Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Good evening!
I don't often write later in the day but I wanted to tell you about the big meeting last week here at North Sky and keep you abreast of the recipe experiments.  :) 
You may recall that Leah helped me out when my thumb/wrist was acting up by baking the squash I had here so it wouldn't go bad.  My hand was better after a couple of days so then I was cooking up some new-to-me recipes.  This was a vegan recipe because the butternut squash soup had a little bit of olive oil in it and I topped it with a vegan sour cream.  
The Tofutti sour cream was really good in this soup.
As you can tell I am kind of leaning toward vegan first, but this is an adventure for me, I tell you.  I have certainly not combined things like cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, tamari sauce, lime juice, and apples in any soup--LOL!  I didn't even have any coriander, so it's now on my grocery list.  The verdict--I would make this again.
Then I put together this corn, black bean, and peppers topping mixture that goes over spaghetti squash. 
The verdict--better than I ever expected and would definitely make this again.  This is quite an adventure...and I have lots of leftovers.
Meanwhile, we have only had sparrows and mourning doves coming to eat for many weeks.  The grackles have moved on south, I believe, because I'm hearing geese every day now.  The grouse disappeared a good six weeks ago or more.  The ground squirrels...same thing.  I saw one once a couple weeks ago...briefly.  I haven't seen the jackrabbits, either.  I figured that the construction nearby has pretty much dug up all the wild land and they've maybe moved out of the area.
Karma still loves to watch the birds that do come.  One of her favorite places to observe is behind the chairs where she doesn't scare them away. 
We still get quite a few of them... 
...and the sparrows love taking community baths, too. 
Karma can be really comfy up on her chair.
Is that a cat's eye view?  LOL! 
And way back by the apartment door is another favorite spot for bird watching. 
Well, let's see...
Mr. Rusty is still so hard for me to type on.  Finally today I covered up the keys I don't want to hit and the half of the finger-mouse pad area that I don't want to touch and that is helping some. 
Mr. Rusty has bigger arrows that are right up where I was used to hitting the shift key--plus those other weird keys off to the right there that I hit by accident, too. 
McLap has the arrow keys down below the shift key and they're smaller--and McLap doesn't have odd keys off to the right of the enter and shift keys, either.
It's been really rough trying to retrain automatic muscle memory.  I am hoping the tape will help.  Oh, and with McLap the entire finger pad area was usable, so that's what I am used to.  You had to do a right click using two fingers on the Mac (which took me a long time to learn).  But with Mr. Rusty anything on the entire right side is a right click and that is another constant wrong thing I am doing that drives me crazy--LOL!  I am making progress, though.  Very slowly--but I am seeing some progress.
Since the grackles are gone (they are kind of the neighborhood bullies) the doves have been around a lot.  There's four or five of them, I think.  One loves to just hang around.  Often seems to take short naps in the rocks by the building or sitting right in the seed pile.  
There's only one in this photo but I often see two or three of them sitting up on the peak of the garage across the way watching to see when it is clear to come back and snack after walkers have scared them away.  
They are often waiting on the patio for me in the morning or waiting up on the garage peak.  Kinda sweet.
Well, time to tell you about the big resident-management meeting here last week.  Our manager, Navarre, was there and a guy who was apparently a kind of go-between for the three sets of owners/investors who are building the complex.  I don't remember his name but the building guy ran most of the meeting.  (Good thing, as Navarre does not excel in people skills--LOL!)
The residents had presented a letter of complaints, concerns, and requests to Navarre a few weeks ago and this was the response to said letter--an official meeting.  The place was packed!  There were really no big surprises and very little accomplished. 

~There will be only one big dumpster for all three buildings. 

~The third building is supposed to open in October.  (But you saw in the video of Ian's walk with Daddy and Gramma that they hadn't even finished the siding at that time, so I would be shocked if people start moving in that soon.) 

~They are not planning to put any benches outside anywhere, let alone the picnic table that had been suggested.

~You aren't supposed to have anything at all outside your apartment on the walls and I don't think doors (was such an uproar that I am not sure I hear the verdict on over-the-door hangers).  [I have had a small wreath up since I moved in and do not plan to take it down unless personally told to do so--and I said that right to Navarre, chuckling, after the meeting when we were discussing him coming to see my kitchen flooring that is buckling--he sighed and said he'd look at the wreath when he came down with the camera for pics of the flooring....which he hasn't done yet.]

~There will be no more automatic doors with the button for handicapped residents other than the ones that are already there right now.

~Navarre said there are not supposed to be any cars in the parking lot.  (Huh?!)  Only when you know you will be coming back out later that same day.  Or, briefly, vehicles of visitors.  (So when McFamily goes on vacation end of the month and I have their car parked out there every day because I need it to check on the cats and there's no room in my garage for it--I guess I have to go tell Navarre so they don't tow it away or something.)

