Cat Lady

April is pretty packed, Arizona this weekend then back to Manhattan Beach the next.  But first, I write…

There’s a house in Bend, Oregon that is within reach and is absolutely beautiful.  Whenever I go through a town I like, I obsessively Zillow it to death to see if it’s feasible.  Bend seemed great, until I looked at ways to get there.  The only way is to drive, flights are $800 round trip with 2 stops making it an 8 hour trip.  That really puts a damper on getting anywhere quickly or anyone ever coming to see me.  It was a nice thought while it lasted.

My husband keeps saying I should go back to Manhattan Beach, especially because of my mom needing me soon.  Being a full time caregiver doesn’t thrill me, the time is coming pretty soon though.  This weekend is her 1st cousin’s 84th birthday, he’s been touch & go for the last year at least.  He gave me a big hug last time I saw him and said, “I will see you again.”  Yes he will, for his birthday after a year of being in & out of hospitals.  Death doesn’t come at a specific time, it could be 5 min. or 5 years, you just don’t know?  That’s the case with my mom, am I signing up for 5 years or 15?  Some of my friends parents are well into their 90’s.  Our former neighbors have both sets of parents living, all in their mid-late 90’s.  My mom does great still, the vultures are circling though and she needs help.

I put up a picture on Instagram of a embroidery design I made then had digitized, an old friend of mine commented then said he just moved to MB!  Lengthy story, we met in our late teens through my college BF.  My college BF went to my HS, his dad was a teacher there, he was actually from West LA and would commute with his dad.  We’re not in touch, I always stayed in touch with his best friend who was from 90210.  Not in touch more than decade check ins, still it was always good to catch up.  I was so excited when he said that he lived there now!  PM’d my cell, told him we’d be down in a few weeks…crickets.  Txt’d my BIL we’d be down for my H bday, the same.  Hard to make dinner reservations when no one gets back to you??

Being a woman can be such a curse.  I go right back to being 19 yrs old when I get that kind of news and almost 40 years of life has moved on since then.  Do I want to move back to a town where I have childhood/teenage memories and am coming back as a 56 year old to take care of my mom (maybe get a few cats??).  Ugh.  Last time I went to the beach I got about 10 points of volleyball in before I had to call for a sub, everyone else else still looks smok’in hot in a bikini at my age.  I recognize it’s LA and there’s probably some surgery (& eating disorders) involved, there’s just not a chance in hell I’m playing v-ball in a bikini ever again.

On that thought, I’m going for a baby shower of a pro volleyball player and that part makes me smile.  When I could play without a sub, her mom & I would play at the pier and put our kids in cribs on the beach.  Our boys played for Golden West and were roommates there.  We raised the kids as cousins practically, so this is really exciting!!

There’s some relief in being older that I’m not expected to partake in the bikini contest anymore.  I’ve already missed a lot, I like the idea of being there and helping my friend become grandma then watching the baby on the beach while they play vball, like I did with the soon to be mommy.  Maybe it’s all good and I can go back as an adult and not a teenager?  One thing’s for sure, no more HS alumni events.  Our last one we were the only ones not announced at the football game, then cropped out of the group selfie.  Whatever 🙂

Snow Day!

Not really, I did mean to get up early to catch the sunrise on the top of Mt. Diablo, that just didn’t happen.  The alarm went off at 6:30a, I had to tell Alexa twice to turn it off before I woke up at 7:30a.  Another reason I’ll never be a great photographer, I can’t wake up to greet the day anymore.  For ten years I’d wake up at 4:30a for work then rowing, I never want to see a “4” and an “a” together ever again.

I’ll wait for the sunset, or maybe head out today some time and get some shots?  I’m sure my neighbors appreciate I slept in and didn’t wake them up with my drone at sunrise.

Otherwise, I’m just doing my own thing again today, still nursing my tailbone bruise/fracture.  This really took me down again, it’s been over a week now and not feeling any better.  I hate complaining about health stuff, it makes me feel 100 years old, it’s just that I was really hoping to get back on track with getting in shape.  That week was looking good with the swimming & skiing, then this.  I’ll walk a few miles to crawl to the fridge for icy/hot & heating pads.

