Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Sunday, and...

Happy Halloween
I blogged every day in October - Here's my Badge!

I live in a community of mostly seniors, but a family with two kids moved in right across the lawn.  My front door faces their patio and living room window.  They are the first kids to live near me in six years.  What to do on Halloween?

For six Halloweens, and there has never been a knock on my door from trick-or-treaters.  Sometimes I go to my son's house to see the grandkids in costume, but tonight I plan to stay home.

Katie is driving me crazy - she keeps putting her paw in my hand while I'm trying to type.  She must be desperate to go for a walk.  I'll be back....

We walked for quite a while, up and down different streets in the area.  Here are some photos:

This orange tree, on my street, still has oranges at the top.  You may have to click to see them.

These two old pine trees were just trimmed. They will look neat when more growth fills them in.

Beautiful day at the lake.

The Pyracanthia are all full of berries now.  Really pretty.

"Okay, why aren't these ducks running from me?"

Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, little breeze, perfect day for a walk.

Every time I walk down this streeet I wonder how these two palms got so curved.

The dad from the new family was playing ball with his dog on the lawn, so Katie and I went out to visit.  I asked where they were going to trick-or-treet. He said they were going over to Encinitas, about 3 towns over (it's where my son lives). I told him about my son's last neighborhood, which was super for trick-or-treating. Lots of kids, very well lit, everyone decorated their houses, really friendly. I sent him an e-mail with the address and mapquest map.

When Katie and I came back into the house, their dog, a big black lab, tried to follow, and BOY, was Katie NOT letting him into the house.  Very territorial little Miss.  She bared her teeth and growled like crazy, and he backed off. 

Right after I came back into the house, my son called and invited me to go with them - guess where? The old neighborhood! I'm not sure if I'll go or not, but it's nice to be invited.

Hope the gouls and goblins are good to you tonight, and that you get lots of treats.

From Me and My Dog, Katie, Happy Halloween everyone!  : )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Eve, a "do nothing" day

I mentioned a day or two ago about not being able to become a follower on other blogs by clicking the Follower button.  Yesterday I tried again and it didn't take - again.  I use Firefox, but also have Internet Explorer that I use for some things.  So, I clicked on Internet Explorer, brought up my blog, clicked on another blog I was trying to follow, clicked on their

button and it worked.  I went down the list of blogs I couldn't "follow" and they all worked. So, I guess if something doesn't work on-line, I can try another browser and maybe that one will work.  I can live with that work-around.

First Camellia bloom from my little backyard tree.

Nothing much going on today.  I slept in a little, fixed breakfast and coffee, and have been following up on my TV shows on Hulu all morning.  When I'm done with that, I'm going to find a good book on my Kindle.  I had to charge it this morning.  It's been sitting for quite a while, and since I'm still using the original battery, it always needs a charge when I don't use it.

It's cloudy/sunny here in San Diego today.  I woke up to rain.  It's been dry for hours now, but still wintry outside on and off.  I'm still in my sweats and actually turned on the heat for a while this morning.

I've got some frozen "spring rolls" in the oven for lunch, and that's about it.  I don't plan to do anything else today. 

 Katie Mouse

My neighbor and I always talk about how guilty we feel when we have a "do nothing" day, but hey, we're old enough to be retired - and still working.  We deserve "nothing" days if we want them. It's just hard not to feel like we should be doing something.

From me and Katie, have a nice Saturday, everyone. : )

Friday, October 29, 2010

Double, double toil and trouble

I don't have much to write about today - so here's a jumble of stuff.  I almost have my October badge for blogging every day, and I made my own this month (it is allowed).  It's very cute for October, the theme is "Play."  I'll put it up on the blog on Sunday.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
              - William Shakespeare

We're getting close to Halloween!

Is anyone else having trouble signing up to follow other bloggers?  I can't get the Follow button to work.  It was giving me trouble last week, then it worked for one day, and now it won't work again.  Has something changed?

My weekend has started. I'm not driving to Boulder Creek this weekend, so I have lots of time on my hands.  Right now I can't think of a single thing to do with all this time.  Not complaining, not complaining.  I'll come up with something.  : )

I've seen it explained many ways, but this is the best answer I've found:

You're trying to fool people with redundant information and somewhat faulty math. Yes, the three men paid 27 dollars in total but that is not part of the problem. The problem is who is actually holding the money in their pocket.

