Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Friend in Need

I was inspired today by LoonySuse at Remote Appeal. I read her post about two of her friends who are moving and it got me thinking about making friends when you are a transplant. I have a lot of friends in my native Massachusetts. I went to high school and college there. I worked at several jobs there. I moved from Massachusetts to Florida when I was 36. I had to make new friends.

Then I moved from Florida to California when I was 40. And I had to start all over again.

Let me tell you a little bit about making friends when you are "the new kid on the block." I'll start with Florida.

Making friends in FL came fairly easy to us. We really clicked with our realtor and his wife -- she is my age and is originally from RI; we even had a friend in common (I was friendly in college with someone she was friends with in high school). Then came meeting folks in the neighborhood. Since the majority of our neighbors were also transplants, they were quick to come around and introduce themselves and to invite us to hang out. Our neighborhood was incredibly social, it turns out. Friday nights were "Happy Hour" nights, usually held in someone's driveway, involving beer and wine and bug spray when it got dark. It was fun and it was nice to be included. Technically it got to be too much after a while but that's another story.

Then, we made friends at work. My husband liked his co-workers and we would see one or two of them socially. I took a job right away that was a bad fit (nice co-workers, but ridiculous boss and lame job responsibilities) so I moved on from that about 9 months after our move. But, the next job was a home run. Great hours, good work and the most fun people. My friends from that job ranged in age (at the time) from 25 - 46. I enjoyed going to work every day. When my husband had to travel for his job, I'd go out for a beer after work with my co-workers. Fun stuff all around.

I miss my FL friends. But, thanks to texting, email and especially Facebook, I still can count many of them as friends. We have seen them a few times in the years that we have been in CA since we have family to visit in FL and we make the effort to see our friends there too.

I have been in CA for 5 years now. Know how many friends I have here? Two. Okay, three, if you count the couple (I'm counting them as one) that we are friendly with -- the husband works with my husband and they are transplants here from Massachusetts. We go out with them to dinner once every few months. We are going to their daughter's graduation party next month. That sort of thing. Yeah, other than a couple that my husband technically knew before moving here, I have two people I can count  as friends. They live across the street.

And, I really count one more as a friend than the other. She is an awesome 60-something Mom to grown children and hanging out with her is like hanging out with my MA and FL friends who are my age. We go to lunch and we go shopping and we laugh a lot. She's not originally from CA. She has moved a lot for her husband's job. So, we are kindred in that sense. I think that helps.

I've come to the conclusion that people who are FROM CA just don't want to make new friends. Well, they'll befriend you if you have kids. And if your kids go to school together. So, I get jipped in that department. Defeated before I even start.

And, since my husband is senior management at his office here, the people he sees every day work FOR him. He doesn't want to hang out after work with people who report to him. And they feel likewise. None of them ever offered to take us out or show us around when we moved here.

I know it's harder to make friends when you are older. And when you don't work (that's me) and when you don't have kids. But it seems crazy that after living here for 5 years (and in this particular house/neighborhood) for 4 years that we really don't have friends. No one has a spare key to our house in case of an emergency. If the alarm goes off and the alarm company can't reach my husband or me, there is no one else on the list for them to call.

We are used to it, I guess. But it does bum me out sometimes. And I hope so much that it doesn't put a strain on our marriage. We really enjoy hanging out with each other, and we know a bunch of other couples that could NEVER spend as much time together, just alone as spouses, as we do. Kudos to us for actually liking each other. But, like I said, I do worry that he'll get tired of me someday. ;)

So, as I seem to be long on chatter today, I'll go on. At the end of March, I started taking workout classes at The Bar Method in the next town over. I've become friendly with a couple of women that go to the same classes as I do. I am so eager to make friends with them, I worry that I come off as too needy. Our "friendship" doesn't extend outside the studio, but I'm hoping one day it will. I'm hoping I get the nerve up to say, "hey, wanna go to lunch after class?" one of these days. Funny thing is, one of the women is new to CA, having moved here from NY (and East Coaster - yay!!). You'd think, given my situation of the past 5 years, that I'd be inviting her to do things on a regular basis. I just don't want to pounce. I kinda want to take it slow. It's kinda like dating, I guess. Just feeling her out to see if she might be interested in going to lunch someday. Ha. Well, I'm hopeful. I mean, the last gym I belonged to here, well, I was the youngest member. All my "friends" there were in there 70s. At least now I see and chat with women my own age.