Forget about bike riding, yoga, swimming…perhaps I should actually go to the Dr.??  IDK??  Last time I went was when my heart actually hurt after the smoke and they didn’t whip out the stethoscope, which seems to me to be Dr. 101??  Plus there’s nothing they can do about it besides tell me to do what I’m already doing.

On the “where to live” front, still up in the air.  I found the cutest place in Pacific Grove, a place I love to go.  One thing’s for sure after all this snow, glad I didn’t go for Tahoe!  I don’t know if I could handle being injured and not being able to dig myself out of a condo or dig my car out all week.  There’s hunkering down, then there’s hunkering down with no cable or internet for days…that would be the worst part!!  One storm a few years knocked it all out, my son was with me, we looked at each other and said, “We’re out of here!”  We drove back to Walnut Creek before the roads closed.

We looked at this awesome place in Pt. Richmond that had a dock in front of it.  For that we’d have to sell our house, which I’m just not ready to do yet.  Tick tock on my life choices and not doing anything about it.  Again, I’m the only one up for a change of scenery after living here for 27 years.  My son and his wife love it here, the only way they can afford to stay is if we keep the house.

As cool as the Pt. Richmond house was, it’s not a “destination” like Pacific Grove.  I would never say, “Hey, let’s go to Pt. Richmond for the weekend!”  That Pacific Grove house had a separate unit for guests or a little artist studio for myself (I know, I still consider myself somewhat of an artist).  I still have all these dreams, when in reality I’ll probably have to move back to Manhattan Beach and take care of my mom so she can stay home (there might be cats involved).

 

 

Where to live??

Still nursing a bruised tailbone from my Tahoe trip, it’s such a bummer!!  Every time I feel good to go, something happens to disrupt my flow (or bum my high).  At least it wasn’t my back again, that takes me out for months.  My truck is pretty much the only car that’s comfortable at least, I went to dinner with some childhood friends then drove back home.

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A little overboard on the Photoshop??  Donner Lake

I’ve looked at houses in Tahoe before, thinking that wouldn’t be a bad place to retire?  My husband doesn’t share that dream, last time I went up to look at just condo’s I stopped short when he said he doesn’t envision himself up there.  It’s true, I’m the one who goes up all the time and I haven’t actually skied the past few years with all the life events that have been in the way.  Getting a place up there without being able to actually ski would be a real bummer!!  One of the times my back went was after skiing, cleaning the cabin, then driving home – Thank God I was home!!  I plugged something in, down I went for at least a week of not being able to move.

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No filters – Donner Lake

One thing I’m not is a good cook, there are no good restaurants up there either.  I went to El Toro Bravo in Truckee for the worst Mexican food ever, I needed a steak knife for my tortilla it was so stale.  How do you screw up a cheese enchilada?  I found out.

When I got back to my full house, with a dirty kitchen waiting for mom to come home and clean, I wanted to cry.  I’d like just once to leave a clean kitchen, go downstairs 10 min later and not find a knife on the counter with crumbs all over the place.  Just to re-cap, my son and his wife with their dog are living with us.

Manhattan Beach is not within financial reach, besides, the new MB is not my scene.

When I got home I zillowed places in Monterey, found a cute place & hopped in the car yesterday to check out open houses.  The first one was the one we liked the most.  It’s small, walking distance from everything.  It’s a historical house that has been updated, some of those houses have not been updated at all.  We checked out a really small house in Pacific Grove that was about the size of the boat, the agent recommended we go to another house we might like.  YIKES!!  It was a mish-mosh of bad additions, the tour ended when I opened a closet emitting a smell of what I think was a dead body in there for 50 years.  I ran out, pissed at the realtor that suggested we even go there.

The other houses we checked out were very similar to the houses of MB past, little beach houses on small lots that were probably the same builder?  Most of those houses in MB are gone, torn down for some gross display of wealth.  There was always money in MB, the difference now is that people used to actually own their houses.  The only difference between Pacific Grove and MB is warm water, the water up here is freezing!!  Still, not cheap anywhere in CA regardless.

