It’s not just that it’s smaller. In fact, that isn’t such a big deal since I only used a portion of the space I had before. It’s not just that it’s dingier. That is a bigger deal. And I’m not enjoying the additional noise of an apartment complex.
Right now, though, I’m struggling mostly with how low or high my air conditioning should be set to maintain the optimum comfort while still keeping my electric bill low. I have no idea what temperature I should set it at. The recommended temp is 78 degrees, but that is proving to be simply too warm and somewhat oppressive. So I turned it one degree cooler, which is still pretty warm, but I’m not willing to go any lower. Not today, at least. Not until I see my electric bill and know the consequences.
That sort of adjustment is simply part of moving and learning how things work in the new home. As for the rest of it, I may never fully get comfortable with this new space–I was spoiled in the old one.
The cats, in particular Mimi, seem to be adapting to the change fairly well. Mimi has settled in somewhat permanently on the bedroom windowsill, which is comfortably wide and overlooks a large tree and a grassy area with plenty of squirrels and birds. I’ve pulled up the blinds and put some café curtains in to maintain my privacy. Walter hasn’t quite found his spot, although he does like to hide under my comforter, not knowing that the Walter-shaped lump gives him away.
I’m looking for good in the rest of my life to balance out the discomfort I feel here. I have a decent job with great benefits. My car is in good shape (knock wood). I have healthy, happy cats (again, knock wood). Most of all, I have the support of my family no matter what is happening in my life.
After all I’ve been through in the last ten years, overall I have to say I’m in a decent spot. Certainly far better than where I was six, seven or eight years ago. So I’m grateful. On the balance, things are good.
So I’m looking at the balance and remembering how good it is these days.
The movers came last Friday. That part went smoothly and aside from losing the knob to my floor lamp, there was no damage to any of my highly valuable personal goods. (Okay, “highly valuable” is a subjective term and one I use here a bit facetiously).
The cats are adjusting. I have no idea how they feel about our much smaller home, but I guess they’ll get used to it. Mimi is quite curious about the wide open spaces outside the front door, and I’m constantly having to block her from running out. Walter has taken to hiding under my comforter, which is really cute because I think he believes he’s hidden. The lump on the bed gives him away.
I suppose I’m adjusting as well. I’m not thrilled with the new place, but now it’s home so I’m determined to make the best of it. I’ve got the living room and bedroom pretty much set up, with pictures on the wall, books on the bookcases and a few cat toys strewn about.
It’s the second bedroom that’s a nightmare. The room is wall to wall boxes. Well, okay, there’s a path to walk around the perimeter of the room, and to be clear, it’s not a very big room. But still in all, most of my worldly goods are in there waiting for me to dig them out. My desk is buried under those boxes as well, and that’s a problem, because despite its name a laptop is easier to use on a solid surface. Slouching on the sofa as I am now has multiple drawbacks.
Change can be hard, and this situation is difficult for me. I didn’t want to move out of the old place (further explanation about that can be found here). My new apartment is actually quite old, not in a charming way but in an outdated, faux paneling way. The cabinets are cheap and worn. Those in the bathroom are so bad it’s unreal, so I may paint them. You’re not supposed to do that, but seriously, the consequences are likely to be minor. I may not get my deposit back, but they keep eighty percent of it anyhow for cleaning. I’d paint the cabinets a neutral color that would go with the flooring. Yes, I’m justifying.
But like I said, I’m determined to make the best of this situation and look for the good. The cats have window sills they can perch on to watch the birds and the squirrels outside. I’m closer to work, closer, really, to the hub of this area. This complex seems to be quiet, and my unit is on the end of the row of apartments, looking out over a wooded area. I’m processing the change, and will come out better for it.
The premier of LotusLand TV, a Punt On Point Media production. LotusLand TV is a channel dedicated to raising awareness about the rescue and fostering of cats. Saving a life, changes your own. The love you give to a cat, he returns 7-fold.
The latest run on household supplies? Apparently it’s hair color, and as someone who covers up my gray roots on a regular basis, I get it. I haven’t yet bought any hair color–dying my own hair scares me after a few failed attempts several years ago–but I can see it getting to that point.