~There was a big to-do over Navarre saying that we are not allowed to use the oven in the community room because having a fully-functional kitchen is in their advertisement.  He insisted that unless a single person has checked out the use of the community room for a function (say all your family is coming for your 90th birthday, for example) and someone is therefore held responsible for the cleaning of the oven--no dice.  
People said--what if we want to just keep some food warm in the oven for the pot luck.  Navarre said no.  Even building guy whispered to him a couple of times as the protests got louder.  Navarre finally agreed to allow food warming but no food cooking.  (I brought down a bunch of aluminum foil oven liners to donate to the cause yesterday--really, you just have to laugh!)  People said that when they have movie night they sometimes make pizza.  No, said Navarre.  No pizza to be made in the community room oven. 

~There were a lot of people complaining about the cupboard doors having no handles and being hard to open when you have arthritic hands.  They got a "we'll look into doing that" on the knob issue--lol!  But I think they were just telling people what they wanted to hear to settle them down.
There are a LOT of complainers, let me tell you.  Three times the subject of it being too hot in the hallways came up.  What the hell can they do about that!  Each unit has a wall AC unit.  There's no such thing as central air in an apartment complex.  But it was like talking to a brick wall.  (I think many of these seniors came from homes and have never lived in apartment buildings.)
They also brought up three separate times about having to walk so far to get to their garages.  If they lived on third floor far from the elevator, say, they thought they should have had one of the first garages.  [Everybody can't have a garage next to the building, right?  There are people who have a terrible time walking or are in wheel chairs who live close to the elevator, too.  Wait till the people move into the third building and have to walk down almost to the first building to use the dumpster.  I bet we hear about that, eh?]
A guy complained somebody was stealing his newspaper.  Several people complained the microwaves were too high.  People complained about stuff blowing off balconies and patios.  They complained again about the elevator breaking down last spring.  There were even people who complained that people weren't coming to the events.  
Well, THAT brought up the not getting a calendar every month.  We were getting them but then in July and September we didn't.  Luckily--once the third building is opened Navarre said they were hiring an activity director--hurray!  
Then something really interesting was brought up along that subject line.  There were several complaints (one guy angrily vehement, complete with swearing) about people who were trying to force other people to agree with their religious and/or political views.  [One of the reasons I quit going to anything at all was calendar lady always fishing for my religious and political affiliations.]  I had figured it would just get worse with the election coming--and apparently it really has--LOL!  People were quite upset when that Pandora's box was opened.  Good reason to steer clear until after the holidays.  Although maybe being indirectly called out in a public forum will keep a lid on it, but I doubt it will calm down till after this crazy election.  
Well, but then we have people who have been bringing up wanting a Christmas tree for months.  We're supposed to be a non-denominational building, so Navarre has been stalling and saying probably not.  [I think because some residents are making it a Christian issue, but Christmas trees really have nothing to do with Jesus, in my opinion.  Honestly, I don't care one way or the other.  It's not the end of the world, people.  Put one up in your apartment.]
I did find out that when the third and last building opens there is supposed to be a larger exercise room and a media room.  They had advertised in the brochures that there would be a computer or technology room and we had been told that wasn't going to happen.  One of the big complaints to management--if that was the case, they hadn't taken that off their website.  Maybe they were afraid of being sued because we were told at the meeting that there will be one computer in the media room.  And I guess they are moving the big screen TV and the comfortable stuffed chairs to the new media room in the third building, too.  Which means, I wouldn't doubt they will try to move all the board games and the ongoing jig saw puzzle over there, too.  Sounds like they want the community room to just have tables and chairs--and they are getting some more after they move the TV out.  (But that is what people come down there to that big room FOR--some community activities.  I know my back will miss the more comfortable big chairs.  Oh well.)  And then people will complain they have to walk to far to get to the third building for activities...and so it goes.  ;)
They are actually funding the craft group, but they will not fund the pot luck and monthly birthday party by buying napkins and paper plates and paper cups.  ???  No logic.  No discussion.  (Maybe after we have an official activity director she will have a small budget?)
All of us seniors ARE responsible for changing our own light bulbs.  Even the big fluorescent ones in the kitchen.  Nine foot ceilings.  If we need maintenance to do it we will be charged.  (I saw it says $50.00 in our lease!!!)
There were many more complaints--about an outside door that hadn't been fixed for weeks--a lady whose patio screen door fell off mid-July and it hasn't been fixed--a couple other complaints like that.  So I piped up and said I had a structural complaint, too, but that I'd tell Navarre after the meeting.  He tells me that I should have told him before.  I said--"I did.  I told you I had something weird to show you in my apartment"...I only got that far and many people burst out laughing.  (I asked Leah later--is it just me?  Do I just make people laugh all the time?  I hadn't even meant to be funny, but I am chuckling now writing this.)
Well, now I have come to the hardest thing for me to talk about.  I found out (but I didn't say anything at the meeting because I didn't want to bring any attention to the fact I am feeding critters back here) that there have been several people complaining all summer about the "gophers".  Their dangerous holes--people could fall down--they will ruin the yard--we want it to look nice here--someone could get hurt because of the dangerous holes...on and on it went.
Navarre reassured them that the gophers were "being taken care of".
That is why I haven't seen my little buddies.
They've been trapping and killing them.
Breaks my heart.
They are not pocket gophers who really do ruin a lawn and dig it up with mounds all over the place.  They are were thirteen striped ground squirrels who dig small holes...and don't tear up a lawn.  But I knew there was no point in saying anything because I knew they were already dead.
 So, there you go.  This was my first real taste of living in senior housing.  I'm on the other side of the fence now.  I am so glad I am not personally dealing with all the petty squabbles, unreasonable requests, and constant complaints.  To be sure, some of them are absolutely legitimate.  But I discovered during that meeting that I truly do feel like a resident now.  And I am grateful that the senior building I worked and lived in 17 years ago didn't have so many contentious seniors--LOL!  I guess I was lucky to have worked where I did in Minneapolis.  The worst person I had to deal with back then was my boss--ROFL!!  
Well, That's about it.  Whew!  Took me three and a half hours to write all that--with body breaks.  Leah and Ian are planning to stop by for a visit tomorrow.  They had to bring Sammy in to the vets today.  He's still there--tests.  They think UTI again but want to make sure there's nothing else since he's lost weight the past year.  I hope he will be okay. 
You are up to date.  
I'm still sad about the ground squirrels.
All I will be doing in the immediate future is sewing, loving the cooler weather, and hopefully getting in some Ian time tomorrow.  Nothing like that little smiley-faced, chatter-box to lift my spirits high, eh?  Write again when I can.  :) :)
"Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom."
Merry Brown