Walnut Creek was perfect to raise my boys, have a business, etc..  What I don’t want to do is what my IL’s did, move to a remote place that’s hard to get to.  They retired to Ojai, not close to any major hospital, airport or walking distance from anything.  Even in MB, the specialists are all in downtown LA which isn’t an easy drive for my mom.  It’s at least close to LAX.  In WC I can walk to Kaiser if I need to, that’s a big bonus.

Who knows??  I’ve been gone most of January, whenever I go through a place I wonder if I could live there?  Besides college, I’ve only lived in suburbia, it would be fun to switch things up a bit since I’m not tied to a school district, school schedule or work schedule.  We were joking I could work at that Pacific Grove golf course for Coursco again.  I worked at the golf course here for 7 years, I’m sure they’d recommend me.  Or I could just write in that cool coffee shop all day after paddle boarding…

Injured in Tahoe

Alright universe, walking it is!!  I keep trying to do the things I used to do, pretty well I might add, and get nailed by some random fall or something taking me out again.  I was on a roll!  I swam some laps the other day, was feeling good about taking things slow to build up my endurance, now this :(.

OK, there are worse places to be (and worse injuries) but I was really looking forward to downhill skiing for the first time in about 3 years.

Oh, I should probably mention that it’s just a bruised tailbone – I’m not in traction or anything a few months of advil won’t cure.  3 years ago I did a condo ski lease and was practically living up here to knock “ski bum” off my bucket list.  I’d work in the mornings, then hit the slopes after lunch with my season pass.  One sport I hadn’t tried was XC skiing, there’s a really nice place up in Tahoe-Donner where I thought I’d go ahead and try it.  At first I was like, “This is boring!”  The next day I was totally sore and had such a good workout from it, I went all in.

My feet just can’t handle ski boots all day anymore, I did get a ton of skiing in that year with my mid-week passes.  It was lonely though without my boys, we used to come up here all the time.  At Sugar Bowl I skied one day with this guy who had a house in Bisbee, we were on the lift together and I can’t remember how it came up?  But we skied together the rest of the day.  Finally my feet were numb and I said I was bouncing out, he followed me to the car.

One of the things he said to me was he was seeing someone who separated from her husband for him, but he really didn’t want that kind of “relationship.”  He wanted to be casual, when she left her husband he felt a little choked by the whole thing (I guess it was fine the way it was?).  I didn’t pay much attention to his story until he walked me to the car.  I gave him a “Heller hug,” which is known to be rather cold.  He said, “I want a real hug.”  He didn’t get one, I was pissed.  Driving off I finally got the moral to the story, he was available for his kind of relationship.  Swing & a miss buddy!

It would be one thing if he looked like Aquaman throwing it out there (kidding), I was insulted on a few different levels.  The rest of the season I skied alone.

I’ve been on the road for family stuff this Jan, just wanted to escape to my own little place I love to get a few non-stormy ski days in.  My warm up was supposed to be XC skiing again with an easy loop, then 2 days at Sugar Bowl.  Unfortunately, a pine tree branch I didn’t see until I was right there was about 5′ over the tracks and I tried to avoid it then went back to far on my ski’s and fell on my ass – the branch won.  I felt it right away, I’ve done it once before trying to snowboard with a hard fall when the kids were little.

Things could be worse, it just takes skiing out while I’m here.  It probably prevented a worse injury?  Sometimes I think skiing is an orthopedic surgeon’s dream come true.  I stood in a lift line at Northstar once when a snowboarder maneuvered the fence and slammed right into me.  I was fine, you just never know what can happen??

 

So far, so good 2019

Despite being rainy and cold everywhere I’ve been and being publicly called out on FB as looking to move into a trailer.  I covered a lot of ground this past few weeks, now I just need to get back into shape which was not even on my NYR list of things to do.

I have a Garmin watch with a HRM on it to guide me.  Over the summer, swimming laps and riding my bike everywhere, I was the Vo2 of a 34 year old.  I felt really good about that, bragging rights actually to anyone who still listens to me.  In New Mexico I was able (forced) to walk the dog a few miles, getting my HR up to an acceptable range.  Last checked, 36 years old.

