Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lunch-The New Dinner in Retirement?



A couple times a month, we head out to a local restaurant for dinner in the evening. Something fairly casual, close to us, that could be anything from the Village Inn to the Outback to our local Mexican place. This is generally a nice relaxing meal. And in truth, it's a chance to do little or nothing, more than it is to taste the food.

We have a lobster roll truck here in town, and I just found out that for the next three nights, the truck is going to be at local brew pubs in my area. So for one of those evenings between four and eight, we will probably head out and grab a lobster roll. So looking forward to this one.

I have to share a truth though. If it wasn't the for the working folk's need to escape occasionally in the evening, I would be perfectly happy to settle for lunch and happy hour (and the occasional brunch) for at least eighty five percent  and probably ninety percent of my food and socialization experiences. The other percent of course are those few, very special, expensive dining experience, usually saved for holidays and celebrations. Where I partake of those expensive, celebrity chef type experiences. Or concert type events when no matinee is available.

The rest of the time? I would much rather enjoy a nice, semi late lunch or a happy hour with great bar food. In fact, in general, I would happily keep most of my social and eating experience in the mainly day light hours. I look for matinees at movies and concerts. If someone wants to get together, unless they are working and cannot, I suggest brunch or lunch or some such. Like many retirees, if I can socialize during the week rather than the weekend I prefer it. But if it's a weekend get together, I still go for the day time whenever possible. And most of my retired friends (couples and singles) seem to have the same perspective.

 We go to matinee or morning movies. We go out for lunch or cocktails and then head home. If it's a musical showing downtown we may go to an evening showing, but we are just as likely to try and hit the matinee then an early dinner and be home when the evening show starts, even on a weekend date.

What creates this phenomenon?  It's easy to write it off as "senior discount syndrome", or the desire to get to bed early. The truth is that I and many like me are actually night owls. It's not like I'm in bed at eight, or even ten, as such. Last night I read until after midnight.

There's no denying that many things are cheaper during the day/weekdays, and that it's nice to take advantage of that (although in my case, since I always buy concessions, that movie discount is often offset). Occasionally, not so much. I'm not a big fan of the "senior plate" so I'm likely to order off the full menu, even at lunch. And while it is true some folks have night driving issues as they age, many of us have no confidence or performance issues.

I cannot speak for anyone else. For me, doing this stuff in the day versus the evening (and on the day versus the weekend), makes everything............slower and relaxed. Yesterday, just as an example,  my lunch group met at that well known seafood chain, Red Lobster. We had access to both the lunch and dinner menus. Some of us had lunch (in my case, lobster roll and fries), some had food from the dinner menu. A couple of us had wine. Again in my case, the very berry sangria.  


More importantly.........there was no wait. There were no fussing and loud children. The food was timely and we never had to start looking around for or waiter. And as we sat and chatted and the time moved on well past an hour, no one looked at us sideways, hinted that we should be moving on or tried to bring us our checks before we were finished with our food and had begun discussing dessert.  And although we ate very well, we still had time to walk off the food rather than sit in front of the television post meal. And yes, we always tip well, especially at lunch since we know the lunch waiters are probably not hauling in what the evening folks do.

Once in awhile (as I did the other week), I take my son to either the nine thirty pm movie (usually opening night or something similar), because of his working and school schedule. This happened two weeks ago when we went to see the latest Mission Impossible. Which is also a quiet and relaxed experience, because children are not allowed into R movies after six at this theater. Most of the time though (even on the weekends when going with family), the latest I hit a movie is at one PM. It's never crowded, there are almost never teens or tweens or small children. On Tuesdays there is a five dollar all day deal. And I just find it more fun and relaxing that joining the crowd at seven or eight, be it weekday or weekend.

Next week, I'm stepping out in the evening. Our local, large outdoor "streets' shopping center has a series of concerts and the final concert is an Eagles cover band. A group of us will enjoy sitting on the lawn for the concert and then possibly be grabbing a bite. I'm looking forward do it (to the point that I realized I no longer have folding chairs and may need to get one) and am excited about going. But seriously, it's the exception rather than the rule.