The three men gave the manager 30 dollars. So the manager has 30 dollars. The manager took 5 dollars and handed it to the bellboy. The bellboy handed 3 dollars to the three men, and kept 2 dollars for himself. 25 (held by the manager) + 3 (held by the three men) + 2 (held by the bellboy) = 30 dollars, therefore there is no missing dollar.

It'll help you to wrap your mind around this one if you picture one man instead of three doing the transactions, and forget the 27 dollars paid.

Remember these?

Why can't a man living in the USA be buried in Canada?

If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, how many do you have?

One big football fan claimed to be able to say the score before any game. How did he do it?

Because you can't bury a living man. 

If you take two apples, than you have, of course, two.

The score before any football game would be 0-0, right?

Another Katie Costume

Bumble Bee

Today I'm sending in my documents to Santa Clara County to request Certified copies of my Marriage Certificate and Divorce Decree.  I have the forms I need all filled out, and I'm going to a Notary Public this morning to have my signatures notarized.  Should get them back within 14 days at the most, then I'll take them to the local Social Security office and they will complete my application. 

I learned that my ex-husband took his Social Security benefit at age 62, so I won't be bothering with the Widow's benefit if he predeceases me. He has other income, so he used his as a supplement to what he already has.  If I work for another year or so, my benefit will be more than what he's collecting, so I'll continue collecting mine. I actually feel better about that, so everything is good.

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  : )

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween town

WELCOME to Cruzin2some!  Thanks for becoming a Follower, I've been reading along on your blog, too.  Lately you have had questions that I'm definitely going to have in a year or so!  Hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

Halloween Town

So... about the Boulder Creek property.  I made some phone calls yesterday - first to the county assessor.  They said the property is still in my name, I still don't owe any taxes, and it is still not buildable.  I'd need an acre, and it's 1/5 of an acre.  I told her about seeing the house on the Google Earth map and she said the satellites are so far up, they are often distorted when you are looking at specific properties. She said to call the planning department about parking my RV on the property.

So I called the planning department.  She said technically I am not allowed to park there.  I can only park an RV on property that has a building on it.  But she did say they are a complaint driven department.  If I parked there and no one complained, I'd be okay.  If someone complains, I'd have to move.  Good to know.

I told her about thinking someone put a house on the land, and out of curiosity she looked it up on their satellite program and this is what it showed (I went on their website and could pull it up, too): 

 Do you think the satellites could be off that much?

The blue outline is the property - see the house in the upper left corner?  There is actually another in the lower right corner, too.  That makes me think it might be off a little.  The woman at the zoning planning department said there have been no permits pulled for the property, so if there is something on it, it is definitely not legal.

I then called a Realtor I talked to in August 1994 when I was going to sell it (if it was worth selling), and she is still with the same real estate office.  There is a house in foreclosure next to my lot, and I wondered if it had anything to do with the structure that seems to be on my lot.  She took the information, did some checking and called me back. She said she gave both APNs to a local title company, and they are going to check on it.  She will call me back with information by Friday, or early next week.  Just in case someone had their lot lines wrong.  She asked me exactly where the lot was, and I gave her the "Beer Pub" location right next to me, and I'm hoping she will actually drive out and see for herself.  The lot is 4.5 miles from the town of Boulder Creek, so it would only take a few minutes.  It would be nice to have an "eyes on" opinion.

I really want to see the property, but it's an eight hour drive each way, and I don't know if I want to make such a long drive over a weekend.  I think I'm going to let the experts do their research, and see what they say.  If there is a problem, I'll go next weekend, maybe take off Monday so it will be a Friday through Sunday trip with Monday to recover. If it looks like everything is okay, I'll probably wait until I go up to Vacaville again to visit my daughter and her family, and we can take a day trip to see it then, walk around Boulder Creek and have lunch there.

After I wrote the above, I pulled up my condo address in Google Earth.  And you know what?  It has me two blocks over from my street.  Interesting...  Maybe it really is off that much. 

