Sunday, September 17, 2017

TEXT SCAM

Right on the tails of the Equifax data breach, today I received a text from my bank.


Years ago, I set up all of my banks and credit cards to send me a text any time more than $1.00 is charged (or deducted).  Whether I am ordering online or using in person, I want to be alerted.  That way I can tell if someone other than me is using my account.

Luckily, I did NOT click on that link but went to my computer to get online and sign in to my Chase account.  I rarely use my debit card with Chase and I have no credit card with them. No problem noted. I called the Customer Support line.  Yep ... a bonified scam.  She asked me to send a copy of the text to their Abuse department, which I did.

Please do not ever EVER click on a link in a text OR an email, even if you know the person (supposedly) ... even if it is from your favorite (and only) sister.  Always verify ... hackers can take over an email account and soon, even a text message account.

Just sayin ....

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Oregon House Bill 2591

My state government has done the most amazing thing!  Mobile electronic devices are now no longer welcome in the driver's seat.  They are AGAINST THE LAW.  Yes, even if you are stopped in traffic.  Even if you are using it for GPS.  Even if you are calling your boss.  EVEN IF.


Cell phones MUST be attached to your car and considered "hands free" or it is against the law to touch them.  I can tell you distracted drivers are out in full force, weaving across lines on the streets and the highways.  Fiddling at a stoplight and forgetting to go on green.  Then they get pissy when you honk to remind them to drive!  Almost hitting pedestrians who are crossing in the crosswalk with the light in their favor.  It is scary!

Honestly, both of my cars have bluetooth phone and it is still too distracting for me to talk and drive.  IF I were on the highway heading straight for five hours, I might be able to chat.  Otherwise, I would be so focused on the conversation that I would miss my exit.

I do use GPS.  My grandmother-mobile has a big screen GPS.  The other car that I brought back from Maui HAS a big screen but the disc stopped working for the mainland ... I guess I will have to bite the bullet and order the newest DVD.  Kate has been using her phone or iPad for GPS but it is on her lap.

This new law is effective October 1.

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2597/Introduced





Thursday, September 14, 2017

IF HE HAD A GRAVE ... He'd roll over in it

I have lived in Oregon since 1981.  And in Lake Oswego since 1984.  It's a great little city of 37,000+ people.  We have 36 city parks, encompassing 600 acres.  Most of them have free wi-fi and we have 7 within walking distance of the condo.  The boys are out and about at one or more every day.

The parks are well maintained with beautiful landscaping.  Our medians are almost traffic stopping.  But lately the City has embarked on some huge mistakes.

Actually, it may have started before I met Mr. Ralph.  He was hopping mad when the council decided to build a newly funded library away from the "downtown" area, so it is no longer a walkable adventure.  Mr. Ralph was on the board of the library and failed to convince them of his foresight. It turns out their predictions were really off and additions and remodels soon followed.  (In fairness, we do have a GREAT library and it is one of the County's most used amenities!)  

The City also built a new City Hall and Police Station around the same time.  In the spot Mr. Ralph thought should house the library.  I just learned that in March the City Council decided to invest in constructing a new City Hall .... with urban renewal funds rather than making "costly repairs".  Shouldn't a building last longer than 25 years?  They are also separating City Hall and Police Station, knocking down the old building and then building two new structures across the street from each other.  Busiest street in this little berg ... just what we do not need (in my humble opinion) is more traffic and parking issues.  Or more debt!

Several years ago the City purchased a huge insurance company complex at the westernmost corner of the City.  HUGE.  300 parking spaces.  BIG building.  They did it without thinking and without public forum.  It turned out to be a FLOP ... they were using it for Parks and Rec but it was too far for most residents.  It was way too expensive to heat and they finally (FINALLY) sold it at a loss.

Now I'm concerned about the cost of these two new buildings and all the environmental impacts they will bring.

Poor Mr. Ralph.  If he had a traditional grave ....

Monday, September 11, 2017

MASTERING AGING

Today I went to my first class called the Aging Mastery Program.


I was very disappointed and probably won't go back.  My condo buddy also signed up for the class and was equally disappointed.  We are maybe 15 years too young for this class.  The leader of the class was not a very good public speaker, wasn't very enthused and mostly read from the book or showed us videos.  I would say there were about a dozen folks attending.  

She paired us up for a "social" session and my person was an 85 year old gal who just lost her husband about a year ago.  She is just so lost (and I do remember those days clearly).  Luckily I gave her my card so if I don't return, she can still contact me.

Several of the upcoming classes have guest speakers.  So maybe I shouldn't be so hasty.  I could just think of so many other things I could have been doing with that 90 minutes ...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

FIREWORK DEVASTATION

Summers in Portland are fabulous.  Dry and sunny for all our outside concerts and Farmer's Markets.  Great for Jesse's garden.  But things have taken a wicked turn for the worse.

