Monday, July 31, 2017

Catching Up

It was a catching up day and not a bad one. After reconciling myself to going back to the routine, I actually enjoyed it in a minor way. Got on the computer, walked Kimball, did the crossword, plus a few chores. Drove to town and walked the usual. Stopped at Vons on the way home, so had a late lunch.
I called my new friend, Diane (the one who had the eight-bedroom house in San Francisco and lost all her money) and invited her for lunch today. She was pleased to accept and I'll pick her up and bring her here.
Got an e-mail from Nancy, asking if we could get together today, too. Called her and, since I'm busy today and she is on Tuesday or Wednesday, we decided to meet on Thursday at Ellen's, then go somewhere for lunch.
Went to WinCo for shrimp, wine, and a few fruits. I'll serve Diane a sturdy salad (not your wimpy lettuce and tomato, either), plus shrimp, then make a fruit salad for dessert.
Betty called and, of course, we both hope brother Frank will improve with time. He's out of intensive care, so that's good news. I absolutely refuse to be pessimistic about his condition. I firmly believe he'll slowly get better, physically and mentally, and until I know differently, I'm going to go with that.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Last Day This Time

Last day--this time--for some of my family to be together, but it was a good one. When I got home from walking Kimball, I was texted that going to the beach was the intention and we decided to meet at 1:30 at the marina. That gave me time to go to WinCo for fruit and do some other errands. Drove to town after lunch, stopping at the library, then to the marina. Good grief, it was impossible to find a parking place anywhere near--the area was just jammed. Text come in: Let's go to the harbor, instead. We did and the same situation prevailed. We should have realized that those places would be packed--after it, it's the same as on Absecon Island on a summer weekend.
Another text: Let's go to the pool at your place, and that's where we went.
I put on my suit, but the others just put their feet in the water. We had an enjoyable. low-key, time. Cousin Carolyn was contacted and invited to meet us at El's in Ojai. The girls went to buy food, I changed and brought my salad, and we all met at Ojai.
Had a pulled-together, but good dinner, then took a walk through the neighborhood. Said goodbye about 8:30. I'll be back on Tuesday, as I'm staying over for two nights while El and Greg are vacationing in San Luis Obispo.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


(Darn, the Internet disconnect happened again today, Saturday! I got it running, but not until after I had walked Kimball and had breakfast. I tried something else, and hope it's the answer.)
Friday: Got home after 9:00 last night after a great day. I just don't have the time or inclination to write much, but I walked Kimball; went to T.O.PS. to find I lost another 1.4 pounds, for a total of 28 pounds and change off; breakfasted, showered, dressed, and took off for Ojai. The others came shortly and the five of us drove to the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens
We had a fairly strenuous, but wonderfully invigorating hike up/down, way/way/up, down and sideways, including over a creek, the passage for which consisted entirely of rocks. With one companion on each side, I managed to get over it, but it was dicey.
We then stopped in the botanical library, a lovely place like a sanctuary. We were charmed to find that side-by-side, there were books on the flora in New Jersey and New Mexico; well, they were in alphabetical order, that's why. I checked my phone while we were there and found my brother, Jim, had left a message. Called him back and we had a nice talk. He wanted to know if I had any new news on Frank and I told him what Francine had said.
From there, we went to Greg's mother's place. Greg went to pick up his brother at the airport while we chatted with her. Greg and bro came in and we visited for a time. The five of us then said goodbye and went off to the Paradise Cafe for dinner; sat on the patio and had a lovely time.
By the time we got back to Ojai, it was close to 9:00, but I drove home anyway. Stayed up for a bit with cherries and blueberries, then went to bed and slept until after 7:00--shockingly late for me, but I didn't care.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Ventura and Unpleasant News

Walked Kimball and even got my town walk in before the kids (ha!) came after lunch. We enjoyed chatting and I showed them two pictures painted by my Uncle Frank, plus one that had hung in my childhood home. I was hoping they might want to have one or more of them, but they may have decided against, which is fine by me. I'd love a family member to have them but if my own children don't take them, I'll see if their cousins might. We made plans to go to Santa Barbara today, so we'll join up in Ojai in early afternoon.
We then all went to Wal-Mart for this, that, and the other. We parted about 4:30 and I was about to go off to WinCo for fresh fish, when my phone rang. It was Betty, telling me that our brother, Frank, is in the hospital in ICU. It may be that he took too much medication for blood pressure; his BP had dropped alarmingly. When I got home, I called his daughter, Francine, who said he also had became incoherent (he does have some memory loss), but now seems to be improving. He'll be in the hospital at least over the weekend, she said, and on Monday, they'll decide what to do next.
Boy, this is a blow, on all kind of levels. Not only was his wife, Marybeth, who's getting less and less coherent, admitted to Mercy Central two weeks or so ago, but now this. Darn, darn, darn.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Around Ojai and Meditation Mountain

