Sunday, November 19, 2017

THANKSGIVING

I am going to enjoy Thursday all by myself.

Kate and family are going to Jesse's mom's house for Thanksgiving Day.  I am always invited but usually decline.  Too many people, one wild, noisy and uncontrollable kid (two weeks younger than Braeden), excessive drinking and the hostess complains the entire time about how much work it is, how much cleaning she had to do, how expensive it is and so on.


A few condo friends have invited me but I'm just not in the mood to be with someone else's family.  Last year was fun (in Maui) as it was just friends without family nearby.  Very easy on me as hostess as everyone brought 1-2 dishes.

I'll gather up my dinner at the best grocer in town, one huge plate of my favorites.  And have a nice bottle of red wine on hand.  

After living alone for a while, and now sharing with four others, it will be a treat to have the condo to myself and a nice little fire going.  I might just lounge all day in my cozy pajamas.  I'll fill the boys Christmas Countdown trees with 24 little gifts (hoping I have enough but will have plenty of time to pick up a few more things if necessary). Hopefully Jesse will bring our Christmas decorations over from storage before then (especially the Christmas dishes). 


We grownups are all looking forward to the Christmas elf!  They move every day and are keeping track of naughty or nice.  This may be the last year Braeden believes ... so this year will be awesome.  The elves (of course we have two!) often get into mischief ....

Now that I've written all this .... maybe I will simply watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies and take 14 naps!










Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HOA STORIES

Oh yes, it's been a while since I've written about my fulfilling and rewarding work on the HOA Board.  (Yes, that IS sarcasm!)


Considering we have just 14 buildings (8 units per building, so 112 homes), there are a lot of interesting and challenging stories.  And background stories.  While I am as compassionate as the next person, if you are blaming your current behavior on your sad childhood 50 years or more ago, I think it's time to move forward and just keep that in the background.  Move on!

We have an Owner who emails one of us and/or the property management company daily.  Usually several times a day.  Telling us we "better remember to do this or THIS could happen" "no one seems to notice these fire hazards except me" "when I was on the Board"  "When I was chair of the landscape committee" and my personal favorite last week "you better notify people to stop using their fireplaces to warm up their condo"  Still not sure why she doesn't want us to use our wood burning fireplace!!! 


Then she emails again in 3 days with the same information ... despite me answering her email explaining that yes, it is being arranged and we will notify everyone when a date is set to have chimney inspections or gutters cleaned or leaves removed ... Now when she sends a repeat, I simply respond "thank you for your email".

From Saturday evening:  Parking has been a problem 3 times this week.... especially tonight.

I saw an older couple putting out signs and caution tape that there have been private parties and the front spaces are reserved? Is this board approved? With the handicapped designation, (which was never supposed to be there until XXXXX put it there), there is no where for our (this bldng) guests to park.

Please let me know. Owners should have priority and this is a new issue of late.

This Owner has lived here for 20 years ... and the "older couple" are the Clubhouse Managers!  Who have to go out in the rain to put up signs so that residents will stop parking in the visitor spots!  They even had to finally CALL two owners to move their cars.

My question is WHY does this Owner think her guests are any more important than the guests of other Owners ... who were parking there????  And ... I personally do not consider her "priority guest" a visitor as he comes over EVERY night.  People!!????  P.S.  There are 8 uncovered parking spots right in front of her building.


(that's me in 5064, just beside the pool)

Saturday's event was also the topic of whining.  Both rooms were reserved for 30+ people.  We have just one kitchen and one resident did not want to share the kitchen.  Said she signed up first.  They also went in the day prior to event to set up all their tables and decorations (did not reserve the room for that).  

The complaining party was in the other clubhouse room ... setting up five hours before the time she had requested the room (we have sign up sheets by each door for that room ....).  And sorry ... yes, I had to point that out to her ....

So really?  It's just the little things.  Apparently these little things really irritate some people.  Actually got a complaint about neighbors setting up "too many" Christmas lights and decorations, and too early (I do agree it is too early).  Unless we get 3 complaints, we are not going to be Grinch and make them shut it down.

Stay tuned.  Some of the issues ARE valid so I'm not poking fun of those.  But these little things ... oh yeh!






Friday, November 10, 2017

THE GOOD, THE BAD and the NAUGHTY

These two boys.

Every day I laugh.  Often my eyes tear up.  This is an amazing relationship that could only happen with intergenerational living.  I'm so lucky ... and thankful.

I get to see and hear the little day to day stuff.  And believe me, I still miss out on a lot!  Conversations when I am not around ... scenarios while they are out with Mom and Dad.