We have ash falling here from a fire about 30 miles east of here.  (Which was started by young teens and fireworks).  


Portland has had a long HOT dry summer and now we are paying the price.  I bet we have had more over 90 degree days than ever recorded.  So many forest fires and such devastation.  Several highways are closed and many towns have been evacuated.

If only Irma would bring a little of her rain this way ... We have a vacation planned in Central Oregon (Sunriver Resort) at the end of the month and the forest fires near there may put an end to that.  I sure hope we get our money back ...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ADRENALINE

Whoa.  This Board position is way more work than I anticipated.  I’m getting my assertive on!


a·dren·al·ine
noun

a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.

One lady has been removing shrubs around her condo for the past two years.  The first time happened late at night and she was just SHOCKED!  How could someone come so near her condo and do such a thing!  The second time it happened (during the daylight hours) people saw her.  With the help of some stronger neighbors to help remove the evidence.  The third time she blamed the landscape company.  No one has asked her to rectify!  

This time the past prez (and still on the Board) was ANGRY in front of her and she said "oh dear, maybe you better smack my hands" …. and laughed.  She even removed some plants from in front of her next door neighbor’s!  She asks her male neighbor to help her dispose of branches and dig out roots!  What is with these people?  

Rather than send her a written reprimand with a huge fine from the Property Management Company, I went over to talk to her.  First she lied.  Then she laughed!!  Then she said “I’m just following suit” and “others have told me this was fine”.  I kept my cool (although I did ask her if others jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would she?)(and that I know she can read and that she has our bylaws and house rules that specifically outline how you can get your landscape changed), and kept repeating that I want IN WRITING how she plans to rectify things.  She kept interrupting with but this and but that and I would simply repeat my mantra "I would like, in writing, how you plan to rectify this"  She asks "rectify everything"  Well, yes, everything that you have damaged over the past two years.  And don't tell me the man in the moon came one night and took three five foot rhododendrens.

A nosy neighbor (who probably told her it was okay)(she's the biggest condo gossip and Queen of misinformation)(and has BEEN on the Board and the Landscape Committee so she knows it is NOT OKAY) came up on her patio to interrupt our conversation and I asked her to please come back in ten minutes.  She continued to blather and I raised my voice and said SYLVIA, please leave as this is a private conversation that does not concern you.

My heart was racing by the time I returned home.  The past prez came over to be sure I was okay and asked how the whole thing played out.  So the adrenaline kept pumping.

Next up, a relative of my wonderful next door neighbor (she who shares her awesome Persian cooking) ALWAYS parks his huge Mercedes in the red curb fire lane rather than an uncovered parking spot.  I was needing to back out (and I really could have done it without moving his car but I wanted to prove a point) to take Jesse to his garden and the boys to the library.  The first time I asked, he was sitting on her sofa (I was looking in the screen door) ... and he snorted!  I had to repeat myself and add that it needed to happen NOW so I could get my car out.  She was wringing her hands and muttering and not knowing what to do ... Iranian men do not like ladies suggesting they do things ... and she does not want her neighbors to be upset.  He finally moved it.


It seems to me that when someone is in a situation where they know they are in the wrong, it brings out the bad in bad people ... and the good in good people.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

AWKWARD BOARD CHAIR

Tonight is the first Board meeting since I became the Chair.

Our first item on the agenda is always Open Forum.  This is the time to speak up if you have a question or concern.  The underground connection is telling me to brace myself.  The mean girls are going to lay it all out for me!

Some exciting topics:

  • We want to elect the Landscape Chair ... not have the Board appoint one (as specified in our ByLaws and as we have done for 500 years). Because they want one of their cronies in that coveted position ... one who will not work within the budget.
  • We want to purchase bark mulch for $35,000 although our budget is $15,000.  And it will be 1.5 inches thick rather than our Landscape vendor suggests 3 inch minimum.

  • We want to fire the Landscape vendor.  Even though we have not vetted any replacement vendor.  Because THIS Vendor really does take direction ONLY from the Landscape Chair or a Board member.  Not their every little whim.  (How rude!)  But we can't have 112 people asking them to do "just this one little thing for me".
  • We want a phone and address directory of our community.  So we can send unwanted political dissertations (a past Chair used confidential email addresses that were for Board eyes only) and news about our upcoming productions (for our one thespian Diva).  Too bad if people want their privacy!  We may email all Owners and ask them if they want to opt in to such a directory?  That seem reasonable? 
I am also going to resign from newsletter production.  Mainly I'm tired of doing it (after 7 years) and it's like pulling teeth to get committee updates or ideas for articles.  My buddy, and former chair, is the only one who thanks me more than once a year.  Most of all, it seems like a conflict of interest for the Chair to be in control of communication.

Earlier this year, when we had such a complaining neighbor (Poopy Patty), I made up a pretend newsletter .... oh how I would love to do the final issue like this!



















