Saturday, January 28, 2023

Valentines Came Early!

I am a fan of all the holidays. I mean, I have a three foot tree right now with red and white lights on it and little stuffed hearts in all colors. My kids used to get green eggs and ham on Dr Seuss’s birthday, if you know what I mean. 

Still need to put pictures back up and remove the last of Christmas but onto the next holida!

Still, I am not an over the top person when it comes to romantic or anniversary type holidays. My husband’s and my birthday were a week apart, with our anniversary in between and we usually settled for a nice meal or something similar to celebrate all the events. My husband was an action rather than a gifter when it came to love languages, so I was more likely to get good food and find something rearranged, built or cleaned until sparkling on Valentine’s day as opposed to flowers and a box of chocolate.

Nevertheless, I was more than happy to let my darling daughter pick me up last night and take me to one of our few truly gourmet restaurants last night. And I loved the fact that she handed me a Valentine’s gift bag full of goodies. 

I went to this place on my birthday.  A place that seats only about twenty and takes reservations for a month on one day and is usually sold out within minutes of opening for said month, and that I had been to only once before. Last night’s meal did not include rabbit, or any other game.  I had chicken liver pate with pine nuts and fig jam, pasta and oxtail ragout, and a dark chocolate tart with salted caramel whipped cream. No wine was involved, but who needed it?

As part of said celebration, I received gifts both homemade and not. (My daughter received the most current cricut and all of its accessories for Christmas, for those familiar with such a toy). A personalized Llama laser cut piece of art, a new water bottle, a craft to keep me busy and fabric were part of my early Valentine’s goodies. As was an invitation to watch the superbowl at her house, because I am pulling the plug on my network streaming-at least until March madness. But I can only speak during the commercials.

Why is it I never feel old except when I see the skin on my hands??

In other news, my new Samsung watch is working and doing more than I ever thought or expected it would do. I mean, I’m a serial upgrader and asking myself why I stayed with a Fitbit instead of this for so long. While I obviously have no Apple watch to compare it with (dedicated Samsung girl here), this puppy tells me more than I ever needed to know. Apparently I can even do my own EKG with the watch, were I so inclined.  Full disclosure:  while I have activated the alarm app on my watch and tested it (sends location and emergency alarm) I have not yet tried the hard fall part yet, as I understand it’s very sensitive. But since it’s primarily why I got the darned thing, I’ll be doing that this weekend.

Thanks, for all the input about Tahoe by the way. I seem to have added some anxiety in late retirement. I mean I happily flew thirteen plus hours overseas most of my life on a regular basis and now I’m frightened of a flight from here to Reno and asking for valium. But driving that route makes so sense, I’d rather save my driving chops for a gulf coast trip in the other direction.

More about the frugal retiree’s travel plans for said destination wedding coming at the beginning of the week. What an experience, I tell you!!

Friday, January 6, 2023

The Double Edged Sword


I am speaking, my friends, of the trusty library reserve list. While I will never have a shortage of things to read thanks to my multiple sources of free kindle books from Amazon reads and the like, the reserve list includes books I want and am looking forward to-and sometimes waiting impatiently for. 

Until, that is the feast or famine rule comes into play and five, count them five, books free up on the same day. 

I mean, I easily read more than two books a week more often than not, but with a three week checkout period and no renewal, I either need to speed up my reading (not necessarily a problem) or delay the books which can mean going back to the end of the list, depending. So I’ll be reading, and reading some more for the next couple of weeks.

Perpetuating my problem is the fact that I have recently added more books to my list, and more than a few are of the not mindless reading variety. The new Barbara Kingsolver (Demon Copperhead) is now on the list, Sea of Tranquility (a sequel to Station 11), Less Is Lost, The Candy House, and others sit alongside the new Jane Harper, the newest in the Joe Pickett series and the new Thomas Perry novel (author of the Old Man for TV series types).  I have a never ending book list, and just a small part of it is on reserve at any time.

In the book to TV series trend, I have yet to watch Three Pines-and in this case I have never read the books. But I’m not one to shy away from the book to TV movement. I mean I am thrilled with both Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer and surprisingly happy with Reacher, so why not. And starting yesterday (I think?) there is a Will Trent TV series, for those readers of Karen Slaughter. Which I will get to some day.

In other brief news, my creativity right now is in the organizational arena. I know, me and organization, right? But there were so many cut up projects and so many pieces of fabric from leftover projects that I have taken time away from making to prepare things to make-cutting fabric into usable squares and bagging projects and organizing paints and art journals to workable spaces.  There is hope, I tell myself.