Yesterday Mr. 3.75 caught a wicked cold.  He got up early while Mr. 7 (he now says "almost 8" if you ask how old he is ... Oct 28 birthday) was getting ready for school.  Usually, Mr. 7 is NOT happy to share his Gramma time but knowing Mr. D wasn't feeling so hot, he became the best big brother ever.  He kindly asked little guy if he wanted to come in the bathroom with him while he got ready.  He let him brush his own teeth and comb his own hair (think hair gel ... about once a week Mr. 7 adds a bit of pizazz to his style).  He brought him out to show me and said "Gramma, I think he is ready for preschool now ... look at what a good job he did".  Little man beamed.  Then went to lay on the sofa.

When it was time for me to take Mr. B to school, he went over to the sofa and gave Mr. D the biggest best hug ever.  And then a high five.  I love you and hope you have a good day.  I'll be home before you know it.  (Teary eyes here).

Today was no school and very rainy, so we mostly stayed inside to play.  They played together for quite a while and then played totally separate for quite a while.  And then when I was in the kitchen I hear a VERY noisy Mr. D ... sounded like he was dragging furniture down the hall.  I peered around the corner ....

He was sitting in a Playskool chair, making it go down the hall while very loudly saying "stop it brovver"  "you're hurting me, brovver!" "don't kill me" then fell over with a big plop like a dead body.  Exorcist style playing.  Big brother was in a totally different room.  Dad came flying out to investigate what Mr. B was up to ... but I explained what I saw with my own two eyes!  Where does he get these ideas???  


Mom and Dad know to listen to both boys when one is screaming.  I rush out from my room occasionally because the parents allow them a certain amount of time to work out their own things ... and sometimes it seems too long to me!  I'm very thankful we live downstairs.  And that these condos were built back in the day they are pretty sound proof.  Did I mention Wrestlemania every night on the King bed?  Right before bedtime ...

I hope these little guys remain great friends.






Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

O'Dark Thirty

Gosh I will be glad when our clocks go back one hour this weekend!
  

Not that the little bit of daylight will last very long.  The two little guys were both thinking I was out of my mind when I got Braeden up to get ready for school at 7:15 am.  But it's still night out, Gramma!  Ha!  Don't I know it!

I used to be a morning person.  Until Mr. Ralph retired.  Then we morphed into night owls and slept in until 8 or 9.  Most people thought we were odd ... that old people get up at the crack of dawn, have dinner at 4:30 and asleep by 8.  We did the complete opposite.  And I've kinda stuck with it.

But it seems I am becoming more like the animals that get up with the sun and go to bed when the sun goes down.  I prefer to get 9-10 hours of sleep.  Getting up at 6:30 am on school days to help out the parents (who ARE late night owls) gets harder and harder by Thursday.  Finally, I asked for Wednesdays off!  Kate has the day off (she has Mon/Tues/Weds off from work) so she can give up one sleep in day.  It felt so amazing to sleep in ... I might just have to get a tiny coffee maker for my little room!

(Yes, I sometimes use rollers!)

Once I am home in the evening, I'm not so good about being spontaneous and going out for dinner.  Last night I was in my jammies at 7:30!  Hoping to stay awake longer than the children.  I had to turn on all my lights and get up and down a lot just to make it til 9pm.

How about your schedule?  

My buddy, Grandpa George, was about 80 when he started to set his alarm for 6:00 am.  My parents also set their alarm clock (7:00 am for them).  They just didn't want to miss anything!  I hope I don't set my alarm for no reason.  Listen to your body and get up when you wake up!!!




Monday, October 23, 2017

SOUP SEASON

Mmmm.  Soup!  It's that time of year.

Unfortunately, my grandsons are not big soup fans, so I've been treating myself to some upscale Campbell's soups.  Soup is a great lunch for me ... or a late dinner when the family is having chicken nuggets and fries.  Portobello Mushroom Bisque with Madeira is my favorite so far.  It's hard to find mushroom soup for eating ... and trust me, I've tried them all.  

I broke down yesterday and made Hungarian Mushroom Soup.  A neighbor/friend had me over for such a creamy delish dish a few years ago.  Portland had a restaurant close who made THE best Hungarian mushroom soup ... and they shared their recipe.   I had tried to turn my neighbor on to my new discovery of Campbell's but she did NOT like it at all.  Marge is a bit older than me and at the time, she still loved to cook.  She is having some health issues now so I felt like I owed her the real thing, especially after getting her hopes up about love in a can.

I spent countless time on the internet trying to find the BEST recipe.  Ina Gartner.  Food Network.  Bon Appetit.  New York Times.  Silver Palate.  I finally settled in on the The Moosewood version with a few alterations.  I used half and half instead of milk, 4 ounces more mushrooms (for my convenience as sliced mushrooms come in 8 oz containers and the recipe called for 12 ounces), half the amount of onion and chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.


