a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Monday, August 14, 2017

they continue to fascinate me (and yes I'm a peeping Betty)

Pat gave me a shout out Sunday, thanks Pat, a fun read. I do realize its been a bit between posts these days. Its a little of that and a lot of this and a mixture of this and that and time just gets away. But I have been trying to read and comment as much as I can.

Remember when I wrote this post last year about my front window  and what I can see with our neighbors across the street? I wrote it back the last part of May 2016. We had been in our home about 2 months by then.

The location of my work station has proven to be a good one. I've seen a lot more since then.

Like the guy who one day I saw walking down the street dressed really nice, only to come back a few  hours later with a bag from Target. I later surmised he got a job from Target as I saw him walking frequently down our street dressed in Target colors. The Target is about a mile or so from where we live. I even saw him one time in there while we were shopping. I wanted to acknowledge I knew who he was, but that would be a bit weird, wouldn't it?

Then there was the young couple I called them. High school students. I deduced (reasoned) that they called each other when they were going to start meeting each other and he walked from one way, she walked from the other way, and they usually met in front of our house. I didn't see them a lot, but sometimes on school holidays or during summer. They would always hug and kiss and then walk back towards what I am assuming was her house. I haven't seen them at all since school got out in May, over the summer, and now that school has started up again. I'm thinking they broke up?? One of them moved away? Both graduated? Both got jobs?? Both going away for college?

Then there was recently the young man I saw all dressed up in a 3 piece suite. High school age. Potentially senior. I'm thinking "senior pictures?" since we live about 4 blocks from the high school. I see him walking back a few hours later with a green tee shirt he is holding. I'm thinking "senior, class colors?" Only to see him walking several times a week with the green tee shirt over his neck and then lately riding a bike with the green tee shirt over his neck. I tried to think what local business might have their employees wear such a green tee shirt, but none that I have frequented come to mind. I applauded him when I saw him on a bike. Apparently he must have made enough money to buy it.

But the neighbors across the street continue to fascinate me the post.

Remember they are gardeners. The father must be the owner of the business and has various employees that show up at his place, gather up the equipment/trucks needed, dump the clippings they have done from the day before in the trailer that I'm assuming ends up to be emptied at the dump. They usually work 6 days a week from before 7 a.m. to after 6 p.m., sometimes in 110 degree (or more) weather temperatures.

I knew there were 2 young women there. I assumed the youngest could possibly be the daughter of the other young woman in my first post about them, but over time I figured out they were sisters. The youngest started seventh grade fall of 2016. Saw her walking to where the bus stop was in the morning and home at the end of  the day from the bus stop. Not sure what happened along the way, but she stopped taking the bus in the morning and ended up getting picked up by her mom or her sister from the bus stop when dropped off. Around 3:30 every afternoon but Wednesday (early release around 2 p.m.) I would see the car backing up, leaving, and then returning within 5 minutes with the youngest daughter. School started back up last week and the same pattern seems to be repeating.

Except for the fact that last post I mentioned that the mom worked some place with an apron. She left around the time hubby did at 6:40 in the morning and got home around 2:20 p.m. I eventually figured out she worked for a school district in the cafeteria because she was off on school breaks and during the summer. This past February I realized I hadn't seen her leave the time hubby would leave (pretty much clockwork before). Then I saw her a few days later walking with great difficulty, favoring her right leg. I figured an injury, whether at home or work I'm not sure. She eventually started walking back to normal, but as of the start of this school year, she has yet to return to her potential job if she did work at the school.

Yep, I'm a peeping Betty. You are thinking "I am glad she is not living in my neighborhood."

But there is more.

The people across the street had gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not exactly on the date but the weekend before. Big gatherings with multiple people attending. It rained both times, but they still partied. Had a bouncy house. Set as much as they could under their car port. Setting up for the Christmas gathering caused much anxiety on my part. They were putting lights up on the roof and the youngest daughter was up on the roof running all around it. I pictured her falling. She didn't. But I was so glad when she finally came off the roof.

The older daughter I suspected went to school for a bit when September 2016 started. Left same time, came back same time. Then a bit later I saw her wearing scrubs and leaving and coming back at various times during the day. I guessed CNA (I was right). 