Victoria said...

Wow, such beautiful skyscapes! Love how Karma has a fave spot to sweet! Those birds have charmed my soul..I love watching birds too, so magical...wonderful pics and moments!! Enjoy the magic!

Far Side of Fifty said...

So they trapped them...that is too bad. I bet they will be back next summer! I am sorry Rita, not everyone has a liking for critters as you do. Sounds like they have some complaints and it is good to get them all aired in a public setting! I would put up a flyer and advertise for Dagen to change light bulbs at 25 $ and line the appointments up one after! You can bet that some bulbs will need to be changed soon as the building has been open over a year now or there about.
An activity director yeah for you!! I hope she has lots of fun stuff to do! :)

DJan said...

I tried earlier to write a comment but it didn't take. It was on my iPad and this is on my laptop. Anyway, I am sad abut the critters being killed, but as Far Side says, they will probably be back next year. Sigh. You have figured out how to make the font bigger again, yay! :-)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

How sad about the "gophers." Of course, if they come back, you will know their ultimate fate ahead of time.

It's great that the people got their complaints out in the open. I agree about religious and political rhetoric. I make it a rule to not say anything on my blog that deals with either, unless it is something that furthers a story I'm telling, like when I talked about the elephants that came to our zoo and the political and economic obstacles people in charge had to overcome before they got here. That has nothing to do with the type of politics that are being spewed on the internet these days, though.

Had to laugh about the AC in the halls, too. But decorations on doors and exterior walls is a bit strict. Good luck with that!

Divers and Sundry said...

The problem I have with ground-feeding the cute animals is that it doesn't take long for the mice and rats to discover the easy food source.

An activity director will definitely help! Yayeee! It sounds like they didn't get their organizational ducks in a row before residents moved in. I hope folks develop a rhythm and settle down, but I'm sure it would help if legitimate complaints were dealt with in a timely fashion.

I love your cat's bird-watching station ;)

Lady Fi said...

Lovely skies and that soup looks wonderful.

GrandmaG said...

Thanks for the update and sharing your life. We've been lucky, but know neighbors can be a real pain. Over the weekend, my daughter's neighbor complained my SIL was making too much noise (cleaning the garage) while they were trying to nap. It was 4:00 PM on a Sunday! We do have a noise ordinance and running a vacuum late afternoon on a weekend day is completely acceptable. People are just weird – LOL!

Victoria Zigler said...

That's so sad about the little buddies.

