All Hallows Eve

As we crest into Halloween and my friends in San Miguel gear up for Day of the Dead, I’m pet sitting today with Peggy and my dogs, Foosie and Asher, and Sophie, a black lab or lives with our friend Joanie.

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

My kinda rainy day!

While on the subject of dogs, let’s honor Mia, my Mexican sweetheart, who is soon traveling to Calgary to her forever home where, I believe, she will LOVE new mom Lynn and the cold climate!

Mia at Mary's house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Mia at Mary’s house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Then there’s Bobby/Lincoln, who now lives in Austin with Bella, the love of his life.  An unforgettable pooch!

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And who can forget Cuyo, now all grown up, twice as big, and in the arms of his forever Mom & Dad, Julie and Cliff?

Coyo

Yes, you do see the devil in those eyes

Between us all – Julie, Mary, Jill, Kelly, Gabrielle, Bella, and Lynn – we’ve done well by my Mexican darlings. Hugs, kisses, pats on backs ladies!

Now one more view of my one true love, Asher of Treetop Kennels. Asher is father to 106 progeny during his working life.  He came to me when he retired at 5 and is now chewing 8.5 on the chin.  And it’s not just me. Everybody loves Asher.

Smooch.

Smooch.

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If it’s late October then it’s time to get ready for winter here in da’ Ville. Since I’m on the wait list for Richmond Drive, I’m sprucing up some of the items I have here at Peggy’s.  For a black metal oh-so-boring floor & reading lamp, that means gold spray paint.

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Much better, don’t you agree?

This table is next.

Soon, just as golden!

Soon, just as golden!

I told you how desirable our neighborhood is, and that means people tend to decorate outside too.  Since we have slum lords and live in the most embarrassing building on the street our only solace is that it’s Halloween. Perfectly unkempt and shabby, we look like the block’s haunted house – for free.

Currently living on the second floor

Currently living on the second floor

Lest you think I’m not being as bourgeois in my current incarnation as possible, here’s a house two-doors down that gives tribute to the Highlands’ neighborhood.

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Don’t you love gardens in the front of homes? I think of them as public art, or a gift the homeowners have given both themselves and passers by. Usually I transform wherever I live with a garden. But. I won’t be here long enough to put out that kind of effort.

Which brings me to vertical gardens:

vertical vegetable garden

I’ve come to think that vertical vegetable gardens are part of the solution to healthy living in cities, so I’m looking for a green group in Louisville with whom I can volunteer. I’m gifted as a public presenter and would love to travel around the city with a how-to slide show and/or raise some money. Talk about food security … wheeehaaa!

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If it doesn’t rain like hell tomorrow night Peggy, Joanie and I will make ourselves up as a Katrina and venture out in the city.

We'll look something like this - only MUCH older.

We’ll look something like this – only MUCH older.

Boo!

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BTW, the state of Kentucky is now picking up my Medicare Part B premium ($104.00 monthly) and providing “Extra Help” with medications. Yippie Kay Yay.

So, while Fukushima sizzles, the US economy goes further south, and Winter bears down on us, I wait for my new (to me) place and take it at the usual one-day-at-a-time.

Boo redux!

Autumn in da’ Ville

They’re here.  The days when your breath floats on the air and the fading afternoon light glows gold.

Louisville-Autumn-950-5

This year isn’t as dramatically gorgeous as past; possibly it was too wet this summer? Most leaves are yellowing and falling, but the air is as crisp as high meadow and the rain raw with foreboding.

I’m acting like a squirrel acquiring stores. Yep, buying flannel pajamas, snuggly slippers, and snow boots. When I moved to San Miguel de Allende a year and a half ago I let most of my winter clothes go.  I came to regret it when San Miguel’s winter dropped down. Loo’vulle’s winter will not find me unprepared.