 









Friday, August 25, 2017

Let the Whining Begin

I was elected (barely) to our Condo HOA just one week ago.

So far, I'd say 22 phone calls and 100 emails.  It's hard for me to imagine being so upset that someone cut through the landscaping (old bark chips) "TOO CLOSE TO MY WINDOWS" (about 6 ft away) instead of using the sidewalk.  The complainer has "serious heart trouble" so this better get remedied quickly.  (I don't have much sympathy as MY sidewalk is just 3 feet from my window ... and my landscape currently looks like this:
(a lovely crop of weeds!)

Yeh, the former Landscape Chair (who lives in my building!) had the grass removed, rocks and bark dust to replace it.  And those scraggly shrubs are to block our view of the parking lot!  I tried to explain (I was on the committee at that time) that the landscape workers would just blow all the bark chips away before the year was up ...

The Chair of a committee recently quit in a huff and now wants the position back ... for the good of the community.  And is irate that I asked for all binders and documentation to be returned for the next committee chair (and no, I don't think this Board will have the person back).  This is not Junior High where you can stomp your foot, gather up your toys and huff on home.  By the way, this person did a lot of backstabbing and gossipping in our 45 minute call.  Fortunately, just listening and not saying much of anything worked wonders.  We all just need to be heard?

Our annual community picnic is Sunday and the outgoing chair invited some people who no longer even live here (because SHE likes them!).  Sorry!  Next year it is CURRENT residents only because that outgoing chair is continually grumbling about the cost (I spent $32 on decorations).  She hired BBQ ribs to be delivered ... instead of hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on the spot by Board members)(which is a GOOD thing as it is supposed to be 97 on Sunday!)

There are just 112 condo homes here.  Already I can see what I previously assumed ... 5% of the people make 800% of the complaints.  Most households are older single ladies.  Methinks they have too much time on their hands!  

This volunteer position is really exhausting!

But enough of my whining!  I'm getting to meet more residents and I am taking walkabouts several times a day.  Started doing the walks for knee exercise, and am delighted to greet people on my little journey.  Everyone has something to tell me.  I always ask them to email me as I am not able to write it down while I'm out for my walk or on my way to a meeting ... and I usually have a grandson with me.  I think I use the boys as protection from anyone getting angry at me ....

Interestingly, most people put aside their differences for the potluck so stay tuned.  I am bringing semi-homemade potato salad.  Bought it at Costco then put it in a nice serving bowl (ten pounds of it!), add hard boiled egg slices, paprika and some fresh parsley!  Most people assume I made it all myself ... but if they ask, I divulge my secret recipe!



Sunday, August 20, 2017

CARBIVORE

I'm considering starting a 12 step program for those of us who are addicted to carbohydrates.  


Pasta.  Pizza.  Warm bread.  Creamy soups.  Potatoes.  Corn on the cob.  Rice.  Noodles.  Potato chips.  Crackers.  Thanksgiving Stuffing.  Gravy (or sauce of any kind)

Even though I know the evil effects, I find myself drawn to carbohydrates.  Especially with little boys in the dining picture.  I made chicken and noodle casserole with potato chip topping the other night and there were NO LEFTOVERS.  I often choose restaurant meals based on the sides that accompany the protein.  Or ask if I could have the garlic mashed potatoes instead of the steamed greens.  I'm so bad, I often talk my salad eating friends into sharing an order of fries with our salads!  

But now that I can walk and exercise, I need to change up the eating habits as well.  I did join my local Adult Community Center and have been riding the exercycle at least twice a week.  My Yoga Where You Don't Have to Get on the Floor starts in two weeks.  And school starts on August 29, an hour earlier than last year.  I will be driving him TO school (so he gets that extra 30 minutes of sleep) and after I drop him off at 8:30, I can go to exercise right after.  Surprisingly, there has never been another person in the Fitness Room while I have been there!

Any suggestions on delicious substitutions?


P.S.  Yes, I do love zucchini noodles ...


Friday, August 18, 2017

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

I was nominated for our condo HOA Board, got a one year term (by one vote) and was chosen to be the Chair.  I'm still settling in on an appropriate title ... but will answer to most anything and it is usually BJ (instead of JB).  No worries.



Two members left the Board with one year remaining of their two year term.  Each had completed a previous two year term and Meagan and her three children under the age of 5 bought a house a moved out of their two bedroom unit here.  And Gary is still working pretty much full time but mostly didn't enjoy knowing any disparaging things about his neighbors.  He's a friend to all and knows everyone (who has lived here more than two weeks) by name and facial recognition.

I have been here seven years and personally know maybe 20% of our Owners.  My goal is to visit each household and explain that I am very approachable, even though I mostly keep to myself here.  Mary Beth (past chair for four years) was also elected for one more year but mostly to train all of us newbies.  