This damn machine broke down again! I re-booted and so on, but no luck. Went out and walked Kimball and when I got back, I was able to get in, but ouch!
Anyway, we had a high time yesterday--figuratively and literally. First, I met Carole at 9:00 am at the mall. We both got these vouchers that the country promotes--meaning 24 bucks worth we can "spend" at the farmers market at the mall. This is NOT a low-income benefit, but simply for seniors--as a reward, I guess, for living so long.
Anyway, Carole and I loaded up with all kinds of produce (exactly what I eat most of). Some, I never even heard of: lemon cucumbers, for instance, and Japanese tomatoes. They were wonderful.
Just as we were leaving, El called and suggested I come over, which I did, directly from there. We gathered, then went to the Kristimundi Center, a spiritual retreat place up in the hills. We wandered the garden and talked for a long time with the overseer, Carol Wade, who tends to the plants. She's very knowledgeable about their medicinal uses. I've been there before and like the philosophy espoused.
From there, back to El's for a sketchy lunch, to which I contributed some of my veggies. From there, we went to Bart's Books, famous in this area, and stayed reading for a bit, plus buying a few books. We then drove to one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my life, Meditation Mountain. The views here are just spectacular and we were there for about two hours. There's a meditation building, a small store, and areas where people can sit and just--well, meditate, I guess. We walked out to the "viewpoint" and I just gasped at the magnificent panorama. My companions sat, then lay down on the grass, while I sat on a bench nearby. I had picked up a lovely paper parasol, which are put there for people to use, then return, free of charge.
Anyway, it was wonderful. We left as the sun was setting and I decided not to join them for dinner this time--don't like to drive in the dark and I hadn't brought any overnight stuff. Went home, took a lovely shower, ate my lovely fruit, then had a lovely sleep.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Taking The High Road

Early on, I got both Kimball and town walks in. Good thing, because after I got to Ellen's about 2:00, the four of us took off for Santa Barbara. However, it was the wrong road; it was unbelievably high and the scenery was magnificent. We got to an elevation of 5,000 feet and the panorama of huge mountain after mountain was magnificent. However, it wasn't the road to Santa Barbara. After we were told by another traveler it would take us to the Sequoias, we turned back, as we were getting low on gas. Actually, we laughed over it, speculating on being lost in the wilderness, and had a fun time. However, I wouldn't want to take that road again.
We sat for a bit in El's yard, drinking wine, then walked to an Italian restaurant and ate outside on the patio. I left about 7:00 after a delightful day. Stopped on the way home for blueberries, cherries, peaches, and grapes. More going on today; no time for more of this now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back To Life

After coming back from the library, I tried this pesky machine and it worked. I wonder if I was just impatient and didn't give it time to re-up, or whatever. In any event, I'm back on line--happy day.
After using the computer at the library, I walked down to the Ventura Inn. This is the residence for lower income seniors and I was pleasantly surprised at how attractive the lobby is. Ran into my acquaintance, Marie M., in the lobby. She introduced me to the manager and I asked for an application for Diane.
Walked back to the library and read for a bit. For the first time in several weeks, I didn't complete my second walk, but drove home. There, lo and behold, my computer worked. It may have been I didn't wait long enough for it to reboot. Impatient Mimi!
I had boiled the eggs earlier and now mashed and added to yolks for the devil part, lined serving dishes with lettuce, and put them in the fridge. Did this and that around the apartment, then showered, washed my hair, changed, and took off for Ojai.
We had a fine time at dinner with some of my favorite people in the world, and ate, talked, and laughed with plenty of pleasure and plenty of wine. It was almost 8:00 before I left and getting dark, in which I don't like to drive, but I'll see them again today--yay!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Computer Out!

AAGH! My computer's down! Unplugged and replugged several times and it's still out. Now I'm at the library on-line and it's very awkward, to say the least. Hope I can remedy matters soon.
Sunday: Got up early and was walking Kimball by 7:30. After breakfast, I went to WinCo and went nuts in the fruit and veggie department. I brought (more!) blueberries, plums, and apples, as well as Romaine, two kinds of tomatoes, cucumber, and spaghetti squash. Also got the grilled chicken I put in salad and a few other items. When I got home, I prepared all, going nuts with my Chop Wizard chopper, doing in succession some of the salad stuff and chicken, plus broccoli I already had. I also chopped the five onions on the counter, put them in a container, and stored in the freezer for later use. It's part of my diet regimen to always have the refrig full of fresh foods that I eat, and this should last me a few days.
After lunch (chopped salad, what else?), I drove to town for my usual walk. On the way, El called to invite me for dinner tonight. Yes, indeed, I'll be glad to go.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Usual

Incredibly, I didn't get up until 8:00 yesterday. Not sure why I slept so late, but I felt fine. After coffee, blog, and so on, walked Kimball and after breakfast, paper, and crossword, spent a lot of time on various and sundry. Packed up the book for Vivian and took off to the P.O. about 11:00. I was horrified to be told the postage to Singapore was twenty-two dollars! The book itself was only twenty-one, but oh, hell, I sent it anyway. I put in a note telling Viv how much I love her and mentioning she'll also be getting a gift card from her Nana.
Drove to town and as I started down Main Street, I noticed that the mission (still a functioning church) was open. Peered in and saw a wedding in progress. I went in, sat in the back pew, and watched for a half hour or so. The ceremony was in Spanish, but I enjoyed it anyway. I left during communion and continued on my way.
Tried to stop at the Ventura Inn, which is where my friend, Marie M., lives. However, a resident told me the front desk person wasn't there on weekends, so I'll go back on Monday. The Inn, which I assume had been a hotel, is for lower income single people and, if I'm not mistaken, consists of studio apartments only. Actually, it's a rather attractive place, judging from the outside and what I saw of the lobby. I'll get information about it tomorrow for my new friend, Diane.
Read for a bit at the library (David Niven's bio), then walked back. Home, I had my large salad with chicken for lunch, then went to a few stores. Bought myself a bra and some office stuff. Got an e-mail from Carole, reminding me we're meeting on Wednesday morning at the mall.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Here And There

