Friday, March 24, 2017

Caregivers And Other Stuff

I had sent Susan G., my longtime neighbor and friend in Sunrise Bay, a happy birthday e-mail and got back a nice chatty letter. She said eccentric neighbor, Anne Mary H., had lost her little miniature poodle. A.M. never married and has no living relatives at all; her dogs meant the world to her and, even in the 13 years she lived on our street, she lost three. Since she doesn't use a computer, I sent her a note via regular mail.* Hearing all the news of our street made me nostalgic. I want to go back and visit; hope to do so in the summer.
Took the bath rugs to the laundry house to wash and dry. Today, I'll vacumn and mop the hard floors to complete getting ready for my company, clean the kitchen, then go for my 1:30 cut and color with Amanda.
Considering it didn't owe me anything (one of my mother's favorite sayings), I decided to put my small wooden table on Craigslist under "free." Did so and about ten minutes later, I got a call from "Jesse," who said he wanted the table. However, I was about to leave for Caregivers' monthly coffee, and said I'd call him back. Unfortunately for him, I must have written the number down incorrectly because when I called, it wasn't his. I decided to let the next person in line--"Rose"--have the table.
It was a good group at Caregivers. It happened to be an employee's birthday and there was a lunch spread. I didn't want to refuse, but didn't want to eat the pasta and cookies and so on, either, so I just had a very small amount of kale salad and coffee.
At the meeting, I met two young people: Ruth and Jonathan. Interestingly, my phone friend, Karen, had mentioned that Jonathan, who used to weigh 500 pounds, was going to help her with her "stuff." Clearly, he has some condition or other--neurological? I'm not sure how old he is, but he looks to be in his twenties. He said he's never had a job and he "stayed in" when he was heavy (he's surely lost 300 pounds, judging his appearance now), for two years. My other new acquaintance is Ruth, who is Jonathan's best friend. She said they met in middle school. Ruth signs and said she's hard of hearing, but that wasn't evident at all. Neither of them drive and you usually call Urber; I'm not sure why Ruth doesn't, but she seems perfectly normal except for a few little things. (You can say that about me, too, I guess.)
Anyhow, I asked if they might help me get the table to the entrance, this being a gated community, which is the only thing I dislike about it. I wasn't crazy about the idea of having strangers come to my actual apartment, but I couldn't carry by myself. Ruth and Jonathan readily agreed to help and I took them back to my place. Jonathan, who must be six foot five, at least, easily carried the table to the guest entrance and Ruth and I took the legs. Rose and her boyfriend came for the table and it's finally out of my dining area.
*Funny: I just put "Anne Mary Hayes" in the search engine for this blog and found a remarkably large number of entries elaborating on her and her foibles. Actually, they're pretty entertaining. She was a pain in the rear at times, but I was fond of her--at times.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mismash

Stripped the bed and took the sheets to the laundry place, along with a few other items. Put clean bedding on for me; I plan to put the better stuff on when my company gets here.
I thought I'd better call my three "phone friends," as I may not get a chance next week. I picked up the phone and--no dial tone! AAGH! This is just what happened before! I called the damn "help" number on the cell, heard the recording, then suddenly the home phone rang. It's been operational since then, but who knows for how long. I hate, hate, hate AT & T with a passion.
Talked to phone friends Karen, Mary, and Coreen and it was pleasant. After, I went to the library and picked up a few things. Got an e-mail from Carole apologizing for why she left the movie; wrote back and said there was no need and that I understood.
I went down the beach and was startled to see there was heavy machinery and a huge pipe on the ground. I knew they were dredging downbeach (as we used to say), but didn't realize they'd come to where I usually sit; hope it's back to normal soon. However, it was very windy anyway--I almost lost my hat, so I found a sheltered spot behind some beach grasses and sat there reading my paper for 45 minutes or so.
Went from there to Ralphs, then the 99-Cent store for a few items. As I try to do, I stayed out until 4:30 and didn't eat until my scheduled 6:00. Took a drive after that, showered, played my game, watched my hour of T.V., and that was it.

Manchester By The Sea

It rained the entire day, annoyingly enough, but I went to the movies with Doris and Carole (for a time; see later). It was "Tuesday dollar day" at the Regency and even though we can afford to pay the usual, there's a kind of satisfaction in getting such a bargain.
We saw Manchester By The Sea and, boy, it blew me away. I hadn't realized the star, Casey Affleck, had won Best Actor and wasn't even aware of the movie. In fact, I was hardly aware of Casey Affleck. Because I never watch what passes for news--that's "news"--on T.V. and because I don't go to many movies, I often remain ignorant of things about which most people are savvy.
Anyway, this is just a terrific movie; I laughed and cried--mostly cried--along with Doris, although she had seen it before. As for Carole, after one of the tears-invoking scenes early on, she got up, excused herself, and left. I thought she was going to the restroom, but Doris explained that Carole can't stand sad movies. Interesting and too bad that she missed truly good acting, but knowing Carole's background, I understood.
After, we sat in Doris' car and I showed her disks with the interviews Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. conducted with Jackie Kennedy in 1964. I explained why I wouldn't want to see Jackie, the movie and I think she understood without having her feelings hurt. I hope so, as I like Doris, who has had some hard things to deal with, including her husband's suicide at 42.
Didn't get home until after 4:00 and went out immediately to get ground turkey, so I could vary my chicken/seafood regime a bit. I cut up onions and peppers, added garlic and mushrooms, then stir-fried and had that for dinner. Tasted great.
I hope, hope, hope the rain doesn't continue today, as I think it's the day of Ellen's class field trip. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jackie and Marie