She has been a mother hen for 17 years.  If someone calls her at 10pm to say their kitchen sink is blocked, she walks over to at least be moral support.  Your cat not return home at midnight like usual?  Call Mary Beth, she will go out with you while you call his name.  That is just her style (although not with me, for some reason!).  Probably because I have never called on her for help!!  If my sink plugs up, we call a plumber!  So I'm glad she is still on the Board and hope she gets re-elected for another two years.  People just know and trust her ... which is such a good thing.

She always listens to each person's situation, nodding at the right moment.  Then moves the meeting on.

The hardest part for me will be sitting in front of the room and public speaking.  I blush easily and I'm sure my facial expressions tell everyone what is going on in my head.  I may have to feign hot flashes and use a paper fan to hide myself!


For me, I prefer email so that there is a paper trail when we get to resolution.  Or send it on to lawyers.  Fortunately, lawyers only get involved every other year or so.  Currently we have a hoarder whose treasures now extend to the deck and all the way down the communal stairway.  I think a lot of residents here prefer phone calls but the boys play games on my phone a lot and I don't answer if I'm with others or driving.  So we will see just how this best works.

Stay tuned as to how this new volunteer position fits into my little old life!  And Long Live the Queen!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE AGING STIGMATA

I think the media has taken an insulting stance of stereotyping "old" people. When I see an ad for assisted living ... the people look about 50 at most (although with grey or white hair).  Dressed nicely, slim and fit, with accessories as well.

And the Help, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up ad for instance.

I guess maybe they are hitting below the belt to get us youngsters in their midst?  Could be.  She just looks so youthful ... great (ironed) outfit, perfect hair, fabulous makeup and just a touch of jewelry.  This MIGHT be me....  if I were on my way to a wedding!

Maybe I'm just being crabby.  I don't watch much live TV (because I hate commercials) so when I do happen to see a commercial for a pharmaceutical company's wares for elders ... it is just so noticeable that the Grandma and Grandpa are way too young for that product.  Now that we baby boomers are tipping the count for age brackets, I would be more apt to buy something if I saw people my age using it.  Especially clothing!  I want to look 65 not 45.  I don't wear heels so please make snazzy shoes that reflect how I really live!

To be fair, when you advertise to "old" people, insert people in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and each decade thereafter.  Old people are always at least 20 years older than me!  And that's a moving target!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

HOW RUDE!

I don't know what it is, but more and more people are being outright RUDE.  Driving and/or parking ... as well as being distracted.  Even distracted as pedestrians and almost getting themselves hurt.

For some reason, last week was excruciatingly rude.  Our City park just two blocks away has free outdoor summer concerts on Wednesday nights in July.  Last week it was too hot for me, so I parked myself in our Library to putz on the laptop.  It's a great place for people watching since the Clubhouse is right at the entrance.


Despite a huge sign placed at our entrance (by the City) asking people to "Respect Our Neighbors - No Concert Parking" a Jaguar parked smack dab parallel to where I was sitting!  I gave the driver the benefit of the doubt thinking maybe she was picking up one of our residents who would just meet her there (quickly).  Nope.  She got out of her car, decked to the nines in the perfect little summer outfit with designer sunglasses and a straw hat that was to die for.  

I walked out as she was done primping and locking her car and nicely said "Oh, sorry!  No parking here"

"I'll just be an hour or so"

"Not even five minutes of parking is permitted.  See the red curb?"

"Oh, the Fire Department won't be coming, I'm sure.  I'm just walking over to the concert"

"Then you probably noticed the large sign at the entrance right there ... no concert parking"

"You have plenty of room to get in and out if I park here"

So I took out my phone, walked down and took a photo of her license plate.  Then I pretend made a phone call all while she is asking what I'm doing.  (I explained that the City and the Police Dept work very closely with neighbors of City Parks so that they can continue to host events).  And then said into my fake phone call "Oh, sorry .... Non emergency services, please".  She was very haughty but did pack up and leave.


The very next day, I went to our 365 Grocery Store.  There are two handicap spots near the front door and someone was stopped in front of both of them, obviously using their phone.  I lightly beeped after having my turn signal on and waiting.  Nothing.  Then I honked.  Nothing.  I parked in a different spot, got out with my cane (just for show) and walked over to knock on her window.  She would not open it (I don't blame her ... a cane smack across the face might hurt) ... yet she continued to stay right there!  I explained she was blocking the only two handicap spots in the entire parking lot.  

What is with people?  Geez I would feel horrible if someone had to limp over to ask me to move away from the handicap spot!  


Last, but not least, there is a traffic light from our condo complex at the main little street in Lake Oswego.  Cross walks on the north and the south, with pedestrian signs.  A young woman was so busy watching her device that she didn't look to see that the crosswalk was closed, blinking RED ... do not walk.  The person in the car who was turning left, had a serious case of "pedestrian rage" and honestly almost ran right into her, then blared the horn.  Almost a complete cat right in the middle of the four land road!