I do a fair amount of "doing and going" type stuff. Lunch, happy hour, jewelry making, crafting, museum trips and concerts, the occasional one time class. Homebody that I am at heart, I am still a "doer". And once I get my son through his eight thousand dollars a semester schooling, I'll be a traveler again. No stick in the mud am I.  

As long as I can do it all mainly during the day.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Morning.....

Every morning. usually around nine thirty or so, I go outside in the yard, and take the dogs with me. As the seasons progress, the time may become a bit later and I add a sweater until true cold comes in December.

I started this routine for the canines in the household. If I let them out in the back yard, they may play for ten to fifteen minutes. But if someone is outside with them, they will be happy for an hour. Sometimes lying on the grass, sometimes exploring the large yard, sometimes doing everything that they can to catch rabbits and the squirrels who torment them. 


See dog at back of photo eating..........grass

Little dog

The truth is though, that these days I do it as much for myself. Sometimes I sit on the swing or day dream or perhaps fall semi asleep again. Sometimes I do my morning meditation outside. Sometimes I knit. Sometimes I read my kindle. Once in awhile I traverse down the walk to the lower tables and chairs. Today I allowed myself less than ten minutes of soaking in the morning sun.  

See chair turned to temporarily sun worship, and I praying those grapes survive the Japanese beetles


We want to remove the bush and the fence and rebuild pergoal here to extend patio......at a sideways angle....we think

Most of the time though, I do.......absolutely nothing. This morning I took my knitting out and knit no more than two rows before I left off to day dream and enjoy my surroundings. I took a picture of the yard and the pergola (now covered by grape vines which give me unlimited privacy (I am big into privacy, and would not be happy if someone did something to their side of said fence or yard that eliminated it). Our indecision on the pergola continues to grow, as we now are considering moving it behind the grill and putting it at a ninety degree angle and extending the patio.Yes, that ground is as brown as it looks. Colorado in August, my friends. No lawn mowing to speak of and no trimming.  



Yes, we have an upper yard and a lower yard



Back to nothingness.....Doing nothing, my friends, is highly underrated. Many of the same people who say they are jealous of my ability to sit and read my book club book on the patio or take my tablet out and work on my blog are stumped by the idea of just...sitting. Sitting without doing a crossword puzzle, or reading a book, or writing in a journal or visiting with friends while having drinks. Sitting, while doing nothing.

While I like to joke that this is my meditation time, rarely do I meditate. Sometimes I save my morning prayer time for when I go outside, or do my daily journaling. But I would be lying if this was not the exception rather than the rule. My phone is in my pocket as a time tracker and camera, but rarely do I use it for anything else. I generally, seriously, do nothing during this time.

Afterward, I come into the house, spend an hour or so online, do the morning things that need to be done. In the afternoon I have lunch, and do my "thing" be it retreating to the sewing room (today) and then reading or hitting lunch and knitting (Wednesday). But except for the one occasional day I am needed to volunteer, I take my quiet time in the morning and no one had better interrupt me. Even my son has learned that if he is home and comes outside, talking to me is not the best use of his time. And while my sister still works, when she retires, I expect she'll learn the same thing. This isn't "Don't talk to me because I'm not awake", but rather, "This is my time and I'll be with you later.

Sometimes, we need to just be. Were I to be honest, I think that one of the problems of the world is that people have forgotten to just "be". If they want to be calm they feel they need to meditate, pray, plan, walk, read or whatever. All those things have value. But there is also value in putting all of that away, closing your eyes, checking out your surroundings and simply being. In place. Where you are.

At least for me.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Healthy Paranoia

As I type this on a Friday afternoon, I still have on my sneakers. Late this morning I headed out to the mall (about a fifteen to twenty minute drive), stopping to hit the library on the way. Afterward, I headed 20 minutes in the other direction to a local coffee shop to meet some friends, again stopping on the way (this time for a small McDonald's burger and an iced tea. I'd get a lunch container, if I thought I was out and about enough to actually use it). 