Okay, I did get on Amazon to buy some root cover-up after I couldn’t find any in local stores or Walmart.com. Amazon carries it, but is temporarily out of my color (medium brown). So I placed my order and just have to hope it comes in before my current supply runs out. It’s the temporary powder, nothing fancy, so I can see why it’s so popular. You just brush it on and voilà! You’re ready to go.
Hearing about the run on hair color makes me think once again about my stylist. She’s an all-American success story, having started out at her Aveda salon as a receptionist and moving up until she and her husband bought the salon. They’ve maintained its success, and I have no doubt there are dozens of women and men anxious for her doors to open up again. But what’s happening in the meantime?
I realize the economic security bill that was recently passed includes help for small business owners, but I have no idea if it’s enough. Our governor is as cautious as any and won’t allow hair salons to open up again until it’s safe (however you determine that fact). In the meantime, we’re all getting shaggier and grayer.
So hair’s to your health, the health of the economy and the health of the American spirit. There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of unknowns, a lot of fear. Hang in there.
Looking for fresh ideas of movies to watch during this time of home confinement? Here are five of my favorite escapes in film. I’ve reviewed all of them on my other blog, Classic for a Reason. I’ve linked to those reviews, but here’s a brief description of each film below. These are all available to rent (or some, watch free) on Amazon Prime and YouTube. Enjoy!
Tom (Joel McCrea) and Gerry (Claudette Colbert) Jeffers have hit a stalemate in their marriage: they are seemingly better friends than lovers, his business is floundering and she’s bored with the whole situation. He hasn’t given up, but she has, and one day she leaves for Palm Beach to get a divorce and find a wealthy man who not only can support her in the way she feels she deserves, but also provide the financing for Tom’s entrepreneurial project.
As fate would have it, on the train to Palm Beach, she meets just that man, John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee). In the meantime, thanks to a generous benefactor, Tom has flown to meet Gerry and stop her from divorcing him. Instead, he’s greeted by John, Gerry, and John’s flighty, oft-married sister, Princess Centimillia (Mary Astor).
The sparks fly and romance begins as Tom and Gerry face the truth about their marriage.
Society elite Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) and her sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick) are seeking a “forgotten man” as part of a scavenger hunt, and come upon Godfrey Smith (William Powell) living at a city dump. The two women are on separate teams, and Cornelia is the first to offer Godfrey five dollars if he’ll help her win the prize. Her offer is met with a shove into a pile of ashes, and Irene decides it’s best to walk away as well.
But Godfrey, after talking to the flighty Irene, chooses to help her win the scavenger hunt and triumph over her sister. To her delight, he denounces the group of wealthy citizens applauding him after her team’s victory is declared. She offers him a job as the family’s butler, which he graciously accepts.
But Godfrey isn’t just any butler, and Irene begins to fall for him, something Cornelia cannot abide.
Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), recently divorced, has joined with fellow models Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable) and Pola DeBevoise (Marilyn Monroe) to lease a high-class apartment for a year. Schatze, perhaps more than the others, is determined to bait and catch a millionaire, not the “gas station jockeys” she typically falls for.
The situation is looking bleak when J. D. Hanley (William Powell), a widower of indisputable wealth, begins courting Schatze. While she’s genuinely fond of the older gentleman, she’s also being pursued by charming Tom Brookman (Cameron Mitchell) a man she’s quite certain is too poor to be considered.
In the meantime, good natured Loco finds herself falling for a man she believes to be well off, but in fact, is merely a park ranger. Pola, who can’t see a foot in front of herself without her glasses, literally bumps into the man of her dreams, someone with an odd connection to all three women.
How the women resolve what they’re seeking with what they’re finding is as fun and classy as the film’s three stars.
Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) is set to marry Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) when he discovers his tell-all front page story about a socialite, Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy), is false and she’s set to sue the newspaper for the astronomical amount of $5 million dollars (keep in mind, this is 1936).
Figuring the best way out of the situation is to turn the heiress into the homewrecker the paper reported her to be, Haggerty hires Bill Chandler (William Powell) to lure her into a compromising situation with a married man.
First, however, he has to marry Chandler off to his bride-to-be to make him the married man in question. Of course, nothing goes as it’s supposed to (how could it?). Gladys starts falling for Bill, who in turn is falling for the lovely Connie. There’s a smart and sassy ending that isn’t really an ending at all.