Projects ready,  with Valentine ideas in the front

Scraps cut into strips and squares 

This afternoon, I’m exploring the abilities of my new Samsung watch (away, Apple, away I say) and its “help I’ve fallen” and emergency settings. More on my new toy soon. And why is it I never feel old until I look at my hands?

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year, and Hello Again!

 I’ve missed you all!!

I won’t apologize for my fall and holiday complete slack off except to say I completely slacked off. There is nothing wrong with me that wasn’t wrong with me before, lol. I took excessive time to “veg out”, took a trip to Denver to see my son (from now on I believe that I'll be alternating holidays so next Christmas will be in the cold cold north), did some introspecting about blogging and life and the world as we know it, and so on. 

All of which should give me lots of fodder for blogging here for the next month or so at least.

Speaking of introspection, I am glad I will now be spending a holiday each year in the north or the north that is Colorado (I’m assuming my son will come here in the summer). But man o man, I do not question in any way my decision to move. Even after my experiences with some brief Texas freezes and even with the Time Hell Froze Over not that far behind me. This is now my place. I know my sister would love it if I moved back and shared the house, but this is now my place. Aside from the temperature differences and the friends I have made, the house would require just too many adjustments and we have completely different temperature requirements. I mean, they keep the house at 67 now I’m gone and this place is easily at 72 minimum during daylight hours.

But it truly is a lovely place to visit, in every respect, a couple times a year!

What else during this partial update?  I have restarted or rather reimagined my retired women’s meetup that I think I was just working on before. It’s a slow start but I am looking forward to meeting new friends, but it will never be at the social or energy level of the one I had in Denver (which, by the way is still equally active with the people who took over). Three different social events with one group every week is no longer my thing, if it ever was. So now we plan something once a week or so, keep it very low key and limit the number so we can each get to know each other.

I’ve been doing a lot of creativity. Or maybe a lot of activity that’s a little creative. I played around in about ten different mediums over six weeks and made a fun list and pinterest boards of things I want to do, but not much got finished. I have partial weaving projects, art journal projects, an unfinished christmas quilt, and two knitting projects just off the top of my head. Even us non organizational types need a little help sometimes, so I am spending the last five days of Christmas reorganizing my craft room studio and a corner of my living room so that I can accommodate multiple projects at a time. I may not have attention disorder of any kind but my need to dabble, putter and flit seems to increase exponentially with age.

I do have a list of goals and a bucket list for the new year, and I will share those shortly with you all. I have four unvisited and unexplored states  and one that I have just hit a corner of. Since I won’t make it to Alaska this year, I’ll look for recommendations on which way to go. I also have some new skills I want to learn and other things I want to add to my daily and weekly “doings” mix, without taking myself totally back to pre-covid craziness.

More to come, but meanwhile, here’s an ask the readers for ya. My nephew is getting married in South Lake Tahoe in June. I’m trying to decide if this is a road trip worthy vacation, or a “sit between daughter and son in law and hold hands on the plane” trip. It's a good 24 hour drive from me and I’m just not sure driving through that part of Nevada and environs is worth the drive. Has anyone has ever done that drive either by car or RV from anything close to my neck of the woods?  

See you Monday or Tuesday. With photos.

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Bazaar, It is Over!

Let me tell you just briefly about my bazaar month. And yes, my friends, it was a month!

For the last eleven months, the bazaar has been on all our minds at church, but in a different context than this last month. We had social events, tested food, made items to sell, casually reached out to vendors who might be interested, discussed casserole recipes and what baked goods should be made. Generally, lots of socializing and companionship and outreach was done in the course of our daily routines in service of the bazaar. In other words, a good time was had by all.

Then, as the kids say, things got real. At least for a small and dedicated group of people who insanely volunteered to take up the staff, so to speak, and deal with everything that had been back loaded into the planning and organizing, mostly by necessity.

Signs needed to be put up around the church. Facebook blasts needed to be sent multiple times a day with photos of vendor items and food. Ads needed to be placed in the local paper.

Boxes and boxes of donated hand knit items (remember those  knitted pumpkins?) were sorted, with two other people deciding on the pricing and then attaching tags. Display decisions needed to be made for church sold items (Hello, baskets and hooks and bowls and clothing racks).

 Then there was the actual making of all the casseroles that had to be baked, then rest and be frozen. The same with the baked goods, only in this case prices needed to be decided along with display options. Clamshells for the cupcakes, or boxes? Casseroles needed to have ingredients and instructions. Baked goods needed to be marked for allergies (with colored dots). Nuts or no nuts, chocolate, gluten free, and so on.

On the three days before the actual bazaar, everything needed to be set up. Money decisions needed to be made (where to set up and who would take the money). All the casseroles needed to be brought to the church freezer and all the baked goods to the kitchen the day before.