I'll keep you posted if I ever do ask my "friend" on that lunch date . . . .

Friday, March 29, 2013

Two Down(ton), One to Go

My latest obsession is Downton Abbey. Again, I'm late to this party, but I'm making the most of it. There was a glitch in my plans on Wednesday though. I had only Season two's finale to watch and the power went out! Arrrggggh! Usually when our power goes out, it's just a surge and it pops right back on. Um, yeah, not the case on Wednesday. The power went out at 4:50 p.m. . . . and didn't come back until 3:40 a.m.!!! Can you say FRUSTRATING and ANNOYING and ARRRGGGH. It was also a night when my husband had a work dinner scheduled so I was home alone in the dark.

When dusk started to roll in, I grabbed a flashlight out of the closet and started lighting candles. I'm thankful for my slight hoarding tendencies since I had about 7 Yankee Candles to light and put around the house. The only problem with that is the smell. One candle is nice. Seven scents is just too much. Can you say headache?

The power outage did make me think of Downton Abbey though. In the first episodes, they did a lot by candlelight (it was 1912). Man, their eyesight must have been strained. I read for a little bit, but I just didn't want to read by flashlight. Of course, my iPhone was low on battery. And how could I charge it? Can't plug it in. Can't even charge it in the car unless the car is running. And since I have an electric garage door opener, I wasn't going to sit in a running car in a closed garage! The iPad had battery life, so I played about 8 games of Scrabble before my husband finally came home from the work dinner.

Poor guy, I was a total crab when he got home. The boredom, the darkness, the candle smells -- it all got to be too much!

But, I was back on track with Downton Abbey yesterday. I finished up Season two and started Season 3 yesterday. Hoping to cram in a couple of episodes this afternoon. What am I going to do with myself when I'm finished with Season three???? ;)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leibster Award

What a surprise and an honor: Suse at LoonySuse has nominated me for a Liebster award. 

"The Liebster Award is an award given to Bloggers by other Bloggers! That makes it even more special!"

Here are the Rules:

1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.

3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.

4. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.

5. No tag backs.

Let's see. I can do numbers 1 and 2. But, I don't think I can do number 3. The blogs I follow tend to have lots of followers. That bums me out -- it's only fair to give back. Well, when I have more time, I'll go in search of some more blogs to follow and will pass along the award. Meantime, on to numbers 1 and 2 . . . . 