Walked Kimball, then went to T.O.P.S. I was surprised and pleased to find I had lost another 2.8 pounds for a total of 27.8 and a weight of 155.6 (those tenths of pounds are urgent). Considering my sandwich and wine on the boat and the fact Betty was here, I was resigned to not losing, so was glad. Another thing I lost, I'm afraid, is the little notebook in which I've been recording all the weight stuff. However, using T.O.P.S. official info, I was able to figure I started at 183. Okay, lookin' good.
The meeting was rollicking, as they tend to be, Lolly being anything but the leader type. In August, my pal, Lenny (for Lenore) takes over and I hope it will be a bit more to the point.
Didn't get home for breakfast until 10:30, the usual on Fridays. By the time I finished, did some computer work, paid bills, and tidied up, it was almost noon. Went to WinCo to replenish supplies, then spent time chopping veggies and chicken for salad and stir fry. After lunch, I called my new friend, Diane, and told her I'd go over to her place and give her the application for (fixed income) Cypress Point. Did so, she offered me iced tea and we talked for more than an hour.
Diane is an interesting person and incredibly, also a pacifist, one of the few around here, it seems. She goes to the Unitarian Church (or "church") and is a mindFUNism instructor. Yeah, I think it's nuts, but I like her. She had an eight-bedroom house in San Francisco, and opened a bed and bath, but lost it, along with her first husband. I'm not sure exactly why, but I suspect bankruptcy for the former. She moved to Costa Rico, then Mexico, then various other places in South America, then Albuquerque, NM in the states. Moved here only four months ago, presumably because one of her two sons lives in Agoura Hills, not far away.
We met at the condo where we lives--it's very attractive, but I was taken aback when she told me she simply rents a room there. She wants to move, as the owner, an elderly woman, has become "fault-finding." Diane herself is 75, which I was amazed to hear; as I told her, she doesn't look over sixty. She laughed and said she's "had work," I guess a face lift. She's has a nice figure--slender, but not bony, and is quite attractive. She does have neuropathy and uses a cane. Anyway, I like her a lot and asked her to give me a call next week and I'll pick her up for lunch.
After I left Diane's, I went directly to Barnes & Noble to get my soon-to-be-a-teenager (is it possible?) granddaughter, Vivian, a card. I'll send her a gift card from Amazon shortly, but I'm also sending her Terri S.'s book A Road to Barcelona. Stopped at Sprout's for blueberries and by that time, it was almost 5:00.
I knew the library closes at 5:00 on Fridays, but I did my usual museum to library walk. Didn't get home until almost 6:00 and had flounder for dinner. Called Betty to ask how her side is (she's been having pain) and she said she thinks better. She leaves to go back to Jersey today.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The V.A.

Walked Kimball early. Incredibly enough, I later went to the V.A. Services office. The speaker at the VCS meeting on Wednesday had mentioned "survivors' benefits," to the effect that some widows of veterans were entitled to a thousand a month. Thought I might as well look into it, so I dug up Pat's discharge papers and a few other documents and took myself off.
I learned from the receptionist that I could make an appointment to talk to someone, but the earliest would be in September. However, he gave me a paper listing when representatives would be at other sites and the one in Ventura was yesterday from 1 to 4. He told me to go at 12:30 at the latest, as there was usually a long wait. I did just that--in fact, got there about noon, so I had a long wait.
I was told to wait outside in the atrium, which was very pleasant. Fell into conversation with a woman whose husband had died only three weeks ago and who said the people at Social Security couldn't tell her how much she'd be receiving in those benefits. She was called in and I started talking to a guy who was trying "for the fourth time" to get full disability instead of partial. Others came in, then I was finally called at about 1:15.
The rep was very pleasant, but I was with him for about five minutes. He told me immediately that assets can't total more than eighty dollars (total assets!). Also, there's a complicated formula concerning income, but it seems to boil down to you can't have more than something like 8,000 dollars annually! What? How can anybody live on twice that, let alone--? I said thank you and goodbye.
Oh, well, it was an experience. Went home, had lunch, then El came over, bringing her Subway sandwich. I gave her a glass of iced tea, we sat and chatted while she ate, then she made a few adjustments to my phone. She left, I drove to town and did the walk.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Wednesday was a catch-up day and I feel good about that. Left for Kimball at 7:00 and got home a bit before 8:00. Had breakfast, showered, dressed, and was out the door at 9:00 to attend the VCS (Ventura Council for Seniors) meeting. Elections were held and I actually had a challenger: Carol S. presented herself for the position of vice chair. However, after I expressed my willingness to continue, I was retained in the office. Carol actually apologized afterward, but as I told her, of course, there was no need, she had every right to run. Active in disability organizations in the area, Carol had been in a car accident when she was one or two years old and suffered major neurological damage. She is now in her fifties and has regained a lot of physical ability; however, her speech is noticeably affected, as are her facial expressions.
I was pleased to see Doris and Carole there and we made a date to meet next Wednesday to collect coupons for the vegetables and fruit market at the mall. I understand these are handed out to all, whether low income or not, in order to encourage healthful eating. Well, Zeus knows eating healthy is my thing, so it's right down my alley.
I met a woman named Diane there and we talked. I was interested in the fact that she said she had "lost all my money" several years ago and she now lives in some kind of "senior share" arrangement, but has to move soon. She seems intelligent and refined and I'd like to get to know her better. We exchanged cards and I was taken aback to see that hers includes "mindfulness counseling"--ouch. The last thing in the world I want to get into is that kind of touchy-feeling self-hypnosis stuff, but maybe we can be friendly otherwise--we'll see.
As soon as I got home, I changed, then took two large loads of laundry--including four sheets--to the laundry place. Getting them back and forth, and washed, dried, and folded took until about 2:00, with lunch in-between. Ellen called; she has a bone density test today and will stop in this afternoon.
The wash done, I took off for town and was glad to get my second walk in. I sat and read at the library for an hour or so, then walked back. Got gas on the way home--it now seems perfectly normal to pump it myself, so I guess I've turned into a real Californian--after a good day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

