Saturday, February 28, 2009

Out With the Old ... Perhaps

So, DH and I’ve concluded ... it’s high time to replace several articles of furniture in our home's "public areas."

His dining room set (yuk!), my couch, a WWII steamer truck/coffee table … these furnishings comprise the best ~ and worst ~ of our previously separate lives. Here's an idea ...let's go invest in something that’s Ours!

So, we wandered into the new neighborhood La-Z-Boy showroom this morning ….in part, to check our compatibility score. Don’t laugh. I recall my son and DIL nearly coming to blows while trying to agree on a sofa.

The good news -- we pretty much agreed on style and function. Their reputation and workmanship are frankly, comforting. The flip side, of course, is (are?) the price tags. I wasn’t planning to spend the equivalent to feed a 3rd-world country!

Privately, I wonder if I’d be able to totally relax on it? See, when my own L/R set was first delivered what, 9 years ago, it was months before I could mindlessly plunk down without first checking to see if my hands and clothing were clean. Obsessive?... ya. I once owned a new stove – and used it once in 2 years for fear of getting it dirty before the condo re-sold!

Thankfully, that old life’s been fortified by the addition of Hubby and one spoiled rotten dog, who (wisely) don’t hesitate to live in their living room.

I’ll let-cha know if we decide to bite the bullet. There's an appointment on April 15 to consider. Meanwhile, if I stop and squint, the old stuff still looks pretty darn good.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sing, sing a song .....

During the late 90’s, a certain Tampa Bay radio station began their morning drive-time with a shtick dubbed the “Morning Musical Virus.” Designed to annoy and/or captivate listeners, they’d spin a long-forgotten, yet upbeat ditty -- certain to stick in our subconscious minds ALL the live-long day. For instance ...

Raise your hand if you’ve have had the pleasure(?) of experiencing Disney’s “It’s a Small World” attraction. After a few days, did you want to throttle someone? “Stop the voices in my head!”

These days, one of the reasons I so enjoy “my” KOY, I never know what to expect from their playlists! (And, I sense my father’s chucking somewhere above at his Beatles-loving daughter … who not only remembers the lyrics of songs from his era, but actually enjoys them!)

It’s probably not intentional, but I suspect this program director has a bit of mischief up his own sleeve. Just last week, following a sweet song by Pat Boone (or was it Nat King Cole?) ~ without warning, here come the distinctive notes of Soul City Symphony’s “The Hustle.” My left foot begins tapping the floorboard, fingers beat an accompaniment on the steering wheel. Whoo…. ooooh-o-o-oh-whooh!

By the time I’ve arrived at work, the virus has embedded itself in my brain: I’m humming it at my desk, whispering enroute to the ladies room, tapping my fingernails at the round table. (DO the Hustle! Ba-ba-ba-ba …ba-ba-BA-ba-YA!) By now, my co-workers ~ most, younger than my own son ~ are shooting me suspicious glances.

What to do, where to hide? Will someone please shut off the loop …. I didn’t even much like the disco era!
...But I sure appreciate those chaps who allow me to revisit the music of my life!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Say "Cheese"!

Plainly put, I DON'T enjoy having my picture taken. (Or rather, seeing the results!) Still, in a matter of weeks I get to go renew my drivers license and say "cheese."

So, here's my own "Lemonade-Stand" initiative to help offset Arizona's budget deficit:

Have you ever known anyone who admits to liking the picture on his or her license? I've not much discretionary income these days -- but I'd happily part with an extra $25-or-so, just to have my choice of several poses. Think of it as a cross between Olan Mills and the DMV!

Leap-frogging ahead, can you imagine what Glamour Shots might do for the U.S. Passport office?!? And wasn't it the late, great Erma Bombeck who said something like, "When you begin to look like your passport photo it's time to go home!"

OK, Mr. DeMille ... I'm ready for my close up!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Confessions of a Chameleon

A while back someone asked, why the term “chameleon on plaid” on my profile?

Simply, it all began as a survival tool. Being a somewhat homely, awkward girl, I wanted nothing more than to be Popular … with no clue where to begin.

However! ...College, then Real Life brought wondrous opportunities for re-invention. Blessed with a fertile imagination and an odd ability to adapt (hate to use the word "lie") … 'twas relatively easy to fit in with many diverse cliques n’ clans, both personally and professionally. Thank God, I never strayed into the illegal!

