I got outside of my comfort zone yesterday. The apartment manager, Carol, had been asking me for years to come to one of their planned events at the pavilion, which is outside my door and about 25 feet.

But I never went. Until yesterday. She had urged me again last week to join them.

They had a chili cookout with three kinds of chili.

I don’t go around groups much. I’m a loner. But I was already outside because my daughter and family were leaving.

Then I began talking to the neighbor woman, Irvina, who is moving in a bit at a time, and I saw them gathering at the pavilion.

I didn’t have anything to offer. So I grabbed up three rolls of paper towels and headed over there before I could think about it too much.

Grouping of white candles

It was actually quite nice. There were only about 10 or so people there.

It was a group of older folks, an age group I’ve always felt most comfortable with. I guess because I grew up around my great-grandmother and her older friends.

I saw people I’d never seen or met before. I might even do it again.

Someone asked if they could sit next to me in one of the outdoor chairs. We were talking and things were going great. But of course there had to be one big faux pas.

The small group was talking about how long each of them had lived here. I gestured to the person sitting next to me and said: “He’s lived here for 16 years.”

The he spoke up and said: “I’m not a he, I’m a she.”



I was so embarrassed, but everyone assured me it was fine. They all realize that I’ve lived here for four and a half years and never joined them, so they made light of it. And “she” and I kept talking.

I even ate some chili, though my daughter and her family had just been over with Chinese food and I ate lunch with them.

The she I thought was a he told me her name is Barbara. She used to be a mechanical engineer until she had a mass in her brain. She said once they removed it she was never the same. She has little memory and has to have someone help her with day to day living.

She also showed me a photo of her grandmother who came to the US from India and lived to be 116 years old. I asked her what she thought the reason for her longevity was.

Spices, she said. Lots and lots of spices for most everything.

Ivy at the window

When I walked across the way and opened my door the pet babies were on the couch waiting for me. Charlie was perched on the end of the couch closest to the window, so I bet he could hear my voice. Ivy was next to him.

A friend from Tyler, Texas, where I moved from 7 years ago, called last night to tell me about something called CBD oil. Have you heard of it? She said it has helped her neck a lot. And she suggested that maybe I should try it.

I will be be checking out this CBD oil online and see what I can find out. She said that it isn’t inexpensive though. But she said the results were well worth it. And to get the gold formula.

She’s the woman who used to help me with my Meals On Wheels route.

Ivy about to pounce in the hallway

This morning Ivy was sitting on the floor, calmly licking her long tail. Suddenly she jumped into the air, landed facing the other direction, and took off running.

Sometimes I wonder if Ivy hears voices. Why does she abruptly stop what she’s doing, cock her head like someone is talking to her, and then do the craziest things?

Is there an invisible kitten whisperer?

Ivy with a curtain tie

She’s been dragging this tie-back to my red and white checked buffalo curtains around all morning. I have no idea where she found it. I am not currently using any of them on my windows.

Another odd thing. Charlie normally hates to have his photo taken. He will move, avert his eyes, look uncomfortable.

When I was calling “Ivy, Ivy” this morning trying to get some photos for you, he got up and got on the floor right in front of my camera. He was still and looking straight at me.

He did that a few more times this morning. How odd. Now he suddenly wants to have his photo taken after 12 years of avoiding it?


Well, that’s fine. Has Ivy changed him somehow in the just over two weeks she’s been here?

Charlie, as you know, is not one to snuggle. But Ivy will plop herself right beside him. He doesn’t always get up and move anymore.

I guess an old dog (he’s really my baby, you know) can learn new tricks.

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  1. Brenda, good for you for leaving your comfort zone – you survived! I’m an introvert and I know it took courage for you to do something many other people may not think twice about. I hope you gain some new friends and feel a bit of connection to your neighbors and community.
    I think sweet Charlie may be getting a tad jealous, or, just maybe, he’s feeling relaxed with the pleasant diversion of Ivy. Happy day.

  2. I’m glad you got out of your comfort zone and went to a social gathering for a little while. I’m an introvert too, so I know how hard it is to join groups, especially when it’s mostly strangers. It’s good to get out of our comfort zones once in awhile. A little bit of positive people interaction can be uplifting.

    Don’t worry about your faux pas – I’m sure that person has heard that a lot. I did the same thing a couple of years ago. We were waiting in the tiny lobby of a restaurant and the bathroom doors were on each side. A person from the bar area walked over to the women’s bathroom and started to go in. I thought the person was a man so I said, “Excuse me, but that’s the woman’s room.” She said, “I know.” It was then that it hit me. I was very embarrassed and I apologized, but she was very cordial and smiled and said, “It’s OK. It happens often.”