But what might have blown my cover as a peeping Betty was the fact that in January 2017 they got a dog. A cute little fluffy pup. Part poodle, lots of mutt. They had her outside a lot in the front. She turned out to be quite feisty. She wouldn't come back when called. You would see the older girl go looking for her and bringing her back. You would see the dog avoiding them when they were trying to approach her to pick her up.  I worried constantly she would get hit. She would be missing sometimes for big chucks of time. One time I was looking at Next Door and saw that someone had picked her up and was looking for her owner (united before I could step in). I was a constant bundle of nerves when she was out as she just roamed. One time I didn't think anyone was home and she was out around their front area. I was trying to figure how to rescue her, give her water, put her in the backyard, etc., but then saw the mom come looking for her.

Another time she was out and the younger daughter was being picked up by someone to take her to karate. I saw the dog running towards the car but then didn't see her afterwards. I worried and fretted what happened to her. It was a Friday night and we later went to dinner. I didn't forget about her, but I didn't really think about her. The next night I heard her barking outside and I was so relieved. I would later find out that the dog was taken by the younger daughter with her cousin who picked her up for karate and was with her the whole time during karate and beyond, but she never told her older sister the dog was with her and the older sister was looking for 2 hours for the dog.

Then about 4 weeks ago I saw the dog was out and I saw another person that I didn't recognize approach her and try to get her. She enticed her with food and with water and finally was able to pick her up. I looked to where she took her (3 houses down). A bit later I saw the older daughter come out looking for the dog. I opened my door and asked if she was looking for her dog. I told her where the dog was. She got confused with what I said. I said the dog had been taken to this house, she thought I had just said the dog was around that house. She came back a minute later to clarify what I said and I told her which house the dog had been picked up at and taken to. I offered to go down with her to the house to get the dog. She accepted it and we walked down the road. I introduced myself, she introduced herself. I then confirmed that she was a CNA when I asked her what she was doing. I said I saw the dog out all the time and was worried about it since I work from home, etc. She said her dad let the dog out to do its business and then it would wander away, she didn't like that. We got the dog (the girl who picked her up was going to call the number on the dog tag). Dog returned. I said let's exchange numbers just in case this happens again. We did.

And strangely, the dog has rarely been out since.

Though yesterday she was. And a lady riding a bike up our street returned her within a few minutes after she was chasing her. The mom had just started looking for her.

Do you think I'm a peeping Betty? And worse yet, are you one?? 

Really, I need a life, or a different window to work by.......

And  yes I'm sure they will continue to fascinate me.

I guess I need a life??

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I should dust (or not)

We all have those chores that we really don't like to do. For me it is unstacking the dishwasher and folding clothes. Really both of them take less than 10 minutes (timed them) to accomplish but they seem like they take FOREVER and are so tedious. I should consider myself blessed that I have dishes to unstack and clothes to fold. 

Years ago daughter was in therapy and one of the things the therapist recommended was that I assign chores for her to do. The therapist suggested unstacking the dishes. I told her I could not give daughter a chore I despised doing. She asked me why. I said it didn't seem fair to pawn off a chore I didn't like to someone else.

Years later I still struggle with those 2 chores. Honestly, I would pay someone to come and do those 2 chores. Is that pathetic or what? Ten minutes a few times a week and I would pay good money. Any takers?

I'm okay with the other chores. I can clean the kitchen, the bathrooms, vacuum, wash the floors, etc. I'm old school. I was raised by a mother that said a floor is not clean unless it is washed on your hands and knees. I still get down on my hands and knees at my age (close to 60). Its not pretty when I get up, but the floors are washed on my hands and knees. (I'm a bit deconditioned).

I said it before, I clean something most days so the house is never entirely clean but never entirely dirty. Most chores take about 20-30 minutes. Easy peasy. Unless it is unstacking the dishes (several times a week) or folding laundry (one time per week).

Dusting can stretch wayyyyyy out here. I really don't need to dust every week. The dust just doesn't accumulate that much here. I can run my finger over something after a week between dusting and the finger is immaculate. No dust streaks there. I can go about 4 weeks (if I'm lucky) between dusting. I really don't have that much to dust. I don't have knickknacks. Not much to move around. 