Maybe this is all much ado about nothing.  If so, at least I learned I can park my RV on the lot as long as no one complains.  I'm going to have to knock on some doors when I go up there and make some friends. : )


PUZZLE:   Here is a puzzle I have always liked.  It was in the San Francisco Chronicle when I was in high school, and I cut it out and saved it for years (and years and years).

Three people check into a hotel. They pay $30 to the manager and go to their room. The manager finds out that the room rate is $25 and gives the bellboy $5 to return to the guests. On the way to the room the bellboy reasons that $5 would be difficult to split among three people so he pockets $2 and gives $1 to each person. Now each person paid $10 and got back $1. So they paid $9 each, totaling $27. The bellboy has another $2, adding up to $29.

Where is the remaining dollar?  I'll have the answer tomorrow.

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone! : )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome. The witch is in, and Boulder Creek property

WELCOME to Our Fiver Adventures!  Thank you for signing up to Follow Me and My Dog, Katie, on our adventures while we are preparing - and waiting - to be RV full-timers.  I don't see that you have a blog, but if you do, let me know so I can follow along with you, too! : )

And thank you everyone for all the nice comments you are leaving for me.  I appreciate it and, as you know, it's nice to see people are interested and still reading along.

There are good witches and bad witches.  Which do you think this witch is?

 Good Witch?  Bad Witch?

Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, ‘Never take candy from strangers.’ And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Go beg for it.’ I didn’t know what to do. I’d knock on people’s doors and go, "Trick or treat. No thank you."
- Rita Rudner         

I realized the most fantastic thing the other day when I was talking to my daughter. 

My parents owned some property in Santa Cruz County in California - in Boulder Creek.  It is a wooded lot right on Highway 9 in the forest.  It is a small piece of land, and years ago the local government decided they wanted to limit the growth in the area, so they limited the size of lots that could have septic tanks.  This property isn't big enough, so it is virtually un-buildable.  My parents were going to let it go for the taxes, so I took it, paid up the taxes, and it's been mine for a number of years. Since it is pretty much worthless, the tax collector agreed to reduce the value so low, that I don't have to pay taxes on it.

 Boulder Creek Market - I remember this market from 40 years ago.

I've only driven up to see it once, just to see what I owned.  I can't do anything with it, but it is a pretty wooded piece of land.  I keep forgetting I own it.  I know that sounds strange, it's not that I'm land rich, far from it, but I took possession almost 19 years ago and there was nothing I could do with it for all that time.

 Highway 9 - Boulder Creek

Highway 9 -  Boulder Creek

Over the years I've had a couple of neighbors call or write me letters asking if I'd sell it - for $1,000 - I said no, thank you. One person wanted to put in drainage pipes from my land to hers (which was lower) diverting water away from her house when it rained.  A lawyer I knew who specialized in "water law" (he was the attorney for the water company in our town) told me not to let anyone do anything - once I allow a change, if there is a problem I could be responsible.  Her contractor should have positioned her house differently.  So, again I said, sorry, I can't make any changes per my lawyer.

Ancient Giants, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California

I also got a phone call from someone, twice, saying they just purchased the property and understood I was a previous owner, and they wondered if I could give them some history of the property.  WHAT?!  I told them I still owned the property, and the next day called the assessor and they said it was still in my name.  Hope I don't have squatters on the land.
Big Basin Redwoods 

I was thinking I am going to drive up and look at it again.  It's possible that, although I can't build on it, I could put a pad on it for an RV.  Or just clear a space large enough.  It's right on Highway 9, and would be very easy to drive onto with an RV.  When I start full-timing, I could use that place as a "home base" when I want to be off the road for a while.  I might even be able to store it there.   It's a beautiful area with lots of things to do.  Near Santa Cruz, Big Basin, lots of cool little towns. 

Berry Creek Falls, Big Basin

There was a British beer pub right next door to my lot called  The White Cockade, which unfortunately is closed down.  It was very highly rated from the reviews I read. A good pub with dart boards, sounded like it would have been fun.  And I could have walked across the driveway to my place.  Of course, it could have been a bit noisy!