Various errands completed. Finished my applications for the three different city commissions and dropped them off at city hall. The library's only a few blocks away and I went there next. Got Jackie Kennedy's extensive interviews with Arthur Schlesinger, which are enthralling. They're on CDs and I've listened to them before. When I see Doris today, I want to--gently, gently--mention that to her, as she was sure I'd be anxious to see Jackie, the movie. Why, no, I wasn't and I'm not.
Such truly living history is readily available on both disks and in print, along with innumerable books, videos, and so on, so why anybody would want to see some actress mouthing the words and ideas of a script writer and director is beyond me. These interviews were conducted in 1964, only a year after the assassination and are rightly called "oral history." What fascinates me are not only what she says--and some of it, especially JFK's attitude toward contemporary politicians, is startling--but the immediacy of it. The interviews were conducted in her home and you can hear her light a cigarette, then take a first deep drag (you can't mistake that sound if you were ever a smoker). You get the rattle of a tea cup, a child's voice, and traffic in the background. Once in a while, you hear birds sing, so maybe they were outside or near an open window during sometimes of the sessions.
Compare that to what is called "docudrama," a bastard word and a bastard idea. I love documentaries and I love drama, but smushed together? They stink. What's frightening is that so many take what they see and hear as gospel.
Okay, tirade over. Suzanne is back from Arizona; she went to a Sisters of Mercy planning meeting and also visited her brother and his family there. It was a long trip and she was going to take a nap, but first came over to see my coffee table. I'm so pleased to have her for a next-door neighbor.
I decided to post a notice about my small wooden table in the laundry room, which has bulletin boards. I had it for sale for $10 on Craigslist and Nextdoor Regatta, but no takers, so I advertised it as free.W
Walked over to Vons and got a cantaloupe. Went to dinner with the widder group at 6:00 and had just a glass of wine and some tangerines I had taken. I enjoyed chatting with my friends and was pleased I hadn't succumbed to ordering Marie Callender's food--mediocre, but tempting.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sunday

The Sunday thing was enjoyable as ever, especially as I completed the large Newsweek crossword with no omissions. After, it became a chopping, paring, preparing day. I made applesauce--with its attendant culinary chores--plus a large salad with tomato, pepper, and cucumber. Also, I hard-boiled four eggs and chopped two onions and a green pepper and put them in the refrig to stir-fry today.
I didn't have lunch until 2:00, as Betty called and we had a long chat. Had only the salad with a hard-boiled egg then and I was hungry later, but distracted myself by driving to Valentine Road to see if I can find CHIP, so I can get the car seat installed. I know it's there somewhere, but I allowed myself to be diverted by the cemetery, as I've always liked them. However, this one is a little too new and fancy for me--I keep forgetting how much older the east coast is. Dropped into Goodwill and just bought a wine holder made with a kind of woven straw. Looks good and next time I give somebody a bottle, I'll use it.
I had almost forgotten I was going to apply for some advisory positions (unpaid) on the City Commission; spent several hours filling out the applications, which ae individual, which seems nutty to me. I decided on Parks and Recreation, the library system, and the harbor port. Suz urged me to go for the last, but I'm not sure if that makes sense, as I know nothing about boats, docks, or for that matter, harbors. Well, I'll submit them we'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Clothes and CHIP

I used to avoid doing wash on weekends, thinking of working people had only days. However, that seems to be no problem--or else everybody stays dirty; I did a load yesterday and only one other machine was in use.
Carole and Doris had told me the library was having their book sale at Vons from 9 to noon, so I went over there after I finished the clothes. I asked for them, but they had left; I'll be seeing them on Tuesday when we have a movie date, anyway. I bought four books, which I may never get around to reading, as I have an overabundance of reading material as it is.
Later went to Smart 'n' Final for my new addiction: fresh spinach. I bought a 40 ounce bag, took it home and boiled up, put the yummy dressing on and had it with the rest of the poke for lunch.
El called to ask if I'd bring the car seats over so she could install them and I said I would at 3:00, which I did. She tried (while I watched) and seems to have gotten one into her car, but it may not be properly installed. She said some fire departments will do it, but when she called, she was told they don't here, but the California Highway Patrol (CHIP) does; she called there, but they weren't open. (Presumably, they respond to 911, though.) I said I'd take my car to them tomorrow and find out how late they're open to see if Ellen can get hers checked.
Left about 4:00 and immediately put the chicken thighs I had bought in the oven. (I much prefer dark meat to white, which always seems tough and relatively tasteless to me.) I always roast with the skin on, then remove it when I eat; much more flavorful that way, and I'm not concerned with the fat at all.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