At Ojai and Elsewhere

More good stuff going on. I walked Kimball (Betty opted out), then got home to make breakfast. We dressed and tidied up, then went to the 99 Cent store (lots of things are multiples of 99 cents) and Betty got little presents for her grandchildren. Took her for a bit of a scenic drive after, then we went to Ellen's, arriving at noon, as invited.
Greg was off and had invited a co-worker to see the house and join us for lunch. It was a delicious, perfect mid-summer meal: a salad of arugula, avocado, tomatoes, lightly dressed with vinegar and oil; cold chicken (not lunch meat, but cut from a roast); nicely done deviled eggs; multi-grain bread; chickpea spread; and iced tea and Chardonnay. There was chocolate and peppermint ice cream for dessert--the good kind from O'Connell's--in which I didn't indulge, of course. Greg's co-worker, who is moving to San Francisco shortly, said goodbye, and Greg went to his study to catch up on paper work, then El, Betty, and I drove into town. We strolled down Main Street, then into the leafy park for a bit. Got back to Ellen's and we gathered our things to leave. I drove Betty to Ventura station and got her on the train to Santa Barbara, where Carolyn picked her up.
Got home about 6:00 and went next door to Suzanne's to check on how often I should water her African violets (every two weeks). We had a talk about my concerns regarding some problems of my siblings. Suzanne is going to a retreat at the Mercy mother house, then to a birthday celebration for her 91-year-old aunt. After that, I called brother Frank to ask about Marybeth and we had a good talk. He still sounds slightly disoriented, but better than he did. He told me his license had been renewed, but only for a year.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Extended Family Time

What a very enjoyable day with extended family!
Walked Kimball, went to WinCo for cherries and spinach, then cleaned up a bit at home. Carolyn, Betty, Finn, and Claire came about 1:30 and we all went to the pool. I hardly ever go--it seems more trouble than it's worth--and I don't like to just sit there and bake. But with my company, this was great fun and they loved it. I brought a basket of cherries to the pool area, but Finn got hungry and I suggested he go back to my place, look in the fridge and cabinet, and get whatever he wanted to eat. He did, then came back later.
We stayed about two hours, I guess, came back and had some soda and good talk, then the younger three left. El called and we made a date for Betty and me to go to Ojai at noon to see her house. Betty and I chatted a bit, then went to the widder group dinner. We saw and talked to my friends, all of whom I'm so fond, but Nancy didn't show. She had intended to come and I'll call her to see if she's okay.
As ever, we had a good time with this group. Betty had been with me at a dinner before and many remember her. Didn't get home until after 8:00 and we just watched TV (me) and played IPad games (Betty). Turned it at 9:00.
I had thought Betty would be here for more than a week, but she's actually leaving to go back to the east coast on Saturday. After Ellen's, I'll take her to the train station for her to go back to Carolyn's and from there, to Stephen's and L.A.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Day On The Lake

Wow, a busy, active day, but great fun. Got up at 6:15 and after coffee and morning ablutions, I got to WinCo by 7:00. In case I was going to meet Betty and Carolyn at Ellen's, I wanted to have provisions on hand. Had breakfast, dressed, and got to Nancy's at 9:30, when she asked me to come. Met her daughter-in-law, Erin, and what a lovely young woman she is. I had already been acquainted with Nancy's son, Richard, also a neat guy.
Erin drove us to Casitas Lake, only about ten minutes away and Rich met us there. We got in the pontoon boat (flat-bottomed and very stable) and sailed (not literally; it has a motor) several miles down the lake. Geez, it was gorgeous--a perfect day, warm and sunny with blue skies, but a light breeze that cooled just enough. We toasted Nancy's birthday (79), then Erin made sandwiches and we devoured them along with Shock Top beer, which I like as much as Blue Moon.
We were out on the lake for several hours and just had a marvelous time. Hove to about 2:30 and I went back to Nancy's for just a few minutes, as I knew she was tired (she has chronic anemia, for which she gets infusions). We said goodbye, but not before Erin gave me ten fresh eggs from their two chickens.
Went from there to El's and visited with her for an hour or so. Carolyn called to say they'd just stick to the original plan, so she'll bring Betty to my place today. On my way home, my niece, Joan, called with some family questions and we talked for a bit.
It occurred to me when I got home that this was was first day in several months--about five, I think--I hadn't walked Kimball. Well, dammit, I wasn't going to slack off now. Changed closthes, jumped in the car and drove there, and got my walk in by 5:30.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Walked Kimball after a restless night. After breakfast, I decided to take my town walk because I didn't get it on Friday. Did so and found a beautiful wooden tray, with color insets and a small, round table. I bought them for a song, of course, and they look so nice in the apartment.
After lunch, I went to Macy's and got Nancy a gift card. Went from there to Penney's Hair Salon and spent the next several days in the chair...
...well, it seemed that long. I just hate having my hair done--and this was color and cut--it's so tedious. I must say, though, that both color and cut look great. It had been getting much too blonde and scraggly on the ends, so this was a great improvement.
While I was getting combed out, my brother Larry called. He was back in Miami after the service for Jack in Manahawkin. I had to call him back, which I did in the car after my hair ordeal and we had a good talk. He said the service was mobbed--Jack's former students and baseball players, which he coached, came in droves. The service was not religious at all, in keeping with Jack's "fallen away" (as we used to be labeled) status. His ex-wife was there, of course; they were more or less reconciled, at least as joint parents, many years ago. Larry said he had driven past my house in Sunrise Bay and it looks terrific. I was happy to hear that, but not surprised, as Eileen has been a good tenant.
Added a card and a succulent in a little red pitcher to Nancy's gift bag after dinner, then talked to El. She suggested I bring Betty over to the new house on Tuesday. However, she later thought I should meet Carolyn and Betty at her place today, after I leave Nancy's. I'm not sure yet what it will be, but I'm okay with either and she'll call me later.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