Friday, July 28, 2017

MY HAT IS IN THE RING

I am officially on the Oswego Pointe Village HOA Board of Directors ballot.  Along with no one else.  Officially.

We typically have a five member Board.  Three terms are expiring and two people are moving/have moved before their term was up.  So five totally new members are coming together.  Personally, I don't think this is a good thing!

Everyone's good friend, Mary Beth, an original Owner, has been on the Board at least ten times in the past 18 years.  Because she cares about this place and because she is fair, not matter who, no matter what.

She is finally retiring from being General Manager of our local amusement park for the past 34 years.  Or should I say she is down to two days a week.  I say she needs a real break from ALL of reality, including HOA.

When Mary Beth was NOT on the Board, much much much money was spent.  Most of which was not transparent to all Owners until after the fact.  And even when the majority voted down a project, that Board went ahead and did it.  We are well funded for future tragedies as well as Reserve Funds.  But some humans see a pot of money and think WE ARE RICH, let's redecorate!  Let's re-landscape!  Let's put in an entrance at the back of our Circle so I don't have to use the front entrance.  Let's hire my friend to choose paint colors.  Let's buy outdoor paint from one of my cronies (who cares that it is Army green and the majority of us did NOT vote for that color). Let's buy new furniture and a big flat screen TV.   Although our Board is all volunteer, I do work really hard so I should be given money every month.

Then, of course, our dues went way up.  When rumors hit the playground that the Devil's triangle was trying to get their scary little claws back on the Board, I had to step up and do my turn at the helm.  OPV has 112 units.  95% of the owners are kind and caring but do not want to help with any of the responsibility.  The other 5% complain weekly (or more) then turn around and do whatever they want to the common area near their unit.  And tell all newcomers that they may plant anything they want, where ever they want.  These same rabble rousers were the Patio Nazi Patrol a few years ago as one of the ladies thinks every patio/deck should look like hers.  Don't even think about putting up something that is personal and memorable to you!

They re-wrote the House Rules to say "no more than 3 hanging plants, not more than 6 potted plants, only approved furniture ...." then set out to REMOVE items from other Owners patios that they felt were not appropriate.  Only then did a majority stand up to be counted!  The devils removed a pink plastic flamingo from one unit because they felt it was ridiculous.  It had great purpose as 14 year old Matt, with autism, needed that visual to be sure he was at his own home.  (These same devils now have pink flamingos in their areas because they are being kitschy!) 

What am I getting myself into?  


''Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening.''


—Bill Clinton




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

VERY PUZZLING

One of our condo complex's long time owners recently needed to move in with her family.  She had an upstairs condo and a dog which just didn't work out well for her joints and bones after twelve years.

She started and managed our little lending library.  With her blessing, I am stepping into her Marian the Librarian shoes.  Our Clubhouse was formerly a preschool and after school care site.  We have two major rooms that may be reserved and used at no charge.  The smaller of the two, The Fireside Room, has a smaller attached room which is used for the library.


Lots of folks turn in a light summer read and borrow another.  When we moved in, we decided we didn't have room for some of our books so Mr. Ralph chose to donate.  Upon his passing and when I moved back, I donated even more.  Nonfiction and mostly history.  I am fiction and love mystery!  Something for everyone.

Along the way, grandparents donated books they shared during the summer with their littles.  A poker set was contributed, along with dominoes, a couple of board games and a few jigsaw puzzles.

There is always a puzzle going.  Lots of folks stop by and put in 3-4 pieces.  Sunday I brought in a new puzzle.  On Monday afternoon it was complete!  My next venture is the Dollar Store and thrift shops.


My plan is to put all of the shelving along the back wall (where the lamp is) which will open up the puzzle area.  Then I will group the two 2-chair seating areas so that they face each other.  I'm considering donating ALL of our books to our Library Boutique and let us start from scratch.  Some people have said they do not use the library because the books have been the same ones for 100 years.

Maybe in September I will host a Bring A Book gathering to show off the new furniture arrangement!  And get people excited about this great little area again!

Whatcha think?




Sunday, July 23, 2017

A PERFECT JULY

Lake Oswego has had the best weather this year.  No rain, no 100 degree days and a few clouds to keep us humble.  Just right for raising little boys.

My healing continues to be right on track and I get the 30+ staples removed on Tuesday.  The torture of physical therapy lies ahead but hopefully I will survive.  My braces are working although I am not able to wear them for 22+ hours a day, so rather than changing to a new set every two weeks, I'm doing every three weeks.  I meet with the dentist tomorrow and he can determine if that is still the right plan of action.  

Every Wednesday in July, our City hosts outdoor music in the park just two blocks from our door!  In August the venue moves to a park about 5 miles away so I will usually drop off the family (nowhere to park) have a glass of wine nearby, then bring them all home.

