Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Cool Wind Coming?

It's Thursday at 7:30AM; I've already done 4 loads of laundry at a local laundromat; I'm drinking my first cup of coffee; it's 86 degrees inside the house right now; and I'm sitting in front of my computer trying to think of brilliant things to write about. It's just not gonna happen.

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, there was a much welcomed message from the air conditioning company letting us know the ordered part was in and someone would be here this morning to install it. There are no words to express my excitement and trepidation at hearing the news. Maybe it's my natural pessimism at work (or maybe it's just the week of suffering in 100 degree heat) but I have this terrible feeling that installing this new fangled part will not fix the problem. I'm sure it's an irrational feeling but it's been haunting me just the same since Monday when the Boy Tech first came. Of course I'm hoping I'm just nuts and everything will turn on and run just fine once he's done doing whatever it is he needs to do but I just cannot shake this fear. Oh well...we'll know soon enough!

BREAKING NEWS: Boy Tech came; Boy Tech installed part; Boy Tech turned on air conditioner; air conditioner started pumping out cool air; air conditioner continues to pump out cool air. Wahoo!!! Hopefully this will be the last time you see the term "air conditioner" in any of my posts!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oops...What Day Is It???

So this morning, bright and early, I was blithely checking out blogs and writing a post about my wide awake brain when suddenly some voice in the back of my mind told me to check the calendar I keep in my purse. Good thing I did. I discovered that, instead of working Wednesday and Thursday this week, I was actually scheduled to work today (Tuesday) and tomorrow. Oops! I threw on some clothes, called work to tell them I was on my way, and then headed out the door. I was only 2 hours late so I stayed an extra two hours to make up the time and now we're even. The good news...the air conditioning at Library Headquarters was actually working and it was such a pleasure to stay there most of the day.

OK...I'm chalking up this sudden memory gaffe to having a fried brain thanks to the lack of air conditioning and the 100 degree temperature. And what worries me is that I'm not sure how much more of this I can take before I take a plunge off the deep end. Oh wait...a plunge off the deep end...could that give me some relief from the heat?!?!?

Good Morning Brain

I saw this test on Michele's Rocky Mountain Retreat blog so I thought I would try it out. There's nothing like challenging your brain at 7:00AM...of course I've been up since 5:00AM. Anyway, it must be the coffee because I actually managed to get 25 out of 25 questions correct! Wahoo!!!

How smart are you?

Go ahead...try it out. Just make sure you have that cup of coffee before you start!

Monday, August 27, 2007

It Couldn't Fail In Winter?

The air conditioning repairman (or should I say "boy") came this morning bright and early (now that's a first) and took a look at the fan unit in the hallway. As suspected, the fan needs to be replaced and Boy Tech left promising to call us within a few hours after checking to see if he could lay his hands on the part. He called within an hour (will wonders never cease) with the unfortunate news that the part needs to be ordered and will not be in until Wednesday or Thursday. Yikes!!! The weather report is for increased temperatures into the 100's by tomorrow with no cooling trend in the near future so we will continue to roast for several more days.

The good news (if there is any) is that I'm scheduled to work on Wednesday and Thursday so I will be able to escape this hot box. I haven't worked since May and I was a little apprehensive about training again after such a long time but now I'm so thankful to have someplace cool to go that I'm actually looking forward to the challenge of work. See...I told you I keep looking for the silver lining.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm Melting...

That's me...the Wicked Witch when I'm hot! Yesterday was a study on how to avoid staying at home when the air conditioning is out. We spent most of the morning at the YMCA where I did a little treadmill work followed by a whole lot of gabbing with a friend. Then Rick and I went to our usual deli for breakfast/lunch...he had an omelet; I had a Greek salad. We then proceeded home for a few hours.

The house was still somewhat cool since the windows were closed up tight holding in what little cool air there was from the nighttime. By the time the house got really really warm, it was time for us to leave for Rick's annual physical appointment with his doctor. Between waiting, the examination, the trip to the lab and the wait at the pharmacy, we managed to enjoy 90 minutes of the medical center's air conditioning. After that, we went out to my sister's house for a visit.