T.O.P.S. and Tuna

Went to T.O.P.S. and was the biggest loser again with three more pounds off. We learned that Lolly, our leader, has to relinquish to office because she had been doing it for ten years or so. So silly that there are term limits, as it's voluntary and doesn't seem the entail much. After, a few people asked me to take over, but I don't know if I want to bother. We'll see.
After the usual late breakfast--it was almost 11:00 when I finished--I did a fair amount of computer stuff and by the time I finished, it was 1:00 and I had lunch. Went to Quest to make an appointment for June and was told I had to call, instead. Drove into town to the library, forgetting it was St. Patrick's Day. The parking lot was completely filled, most likely with lunch-goers to Dargan's, the only Irish restaurant in the area, to my knowledge. I like the place myself, but of course, it was jammed yesterday. On the way home, I stopped at Cemetery Park and sat and read my book for awhile.
I decided to drive to the branch location in East Ventura, and did. I actually forgot just how to get there, so it took me some time wandering in the area, but I finally found it. However, it was closed--not sure why, as it was Friday--I just dropped off the book I had finished.
On the way home, I stopped at Goodwill and found a black leather chair I immediately snapped up. It's not an easy chair, but more like a slender occasional chair and it fits perfectly next to the front door. Looks great and I'm so glad I found it. Cost? Marked down to $3.00. The reason it was so cheap is because it's missing three of the four covered buttons forming its tufts. I think I can find replacements at a fabric shop; otherwise, I'll just re-donate it.
Stopped at Vons and got poke, a Hawaiian staple, consisting of raw tuna with a few seeds and spices. It's eaten cold and I like it a lot; there seems to be a sudden interest in it around here lately.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Good Day

A good, good day. Went to SCAN at 10:30 to attend the reception for the new director, Letitia Alverez. Boy, what an improvement over the last, Stuffed Shirt Steve! "Lety" was so welcoming, personable, and altogether nice to know, I was charmed. There was quite a spread: sandwiches, soda, a huge chocolate cake, and cookies, but since I'm determined not to eat away from home for at least a time, I skipped.
It was great that Marsha M., the big gun from Long Beach, was there. She greeted me with a handshake and a hug and asked if I could meet with her a little later to discuss my acting class. Sure thing, and after mingling a bit--my friends, Carole and Doris, were there--we sat down together.
We discussed the course (for 55 and over), with my recommendations for when (10:30 for four consecutive Tuesdays in May) and which room I'd prefer. That took me a while because SCAN is a large building, but there are offices upstairs and the health and wellness area on the first floor is limited. It consists of one very large room and two much smaller ones, as well as a sort of medium one and that's what I chose. If I have only ten or dozen people, it's adequate, but if more, probably isn't. It does have a whiteboard, so that will be useful.
We then got down to money (attendance will be free, but SCAN will pay me directly). Marsha asked me what I was looking and I named a figure about half again higher than what I got at Stockton State. She agreed to that and I was pleased, but a little surprised. The Stockton course was ten sessions of an hour and a half each and this will be four of an hour each; that's exactly half the amount of time. However, considering that was a few years and there's inflation and so on and so forth, I think it's pretty reasonable. Anyway, I'm elated about it and SCAN is going to start running notices and ads shortly.
Another win was with Suz in the afternoon. I had asked her to see me and went over to her office at 2:00. I laid out what I was concerned about; beside some other questions, I told her I need direction on what, exactly, my duties as vice chair of the Ventura Council for Seniors actually are. I made clear that I wasn't agreeable to taking on a lot of (unpaid) work and she assured me I'll be in an advisory capacity only. Okay, fine by me, and I told her I was agreeable to submitted an application to serve on one of the city commissions, which is entirely separate.
I always enjoy Suz, one of the most voluble, energetic people I've ever met. She has a vocabulary like a drunken sailor, a trait I find intensely attractive, for some reason. Guess I'm tired of sweet little old ladies who think "heck!" is a naughty epitaph.
Anyway, we came to a real meeting of the minds, and I left much reassured. Changed again when I got home and went down the beach. Took my folding chair and sat just looking at the waves and listening to the surf. However, a chill wind was blowing in from China--or wherever--and I stayed only a half hour or so.
Note: I got up late (almost 8:00) and my computer had a problem, so I'm late posting this. Must run off to T.O.P.S. now.)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

