an abiding belief for centuries.
Ellen invited me back to her classroom after the festivities and I got to meet her students. Beautiful kids, and seemingly they're all destined for futures of health and happiness. May it be so.
Once the children were all on their buses or at the after-school program in the auditorium, El and I decided on Jasmine Thai for dinner. It was only about 3:00 at that point, so she said she'd pick up takeout and we'd eat at her place. Fine by me, and I went home and changed.
Back at El's at 5:30, we enjoyed our dinner (curried shrimp for me) and made our plans for Mother's Day. El asked for a lunch suggestion and I said Ojai Beverage. She made a reservation, then asked how about going to a favorite park of her and Greg's after? Yes, indeedy, sounds like a plan to me.
A good, good day in a good week.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Breakfast, Lunch, and Cinco de Mayo

The BCNN Monthly Breakfast turned out to be very enjoyable. As soon as I walked in, Carol came up to show me where we (with Doris) were sitting. Also at the table was Sue McKinney; she and I hit it off right away. Interestingly, Sue lives on a sailboat. Even more interesting, she has lived in seventeen states. Most interestingly, she drove a semi- for 20 years! Before that, she had been an engineer (went to University of Utah) with AT & T before the breakup, which is where she met her husband, also an engineer. They were square dance devotees for many years, but sadly, her husband has now developed dementia. Sue is tall--I'd say close to six feet--and with a rather nice figure. I think she's considerably younger than I am (well, who isn't?), maybe 65 or so, but I'm not a good judge. Anyway, I sent her info on the Friday SCAN lectures by Dr. Woodling, which Carol, Doris, and I attend--I hope Sue will, also.
The program was quite entertaining: It was by a horticulturist devoted to butterflies. He encouraged all to grow milkweed, because it attracts them. Each attendee was given a little packet with milkweed seeds in it. I was amused when he talked about planting it. Geez, milkweed grows wild in the Pinelands and all over Jersey. Anyway, it was good and, of course, the breakfast was a great spread--savories and sweets both--as ever.
I impulsively went from there to the Adult Center for the three-buck lunch. I haven't been there for several weeks and I was surprised and pleased when I was greeted with pleasure by my pal, Marie, and the two guys whose names I always forget. We sat together, along with Penny, whom I've met before, and Steve, a very funny guy. He's Asian, but no accent, and was wearing a Woodstock shirt.
Went home after to plow into the mounds of paperwork and phone calls to return I've been neglecting for days. Got a fair amount done, but not all of it. After about two hours, I got sick of it and ran over to the 99 cent store for a few things.
El called in the evening as she and Greg were taking a walk. I'll see her today at her school's Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Varied

Yesterday was busy and varied, the kind of day I like. Did the laundry routine in the morning. Heard back from Nancy that she didn't make the lunch on Monday because she had started painting and got so caught up in it, she just forgot. She e-mailed me some of her work--a rose, tulips, an artichoke--incredibly beautiful. I think she's very talented.
I called Carol F., one of my SCAN friends, to see if she was planning to go to the BCNN breakfast meeting today. Yes, she and Doris both were and would have happy to have me sit with them. We then had a conversation for fifteen minutes or so. I like Carol more and more. She takes 93-year-old Jean to SCAN and said Jean had problems breathing the other day. Carol took her to the doctor, then the hospital and stayed with her until her son was able to get there. Happily, it seemed to have been a problem with her pacemaker; it was adjusted and she recovered.
Finally got rid of the pipe/canvas shelf thing I had taken out of the closet. It's very light and I was able to get it in the car in two sections. Rode over to El's, forgetting I didn't have Greg's phone number with me. (I like to call first before I go over.) His car wasn't there, though, so I figured he was out and he was. I easily got the shelf thing into the garage and tucked it behind some chairs.
Picked up a few things at Wal-Mart, then went to the library. Took back a few and got a few. Also picked up a talking book (I always listen to them in the car) about the fatal Esperanza fire of a few years back. I started listening to it, then realized I had taken it out a few months ago and had already heard it. I may or may not listen to it over again.
When I got in, I had a very welcome message from my NM friend. Called her back and we had a good talk. She said they found a pickle ball group and joined them for play. They'll be in Santa Fe another week, then take off for "four corners" where NM, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. Interestingly, they don't have cell phone or Internet connections at the campground where they're staying. It's in a mountainous area and I guess towers can't be built there. For a second, I was taken aback: Gosh, how do they manage? Then it dawned on me that, a few years ago, there would have been no such thing at a campground or anywhere else.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Lunch Bunch and Organizer