11 Random Facts about Moi
  1. I'm a Scorpio. And I live up to all the good and bad descriptions of Scorpios.
  2. I hate the taste and smell of Sausage. I just can't eat it.
  3. I'm a HUGE fan of Coconut. Coconut flavored anything gets two thumbs up from me.
  4. I am NOT a cat person. No fear of me ever being a crazy cat lady. Crazy's a possibility. Just without cats.
  5. I love playing Scrabble on my iPad. I hate to lose and I make sure it rarely happens.
  6. I do not play any instruments. Never have, probably never will.
  7. I don't really enjoy talking on the telephone. I'll take email, texting and Facebook over phone chats.
  8. I LOVE to read. I am always in the middle of a book -- I finish one and start a new one right away.
  9. I can't stand to hear other people chew. Even if they aren't particularly loud eaters, I hate the sound of it.
  10. I love to travel. I've been lucky to have been to some great places already and have lots more on my list.
  11. I like to color. I prefer markers to crayons and I find it soothing. I don't do it often, but I admit to owning a couple of coloring books.
My 11 Questions to Answer:
  1. Do you grind your teeth? No, thankfully.
  2. If you could live in a different country, where would you live? Well, I've been to Italy twice and I love it, so I'll start with Italy. It would be easier to live in an English-speaking country, but I am quite fond of Italy.
  3. What's your biggest pet peeve today? Hearing the neighbors that live behind me right now. They are new and they are annoying. I guess they will realize how close we live when I start opening my windows and they hear how many times I drop the F bomb a day!
  4. If you could change your first name, what would you pick? I would pick a name that has more than one syllable. Ann is too close to "and" so I often think I hear my name when people are just saying "and". I don't mind my name, but it is a little plain. I guess for now, I'd say Bridget -- that was my grandmother's name and it's not particularly common.
  5. In middle school, what were you like? I was still pretty shy in middle school (painfully so when I was younger), but I had a good group of friends. I think it's around that time that I realized I had a good sense of humor and could make people laugh. I was a good student.
  6. Can you play an instrument? Nope, see above (didn't read my questions ahead of time!).
  7. Favorite food? As a category, I have to go with Italian food. It's hard to be specific. In general, I love desserts, and (see above, again), I love, love, love coconut and caramel flavored anything.
  8. Favorite outdoor temp? Mid-70s with sunshine, maybe a light breeze.
  9. What makes you happy? My husband, music, dessert, my funny friends, pizza . . . . 
  10. Favorite TV show? Since I'm in the midst of a Downton Abbey marathon right now, I'll start with that. I also love Cougar Town and Modern Family. The Good Wife is a good one too.
  11. What's the most important quality in a significant other? Kindness. 
Again, I feel pretty lame about not passing the award along. I really do want to but I have one more episode of Season 2 of Downton Abbey to watch before dinner. Okay, so my priorities are a little skewed. But, when I have more time to spend online, I really will start reading more blogs! Thanks again, Suse!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Down with Downton

I daresay I am hooked on "Downton Abbey." I know I'm late to the party, but better late than never! I just signed up for a free week of HuluPlus just to see DA. I have watched the first four episodes of Season 1. I doubt I can cram in the rest of Season 1 and all of Seasons 2 & 3 before my free week of HuluPlus is up, but I sure will try! After the free-week trial period is up, Hulu will cost $7.99 a month. If I have to pay just one month, it'll be worth it. NetFlix is about the same cost, but they only send out one DVD at a time -- and last time I was a member their streaming service wasn't so great (could be updated by now, but I'm really not into looking into it) -- and episodes on iTunes cost more than $7.99 for a Season, so I think I'm getting the best deal.

I love the way the women dress on the show. It's 1912. I was born waaaaay too late! I used to think I would have loved to be an adult in the 50s with all the full-skirted June Cleaver outfits, but now I'm thinking the early 1900s would have suited me well.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is it Really News?

I just watched Good Morning America. While I like the hosts and enjoy their banter and chemistry, I call foul on some of the "news" that they report. Granted, the first 20 minutes is when the real news is aired. Lately it has been going downhill really fast after 7:20 a.m. By now I know the format: 7:00 - 7:20 a.m. actual news including political and world news is aired; then comes some around-the-country stuff including accidents and trials; and then at 7:40 they air some celebrity story before a bunch of ads and then finish up the hour with Play of the Day at 7:50 and then it's commercials for 5 minutes before another news refresher at 8:00 a.m. and onto the fluff hour. I'm calling foul on the celebrity "news" portion at 7:40 a.m. Sometimes it's about a celebrity stalking issue, which can be serious. But, today, the "news" was about Katy Perry and John Mayer. They may have broken up. May have. Really? That's news? Even if they DID break up, did GMA really need to spend 5 minutes on it? And, what makes it worse, is that there was not ONE SINGLE source who could confirm it. Their "experts" were "reporters" from celebrity magazines who just speculate on what MIGHT have happened and a bunch of gobbidaly gook about how she met his parents already and he gave her a ring once. What a bunch of crap. Maybe if they actually broke up, it could have been mentioned in the Pop News segment. But since no one knows for sure and since neither Katy's nor John's reps would comment on the story, why, WHY is this an entire news story?!