The White Cockade (no longer OPEN)

I just Googled their address with Google Earth to see my lot next door (it doesn't have an address) and WOW, it looks like there are a lot of houses near me, across Highway 9, and possibly on my lot! Oh Oh.  I wonder if they changed the regs. and now leech fields/septic tanks are allowed on smaller properties.  I'd better get up there soon and make sure everything is okay. Hope I don't have squatters, or I could lose it? I'm calling the Realtor this morning.

Katieeeeee.....road trip!!! 

From Me and My Dog, have a great Wednesday, everyone! : )

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cognifit Personal Coach

WELCOME to new Follower Kimbopolo!  She has a new blog, and is married, going for her PhD, and wants a small RV to travel in after she completes her studies.  Talk about busy!  Thanks for joining my family of readers, I can already tell I'm going to enjoy your blog!

I signed up for a month-to-month membership on-line with Cognifit Personal Coach - software to keep your brain active. It says it exercises your brain - like you exercise your body.  Three times a week for 20 minutes.  The first thing they do is test you to set benchmarks on where you are in various activities, and I did the first half on Friday afternoon.  They ask that you come back in two days for the second half of the testing, which I did on Sunday evening. 

Then you get the results and you know where you are doing fine and where you might need to take some extra measures to keep your brain healthy.  The program rates your scores against others of your age range.  I love this stuff.


I did well on the benchmark testing, but they say no matter how well you do, you can always improve, and by continuing with the program, you will maintain and/or continue to improve your brain health. I think I'm going to keep up with the program for a while to see what I think.  The price is $19.95 a month, but I accessed their website from a link on AOL that offered 25% off, so I am getting it for $14.95 a month.  They have a 30-day money back guarantee.

I'm not affiliated with the program at all and receive no compensation if you click on the link or buy the program.  Been there, done that, not doing it any more. : )  I had never heard of this type of thing before.  I guess there are lots of "brain health" programs out there, but I did some research and this one seems to be one of the best.  I'm much better at exercising my brain than my body.

Five days until Halloween!
Today I'll actually start doing the tasks - there are three that last for ten minutes each.  That doesn't seem like much, but when I did the preliminary testing, I did find I was a little stressed trying to do really well, and was glad to stop.  So, maybe 30 minutes will be plenty every other day.  I'll let you know how it goes.

From Me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone! : )

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Sunday

I love my three-day weekends!  Usually on one of the days I get things done inside - clean house, laundry, strip the bed, vacuum, etc.  One of the days I do outside things like grocery shop, Costco shopping and any yard work (my yard is so small it usually takes all of five minutes).  The third day I do nothing.  Read blogs, play computer games, read magazines that have piled up, maybe read a book, maybe cook a great meal, with enough for leftovers for a night or two.  Just whatever I want.  What a life, huh?

So, Sunday I slept in until after 10:00 AM - I almost never do that!  I must have been really tired.  The weird thing is, I woke up before Katie did.  Even stranger. 

I did some cleanup in the patio/yard of  my condo.  Our spring and summer here in San Diego this year hasn't been very warm and sunny, like it usually is.  I always toss the old plants that are dead or dying and buy some more to replace them when the weather warms up.  I like flowering plants around the patio, it looks so nice from the living room.  But this year, I didn't do anything, I think I was waiting for the warm days to come, and they never really did.  So, tired of looking at dead plants, I finally went out and cleaned the patio area, trimmed the plants that needed it, tossed the dead ones, moved some around, and hosed off the patio.

Better already.

Then, armed with a list for plants, grocery shopping and Costco, Katie and I jumped in the car.

First stop was Home Depot.  I have a bunch of gift cards, and found lots of small plants that will work around the patio. Loaded them up in the back of the Escape.  (That's funny...  I just realized the name of my car is the same as the name of my big plan - The Great Escape.  No wonder I love that car!)

Next stop, Costco.  We all know about Costco. : )   I always go armed with a list, most of the items are fruits and vegetables.  Lately it's also included Jelly Bellies.  I'm still eating them, but they weren't on today's list.  BUT, this is the reason we shouldn't go shopping, especially to Costco, on an empty stomach:

 I LOVE really good chocolate covered marshmallows - and these have to be the best!  I ate two on the way home and they were so rich I almost felt sick.  I'm going to go back and get another box - JIC (just in case) - before they run out.  I think they are a seasonal thing with Christmas coming.  Each marshmallow is individually wrapped, and they are about half the size of a big marshmallow.