Harry (Robert Young) and Tacey (Maureen O’Hara) King have a day-to-day challenge in keeping a nanny for their three rambunctious boys. After the last woman quits without notice, Tacey places yet another ad, hoping to find the right young woman for the job.
When a Lynn Belvedere answers and later accepts her job offer, she believes she’s found that woman. Both Harry and Tacey are shocked when a bristling Mr. Lynn Belvedere (Clifton Webb) arrives at the door, and are further bewildered when he makes the disconcerting statement he doesn’t like children.
He does have a way with the boys, however, so the Kings keep him on, and eventually learn his kinder side. What they don’t know is his secret motive for moving in with a suburban family.
When the Kings—and the entire town they live in—discover the truth, it jeopardizes both home and profession.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. My dad once told me that whether times are good or times are bad we believe they’re always going to stay that way. Right now, times are bad. But we’ll get through this.
I’m lucky enough to still have a job, but I’m afraid that may not last. Business has slowed down considerably and we’re not sure when it will pick up again. The company is doing everything it can to keep us all employed, but there comes a point, right?
I have to move shortly, and now I fear the governor may call for a complete shut down, a total stay-at-home order, and that would mean movers wouldn’t be available. Even if I had a friend with a truck (which I don’t), there’s no way we could move all my worldly goods in the back of someone’s pickup.
But these are things that haven’t happened yet and maybe never will. If they do, I’ll have to deal with them then. I’m just a notorious worrier (got that from my mom). I do believe that whatever happens, I’ll get through it.
I’m not someone who has posters with inspirational sayings or Bible verses all over my home, but I do have faith. Lately, that faith has been tested, for reasons that have nothing to do with the coronavirus. It’s just that a lot of people have given me scientific or historical reasons for everything I believe in. Still, I have faith for the unknown. And let’s just say that faith is misguided. If it helps me, I’m keeping it.
These are uncertain times, uncertain in many ways because we’ve never dealt with anything like this before. It’s unclear how to navigate these murky waters.
But we’ll get through it. My prayers are with all those who are sick, all their loved ones, and the loved ones of those who have died.
Not that I have any imminent concern, just a general one, but I have to say I wouldn’t do well in a quarantine. It’s felt a little like one this weekend. All my normal weekend activities, including church, were cancelled, and I can only watch so many episodes of “The Mothers-in-Law.”
I did watch Bishop Curry speak via YouTube at a service at the National Cathedral this morning, so I sort of got church in. Problem was, at the end of the service I really wanted to go into the parish hall and socialize. For those of you who don’t remember or know who Bishop Curry is, he’s the Episcopal church’s Presiding Bishop (chief mucky-muck), the one who spoke at at Harry and Meghan’s wedding. He’s a gifted speaker and it was a decent sermon, but I wouldn’t want to attend church like that every weekend.
Even as I write this I’m acutely aware of the people for whom an online service is the only way to participate in church. It makes me aware of how much care we need to give to the lonely. In the current climate, that may be difficult, but a card or letter may be an alternative, especially for the elderly for whom that kind of correspondence is familiar. If you know of a shut-in, please reach out now.
Maybe it’s not even a traditional shut-in. I know of a man who’s perfectly healthy, at least physically, but he doesn’t leave the city limits. Anything he can’t buy locally he orders online, with one recent exception. He needed new flooring, so his neighbor drove him to the bordering city to check that out. Keep in mind, these are small cities, each with a population under 50,000, and the city he lives in is primarily a bedroom community with little shopping besides grocery stores. I need to remember him and send a message on his Facebook page.
I know of another woman (and we all know someone like this) who’s caring for her elderly mother. She rarely gets out, in part because her mom mysteriously falls ill anytime my friend has a social engagement. I believe she’s reached her limit and has told her family that other plans need to be made for her mother’s care. Knowing what a challenge caretaking can be makes me wish I’d sent her more text messages.
So I guess there’s a silver lining in this coronavirus situation if it reminds me to reach out to those in need. Let me be a blessing in someone’s life.