I'm all for Pop Culture news, stories and gossip, but in the right place at the right time. Like on Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood -- which I don't even watch! I love GMA, but I'm getting frustrated with the fluff.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today's Musings

I was driving home from the doctor today when I saw a couple walking their Pitbull. I have nothing against Pitbulls (they are ridiculously cute as puppies) and I know they have bad reputations because of the owners who breed them and teach them to fight and to be mean. That's all on the owner, not the dog. But, what gets me is that for the most part, it seems that their owners are so stereotypical. How often do you see the Ken and Barbie types walking a Pitbull? How often do you see Pitbulls playing with kids in a yard in the suburbs? I know I'm bordering on being racist here, but stereotypes are, well, stereotypes for a reason. The couple walking the dog today just looked liked punks: he was all baggy shorts and wide-brimmed baseball hat turned to the side. Her outfit was leaning toward hoochy mama status. Hey, they could be the nicest people in the world. But, they just fit the stereotype of Pitbull owners. It's not fair that the dogs get the reputations when it's their owners who are (most likely) those that should be reviled.

Oooh, that just sounds so bitchy. Oh well, I'm in a mood I guess. The day is getting drearier and so is my mood.

Another musing: I was at the doctor, as I said, but it was a new doctor so I was doing the meet-and-greet, here's-my-family-history-of-diseases, here's-your-list-to take-to-the-lab-for-blood-tests. I like the doctor, by the way. She's young, which I like (but no so young that she seems like the bumbling idiot interns on Grey's Anatomy). She was easy to talk to and she seems efficient. So, what I'm getting at here is that in telling her about myself, I told her that I have been living in CA for almost 5 years. Five years! Yikes! I can't believe it. As a couple, my husband and I have not lived in any one place for that long. And I don't think either of us thought we would be in CA for more than 3 years. I recently mused about this on another blog (Hi, Suse!) and have been thinking about it for a while. Hearing myself say "5 years" kinda threw me today. Like admitting you're an alcoholic. Okay maybe it's not that severe. More like last week or so when I admitted I am a shopaholic! It's not a failure, per se, but it's just not what I had planned. Life is funny like that, I guess. It keeps moving forward and sometimes you just have to be like Dory in Finding Nemo and "just keep swimming."

Friday, March 8, 2013


I realized as I sat to write this, that I actually experienced two ends of the spectrum of Patience today. Both annoyed me, but let me explain.

I live in a development. We pay HOA fees. So, basically, even though I hardly know any of the people that live on my actual street, I do consider anyone that lives in the development to be neighbors. There is a long (about a mile+) drive into the development. We are off a very main road, then our development's main road meanders along a hillside for that mile+ before there are any homes. I was leaving today to meet my husband for lunch. I stopped at the last stop sign before this stretch of road. As I was approaching the stop sign another car was approaching the stop sign to my right. A few feet later, this same car was on my ass. Tailgating. Really? This particular area, in this direction, is all down hill. And, the speed limit is posted in a couple of spots and is 35mph. Well, going down hill, you do naturally pick up speed. But, since there have often been police hiding at the bottom of the hill, I tend to hit the brakes when I start to go over 40mph. Like I did today. I guess that pissed off the person behind me because not only did she tailgate me, as we got further down the hill, with about a quarter of a mile left, she gunned her engine and passed me going about 60mph. Um, we're neighbors. Is that really necessary? Sorry if you're late, but that is not MY fault. Oh, and my guess is that she was trying to make the light at the bottom of the hill. She didn't. Haaa Haaa! She then proceeded to speed thru the green light when it turned, only to get stuck at the next red light. Since I was in another lane, she was actually about 5 cars behind me! Again, Haaa Haaa! Loser. But like I said, we live in the same development, not only should you abide by the posted speed limit (don't get me wrong, I often hate driving behind slow people, and am not always so mindful of the speed limit), but don't be jerky to your neighbors.

So that was patience experience number one: She clearly had none. And it annoyed me.

On to patience experience number two: I didn't have it this time! And I was annoyed.