I also got these chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  They come two boxes packaged together.  These are perfection!

I have to say I try to make candies like these last as long as I can.  I try to be good.   I've always been a sucker for good chocolate, like See's Candies, and I have to be careful or they'll be gone in no time! 

Then on to Albertson's to do a little grocery shopping and we were done.

After putting everything away it was after 4:00 and I hadn't eaten all day.  I was so hungry that, after buying all this great food, I fixed myself a bowl of cereal with cut up fresh strawberries.  Sometimes you just can't beat cereal for a quick meal, any time of the day.

I like Sunday night television, so I was happy as a clam till bedtime.

From me and Katie, have a great Monday, everyone!   : )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday with the Grandkids

WELCOME to our two new followers, Kimberly and Froggi!  Thank you for joining our family of followers, and I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures.  I'm not an RV owner yet, but that's the plan - the great escape in 2012.  Neither of you show a blog listed, but if you become a Blogger or already have one you want to share, let us know!

I picked up two of my grandkids at 8:00 AM Saturday morning.  I brought them to my house and we had breakfast together - Kennedy had scrambled eggs, bacon, a bagel with cream cheese and hot chocolate, and Gavin had HoneyNut Cheerios with blueberries (we ended up taking out the blueberries before we added the milk.  He wanted them separate. : ) ), bacon and hot chocolate.  I had a bacon sandwich and coffee.

Kennedy said I make the best breakfasts she's ever had.  She said that last time, too.  I was very flattered, but I think it has something to do with the hot chocolate.  : )

Next we loaded up on old bread and took Katie to the lake to feed the ducks.  This is a 1/5 mile walk that we've been doing for the last five years almost every time the grandkids come over.

We started out with just a couple of ducks, then a few more would swim in, a few more would fly in, and we ended up with quite a paddling of ducks.

 These two were my favorites.

 Kennedy (7)  and Gavin (5)

I wasn't sure what to call a bunch of ducks, so I looked it up and this is what I found:

Several general collective nouns for ducks:
A team, brace, bed, flight, flock, raft.
A paddling of ducks refers to ducks on water.
A dopping of ducks refers to diving ducks.
A nadger of ducks refers to flying ducks.

So I guess we had a paddling of ducks.

Here's a very patient Katie waiting--her leash is hooked on a metal hook so she wouldn't scare the ducks.

When we ran out of bread, we continued walking around the lake buildings. There are tennis courts, and when we first walked near them, you could see lots of birds through the chain link fence standing in front of the painted concrete blocks - pecking away at the paint.  There must have been 20 of them all lined up, pecking.   I hope they weren't eating it!?!  I've taken this walk hundreds of times, and never seen this before.

 You can see I used a different setting on my camera on this one.

Then we walked back home and Kennedy did some crafts things.  She finished up the picture she started last time she visited, and made another one for Halloween that's hanging on my fridge.

Meanwhile, Gavin was playing baseball with the Wii.  Gavin is the baseball player I had pictures of in a previous blog post.  When Kennedy was done with her pictures, she joined Gavin and they played Wii tennis.  All the baseball Gavin has been playing has really improved his hand/eye coordination and he actually beat Kennedy in tennis, and when they played the Wii bowling game, he almost beat her.  Sports are so good for kids to participate in.  All my grandkids are doing one kind of sport or another, and it is so good for them, physically, mentally, and socially.

Next, we drove to the cafe by the lake where the kids love the chocolate milkshakes.  We had a nice lunch, and I drove the kids home around 2:00.  We had a GREAT visit! 

I don't know why having the grandkids over tires me out so much, but I got home and collapsed!  How in the world did Margie ever take such good care of her Grands for so long?  It's hard on us old folks!  At least this one.

That was it for Saturday.

From Me and My Dog, have a great Sunday evening, everyone!  : )

Saturday, October 23, 2010

AdSense - a rant...