After that my yarn and I headed home. As of now I am ensconced on my couch-still in said tennies. I have my knitting balanced on my pillow and on the TV I am watching another episode of my most recent online course, The Science of Natural Healing. Which, by the way, I highly recommend. 





I suspect that from now on, when I want to walk during the day, I'll be taking this route (pun not intended) instead of walking on the canal path that wanders through my neighborhood.

One of the reasons we decided on this house was it's proximity to the wide, shady path. Basically, we face east onto our street. The people across the street facing west ack up to said canal and green space. So we are really, really close. And as unsteady as I am on my feet, and unable to really walk the dog any distance, I do enjoy being able to walk a few steps out of my house and walk or meander down said path, depending on my energy level. As well as enjoy and say hello to the other dogs and their owners, neighbors who are biking, joggers, and more. Or rather, that's what I find when I walk in the evenings or on the weekdays.

The thing is though, that I generally walk right before or after lunch. Kids are in school, most people are working, and I have, on more than one occasion walked much of the path without running into a soul. I walk with my phone, both for safety and to track my "steps", but I have to admit, if I hear someone coming up behind me and there's no dog breathing, or no one calling out "on your left", as most of the joggers do here, I get nervous. Especially as a gal who likes to walk by herself, and use this as her meditation time. Which is a nice way of saying I am not always paying attention to my surroundings.

Recently a situation arose that reminded me about how even the safest neighborhoods can be dangerous-especially for women, but not only for women. More break ins take place in the day, when no one is around, after all.

You all may remember that post a few days ago where I took our dogs to walk on the path. We walked along the river, looked at the rapids, walked on a bridge and back again. All the while enjoying the scenery, kids, dogs, bikers and everything mentioned above. 




I have since realized that the bridge we walked over and enjoyed was the site of a brutal attack on a woman about a week prior. She was walking her dog on a loop during the day (at ten am on a weekday there was no one immediately nearby) She was a strong, active girl, who had a dog, and was fairly alert (if you read the article below, she knew something was up because he walked past her and then lapped around and walked into her head on from another direction).

This young woman was smart, and strong and still barely got away. Mainly undressed and hogtied, she managed to free herself because the "perp" lost his glasses. She got away, ran screaming and naked and found someone to help her- and the individual was arrested. He has priors, was wanted and will be in jail for a very long time if I understand correctly. Note: not only was this woman smart and strong, afterward she allowed herself to be photographed and told her story to the newspaper and shared her name, which is why I included the link below.

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/07/26/woman-attacked-littleton-trail-posts-photos-facebook/

I am not paranoid. I am unafraid to take the light rail or metro into the city for a concert.  I drive down to my church for evening events and park on the street. I go to the mall alone. I don't lock my home during the day when I am home (even alone) since I have the barking dog from hell. I also do not think that the world as such has become more unsafe. Rather, my own ability to react in such situations has changed. And frankly, as a mainly city girl, I have become aware of situations such as this that were not as obvious or as common in the urban villages of the rest of my life. In DC, were I walking or running in the morning, there were already people everywhere. I am not afraid of people, just the lack of them.

In terms of my own physicality in response to such a situation, I am definitely not in a position to run (understatement of the decade) although I probably could use the cane (which I honestly carry in case the dog and I meet a coyote) with more adeptness than I think. 

So i am no longer walking alone on the tree lined, shady path. At least not in the middle of the day when am the only walker on said path. From now on I will drive to the mall and walk for forty minutes. Or go to the aforementioned heated pool or exercise. Or wait and walk after dinner with the rest of the neighborhood.

Call me paranoid, call me a wimp. Whatever.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Spending to Save-My Health That Is





I have a confession: For years, I used to write about, talk about, and listen to other people talk about the idea of "free" exercise. 