VCS and Furniture

Went to the Ventura Council for Seniors meeting at 9:30 and it was reasonably interesting. I met Suz outside, as we were both early, and told her I'd like to meet with her privately this afternoon. I want to talk to her about getting some direction for my duties as vice chair. Also, she wants me to get on one of the county commissions and I'm interested, but need to know more about it.
Got home, changed, had lunch, and shortly thereafter, Handyman Hugh called. I had to go out to let him through the gate and then direct him to a visitor's parking place--the usual pain. Anyway, he first put the new kitchen table together and I'm delighted! I was afraid the color wouldn't match my chairs, but it's perfect: both are honey oak and even the styles, although they're not the same (Swedish modern and--I think--early American) go beautifully together. He then assembled the large and heavy coffee table--it's gorgeous! He hung several pictures for me, doing a great job, and even fixed my vertical blind.
I was charmed by the fact that Hugh quoted scripture now and again to illustrate whatever point he was making. I'm just delighted with everything he did--and to top it off, his charge was very reasonable. I wrote in a recommendation to Nextdoor Regatta (a kind of Internet neighborhood hot line), titling it "A Rave Review for Handyman Hugh!"
Hugh was here until after 4:00. When he left, I vacuumed (there were some little bits of Styrofoam on the floor) and rearranged a few things. I then drove to the beach and sat for about ten minutes before the very brisk wind made me leave. It was such a thrill to come home to my spiffy new living/dining room!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Swiffering And The Fog

With DST, I'm getting up at 7:30, a little later than I like, but okay.
Went to WinCo on a quest for seafood and spent a lot of time mulling over whether to get more shrimp or not. Not. What about salmon or other fish I don't eat often and have never made myself, such as cod and talipia? No to them, too, so I didn't get any. I do have another nice tuna steak in the freezer and I'll go to another store for fresh fish.
Preparing for Handyman Hugh's visit this afternoon, I moved the table and chairs, cleared the bathroom, and swiffered--first dry, then wet--all the hard floors. They're nice and clean, but I still want to find out how to give them a shine.
Got an e-mail from Sue to the effect that she got a smartphone, but now must learn how to use it. I sent back congrats.
I finished my indignant letter to Experian and took that and a forward to Mike to the P.O. After, I drove to the beach.
Wow. You couldn't see the ocean at all, let alone the mountainous area all along the shore, which is usually very evident. The fog hid all of it, but it was mysteriously alluring and I sat down on a log. I stayed almost an hour and, while I was there, the fog slowly lifted and everything reappeared. It was so nice to see--I love to go down there and when precious little Mr. K. is here, I'll take him and his parents.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This, That, and Tax

Got quite a bit done. Spent time cleaning--which never takes long--and rearranging the bookcase in my bedroom. Heard back from "Hugh the Handyman," who will come tomorrow. Also heard from my tax gal, Michelle, that I needed to provide some other documents. Sent them to her electronically, so I hope they're what she was missing.
I decided to respond to Experian, with which I'm having a dispute about my credit report, even though it's seems to have been resolved. Considering the damn company itself called my rating "exceptional," they have a lotta nerve. I did other bookkeeping-like stuff, too.
After lunch, I decided to clear my head by going to the beach. It was warm and sunny, as it has been, and I drove toward my usual place so I could sit and listen to the ocean and soak up the sun--but no-o-o-: Just as happens to Absecon Island, inland was sunny, but the beach area was covered with a layer of fog. I sat for a half hour or so, anyway, even though it was chilly, and I enjoyed it. It's always so hard to believe the northeast is having a blizzard while I'm wearing shorts.
For dinner, I sauteed (in coconut oil) onion, peppers, and mushrooms--forgot the garlic--and added shrimp; along with half a spaghetti squash, it was a yummy dinner.
Just opened my e-mail and found that Michelle has completed my tax return. I'm getting something back from the great state of California and a nice piece of change from the U.S. of A. I'm so humbly grateful...ha!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Loose Ends

It was one of those loose end kind of days. I heard back from another handy person somebody recommended and I'm going to go with him, I think. The other fellow was very nice, too, but charged considerably more, as there were two of them. Besides, the guy I chose is named "Hugh," which was my husband, Pat's, actual first name, so that's significant, I'm sure. NOT! Anyway, I hired him and he'll come Wednesday to do the deed.
Got an e-mail from Michelle, my accountant, that I hadn't included some documents in my tax papers. Darn, I hope I can find them without a hassle.
Went into town, which was just jammed, but I stopped at a few thrift stores to see if I could find a stroller. No luck, but I bought a box of Christmas cards and some folding boxes. Also went to Wal-Mart and got a thing that melts scented wax and smells good. Am I nuts? Yes, and I'm taking it back today.
I started reading the book by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High School killers. It's harrowing and I found myself crying several times. Horror beyond belief for this poor soul.
I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by murder. How can people do it? I don't mean those who are borderline retarded or have been abused themselves or for whom there's some possible "reason." It's the ones from stable, middle-class homes who plan and execute murder who puzzle me. Maybe it helps them to see it as a solution to whatever because we're taught from babyhood that certain forms of killing other humans are acceptable, i.e. abortion, execution by the state, and the big one, which isn't just permitted, but celebrated: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." (Voltaire)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Around and About