I like this time of year.  Far from feeling autumnal, Fall makes me feel bountiful. It summons the holidays, makes memories around a fire, transforms the earth in her cycles from summer matron to slender, wintry hunter.  I want to eat anything with pumpkin, ginger or nutmeg! So, tomorrow I’m making these soft Pumpkin Gingersnap cookies with – yum – unsulphered blackstrap molasses. Whee Ha!

pumpkin-gingersnaps1

Last week I revisited the senior low-income apartment on Richmond Drive to measure the rooms.

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Because the carpet installers came at the last minute I was foiled, but I can tell you, sans furniture those rooms look small. This will give me an opportunity to experiment with tiny dwellings. I won’t have a pink couch, but I like the idea of these shelves.

modern small aparment

While the name of the senior low-income apartment building is Highland Court Apartments, Peggy has taken to calling it “Happy Acres.” I am sure this is her image of living there; in fact, the manager in charge looks eerily like the standing woman in this Internet grab photo:

happy acres retirement homeMe, I just see the peonies and hope Highland Court will give them out to all us low income seniors come spring.

My time now is spent in spray painting old lamps and hopefully soon refurbishing an entertainment center into a contained office/t.v. space. Oh. And investigating Medicare Supplement Plans.

There are 22 Medicare Supplement plans in Kentucky. Each one must be explored singly and applied to individually. It’s a friggin’ full time job.

tearing-your-hair-out

So, I went with an anonymous agent from the anonymous Internet site EHealth.com and provided ALL of my personal information to get an app into Mutual of Omaha – at $120.00 a month the most reputable at the least expense. I found out that if you choose a supplement plan when you turn 65 and first get Medicare you can get a policy without being medically underwritten.  After that the jig is up and, trust me, companies are looking for any reason to turn you down. I should know if Mutual wants my money within the next day.

Arggggggggggg,

Richmond Drive

CIMG2337This is the “high-rise” for which I’m on the waiting list. Peggy and I had a 5:00 appointment yesterday so she could see the interior and figure out if she’d like to apply too and I could see a now vacant apartment and measure before the resident moves in. Tra la la, here’s the rear entrance:

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The manager, with whom I’d reconfirmed our appointment earlier by voice mail, was nowhere to be found. Errrrrg! We don’t have a car so a friend of Peggy’s took us over. The manager’s absence made us both furious but, trying to make the best of it, I showed Peg the common rooms and asked a couple of residents about mail boxes [yes] and individual climate control in the apartments [yes].

Here’s the lovely sun room, which I imagine on a winter day with snow gently falling:

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And, what respectable over-62 income-based apartment building would be without a crafts and Bingo room?

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So much for the common areas …

Damn it, I want to measure an apartment! So …seeing residents about, I start to schmooze. “Oh gee, we had an appointment to see Janet at 5:00 … she was going to show us a vacant apartment so I could measure and Peggy can see if she likes them … we don’t have a car, so it’s difficult to get here … and Peggy works during the day …”

The first woman looked suspicious and wiggled out of showing us her apartment with, “Oh, I don’t think I should. I might get in trouble.”

Excuse me?

On to the next woman inside the laundry room and out of hearing range (I hope) from “I might get in trouble.”

Success!

Joanne cheerfully showed us her apartment which, because she’s on the fourth floor and her windows look out at trees, I immediately coveted. No, I didn’t take pictures because that seemed rude after I’d self-invited us up, but she is such a nice woman that she showed us every nook and cranny – which I measured. 

Doncha love that feeling of “mission accomplished”?

O.K., so this is not your dream home. I, on the other hand, think of it as an apartment building in Brooklyn.  My grandparents lived in a similar building way-back-when with all those lovely things like mailboxes on the wall, elevators, love seats on each floor opposite said elevators so you can rearrange your packages – everything except the bingo room – so I’m o.k. with it.

Besides, I need some time to ‘calm my ship’.

Painting by Horatio Ordoza

Painting by Horatio Ordoza

[Yes, the canoe would approximate the size of my ‘ship’ right now.]