I have lived vicariously through my sister this July.  She has been on a 25 day road trip!  She and her mutt, Zoe.  Each of her two kids joined her for a few days (they love to spend a month on Whidbey Island).  Her son rode with her part of the way (Kentucky is home base) and they met up with friends here and there and went on some amazing hikes.  HIKE!  Even that word carries joy for me.  I may get to do that again!  Or at least a nice leisure walk through nature.

This month I took time to veg out and read books.  Watched mindless Netflix TV series.  And just enjoyed this simple life.  Boys at the garden, going to camp, swimming and playing in mud.

A perfect July!

Monday, July 17, 2017

TEN DAYS OUT

Hi Everyone ~

It's been ten days since my right knee was replaced.  Today I am driving!

This surgery and recovery are polar opposite from last time.  Anesthesiologist suggested a right side spinal block and from what he explained, I voted yes.  I just didn't want to hear anything, see anything or smell anything.  I didn't.  Recovery time was much quicker with less of that hazy feeling after general anesthesia. No headache (most common side effect).  It seemed to block the pain for a couple of days.

Even the hospital stay was day and night.  Altho the room was tiny, I felt like a guest at a 5 star resort.  They gave me a goodie bag with word games, pencil, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, ear buds and free use of an iPad while I was there!  Both physical therapy and occupational therapy were substantial.  No one questioned me as if I were a drug addict if I asked for pain relief.  They sent me home with ten days of oxycodone (instead of three) and by day five, Aleve, Tylenol and Ibuprofen managed everything.  I'm keeping the rest until all six weeks of physical therapy is over ... if memory serves me, I may need some help occasionally.

My first physical therapy session was one week after surgery.  They took off the bandage and assured me the staples won't come flying out when I am exercising or walking around.  My bending range of motion is great (what they would expect at the end of six weeks).  Totally flat is close, but no cigar.  Don't think the left one goes totally flat either.



No need for walker although I do use it outdoors so I can bring my phone and water.  I am trying to use the cane in my left hand but it doesn't not come naturally.  At home I don't use anything.

My nursing staff at home have been wonderful and the boys are making me get well cards and not bothering me if I am in my room.  A neighbor took Jesse to the farm on Saturday and I entertained the dudes for almost two hours.  I asked Mr. 6.75 to clean off the dining room table for $1.00.  While he was cleaning, Dad's hose had an aneurism.  Both boys went running to the front door (after hearing dammit) to see what was happening.  Mr. 6.75 came back and asked for his dollar ... but I reminded him the work was not finished.  He quickly did the job, got his dollar and took it out to Dad to help pay for a new hose.  Brought tears to my eyes.


We read a few chapters of a great little boy series, Captain Underpants.  Found some Minecraft songs on YouTube then went to the table to play Legos.  I had planned ahead and purchased a new "girl" set, a Hot Dog Stand.  Even though I like to keep all my girly Legos together (and in my room ... to keep them special), I didn't have the heart to stop the boy Lego figures from having a BBQ.

Life is going well for me!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

INDEPENDENCE DAY

Wow!  We have a gorgeous 4th of July here today.  75 and sunny with a little breeze ... heading to 80.  The little family walked up to our tiny City parade and family fun booths.  SO sweet.  They were both so excited this morning ... Mr. 3.5 got up at 5am!  Woke his brother up about 7am.  Needless to say they each took a 3 hour nap.  Poor Mom and Dad .... none!

Today I have had some quiet alone time (outside on our Community patio) to think.  Surgery is Thursday around noon (send positive vibes to the surgeon and staff) and I will be losing some independence for a week or two.  This is the hardest part about growing older.  Losing little bits of strength, stamina, energy.

I hope I can follow in the steps of my favorite blogger, The Misadventures of Widowhood, and work on regaining strength and balance.  With two knees that aren't painful with every step, I will have no excuses.  She has noticed a great difference in six months.

I am so thankful for a live-in support system ... and the best darned nursing staff ever!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

Gramma, you a dummy head.

But WHY don't you want to sit in the hot sun?


That is rude Gramma.


I can't go to sleep ... the sun is still out playing with me.


Get up, Gramma ... the sun is out!  It's a bootiful day (then sings as he waters all the flowers outside ....)


McDonald's isn't very healthy, Gramma. Let's EAT FRESH (Subway).  


Dammit.


Why don't your knees work?  Did you forget to exercise when you were young?


I free ... are you 100?


Stop Gramma.  S T O P.  And red means stop too.

Someone came in my room and stole Brubber's lego police man.  Not me.

Why does that toe curl up?

Were you ever a little kid?

Brubber said I could play all his legos because he is not using them.

Today we built wickiups and filtered river water to drink.  

I don't want to read in the summer.  I am on a break from school.