You know what I mean: you don't need to join a gym. Walk. Run,  If you simply have to, buy a used treadmill (or insert other item here). If you need to spend money, spend it on a bike. Because not only is exercise free, you should be outside instead of in a facility. And anyway, haven't you seen how deserted all those fitness centers are come April?

And in truth, that was my philosophy for a great many years. I live a block off a large bike/walk/jogging path.  Why do I need to go inside. I can find online exercise. In fact, awhile back I shared a whole post (see here) on how I exercised at home using online sources and U-tube aerobics instruction.

As often happens, I have, as they say, changed my mind. Completely. For awhile now, I have been paying $3.50 a visit to my local recreation center. No, it doesn't require a monthly or annual commitment. I pay as I drop in. And yes, I can buy discounted entries in bulk. But neither is it free, and as someone who attempts go to a minimum of 3 times a week and sometimes more, my cost is more than the cheapest fitness centers around, easily.

Note: Before anyone jumps in, my insurance does not cover Silver Sneakers, which is not free as such to everyone on Medicare but is paid for by the supplemental plans-usually Blue Cross, Kaiser and United Health. My federal retiree insurance (and many other federal programs) does not cover SS. My benefits are so great, especially in the drug area, that I have no intent of ever changing just for this particular benefit.

I admire those people who can get up and run in the morning, truly I do. And some of those people will tell me that it just takes time to create that habit. My experience unfortunately was different. I have too many things to distract me at home, and somehow, my intent to work out or walk every week day was left by the wayside.  I NEED a specific time and place to be in order to get my exercise "done". Never mind the fact that I enjoy exercising in a group situation, and will never be installing a heated pool on my property in the near future.

I'm still not a perfect exerciser, although I am getting better. I still excuse myself when the pain is too great, even though I have a heated therapy at my disposal. I still tell myself that it's not healthy to go from a warm and steamy pool situation to cold weather when the winter arrives. Last week I was in the center either three or four days.  This week, however, I've been to an exercise class one day, and plan to go to the pool tomorrow (although I don't want to think about how many painful steps I took on my errand day). And I'm only actually going to class (as opposed to the pool walking ) twice a week because most of the classes are before ten am-a time at when I am neither alert nor responsive.

It's also important to note that I do not "like" to exercise, even walking. Whomever said that eventually you get addicted to exercising never met me. Exercise, even in a heated, relaxing therapy pool is not my jam, if you will. I wish I golfed well enough so that I could consider that exercise. Exercising is something I HAVE to do to be healthy. Just so we are clear, lol.

But I am determined to do as much exercise as I am able (as defined by me). And if it means spending money, committing to a time, and even hopping into my car, it works for me.

Just as my $150 San Antonio Shoes decrease my knee pain and increase my ability to walk extra steps when possible, and my pedicures (now a medical line item because of my lack of ability to bend the knees ) increase my foot health, some spending on exercise is worthwhile when it improves my long term health. Because they all make me healthier, and help lower my medical bills now and later.

At least I hope so.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Morning Musings

With apologies to Tamara, for kind of stealing one of her blog titles!

Today is Monday, which is better known around here these days as "retirement/household organization day". This is partly because as a not organizational type I need a partial day of getting my act together. Also, around here none of the basics get done on the weekend, and since I treat Sundays as the sabbath (a nice way of saying I do almost nothing except hang with family and rest), well...............................

Even the dog chills out on Sunday. With his own blanket, pillow and corner of the couch!

1. I'm making a list and checking it twice before I do my major errand run tomorrow. As I do this, I'm reminded that there are some people who actually like the all day shopping process. Tomorrow, I'm trying out Clicklist for the first time, as well as ordering online at Walmart (for personal and paper products) for in store pickup. Time saving and in the case of Walmart, money earning as I order through a cash back website.  



