Thursday, December 31, 2015

My friend Dora

Now that I am walking again for exercise in the hallways of Guava Gardens Apartments, as I pass by apartment #205, I recall the face of my friend Dora. That apartment was Dora's home for the final 15 years of her life.

Dora Tuchin nee Eber, was a blessing to everybody who knew her. The way she marveled at everything, touched us all.

I met Dora when she was still only 103 years old. I attended her 104th birthday which was held poolside at Guava Gardens. Shortly after I met Dora, I met her again in the apartment's driveway. Dora told me that she had an appointment to have her nails done. Would you believe that the nail shop was a quarter mile away? Dora at 104 years, thought nothing of walking a 1/4 mile. She just always believed that she could do anything!

I thought to myself, well, we will have none of Dora walking to that nail shop! And I brought my car around to drive her and made arrangements for the nail shop staff to phone me when Dora was ready to return home.

My driving Dora to the nail shop really impressed her. She told me later, "I didn't think that you were that nice." After that, we were very close with each other.

I felt the warmness of Dora. I felt her friendship. I began to visit Dora in her apartment. As we talked together, I could see the bright flame of her life shining from her wrinkled eyes.

During the summer of 2014, a reporter from "The Jewish Journal" made a date with Dora to eat lunch at D.Z. Akins, a fabulous deli in La Mesa. Click [here] to read the story of that date.

When Dora was 100 years old, her family held a big birthday party for her. A nephew of Dora commemorated her life with a wonderful video which showed Dora thru the 100 years of her life.

Please click the right-arrow to watch video.


My friend Dora
Dora is standing on the left

Dora passed away last October. [April 15, 1911 - October 10, 2015] She fell down in her Guava Gardens apartment. That fall hurt her. She moved to her nearby daughter's home for support and never returned to Guava Gardens.

I was able to visit Dora one time at her daughter's home. I miss you Dora!

Happy New Year everybody!

.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Logitech Bluetooth

When I biked home from the YMCA this afternoon, there was a US Post Office locker key in my mail box! The post office uses lockers for deliveries too large for mail boxes.

Wow! I just love to get stuff waiting for me in those lockers!

I could not tell from the return address, where this box came from? So I hurried up to my apartment to open this present. I think of stuff like this as presents, even though I bought it myself!

The box was well sealed, so I had to work a bit at opening it up. When I finally opened the box, it was my present! A Logitech Wireless Headset! [link]

This headset is Bluetooth and connects wirelessly to my iPhone.

Wow! I am so happy to have received this headset. Would you believe that I have bought 5 different earbuds/headsets before I got this wireless one? All of them were a pain to use.

This Logitech is perfect for me. No wires to get tangled up. And Logitech stuff has always worked great for me, straight out of the box.

Dancing down the hallways
After charging up the battery, I listened to rock-n-roll as I walked down the hallways doing my exercise. I was dancing down the hallways!

Hey Hey, My My....Rock-N-Roll will never die.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Collision repair

Elite Auto Collision phoned this afternoon with their estimate to put my Honda FIT back into mint condition.

Total for parts is: $3,150
Labor: $680
Total: $3,830

It shocked me to hear these numbers. I paid $14,997 for the entire car! My end of the collision repair is the $500 deductible. Thank God for insurance!

My auto insurance company
When I bought my Honda FIT in 2014, I shopped around for auto insurance. A new insurance company was advertising a lot. It's called: Esurance. My main contact for Esurance is a fabulously laid out website.

I hardly have to contact anybody when I need something from Esurance. Because their website is so good. But there are people who are quickly available if needed.

It's been my experience that no auto insurance company beats the Esurance premium. Click [here] to take a peek at Esurance.

Exercising for life
Part of the recent agreement that I made with myself to get control of insomnia is to be more physically active. So, I am now walking an average of 2.5 miles every single day.

At first my feet and ankles felt a bit sore because they were not used to that much physical activity. But now, after seven consecutive days of this program, my feet and ankles feel fine.