To my horror, when I got back home I hopped on the scale to see 5 lbs and the Vo2 of a 40 yr old – that train ride & Wetzel Pretzel lunch added 4 yrs & 5 lbs!!  I weigh more than I’ve ever weighed my whole life!!

With the smoke, getting sick, then weather I haven’t done much.  Those pounds went on when I turned 50 and nothing I do can get them off!  I’ve just been accepting it, glad for the bikini bod I had up until that 50 mark.

Back to the gym I go…even though I kinda hate gyms, or the gym “scene.”  Nothing like fighting your way for a spot in yoga class where you’re supposed to go to be calm & relaxed.  At 5’9″, I’m the tall dork that can’t see without my glasses in the back of the class.  I’m also not flexible, or spiritual, so I can’t do half the poses.

I remember being in Bali in a gorgeous outdoor studio overlooking the ocean with my son.  The rest of the class were hot, 20 yr old Australian surfer boys with a few perfect 20 yr old girls to match.  I was old lady in the back of the class, which was fine because I was actually in shape.  She said we were going to do a head stand, I said I was out for that one.  She went into a speech on how some people won’t try it because it’s that time of the month (she probably said some spiritual thing about menses?) and other women problems I might be having that would prevent me from even trying.  I bit my tongue, I wanted to say, “How about I can’t do a headstand?”  Geez.

You never really appreciate that you were in shape until you’re out of shape.  Do you have to get out of your warm bed first and stop writing?  Oh…I guess so 🙂

Surfing

My absolute favorite thing to do when I was a kid growing up in Manhattan Beach was dive under those waves, I could spend all day in the water.  The best feeling for me was still having that salt and sand all over me when I got out, I never even rinsed off.  There was rarely a time I even brought a brush to the beach with me.  Having salt mixed with sand either walking or riding my bike home felt so good!  My grade school was right up the hill from the water, we had a pact to go in the water every single day one year.  That’s my memory of it, not sure if we did it or not?  I’d wait for my hair to dry at my friend’s house (my parents didn’t know), then run down Sand Dune park hill to get home.

I had a few water toys growing up, a styrofoam wave rider thingy and an itchy surf mat.   When I was really little, my mom would put us on the surf mat to get us across the hot sand and pull the rope.  Boogie boards came out when I was in middle school, they were actually kits you had to buy duct tape to put them together.  Then the boys starting surfing, girls not allowed.  This could be due to the fact that the boys weren’t very good yet and didn’t want the girls to actually know that.  Right before we made that puberty transition, I was still one of the boys with my boogie board.  We were all at the pier, two of my guy friends dared me to go in when the waves were big, so I went for it.  Of course I was pummeled, when I came in though they both said they never would have gone out!!  They both became pro surfers at some point in their lives.

What was unfortunate timing for me was short board popularity, long boards were not cool in the ’70’s, no one wants to be labeled a “kook.”  I was asked by the local surf shop to join the boogie board team…ummmm, no thanks.  That just sounded so wimpy compared to surfing.  I wanted to stand up!  I just couldn’t on a short board.

In my attempts to surf, I was lucky to hang out with a group of kids for a time with dads who were longboard surfers.  I did a lot of pearling, the timing of Manhattan Beach waves with a longboard is not the greatest either.  They’re quick waves, with a boogie board I could take off while the wave was curling.  On a longboard, you take off at the swell and paddle hard.  If there’s already a curl, it’s just going to push the nose straight down.  Since there was no formal instruction, besides a beginning book in the library (I’d put guys names in as if they checked it out as a joke), I did a whole lot of pearling.  I did have some success when my friend took the helm.  He’d be at the back of the board to take it so I could crawl up tandem.  It was a fun summer, before my BF dumped me and I had to switch steets.

I gave up until after I graduated from college, when I was working at a swimwear store in Santa Monica Canyon.  The local guys there adopted me as their own and came by with a board for me after work.  They put me on a 9′ board, I hopped up right away.  One thing I always knew how to do was paddle and wave motion.  The waves at State Beach were a lot easier than Manhattan Beach, plus I had the support of a bunch of Malibu surfers who were impressed I could even paddle.  I was hooked!!  I bought a board and tried to surf every day.  I made a mistake though, I went from a 9′ board with the intention of getting better to go back to a short board at some point.  Same fatal mistake I made from when I was younger.  I bought a shorter board and couldn’t even get up…because by that time I was 5’9″ with a really slow hop up.  I switched jobs too, I started working at Nordstrom getting me off the beach.