Unfortunately however, this changeling behavior resulted in an inability to be sure of WHAT I believed!

Some years ago, I was privy to study under an amazing individual who helped turn my self-confidence around. Part of that process was discovering a great essay by Charles Finn, “Please Hear What I’m Not Saying.” It begins, “Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear. For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks. Masks that I’m afraid to take off .. and none of them are me.”

Now, my 14-year old granddaughter totally embodies what I’d like to be “next time around.” (LOL) She has neither the benefit of great wealth or startling beauty, but is self-assured, funny and compassionate … one of the most popular girls in her school. Too bad her grandma took this long to get it, eh?

Oh yeah, I often employ the “chameleon” while at work. Like my PC, it’s a tool, but it no longer defines me.

I think maybe that’s what this blog-business is all about, freedom to be Ourselves.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Other Side of the Mountain

If you've never traveled to Mount Rushmore but wondered what was on the other side of the mountain here is a glimpse.
(Scroll down.)

Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cinematography and the Heart

I hope everyone awoke this post-Valentines morning, feeling warm and gratified.
Our day? Come late afternoon, DH and I just looked at one another across two humongous steaks he’d put out to thaw ……… both too full from lunch to even think of devouring the intended feast. One thing we are rather good at, improvisation! DH proposed throwing together some warm snick-snacks and popping in a DVD. Perfect, I’ll go put on my “good” pjs!

Now, neither of us would score many points in a “movie” trivia contest; it’s been MONTHS since we went to the theater or rented a movie.

Speaking for myself …. I’ll sometimes elect to watch repeats of films that push me out of my comfort zone. Those that reach inside and somehow twwww-ist my innards …challenge my pre-conceived notions … and sometimes, evoke Grief too deep for tears. Off the top of my head, those might include ….Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, The Deer Hunter, Castaway. (I’m still holding a grudge that Tom Hanks’ brilliant performance in the latter didn’t garner him an Oscar, but that’s another story.)

So, last night we opted to watch “Gone, Baby, Gone.” Yes, we’d seen it before, but DH couldn’t recall the beginning. For anyone who might be reading this and going, “Huh?” … GBG was little-known (to us anyway) with few recognizable actors, save the great Morgan Freeman. The language is pretty raw (wince), difficult to watch in places, but it’s surprisingly Believable.

Just like the first time we watched, DH and I found ourselves impassionedly (albeit carefully) debating its conclusion for more than an hour after the credits rolled. No, I’m not going to spill the beans, but I dee-double-dare anyone who thinks they believe one way, to come out the other end still feeling sure of those beliefs.

So, if you’re still reading this and feel up for a Challenge, do check out this extreme case of “W.W.J.D.?” …and maybe share your own thoughts?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


(Edit: 2/14/09)
I wonder if the Universe is trying to tell me something?!
'Just returned from "fetching vittles" at Safeway ... and opted to part with 4 quarters. " One 'Quick Pick', please." Swear, I'd not taken 3 steps, before glancing down at the (presumed lucky) piece of paper in my hand .... 6, 13.
You bet your sweet bippy. I did an abrupt about face, fishing in my wallet for a dollar bill. Make that TWO bills .... one to cancel the "mojo", a second for luck.
Superstitious, who me??????


Do you have a lucky number?
Personally, I’ve little interest in numerology, and don't put much faith in so-called “lucky” digits.

Still, I’m In Love with the number 5. While I’ve no obvious connection (a red-letter date) to “5,” I just like the way it looks on a page … the way it feels on my tongue when I speak it out-loud. Yes, I confess to once purchasing a condo, in part because of its identifying number!
(Wait a sec ... did I just hear you speak it out-loud?) LOL.

Conversely..... I wonder if I’m not developing O.C.D. regarding “sixes” and "thirteens."

Way back when, after reading The Omen, I began viewing the number “6” with suspicion. (Yes, I know it’s technically “666” … but still.) Shiver.

Shortly thereafter, I won a goodly sum of money at the horse races, betting that #6 would cross the finish line in LAST place.