I got off schedule. I'm not sure when the last time I dusted but it still looks "okay." So I should dust, but I really don't need to dust. Make sense? 

So maybe I'll dust tomorrow, but more likely I won't.

What chores will you be doing tomorrow and will you tolerate them or despise them like I do with the dishwasher and the laundry?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Grandson is almost 17 months old. I know, its hard to fathom. Where did the time go?

As all children do, he transitioned into people food age appropriately and new foods are continued to be introduced.  He has his favorites, oatmeal, bananas, and he's definitely his grandmother's grandchild because he loves pasta and potatoes (I never met a pasta or a potato that I didn't like and that's why I'm 50 pounds overweight). 

He's over for dinner 2 nights a week. I have to be careful in meal planning because I need to make sure to include something he will like to eat. In realty, shrimp, which we all like to eat, is not going to cut it for someone his age so there is a backup plan, at least here. At grandmother's house he is a vegetarian. No matter how we cook the meat, he rarely eats chicken, ham, etc., that we serve here (he will at his own home). 

Yesterday the young family came over for dinner. Step grand daughter is missing; she's spending the summer in the New York area with her father, as she does every summer. I planned Betty Crocker's Suddenly Salad Bacon and Ranch pasta salad (a crowd favorite, I always have to make 2 boxes of it), chicken teriyaki barbecued on skewers, and barbecued zucchini. I wasn't sure if the wee one had the suddenly salad before (he had as it was a favorite of son's) so I made cheese noodles, Knorr's 4 Cheese Pasta.  I knew he liked them from a previous time I served them. 

I made the mistake of holding him while I was at the stove dishing out the hot pasta into a bowl for him to cool down while we were finishing the last of the meal's preparation.  Perfectly safe, he was never in danger when I was holding him. Stove was off. I just had a bowl and spoon by the pot on the far burner he couldn't reach and was preparing some so they would be cool when we sat down to dinner.

He saw the noodles and all bets were off. He wanted down and he wanted in his high chair. Son was just moving it over to the table and he helped him into it, buckling him in. From the time he started in his high chair, I made it a point (along with his parents) of folding his hands together when it was time to eat saying "let's pray". We say a very simple prayer "thank you Lord for the meal we are about to eat." For the past month or so when he gets into his high chair, he folds his hands and waits until we all sit down and we all say "let's pray" and then the prayer. He patiently is sitting there with his hands folded while we bring the food to the table etc.

I brought another bowl to the table and told son (DIL joined us a bit later as she was working and a bit late coming over) to put some noodles into the bowl to get them ready for when the bowl I had ready was empty, he would have a fresh batch to serve to the wee one that was cooled down. We prayed and son gave him the bowl I had gotten ready for the wee one, which had cooled down by now.

We could not keep him in pasta noodles. Son was continually filling up one bowl or another. He put a piece of zucchini on the tray as well as some chicken and pasta salad. If the wee one tries something he doesn't like he will spit it out, collect it on his fingers and want to give it to you. He would have nothing to do with the chicken or the pasta salad. Did take the piece of zucchini, licked it and promptly handed it to son. But he ate 3/4 of the pot of pasta. Several times he handed son the empty bowl with a look like if he was Oliver Twist he would have said "please sir, can I have more?" Thankfully there was more and then more on top of that.

Any grandparent will say. It is a joy to be one. I totally agree. It is worth the EXTREME heat to be living 3 miles close to them. He's been a joy. Of course every grandparent says their grandchild(ren) are smart. He is the same. Smart. Sharp, learning, active, busy, full of energy, much loved, a blessing.

Thank you God!

(Happy 4th; be safe out there).

Monday, June 26, 2017

randoms are all I got

Things are going relatively good here. I just haven't felt a great desire to write a blog post. Reading and commenting on most blogs I follow or randomly comment as the mood strikes. Again, nothing's wrong; just lost that bit of blogging loving I had. It will come back.

So this is totally random and I have no idea where it is going to go.

