Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pride and Prejudice

So come the conclusion of yesterday's line-up, my ARM posed the following question:
"Providing you could take everything you love with you ... where would you most like to live?"

Only 3 (out of 11) said they'd stay in the U.S.!
... and no-one admitted wanting to stay put, here in Arizona.

As DH can attest, my train of thought tends to veer this way and that -- so that conversation reminded me of something I saw in USA Today -- reflecting pride in one's state.

I know.  These sorts of polls aren't meant to be taken as gospel, but I was more than a little surprised. Texas (my 'heart's home') came in 5th? Seriously? I expected a stronger showing, both from Texas and the deep South.

Now I've never lived in 'Bama, but once had the privilege of attending the best Independence Day celebration I've ever seen, right there on Montgomery's riverfront.  It might sound unpatriotic, but we just cracked up at the evening's finale when "Sweet Home Alabama" trumped the "Star Spangled Banner." (Suppose that's one of those 'you had to have been there' moments.)

In spite of having grown up in there, I don't recall having a sense of pride in New Mexico.
... Except making fun of those people who don't know N.M. is, in fact, a part of the United States.
How many other states find it necessary to add "USA" to their auto tags?

I've only called 5 states 'home' - and honestly, Pride isn't a sensation with which I'm real familiar.

Of course, we've also got Prejudice.  (Maybe that's not the word I'm looking for, but it thought it sounded good in the header.)   How telling is it, I find it easier to identify places I'd rather NOT reside!

Until joining Blogland and meeting some of the nicest citizens ever, I have to admit making some a lot of unfair generalizations about different parts of the country.
... which recently came back to 'karma' me right up the side of the head!

A few weeks back I was assisting a guest with some papers needing notarized.  Before long, we got to chatting about this-that-and-the-other, and our conversation turned to my hoping to visit my son and his family this year.
"Alabama?  Why, I don't know why anyone would ever want to set foot there."

Stunned!  For just a moment I enjoyed visualizing my hands wrapped around her neck.
Must.Remember to take the high road.  We-R-Hospitality.

Keeping things positive ...
Providing you could take everything you love with you ... where would you choose to live?

(Yikes, I almost forgot!) ....
Hugs from Phoenix,

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Remember Mama

Wow.  What funny - and thoughtful responses y'all left on my last post!  It sure wasn't my intent to put anyone on the spot, but I really appreciate your candor.

So, it's official?  We'll do away with all the mirrors!
... But you have to promise to say something if I get a piece of spinach stuck in my teeth. :)

Her 'Heavenly birthday' not withstanding, tomorrow would have been my mother's Centennial!
... served with spumoni ice cream and 'just a sliver' of cheesecake.

Since time travel remains a myth, I've no alternative but to celebrate the occasion of her birth with some favorite mental vignettes.  
Coffee, anyone?   

New Years Day, The Grand Canyon  
"You'll love it.  I promise!"  (That's dad.  I was too excited to speak.)  
No-one's sure if she loved riding a donkey for 4+ hours in freezing conditions - or not.  Anytime I looked back, her eyes were screwed tightly shut!

Cooking kidneys
It's been decades, but I'll never forget that horrible smell ... boiling water sending clouds of foul steam throughout our little apartment.  But daddy really wanted kidneys.  So mother obliged. 
(Obviously, this apple's fallen a long ways from the tree.)

Embarrassing one's daughter
Having lived through the Great Depression, money-saving measures were second nature to my folks. Still, I'd cringe when she'd wash the aluminum foil for re-use.  Then there was a time she carried a big old crate of fresh eggs aboard the train from Grandpa's farm in Minnesota back to New Mexico. (While I tried pretending I didn't know her.)  'Suppose she wasn't particularly thrilled  about it either -- but those little acts all added up. 

Reluctant traveler
Thanks to my parents' work ethic and standards of living -- there's only so much one can do in an isolated community the size of a saucer --  my father was nearly able to realize his dream of seeing the world.  Mom, not so much.  But she always went along with a smile.
That is, until 1978.
I wasn't privy to her near meltdown, but the story goes (that) dad kept their destination a secret until they were aboard a flight bound for JFK.  "We're going to ... Russia!", he exclaimed.
(I really, really hope he didn't add, "You'll love it!")


Thanks for indulging my little trip down memory lane!   Tho' we were never especially close, the older I get, the cooler my mother seems.
For certain, she was the wind beneath my wings.

Hugs from Phoenix,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Remember in an earlier post, I paraphrased my mother's 'what if' remark about everyone liking the same thing?

Oh sure, it's irritating when some folk can't see the error of their ways. :)
... but like my boss is always reminding us, "Perception is Reality."

There's an old story about a child's perception that never fails to amuse me:
A little boy is taking his very first plane ride.  Eyes wide, he continually looks this-way-n-that around the cabin.
Unable to contain himself any longer, the child tugs on a flight attendant's pants leg and asks, "When do we start getting smaller?"