I think the polite way to describe that meeting is chaotic. Half of what people were complaining about just seemed to be excuses to complain, and the other half seemed to either be things that should have been dealt with quicker (like that one person with the missing door) or things where people need to learn that sharing a building means you can't have everything in it to your specifications. Plus, some of the "rules" sound pretty stupid to me.

I hope they don't make you stop feeding the birds.

Anyway, I'd say I hope you enjoyed your visit with Ian, but I'm sure you did... Who wouldn't? ;)

Also, the meals you tried sound really interesting.

Victoria Zigler said...

P.S. Glad you're starting to get the hang of Mr. Rusty.

TexWisGirl said...

well, i hope no one has a problem with you feeding the birds. anytime you get any group of folks together - no matter the age - seems there is nothing but 'me, me, me' issues and frustrations these days. i'm sorry. i hope you will continue to love your place, regardless.

Bridget Larsen said...

Would love the vegan recipes in your next letter or a link to the recipe

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

If covering the keys helps you stop hitting them and then cursing because the computer has done something you don't want then way to go. Some people complain for the sake of complaining if you ask me and those people are bloody annoying

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- the meeting news doesn't sounds very good to me. It would make me want tor rebel because I sounds like the management is just being cheap. But those recipes looks delicious, especially the soup. Its that time of year. :) Hugs=Erika

andi filante said...

Kudos to you for liking butternut squash soup. I have tried and failed. And this election business? I have some friends on FB who are extremely political and I'll just have to hide them from my newsfeed until after the election. I can't take it!

Poor little buddies. :(


froebelsternchen said...

Oh there is much going on - sorry for the bad meeting news !
Clever what you did with Mr.Rusty
and that new recipes and spices sound great - good luck with this new food and recipes - I would love to taste all that.
Karma is always a happy happy cat ! ♥♥♥ Lovely!
Happy weekend and take care Rita!
oxo Susi

baili said...

wow what a great happenings in your exciting world dear ,loved each detail of your going on .
your cat is cute and modest .best wishes for next plannings

Serena Lewis said...

Karma is adorable!

You will find that there are many nonsensical things that annoy some seniors. They just like to have something to grumble about. That said, there are more serious complaints that do deserve the attention of management. I can't believe the residents aren't even allowed to bake a frozen pizza in the oven for their movie nights. And why not put some benches around the place outside? It is a senior's apartment complex after all and the elderly do tire more quickly when walking about.

Great that an activities director is still on the cards. A bit stingy that they are expecting seniors to pay for lightbulbs to be replaced and expensive at that. I could understand if they charged them for the cost of a light-bulb but at least fit it for free. In saying that, Mum's village doesn't do it but we do have an organisation here called Home Assist which is specifically for the elderly and the disabled. Bradley is even a member. They will go to member's homes and clean gutters for free, replace fridge seals, replace lightbulbs, tap washers, among many other things and the member only ever pays for parts, not any labour involved.

I'm very sad to hear about the 'gophers' though. Breaks my heart to think about the little ground squirrels being trapped and killed. In my view, the only real pests on this planet are humans and environmental science backs that up. We are literally killing off this planet with our mindset to destroy whole ecosystems to make way for our own residences and we also exploit or kill wildlife and animals in horrific ways, again to suit our own agenda. It makes me so angry. We need to take a step back and make big changes before it's too late. Some scientists believe it's already past the point of return. :(

The vegan food looks delicious! I do a lot of Asian-style vegan cooking and also vegan curries and soups. The spices you mentioned are well known to me. We get the Tofutti Cream cheese here but I haven't seen a Tofutti Sour Cream. I'm sure we will get it eventually as I am already seeing a lot more vegan options as the supermarkets are getting a lot more requests for vegan foods.

WOW! That keyboard IS weird! No wonder you are feeling lost with it. My Shift key lies directly under the Enter key and the directional Arrow keys are off to the right side. If anything, your experience has made me aware to pay heed to the key layout of any new keyboards I may buy in the future. Up until now, I thought it was only the Apple keyboards that were different. Good that the tape is helping.

Enjoy your sewing and time with Ian. Grandkids are always a delight.

Love and hugs xo

IntenseGuy said...

I never ceased to be amazed by how any group of three or people will always have someone disagreeable in it...

Jenny Woolf said...

Sounds a little as if Navarre and these people deserve each other, and I can understand why you don't attend these things much. I wouldn't either. But on a brighter note, that soup sounds fantastic. I haven't been roaming around blogland much lately so am still reading your past posts, but I wonder if you posted a recipe?
I have a squash - pale green - that I got in the country because it was beautiful. Now I want to eat it and don't know how. I don't even know what kind of a squash it is . A bit of research going on but I'm hoping that perhaps i can make a soup of out of it!
It's so sad about the gophers. But you get a lot of fun looking at the birds, and it seems Karma does too!