Lynn was kind enough to take us all out for dinner...a very nice treat for having housesat for them last week. When we got back to their house, we viewed their trip photos which were fun to look at (you can view some of them here). Then it was time to go back home. The house was stifling hot but we opened the windows and let it air out a little before bedtime.

So now Rick and I have to think of things to do today and tomorrow to keep us away from the house during the hottest part of the day. I don't know about Rick but I'm probably going to spend a whole lot of time at several of our malls. I may not buy anything but window shopping sure does take up a whole lot of time.

As for "melting," I may be melting from the heat but I'm sure not melting from my diet. I was so thrilled to lose 6 pounds my first week but this second week has been a bust...not a single pound lost. Oh, I haven't gained anything back but I'm stuck and can't seem to get off this way-too-early plateau. What can I say...between the air conditioning on the fritz and my stalled diet, I'm one unhappy girl.

Friday, August 24, 2007

An Untimely Meltdown

Wouldn't you know it. Here it is August, the hottest time of the year, and our air conditioner as chosen this particular moment to go kaput. Actually it's not the air conditioning unit seems to be working just fine although it's hard to tell since it sits on our roof. The culprit seems to be the fan unit which pumps the cold air through the system and out the vents in the house. The good news is that piece of equipment sits in a hall closet so it will be easy for the repairman to get to it when he comes. The bad news is that someone can't come until Monday! Since we haven't needed any service on the system in a very long time, we had to call a friend for a referral and she gave us the name of a local company she and another friend have used before. So Rick called late yesterday and was promised a technician for sometime Monday morning. Until then, we swelter in the heat with fans and open windows just like we did when we were kids.

So...since I'm trying to look on the bright side of things these days, I did find one advantage to this summer catastrophe. In a moment of weakness earlier this week, I agreed to play golf with Rick next Monday so he made a tee time for us at a golf course near the beach. Now he's had to cancel the reservation since we'll need to be home when the technician arrives. See...there's usually a silver lining if you look hard enough!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now Open Wide...

How sad is this when going to the dentist is the highlight of my day? Rick and I have back-to-back appointments this morning to have our teeth cleaned by the hygienist and then examined by our dentist. As usual, I'm sure Rick will get glowing words of praise for his impeccable teeth cleaning routine while the hygienist will once again admonish me for not flossing enough. Sigh...

It's been a quiet weekend and this week hasn't started off any more exciting. I think it's the damned heat. All I want to do is sit at home in front of the air conditioning vent and suck in the cool air. I haven't even wanted to perch myself in front of the computer and blog which explains my lack of posting and commenting. The weather forecast is for a "cooling trend" (from the low 100's all the way down to the mid-90's...whoppee) so maybe I'll feel the urge to think of something clever to write about. Until then, you're sadly stuck with this.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Let's Hear It For Spare Parts

I just love the Internet...can you tell? Yesterday I wrote a desperate post, while visiting my house, about my sister's dead Internet connection. Lo and behold, this morning she called me from San Francisco frantic (OK...maybe it's more like "concerned") that she will return from her vacation tonight to find herself without Internet access. How did she know? She read my post last night on her laptop in her hotel room and knew what was going on so this morning she called.

After I gave her a rundown of all my troubleshooting steps, she told me there was a spare "portal" in a box in her garage (if I'd only known). Since I was suspicious of the power cable/transformer rather than the portal itself, I first decided to use the new cable in the box and, sure enough, the problem was solved. So now I'm up and running again and, when she and the family return, they will be too!