Nearly four years ago I struck a deal with a woman who has since become a friend. She owns a nice townhome, but wasn’t able to live in it at that time because she was caring for her mother. I needed a better place to live, but had a limited budget. She was willing to rent the place to me at an affordable price if I accepted a month-to-month rental agreement. If something happened to her mom, I’d get a decent amount of notice to move out.
I got that notice earlier this week. Catherine is changing the living arrangement with her mom. I’d been preparing for the inevitable, although I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. And I’m really bummed. This is a nice place, and any move that I can afford will be a step down.
I put in my application to some apartments in my price range. Being affordable, there’s a waiting list, so I don’t know if this will work out. All I can do at this point is wait to hear whether or not I qualify, and if so, whether or not there’ll be a unit open in three months. Not that they can know that this far in advance. This complex requires a 30-day notice, so I’m potentially in limbo for awhile.
As with any move, there are benefits. I’m trying to focus on the positive and not think about what the smaller space will mean to my cats. Everyone says they’ll adjust, and I believe they will, but like any pet lover I want them to have the best possible living arrangement, and this townhome is much better than an apartment.
But back to focusing on the positive. I’ll be closer to work, most shops, and the grocery store. If I get into the apartment complex I’ve applied to, it’s in a wooded area, bordering a golf course. I have a friend who lives there and she tells me the management is responsive and caring. I’ve driven through the place from time to time and it seems to be a quiet, settled place with good tenants.
I don’t want to move. I like it here. Still, I find myself wishing it could happen sooner rather than later, just to get it done. Packing! Augh! So much to do, so much to think about. I’ll have to sell my dining room table, which I love. I have no idea what it’s worth but I’ve been told it’s “worth a lot.” So what do I ask for it?
I plan to make the most of this move. Yes, it’s disappointing. I live in a quiet neighborhood with good neighbors, and giving that up for the unknown is scary. But I can’t focus on what I’m losing. I need to look at what I’m gaining. I have a strong faith, although I don’t necessarily believe every change is God’s plan for improving my life the way I want. But I do believe change is an opportunity, and I do believe God is in my life.
Yep, every change is an opportunity for growth, right?
The Bishop’s Wife, 1947, RKO Radio Pictures. Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven. Directed by Henry Koster. B&W, 108 minutes.
Staid Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) has neglected his wife and family in his quest for a new cathedral, and is on the verge of giving in to a value system of greed and selfishness held by certain wealthy parishioners who aren’t afraid to make full use of their influence. He prays for guidance. To his shock, the answer comes in the form of a debonair angel, Dudley (Cary Grant).
The Bishop’s skepticism of Dudley’s claims of divine guidance is soon overcome by frustration with the angel’s growing relationship with his wife, Julia (Loretta Young). Dudley brings back a spark to Julia’s demeanor that has been missing for many years, as the Bishop has become more engrossed in his work and less attentive to his marriage.
Wow, getting back into the swing of things–in this case a full-time job–is difficult after so many years of part-time work. On top of that, the last time I had full-time work I was working out of my home, so there was a certain amount of freedom there. Now, I’m at the workplace Monday through Friday, eight hours a day. And frankly, the job is not much of a challenge.
However, I’m at a point in my life where good benefits are just as important as the job itself, and I have good benefits. For example, I get three weeks of vacation next year, not to mention two floating holidays. That’s on top of the 3.33 days of vacation I’ll have earned by the end of December. I’m not comfortable taking those vacation days before my 90 days is up, which will put me smack dab in the middle of December. Instead, I’m carrying them over to the third week in January.
We get MLK day off, which of course is a Monday. My birthday is the very next day, so I’m planning on taking that entire week off and celebrating or crying, whichever mood strikes me at the time. Actually, I’ll probably spend the week housecleaning and maybe clearing out some of my spare bedroom–a.k.a. the junk room. All that extra stuff weighs heavily on me. Ideally I’d like to get down to just enough stuff to fill a one-bedroom apartment, but that’s a ways off. Still, it’s good to have a goal.
Back to the benefits. The one big drawback is the High Deductible. Fifteen hundred dollars, and that includes prescriptions. That’s a big chunk of change and the out-of-pocket goes even higher, another fifteen hundred. That’s a high percentage of my annual salary, so knock wood and lift up my prayers that I’m never burdened with hefty medical bills.