I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond after lunch. I bought one thing. Of course I picked the wrong check out line. The woman in front of me wrote a check. A check. In 2013. WTF? First of all, I don't think stores should even accept them anymore -- the whole process is so time-consuming. First, the person has to take the time to write out the check (swipe, debit/credit card has been accepted already), then they always have to ask for the total AGAIN, then the store has to check ID and run the check through some screening process. Swipe and swipe -- two people could have been out of the store in the time it takes to get all this done. Sigh. I have no patience for shoppers who write checks. I mean, really, my father is 84 and he uses a debit card. It's the same thing people -- the money comes out of the same account as your check! Then the woman made some lame joke to the cashier and looked to me for approval. Yeah, right, you are so barking up the wrong tree right now. My hope is that my FAKE half-smirk conveyed my I'm-so-annoyed-that-you-wasted-so-much-time-writing-a-check-while-I-was-behind-you-waiting-to-buy-one-item feelings! Shut it and move along, lady.

On the plus side, the sun is shining, the hillsides are already a gorgeous green and I got to open my sunroof on my ride home. While much of the country is buried in snow right now, I'm happy to be driving the speed limit around here today, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the colors of Spring.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Confessions of a Shopaholic

My name is Ann and I'm a shopaholic.

No disrespect to those that have serious addictions to alcohol and drugs, but I do think I have more than a slight inclination toward shopping, buying, spending. I really try to curb it, but some days I just can't. This week for instance. On Wednesday, my mother asked me my plans for the rest of the week and I said, oh not much, I'm trying to stay at home, not shop, trying to save some money. That was Wednesday. Know what I did yesterday? I went shopping. I bought some jeans at Macy's. In my defense, I got to use a $20 off coupon so instead of spending $69, I only spent $49 (I will always defend myself with my bargain shopping acumen!). Know what I did today? I went shopping. Online. At Macy's. The internet is gonna be the death of my savings account (and quite possibly my marriage if I'm not careful!).

See, here's the thing: As I said, I'm a bargain shopper so I can't resist a good sale or a good coupon/discount opportunity. When I was at Macy's yesterday, I tried on a sweater that was $108. No way was I going to pay that much for it (it was on a sale rack, but when I scanned it, the full price showed up). But, today, when I got an email from Macy's offering 25% that very department that the sweater is in (the "Impulse" department, which is one of the exclusions on the back of EVERY Macy's coupon ever published -- and, of course, the one department that I really like), I couldn't resist checking out the online offerings. And, really, it was meant to be because when I saw the sweater online, it was on sale for $79.99! And, woo hoo, I have in my hot little hands, a coupon code for 25% off that. And free shipping. I couldn't resist. Quantity: 1, add to cart, click and done. Sold.

Did I need the sweater? Hell no. Most of what I buy I do not NEED. But, I do get a little shopper's high when I get a good deal. I sometimes get a little buyer's remorse afterward too. Especially when we are having a lean month and I really shouldn't be buying clothes or accessories that aren't necessities. Do I need an intervention? Not yet. I think. Will I regret some of my purchases when we suck it up and get the exterior of our house painted and have to splurge for new carpets this Spring? Yeah, most likely I will. But, I will look really cute in that sweater . . . with those jeans . . . oh, and the necklace that I bought last week . . . . Sigh.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ain't That the Truth

While I can't take credit for what you are about to read, I have to say it's true. I want to ask, "Why, when you are young, doesn't anyone warn you about menopause or what it's like getting old?" but I know that the answer would be that we just wouldn't pay attention to it anyway. We don't worry about our 40s when we are in our 20s. That is SO far off, we thought. I don't need to know about any of that NOW. I'm too busy having fun. Yeah. Sure. But, now, well that's a different story. Now it's too late. It's happening and there's no stopping it.

On a semi-related note, while I probably didn't think about my 40s when I was 20 something, I somehow feel like my 20s were just a few years ago! Maybe that's a good thing. Means I'm still young at heart. Right? Not that I'm grasping at my youth, clawing my way back . . . yeah, I'm going with young at heart.

Anyway, the following was sent to me in a "joke" email. Too bad it's not really a joke!