2. Although I cannot go barefoot any more, summer sandal weather (plus my habit of wearing sneakers without socks to work out in, one that I am changing) means that my feet are in the worst shape right about now. Which means, summer or no, my feet are at the moment ensconced in heavy socks, with lots of lotion. For as long as I am home at least.  

Winter socks and Aquaphor

3. As part of my monthly (semi monthly actually) errand day, I also have an Amazon order ready to be sent. This order is usually a compilation of odds and ends that would send me to multiple stores, or require my wandering and searching a big box store, sometimes for things that are well hidden. This week's order includes flexible dog food can lids (things that seem to disappear around here on the same level as chapstick, socks and earring backings), the specific pens I use and a good quality motion night light - cheaper than one I have found anywhere else. It also includes a mixed media art journal, and a cord (just the cord, not the plug itself) for my phone.

4. I've shopped for glasses online, and have different glasses from three separate online stores in shopping carts. I plan to check my prescription and check it again (at least twice) and then choose the glasses I like best and send for them in the morning. In an abundance of caution, I've opted to just order the glasses and clip on sunglasses. Once I am sure I am happy with what I have, I'll go back and order the polarized lenses. I've been ready to order for over a week now, my hesitation has been the question of transition lenses (which all companies have the option for). I think I am going to try them, knowing that  I will still need good sunglasses at least for driving.  

Just one of the many frames I've looked at

5. Yesterday we took two dogs on a nice drive and then went for a walk along the Platte, where they got to walk along the river, meet other dogs and people and have a grand ole time. We had originally planned to go pottery painting, but then decided the day was just too nice and made the second option. We had planned to search out a dog friendly patio afterward but settled for a drive through. Next week perhaps we will try a dog friendly brunch. 

Rapids..........


And calm!

6.  Tomorrow my gals group is having a movie day. The choices are between the final Mission Impossible and Mamma Mia 2. I expect that this group will choose the latter. I'll be happy to see either one as I've been looking forward to both, although I expect that in the end Mission will be a much better movie. I'm taking my son to see whatever the alternative is later in the week. Where we live, AMC theaters are five dollars all day Tuesday for rewards members (of course, that doesn't cover the requisite popcorn and other goodies!

7.  I'm in the process of trying to decide where to spend my birthday week in September. Right now, Santa Fe is looking really good, but I'm open to other places. I'm planning on spending late October, early November in the Houston/Galveston area so want to go not quite so far this time. I had thought about Montana/Wyoming, but my sister is considering downsizing to Santa Fe in five or so years, so this would be a kill two birds with one stone kind of vacation.

8. When my church had an auction in June, I had to leave early and could not wait and bid up several items that I was interested in participating in (many of these were experiences). I did however, win a seat at a dinner at a well known Italian restaurant, hosted by a friend from church. So Saturday night I had bruchetta, calamari, Veal Saltimboca, and Lemon cream cake. Yes, I do eat everything, even veal. I can count on many less than ten fingers the things I refuse to eat. I don't generally acess my phone at dinnerphone out, but did grab a less than great (very blurry) photo of my lemon cake. Along with many other things we talked about over the two and a half hours, there were rousing discussions on the books we had read and what we had watched. So I have an updated list of things to reserve at my library.  




9. And finally, having a Crab Apple tree (two, actually, the other is half crab and half regular apple) is a double edged sword. The trees are large and the spread out from the base instead of having one long trunk, making them very shady. And when they are blossoming, it is a thing to behold, as shown below. We live along what is known as the Crabapple route. Unfortunately, the end result (if it has been a good year with no really late freezes) is, well...crab apples. Which I use for nothing really, and which fall on the ground to be come rotten apples that are smashed, walked on or mowed over. for now though, the baby apples do look very pretty . 




Crab apple wine, perhaps?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Re-adjusting a Bit

I am happy to report that while the wasps have not disappeared they have calmed down. I actually think opening the door itself aggravates them the most, because the mail person never has a problem delivering the mail, and I'm sure there are other factors as well. We are getting various estimates with guarantees and so on, and the buggers should be completely gone shortly. 
My first ever attempt at jewelry making, made to go with a dress I bought, because yellow jewelry is impossible to find!

