2.085 meeting, glasses

Tuesday 03/02/2021

Did the aerobics. Then had to hustle to make a 9:30 meeting with Marcia and Kim The HR. Subject? Is it time to wrap up the volunteer meal delivery service? We’ve had a few people question the need for it, and it is getting harder to get the sign-up sheet filled for the week. A group of maybe 20 people really enjoy doing it. And, if we end that, do we also end the volunteer package reception task? Those are the two big ones, with sign-up sheets and an attempt at 7-day coverage of a staff task. There are also four (I think?) other, smaller, self-organized volunteer groups: indoor plant watering, outdoor plant maintenance, trash pickup. Being small and self-organized, we can leave it to those volunteers to decide for themselves if they want to quit or not.

Kim agreed to bring the whole subject to the next staff meeting and let us know what Rhonda and James (manages front of house staff) think. On return from the meeting I called Menlo Optical and made an appointment for 4pm.

Spent some time on the tax workbook. I think I can wrap that by Friday. Spent some time on Estate Planning. Sprayed one coat of clear on the bonnet panels. Then it was time for lunch and from there, to FOPAL. I processed several boxes of books, but several remain. Plus I want to follow up a suggestion from Chuck Spalding, who relieved me on the Computer section. His idea was, since we have a glut of books (owing to no sale days in covid times) maybe I should triage the shelves of priced books and pull down any priced below some limit like $5. I want to do that. I think I will go down on Thursday morning.

At Menlo Optical the optician took measurements from my existing frame. I had planned to keep it, and became sure of that when he told me that it wasn’t made any more. Funny story (not), the frame was made by Seiko, and Seiko a few years ago decided not to make and sell frames any more. Just quit the line of business. Recently, he said, a different company has started up a line of exact copies of the Seiko frames, but it’s new and he can’t vouch for their quality yet. Anyway, I should hear my lenses are ready in a week or so.

2.084 empty day is full

Monday 03/01/2021

Today on the Google Calendar was completely empty, nothing scheduled. Hah, but Google doesn’t know about the lined pad lying on my coffee table on which I’ve been noting things I need to do. So after the usual walk, I went to work on them.

First was to spend some time filling out the tax workbook for the tax preparer. We’ve been working with them for decades, and I am so glad I have this simple-minded workbook with hundreds of easy questions to answer — as opposed to actually trying to do the tax return myself. I filled out several sections of it.

Another thing was to spend time reading background materials for the Strategic Planning Committee. I’m going to start abbreviating that SPC because I suspect it will come up often. Today I spent nearly 2 hours making critical notes on a book on MARKET FORCES: Strategic Trends Impacting Senior Living Providers by Jill Johnson MBA. Lots of platitudes. I’m trying to dig out the practical points that could be turned into future objectives.

I just realized I completely forgot about one item I meant to do, to call Menlo Optical and get an appointment to bring my new prescription around. Dang.

After lunch I relaxed into working on the model car and immediately ran into a snag. Probably the two most important panels of the body are the left and right sides of the bonnet. These two panels:

This is a real car, not my model.

They are flat and right in the middle and an essential part of the look. Any flaw in a flat panel like that will be obvious. Believe it or not I have most of the other panels looking as good (and same color as) this picture. I just finished gluing on the headlights and foglights and the front fenders look that good. But not those bonnet panels. Through a series of rookie mistakes I had messed them up. I tried sanding them down with 3600 and 6000 grit wet paper but they just kept getting worse.

So I decided to strip them and start over. That meant a half an hour soaking them in alcohol (it melts the acrylic paint) and scrubbing the paint off with a toothbrush. And then bringing the spray equipment back to the bathroom from the porch. I sprayed one color coat (fortunately I have some red left) after lunch, and a second coat after supper. Clear goes on tomorrow and hopefully that will do it.

In food-related news, we got an announcement email saying we have hired our new Dining Services director, one Joshua Aranda. This is the guy who will report directly to Rhonda and manage the new food service when Sodexo packs up and leaves in April. Boy, they can’t go soon enough. It is getting more obvious that they just don’t care any more. From tonight’s menu I had ordered “green salad with vegetables”. This consisted of a heap of chopped greens topped by one (1) slice of cucumber and about 8 pinto beans. That was the “with vegetables” part. The main course was polenta with mushroom sauce. That can be a good dish and I think I’ve liked it before, but not tonight. I left most of it and finished with a homemade PBJ.