So...what did this little experience teach me? It taught me that I am absolutely addicted to the Internet. The feeling of anxiety that arose when I discovered the Internet was down truly amazed and frightened me. Yes...I know I've done without the Internet for long periods of time when we've traveled. But there's something different about being in your regular environment every day without the ability to log on, communicate with people, research desired information, find directions and all the other things that come with surfing the Web. Now I'm thinking maybe I need to go "Internet free" on a regular basis just to stop myself from becoming an incurable Internet junkie.'s just a thought...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holy Heck...Now What?!?!?!

This will be short as I had to drive to my house to post today...actually Mom and I met up with Rick to have lunch so we were in the neighborhood. I'm still housesitting (until late tomorrow evening) but something tragic happened yesterday at Lynn's house...her internet connection died! The "home portal" (I'm still not sure if it's a modem or a router) seems to have met an untimely death and so I'm stuck without Internet access. I tried to see if it might be a loose wire (nope, not that) or maybe the "Off" switch got pushed by mistake (I can't find any On/Off switch) so I'm at a loss as to what the problem is. I unplugged the thing and took it and its cable/transformer to another outlet but still no power so I'm thinking it's really dead. Anyway, this means that I will be Internet-less until the weekend so I won't be able to post or comment until then. All I can say is that I feel if I'm stuck in my own little world without a way to communicate...and I just hate this feeling.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Only Money

Here's my latest housesitting report straight from my sister's computer. Amber (The Good Dog) is pacing back and forth at the moment trying to remind me that it's her breakfast time so I will have to make this short. We've already been for our morning walk and it was warm and steamy at 6:30AM. This is going to be one very uncomfortable day.

I took Mom yesterday for a two hour drive to the closest Indian casino for a little recreation. We only play the penny slots and for good reason. Although Mom has usually won the few times we've gone, this time we both lost. To be honest, I didn't see any smiles on people's faces so I'm thinking it was not a good day all around for anyone. As my father used to say, "It's only money."

I've had a few conversations with Lynn and her trip to Northern California with her family is going swimmingly. They are packing in every possible tourist attraction in a short amount of time and they will all need a rest when they return. But I'm happy to report that everyone is having loads of fun and excitement. I believe today they are scheduled to visit Alcatraz and I know, from experience, they will have a great time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not In My Own Bed

I only have time for a quick post before taking my sister's dog Amber out for a walk. I am again at Lynn's house while she and the family are off on an exciting Northern California adventure. They left yesterday and will be back probably late Friday evening so I'm here for the duration. I've planned a fun filled week for Mom and me so I'm not too sure how much time I'll have to post and comment but I will try my best.

Although I said I wouldn't give you daily updates on my diet, I do want to report that so far (all two days of it) I've been really, really good. Saturday evening, Rick and I went out for Mexican food and I left the basket of tortilla chips and salsa completely untouched. Then last night, I took Mom out for dinner and managed not to munch on the heavenly aromatic dinner rolls and spice bread. The big challenge so far has been not eating between meals but I've managed to refrain from nibbling so I guess I should be happy. I haven't gotten on the scale yet but I'm hoping all this willpower will be rewarded...willpower and a little exercise thanks to Amber and her need to walk.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pounds Be Gone

Once upon a very long time ago, I was skinny…yep, really thin. I was in my 20’s and had just ended a four year relationship. Suddenly, 20 pounds just seemed to disappear overnight and now I was 105 lbs and a size 4. I’m sure you think that, at 125 lbs, no one would have called me fat but, in those days (and now), skinny was “in.” Suddenly I could fit in all the cute, trendy clothes and I could find just about any garment to wear. I was in 7th heaven and thought I looked great. Of course, my doctor did ask me if I was anorexic (which I most certainly was not) and, when I went to Europe for 4 weeks during that time, I did come back weighing 95 lbs from all the walking we did (don’t worry, I gained back the 10 lbs immediately). Life was good.