T.O.P.S. and Photos

Walked Kimball, then it was off to T.O.P.S. at SCAN. I ran into Marty there and found he doesn't do tutorials on Smart Phones, which I have, but on IPhones and Pads, which are different, so I won't be attending his sessions. Actually, I'm moseying around the phone pretty well and think I can handle it.
At T.O.PS. I got the news that I had lost another 2.8 for a total of 27.8 pounds down. Of course, that was two weeks worth, but I'm satisfied. The meeting dragged on for quite a time, as usual, but we finished by 10:00 and it was home for breakfast. I took a load of wash out right after, then had lunch, then Suzanne stopped in. She asked if I'd like to go to a photo exhibit by her St. John's co-worker at 5:00 and I accepted with pleasure.
Shortly thereafter, Ellen came in order to bring me Greg's old DVD player, which she tried to hook up, but without success. The T.V., for some reason, couldn't "communicate" with the DVD player. I shrugged, as I'm indifferent to it, anyway. El also filled me in on what the attachments to my phone case are and hung a picture for me. She left, I changed, and Suzanne and I went to Panaro Brothers Winery for the photo show.
In truth, I think my son-in-law's pictures are more interesting, but I enjoyed seeing these (seascapes and animals) and especially, to meet Suzanne's colleagues. As I told her, I was taken aback to hear her addressed as "Sister," but of course, she is a nun--I keep forgetting that.
Anyway, it was great fun and the wine was good, too. We got home a bit after 7:00 and I got a message to the effect that son Mike had called, but my phone couldn't get international calls--damn, I didn't realize that. Anyway, I called him back on Skype and we talked, plus I saw my darling granddaughters--Violet, who just turned 9 and Vivian, soon to be 13 and what a beautiful almost-teenager she is. Their mum, Paula, is in Las Vegas, but will be returning home to Singapore soon.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Various And Mundane

I had set the alarm, so got up at my preferred 6:15. Walked, breakfasted, did some chores, then finally turned my attention to potting the two plants I had bought the other day. I even planted the little succulents in the stiletto-heeled shoes I had bought at Goodwill for just that purpose. I can't decide it they look very cute or very stupid.
Went to WinCo for veggies and salmon. Had a big salad for lunch, as usual, then drove to town and walked the second walk. I was please that the book I had requested, another by Robert Wagner, You Must Remember This, had come in, so picked it up. I'm still in my Old Hollywood kick and this is fun to read.
When I got home, Betty called. She wanted to know if she could change her plans and come on Sunday instead of Monday. Actually, that wouldn't be agreeable to me, so I hemmed and hawed. She called back later and said she had gotten back into the original arrangement and will come on Monday.
Larry called to asked if I had called him, but I hadn't. He said he was just leaving the Smithville Inn with a friend of his. Boy, I loved that place; hope I can get there again. Today is the memorial service for Jack--sigh.
I've been having trouble sleeping lately, I'm afraid. I go to sleep easily, get up for the usual about two am, then toss and turn. Hope I can shake this.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