2.083 meh sunday

Sunday 02/28/2021

Did the usual things. Forced myself out for a moderate walk. Dennis called and mentioned the topic of Forest Baths or Forest Walking, which is apparently a thing. I checked out a few recommended walks but they are either hard to get to or have very tiny parking areas at their trailheads.

Watched the Stanford Women in the final game of the year, beat Cal easily. Pottered with the MG, gluing on a few more parts. Forgot to prepare the next week’s sign-up sheet for the other volunteer activity, package reception, until reminded by Marcia around 7:30. I’m a doofus.

2.082 walk, pizza

Saturday 02/27/2021

Started with an early drive to San Jose to meet Dennis for a walk. Had some family business to transact and just take a nice walk. But this was the first time we had met in real life for more than a year. That was a fun change.

This was interesting: I let the GPS in the car have its head and it took me by a different route than I had ever taken before. All the times that Marian and I visited Dennis, we went up to 280 and down to Meridian Ave. But it is actually shorter and simpler to take 101 to Almaden Expressway and Curtner. That would have been true from Tasso street also.

I put some pieces on the MG model. Part of the enjoyment of a good model kit is appreciating all the little details. In the MG, each headlight has four parts: a chrome shell, a chrome bezel ring holding a clear plastic lens, and inside, a tiny little clear plastic bulb inside it. After it’s assembled, it would only be by chance the viewer might peer inside the headlight to see, oh, there’s a little bulb in there.

Patty, Gwen, Phil and I had agreed to have pizza for supper tonight. I ordered two, 14-inch combinations from New York Pizza for delivery at 6. Actually the guy showed at ten til. Brought the pizzas to the 6th floor dining room and divided them into four half-pizzas. I took mine back to my room. I believe the others ate together in the dining room. Since we are not supposed to have more than two people eating together, I opted out.

There has been a bit of trouble getting volunteers to fill all of the slots in the meal delivery sign-up sheet. I talked to Marcia about this and she had a bit of gossip that strongly suggests management is really close to opening the dining room. When that happens, when there is no longer the need to deliver meals to rooms, the volunteer program will be naturally over. So we’re hanging in a bit longer.

2.081 eyes, tech calls

Friday 02/26/2021

First thing I headed out for the easy walk to PAMF where I had my eye exam. I was somewhat disappointed at a relatively small change in prescription, but at least there’s nothing else seriously wrong with my eyes. No sign of nasties like macular degeneration, and my “senile cataracts” are not any worse than before.

Back at CH I took the first of two tech assistance calls under our new policy: for the first time in a year we can enter the caller’s apartment! It has been awkward; if they had a problem with a laptop or iPad we could meet in the lounge, but if it’s a desktop machine or printer, basically we could only give telephone advice.

Today I went into Jean’s apartment where she was having trouble getting some Word documents she had been sent by email, to open in Word on her Mac. I don’t know what her problem was, or what I did differently, but when I put my magic fingers on her keyboard, I was able to get the documents downloaded and opened in Word, and saved to a new folder on the desktop where hopefully she can find them later. Twenty minutes.

After lunch I took a call from Randy. He and his wife have lovely new MacBook Pros each, and they use an HP printer from both. The problem was, the printer was not printing any Blue ink. Color images looked like crap with only yellow and magenta, no cyan. I futzed around with the printer, I found the HP Utility that was in Randy’s MacBook and used it to clean the cartridges and print an alignment page. No luck, or rather, no cyan. I popped the cyan cartridge out, cleaned its little contacts, put it back. Nope. Now I noticed the printer was showing an error message, this cartridge (Cyan) is not usable or some such rubbish. Tried another, new, cartridge. Printer says, thanks for using genuine HP cartridges, but sorry, that cartridge is not usable.

I told Randy, printer is busted. I used Yelp.com to show him there were printer repair shops around us and urged him to call one. And that was that.