Fast forward many, many years. I no longer weigh 105 lbs…I no longer weigh 125 lbs. I can’t say when the trek up the scale dial began but it seemed to be a slow, stealthy climb. Eight years ago, after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I did manage to lose 40 lbs but, before you get excited, I also managed to gain most of it back after a few years. So here I am at a number I can’t even reveal to my hubby. No… he’s completely in the dark and that’s where I want him to stay. The only two people who know my weight are my doctor and the pilot who flew us onto a glacier in Alaska last year. Yep…no one else!

So last night I was watching TLC’s “What Not to Wear” when suddenly I had an epiphany. If I want to have an easier time finding clothes that look nice and fit well AND if I want to feel and look better, I need to take control of myself and make a commitment to watch when and what I eat. If I could lose all that weight eight years ago, there’s no reason I can’t lose most of it again. What’s my plan of attack? It’s portion control. It means absolutely no eating between meals and cutting what I eat at each meal back by as much as 50%. It also means no sampling when I go to Costco, no bread rolls when we go out for dinner, no tortilla chips when we have Mexican food, no overloading my plate when we go to our favorite salad bar, no dessert anywhere.

Can I do this…you bet! By revealing this plan, I’m hoping the thought of publicly admitting defeat will prevent me from “falling off the wagon.” While I promise not to bore you with daily updates on my progress, I will occasionally mention milestones when I get there. And maybe I’ll finally post a photo of myself once I get down to goal. I said “maybe”…

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Whole Lot of Shakin’

Sorry if this post sounds a bit fuzzy but I haven’t had a whole lot of sleep. Early this morning at 12:58AM, Rick and I were rudely awakened by an earthquake. Yep…no doubt about it, we live in earthquake country. The temblor started out with a wee bit of rolling, followed by a pretty good sized jolt, followed by a little more rolling. It only lasted seconds but those seconds can feel like forever while the ground is moving. For me, the worst part of an earthquake is the noise associated with all that movement…mostly from the house as it creaks and groans and rumbles through the event.

Once the shaking stopped, we held our breaths for a few moments trying to determine if it was all over…you never know whether the shaking is the actual earthquake or just a foreshock of a stronger one. Once we decided it was done, I turned on my bedside radio to confirm the earthquake (duh) and then to hear the determined magnitude. In this case, it was pegged at 4.5 which is considered “moderate.” Having lived through the 1994 Northridge earthquake which was reported as a 6.7 magnitude, we already knew this one was much weaker and certainly not a serious “damage maker.” And what always surprises me is, even at the smaller magnitudes, how far away from the epicenter the earthquake motion can travel.

As we were thinking about going back to sleep (or at least trying to), the phone rang. It turned out to be our next door neighbor who was calling more for comfort, I think, than for anything else. She is a single woman and I can only imagine what it must have been like for her to be suddenly awakened in the middle of the night, alone in the dark, waiting for the shaking to stop.

Rick, of course, managed to get back to sleep almost immediately (being a 4th generation Californian, he is not genetically predisposed to being bothered by these events). For me, it’s never that easy to sleep…especially after I’ve been so rudely awakened. I must have finally managed to shut my eyes and make it into slumberland because it took the alarm clock this morning to finally wake me up. Yawn…

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ten Lies My Mother Told Me...

Last week, Empress Bee was kind enough to tag me with the “10 Lies My Mother Told Me” meme. I’ve been putting it off mostly because I’ve been having a tough time finding ten things my mom actually lied about. Then today my cousin, The Moose Buyer, tagged me with the very same meme so I guess I can’t put it off any longer. Forgive me Mom for divulging these glaring lies:

1. “This will hurt me more than it hurts you.” OK…did she really believe I’d fall for that line as she was coming at me for a well deserved spanking?

2. “I don’t think the pediatrician will give you a shot today.” This little lie was her attempt to prevent me from getting all worked up about the pain associated with an injection. Did I mention that we always got shots during our annual exams (all those damn vaccines).

3. “Mrs. S is a good teacher.” My fifth grade teacher bordered on obsessive compulsive and we all thought she was certifiable. Even so, my mom continued to praise her in my company because she always thought it important to support the authority of our teachers no matter how awful they truly were.