Today as part of my online afternoon, I wandered over to the Olli (senior college) website, to see what the class offerings were. While there were some very interesting classes (most in the morning, when I would not attend), after looking for about five minutes I realized that interesting as these classes are, I don't want any more "places to be" in my life.

While I wouldn't exactly call it summer vacation as such, along with my blogging break I've had a respite from many of my normal groups and volunteering gigs. Even though I have my new Diva gang, I've realize something: While on some level I consider myself a "doer",  I don't like making the regular commitment of being in a certain place at a certain time on a weekly basis. If I am going to commit to being "there" every week, "there" has got to grab me. And senior college classes do not. At least not when I have a full offering of the Great Courses online at home.

Just a few of the courses on my watchlist (as well as a couple TV series since I watch the Great Courses through Amazon Prime!

Sometimes folks comment about how much I "do" on this blog, even though I have stepped back a great deal (and intend to step back some more). I think this is because there is a difference between being busy at home, and leaving home-be it to socialize, volunteer or anything else. At least for me.

Don't get me wrong, part of my summer of resetting (which is not over) has been to be less busy at home, in part. Given a chance, I could have five or six sewing projects, things to cook, an art project going, some home improvement thing in line-you get the idea. I have spent much of my offline time streamlining my studio, throwing things out and promising myself that I will finish one thing before dreaming up the next, at least one thing in each area.  

But for me at least, there is a difference between having to be somewhere for a meeting, social event, movie or anything else, and doing something similar at home. I'm not sure I could spell it out for you. I mean I wear the same clothes as a rule at home or out. Many of the things I do are within a couple miles of my house. I guess it's just that when I do things at home, I do them on my own time (or I don't).  And when I go out of the house, I am generally "making a commitment".

As of this week, I have three out of the house "commitments" weekly. And I plan to keep it that way.  I have a three hour volunteer gig. A three hour (and sometimes more with happy hour) knitting group. And thanks to my Diva group, a once a week lunch or movie or happy hour or.......!  In theory I can miss either the Diva thing or the knitting thing if I just don't feel like it for some reason (I usually do). I plan to add no more. Nothing. Nada. No senior college classes. No watercolor class at the rec center. No second volunteer gig. I can watch courses online at home with a subscription when I like. Utube can keep me busy with paints and crayons and who knows what else. And If I extend my volunteering it will be via occasional one off special events or advocacy done from home. 

The more blocks I add, the brighter it gets!

Obviously, there are other things I do. I exercise at home sometimes and in a class sometimes (depending on my mood of the day). I go to church (I suppose that's a fourth commitment but in my life it's simply habit) I still go to dinner or other social events with friends or family. I sew and bake and learn and draw and read and clean my house and take weekend trips and occasional day trips. But none of those are regular things that need to be scheduled around. They all happen occasionally rather than regularly. And that's the way I like it. And an awfully lot of them happen right here. In my house or garden. 

Other people, especially single people, plan more. Some plan less. But I enjoy being at home in my own little space. Equally important, I enjoy being at home alone in my own little space (the joke around here is that when the other person who lives here, who I see a couple hours a day on weekdays retires, we will have to each move to our own place). If, that is, you can consider living with two fairly large four legged creatures being alone!

Admittedly, my spontaneous activity will pick up beginning in September, as festival and event season begins in full-the local fall theater season (amateur and not), fairs, festivals, food events and who knows what else. But those are all as the mood strikes as well as one-offs, which is a different thing. And I still make sure to limit these, in order not to get over loaded (as well as wanting to spread out the fun). 