Got the names and numbers of three handymen via recommendations from neighbors on Nextdoor Regatta. Talked to one and left a message for another. The one I spoke to seemed very nice; said the charge was fifty an hour (for two people), with a minimum of two hours. I'll go for that, but will wait for the other to call.
Went to Sheena's, the Irish woman who's lending us the car seat. She absolutely refused to take anything for it; I'll give her a little gift card or something when I bring it back.
Before I even got home, it occurred to me that it would be good to have two car seats, as we'd be using both Ellen's and my cars. I remembered another nice person who responded about the car seat; she's located in Window Wizards. I drove there and it turns out she and her husband own the window store. She said her granddaughter had outgrown the car seat and she told me not to bring it back, but to give it to someone who can use it. She also refused to take anything but my thanks.
Went home for lunch, then to the library. I took back Bill Bryson's CD on Shakespeare and took out his CD on returning to America after twenty years in the U.K. He's one of my favorites. Betty had left a message on the cell when I came out of the library (I often leave my phone in the car) and I drove to the park across from the mission to call her back. How nice to be talking while hearing the fountain and seeing people strolling in the glorious sunshine.
I try to stay out at least until 5:00 nowadays and I don't have dinner until 6:00, so I went to Smart 'n' Final for shrimp and a cucumber. Now I want to work on borrowing or renting a stroller for Mr. K.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

T.O.P.S. And Tables

Went to T.O.P.S. and lost another two pounds. I'm satisfied with that; if I lose two a week, that will be good.
Didn't have breakfast until after 10, then made some phone calls, including to two of my Caregiver Phone Friends. Mary, the blind one, told me about the lunch excursion on which her friends took her and Coreen mentioned her birthday is next Wednesday. She'll be 90.
Zipped over to Staples and got a three-hole-punch. I had had one for years, but scuttled it when I left Jersey. I do like to keep "official" stuff in loose leaf books, and I made one up for Council for Seniors, so needed the punch.
I had just a salad for lunch, with a hard-boiled egg for protein, then had to rush to get to Dr. Woodling's 1:30 lecture at The Townehouse. Doris had said she wasn't going, but Sherry was there and I sat with her. As usual, Woodling was equal parts fairly interesting and totally boring; his talk yesterday was on Medicare.
Went from there directly to my tax accountant, Michelle's. She lives right across from Cemetery Park, where I have the dog problem. However, I think I'll just drop the whole complaint thing--the hell with it. Gave Michelle my information and some documents and she'll be in touch. Got gas after and didn't get home until well after 4:00. When I walked in, I found in the middle of the living room, my new kitchen table in a huge box. It's right next to the big box with the new coffee table in it; now I'll look for somebody to put them together. Called Ellen and left a message asking for the number of her handyman. Called Jim in the office to thank him for putting it in and he told me the wrong apartment number was on it--103, which was my number in Colony Park--geez, everything's a hassle! I called Wayfair and had them change it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Crapola

When I realized yesterday was my only one free all week, I determined to buckle down and get some crapola out of the way. Made a list and accomplished this much:
--Gathered and categorized my income tax receipts, called my accountant, and will drop the stuff off today. This took me virtually the whole morning.
--Partially unpacked the coffee table and got some of the the cardboard corners to the trash. This isn't as easy as it sounds, as the outer packing is so thick and heavy, it's more like wood than cardboard. The table's still in the main package.
--Did a wash with the usual back and forth.
--Made applesauce in the slow cooker. This is a tedious job, what with coring, paring, and slicing six large apples, but it's just wonderful to come home and smell that marvelous aroma. I don't allow myself sugar during my present regime, so I don't add any to this, but it's sweet enough with just a little lemon juice and cinnamon.
--Prepared a large spaghetti squash I had. (After I buy spaghetti squash, I often think I don't like it that much, so why do I...?)
--Drove to WinCo for various.
--Went to Vons for Tracfone minutes.
--Took a dry run to my accountant, Michelle's, new apartment--easy peasy.
--Sat on the beach for about a half hour, just gazing at the beautiful Pacific. (This wasn't on my list, but I slipped it in.)
--Made up the "exercise sheet" for T.O.P.S., which I had volunteered to do.
The things on the list I didn't get done, but will shortly, are a number of phone calls and following up with Marsha at SCAN re my acting class.
Anyway, it was a gorgeous day--probably 75 at least--and I'm glad to have put a lot of this stuff to bed.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Doc And Table