I had my first bowlful last night for dinner ... she is having hers for lunch today.  Stay tuned.  Next time I think I will add a few wild mushrooms and a few tablespoons of sherry.

Very yummy!  And I forgot to add a plop of sour cream to my bowl!  Mmmm ... I'm looking forward to tonight!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

THE WHIRLWIND

My favorite sister and her awesome hubby came for a short visit last week.  We text or email or talk several times a week but it was great to have real, in person hugs.  And they hadn't seen the grandkids in person for two years!


I picked them up at the airport about 1pm on Saturday.  We went directly for a late lunch at a favorite vegan restaurant.  I was pleasantly surprised that they serve brunch all day on weekends.  The food is delicious and there is always a bit of a wait.  My daughter works just about a mile from there so we went over for a surprise visit.  They chose a gift for their dog and I bought a get well catnip toy for my friend who was in car accident that morning.  
We mosied over to the infamous local ice cream shop, Salt and Straw.  Which is now branching out into California.  They make the most unusual flavor combinations, some of which sound dreadful but taste so yummy!  Olive oil ice cream?  YES!  Honey with lavender.  Strawberry honey with balsamic vinegar.  And some pretty delicious more traditional flavors.




Saturday evening we weren't really very hungry so I had some cheese, fruit, crackers and wine awaiting in the guest suite for them (we have an awesome amenity of a guest suite with two queen beds, living room, kitchenette and HUGE bathroom, cable TV and wifi .... for just $50/night!),  So convenient to have guests just a building over from me.  And I joined them!


Each morning they would get up and go for a brisk walk then we would meet for coffee about 8:30.  Sunday we went to the Portland Art Museum for a great, short visit.  Janet is a docent at her art museum in Louisville.  They often plan their vacations around visiting art museums.  
I am not into cultural things but they convinced me to accompany them and it was fabulous!  I think I will go at least once a year ... and may take the whole family.  Quite a few youngsters and it was so interesting to hear them ask questions and give their opinions.


We came home and played with the boys (they brought them each a book!).  We took them to see Jesse's farm (they are avid gardeners and avid veggie eaters!)  Sunday evening we went to a newer restaurant with my friend Mary Beth and her boyfriend.  It is called Quaintrelle whose meaning is explained on the wall in the entry ... A woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures.  The food was good but not iconic (at those prices it should have been iconic!) and we learned about several new foods!  

Spigarello, more properly called Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli, is a leafy green that tastes a lot like broccoli. But unlike broccoli, you eat the leaves instead of the flowers.

Monday was coffee, then lunch with the little family (except Braeden who was at school) then walking and hiking and just being with little men in the great sunny outdoors!  Dinner at our local Italian place which was a big hit.  The five of them walked home while I got Deacon ready for bed and reading books.  

Tuesday was coffee, then packing then off to the airport.  So short but very very sweet.  We miss them already ...

Braeden showing Dr. Uncle how to play Minecraft ... he didn't really expect Dr JEH to get it right away ... he's merely a neurosurgeon ...

P.S.  The rains STOPPED and the sun was out for their entire visit


Friday, October 13, 2017

THE TERRIBLE AWFUL HORRIBLE MORNING

Life sometimes presents big issues for six year old boys.  And great opportunities for Grammas.

Braeden has had a loose front top tooth for MONTHS.  No matter how much he wiggled it (not much ... if hurt!), it would not budge.  Before school picture day the parents bribed him with a new Lego set...to no avail.  They gave him corn on the cob.  Nothing.


Imagine our surprise Tuesday when we came home from school and the tooth that had been horizontal in his mouth for weeks was gone!  Playing on the playground and he fell, popping it right out.  Big trauma as no one could find the tooth.  He was sure the Tooth Fairy would not even bother visiting without the evidence.  The school gave him a little tooth keeper anyway and suggested his parent write a note to the Tooth Fairy, which Momma did.

Unfortunately, the Momma did not have any cash so the Dadda said he would take care of it.  But Dadda fell asleep and forgot!  When I went in to wake Braeden up for school, Deacon (Mr. 3.5) was asleep in front of the door and I had to carefully try to scoot him out of the way without waking him.  Epic fail because Mr. 6.9 began throwing all his stuffed animals off his bed and crying, then pounded his little fist on the floor saying "I just knew it ... she didn't come"

I was befuddled because I couldn't quite understand him and trying to sssshhhhh him so little guy would stay asleep.  Then Mr. 6.9 was mad at Mr. 3.5 for blocking the door so the tooth fairy could not get in!!!