  3. So good you met some of your neighbors, Brenda! I have difficulty going to functions…I usually have a good time, so I make myself go even when I don’t want to. I’m usually glad I did. It makes it easier when you get to know some of the neighbors!

  4. I think it’s wonderful that you stepped out into that little gathering (the perfect kind when you’re testing the waters, so to speak). Don’t feel bad about that blunder – we all do them. As a hearing impaired person I respond to questions sometimes with totally the wrong answer because I thought I heard correctly but I didn’t. You should see the looks I get. I let it roll, because I can’t help that I’m almost deaf. It is what it is. And, I laugh at myself and apologize if need be – and move on.

    Because you were involved in Meals on Wheels at one point, and were a reporter/writer previously, obviously you enjoyed interaction with other people on some level, you were extending a great kindness in your visits with the recipients too – I don’t know what it was that made you retreat almost completely, but human interaction is so vital to our well being – even in the small doses that might be all that is needed for some. Keep doing it. Soon, once again it won’t be so uncomfortable and I believe as you get older, you’ll be glad you reached beyond the front door.

  5. Ivy is effecting both you and Charlie a lot. And you had quite a social day. Good for you.
    Is that oil Canibus oil?

    Ivy has the prettiest markings.

  6. Your talk of your introversion, Brenda, is one reason I love your blog. I too am an introvert and I’m very uncomfortable around groups of people, even if they are my friends and family. It just makes me anxious.

    And being raised by extroverted people, I was always told to “just be bubbly!” Bubbly, I’ve never been. As much as I like being alone, I do get lonely and like to reach out to others. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t – you just never know.

    Kudos to you for going and for hanging in there even during the bumpy parts. Knowing your neighbors is a really handy thing sometimes. I’m finally getting to know mine – after 14 years of living in this neighborhood!

  7. Brenda, I will second the opinions of other readers in regard to you meeting your neighbors. I tend to be a pretty solitary person, too, but I like knowing my neighbors in case I might need their help or they need mine. None of them impose on me or my privacy so I don’t feel compelled to reciprocate in any way. Sometimes some of us do exchange Christmas treats, but no one wants to come for coffee every other morning! That wouldn’t be my style at all! I’m too busy in my solitude! Anyway, I do applaud you for taking the risk of stepping out of that comfortable little box that we sometimes get stuck in even tho’ we don’t know we are stuck. Good for you! Literally. I bet you find a definite reward in having met those folks.

    I wonder what you would be writing about if you hadn’t gotten Ivy! She’s becoming a celebrity! At least among your readers. Of course, Charlie has held celebrity status for a long time and is not going to lose it because we all have become so fond of him. I’m loving the photos of each of them.

    I know nothing about CBD–oil or capsules. I am curious though as to whether it might help my back. Every morning when I get up I have this pain in my left hip. It helps if I do some stretches of the muscles up the back side of my hip, but sometimes it takes quite a bit of stretching before it relaxes and stops hurting. Maybe I’ll investigate the CBD.

    I finally got a sunny day, although cold, to plant some tulip bulbs this afternoon. We’ll see if they come up in the Spring. I’ve had them in the frig for a year! Crazy, I know. but I just couldn’t get them in last Fall. This week is supposed to be dry, so I may be able to get some other things in that I got this Fall. Finally! Yay!

    You and the “kids” take care and have a lovely week!

  8. I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally said “he” for “she” and vice versa when Molly the Therapy Dog and I have been volunteering. It is embarrassing. I try really hard now to use generic terms, but that is sometimes awkward, too. When I remember, I’ll ask, “would they like to pet the dog” or “would you like to pet the dog”. Ugh. I can empathize though!

  9. Brenda, I am so excited for you! I hope that you go to more gatherings in your complex. Although you are an introvert, it is still nice to know people in your complex, just in case you have an emergency and to have someone to talk to. Was the chili good?

    I love hearing about Charlie and Ivy. I know they bring you so much joy as they do to us.

    1. I have a friend that had tendinitis in his wrist and had been bothering him for quite awhile. He went into a CBD store. They guy that worked there put some of the oil on the painful area and within 30 minutes the pain was gone and has never returned. I noticed our local drug store is selling it now. Its worth a try. I would go with the oil.

  10. I have enjoyed hearing about Ivy’s antics so much. I think she’s mostly just being a busy kitten right now. Has anyone mentioned yet the show My Cat From Hell? Ivy doesn’t fit that but the man is a genius for understanding cats and redirecting their behavior. I find the results amazing. He uses toys, especially the wands with fabric/strings you can twirl in the air. You could sit right on your couch and wear her out some. He says cats have a pattern of chase prey, eat, sleep. I’m sure there must be some episodes on YouTube. I think it aired on Animal Planet.

    That’s wonderful that the meet and greet went so well. Stepping out of our comfort zones takes an internal push. Good for you, Brenda!