That Christmas, I went surfing with my brother and his friends.  I was able to get past the break, then they would take off and I heard our friend screaming down the wave.  I thought, “I have no business out here if he’s scared.”  I waited for the lull and went in.

That summer I met my husband, moved to NorCal and quit surfing.  I became a suburban mom and took up golf, a sport that doesn’t require speed or a quick hop up.

When our boys were grown, for my 50th my husband asked what have I always wanted to do?  I said, “I’ve always really wanted to learn how to surf.”  He found a women’s surf retreat for me, Kristy Murphy’s surf retreats.  The first one I went to was in Mexico, I’ve also been to the Costa Rica and Hawaii retreats.  She gave me this soft board that was about 11′??  I affectionally called it the “Beastie board,” I couldn’t carry it alone.  I could barely paddle it once it got a little water logged.  What I could do was get up on it right away, my first ride in 20 plus years was an audience of legendary women surfers paddling out hooting at me.  What a welcome!!  I didn’t know who they were at the time, I found out at a party afterward.  Before the party, I PM’d one of my surfer friends with the names to see who they were.

At the party, I talked mainly to this woman Zuef.  Zuef was married to Frosty of “Mavericks” fame.  She talked about what it was like to be a step-mom to girls who had lost their mom while they were young.  This was before the movie came out, I didn’t know much about Frosty or that his first wife had died.  Zuef was battling bone cancer herself, their girls trip to Mexico was in her honor while she was still alive.  A few years later, she lost her battle too.  One of the take aways from that was how she had told me she could tell I had a great heart, I’ll always remember that observation by her of me when I’m down.  Other attendee’s were Linda Benson and Heather Hudson of “Women and the Waves” movies.

I continued going to these retreats for a few years, posting shamelessly on FB.  A friend from MB finally asked to join me on a Costa Rica trip.  One thing about growing up in MB that was hard is that everyone’s super model thin plus a killer athlete.  I’m a half ass athlete, no comparison to the girls I grew up with.  She had surfed with her dad as a kid, played Div 1 volleyball in college, I knew I’d be a little jealous.  Sure enough, she out surfed me after 2 shaky waves.  I felt like chopped liver, that I sucked.

Since that first trip, we went on quite a few others.  Some of my best waves were at a ranch in Mexico we took a boat to, that was a fun day!  I surfed really well for me.  Another was a right I caught in Hawaii, it seemed so effortless and went on forever.  I out paddled my friend for a wave and Kristy told me about it later.  I can’t see without my glasses, I didn’t even know she was going for it?  I’m a wimp, I’ll let the “better surfer” get the wave.  Her attitude towards the whole thing was that she didn’t think I’d get it, so she went for it.  She said that to me a few times, “I knew you wouldn’t get it”  as her apology for cutting me off… What a friend.

The last 3 times I’ve gone have been mini-disasters for one reason or another.  Hawaii was a huge storm and WAY too big for me.  I won’t go out if it’s too big, I have a healthy fear of mother nature.  I surfed 2 days of that trip.

The next time was in Mexico where the biggest bitch on the face of the earth happened to be.  She was an emergency room Dr. who deemed me irrelevant.  She was also “off duty,” I got tourista and broke my ribs.  I don’t mean “off duty” as a Dr., I mean as a human being.  When I came down in the morning to say that I couldn’t surf, I crawled back to bed for a day of pain from my ribs and passing out.  The morning was the only time I was even able to make it downstairs, we were the only ones staying at the Casita.  She never knocked on my door to see if I needed water, or was alive.  Kristy finally saved me with some gatorade and crackers that night or I wouldn’t have woken up the next morning.  Less people in the line up for the Dr. I guess?  God I hated that woman!  If we went to HS together I would have put her name in that library book as a kook.  I don’t care if you went to med school, if you talk down to people as non-existant then brag about hook ups on Tinder, I’m not going to like you more than you don’t like me.