The way it works is, I have a goal of 6,500 steps per day. I keep track of how many steps I take with my iPhone and the "Pedometer ++" APP. Click [here] to view the APP website.

I start the evening off with all the steps that I accumulated during the day. Whatever walking I need in the evening to reach my goal, I do in the Guava Gardens apartment hallways. One lap of all three floors is about 1,300 steps.

I am going to succeed in this fight against insomnia. So help me God!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Evolution

Because of my sleep challenges with insomnia, I've been studying this problem. In addition to the Sleep Class provided me by Kaiser Permanente, there is a ton of info on the internet which comes up from a Google search.

It appears that present day humans evolved about 200,000 years ago. In those far-back times, when it got dark, daytime activities ended. A way of lighting up the darkness was difficult. Maybe a cooking fire did the trick for a little while? People living in those times likely went to sleep when darkness fell.

So humans evolved into beings that got sleepy during dusk, and went to sleep when it was dark. But then modern times came along. Lamps changed into electric lights. Computers and TVs came along with their bright screens.

But we had not evolved away from our ancestors who got sleepy at dusk and slept when it was dark. The present environment of modern humans interferes with a healthy sleep.

In my Sleep Class, I learned some things that might help me with my insomnia challenge:
1. During the day, stay as much as possible in a well lit room. Or better yet, stay outside in the sunlight.
2. Stick to a time when I go to bed.
3. About an hour before bedtime, begin to turn off the lights. Gradually turn off more and more lights in the room that I am in. By bedtime, only one very small light remains on in my room.
4. My bed should be in a room which is as dark and quiet as possible.

Discipline
The hardest part of my battle with insomnia is having enough discipline to follow my plan day after day. Being physically active is part of that plan. And I can be physically active for awhile. But then comes the day, when I slip that schedule. From there it is a slippery slope down to no schedule at all.

But with that accident of last week in mind, I believe that I am now more determined than ever to conquer this insomnia thing.





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homeless

I read this morning a news story about homeless people in New York's LaGuardia Airport Terminal-B being kicked out.  Officials will be closing doors at 11pm and shooing homeless to the outside.

The story made a memory pop into my head of an early evening long past. MsTioga and I were parked in San Diego. Our interior lights were off. I'd opened a window in order eavesdrop on some nearby homeless on the inside of the sidewalk, behind some bushes.

When I found that I could not clearly hear what the homeless men were saying, I began to think about their situation. I compared them to myself.

But for MsTioga, I too would be homeless. But with MsTioga, I had shelter. A bed. Toilet. A full kitchen. A heater to keep me warm. An air conditioner to keep me comfortable in the summer heat.

When I first drove MsTioga to San Diego, it was 2003. I was able to easily make Nite Camp all over San Diego. But as the years passed by, camping in San Diego became more difficult. No Parking signs went up restricting over nite camping. Sometime cops banged on MsTioga's door!

I marveled at my good fortune at owning MsTioga. Did you know that at the time that I began full timing, I did not have enough income to afford my apartment and buy food too? Being homeless was that close to me.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bad sleep

For some problems, the medical community which serves me moves very slowly. I have such a problem now. I go thru periods where during a night I will not get sufficient sleep. As a result of insufficient sleep, the following day I may fall asleep at any moment. Without warning. Bam! I am asleep.

I have written about this sleep problem before. To you, my blog readers.

I have reported this sleep problem to my primary doctor, asking for sleep medication. I told my doctor that I want to take this sleep medication only when I need it badly. Not every nite. Only on nites when when I have a problem.

My doctor responded with a prescription for me to attend a sleep instruction class. I completed that class, and got some good from what I learned. My main achievement was to understand how discipline in sleep and eating habits might affect my sleep quality. And this knowledge helped me.

But from time to time I needed sleep medication. And my primary doctor continued to refuse me a sleep medication prescription. Last Wednesday I had terrible sleep. I only slept 3 hours and 20 minutes according to the Sleep Cycle App on my iPhone. Click [here] to learn about Sleep Cycle.