More Sad News

Slept later again, walked the walk, and got home a bit after 8:00. Nancy called to say her birthday celebration and pontoon ride on Lake Casitas will be on Saturday--fine by me, as I'm getting a cut an color on Saturday. Betty called to say she has arrived in California and is at her son, Steve's, in L.A. She'll come to my place on Monday and stay over a night or two before going on to Santa Barbara to Carolyn's.
While I was doing some household chores, I got a call from brother, Frank, in Alameda. At first, I thought he was calling to tell me Marybeth had died because he broke down and cried. But no, he told me she had been admitted to Mercy Central in Oakland. He said he cries very easily now; my big brother is himself suffering from some kind of dementia--memory problems. While I was talking to him, my doorbell rang. It was the woman from Elder Services, checking to see if I was still being abused or something. (This would be funny except I was in no mood for humor.) I assured her I had gotten my money back and all was well and she left. Frank asked me to call my other two brothers and Betty with the news, and I did. I looked at the web site for Mercy Central and it looks like a well-though-of nursing home.
Called brothers Jim and Larry; latter was about to leave for the airport to get a plane to Jersey and attend Jack B.'s memorial service. For some strange reason, we started talking about Matt Gallagher, with whom Larry and Jack went all through St. James, Holy Spirit, and Villanova. Neither he nor Betty had known Matt died in May until I told them--odd. I found the obit in the AC Press and sent it to them.
Anyway, drove to town for the usual. As I was walking toward the library, somebody called my name. It was my neighbor, Don, and we walked a block or two together. He said he was looking for round sunglasses like the kind John Lennon wore. Why, I can't imagine, but, preoccupied with the news about MaryBeth, I didn't ask and just wished him luck.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Got up late again, so didn't get home from my walk until almost 8:00. Completed a lot of boring business-type stuff, plus finally finished and sent off to Suz my "Acting for Amateurs" proposal. Cleaned up, had lunch, then called Sue. We had a good chat, but unfortunately, she's in a great deal of pain with what she said are adhesions in her knee. She had a replacement a few years ago and scar tissue has built up.
After lunch, I parked at the library and walked to Mission Park. Called Ellen and was delighted to learn she's having some visitors in two weeks. She asked if I wanted Greg's DVD player, which I do, and she said she'd come over on Friday to install it.
When I got home, I rang Suzanne's bell to return her container (she had given me some fish sauce, which was delicious). We talked for a bit and she asked me to care for her two African violets when she's away next week. Told her I'd be glad to and I hope they survive.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I'm up, I'm down, I'm up again. Feeling a lot better because of Violet's present, the fact that I dealt with a lot of financial items, and most satisfying of all, I wrote to Suz my proposal for "Acting for Amateurs" at Ventura College. I'll look it over before I send and might tweak it a bit, but it's essentially done and I don't know why I agonized over it so much
I got up pretty late--7:00--so didn't get home from walking Kimball until after 8:00. Spent the time between breakfast and lunch handling the aforementioned, doing wash, then took off for town. Stopped first at Staples to get printer ink and at the 99 Cent store, where I picked up two pretty daisy plants, which I'll put in containers as soon as I feel like doing it. Picked up two pretty daisies to plant in the garden.
Because I had both a book and an audio to return, I parked at the library and walked to Mission Park instead of the reverse. Walked back and spent time doing what I do, then drove home. "Riced" with the Chop Wizard a large cauliflower and had some with dinner.
Hmm...looking over my calendar for the month, I see that July was and is unusually quiet. That's okay for a time; in fact, I'm enjoying the restful hiatus, but I don't want it to extend into August.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Little Blue And Violet

Walked and did my Sunday routine. Went to WinCo (I go to the supermarket often, as most of what I eat is fresh) and ran into Steve Wu. I know him through the Adult Center where he hangs out. We chatted for a few minute and he said he'd be at the VCS meeting on the nineteenth.
Went home and chopped up the salad fixings for lunch. Ate, then--unusually for me--lay down on the couch for about a half hour. I wasn't tired, just feeling a little blue. I wanted to send a birthday gift to precious little Violet in Singapore, but for various reasons, couldn't seem to find anything I thought appropriate. Also, I have various things to take care of, financial and otherwise, and I just don't feel motivated, so the old guilt thing kicks in.
Got up and tried to shake off my mild depression. Got ready to drive to town and it occurred to me that, rather than putting in my pockets the things I need during my walk, I found a kind of packet lunch holder I've had for years. It works well to hold my glasses, phone, money, and so on, and is much lighter than my purse.
Parked at the usual and considering same, this morning there was a front page article in the Ventura Star to the effect that the museum might close; it's bleeding money. Walked to the library and spent forty-five or so reading (about Prince William and Princess Kate, believe it or not), requested Robert Wagner's book, You Must Remember This, turned in an audio book and got another, then left. By the time I got back to my car, my spirits had risen.
As for Robert Wagner, I'm just finishing his first book, Pieces of My Heart, which I greatly enjoyed. I'm a sucker for old Hollywood and he seems to tell all. It's a cinch these actors jumped in and out of bed with each other to a remarkable extent. Clearly, Wagner was--or is--no slouch at that activity himself. BTW, he is still alive and well at 87 and lives in Aspen, although he maintains a condo in L.A.
Later, I e-mailed Violet's Daddy, son Mike, to ask if an Amazon gift card would be okay for Violet. He responded that she'd love it, so I immediately ordered it. Sweet Violet is nine years old today.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Lost Debit Card

To Kimball at 7:00 and walked the walk. Spent a lot of time on various Internet stuff after breakfast, then drove to town for my second walk.
First, I stopped at the post office to sent a certified letter re house insurance renewal. Used my debit card, then slipped it into my pocket. When I parked in town, as I always do, I put my pocketbook in the trunk and keys, money, library card, phone, and glasses in my pockets. Sat in the park and called Betty just to chat, then continued on to the library. Stayed for a bit reading, then walked back, home for lunch.
Brother Larry called. Jack's memorial service will be on the 14th and of course, Larry will be there. I did a few things around the house, then thought I'd run over to WinCo. They take only cash and debit cards, so I looked in my wallet--uh oh; no debit card. No money, either, so I surmised both card and cash had fallen out of my pocket. The dough amounted to only two bucks, but the debit card is essential. Drove back to the P.O.--no, it wasn't handed in--and to the library and they didn't have it either. Got back in the car and talked into my phone: "O.K., Google, phone number for Bank of Amelia" and several came up immediately. I called to cut off my card and get a new one; I can get a temporary one on Monday at the bank, but what a drag.
Ellen had been bugging me to go back to Cricket to ask how I get my voice messages; I had resisted, as after all, they don't run tutorials. However, I did stop there and they were very good about it. One of them even put on the case, which I had gotten on line. When I got home, I called El to tell her I had taken her advice and gone there.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Jury and BP Two