The rent on Richmond Drive is right, and it’s location, location, location.

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Now I’m calling the manager-who-doesn’t-write-her-appointments-down so I can see a vacant apartment and measure properly!

I’m on the list!

If you’re in your 30s with a decent job downtown, maybe married with kids and a dog, there are two safe, trendy neighborhoods in Louisville where you want to live.  The first is The Highlands with its main corridor Bardstown Road dense with services, boutiques, restaurants, and bus lines. If you want to be within reach of the city’s downtown core, this is the place to be. It’s also a very good place to be if you’re in your 60s because – it’s walkable!

The Bristol Bar & Grill is now a long-time almost staid member of the hip restaurants lining Bardstown Road in the Highlands.

The Bristol Bar & Grill is now a long-time almost staid member of the hip restaurants lining Bardstown Road.

The Highlands was the last ‘near-downtown’ neighborhood to be urbanized. Up until the Civil War a few wealthy families owned plantations here while the city built its industry on the banks of the Ohio.  Eventually the landed heirs began formal subdivision of farm land and meadows, a horse-drawn street car line was added in 1871, and in 1891 Frederick Law Olmsted gave the Highlands its justly famous Cherokee Park. With the park, more of the rich moved to The Highlands; more modest homes followed for the new middle class.

scenes Cherokee postcard

The photo below shows what the wealthy built.  Many are still privately owned, but a good number have been converted to condos or apartments commanding some of Louisville’s highest real estate rates.

Louisville_highlandsOff of Cherokee Park Road, which is kind of Louisville’s Park Avenue, more modest homes line leafy streets and it is these homes that our mythical 30 y.o. wants to buy.

simple Highlands home

When I came to Louisville a few years ago I lived in The Highlands and am currently staying here with my friend Peggy until I move into a senior, income-based apartment on Richmond Drive – in The Highlands.

Happy face

Happy face

The thing is, after my recent adventures in Mexico I need to stabilize

my financial boat

MY FINANCIAL BOAT!

To sit tight, as it were, for at least a year or two, and just see what happens.

So, one of my first tasks upon arriving back home, beside the numerous doctor visits, was to explore senior income-based apartments through HUD and the city’s department of housing. Until I received a PDF of a 120 page booklet called “Housing Choices” through the local HUD office I didn’t know there was a Highland Courts Apartments in this highly desireable neighborhood. I visited and applied the first day I learned about them.

I’ve never been a fan of highrise living …

This is NOT Highland Courts Apartments

This is NOT Highland Courts Apartments. Evidently no pictures exist, so I’ll take some when I go over to measure next week.

and, while there are 99 apartments in Highland Courts it’s really only four stories tall so it’s not a highrise. Still, it’s a big building and the biggest building I’ve ever lived in was a two story apartment “square” with a pool in the middle of it in Miami. I’ve always shied away from buildings with a lot of apartments because of the traffic.  But this traffic is 62 or older and, perhaps some of them, like me, are over-educated and under-funded. If they’re not, well, old people don’t scare me because I can run faster than most of them.

These are all 526 sq feet one-bedroom apartments with galley kitchens and big bathrooms in case you use a Jazzy scooter. On Tuesday I’m going over to measure for furnishings.  I’ll take pictures and tell you more soon.

There is a 3 to 6 month waiting list, though my move could happen sooner because the manager told me “Nobody wants to move at Christmas.” [Except me.]

Thankfully my old friend Peggy is willing to put up with me until I get the call.  The good news is that I qualify for a $300 rent – including utilities. I just knew it could be done!

I’ll leave you with one more image.  Among the laundry, work-out, computer facilities, craft rooms and sitting room on the first floor, there is the most glorious Sun Room you could imagine.  I imagine curling up with a book as the snow falls outside the windows. When twilight comes it will be magic.

It's even prettier than this one.

It’s even prettier than this one.

I’ll take pixchas!