WELCOME to three new followers! Wow!   Ellie and Jim, and Sue and Jeana. I've been following Ellie's blog for a while and enjoy reading about their adventures, but am a new Follower of Sue's blog and look forward to reading more.  Jeana is a brand new blogger and future full-timer - good luck, Jeana, with your Blog and welcome to downsizing. Thank you all for becoming Followers of Me and My Dog.  I hope you enjoy reading along as we plan our escape to full-timing.

And...Judy, I think you are right about my hummingbird.  I looked up all the hummers that are in San Diego, and the only one that looks close is Anna's.  Good for you!  I wish I had a prize for you. : )

 This is a bit blurry, but you can see the 
fluorescent color of his throat if you click on it.


Today I am going to write a post about AdSense, the Monetize tab on your Blogger Dashboard.  I hesitated to write about this, but decided I would, because it's really bothering me and I think it's information bloggers should have.

When I first started this blog, it was suggested I use Google AdSense to make a little money from the blog.  I had never heard of this, and did some research, and decided to try it.

For those of you (if there are any) who don't know what it is, this is what it says on the Monetize tab:  "AdSense enables you to earn money by placing targeted text and image ads on your blog."  That sounded like a good idea to me, and so I signed up and spent some time arranging where I wanted to ads to be, etc.

When readers click on the ads, somehow it's calculated and you earn money.  If a reader makes a purchase, you earn more.  I don't know how many clicks you need to make some money, or what percentage of the purchase you earn, but that's generally how I understand it to work.  The Blogger is not allowed to click on his or her own ads, for obvious reasons.  It think I mentioned this in one of  my previous posts.

Caaw, Caaw, Caaw

I'd check from time to time to see how much money I was making.  It was very little, sometimes nothing, sometimes cents a day, two days I had five or six dollars (must have been purchases).  You are paid once you have earned $100, after they verify it.  I was FAR from $100, but I felt if I got a check in 6 months or even a year, it was still money that I'd put in my RV fund, and I didn't have to do anything to earn it except provide the space on my Blog.

Suddenly one day last week, my ads were gone, and I received an e-mail that my account was suspended due to "invalid activity."  I had the option to appeal it, and I did, answering all their questions about my blog, it's activity, individual and page hits, my audience status, if I knew of anyone would use multiple clicks to enable me to earn money, etc.  I answered their questions honestly and waited for their reply.

I have no idea why my account was closed, the answer to my appeal was that "we're unable to reinstate your AdSense account."  No explanation except that if I had questions I should go to

The information provided by following that link says,"Google treats invalid click activity very seriously, analyzing all clicks and impressions to determine whether they fit a pattern of use that may artificially drive up an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings. If we determine that an AdSense account may pose a risk to our AdWords advertisers, we may disable that account to protect our advertisers' interests."  So apparently someone was clicking a lot on my ads, and that caused me to be disqualified from the program.

Now, honestly, any of you using AdSense have to know it's not a big deal as far as the money goes.  But, my gosh!  I felt awful after receiving their e-mail, especially since they won't give me any information.  And I certainly didn't click even once on any of my ads!

After receiving the denial to my appeal, I sent AdSense an e-mail asking what happened.  Did I do something, did a reader of my blog do something?  I've not received an answer and I guess the link provided was all they will say.

So, be warned:  it happened to me, it could happen to you.  In fact, has this happened to anyone else?

Usually ranting makes me feel better.  This time it didn't.  I guess because I understand their position, but I'm the one penalized when I did nothing.  Kind of a lose-lose.

Last night's sunset.

Oh, well...  It's the weekend, and I'm gonna have some fun!  From me and Katie, have a great Saturday, everyone! : )

Friday, October 22, 2010

Applied for Social Security on Wednesday

So...I went down to the Social Security office on Wednesday and applied for Social Security, which is effective in January.

If you are still very young, or already collecting Social Security, this might not interest you, but...  If you are in my position as a divorced, single person approaching 66 years old, this might be something you would be interested in.  And this is a good way for me to document what I'm doing so I'll remember if I need to refer back to it.