Accident
While driving my Honda home from the YMCA last Thursday about noon, I dozed off while coming to a stop for a traffic signal. I believe that I was traveling less than 3 miles per hour. I woke up to find that my Honda had hit the rear of a car that was stopped for the light. The bag came out from the Honda's steering wheel. The bag propellant smelled terrible. And I felt like a damned idiot.

The lady driver in the Hyundai that I hit was pissed. "Didn't you see that the traffic was stopped?", she asked. I would not tell her that I fell asleep at the wheel. Instead, I apologized and asked her if she was hurt. She wasn't.

Insurance
After I exchanged info with the lady driving the Hyundai, I phoned Esurance to report the accident. I found a list of recommended collision repair shops on the Esurance web site, and picked one that had great online reviews.

My Honda is scheduled back at Elite Auto Collision Repair Center [link] this coming Monday morning.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fireplace from PBS

When the PBS News Hour began yesterday, an offer of a digital fireplace was made to their audience. Wow! That sounded like a neat idea. I have been playing a virtual reality tropical aquarium on my 43" TV for quite awhile, and love that.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heading home to La Mesa, CA

Amtrak's 2:04pm Pacific Surfliner pulled into Santa Barbara station at 2:04pm! Wow! It is a gorgeous afternoon.

I am in the Business Class train car. Lah dee dah! Business class features cushy seats with headrests, adjustable footrests, more legroom, tray tables and electrical outlets for laptops or DVD players. Costs a bit more than coach seats.

Amtrak vs my car
When I was younger, during my RVer years, I could drive distances without too much strain. Now I am in my 78th year. Even driving 100 miles is problematic.

I know friends [ie; Bill and Carol who recently drove their RV to Mazatlan] who are about my age and have no problems with distance driving. It's me that is the problem! The train is sooooo relaxing. Smooth stopping and starting. Quiet. A pleasurable trip.

5pm - Passing thru Burbank Ca
My Amtrak train is passing thru Burbank. Off to the left we view a lovely full moon! Tried to capture a moon pic with my iPhone, and it came out crummy. So, you'll have to take my word that this full moon actually is lovely.

A little while ago I made a Men In Black Taxi reservation to pick me up at the San Diego Amtrak station at 8:15pm.

Uncle Seymour advised me to use the Uber Taxi Service because Uber has a good reputation for good service at low prices. But I could not find hardly any online Uber reviews. Men In Black Taxi had a ton of good reviews so I chose MIB over Uber.

Computer reminiscing
Both my children were computer talented kids. During summer school in 1980 when son David was 15, he took a computer class. By the time summer school ended, David was programming in several languages including machine language.

In September, 1980, David hit me up for a loan to buy a computer. There was a computer store in downtown Walnut Creek CA run by a couple guys from Iran. David and I went down there to see what was available.

I swear to God, at that time I had no conception what a computer was, or what could be done with one. While David walked around looking at computer models, I prowled the store trying to make sense of these things. I spotted a software package called "Visicalc". This was described as a "computerized spreadsheet".

I knew what a spreadsheet was! I used a paper spreadsheet to do the accounting for my two restaurants. But nothing clicked in my head while I was in that computer store.

David settled in on a Commodore PET, this computer being close to what he used in the summer school class. For $3,500 we got the Commodore computer and a 9-pin dot matrix printer. This was an extremely high price for what was really a toy computer [in my opinion, looking back].

Now get this, at that time home computers did not have hard drives because I do not believe that a low cost hard drive for home computers had been developed yet!

The Commodore came with 4kb of RAM and (2) 5-1/4" floppy disk drives. These floppy drives were 180kb each. The storage capacity of this Commodore computer was sooooo small.

By December, 1980, I had gone back to Walnut Creek Computers and bought that Visicalc spreadsheet software. I began to switch my paper spreadsheets to the computer. Soon son David and I were struggling with each other for computer time.

Those were amazing times!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Train to Santa Barbara

Tomorrow [Monday] morning at 5am, a taxi will arrive at Guava Gardens Apartments to take me to the Amtrak station in San Diego. My Amtrak ticket is for the 6am train to Santa Barbara. Uncle Seymour and Aunt Shirley are picking me up for the drive to his home. I will spend three days visiting with them.