At Rhonda’s 4pm open meeting, the news was that, since we’d gone weeks without a Covid case in resident or staff, and because we had 97% vaccination, they have decided to close what has been the Covid wing, and return it to its normal use as offices and meeting rooms. Rhonda recalled how at the worst time last fall, there were 10 beds occupied by Covid patients. I had not realized it got to that height, I thought we had like 4 at a time, a couple of times.

2.080 to-do list

Thursday 02/25/2021

Did the aerobics class and then around 9am settled down to a long to-do list, 13 items scribbled out at various times this week. By lunch I had scratched off 11 of them. One I just put off. One because I can’t read my own writing and can’t figure out what I meant.

One of the items was to schedule an eye exam. I had messaged my doctor about being unable to find how to book an exam using the website. Her nurse practitioner replied yesterday with phone numbers to call. So today I called the one for the close-by facility and to my amazement, I got booked for tomorrow at 9am. Usually PAMF appointments are weeks ahead.

Other tasks on the list were to book the echocardiagram and follow-up with Dibiase in May. Did that. And the big, big item: to start filling out the tax workbook for the tax accountant. It has a number of sections and I did the first section today.

At 2pm I vacated the room for Wanda, and decided to take the car out for a ride. I drove over to Coyote Hills park on the East end of the Dumbarton bridge.

That was about it. Well, let me gripe: supper was inedible. Nominally a piece of veal with Marsala mushroom sauce. The sauce was OK but I cannot imagine what they did to the veal, a big slab of meat that was just not chewable. I munched and munched on the first bite and eventually got it where I could swallow it but didn’t try any more. I think Sodexo is getting revenge for us kicking them out — but their contract doesn’t end until April. Oh dear.

2.079 doctors, laundry, model

Wednesday 02/24/2021

Took the usual walk first thing. Got back in good time for the first scheduled event, a video meeting with a urologist. The CT scan of last week had shown large cysts (fluid-filled hollows) in both kidneys, the left one quite large at 15cm, so, grapefruit size I guess. The surgeon said it probably was not a problem, but she referred me to Dr. Chung to make sure. He quizzed me about any possible discomfort I might feel from it. What kind of discomfort? Well, unusual feelings of fullnes? GI issues? No and no. So, same advice as the last time anybody talked about this, years and years ago, leave it alone. Not a problem.

Before and after lunch I ran the laundry, and worked on polishing the parts of the MG. I have a kit of model polishing stuff, several grades of very fine abrasive (6000 grit to 12000), rubbing compound, wax. Brought up a nice shine on some parts. I did a dry fit of the chassis, floor pan, and body tub onto the fenders. The thing is going to look really good, eventually.

Second doctor appointment was with cardiologist Dibiase at 3pm. My morning BP is ok, but she wants my evening BP, which averages around 130, to come down. She considered a long time, saying “I don’t want to add a third med,” a sentiment in which I heartily concur. Finally she instructed me to take my evening pills before I eat supper instead of after. We’ll confer again in May.

Can’t believe tomorrow is Thursday already. Weeks are spinning around fast.

2.078 music, money, FOPAL

Tuesday 02/23/2021

Veronica had the day off, so no morning exercise (but I got plenty at FOPAL later).

At 9am it was time for a concert by Stephanie and Paolo (see 2.055 and 2.034). As usual they were delightful as well as showing amazing piano skills.

I had to put that on pause as 10am approached because it was time then for my annual review with the Financial Advisors. The finale to this is to update their model (sophisticated spreadsheet) based on what I had told them about expenses and future spending plans, to predict how the Nest Egg will look over the coming years, supposing I were to live to age 100. Good news; as usual, even with the most conservative estimates for inflation and stock performance, I can’t spend money as fast as the Nest Egg grows, so it keeps getting bigger, slowly, over time. Also I had gone in with a specific question, and I got a very good, helpful and enlightening answer.

I joined the writers’ group in progress. The cue had been to write about animals in your life, which had triggered nothing at all in my imagination so I didn’t write. However during the session, listening to other people’s accounts of psychotic pets and so on, I realized I could have done a pretty good thing about cows, based on boyhood experience. Nobody else wrote about farm animals. Oh, well.