Whether you are pushing 40, 50, 60 (or maybe even just pushing your luck), you'll probably relate.
Mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired mustache. 
In mid-life, women no longer have upper arms, we have wing spans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts, we are flying squirrels in drag. 
Mid-life is when you can stand naked in front of a mirror and you can see your rear without turning around. 
Mid-life is when you go for a mammogram and you realize that this is the only time someone will ask you to appear topless. 
Mid-life is when you want to grab every firm young lovely in a tube top and scream, 'Listen, honey, even the Roman empire fell and those will too.' 
Mid-life brings wisdom to know that life throws us curves and we're sitting on our biggest ones. 
Mid-life is when you look at your know-it-all, cell phone carrying teenager and think, 'For this I have stretch marks?'
In mid-life your memory starts to go. In fact the only thing we can retain is water. 
Mid-life means that your Body By Jake now includes Legs By Rand McNally--more red and blue lines than an accurately scaled map of Wisconsin. 
Mid-life means that you become more reflective: You start pondering the 'big' questions. What is life? Why am I here? How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it's no longer a healthy choice?
But mid-life also brings with it an appreciation for what is important. We realize that breasts sag, hips expand, and chins double, but our loved ones make the journey worthwhile. Would any of you trade the knowledge that you have now, for the body you had way back when? Maybe our bodies simply have to expand to hold all the wisdom and love we've acquired. That's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just sayin'

I saw this yesterday on one of the Facebook pages I follow. I think it was on FitSugar. One of the healthy ones anyway. It's a good reminder of important things.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I feel like this week is being sponsored by the letter "P". I need to Pack for a road trip to Paso Robles this weekend. I need (okay, maybe not "need" so much as "want") a Pedicure. And, I have to go to Physical Therapy for my knee (more on that coming up).

When we were in Hawaii in October, we met a great couple from Pasadena (again, "P") and we have kept in touch with them. We are meeting them in Paso Robles on Friday. It's about a 3 hour drive for us and them, so it's nice we found some Place "in the middle" to meet them. So, I have to Pack. I'm glad we are driving down, so there will be Plenty (I'm just going to keep capitalizing the Ps for silly emphasis) of room for me to bring far too many clothes, shoes and accessories! I usually do over-Pack, but at least there won't be a weight limit or luggage charge to deal with. Then again, if I bring too much, my husband might charge me! I live in jeans and running clothes so I'm looking forward to Putting on a skirt or two this weekend. Now I just have to motivate myself to get in that closet and Pick out a few outfits. 

Speaking of running clothes. I'm wearing some right now even though I haven't been able to run in a couple of weeks. I hurt my knee around January 7th and now I am going to Physical Therapy to get healed. I am so bummed out about it. I was never a jock in high school or college. The most I ever did for exercise was take walks and do the occasional, trendy workout video (trust me, that never lasted for very long). So, it's quite funny that now that I'm in my 40s, running is my exercise of choice. I started running about 10 years ago but totally dropped it from my life when we moved to Florida -- too hot to run outside and I never even thought about joining a gym. Fifty pounds later and 3000 miles away, I found myself needing to lose weight and needing an exercise regime to keep me motivated. So, a couple of years ago, I took it up again. Slowly but surely, I increased my mileage, dropped the 50 pounds (and kept it off), and found a new hobby. I never realized how much I actually NEED running in my life until the last few weeks when I haven't been able to do it. It helps me Physically AND mentally. I'm really hoping that the PT helps and I that I can get back on the treadmill soon. I've been obnoxious at home because it has been stressing me out -- it's a vicious cycle really: running relieves the stress, but not running is causing me stress! Arrrggh! 

So, I guess I need to add one more P to my list for this week and for the upcoming month of February: Positive Outlook. 

I'm trying. But running would help. ;)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Welcome Back

Well, it's been quite a while since I've been here. So, I'm welcoming myself back. Funny, when I started this blog, I did so in an effort to get myself writing more. That didn't last long. Not long ago, I reminded myself that I had this blog and I began to think that I should re-visit it and start writing again. I am not one to make new year's resolutions, but maybe this could count as one. Watch this space: I'm back!