While he sat at the table refusing to eat breakfast, I went in to ask the parents.  They said $2 but the smallest bill I had was a $5.  I folded it as small as it could go and put it in his pillowcase.  Sneakily, I went back to the dining table and said maybe when he got home from school we could take everything OFF his bed, even the sheets.  He went dashing in, took off the pillow case and was AMAZED at the loot.  Then he had to go in and wake the parents (again).

We wanted to take Mr. 3.5 to ride with us to school but he refused.  Once we got to school, him still beaming with excitement, he realized he didn't have a raincoat.  I suggested it was raining so hard they would probably have recess inside.  NOOOoooooo, I have to have my raincoat.  Please, Gramma, can you bring it to me?


I got home and almost didn't bring it, but a promise is a promise.  So back I went.  I looked like death warmed over but had to take it inside to the office ... who said "oh great, they need their raincoats for a field trip and they are just lining up"   For some reason, Mr. 6.9 is "embarrassed" by me (saying good bye at school ... I have to do it BEFORE the door opens so no one else hears) so I mentioned that to the office lady who "got" it.  

The rest of his day was just perfect.  A trip to the Fire Station!  School lunch (Momma/Dadda forgot to pack it!)  And just 18 days til his birthday!.
Super Gramma


Saturday, October 7, 2017

VACATION WITH LITTLE BOYS

Last week we all went to Sunriver Resort for a week.  Kate and Jesse researched VRBO for weeks and found a great house to rent.  Two bedrooms, each with King bed (mmmm, did I love that), two bathrooms and the boys had a loft with bunkbeds, twin on top, double on bottom.  PLUS an X-box system with bean bag chairs with built in speakers.  That they mainly used to slide down the stairs!

Air hockey, football and foosball in garage. Ping pong table if we wanted to set it up.

They rented a bike with a tag-along for Kate/Braeden and Jesse pulled Deacon in a Burley. I almost rented an adult trike ... but didn't. 


Mr. Ralph and I vacationed at Sunriver at least once a year since 1981.  It's a family oriented neighborhood with 30 miles of paved bike paths.  The Village has recently gotten a facelift but no new restaurants or shops. Well, except a new replacement coffee shop and Starbucks finally horned in!! 

One day they canoed for FOUR hours. Had a picnic and other stops along the way. I enjoyed some time in the bookstore, worked on our puzzle and did a LOT of HOA work. 


We spent four hours at the High Desert Museum as rain was predicted. It is the best natural (and cultural) museum I've ever visited.  It opened in 1982 and they just keep adding to it, both indoors and outdoors.  Loads of hands on things for the liddles and talks and presentations every half hour.  There is a replica 1904 sawmill and tiny village.  And it works!  It was amazing to see the house (one room) where parents and two youngsters lived ... with one tiny box of toys! 


We drove both cars but the boys went with the parents (and dog!) and I left an hour before them so I could stop and dilly dally along the way.  There's a small town called Sisters with cute little shops and perfect for a pit stop.  It's about 3,000 ft above sea level with astounding mountain views.  Population just over 2,000 and it has a small town feel.

Jesse and I had a 1,000 piece puzzle on the dining table and were about 150 pieces short of finishing.  So we carefully put large sections into the box and brought it home to finish.

For the drive home, Braeden chose to ride with me.  Mainly to use my iPhone to play Minecraft.  But it was nice to have the company and every half hour, he had to take a break and we could talk.  We stopped every hour to stretch our legs then had a most horrendous traffic jam the last 25 miles.


So many people cannot believe that we all live together, in pretty close quarters, and then take a vacation together.  But they invited me and I love the area, so I accepted.  It's almost a four hour drive so I doubt I'd do it on my own.

Me and my odd little family!  We LOVE intergenerational living!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I'VE TURNED INTO MY MOM

Yep, this has been happening gradually but I have turned into my Mom.  In a good way!

It started in full force when I returned to condo living.  Only one chair in the living room has arms and is sturdy enough for lift off when I had the bad knee.  It is now known as Gramma's chair!  The boys scamper off when they see me coming with laptop in hand.  Or they approach with soft blankie and stuffed animal and ask if they can sit in Gramma's chair with me.



Every where I sit (or sleep) has a box of tissues handy.  What's up with that?  I even keep a packet of tissues in my purse.  In the car.  In my coat pockets.

Next to my bed I have a long, narrow container with a small hand lotion, emery board, pen, pencil, floss, etc.  For the past couple of years, a glass of water is always nearby.  

My Mom's birthday is just around the corner (October 7) and when the weather changes to Autumn (is today the official equinox?) thus I feel her presence even more than usual.

So today I ate a braunschweiger sandwich.  I bet it's been 30 years! 



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 ...