Went to the widder bunch lunch at Yolanda's, of course. I guess eight of us were there, including Joyce. She had been in touch and told me she was going. So did Nancy, but she was a no-show. Pam and Chuck, Susan, Vera, and Donna were all there--these are the ones I know well. As a rather refreshing change, Gayle wasn't there. I think she was on her cruise, so we wren't subjected to her incessant talking. It was enjoyable, as ever, the food good and the company better.
After, I went to the post office, then stopped in Sears and Target at the mall, looking for an over-the-door organizer, which I want to add to my patio closet. Neither had what I was looking for. Called Nancy when I got home, but her message machine was on. Hope she's okay. Had a call from Dolly, the one I met at SCAN, whose late husband was a physician. She had told me she had lost a credit card and I, half-jokingly, told her to say, "Oh, St. Anthony, please come around/Something is lost and can't be found." Those who are religious believe good ol' St. A. has an influence; otherwise, it seems most probable to this infidel that the saying prompts a "eureka!" moment in the loser's brain. Darned if Dolly didn't say it and find the card.
Went to Bed 'N' Bath on my quest. They didn't have exactly what I was looking for, either, but a salesperson went on-line to find they have something somewhat similar, although not just what I wanted. It costs eighty smackers plus shipping, though, and screw that.
Went to WinCo for supplies, then home and looked on-line. I was delighted to find just what I want from Staples, believe it or not, and for twenty-two bucks, including tax and no charge for shipping, as I'll pick it up at the store; should be there within a week.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Shedding New Light...

I spent the better part of the day on housework, getting framed pictures ready to go to Ellen's, and generally tidying up. Swept the patio and the entrance to my and my neighbor's door--I'm again beginning to wonder if she's alive or dead. Only went out for a bit for a Mother's Day card for my friend and a shower curtain hanger, which I intend to put in the patio closet. I also want to get an over the door device for detergent and so on.
Talked to El about 3:00; she said she was going to a few stores, but would be over after and she was. She got my new lamp out of the car, carried it to my place, plugged it in and happy day, it works! El also put up my new closet sheets. They're a little long, but actually look pretty good.
Best of all--well, second best, because my new lamp is best--she got me back to my computer setup. She didn't change it back to Microsoft 7 (I understand you have to modify to 10 by July, anyway), but showed me how I can get into everything I had before. What a relief! El took the pics, which she'll be kind enough to store in her garage. I must get over there myself to take the pipe/canvas contraption--although maybe I'll simply give it to Goodwill.
I could hardly wait until dark, to see how the living room looked with the other side lighted up. Well, it looks smashing! I'm so pleased with it.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Cards and K.

Did the usual in the morning, then went out to buy greeting cards. I went to FOUR DIFFERENT STORES trying to get ones for parents-to-be and grandparents-to-be. Finally found an appropriate one (of a very small selection) for the parents, Katherine and Jeremy, but none for my niece and her husband. I finally settled for one that suggests girl baby coming. Also bought Mother's Day cards for my daughters-in-law in Tokyo and Singapore. Must get one for my friend, too. Went to the P.O.--which is open until 3:00 on Saturday, nicely enough (it's only to 1:00 in Jersey)--and sent them off. While I was in there, Manahawkin Dermatology called, via a recording, to say I should make an appointment, as it's been a year since my full-body scan. Obviously, they don't know I'm 3,000 miles away.
Betty also called. I'm concerned that she has to see a cardiologist, as her (bad) cholesterol is high (although, so is the good kind), plus she has a dark mole. She rented her house for July--not sure where she'll live herself then.
Went home and made a huge salad, some of which I had for lunch. I waited in until after 3:00 when my guys in the Orient Skyped.
What a big boy K. is and how lively and talkative! I asked about his school (Montessori and it's a two-hour session once a week) and he showed me the carryall Mommy had made. What a wonderful combination of artist and seamstress she is; She had quilted the bag, which is turquoise and has an applique of a railroad crossing on it--K.'s obsession. Daddy told me there's a gate at the school. Parents are not allowed to enter it, only the children. I was a little worried K. would be apprehensive, as he's been with Mommy or Daddy, or both, virtually all the time since he was born. But Daddy said he marched right in without a backward look. Anyway, I loved seeing him--and his parents, of course.
El called later and we chatted. She had gone to one of her student's First Communions in Santa Paula. I told her about the lamp, which I can't get out of the car, plus the Microsoft thing and she said she could help; we'll get together today.