Gramma I love you.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

MY PRIVILEGED LIFE

priv·i·lege
ˈpriv(ə)lij/
noun

1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

"education is a right, not a privilege"

synonyms: advantage, benefit; 

I grew up in unincorporated Columbus, Ohio in 1952.  Second child, first daughter.  Soon there were 6 of us children.  Those were the days when only the Dad worked away from home.  He was a carpenter and during the winters, he was mostly laid off.  

It was, for me, a great childhood.  While we were not poor by any means, we were definitely lower middle class. One car.  Hand me downs from cousins.  Never missed a meal but often had beans on toast. (Which I still love to this day!)

Recently on Facebook someone posted a "quiz" to see how "privileged" you are.  Since I am not black and I am heterosexual, I came up with pretty darned privileged!  Here is where I object to being part of a special "advantaged" group.  I could not choose to be any other race.  I am what I am.  Just like I can't choose to be transgender or bisexual or gay.

When I moved away from home, it was a step up in life for me.  I probably earned almost the same as my father did ... by being a secretary/bookkeeper.  Each time I changed jobs, it was another step up in pay and status.  For the life of me, I don't think I am where I am because I am "privileged."  I worked hard, commuted and helped raise a kidlet who is rather ashamed of her "privilege".

Sorry I just don't feel privileged.  I feel very LUCKY to have had humble beginnings and great parents who raised me to reach higher.  To give to community.  To use my talents.

Here's a link to this totally unbiased quiz ..


See what you think!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

BRACE YOURSELF

Yesterday I had Invisalign braces put on!  Yep, 65 years old and getting braces!!

 


Did you know your teeth continue to move all of your life?  In my family, it seems like you either needed glasses or braces.  I was glasses.  But with all the movement (and teeth grinding!??), it was getting harder and harder to floss.  My bite had changed.  So I am changing all of that.  I read somewhere that 40% of ortho patients are over 40!  With continued longevity, I am very interested in keeping these teeth in good shape until I don’t need them any more.



Several other things that continue to grow or change as we age.  Feet!  With age, feet change in shape… they will flatten out and elongate.   It’s estimated that many people over the age of 40 can gain half a shoe size every 10 years.   (So, have your feet measured often and don’t get hung-up on the size on the shoe box but the actual fit of the shoe).

And then we move on to noses and ears.  Bones stop growing after puberty and muscle and fat cells also stop dividing. But cartilage - that’s the plastic-like stuff in ears and noses - cartilage continues to grow until the day you die. Not only does cartilage grow, but the earlobes elongate from gravity. And that makes ears look even larger.


So it’s really true. Older people do have larger noses and ears.  Bad news for me as I started out with a large, long nose. That might just be the ONLY plastic surgery I could be interested in ...



Back to the braces.  What an interesting concept (invented by some Stanford kids).  The company makes a new set of clear, plastic coverings that you step up to every two weeks!  Depending on how much movement needs to be done, you can be wearing these for up to three years.  My dentist is confident that mine will be just a year.

Yesterday they put porcelain "warts" on about 12 teeth so that the plastic things have something to snap onto.  So it kinda makes me WANT to wear the braces for that smooth tongue feel.  These will sure help me cut down on snacking.  You can only drink water with them in.  After you take them out for eating, you need to brush your teeth and brush the braces with water and a kids soft toothbrush.  My car is now equipped as is my purse.  And of course the Gramma pad.  

Wish me luck!

Friday, May 26, 2017

DESIGN FOR TINY LIVING - UPDATE

Wow!  The first two hour session turned into a four hour session, with two employees so actually EIGHT hours invested.

My closet was purged without any tears or regrets.  Catherine urged me to get all velour hangers as they encourage you to take the whole hanger with garment on OUT of the closet making it easier to put the empty hangers all on one side.  That tip alone has streamlined my life (and my Japanese laundry man (Jesse, the UNson-in-law) loves it as well).

She also sorted all the clothes by type and by color (blouses, vests, sweaters, etc).  I roll leggings and put them on end in a cute basket.  Now that I've lived with these modifications for a couple of weeks, I'm going to change the shoe storage and use the bottom section of my closet for clothes and just put shoes on the floor of the closet.  More practical for me.
Her handyman also came along so I got him to put a keypad lock on our front door so that Braeden can get in after school if we are running late (hasn't happened, but you never know!)  He changed out our ugly kick plate (little boys take that seriously??) and hung a few things.

I wanted to get a new phantom screen door with a latch rather than magnets and a new through the wall a/c unit as mine is 30 years old.  What I didn't understand is that I was being charged $65 per HOUR for that research (online and phone calls).  UH, what?  After a bit of discussion she changed the office work rate to half price (still too spendy for me!) and returned both items as I did not approve them FIRST.  HOA rules prevent any color but black on the screen door (they bought bronze) and I want a brand I have heard of for a/c.  In addition, she adds 20% to the cost of materials ... to cover travel ... but both were ordered online and delivered to them!  My grey must be showing but I refuse to pay that!