Had an 8:30 doctor's appointment, just routine. All seems well, although the doc says I'm pre-diabetic. I hope that will fade as I lose weight. You always have to get weighed immediately after you walk into the inner sanctum and I saw I had lost another pound or so. Of course, I have no idea whether the T.O.P.S. scale will reflect that tomorrow.
I went right from there to the Goodwill, as it was a 50 % off day. Got six saucers for under plants, plus a nice, large, round wall clock that looks antique, but isn't. Total cost for all: five bucks.
I had eaten breakfast early for me. Although I get up between 6 and 7, I like to defer it until 8:30, at least. Eating earlier, I get hungry for lunch too early. However, I distracted myself by calling one of my "ladies on the list"--Karen, the one who's six years younger than I am--and we enjoyed talking to each other.
My dear brother, Larry, called to say he had bought a new car and in clearing out his old one, had come across a box of letters I had sent him when I moved. These are to my husband, Pat, and are sixty or more years old. Larry and I talked for some time. I asked after his Helen, and found his answer concerning. He said Helen doesn't go out--at all--and sleeps most of the day. This is a drastic change from her busy, bustling way of life of a few years ago. She doesn't complain (she never did), but sleeping all the time isn't normal. She does have a heart condition and is under a doctor's care. Also, their son-in-law is a physician and four of their daughters are R.N.s, so I guess they have it covered.
Had lunch of my usual big salad; also defrosted some of the curried lentil stew I had made and frozen the other day. After that, mindful of my determination to get out, I drove to the library, then to Poli Park. Even though, yes, there were loose dogs, I took my chair out of the trunk and sat for a time enjoying the gorgeous ocean/Channel Islands view. After that, I went to the beach and just gazed for a bit, but it was getting a bit chilly, so I left.
When I got home, my coffee table was at my door! Wow, it looks gigantic, at least in the box and I don't know how I'll get it put together. I guess I'll have to open it before I see if I'll have to hire someone.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

VCS Focus Group Meeting

As I have a habit of whining now and then: "I don't know why I'm not skinny as a rail!" That's because I've been running around so much and yesterday was no exception.
I needed olive oil and paper towels, so went to several stores in the morning. I also realized I was out of Romaine, so drove to Smart 'n' Final for it and a few other items. Stopped at Target to take back the drapery rod I had bought the other day. Made a big salad when I got home and had that and chicken for lunch.
Washed and dressed and got to Suze'es office for the 2:00 focus group meeting for the Ventura Strategic Plan for Seniors. There were only four of us: Suze and Lori, the regulars who actually have paying jobs there (Suz is the director of aging), Debra Mansfield, who owns the Lynd Counseling Group, and me. Marilyn Peake, the other member, wasn't able to attend; at the last minute, there was a family emergency and she had to drive her parents to LAX.
The meeting--as lots of these things tend to do--more or less meandered all over the place. Debra became very vocal about nursing homes; it seems both here parents were in one and there were problems. She made a rather impassioned speech for better assistance for seniors--.
Hmm...that really had nothing to do with the project at hand, which was to look over the current Strategic Plan for Seniors. We did go over it and discussed, but since an outside consultant is going to be hired, I frankly am not sure why we met. I learned something interesting, though: When we were finished, I mentioned my frustration over Cemetery Park, which seems to be taken over by unleashed dogs. Suze has remarkable knowledge of seemingly EVERY aspect of Ventura and the park is no exception. She told me it indeed had been a cemetery and 1900 people are buried there. All the monuments have been removed, however, and benches put in.
Anyway, the meeting did keep me out of the apartment for several hours. After, I drove directly to the park and yes, same old thing. I actually took a few pictures of the crowd--of people and dogs--although what good that will do, I don't know.

Lunch and Lots O' Dogs

I busied myself with chores in the morning, then showered, washed my hair, and dressed for the widder lunch. I waited a bit before I went, as I didn't want to get there at noon and order lunch. My plan is to avoid eating out, especially at a place like Marie Callender's. (Since I won't eat sugar or fried or processed foods, there's not much, if anything, for me to eat there.) So-o-o, I purposely got there late--about 12:45, had one glass of Chardonnay, and enjoyed chatting with my friends; I didn't miss eating at all.
Went to WinCo after and by the time I got home, it was 2:30. Had a large salad with chicken for lunch, which was fine and really, all I wanted. Drove to town after that, to the library and on the way home, noted that Poli Park (it's real name is Cemetery Park, I don't quite know why), which has a breath-taking view of the ocean and Channel Islands, was again teeming with unleashed dogs. I parked on the street and observed for a few minutes; I counted four large animals, along with three or four smaller ones, all racing around the park. As I watched, another man drove up, jumped out of his car, released a large dog to join his pals. Cute, right? Oh, yeah, cute like Cujo.
Damn! I had called Animal Control before about this, which was like whistling into the wind, and I called again. I was told they "patrol" the parks--really? Once a month at midnight, or what? Think I'll mention this to Suz at the VCS meeting today and see what can be done.