Its summertime in Phoenix!!! You know what that means. HOT temperatures. Call me sick, demented, weird, etc., but I think I've acclimated to the hot temperatures. It pays to be cold blooded too.  A few weeks ago when it was 105 degrees, I'm like "this is actually pleasant out here." This past week its been over 115 degrees, close to 120 degrees. (Really is there much a difference between 115 degrees compared to 120 degrees?) Hot is still hot. Thing is, it didn't feel HOT to me like it did last year. Granted I'm not going to want to run a marathon in it, but I didn't feel oppressed about it like I did last year. Again, it pays to be cold blooded. We do have low humidity here. One day last week the humidity was 3%. We run humidifiers here, but sometimes when the humidity gets low in here, we get shocked a lot. And that is painful!

Myra is shaking her head just about now.

Work sucks, but its a paycheck. I'm looking for another job. Had an interview for what I thought would be an interesting job for the medical examiner here in Phoenix. First interview in 10 years. I didn't get the job (my lack of experience with Excel, Outlook, and Word probably paid a big part in my not getting hired). I'll see if I can take some courses to learn them and keep looking for something else. I was kind of glad I didn't get it because I would have to drive into downtown Phoenix daily and I just don't drive anymore these days (yes I need to remedy that).

As part of work sucks, I'm now required to work one weekend day (all of us on our "team" have to work a weekend day. After all, hospitals run 24/7 so we have to be available to turn around the work 24/7 too). I was lucky that I got the Monday through Friday as long as I did but I could see the "writing on the wall" when the account I work on (the account from hell but that's for another day) was always getting out of turnaround time on the weekends (which prompted overtime to keep it in turnaround time and the company doesn't like to pay overtime) (and supervisors like to keep accounts from going out of turnaround time or they don't get their bonuses). In fact I mentioned to hubby "she-supervisor is going to make us work weekends" and sure enough the following week came the email with the mandate. I chose to work Saturdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. We watch the wee one Saturday evenings starting at 4 p.m. I got assigned to be off on Tuesday, so I'm off Sunday and Tuesday, which seems like a really weird schedule, but so far I like it (only been 3 weeks so far). Thing is I never got anything done on Saturdays when hubby and me were off together. We would mess around on our computers for a few hours, get cleaned up, run some errands, come home early afternoon and then get the wee one at 4 p.m. (I clean house through the week, a chore every day that lasts about 20-30 minutes, house is never completely clean, but never completely dirty). Sundays were church, maybe a few more errands and that's about it. I found the Tuesdays I was off (3 so far) I actually got projects done that I kept putting off. Like we bought new glassware after Christmas to get everything matched instead of the hodgepodge we had. I kept putting off sorting through the old stuff to replace it with the new stuff. I did it this past Tuesday, including reorganizing the incredibly messy pantry. Hubby yesterday put together a table he bought also after Christmas (same time we bought the glassware) that he wanted for his music room and his recording. I find it actually more relaxing to have the 2 different days off not together rather than working 5 days and being off for 2 days. Presently its working. And it is also motivation for me to keep looking for a new job and frees up Tuesdays so I can go on an interview that day (otherwise it was virtually impossible to get time off from work without a 2 week notice) (yes I also work for the company from hell) (yes I'm actively job seeking). 

In some of my spare time recently, I found two people from the past that I had worked with and worked for. Its a hobby of mine when I have time to try to track down people. One I saw was no longer married to the person they were married to when I knew them, but seemed to have a good life and had been raising a family. Other one totally shocked me. Physician I worked for that was one of the most generous and kindest people I knew, along with his wife; lovely well behaved and well mannered children. Saw he lost a malpractice suit for a hefty settlement and at the same time that was happening he was going through a very messy divorce, including his wife filing restraining orders against him. It was many moons ago that I worked for him, but I still can't grasp how that person then became this person now or what happened along the way.