4. “Eat your peas; they’re good for you.” Alright…this might not be a lie but I still do not see any beneficial results from eating these small round things.

5. “Yes, you need to continue ballet lessons. They will teach you to be graceful.” Now this one, I think, was her wishful thinking for me rather than an actual lie. Who knew there was not one ounce of grace found anywhere in my body?!?!?!

6. “Yes, I’ve stopped smoking.” This one was eventually true but it took many times catching her smoking in the bathroom before she finally quit for good.

7. “Boys DO make passes at girls who wear glasses.” I swear this was a lie at least during my junior high school days.

8. “Stand up straight and you’ll grow tall.” Hmmmm...I tried walking around with my head held high and I’m still the shortest female in my immediate family.

9. “Of course you have a nice singing voice.” This was either a downright lie or my mom suffers from a very tin ear.

10. “I realize you hate beets but I know you’ll like them prepared this way.” No amount of cooking or pickling them will ever get me to eat beets.

Whew…as I said, this was a hard one because Mom truly did try and set an example by telling us the truth…at least most of the time. Anyway, I don’t want to pressure anyone so, if you are so inclined, please feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Amazing Trick Golf Club...Not

Rick and I came home from our once-a-month Sunday golf lesson a little while ago and I just had to share the following two photos with you. They were shot with my brand new camera phone and I'm pretty proud of them.

No, he's not using a special golf club nor is it his incredible strength which is bending that club of his. Rather, it's amazing the kind of shots you can capture when your camera phone has such a slow shutter speed.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Migraine...Hello, Goodbye

Sorry I've been kinda quiet the past few days but I haven't been feeling 100% and today, while out with my mom, my sister Lynn and her kids, I came down with a riproaring migraine. I don't get them very often and, when I do, they usually last only a few hours but, during that time, ugh!! Anyway, thank goodness we'd just finished our miniature golf game...which I won, by the way... when the headache hit. I managed to make it through lunch at a salad bar and then through a shopping trip to a furniture store, looking for a desk for my nephew Ten, before getting back to their house and then turning around and leaving for home. When I got home, I waved to Hubby (who was watching TV in the living room) as I made a beeline for our bedroom. I've just finished dinner, after a much needed nap in our darkened bedroom, and I'm feeling a wee bit better.

I've been trying to figure out what triggered my migraine today. Lynn thinks it might have been my 4:00am wakeup time this morning (I just couldn't sleep) but I'm thinking it might be a little comment my niece Twelve made while we were on our way to the miniature golf course. We were all listening to the radio when the Beatles song "Hello, Goodbye" came on. Now I've been a Beatles fans since forever and I take their music very, very seriously. So the song comes on and what does Twelve say? Her exact words were "Oh, that's the song from the Target commercial." Excuse me? This is, without question, the most talented band and songwriting team of the 20th Century and she identifies their music only as an advertising jingle? That's enough to give any babyboomer a migraine!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Sad Day

I meant to post earlier this evening but I’ve been watching the news coming out of Minneapolis about the tragic bridge collapse near the University of Minnesota. Rick’s niece is a student at the university and, once we saw the tragedy on cable news, we immediately called Rick’s brother and sister-in-law to make sure Niece was OK. It turns out they had not been watching TV so they were completely in the dark...they live in another city in Minnesota. They immediately turned on the news and Rick’s brother told us that he had just taken Niece back to school a few days ago and had driven over that very same bridge. Although they hadn’t heard from her yet, they believed her to be OK and we are hoping they are correct. It’s now been a few hours and we’ve had no return phone call so we are assuming all is well with Niece.

Watching the news unfold, I’ve once again been struck by the truly fragile nature of life. Something as innocent as a drive to or from home, work, school, the supermarket can turn deadly in the blink of an eye. There is no warning…it just happens. My thoughts and prayers are most certainly with the victims and their families as Minneapolis attempts to recover from this deadly disaster.