Monday, March 06, 2017

New Drapes

Whew, quite a day. Ellen called to suggest I get the drapes and hardware I wanted for my bedroom and I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Finally, after much digging, I found two side panels (which is what I wanted) in a dark red. Not sure what the material is, but it's heavy. They're room-darkening, but for now, I indifferent about that, as I've had no problem sleeping. I just wanted the tiny side opening in the blinds covered.
B B & B cost an arm and a leg, and I decided to look also in Target. Did and found a nice rod that didn't need to be screwed in--it had a kind of spring mechanism. Bought it, had lunch, then took all to Ellen's at 2:00. While she dusted and so on, I ironed the drapes, which were very creased. We then took off in separate cars for my place.
Wouldn't you know, the rods I had bought didn't fit, as the end of the window is very near the wall. El needed a few things in BB & B and we got better rods and finials there.
Back to put them up, which took several hours because Ellen had to remove the valances, which are part of the vertical blinds; otherwise, the drapes wouldn't--well, drape properly. What a job! And I was having fits and conniptions about it, while Ellen calmly tried this and that, and finally, after a great deal of work, got the rods up and the drapes on. The window looks great and really finishes off the room beautifully--yay!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Lentils And More

This and that, here and there day. I found a neat site with healthy recipes and chose two dishes that looked yummy--curried lentils and boiled spinach. I went to three different supermarkets looking for orange lentils, but just as they never heard of pumpernickel, orange lentils is--are--from outer space to west coast philistines. I finally bought the ugly old gray ones.
The boiled spinach may sound like something out of the Dreary Day Orphanage, but it's very good: fresh spinach boiled quickly and dressed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Along with a bowl of my dump soup, I had half for lunch.
The lentil was more problematic, as it includes lots of other veggies, including kale. The instructions were to cook it on the stove, adding things at various times. However, I didn't start until I got home at 3:30 and I didn't feel like getting fancy, so just put it all (except the cilantro, which goes in later) in the slow cooker.
In between my culinary chores, I drove to town, thinking I'd go to the library and maybe a few stores. Ha! It was a gorgeous day and a Saturday, so the place was jammed. I didn't even park, just drove there and back.
Stopped at My Favorite Store (inside joke) and picked up another little book for Mr. K., plus some candle holders I need like another ten pounds. Then, wonder of wonders, I found a brand new, cast iron, preseasoned iron skillet, still in its packaging, $4.99. Thanks to my friend, Pat, I've been alerted that I need iron, and I think this is one way to get some.
Called El to hear that her new dishwasher has been installed. She'll also get a water softener (or a service for it), as we have very hard water here. I'm lucky in that where I live has a water softener. At Colony Parc, my tableware always had hard water spots.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

T.O.P.S. And Lion

Wow--went to T.O.P.S. and found I had lost 5.4 pounds!
Of course, that was my first week of Getting Serious and I'm savvy enough about weight loss to know a lot of it is water, but still--it gave me a lift. I was "the biggest loser," which meant I got to chose from the goody box. However, there wasn't much I wanted in there, so I chose some Christmas cheese knives with little gnomes on them. I'll drop them off at the thrift store next time I go.
T.O.P.S. itself is getting less and less relevant. I'm afraid the word "focus," is foreign to leader Lolly; yesterday, there were long, long digressions into various medical conditions, Bob's trip to Oregon, and Sharon's father-in-law's desire to end his 93-year-old life. My little gift to Sharon did go over big. Also, Louisa found the giveaway shoes didn't fit her, so asked if I wanted them. I did and they're a spiffy red casual pair.
Home for breakfast, then I called Coreen, the artist phone friend who's 89 and has cancer. She had a year of chemo; now it has spread to her bowel and she's on radiation. We had a nice talk and I said I'd call her on Monday, as I will my other "friends" of that genre.
Met Nancy at the movie in town at 1:30. We saw Lion, a wonderfully absorbing story--we both loved it. Went to Happy Hour at Dargan's Irish Restaurant right after and stayed talking until almost 5:30. I had a glass and a half of Chardonnay and Nancy had a salmon cake appetizer, along with the same to drink. I explained to her that I wasn't actually hungry, so didn't want to order--or eat--anything. Too often, I would just to be sociable or because it was expected, but now that I'm getting serious about losing, I reject that idea.
Didn't get home until 6:00 and I just had a big bowl of dump soup for dinner, along with the rest of my homemade applesauce. Sketchy meal, but it worked for me.

