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

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Put Another Candle...And Another...

OK...I have to admit is my birthday. Yep...I'm another year older. So what am I doing today to celebrate my birthday? Not a heck of a lot. Now it's not because we didn't make plans. Actually my family was supposed to get together last night for a birthday dinner but I still have a head cold (sniffle, sniffle) and so does my sister so we have postponed getting together until we both feel better.

Since I'm still not feeling up to par today (oops, sorry for the golf reference), Rick and I have no real plans and that's honestly OK with me. While birthdays were fun and exciting times when I was a youngster, now it's just another day in another week, in another month, in another year, in another get the picture.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Economic Stimulation at Our Home yesterday Rick and his buddies drove 65 miles to one of his favorite courses to play golf. Since I drive the "newer" of our two cars, he asked if he could take mine while I drove his for the day. No problem.

When he came home in the afternoon, he spoke these ominous words to me: "When are you taking in your car for its next service?" Uh-oh!

It seems that, while applying the brakes to slow down on a particularly steep grade, he could feel a pronounced vibration in the brake pedal and a thumping noise. The noise was loud enough that one of the guys in the car remarked "That doesn't sound good." Duh.

So this morning before dawn, I drove on over to the place we get our car serviced to be first in line since I didn't have an appointment. My friendly service writer David came out and I explained the problem. Hmmm...his tech would check it out and let me know the verdict.

I went to sit in the waiting room knowing that somehow this was not going to be a cheap fix. How right I was. When I heard my name being called to the service office, I prepared myself for bad news. The diagnosis...bad brakes, hot spots on my brake rotors (whatever that means) and torn something-or-others in the suspension. Gasp, gasp, gasp...

So after nearly three hours of waiting time, lucky me got to hand over my credit card and sign for a $839.61 repair bill.

Breathe in, breathe out...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Week's Date Day

Today was Date Wednesday with Rick (we're back to trying to spend a day together each week) and our friend Joe joined us at the movies. This week's selection was "The International" with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Yes, it was definitely the guys' choice (that makes two weeks in a row) but I have to admit I did enjoy the film.

It's an international intrigue story with beautiful locales (Luxembourg, Paris, Italy, Turkey, New York) and the story was quite compelling and interesting. It used to be that the villain in this type of movie would be the Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany or some other evil empire. This film's "bad guy" is an international banking conglomerate and its executives. In these scary economic times, it somehow seems fitting to have a big bank wearing the "black hat." I did find myself closing my eyes during a number of the more bloody scenes but that's usually the case with any film where violence is portrayed. And how can you have a modern-day thriller without bullets flying and blood spurting? Yuck!

Not much else is going on. The sun is finally shining here in Southern California after several days of rain (sometimes intense) and Rick is golfing tomorrow with other retired buddies from his former workplace. I'm supposed to get together with a friend but I've come down with a head cold (thanks Rick) and I'm thinking maybe I should just stay in and rest. We have a number of plans for this weekend and I want to make sure I'm feeling tip top. I promised I'd call my friend in the morning to see how I'm feeling and hopefully we'll be able to do something fun...I need a day in the sun.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And To Think They Make Coffee Too

Now...all my friends know that I have difficulty finding my way around the kitchen. I leave that room of the house to Rick who is a terrific cook. So you can imagine my surprise when one of my friends sent me this information about a simple kitchen item which apparently has far more uses than its name would infer. So I thought I'd share with you these helpful hints regarding the use of coffee filters.

  1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
  2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
  3. Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.
  4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
  5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
  6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
  7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
  8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
  9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
  10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
  11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
  12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.
  13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. Soaks out all the grease.
  14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."
So next time you reach for that coffee filter, remember it can be your household friend. And, of course, they are great to use in your coffee makers too!

Oops...I told you Rick knew his way around the kitchen. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, Rick came in and read it over my shoulder. His comment? "You know, a paper towel would work just as well on most of these and it'd be a heck of a lot cheaper." Damn...he's so right!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Past Responds

There aren't adequate words to express my excitement when I checked my email yesterday to find a response from my long lost New York friend. If you missed that post, you can find it here. My friend's excitement at hearing from me was evident in her email and she gladly gave me her home phone number and encouraged me to call.

So this morning I dialed her number and heard a voice I immediately recognized...35+ years later. We had a wonderful chat catching up on our lives and families and it was as if all those years of silence simply vanished in thin air. She still lives in our old neighborhood (just around the block from where we lived 40 years ago) and she filled me in on what it's like there now. We compared notes about our moms and what it's like to be an aunt (she's divorced and never had children either) and we spent 20 minutes getting to know each other all over again.

We exchanged cell phone numbers, double-checked email addresses and have promised to send photos (I've already picked out a few to send). So now a link to my past is re-established and, thanks to the Internet, I have renewed a friendship with someone who "knew me when..."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Searching For My Past

OK...I admit it...I do have too much time on my hands. That's what some of my friends have been saying to me and I'm beginning to think there's something to it. How else can I explain why I've been searching the Internet looking for long lost friends from my childhood? Maybe it's because I'm trying to prove to myself that I haven't lost my librarian research skills; maybe it's because I have a birthday coming up and I'm feeling extraordinarily nostalgic.