My friendship with Uncle Seymour began when I was a child. Seymour is only ten years older than I. There are many good memories in my head of times with Seymour.

The shop
Seymour is a machinist. His brother Daniel [my father] was a tool engineer. When World War II began, my father was employed as the tool department manager at Pachmayr Gun Works in Los Angeles. Pachmayr's shop took on a huge amount of defense work.

Thru my father, Seymour got a  part time job at "the shop" sweeping up the place. Seymour was then only 13 years old. Soon Seymour's job changed to a machine shop helper making machine parts. Seymour knew early-on, that he was to become a machinist.

After the war ended, my father opened his own machine shop. By 1953, Seymour, who by now was a journeyman machinist, decided to open his own machine shop. Seymour and his partner Del, rented machine time from my father. That was how Commercial Tool and Die was born.

I was twelve years old when Commercial T&D began. After school, I would drive my bicycle to the shop and hang out. Many of my best memories came from times I spent at the shop. During those years, I was close with Uncle Seymour. That closeness remains today.

Monday, 7am Train trip update
The Amtrak just passed the closed San Onofre nuclear generating station. The train tracks often go right next to the Pacific Ocean's beach.  Wow! Sooooo beautiful.

The Sun just began shining on the ocean's waters. Now and then surf board riders are seen riding the waves.

The Amtrak is so much better than driving!

8:30am - Chet Atkins in 1987
As the Amtrak train moved north, I used YouTube to tune into a Chet Atkins video for a 1987 performance. I love the way Chet Atkins played his guitar!

Thru the magic of the internet and YouTube, this morning I am able to see and hear his 1987 guests. Some of those guests are Mark Knopfler, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson.

Many of these guests have passed on. Even Chet Atkins is gone. But they all are with me on the train this morning.

God! What a miracle!

Judging others
Looking up the biographies of these Chet Atkins guests, I read how some of them were hounded by government and law enforcement. Willie Nelson was especially hounded and judged because of marijuana using.

It has occurred to me many times, over the years, that this World of ours would be a much better place if people simply stopped judging others! Who are these people who judge others? What right do those judging people have to judge others on acts that cause no harm to anybody?

Would terrorism the world over mostly disappear forever if those terrorists simply stopped their judging ways?




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Donations

It seems to me that lately I have been inundated with requests for charity donations. And the request letters often contain psychological items that I believe are designed to make me feel guilty if I don't give.

Examples of psych items that are:
  • A postage stamp. "We are making you a gift of the attached postage stamp in order to make it easy to mail your donation."
  • A gorgeous 2016 calendar. "Please accept our gift of a lovely calendar to say thank you for your donation."
  • A cash bribe. It may only be a nickel. The March of Dimes sends a dime. One charity [I cannot remember which one], actually mailed me a one dollar bill!
To which charity should I donate?
I want to donate. But there are good charities and "not so good" charities. In order to help make my decision, I joined:  
Charity Navigator [link]

Charity Navigator took a lot of the guessing from my decision of which organization I should send money to.


------------------------------------------------

A trip to the movies
I spotted a movie that looked really good. It's named, "Brooklyn" and is the story of a young Irish woman who travels to America in the 1950s in order to seek her destiny.

"Brooklyn" stars Saoirse Ronan, who grew up in Ireland. I've seen Ronan in a couple if movies. She is a very good actor. I rate "Brooklyn" 9 stars out of 10.

When I entered Edwards Rancho Cinema, there was a huge line of movie goers cordoned off in a roped area. I asked the ticket taker what was going on?

He told me, "They are waiting for the next showing of Star Wars!" [Amazing!]



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Potluck meat loaf

7am - I am in my kitchen to prepare the meat loaf for this afternoon's 4pm potluck party. The management of Guava Gardens apartments hosts a pot luck party for tenants every month.

Does it seem a bit early in the day to begin a meat loaf that will be served late this afternoon? There is method in my madness!