My last attempt was almost 2 years ago now.  I went to Costa Rica with my friend and her now wife.  It was a few months after the Mexico fiasco, I guess my ribs hadn’t healed?  All went well until I had a minor fall forward, like a belly flop.  That’s what happened the first time, I figured I must have hit the board to do that kind of damage?  I never went to the Dr. though for x-rays, wasn’t even sure if I broke them?  I was out for the rest of the trip, it was such a bummer.  Then, of all things, I lost my drone 😦  I brought it down to film Kristy when she caught a mile long wave.  I designated my friends W as a spotter, but she was spotting my friend and not the drone.  Not to blame her, just that it was super annoying when I saw the palm leaf come up when I backed it up to see where it went.  I would have just pressed the home button, but I didn’t have enough battery to pop it back up and she wanted some footage of A.  I was looking through the FPV, not paying attention to the drone at all.  Never found it, everyone was pissed at me and suddenly drone experts.  The rest of the trip was painful ribs and me being the 5th wheel who was useless because I lost my drone.

So my surfing life might end?  When I did get back, I got the X-rays and a bone density test.  I have Osteopenia, which wouldn’t matter much if I didn’t do an extreme sport.  I’ve always been so strong, that’s been the hardest part of aging for me.  Never fast, always strong.  It took me forever to realize my weak points as an athlete.

I might try again, I just can’t be a wimp about what board I should be riding or have others who think they’re better than me intimidate me.  A few waves and a smoothie, that’s what I love about surfing.  Kristy & Cat were great!!  For that reason alone I might give it another go.  Or I can just leave it to my friend and her now wife?

The thing about surfing, piano, sailing, whatever people want to try is that it doesn’t matter who is the best.  My favorite surfing quote is the best surfer out there is the one who is having the most fun.  That would always be me 🙂

This is from Costa Rica, the best wave for me with no crowds:

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Calm before the Storm

Which would be the holidays coming full steam ahead like a train wreck.  October is always a really busy, but fun, month for me topped off with WAY too much sugar and my birthday.  Now it’s just recouping from the sugar rush/acne breakout to think about Thanksgiving & Christmas.

If last week was all about getting through my Halloween birthday with my mom, this week is trying to pull myself together from the crash.  Daylight savings kind of helps actually, I can sleep in and appear to be an early riser.

For my 56th year, I scheduled a facial/movie/hair dye day.  When I got home I was all achy from a cold I guess?  My body just kind of said, FU- you need a break.  Good timing, what I was really hoping for was a break in some relaxing location besides my full house.  Don’t feel good enough to go anywhere even with my planned free time.

Instead, I lay here writing trying to think of goals for my 2nd year into senior citizenship.

I do have a confession, in general I’m very healthy.  When I don’t feel well I might as well be on my death bed.

So my “free” week has been spent trying to relax, think about Christmas, looking up “meetups” for groups I might be interested in.  I found a photography & coffee meetup group I signed up for, we’ll see how that goes.  I checked out a sewing shop in Berkeley that had a long arm quilting machine they rent after taking their 3 hour class.  It was a cool studio workshop, I was the youngest one in there.  Not by much, I’m just not ready to be 100 years old quite yet.  I still think of myself as a surfer girl, not put out to bingo pasture.

Are you really as young as you feel?  My Vo2 score puts me at about 35 (whatever that means).  If it weren’t for my back and breaking my ribs surfing, I’d feel a lot more confident about moving forward.  I am terrified of my back going out!  It happens in a split second and I can’t move until the relaxants kick in.  Then it takes over a month to recover, I sported a cane last time just to walk for a few days.

The other thing I’d like to focus on is writing again just to make this a more interesting blog instead of my tales of aging woe.

To give an idea of my typical holiday enthusiasm, I’ve been known to Amazon next day clicking the gift wrap button on December 23rd.  Last year we pulled up in Las Cruces Christmas Eve, hitting Home Depot for a tree they just gave us because they were closing in 5 min.  My husband got me an Amazon GC at the grocery store for my gift.  I actually thought ahead and brought wrapped presents, which was good or there would have been no presents under the tree.  My son got us tix to see Star Wars, where I got a $10 nap in 🙂  That’s how we roll.