Let’s see … dad passed away on the 6th; my mother on the 13th. Last year before being incarcerated (er, hospitalized), I was initially seen in E.R. cubicle #6, then transferred to Trauma #13. Had they assigned me upstairs to a hypothetical-Room #613, no doubt I’d have crawled out the front door!!!

So I try not to overly concern myself, and will attempt to not STARE at those drivers whose license plates bear a triple-6 ………...
If this keeps up, suppose I'll elect to stay in bed, under the covers on June 13?

Or better, heed Mary Engelbreit’s sage advice …………

Monday, February 9, 2009


Family lore has it, (that) as a young child I liked nothing more than exploring the ruins and rocks of northern New Mexico. Accompanied by my best pal (my dad), clad in my treasured P.F. Flyers and armed with a shoe box, I’d rejoice at discovering and “adopting” lizards and horny toads.

Somewhere along Life’s path, however, I’ve became “Citified.” Because I can’t fathom sleeping out-of-doors, and spook easily at things that go “bump” in the night, I’ve become the object of fond ridicule by Hubby’s camping-enthusiast offspring.

Anyway …. the rains we've been experiencing brought with them a creepy phenomena:
Early yesterday morning ~ coffee and cigarette at the ready, Caraleigh and I headed out back. I’d just settled my carcass at the patio table to await the sunrise when I spotted dozens of itty-bitty THINGS on the concrete slab. ????? Creatures which, on closer inspection, undulated.

Poison!” … this in a strident whisper to Caraleigh. (Doggie-code for “Leave That Alone Right Now”!) Scooping her up, I hustled inside to wake Hubby. Probably the last thing he expected (or wanted) to hear before first light: “Wake up! … We have a Problem!” Arming myself with a flashlight and magnifying glass, I hurriedly explained, “There are baby rattlesnakes all over the patio….and in the pool!” (Thinking but not saying: “Abandon ship …we've gotta get out of Dodge!”)

He-the-Composed doesn’t even bother with the magnifier. “Those aren’t snakes; they’re red worms.”

I’m not convinced.
Stomp, stomp …. Stomp … most likely I looked like a deranged Indian performing a ritualistic Corn Dance. “Are you sure? HOW can you be sure? Maybe they’re not rattler-babies, but water moccasins?!” Stomp.

Not advisable to pour myself an adult beverage.
Instead, I retreated to the bedroom (computer) to research Red Worms. Guess if I spot our Landscape Manager, I'll pick his brain..... but if any of ya'all have words of wisdom, I’d sure welcome them!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Room with a View

I really believe God knows when I need a laugh. (Don’t we all?)

‘Arrived at work yesterday morning, realizing it was high-time to address the stack of guest complaints sitting on my desk. Somewhat weary, I’d been ready for Friday by Wednesday morning!

Bit o’background: Each and every one of our departing guest’s "Customer Satisfaction" surveys is reviewed by our management team, then responded to, whether it be a simple “thank you,” a heartfelt apology, or an offer of a complimentary return stay.

Now, there are few things in life I Loathe more than form letters; in a word, I think they’re Insulting ~ so I like to personalize my responses; to let someone know we're listening. Sometimes this can be a time-consuming process.

Mid-morning, here comes another on-line survey ~ this one a lowly-scored, vehement complaint. “John Doe’s” not a happy camper. (Sigh.)
I swear, the following is excerpted word-for-word:

We requested an ocean-view room 8 months in advance and were NOT told it would be impossible to have that option.

Not once, but 3 times throughout the survey “John Doe” makes mention of not being afforded ocean-front accommodations. (Note to self: You mean I’ve been in Phoenix nearly 7 years and you’ve been hiding the ocean all this time?)

Had I not been able to authenticate its origin, I’d have bet good money this was a joke. (Tongue-in-cheek, proposal: “I am truly sorry for closing the Ocean without proper notification during your visit. Having discovered seaweed everywhere during the morning inspection, we were forced to close it immediately.")

Now, I’ve done and said a LOT of Stupid things in my life … and I have to surmise this gentleman had, perhaps, visited one of our sister properties in Hawaii or California .... but this was exactly what I needed to just let loose and laugh.