About an hour before the potluck party begins, I will cutup the now cooled meat loaf. Then fry the meat loaf slices so that the top and bottom of each slice is a bit hardened. Freshly cut up meat loaf has a tendency to fall apart which becomes a mess. When the slices are lightly fried the meat loaf will get reheated and each slice will hold together much better.

I have prepared a bowl of sauce for the meat loaf and will spread sauce on all the slices as they are set into the serving dish. There will be more sauce for party goers who want it.

Nicely rounded meat loaf shaped in orange mixing bowl.


Sauce added, ready for 15 minutes more in the oven.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Epoch Times

I eat out quite a bit. And the restaurant where I go most is China Super Buffet in La Mesa. Their pork chops are absolutely the best. All of their other food is also great.

But I am not writing to you today about China Super Buffet. I am writing about a free newspaper that is distributed at the entrance to the restaurant.

It is named, "Epoch Times". This is truly a paper that provides truthful news coverage. In these days, "truthful news" is usually very difficult to find.

I was very happy to learn today that this newspaper has an online edition! Because of that online presence, I am able now to share "Epoch Time" with you.

Click [here] to view.

Vitamin supplements
Several years ago, my appetite for food began to decline. As a result, I began to eat less and less. I was aware that my diet was not balanced. But I did not pay much attention to what would happen to me as a result of poor nutrition.

In September, 2013, after living full time in Mexico for six years, I left and returned to the United States. I took up residence in Southern California and became eligible for medical care with Kaiser Permanente. My new doctor at Kaiser completely evaluated my physical condition.

That was when I learned how bad my physical condition had become. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Lots of other stuff too. I wanted to get back into condition, but with such a bad appetite, I was not able to eat a balanced diet.

Over the following two years, I began to use vitamin supplements in order to provide the nutrition that I was missing. I believe that I've been successful with the vitamin supplements.

Now I feel really good. Have lots of energy. Even my finger and toe nails look healthy and my nails are strong too! My blood tests show that my physical condition has stopped declining and even improved.

I do not know for sure if my vitamin supplements are responsible. But I believe that these vitamins have turned things around for me.

                                                                                                                                      



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sock styles

As clothing style changes zoom across our culture, you can be sure that I am one of the very last to learn about the change. That's how it was with socks. Some years ago, when crew socks became unfashionable, ankle socks [also called quarter socks] appeared.

A few months ago I bought some ankle socks. But then I found that ankle socks easily slipped down my foot and totally into the shoe! Not good. Very uncomfortable too.

Then I noticed a lady at the mall who had converted her crew socks into ankle socks by rolling down the sock to her shoe top. I went to Target this morning to copy this lady and I bought a bunch of crew socks.

Look how that came out. Am I cool, or what?


PS: More recently, low cut or invisible socks were born. In case you don't know about low cut socks, the top of low cuts are "below" the top of the shoe. How do people who wear low cut socks keep the sock from sliding down into their shoe?

Getting ready for Pot Luck
After buying socks, I went to Von's grocery to buy all the stuff needed to make the MeatLoaf for this coming Thursday's Pot Luck party that my apartment's management is hosting.

You may remember that I blogged to you about meat loaf a couple of days ago. This is NOT a cheap pot luck for me. By the time I bought a plastic bowl to mold the raw meat loaf including all of the ingredients, I was coming close to $50 bucks!

BTW, if you did not see my meat loaf recipe before, click [here] to see that recipe now.

Latkes!
When I was shopping at Von's this afternoon, I saw a box of Manischewitz Latke Mix! Latkes is the Yiddish word for potato pancakes.

In my entire lifetime, I have never prepared latkes! But today I did! And my latkes are sooooo good!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Driving after sundown

By the time I began driving home after The Nutcracker performance, it was after sundown. I try to not drive except during daytime hours. It's my experience that I am safer driving during daytime.

I have noticed that everything diminishes with age. Good coordination and reflexes are two things that are needed when I am driving. Both of these two things lessen with age. That's why I hardly drive except during daytime hours.