We shop at a local grocery store, Fry's. We don't do our major shopping there, that's for Wal-Mart, but there is literally a Fry's on every corner here (agree Myra?) so that's where we go for our items we run out of, etc. They also have fuel pumping stations. You can earn points by shopping there to get cents off your gallons of gas. We are learning how to work the system (legitimately and honestly). We got an offer for a credit card from them where the first year you have the card, if you use it for buying gas, you get an additional 25 cents off a gallon. Signed up for it, use it and pay it off monthly. Use it for our groceries so we can get extra reward points. Then most weekends they have if you buy gift cards at the store, you can get 4 times the points for fuel rewards. We buy gift cards for restaurants we are going to go out to or places we are going to shop like Target, Kohl's, etc. The fuel points really add up then. And they are always looking for people to take their customer surveys. I take one weekly, 50 points for fuel rewards. A penny saved is a penny earned, right? (or did I get that backward?)

I think that's about it. 

I'll try not to let it go so long between posting. Enjoy your summer! Warm weather and all!

(but not the electricity bills, that's what I fear the most)

Monday, May 15, 2017

the price of water and other things

This past weekend we went to an event at Talking Sticks Arena Resort.  It was Chris Tomlin's Worship Night in America. I like Chris Tomlin's praise songs he writes. Very talented and inspired. It was more like a worship service before a sermon at church. It was great singing his songs with about 10,000 other people and worshiping God. 

It has been years since we have gone out to any event like this.  The tickets were reasonably priced for the whole venue and there were tickets even as low as $15.00 a piece (in the "nose bleed" section - i.e. way up high) but their purpose was to make it somewhat affordable for all people to be able to go. We had pretty darn good tickets and they cost $69 each. (remember that price for later on). 

During the intermission we got up to stretch our legs, go to the bathroom, and get something to drink. This is the first time in a bathroom where there was a bathroom monitor. I had read about them (an employee who keeps track of what stalls are open and directs people to them. It helps to get the bathroom lines moving so to speak). Boy was she a sharp one and boy that line moved fast.

Then we go to some place to get something to drink. We both wanted water. Water prices are a big contention for me. Especially at movie theaters where a bottle of water is $4.00 or more per bottle.

So imagine my surprise (though I shouldn't have been surprised) when we saw the price for water (ready for this????) was $6.50. Yes $6.50. Water. Dasani water. Here's the clincher. You couldn't bring water bottles into the arena (all bags were checked and we went through security like we were at the airport). Then there were no plastic bottles allowed in the arena. Only cups. So they literally poured the water into a cup and put a lid on it and then you had the privilege of paying $6.50 for it. I kid you not. We were thirsty so of course we shelled out the $6.50. Which is funny if you think about it. We live in a desert and they promote hydration, hydration, hydration. Yet water was $6.50. Unimaginable. We weren't the only ones buying water.

So once seated waiting for the event to restart after intermission, I see that Neil Diamond is going to be there in August. Neil Diamond was the very first concert I went to back in 1976 in San Diego, California. Loved his music, loved the concert. Saw him two other times over the years both when we lived in Billings, Montana. This is advertised as his 50th anniversary tour. He's 76 years old. I thought "heck, it could be fun to go to this." 

So we looked at ticket prices.

Those nose bleed seats going for $15.00 for Chris Tomlin were going for $150. 

The tickets we had going for $69 were going for $287.

Front row seats were over $2000 EACH. EACH. 

VIP tickets (whatever that meant) were $2800 EACH. EACH!

Needless to say, we aren't going to see Neil Diamond. Thing is we could afford the $287 tickets EACH and it wouldn't affect our budget either way. But then I thought $287 times two for perhaps a 2 hour show??? What could $287 times two do to feed the hungry, help the homeless, etc. 

I'm sure the concert will sell out. After all its Neil Diamond. 

And I'm sure there will be plenty of people paying $6.50 for water.

Just not us.

Just not this time.

Just about never.

And you?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I didn't intend

to go this long between postings, but I did.  I have a post ready to go, but I have to take pictures to accompany it and I haven't gotten around to that yet. 

I'll blame work.  Sounds like a good thing to blame, don't you agree? If you remember, a few months back (August) I got switched to a different account. About 4 weeks ago, I got switched to another account.  Grrr...... Its hard to get switched to different accounts because you have to learn new dictators, learn new account specifics, etc., and your line count goes down and if you are paid on production, like I'm paid on production, line counts matter.  But this was a unique opportunity in that no matter what I produced in lines, I would be paid my PTO (paid time off) rate if it was higher than my production.  They set the PTO rate based on production over a period of time and that's what they pay you for time off, down time, etc. 