Still, I’m grateful for the work, as dull as it is, and I’m certainly grateful for the benefits, imperfect as they are. Three paid weeks of vacation is a big deal for me. So, as the song says, I’m going to accentuate the positive.
It’s not an exciting career job, and I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of room for advancement. But I’m working with a well-established, reputable company, the benefits are great and the people are generous.
I admit I have my moments when I say to myself, “I have a college degree yet I’m doing this menial work.” Those moments don’t last very long, especially since this is a job you have to work at to keep up with, so I’m distracted with the task of getting it done. Not just getting it done, but getting it done right. If I don’t do my job well, it has ramifications for a long line of people.
I realize that, at my age, a lot of people are faced with the same situation, that is, a job that doesn’t take full advantage of their skills, experience and talent. Agism becomes an issue and you take whatever job is offered, regardless of how well qualified you are for higher level work. In my case, a major setback eight years ago kept me away from my career path, and that gap is hard to overcome.
One kind of cool thing is the hours. I’m working noon to 8:30, so I have my mornings to run errands, visit the doctor and write. At least, that’s the theory. It seems I can get myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m., but staying out is another story.
Another writing outlet is my writing group. It’s a great group of ladies who have a tremendous amount of experience. We meet every Saturday to share our work. It provides me with the motivation to get up at 7:00 so I can put in a few hours of writing before I go to work, although, as I mentioned before, I’m having a hard time convincing my body that eight or nine hours of sleep is enough.
So I’m doing better these days, and maybe I’ll get back to writing for this blog on a more regular basis. I hope so, because I miss the interaction with all of my blogging buddies (some of you have been very loyal and I am grateful for your friendship).
I don’t know. I believe we can work past at least some of our racism (or other -ism) when we become aware of it, but is there a residual element that lingers? I was listening to the radio the other day–most likely NPR–and heard an interview where a young man who’d broken away from a white supremacy group still found himself battling the hate. There’s little, if any, support for those who are trying to change their thinking in that situation.
There’s more support for us ordinary folks who sincerely seek to broaden our thinking and become better people. Still, it’s sometimes hard to admit exactly what we are thinking, especially when we don’t the root of it ourselves. Did I dismiss an author because he’s black, or because I thought the premise of his book was trite? Did I think the premise of his book was trite because he’s black? The latter I feel fairly confident is not true. Trite is trite and this was trite.
I’ve experienced a modicum of prejudice in my life because of my Polish heritage. A few weeks ago a friend made some snide remark about how you wouldn’t expect a Pole to have blonde hair. Sitting directly across from us was another friend, also of Polish descent, who is about as blonde as they come. Naturally blonde. She just grinned and I rolled my eyes, but like a game of Mad Libs, I could easily see substituting blonde hair for having a high IQ. I’ve heard that one plenty of times. And it doesn’t take too much imagination to take the Mad Libs analogy a little bit further.
There are shades of prejudice and I don’t know which is worse, the subtle shades or the sharp ones. All I can do is seek the truth and see the shades of difference that make each of us unique and our stories valid.
Perilous words for some. For others, it more likely means a wise decision. It depends in many ways just how informed your gut is about a given situation, and how finely tuned your sense of intuition might be.
I’ve read articles by renowned thinkers that tell us intuition is nothing more than a response to how much we know. I believe intuition can kick in when there are tiny details in our lives that don’t add up, or perhaps do add up to something dangerous. Things we aren’t consciously aware of but our brain registers them nonetheless.
Still, there is something to be said for the unknowable. The renowned thinkers I just referred to were all men, and while I have great respect for their credentials, I think they are missing something. I think there is a sixth sense some people have about the world around them. There is something to the phenomenon of woman’s intuition.
Now it could be that this so-called sixth sense is an awareness of a dimension of existence not everyone sees, hears or feels. It could be a gift from God. Don’t get me wrong–I have a great respect for science. I just believe there is a side of our existence that can only be explained in part by the physical. The rest is a mystery.
I don’t want to limit myself to what the human brain can understand. I believe in God, and I believe that by definition he can’t be fully understand by mere mortals. That’s not to say he hasn’t put things in motion, giving scientists something to discover. Without science, we would be living in chaos.