Some other drivers on the road with me find it hard to tolerate my driving speed. If the legal speed limit is 65, I hardly ever drive over limit and this makes some fellow drivers a bit angry. Of course I drive in the right side slow lane at these times.

Nutcracker review
This was a fine performance of The Nutcracker. It is the 48th season for the California Ballet and it shows!

The last time that I went to see The Nutcracker was in 2002 while I was battling with cancer.

I especially love to see the reactions of kids in the audience and the way young people dress up to attend The Nutcracker.




Friday, December 11, 2015

The Nutcracker

I am very excited about going to see "The Nutcracker" tomorrow at the San Diego Civic Theatre [link].

I know that this ballet is especially for children. But I guess that I've never really grown up completely. Because I love "The Nutcracker".


Workout at the "Y"
I have a full day with just going to The Nutcracker tomorrow afternoon. However, Saturday morning I am planning to also go to the library to exchange videos and then go to the YMCA to workout.

I have to push myself to workout at the "Y". But I do push.  Because I absolutely feel better by working out. Found out about feeling better by slacking off on trips to the "Y".

When my muscles are hard when I flex them, I definitely feel better.

I've changed my workout to sets of 10 on each machine and increasing the weight lifted each set until I fail to complete that set.

Before, I was simply doing sets with easy to lift weights. Not good enough for me to feel my best.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Meat Loaf

Guava Gardens Apartment where I live is having a potluck party on December 17th. I am bringing a Meat Loaf. See recipe [here].

My Blog
I wrote a couple of days ago that I would not be blogging from now on. But, so many readers wrote with nice things to say. What could I do?

So I will continue blogging but only when something worth while comes along to write to you about.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Nothing to write about

When I was a full time RVer, I had significant things to write to you about here in my blog. Now I am an apartment dweller. I now have very little to write to you about.

However, I have readers still following my blog who would like for me to post about my daily life. I tried writing about my daily life a couple of days ago. In fact, I made one post on that topic. It didn't work.

I found myself drifting off into political mumbo-jumbo. And you know what happens to political writing! It inevitably becomes an endless argument. That kind of writing is not right for me.

So, I want to thank for the fun we had together in years gone by. I wish you now a fond farewell.

Sincerely,
George


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Investigating

6:30pm: When I became an apartment dweller in 2014, I found myself with a wealth of time and resources. I'd always been very curious about all matters of things, but did not have the time to investigate those things. Now in my new apartment life, I have almost unlimited time on my hands. And pretty much no responsibility to make demands of that time. As each day dawns, I have time to do anything I wish!

When I was about 20 years old, I bought a complete set of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica". The 24 book set was sold with a bookcase including three annual supplements. Cost: About $1,600 which I paid for with a 2 year time contract.

Now I have the internet and Google to do research. I am able to ask Google almost anything and instantly get an answer to my question. Indeed, I now have unlimited resources to investigate anything that sparks my curiosity. Far better than printed reference books like Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

I am very curious about the strange relationship between the banks and the federal government that came to light during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009. I cannot comprehend the Federal Reserve injecting perhaps 15 trillion dollars into our banking system. I don't understand mortgage backed securities, collaterized debt obligations, credit default swaps and derivatives.

Movies and actors
I'm also fascinated with movies and actors. Very often while watching a movie on my TV using NetFlix, I'll put the movie on hold in order to go online with my MacBook to find out about the movie stars in that movie. Really cool!

9PM: Five Guys Burgers
I just got back from my favorite burger joint. Five Guys! Their burgers are the best. I used to think that In-N-Out Burger made the best burgers. But ever since I tried out Five Guys, I became a convert.

I think that Five Guys must be using ground steak in their burgers!

La Mesa where I live is really a neat area. Tons of good places to eat that are pretty close to my Guava Gardens apartment. The weather in La Mesa is the best. And La Mesa is pretty flat. Good for bike riding,


Friday, December 04, 2015

Adventures of a Senior Citizen in California

Reader Kevin H. commented yesterday:

"Good to see you, George. You know, just because you aren't as mobile as you were, you do have an interesting life." 


"How about a new direction: Daily updates on the adventures of a senior citizen in California?"