Its not a bad account except there's a lot of English as Second Language (ESL) doctors with terrible accents.  My weakness with ESL doctors are Middle Eastern doctors and there are lots of them on this account. Some talk in monotone at barely a whisper, hard to understand. I'm muddling through.

Then there has been a low work volume so I'm not getting in my full 8 hours of work in the full 8 hours I am supposed to work. There are no jobs available. I have 2 options, try to make up the hours on the same day I run out of work or take the time as PTO (biting into my bank of PTO hours). Most days when I can I try to make up the time so it has me sitting at the computer waiting for work to trickle in slowly and not always surely.  Sometimes 12 hours trying to get 8 hours in. Its a terrible system but its the system they have set in place, so one abides with it if one remains employed by them.

So its been a pretty stressful few short weeks. Thus no motivation to take pictures and put up that really cute blog post I had written (at least it is pretty cute to me, you will be the judge). It will happen, when, I'm not sure.

As I'm waiting around for work to come in, I am looking at what jobs are out there that I might qualify for or that I might be interested in.  I'll be 60 on my next birthday, so I really don't want to retrain for something.  I was hoping to limp through this career until I was ready to retire, but I'm thinking that will not be the case.  

I'm also finding lots of good recipes.  Tons of recipe sites out there.  I enjoy watching the videos on how the meals are prepared and have been printing a lot of recipes to try over the next few weeks.  

So I'll post again soon.  Not sure how soon, but soon.

And that's a wrap.

(It might sound like I'm depressed; I'm not really depressed, more like frustrated. We never really hear a reason why work is low, they seem to give us answers to placate us. I like to work, don't mind working, I just want to be productive in the 8 hours I'm assigned to work and not being able to do that has been a bit challenging. Hubby and me have already tightened up the budget so we won't be hurting financially with changes that could occur with the job over time, its just frustrating that a career that once was highly valued, respected, and well compensated has been basically run to the ground with technology. There are other such careers I'm sure, but I never thought in my life time this would be one of them).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

not on my watch

When I am watching the wee one, like anyone responsible for watching babies, toddlers, preschoolers, etc., you don't want anything to happen when you are at the helm, so to speak. So I watch him like a hawk. If I can see him I won't follow him around, but if he is exploring from room to room I'm right behind him. If I don't hear him, there's that old adage that they are usually getting into trouble or doing something they shouldn't and its the proven case with him 10/10 times (usually touching something he knows he's not supposed to touch). I call that our sinful nature :) 

Another thing I'm diligent about when its my watch. Its keeping these together in a pair. They are soooo darn small. They get lost easily with the other clothes in the load.  I'm always grateful when we match up 1:1.  The other day I was one sock missing.  I said "not on my watch."  It took an additional load of clothes, but things balanced out and order was restored to the universe (and the sock drawer).

And the best not on my watch.  This went in the other day. It does go all away around the pool; just couldn't get a good picture of it.  The lock is such that when it is locked using the key it is virtually unopenable.  Now that the wee one is mobile, it was a necessity. Though there are several doors with more than adequate locks on them to prevent his getting to the pool area, one can never be too safe with young children around the draw of water.  Our intent is for him to learn to swim this season.

I do realize no matter how much we baby proof the house, keep the safety gates up, put plastic things over the electrical sockets, plastic guards on the drawers, etc., an accident will happen.

It just better not be on my watch.

(I'm leaving this link here for all who might want to read this who are believers and who are concerned about what is going on with our country, the new administration, etc., as well as anyone that might want to read it. I know Meg's heart and it is one of being concerned for America and for its outcome in the days ahead. I know lots of thinking and praying by her have gone on not only now but in the months, weeks, days before the election. Its worth a read and worth a prayer if one is inclined to do so. America won't be great again because of a leader in office, but because those who believe, humble themselves, pray, seek God, repent and then God will heal our land).