I don't have any photos today, so I'm throwing in some odd-ball pictures that didn't fit into any recent posts.  Like this one that I liked:

I took this on my way to work a few weeks ago - it was early and the moon was still going down.  The Pacific Ocean is just beyond the trees, a block or two.  The red light turned green just as I snapped it.  I wasn't looking at the surrounding area, just the full moon.  It could have been a beautiful photo, but if I'm counting right, there are 5 poles with 11 signs on them including the green lights.  Just in this tiny area.  Must by why RVers take the roads less traveled.

As a divorced woman who is not currently remarried I am entitled to collect on my SS account, or I can apply for one-half of my ex-husband's "full retirement" monthly benefit.  The marriage has to have lasted for at least ten years, and it had to end in a legal divorce.  I re-confirmed that this is what I can do and want to do.

The only problem is I have to bring in a Certified copy of both my marriage certificate and divorce decree, neither of which I have.  And maybe never did have.  It makes sense that they would want this proof, though.  I need to prove we were married more than ten years, and it's so easy to forge documents nowadays.  I could probably change a document and make good copies if I wanted to and was dishonest.  I wouldn't and I'm not, but I could.

So, today I am printing out the necessary forms for Monterey County for the marriage certificate and Santa Clara County for the divorce decree.  I have to complete them, go to a Notary Public to have them notarized, then mail them in with a check to the counties.  When I receive the Certified copies, I'll bring them in for the Social Security office to make copies for their file.  Then they can enter my claim for Social Security benefits.

Two new things I learned in my visit Wednesday.  Even though I am eligible as of January 1, I won't receive my Social Security check (actually it will be an automatic deposit into my checking account) until the third week of February.  What you are eligible for in one month, you get the next month.  And depending on your birth date (or in my case my ex-husband's birth date) you might get it in the first, second, third or fourth week of that month.  In my case, the third week.

I thought I'd have the deposit in my checking account the first week of January, but instead it will be the third week of February.  Bummer!

The other thing I learned is that since our marriage lasted more than ten years, if my ex-spouse dies first and has a larger benefit than mine, I can collect widow's benefits.  In the same amount he was receiving.  Even though we are divorced.  Interesting...  the only problem is that I cannot know what he is receiving if he started collecting before full retirement age.  Which apparently he did.  They also cannot tell me what he is eligible for at full retirement age, only that I will receive one-half of it.  Go figure, literally.  One-half times two equals full retirement benefit.  Duh.

So I won't know what my income could be in the future until he dies.  Assuming he predeceases me. 

But for now, since I'm still working full time, I'll collect on his benefit and let mine continue to grow until I retire and/or need the additional income each month. I might be able to retire on his alone and let mine grow until I'm 70.  That would be nice! 

I'll end with this photo taken from my patio - also a few weeks ago.  The moon coming up over the hills.  I love my view:

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a wonderful Friday, everyone!  We are! : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I finally got a few pretty good hummingbird photos.   My feeder is right outside my sliding door, so it's easy to keep an eye on.  There's one bird, the one in these photos, who has taken over this feeder and won't let any other birds near it.  I guess it's pretty common for these birds to be territorial.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, I think
 Standing Guard

I have a camellia tree right nearby that's just starting to bloom.  When it's in full bloom I'll take a picture of it and show you, it's so pretty.  This bird perches in the tree and watches the feeder.  As soon as another hummingbird comes near, I hear this loud humming, and it's dueling hummers.  He always wins.  He takes a drink of the nectar, and goes back to his observation perch in the tree.  I didn't get any photos of the duels, they are way too fast for me and my camera!

I like this one - it shows his tail feathers.

Here's a photo of him hovering in the air with all his feathers spread, unfortunately it's blurry.   But still a keeper for me at this point.

I'm still working with this camera and sometimes I guess right, and sometimes I guess wrong.  I'm getting more and more photos I like, but it's an uphill battle.  This camera is an Olympus Stylus with 10X Optical Zoom.  It got it at Costco, and it's not fancy or expensive, but I've never had a camera with different settings.  This one has a few different settings, and then some settings within settings.  I've seen already how different the settings can make the photo look.  So, my photos are a work in progress.  By the time I'm on the road and have some great places to photograph, I should be ready.

This photo, if you click on it, shows his amazing red fluorescent throat feathers.

From me and Katie, have an amazing Thursday everyone!  : )