Now, in my own defense, I'm not the only one doing this. Several years ago when my mom still lived on her own (before she moved in with my sister), she received a phone call from a man who was one of my closest friends growing up in New York. He located Mom using Internet phone books and was calling from Israel (where he apparently moved after college) just to touch base and to find out how we all were. Mind you...the last time we'd had any contact was when we were both 17 years old. He gave Mom his email address and, for a while, he and I corresponded catching up on our lives and families.

So...yesterday I sent an email to a woman I believe is a childhood friend who lived on our block in New York when I was growing up. She and I corresponded for a while after I moved to California and, thankfully, we were in contact long enough for me to know her married name. I located an email address on the Internet (without using one of those fee-based "reunion" websites) for someone with her name who works fairly close to where we grew up. I took a chance and sent an email explaining that I was looking for a long lost friend, giving her some information to help identify myself and asking her to respond if she, in fact, was the friend I was looking for.

Now I wait to see if I get a response. I'm curious...would you respond to an email from someone claiming to be a long lost friend?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Short Hair Be Gone

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been letting my hair grow out since October. I can't remember the last time I had long hair and I know for a fact that I've never let it all grow out including my bangs.

What started me on this crazy quest was playing golf at the beach last fall. No matter how much hair spray I used or what hat I wore, the humidity just made my short layered hair a miserable mess. Then Rick would want to go out for lunch after our golf round and I'd be embarrassed to be seen in public with a wavy mess on top of my head.

So, as I sat in my hair stylist's chair in October, I mentioned that I'd like to let my hair grow out. I could see her eyebrows arch in disbelief but she agreed to help me meet my goal. Each haircut since, she's been trimming the ends trying to shape it without taking off too much length. So after 4 months, I thought I'd share my hair journey with you.

October 2008

February 2009

While the back is coming along nicely, I've been fighting my bangs every day. No matter how I style them to the side in the morning, they end up down in front of my eyes blocking my view. I've been using headbands, which make me look like Alice in Wonderland and give me headaches, and the amount of hair spray I'm using is surely burning my very own hole in the ozone.

In hopes of finding some solace out there in BlogLand, here's my question for you. Have you ever tried to grow out a short hair style and, if so, were you actually successful or did you throw in the towel and cut it all off???

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Winter Blogging Vacation

Yes, this is one of those "What I Did On My Blogging Vacation" posts. No...Rick and I didn't "go" anywhere in January and early February. Rather, I just couldn't seem to find the motivation to sit and write about my life. It wasn't that there weren't highlights in the month...I did actually do things. It's just that I couldn't or wouldn't sit in front of the computer to relate any of it. I'm just a really bad, bad blogging girl! Anyway, here is the Reader's Digest condensed version of "What Joan Did On Her Blogging Vacation."

Lynn and I took Mom to the Indian casino not once but twice. The casino was offering $100 in free play money ($50 per new player on the first visit, another $50 on the second). All I can say is it's a heck of a lot more fun when you're playing the penny slots on someone else's dime.

I finally got an appointment with the dermatologist to have him look at the bleeding little red dot on my face. The diagnosis was just a blood vessel that made its way to the surface so he froze it, forming a covering which will hopefully prevent further bleeding. Whew!

I spent several days having fun with retired friends. Mostly it consisted of shopping and lunching but it got us all out of our houses and that's always a good thing.

I took Mom out for our monthly haircuts and lunch. I can't remember if I've mentioned that I decided in October to let my hair grow out so I can wear it in a ponytail for traveling and golf. Since my hair started out super short, it's slowly making its way to ponytail length. My goal is to have it long enough for a ponytail by the time of our cruise in June. I have my fingers crossed.

Speaking of our cruise, I used it as an excuse to start my January exercise resolution. I went out and bought an exercise DVD and miraculously I have been doing 3 miles most mornings. I wish I could say that my pre-cruise diet has been as successful but no such luck. And while I might not lose any weight before our trip, I'm hoping that my cardio will be sufficient to make it easier to do all the walking we're expecting during our onshore excursions.

Rick and I went to our friends' home for their traditional Super Bowl party. We had a great time and I managed to refrain from eating every bad thing on the table. Oh...I cheated...but I could have done a lot worse so I'm chalking it up to a win in the health column.

Rick and I are back to seeing movies after a December moratorium. We went with a friend last week to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Although I hadn't really wanted to see it, I actually enjoyed it immensely. Now tomorrow we're going to see the Liam Neeson film "Taken." We're going with the same friend and he and Rick really want to see this action thriller. Me? I'd rather let the two of them go without me but, for some reason, Rick wants me to see it too so I will go. I'm not sure how many more times he can appeal to my sense of guilt since he graciously went to see that all-time chick flick "Mamma Mia" with me but so far it's working. Sigh...

I think that about covers my January and early February. I admit to lurking in BlogLand and have been keeping up with most of your lives. Now I promise (yet again...I know) to start back to commenting. Did I mention that's my February resolution? Let's hope I can be as diligent about it as I've been about exercising!