Friday, March 03, 2017

"Phone Friends"

Because I hadn't had much sleep, I lay down on the couch after breakfast. I had just dropped off when Nancy called. She asked if I was available for a movie today, and of course, I said yes.
I called the other two woman on my "Caregiver Phone Friend" list and first talked to Mary A., who's 83. She's blind as the result of oracular degeneration and enjoys audio books. I told her I do, too, and listen to them in the car. We had a nice chat--I was interested to hear she has lived at Silvercrest for eleven years. I've been there often, because I'm in Council For Seniors and we alternate monthly meeting there. I said I'll call her again on Monday.
I lay down again after lunch and this time, slept about an hour and a half. Got up to drive to the library and met Don, to whom Suzanne has introduced me. We had a long talk--I think he's lonely--and I gave him some oranges.
I finally bite the bullet and ordered a coffee table and kitchen table from Wayfair. Since it came to over five hundred and I opened a charge account (but I'll pay it all off immediately to avoid interest), I got the forty bucks off, but that's good. Experian, those highway robbers, send my new credit rating and it's now up to 812--and those highway robbers were denying me credit--AAGH!
Went to the library and got this and that. Home, I called the third and final phone friend on the list, Coreen, who's 89, but seems plenty sharp. She's an artist--can't wait to ask her about that--and had worked in interior design. We didn't talk long, as she had company, so I'll call her again today.
Nancy called and we decided on seeing Lion, in town. After, we'll go to Dargan's happy hour for a drink; conveniently, it's right next door.
I started delving into my income tax stuff--ugh--and partially separated it. I'll get in touch with Michelle, my accountant, soon to get it done.
I'm off to T.O.P.S. shortly--hope it's a loss!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

BCNN and More

Busy day. I got to the BCNN breakfast at 9:30. Doris was already there, Sherry came later, but Carole didn't make it. The program was interesting: A group of Ventura women, all of the Catholic parish, here bought a diamond necklace, lend it out, and raise funds for various charities.
I know that's very cryptic, but it's a little too long and complicated to go into here. There's a book on Amazon and at B & N called The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives and here's the blurb for it: "Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why are personal luxuries so plentiful yet accessible to so few? What if we shared what we desired? Several weeks, dozens of phone calls, and a leap of faith later, Jonell bought the necklace with twelve other women, with the goal of sharing it." Anyway, it was one of their better programs.
A woman I didn't know sat with us and we hit it off. She had been a teacher and had lived in Egypt and Paris--very bright, very attractive, and we exchanged contact info. When I gave her my card, she said she'd love to learn a bit about acting. She has written a book, too (I don't know anybody who hasn't written a book), called A Road to Barcelona: A Mother's Account. I'll check it out.
Sherry had asked me at the movies on Tuesday if I'd like some oranges from her tree and I said yes. Good grief, when we left the breakfast, she took out of her car a box with--there must have been 30 oranges in it! I eat only a half a day, but said I'd give some to others.
Got home in time to clean up a bit, then George from Caregivers came. I had to sign some papers (this is for a volunteer job), then he gave me the names and a little information on my callees. He left, I had lunch, then called the first one--Karen S., who, incredibly, is six years younger than I am.
Boy, is she interesting. She had been a railroad employee and actually drove the trains, plus was a conductor, and handled other railroad duties, although she graduated from college (North Dakota State). She has "breathing problems," according to info George gave me. We chatted for a bit, then I said I'd call her Monday. I didn't call the other two women, as I was due at Ellen's--I'll call them today.
Got to El's at 3:30 and sat outside reading on her patio in the glorious 70 degree weather. However, she called from school and said the plumber had switched to Saturday, so I left.
For the first time in weeks, I had trouble sleeping last night. Got up twice for the usual, then couldn't get back. I finally got out of bed at 5:00. I'm not sure why this happens, but if it's only occasional, I guess I can live with it.


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Soup and Succulents

Early on, I decided to look up an old Weight Watchers recipe called "dump soup." It's just five cans of veggies and minestrone you heat up and actually, it's not bad, plus only 200 calories for a good-sized bowl. Went to WinCo to get the ingredients and made it for lunch. With that and salad, it was tasty.
George from Caregivers got back to me and he'll come over for me to sign the papers (to be a volunteer, for pity's sake!) today at 12:30. I'll go to the BCNN breakfast first; that should be over about 11:00.
Met "the girls" at 2:00 at the movie--Doris and Sherry, plus Carole and her friend, Peggy, whom I've met before. We saw Arrival, which wasn't bad. On the other hand, it wasn't exactly good, either--it mixed a number of genres, including aliens, pathos, and "woman as some kind of genius and she's very pretty, to boot," which I find particularly annoying. However, Marie Curie was attractive...
We got out a bit before 5:00 and I immediately drove to the library. I had gotten Stephen King's Mr. Sleep (it's quite an oldie) audio out, but I didn't care for the reader's style and somehow, King seems better to me on the page than in the player. Got Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson (one of my favorites), instead. I had read the book, but it's been a while and it was fascinating, plus Bryson reads it himself and he's my kinda guy.
I made up a little "name rhyme" for Sharon; I'll include it in the card when I give her the succulent plant on Friday.
Had chicken and string beans for dinner--I've resolved to skip red meat, at least for a time, and eat only chicken and sea food.