Somehow even in summer, soup and salad are my go to for lunch! I this case the soup was not exactly "light"

This week, I had a volunteer gig. On Wednesday my Diva gang went to a local jewelry emporium and made jewelry. And then cancelled happy hour because there was a sever thunderstorm and flood warning and we were all worried about our dogs. The previous week I went to Bonefish grill and had corn and crab chowder and also had a kitting afternoon. This coming week, I have a movie date Tuesday afternoon, Knitting on Wednesday and possibly an art gallery "walk" on Friday evening. The rest of the time I will be home, or doing my daily walk and/or work out. Which is perfect.

For me.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Dinosaurs and Wasps and Seafood

So I confess:  Once in awhile, I look at my beautiful rental home and say something like...."I wish I could...(insert whatever here).  But truthfully, most of those conversations have to do with things like knocking out a wall to make two bedrooms, or similar things that I would realistically never do. In my own home, because at this time of life the the tough of all that makes me want to go screaming from the room. Still, I recognize that there are advantages (besides the home is your retirement argument) of home ownership. And I understand that for some of my readers, they consider home ownership security, among other things.

Even with the above caveat, I see the advantages being less and less for me as they once were. And while I know that this home is not a "lifetime rental", I can see myself downsizing and renting again. The past few months, those rental advantages have really hit home. Which leads me to the wasp nest from hell. Now, before anyone pipes up with "All you need is a can of spray and for it to be dusk", or "just power wash it with a hose", let me just say, no.  Not in this particular case. Three or four days ago, we noticed the wasps on our front door. The nest, my friends, is in between the brick and the siding immediately to the right (as you go out) about seven feet up. At the entrance of said crevice are some dead Virginia Creeper vines from when the house was covered with them. In other words, the wasps have cover. And freedom, as a full can of wasp and hornet killer did not slow down the attack and left not a single corpse.

So bad is it that we are resigned to entering the house through the garage. Yesterday I thought I would be sneaky and open the storm door a few inches to grab the mail from the box on the wall by the door (and having lived in DC and other humid and buggy areas, I'm pretty quick when it comes to denying bugs). I ended up with multiple wasp injuries, as well as having to hunt down and kill the buggers that managed to get into the house.

Disclaimer: That lower part of our yard that I often photograph is filled with bee friendly and bee drawing flowers and plants, a "bee garden" if you will. We recognize the importance of bees and expect no bees to be damaged by whatever our solution is.

Also, yesterday the landlord came by. He hosed the entire area hard, used one of those twelve foot long tree cutting branches to bang against the brick and startle the evil beings and also sprayed some as they came out. The end result was not successful. We've been keeping an eye and they have returned in full. Which means it will probably have to be fogged. Which is bad news in the sense that we are not finished with the stinging beasts from hell. But good news in the sense that I only have to be here to answer questions and the arrangement of said fogging, and the payment is out of my hands. Thankfully.

Aside from wasps (and please don't tell me about the good things wasps do, right now they are keeping me from entering my home or receiving mail), the local summer fun has been bumping along. Last week the Divine Divas went to the Bonefish grill for lunch and there were seven of us. I had a corn and crab chowder (I'll always choose the soup and or seafood option and this met both) with a salad. Over the weekend we belatedly celebrated my sister-in-law's sixtieth with a cookout and deconstructed ice cream cake (she loves ice cream cake but her husband never got time to go to the store when he could be sure to come straight home), which of course, is cake. With ice cream!

We've also been exploring drives within a half an hour to forty five minutes from our house. Drives that is, that end in parks or hikes or walks. Because our dogs both LOVE to ride in cars. But they want some fun at the end.


The week coming?  A drive with said dogs to Deer Creek Canyon, a jewelry making and happy hour session, a possible trip to a cool theater, and of course the normal sewing, reading, knitting, dog playing exercising and other good retirement things.

And about those dinosaurs?  I won a science party!! I got a bunch of these dinosaur kits free, and the chance to host a kid's party. Which I translated into a science afternoon with the kids at my homeless shelter. More about that one, tomorrow!!

Lunch-The New Dinner in Retirement?

A couple times a month, we head out to a local restaurant for dinner in the evening. Something fairly casual, close to us, that could ...