Good little citizen that I am (ha!), I reported to the Hall of Justice promptly at 8:00 am. There were probably more than a hundred people in my group (number 44) and we filed in and picked up identifying badges. We were addressed by some kind of court clerk, then by a judge, and were told we would have a break at 10 am and at 3 pm, plus lunch from 11:30 to 1:00.
It turned out to be about equal parts interesting and boring. I went outside in the large and nicely appointed courtyard and was close enough to go home for lunch. I passed the time mainly by doing what virtually all the others were: looking at my phone. I'm still not adept, but I'm learning more and more. I called Ellen, then another friend, then Nancy, chatted with a few people, and generally passed the time reasonably okay. Dr. J.'s office called to question me about any dizziness, fatigue, vision problems (I don't have any of these) and to say I should still take my BP medication
'Because I didn't get to Kimball (or T.O.P.S., for that matter), I asked another juror to watch my purse and went around the circular walkway in the courtyard ten times. That certainly didn't come anywhere near my usual three daily miles, but it was something.
I was a tad disappointed I wasn't picked for a case, but it was just as well. We were released at 3:45 and I had every intention of driving to town to at least get my other walk in, but it was so damn hot, I changed my mind. Went to Wal-Mart to check my BP. It read as 98/62, still very low, if you ask me. I found a nice, large plant of succulents at Wal-Mart and bought it for the garden.
I was just chopping up things for dinner when I realized I had left a few things at my doorstep when I got the mail. I saw that Suzanne' door was open and asked her if she had a BP machine. She did--it's even electric and, she said, very accurate. She took my pressure and it was 118/71 with a pulse of 71. I guess that's an improvement. Suzanne herself said she has high blood pressure; ominously, several in her family died of heart ailments. She kindly offered to do mine whenever I wanted--what a happy coincidence that I moved in next door to her!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Jury and BP

I woke up a little late--7:00--so didn't get back from my walk until after 8:00.* I was having a leisurely breakfast when I realized I had forgotten to call the jury duty number. Did so and--yoicks! I was supposed to have reported in at 8:00 am! I rushed out the door, drove to the Hall of Justice (grandiose name) and threw myself on the mercy of the young woman at the window. She was very pleasant and nice and simply said I should report today at 8:00. Whew! I thought they'd throw me in jail or something.
With the Bona equipment, I cleaned the hard floor, then took the area rugs in bath and hall to the laundry. Washed, then put them out on the patio to dry. Tried to prepare half of the huge zucchini Suzanne gave me, but now I think it's not a zucchini. I sliced it and added some garlic and olive oil, then put in the microwave. I found that I should have pared it first, as the skin really doesn't seem edible.
Drove to town and did the walk, then got my beautiful blue baby washed, inside and out. She's so clean, she sparkles. El called when I got home and we had a good talk. On Wednesday, Greg's mother and brother and his family came to see the house and stayed for dinner. El has some large pieces of art work to hang and asked for a phone number for Ryan, the picture hanger who expertly hung my large A.C. pictures.
* The nurse who comes to the park on Tuesdays and Thursdays took my BP and it was again low: 93/64 and 92 (pulse). Nurse advised me to call my doctor's office and ask for my numbers the last two times I was there. I did and the physician's assistant said they had been 118/80 and 64 on June 20 and 114/78 and 89 on March 8. She said they did seem low and suggested I keep track. Since I don't have the apparatus to do so, guess I'll have to use Wal-Mart.

Thursday, July 06, 2017


Walked the walk, did a wash with the usual back and forth, went to WinCo for rock fish, later to Smart 'n' Final for cherries and grapes. Got an email from Lynn, of Dudley House, telling me they have some black skirts and white blouses and I'm welcome to stop in to see if they suit me. She also invited me to do a "shadow tour" on August 6th (it's only open the first Sunday of each month) to get a feel for the spiel, I guess. She sent the book and packet for docents, so I'm looking forward to getting them.
After lunch, I reversed my usual town walk and parked at the library, then walked the opposite way. Stopped into The Coalition and found a nice wooden box, painted yellow, just right to hold the overflow of garden things on the patio. Bought it, left it there, and picked it up after I got my car.
When I got home about 5:00, I found outside my door a big zucchini--I knew who had left it, so rang Suzanne's bell to thank her. I'll prepare it in the slow cooker, I guess, with onion, garlic, and seasonings. I returned the favor by giving her a bowl of the luscious cherries I just bought.
Aside from all that, I took a drive after dinner. I must remember to drop some donations off at Goodwill--should have thought of donating to The Coalition--so I can clear my trunk and finally get my car washed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Visit to Ojai

Walked Kimball, then after breakfast, spent a fair amount of time on the patio/garden. It's really shaping up nicely, but I want to add a few plants.
I wasn't about to go to town to get my second mile in, considering the crowds I knew were gathering for the parade. Instead, I drove back to Kimball after lunch. Rather than take my usual, I went on a different path around the pool and playing fields, and enjoyed it. I was again on the patio when Suzanne came out on hers. She had spent a few days in Pasadena and I glad to see her back. I asked her to come over, she did, and she admired what I had done with the plants and so on. We had a good talk, as ever.
Jumped in the shower, washed my hair, dressed, and left for Ojai about 2:30. I was pleasantly surprised that I seemed to have avoided the heavy traffic, so no prob. When I got to El's, she went over my smart phone and we contacted a few people. I still have a way to go, but I think I'm more comfortable with it. Greg made a delicious dinner featuring his own recipe of tomato sauce over pasta. El made the salad, also very good, and we had fresh ears of corn. After, we took a walk around their neighborhood and what an interesting one it is. No two houses are alike, some are very old, many are newly renovated, some need to be, and overall, it's a good place to live. We saw a number of people who greeted us--very friendly and warm.
I left about 7:00 and got home in good time. A nice, nice day, and I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Check List