So I have some hours yet to use.  It will be a few weeks before we get to finish as we got notice from HOA that Jesse's plants in the front yard and on our patio must be gone ASAP.  Several residents have complained.

Kids are heading to the Coast for a mini vacay for Memorial Day so we will transport them to the farm upon their return.

So much to do and I need a nap!  Some days the Chaos wins!  But I love my little Gramma Pad and yearn for just a bit more to be complete

Monday, May 22, 2017

SANGUINE .... despite all the rage!

In my last post, I forgot to mention all the RAGE on airplanes these days.  Thankfully, I'm not interested in traveling by plane any longer, except to visit my sister and/or brothers.  Road trips with podcasts or books from iTunes and you can count me in!

Kate and I drove 45 minutes to The Allison Inn, a luxury resort with an amazing spa, nestled in among hundreds of acres of vineyards and wineries.

We arrived Tuesday afternoon about 2pm and they let us in our room early.  Plush and more plush.  Robes and slippers our size (they asked ahead of time).  Instant fireplace, wet bar, deep soaking tub, huge shower and a window seat.  We have our own little deck overlooking nature which looks amazing despite the drizzle.


Tuesday at 3pm we had 90 minute facial.  Who knew that someone can slather and massage a face for that long????  Also did our hands in hot wax with mittens to keep them warm for a while.  Lovely, long foot massage.  And an exquisite head massage.  I had an abundance of blocked pores so had 15 minutes of gouging,  which hurt a bit but not unbearable.  My face looks ten years younger!  She recommended a monthly facial for 3-4 months then go every few months or so.  Not sure it's in the budget but I have a couple of friends who DO go monthly and their skin does look young.

We came back to our room after checking out all the indoor water features.  Dinner reservations were for 7:30.  What a delight that was!  The chef sent a tiny shot glass of fresh, chilled pea soup with a few morsels of house smoked ham.  We shared a salad of wild greens, dried cherries, roasted hazelnuts, pecorino cheese with just the right amount of white balsamic vinaigrette! Accompanied by home made tater tots with mornay sauce.  Of course, we had to "cleanse our palates" with some grapefruit sorbet.

Kate chose salmon and I had halibut and every little decorative thing on the plates was edible AND delicious.  Since we are here celebrating our birthdays and Mother's Day, just as we were getting up to leave, our waitress asked if we could stay a moment ... the chef gave us a plate of cookies, candied orange peel with happy birthday written in chocolate ganache.


With a very small glass of a very great cabernet.  We are both making the most of escaping the crazy, chaotic world for just a while.




Friday, May 12, 2017

IT'S ALL THE RAGE!

Nope, I don't mean rage in the good way!  Like a new style of fashion that is "all the rage" with the 20-somethings.  (Although, my new fashion rage is wild print Lularoe leggings ... and EVERY time I wear them, I get a compliment!)



I see uncontrollable rage almost everywhere these days.  The news is full of road rage ... some is even videotaped by witnesses.  I admit I am a driver who follows the speed limit.  Others seem to believe these are just guidelines to follow IF they are in the mood.  So I get ticked off tail gaters who then flip me off as they speed by.  OR when we end up side by side at a stop light.  My bad?  I think not!

It's almost to the point that I try to avoid highways and all the nut cases that drive too fast while they are texting (or watching a movie, who knows, they are looking down and not at traffic), weaving across lines, slowing, speeding up, changing four lanes of traffic because they FORGOT this was their exit.

Last night online news showed the worst case of road rage involving someone making a U-turn in heavy traffic just to show THAT driver he did something wrong.  And then guns became involved.  Yikes.

But yesterday takes the cake.  Road rage inside the grocery store!  CRAZY!  First was a 70-ish lady gruffly TELLING (not asking) a young lady with two kids to "move your cart so others can get their shopping done."  "Maybe hire a sitter so you can pay attention"  I think that was RUDE!  She could have said "Ooops!  Excuse me, can I wheel past you please?"  
Then, when I got in line for self serve, the people right next to me were using a real, live checker.  A beautiful young girl was waiting patiently in line, with no cart.  A grouchy old lady said "Can you please move up out of the way so I can unload my cart",  Well, she really couldn't without infringing on the space of the person in front of her.  Grouchy Lady said "why, you don't even have a cart ... get out of line!"  Young lady showed her the bottle count receipt and a pack of gum but moved out of line so Grouchy could put her stuff on the conveyor belt.  Then when Young lady stepped back into line after the person in front of her finally left, Grouch lady did a big loud HARRUMPH.

To top off the whole day, the person in front of me in the Starbucks drive-through line just about SMASHED my front end trying to back out and get out of line.  And then flipped me off after I moved over and back as far as I could ...

Chill Out.  When looking for clip art there were SO MANY like this ... or worse ...