Right after lunch I drove to FOPAL and processed several boxes of donations to the computer section. Unusually out of four boxes, I found more than a dozen “high-value” books (over $25, mostly well over). I carefully did not lift any full boxes of books. At least in the sense of what I used to do, dead-lift a full box from the floor to a cart, or carry one 50 feet to a table. I left the boxes on the floor and emptied them one at a time, filling boxes already on a cart. Then I rolled the cart to the edge of a table and lifting only one end of a box, moved the box horizontally onto the table.

2.077 walk, paint, SWBB

Monday 02/22/2021

Took the walk. The weather is warming up. First time it is 60º or above at 8am, I am going out in shorts and trying to jog, at least a bit, on this route. As opposed to street clothes and just walking.

Around 10am, a facilities guy came around and painted the area around the edge of the closet where they patched the plaster Friday. That job is done, which has been pending (in my mind) since last June. For one reason or another I had put off requesting Facilities to do it, but now that is done and done.

There is one more job that has been hanging on my to-do list for months, and that is getting my eyes examined and prescription updated. The last time that was done was at PAMF’s eye clinic on Mathilda avenue more than 5 years, maybe more than 8 years, back. The PAMF medical history section in their website is somewhat confusing. But whatever, it has been too long. Problem is, PAMF closed the Mathilda eye clinic building some years ago. When I try to use their website to book an appointment for an exam, there’s no such option. Only “return visit with provider” and the names of a couple of eye doctors I have seen there. I’ve decided what I need to do is message my PCP about it, and it is just a matter of actually doing that.

At various times over the day, I sprayed the second clear coat on the MG body tub, and the first and then later the second, coat on the main body with its lovely swoopy fenders. So that job is finally done. What remains is to resume assembling. There are a bunch of parts yet to assemble. The first bit will be to assemble the hood, which has four parts and three metal hinges. You know, old style hood, when it is closed it’s like Π, but when open on both sides it’s like M.

At 6pm we had the Stanford Women hosting Arizona on ESPN. Arizona just lost to Cal, giving Cal its first win of the season, which would indicate that Arizona shouldn’t be a big deal, but Arizona played like champs in the first half, their defense keeping Stanford out of rhythm and causing frequent turnovers. In the second half, though, Stanford pulled out a 12-point lead and held it. Stanford now has the PAC-12 season championship, for whatever that’s worth, since there is a tournament as well.

I had an email conversation with Harriet Benson, another fan, about traveling to the tournament in Las Vegas, and/or to the NCAA championship in San Antonio. I checked with Angela, our Covid Safety Officer. Her opinion was that either trip would probably involve “large gathering” and necessitate a 14-day quarantine on return. Having to spend two weeks locked up in my room, plus the exposure of a commercial airline round trip, set the price too high for either trip.

Later Harriet reported that Eileen, the Stanford Basketball Operations director, had told her, sorry, we will allow only immediate families of players in Las Vegas. As for San Antonio, the NCAA intends to run the entire field of 64 inside a giant “bubble” with attendance at venues limited to 10% capacity. So very likely it wouldn’t be possible to get a ticket anyway.

2.076 baylands, turkeys, paint

Sunday 02/21/2021

I’d read the paper, had my coffee, showered and dressed and watered the plants, and it was still a bit shy of 8am. I looked out at a sparkling clear day, Mount Diablo crisp on the horizon. Well, heck, I thought, let’s get a jump on the parking at the Baylands. Times past, I’ve only thought of going down there later and arrived at 10 and it was full. But 8am, pshaw, no problem.

It is to laugh. At 8:15 there was no space at the Bixbee end. I drove the two miles down the 101 frontage road to the San Antonio end where there was still space. Went for a nice 3-mile walk (1.5 out and back). I was wishing I had brought the Nikon with my new telephoto lens. Shots like this one just don’t work on the iPhone.

iPhone camera is remarkable in may ways, but its telephoto sucks.

With the 500mm lens, that would have been a winner.

From there I decided to drive back via some back streets that I used to bicycle–Moody road, Elena, Page Mill. Quietly scenic. I had to stop and wait a couple of minutes for these guys to get the heck out of my way.

Later I sprayed some clear coat including onto the second largest piece of the MG. It went on nice except for one bit where I moved too slow and the paint sagged. But I can smooth that out and it will disappear under the second coat. This shows the difference between the cowling, which has been clear-coated, and the main body, which hasn’t. That will be tomorrow’s job.