I got up earlier than usual--a little after 5 am. Did the usual computer stuff, then left for Kimball. I was so early, I was home at 7:15. After breakfast, I made up a list of what I wanted to do and wrote it down. Got most of it done, to wit:
Got birthday card for Violet, gift to follow--check.
Stopped at bank for register booklets--check.
Called AT & T to end my landline "service." I was told they'd end it on July 5 and I squawked; she then said she'd back date it--check.
Went to the P.O. to send Violet's card--check.
Went to Marie Calender's to meet my widder group pals for lunch--check. There were only five of us this time, but it was good as ever; they're some of my favorite people. I told them about Jack's death and they reacted with quiet sympathy--check.
Ordered a cover and other accessories for my smart phone on-line--check.
Went to SCAN to sign up for a smart phone course with Marty--check (although he has no opening until the 18th).
Aside from all that, I took my usual museum to library walk. While in town, I found a large, covered picnic basket for six bucks (at The Coalition thrift store). It will be perfect to contain a number of my gardening supplies on the patio.
After dinner, I went up Foothills Road to a church where the Ventura Philatelic Society meets. I have several old stamps--six with Hitler's portrait on them--and wanted to see if they're worth anything.
They're not. However, I met and chatting with some people, including Sheree, who happens to be is the "head of the docents at Dudley House." She was thrilled to hear I had volunteered for being one and I'm sure I'll see more of her later.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Terrible News

The terrible news came via a call from my brother, Larry: Jack Bihlmier died yesterday morning. What a blow to our family, but especially to Larry. He and Jack had been best friends for, incredibly, more than eighty years. They met as toddlers on Newport Avenue in Ventnor, went to St. James and graduated together, did the same at Holy Spirit, joined the military at the same time (Larry, army, Jack, navy), and graduated from Villanova together. We knew Jack was in the hospital and very ill, but--to have him gone. Losing him is like losing a or parent or sibling--you understand that they're gone, but you can't grasp that they're gone forever. Betty called after Larry; he'll fly up from Florida for the funeral and stay with her.
As for my ordinary day: I walked Kimball, then did some chores, then went to Dudley House, which is an historic house here. I wanted to donate some needlepoint, which I gave the woman who seems to run the place. I also filled out a form to be a docent--seems like fun, as you have to dress in costume and impersonate one of the 1890's residents of the house.
Went from there to town and got my other walk in. Sidewalks and stores were jammed, of course, being it was the weekend before the fourth. I enjoy that; it seems so much more festive.
Got my new patio chairs in, thanks to my neighbor, Gil, Dad of adorable six-month-old Ethan. He, Danielle, and baby live across from me and I was grateful he offered to carry them for me. I also met the wife of my upstairs neighbor, Janna (pronounced "Yahnna"; he's from Finland). Her name sounds like "Ayn-ya" and boy, what a gorgeous couple they are. He's about 6'2", blond and handsome, and she's a tall and slender, very pretty brunette.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Jewelry and Cell

Walked Kimball. Put my jewelry in my new armoire--ooh, it looks good! Got to Ellen's a bit before noon; I had thought there'd be a lot of traffic, but except for a short stretch, it was pretty light.
We had our lunches, then El looked at my new smart phone, but couldn't get it to either call or receive; nor was the Internet working on it. She put it on the charger, then we did some yard work. El used her new leaf blower to blow off the yard, while I deadheaded her two rose bushes and watered them. We then left to go to a few shops in town (Ojai, that is). Got back to her place and I left about 4:00 after we made a date for me to spend some time with her and Greg on the fourth.
I drove directly to the Cricket store and was pretty vocal in complaining about the non-service of the phone. However, it was re-programmed (or something) and when I got it home, it worked. Since then, I've been putting in contacts and other stuff and trying to get used to it. I'm actually starting to like it. I'm going to have to start contacting people to tell them my cell number will be my only one. Must call AT & T and tell them what they can do with their landline--ha!

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Busier Day

Walked Kimball, then went to T.O.P.S. Happily, I'm now in the next "decade"--the 150s--and have lost a total of 25 pounds.
The rest of the day was a blur, as so much went on. I won't even go into the ins and outs, except to chronicle my activities:
1. I finally stepped into the twenty-first century and got a smart phone; I'll be able to keep my cell phone number.
2. I looked at outdoor chairs at Target--on sale, half price, for ten bucks. However, I went over to Lowe's and got ones I like better (red seats, white frames) for twice that, but oh, well.
3. Jim, the assistant manager here, was nice enough to carry my wonderful new jewelry armoire from the car to my place. He wouldn't take any money, but said I could pay him with my homemade applesauce.
4. Suzanne's rent has been raised by 80 dollars a month--ouch! She and her fellow nuns have their salary sent to headquarters, then each is given what she needs. (El said it sounds like communism and damned if it doesn't--certainly a kinder, gentler system than capitism). She's looking into Cypress Meadows, which is a lower-income apartment place and very nice, too. She brought me a brochure and info, but I don't qualify financially.
5. Although it was almost 5:00, I drove to town and walked the walk, although the library was closed. Ran into Tony M., of SCAN, who was on his way to meet friends for dinner.
6. Called El and told her all the above news. I'll go over to her place today for lunch and possibly, antique storing or whatever.
Didn't have dinner until after 7:00. I had eaten lunch a tad early while I waited for Jim, yet I wasn't as hungry as I could have been. Keeping busy is the best appetite suppressor for me.