  11. You have lots of fans Brenda! We all love your posts. I enjoy reading comments from everyone + great tips. Charlie & Ivy ❤ are wonderful entertainment!!

  12. I’ve been using Lord Jones Tincture – which was apparently “the one.” I ordered it online from San Francisco. It has helped, mostly with sleeping, which is a huge issue for me. Also, I think it takes awhile for it to get in your system, so towards the end of this first month I’m seeing better results. It is expensive, at least in my world it is. Visit lordjones.com.
    Living in Colorado makes me not at all fearful of the products. Also, I’m nearly 80, so what do I care?!

    1. Hi,
      First time posting a comment though have followed for a while. What prompts me to post? The realisation that I can easily go days without talking to another person and whereas I thought maybe I’m a bit reclusive, reading the comments posted, seems it’s ok to enjoy my own company! I love the pictures of Charlie and Ivy. So lovely that Ivy is having a positive effect on Charlie. So funny to see the picture of her staking a claim to his cozy bed! That did make me laugh!

  13. My rescue kitty, Maddie, LOVES finding socks and yarn. She’ll drag yarn out of my bag somehow, even though I’ve closed it up. I’ll find it all unwound in the morning if I don’t put the bag up high. She also loves finding stray socks (under bed? under washer?) and plays with them even though she’s 3 years old now. Having the two younger kitties as made my oldster cat much more playful and tolerant of others. It’s amazing what the youngsters can do for the oldsters… same goes in life too I guess! My oldster cat will now play with the little stuffed mice we got for the kittens, and she actually throws it into the air, jumps up to catch it, and lays on it! So funny to watch as she has always been so quiet and introverted! I guess you can teach an old cat new tricks too! I too would like to try the CBD oil… our neighbors use it for her husband’s very bad back and said it really works… so I need to find out their “good source” for getting it! Kudos to you for getting out of your comfort zone. I’m the same way.. very introverted and hard to make myself go to any sort of group.. .but once there, I usually do enjoy it. Haven’t participated in anything like that for years though, but should try to get out to our local quilting group as I love to sew so much! take care……… Marilyn

  14. I’m so glad you ventured out and that you had a great time. It is difficult to get out of our comfort zones…they are so comfortable! 🙂 I’ve made the same mistake with someone before…nothing you can do but apologize and move on…this too shall pass! LOL @ kitten whisperer…love the photos…glad you are sharing them! Love and hugs!

  15. I think it’s always good to get to know your neighbors a bit, because you never know if you might need to call upon them – or they upon you – in the event of an emergency. I haven’t heard of CBD oil, but there is a lot of information about it online. This site is from the UK https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/a23099460/cbd-oil-benefits-and-risks/

    It sounds like the CBD “tincture” (oil) has definite effects on pain and various health issues if taken internally, but not all people can safely take it if they are on particular medications. I don’t know how effective a salve or rub-in cream would necessarily be. I would think you’d have to be applying an awful lot of it rather often for enough of it to “soak” in and give the wanted relief as it affects neurotransmitters inside one’s nerve endings, but I’m sure no expert when it comes to things like that!

    Regarding Ivy’s seeming reaction to what some may suspect is the “paranormal,” I found this interesting discussion about a cat’s hearing and sensing abilities, truly amazing! https://www.quora.com/Do-you-think-cats-can-see-and-hear-things-that-humans-cannot#

  16. Hi Brenda. This is a very interesting post since there are so many different topics. I think it’s great that you attempted to socialize with people in the apartment complex. Maybe you can try it again. It sounds like a nice group. I’ve made my share of such mistakes at gatherings, and it is indeed unsettling. But I think most people realize that such errors aren’t intentional. You mentioned Barbara’s grandmother being a very old age. My maternal grandmother lived to be 102, and I made a flub when I spoke at her funeral which was really embarrassing. I was telling a little story about her childhood and got some details mixed up and tried to correct myself. My face was so red when I sat down. My husband whispered, “Don’t be upset. No one else even tried to tell a story. So it’s OK.” I still was embarrassed, but a cousin came up at the luncheon later and said, “Thanks for telling that story. I never would have the guts to get up and try to talk at a funeral.” So, my husband had been right, other people didn’t feel comfortable trying to talk, but at least I did try. That goes for you too — you did try to talk at the gathering. You can feel good about trying.
    As for what in the world goes on in a cat’s head, my husband’s artist son made a video of his cat playing, with a sound track of what was going on in the cat’s head. It was just white noise from a sound machine! His cat was a rather grouchy cat who once attacked my leg and ripped my pants, so, maybe that really was all that was in his head. But I think that Ivy is much sweeter and she probably is hearing Julie Andrews singing “These are a few of my favorite things” as she plays with her toys.