In addition to all the chores mentioned above, I had my own booth and was vending at said bazaar, adding a whole new level to the time management issue as I needed to sew and price and display my own items and also set up my booth.

And that, my friends, is the most brief of descriptions as to where I have been for 30 days or so!!

The good news is that lots and lots of money was raised for charity. More even than the bazaars held pre-pandemic. A good time was had by all, most everything sold, and another bazaar year is in the books.

And in truth, I mainly had a wonderful time with wonderful people. Which means that, dare I say it, I will probably volunteer in the same capacity next year.

After a good ten months of rest, thank you very much!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Thankful November

Food,the best part of any church bazaar!

What can I say about my disappearance, it was a month, my friends. Much of if it Bazaar Queen related and I will tell all soon!!

Meanwhile, I have done my November Thankfull list on Facebook previously but this year I'll continue here, sometimes adding it to posts!

1.  I'm thankful that health insurance paid the full 4000 dollar cost of my Brac tests. Would have gotten them anyway, but still...

2.  I'm thankful that my first set of cortisone shots that Medicare requires pre knee replacement are working so well that I'm rethinking said replacement. Sorta.

3. I'm thankful that I can sit in my recliner and see the beautiful weather outside as well as the creatures and people enjoying said weather.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Late Starts and Brain Training (or not)

 Most days, I go to sleep somewhere between ten and eleven at the latest (I try to be in bed and reading an hour earlier unless I have a hot date or am at my daughter’s), and wake up in the six to seven am range, with those occasional exception days (when you wake up for biological reasons and cannot get to sleep).

On the surface, this would sound like I am a morning person. I am not a morning person. While I am awake, the thought of doing anything more than stretching in bed is appalling to me. Morning pages? Nope. If I journal it’s at night. Exercising right out of the proverbial shute?  You have got to be kidding me.  Having a conversation first thing? I live alone, but when I did not, people knew better. And I have nothing but admiration for my neighbors who get up and are dressed and run to do groceries or errands and are home before I am even dressed some days.  I had a PT appointment the other day at nine thirty. It did not go well.

Instead I tend to wander. And putter. And sit staring into nothingness on my patio while having my morning caffeine. Occasionally depending on my alertness, I can knit mindlessly, or look at my Kindle. But intelligent conversation (online or in person), showers, and even food generally wait until a good hour and sometimes two after I am physically awake.  

I’m not sure if that makes me a lazy morning person, a semi morning person, or none of the above. I do know that while I may awake between six and seven, getting to Tuesday morning church group at eleven can be a risk, and ten thirty Silver Sneakers is generally a lost cause.

In other news, now that the Great Courses are free, I’ve been watching a course called the Aging Brain, usually at lunchtime. I jokingly tell my family that my goal is to learn a new thing everyday, and while I don’t always do that, I have learned a few things with this one, even though I skipped a few of the videos (on Parkinson’s and such).

The big takeaway (not surprisingly) is that “brain training” or puzzles are only a small part of what it takes to increase cognitive function or keep it healthy. And that as well as word puzzles, there should be math (an area in which I fail). Does that mean I should try Soduku?

Happily for me, skill building and active learning have some value, which I did know for a while and why I wrote this post a long time ago. But it’s always good to be reminded that learning a new way or part of knitting or quilting or drawing or German keeps me alert and is not just “fun”. And quilting and baking are math based, so I guess I'm on a roll.

Also, the correlation between socialization and cognitive function is huge, and perhaps explains my need to make it a goal to interact (and also get out of my cocoon) at least four days a week. This requires occasional expansion of my laid back social introvert personality, but I am always happy once I’ve been out. It’s good to know that my weekly lunches, knitting group, coffee group and church activities have multiple purposes and values. 

Where I fail, or don’t do as well as I would like is the aerobic thing. Especially in the last year as I have had “issues”. Because, according to these lectures, aerobic activity is the one best thing I can do for my brain, and the longer the better. I need to do it more. On the ground, in the pool, walking around the house, but probably not sitting (no matter that my heart rate jumps with seated aerobics). So a new exercise plan that takes in multiple issues is in order.  And I may be going to that indoor pool after all.

I can probably use more days like Wednesday. Which involved an awful lot of snail pace walking (using a rented wheelchair as a walker and having it on hand if I needed it),  chatting with friends for a good four or five hours including lunch) and in general a fun time. Even though I am sitting with my legs on a blanket on a pillow on my ottoman to dull the throbbing today.

I am now off to see if anyone in my group wants to have breakfast tomorrow and RSVP for next week’s Knitting Group, now that I’ve had an at home day and a half to recover.

The next lecture is on eating and the brain. Well see how much of a wakeup call this is.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkins

That time I did limp around the pumpkin festival and lived to tell about it. More later.