And going with our gut doesn’t mean there isn’t perfectly logical reasons for doing so. We may not be able to articulate those feelings, but they’re valid. Still, there is the unknown. I’ve said it before in a different context: You don’t know what you don’t know. Time will reveal more scientific discoveries, but there will always be that which cannot be explained.
The security of order, a belief that others will do what society expects of them.
Two years ago we learned, more and more each day, that what many of us suspected–or knew–to be true is a harsh reality. Every day, it seemed, another man in power was accused of sexual misconduct, and while there may have been a woman or two crying wolf (no pun intended), most were credible. They are credible in part because we know this happens.
Early on in the “Me Too” movement I listened to a reporter on NPR, Mary Louise Kelly, interview the head of that organization over the resignation of an executive after allegations of sexual harassment were revealed. She was professional, but you could hear the anger in her voice as she asked direct questions. When did you know…why didn’t you do more….? She was the voice of so many women, and while I’m not going to say she spoke for the victims (because I can’t speak for them), her words resonated with me.
She was also the voice of hundreds of NPR employees, angry and frustrated at being scooped on this story by the Washington Post. I get that anger. It’s a professional slap in the face, as well as a betrayal by those internally who knew this information yet kept it secret. But the larger frustration comes from all those who knew what was going on and were waiting for something to be done.
It’s hard to trust those who just let things slide, no matter how fearful they may have been of the consequences. Well, let me qualify that–fear of some consequences may be understandable, and what you choose to understand is up to you. But ducking your head when you have the power to do something is hard to forgive.
Does the movement continue, even without news coverage? I know that to some extent it does, for a man I suspected of sexually harassing women has just been accused of such misconduct by several women who previously worked for him. I say I suspected him of doing this because I believe I received an objectionable phone call from him when I worked for him. I reported it to the phone company (at the time they handled these things) and was told that under no circumstances would I be told who made the call, but it would be investigated. So I don’t know if he made the call or not, and I never will.
A short time after I reported this phone call I was fired for fuzzy reasons by the man I believe was the guilty party. I reported this to the phone company as well, and was told they would investigate, but I knew that the situation was hopeless.
I hope this man is brought to justice. Circumstances today are much more conducive to action.
In the meantime, all you who face this sort of manipulative, frightening, infuriating behavior, I hope you have the support you need to come forward and point fingers at those who should be held accountable. I know it isn’t easy, and I know accusations don’t always lead to the desired result. Get good counsel.
Are Girl Scout cookies really better than anything else out there, or do we savor them more because of the short window of time in which they’re available? I have friends who buy cases of them and put the extras in the freezer. Wouldn’t do me much good. No matter how many I buy, they’d be gone within a month.
Used to be you could only watch certain movies once a year, perhaps at the holidays. Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music, for example. Certainly The Wizard of Oz. Annually, that wicked witch had me running to hide underneath the bathroom sink. But it was only once a year, and as scared as I might get, it was an event.
I don’t know how often I’ve seen that the Harry Potter movies are playing on cable television. I’ve never watched any of them, and perhaps part of that reason is I know I easily can watch next week, next month or, worst case scenario, three months from now.
Of course there’s always the DVR to record those movies you think you might want to watch at some point, or the DVD player if you choose to buy them (or in my case, check them out at the library).
There’s something to be said for the specialness of specials. I miss those annual events, like the made-for-TV movie of Cinderella. Not the Disney film, but the one starring a very young Lesley Ann Warren. They remade it several years ago, and it was a decent remake, but not as special as the one you had to wait for annually.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the fact that if I have a favorite movie on DVD I can watch it when I want, or if there’s nothing on TV I want to see I can pull out The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Television has changed, and many, if not most, of those changes are good. Still, I remember when “Hallmark made-for-TV movie” meant an Emmy-worthy program. Those Hallmark Hall of Fame films were good, really good. There was a sense of anticipation when you saw them advertised, because you knew it would be a quality show. You don’t see that anymore, at least not on Hallmark.
When we usher in the new, we end up tossing out both the good and bad about the old. Something to consider when we jump on the latest technology simply because it’s the latest technology.
Thank goodness the Girl Scouts are smart enough to build up a demand for their products.