Rectangular in shape, well-rounded by character, Arizona’s pretty “Alllll Riiiight!!!” in my eyes, but last I checked, we’re lacking any ocean-front views. Might this be a good time to roll out a form letter?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry

‘Sense the little black cloud that’s been lingering over our little world has moved on (knock wood!) … and now I find myself stumped for something to say. (Which, in itself is remarkable!)
Hmmm, what last sparked giggles and debate ‘round our homestead?

Why, it’s those virtual spit-wads being fired back and forth regarding our freeway traffic cams!

I’m not UN-aware of the pros and cons being hotly debated; and my intent’s not to climb a soapbox over here. Rather, I’m constantly amused by all the indignation… and by the early warning systems!

What? Before every screw was set, at least two local papers published the cameras’ exact locales (think, Paul Revere). Then along came the signage. Lots and lots of signs, warning what lies ahead ~ which of course, prompted memories of our CB radio days. (Bear-in-the-woods dead ahead; 10-4 good buddy).

So, what’s all the fuss, I asked DH? If folks are watching their speed in the first place … they’ve nothing to be wigged out about.

OK, so I rather enjoy provoking the dear … who generally stays miffed at the concept of “Big Brother.” And that’s fine; I don’t think there’s a clause in the Marriage License re. us having to agree all the time.

Personally, I hope they stay. That said, now watch me go out some day and get blinked!! If so, dear God, please let it be a good hair day!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh lookie!!!
The amazing Hootin’ Anni has presented me with this special award … my first! Thank you sooo much ... I'm tickled! To excerpt Anni’s own post:

This fun award is meant to encourage and uplift others in the blogging world.
Here's how it works: Select 10 bloggers: 5 you consider your blogging Helping Hand, then "Pay it Forward" by extending your "Helping Hand" to 5 additional new bloggers, in support and encouragement for their efforts.

Being a relative newbie, I'm at a loss to identify more than these few names ....whose encouraging words keep me “keeping on” …. and who, I hope, will deliver a swift kick in the *** when I need it most.

Monica at Changes in the Wind
Jean at Welcome to our World
Charlotte at Charlotte's Weblog
Clif at Musings of a Minister
......n' of course, back-at-cha Anni!

Oh! … if this is looks like something anyone else would like … please feel free to grab it and pay it forward!

SLAM BOOK MEME….. (again, borrowed from Hootin’ Anni)

Remember those "Slam Books" from high school? I recall certain paranoia, having to “post” surreptitiously, all the while pretending to pay attention to the teacher. (Like she didn’t really know what was going on … ya, right!).

I hope you'll want to play this meme, too!

1. Sport: FOOTBALL

2. Color: BUTTERCREAM YELLOW (to look at); RED (to wear)


4. Song: This one’s hard! RHAPSODY on a THEME of PAGANINI (Theme from Somewhere in Time).
…or, on a lighter note Willie Nelson’s, “MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS.”

5. American City: DALLAS-FT. WORTH (OK, that’s technically 2 – don’t make me choose!)

6. Foreign City : SAN GIMIGNANO, ITALY

7. Book: I’m a addict! OK, just one I always keep nearby, SIMPLE ABUNDANCE


9. Actor: TOM HANKS. I’d probably pay to watch him read the phone directory!

10. Actress: MERYL STREEP

11. Perfume: CHLOE’

12. Food: YES!!!! Oh, you mean just one? – Bone-in Ribeye, medium rare

13. Car: TOYOTA CAMRY (aka, POS)

14. Condiment: HELLMAN’s MAYONAISSE!!! I’m the one who regularly gets asked if I’d like a little hamburger (or turkey) to go with my mayo.

15. Kitchen appliance: REFRIGERATOR

16. Beauty product: “INDIAN EARTH”

17. Piece of clothing: RED PJs

18. Male songwriter: ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

19. Female songwriter: SARAH McLAUGHLIN

20. Holiday: NEW YEAR’s DAY … I’m all about fresh starts!

21. Disney character: LADY n’ the TRAMP

22. Flower: CARNATION

23. Alcoholic drink: KAMORA* - on the rocks (poor gal’s Kahlua*)

24. Non-alcoholic drink: COFFEE


26. Male vocalist: ELTON JOHN

27. Female vocalist: CELINE DION

28. Day of the week: SUNDAY

29. Household chore: BATHROOM

30. Ice cream: PISTACHIO


32. Quote: From the Velveteen Rabbit ... “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”