  17. Yay! Good for you for getting out.
    Introvert here,so I understand your hesitation,I find I usually enjoy myself but I love getting home.
    Ive tried the CBD both in oil and gummies,I have a problem lumbar region that can put me out of commission as well as a looming hip replacement and I did get some relief from it,more so the oil.
    The THC,the ingredient that gets you high has been removed.

    1. Hope so. Don’t want to get high! I need something for this neck, shoulder and hands pain and I just don’t want anything injected into my neck.

      1. CBD oil does not have any THC in it at all – the psychoactive compound that causes one to get high. I have tried it in salve form and in capsules and neither one worked for me. (I tried the salve for back pain and the capsules for anxiety.) However, everyone is different. My aunt takes the drops for digestional distress and it works for her. Yes, it’s expensive, but give it a try for a month and see how it works for you. Just be sure to buy it from a reliable source.

  18. Yay Brenda! I read that talking with people is good for the heart and soul…longevity! Mather of fact, I just read that in some grocery stores they have set up a place where people can just socalize together. They have someone that stays right there, incase someone wants to talk and the people walk away smiling…happy after. They did this for older folks and loners that don’t have any company.

    So it’s a great thing having company over to talk having a cup of coffee! I’m so proud of you for getting out of your comfort zone! Spices are a good thing and I’m learning more about different kinds of oils too.

    They also showed this guy that is 107 yrs old cutting people’s hair for 40 hrs a week since he was 11 and he doesn’t intend to stop! He loves socializing and loves his job! He doesn’t believe in taking pills…medicine…fascinating story!
    Have a great day!

  19. One word: jealousy. Charlie is letting you know that I can tolerate getting my picture too. Who knows why cats do what they do, but the antics are enough to keep you entertained. I’m glad you met some other people in your neighborhood; bravo for taking that plunge!

    Carol and Molly

  20. How great Brenda you joined in with some of your neighbors to get the know them a little better. Even if you are to yourself most of the time it is good to know your neighbors and then you all can look out for each other incase of an emergency etc. How cute that Charlie is liking to have his picture taken now.
    Too cute.
    Have a great new week.

  21. I would feel the same as you about attending the gathering…reluctant but glad I went! I am a loner too but like another reader find that most people are nice and just want to be friendly with their neighbors.
    I was wondering how Andrew and Ivy took to each other???

    1. If Andrew would stop stomping and running after her, she might let him get close to her. I told him that, but of course it did no good. He’s four years old.

  22. Good morning,
    I like to be home with my two dogs–Ella and Simon–and I really struggle at going to planned events also. The one place I do go to every six weeks or so is to Book Club. It is a group of about eight of us from a larger organization. I don’t enjoy the larger organization but I do like Book Club.
    CBD oil/salve/capsule is really helpful for me. I have CBD salve that I apply to my very sore knees, shoulders, neck when I need to. I have taken the capsules as well when I feel as if I am going to have a stressful day. I get it from my acupuncturist but you can get it from other places. I even have CBD oil for my dogs when it is July 4th–we live a block away from the Rose Bowl and it is earth shattering loud. You just need to make certain you are getting it from a reliable place. It is a good pain reliever. Maybe your acupuncturist knows of a source. It does have healing properties in it.
    I am so happy you joined in with your neighbors and that you enjoyed it. Very cute that your Charlie and Ivy were waiting for you.
    Enjoy a happy day.

  23. I’m glad you ventured out to meet some of your neighbors. It’s at least nice to know who lives nearby and now you’ve touched base with your new neighbor as well. Great! I used to give my cats a mouse that was simply a strip of felted wool that was tied in a knot. Lucy liked to carry one of these wool knot “mice” around too. There was a bit of catnip for them to find tucked into the knotted portion, but is not neccesarily needed. They loved to pounce on and carry those mice around. ?

  24. Perhaps Ivy has influenced you to be more adventurous and take some risks. Think she has brought more joy into your life. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from our pets.

  25. Good for you! Sometimes stepping outside my comfort zone is easier if I just do it when given the chance. If I think about it too much, I won’t usually do it.

  26. I want to try the CBD oil and at first my dr said ok but he checked and it would make my blood thinner meds so even thinner. I was told the kind to rub on was ok but no pills so please check with your dr first

  27. I think an even bigger faux pas is to comment on someone’s “pregnancy” when that’s not the case! Happened to me – and to this day I wish I hadn’t embarrassed the nice man by blurting out, “I’m not pregnant!”
    I don’t like joining groups of people I don’t know either. But when I’m forced to, I usually come away with the same reaction you did. Most other people are very nice and want to be your friend. It’s a good idea, too, to be conversant with your neighbors. They can prove to be a valuable source of help or information or ideas down the road. But I would not encourage them to the point of continual door knocking. That’s not me either! I like to be left alone – with my pets, of course!

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