So, last weekend DH and I were driving somewhere on the Loop 101.  Knowing full-well I've a phobia about Interstates 10 and 17, DH can't resist asking:  "Is this the freeway you like?

"Well ya!  The lanes are wider."
Then I go to wondering, is that really the case?  Federal highway traffic lanes don't have to be equidistant from one another.  Do they?
(Tell that to the engineers who lay miles and miles of nightmarish white concrete across lower Louisiana swampland, and called it an interstate!)

Closer to home ...
A few years ago, I was hospitalized for a pretty severe leg injury and resulting infection.  Perusing my chart, I read:  "A pleasant looking white female presents ....."

To DH:  "What do they mean by that?"
"By what?"
"Pleasant looking."
"Hon, that's just their perception."  (Turns head, but not quick enough that I miss his eye roll.

I'll admit, some may think that sounds enormously vain.  In truth, I'm enormously insecure.  Yes, even at this advanced age.  (smile)   

I spend an unnecessary amount of time each morning -- arranging, putty-ing and freezing strands of hair -- in hopes of achieving a careless 'just fell out of bed' look.   
.....Then wonder if my fellow associates - many of whom are young enough to be a grandchild - would even notice if I shaved my head!  

Perception.  I recall an 'older' lady, who worked with us at a local West Texas utility.  Even after 40 years I've a strong sense of Millie's unsmiling face and serious demeanor.   At day's end she'd stand apart at the back of the elevator with an ever-present tumbler of water ... a paper towel rubber-banded across the top.   

My name's not Millie, but you know I'd probably benefit greatly from smiling - first and more often - and spending less time worrying about how others perceive me.    

Judging from the hugely favorable response to Mr. Tom Hussey's photo essays (example below), perception is so, so powerful.      

What do you see when gazing in your own looking glass?

Hugs from Phoenix!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Good, Better and Best (friends)

(stock image)
Do you remember your very first Best Friend Forever?
As first and second-graders, Kathy and I were inseparable, bound by our passion for horses, donkeys, Roy Rogers and Dale.  Maybe on account we were both 'only' children, I remember begging our mothers for 'twin' outfits.

When her dad accepted a transfer off the Hill I don't suppose either of us dreamed it would be 50+ years before we'd reconnect - by chance -  on social media!   Today, K lives in California, close enough to visit... but we've not done so.  Too much water under that particular bridge.  (But dang, if she didn't get that horse!)

ca. 2009 - together again!

Over the years of course I've developed some abiding friendships with other girls er, ladies and a few men.

Looking back, I suspect Liz became my 'bestie'  because we were two of the biggest losers at LAHS!
I tolerated her exhibitionism and bossiness -- but breathed a sigh of relief when, after graduation, we went our separate ways.  (These days when she starts provoking arguments on FB, I can just turn her off!)

It's curious that I still refer to Debbie-in-Florida as a 'best friend' ... when we've not had an opportunity to see each other more than a once or twice in the last 12 years.  We honor our history.

Honestly, I don't know if I need a living, breathing Best Friend nearby.  Sure, I fantasize about girls' getaways and similar pleasant interludes - but right now I think my closest friends are my fellow citizens of Blogland.  I'm continually astonished - and humbled - at the level of camaraderie and sincerity which exists!

I was thinking the other day, it's nice that blogging affords us the opportunity to 'filter' those with whom we want to hang out.  Sort of goes hand-in-glove with what Tony Robbins says about "If/Then" rules.  You know the ones:
"IF you really love me, THEN you'd ...."    or, "IF you're my friend, THEN you wouldn't ....."

For instance?  Some years ago I came really close to UNfriending someone because she admitted to having cast her vote for a person I disliked.
Another time, I was aghast because someone I believed I KNEW well, spoke fondly of Angelina Jolie.   It doesn't seem that long ago, does it, that the "Brad/Jennifer/Angelina brou-ha-ha" was  was the feature story on every newsstand? (Did anyone else ever draw a mental parallel to Eddie/Debbie/Liz?)

Aw, mother always said it would be a dull life if everyone liked the same thing.
(Then, she'd reverse herself by refusing to attend a church that wasn't of the Missouri synod.  LOL.)

Seriously, I suspect we all crave a certain amount of conformity -- whether it's in our liturgy, our music, the books we read ... even those we don't like together!   But I think I'm going to drop the 'best' from my vocabulary.   It almost sounds exclusive.  (To me, anyway.)

Before saying 'goodnight', I want to share a nugget from friend Jack over at Ship's Log   -
"... If you are opposite of me, I certainly do not want to hurt you.  I like you."   Ya!

Please take good care of your very special selves!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Update :)

Thank you so for your well wishes!

The results of DH's scan were pretty good, overall.   One of the lynch nodes has grown slightly, but Dr. Lee isn't concerned.    They'll do another CAT in 90 days; suppose it's best our doctors are being pro-active.  (Either that or they like my company's insurance!)

I was more than a little nervous this time, on account Tom's been experiencing some shortness of breath and increased coughing.
... then near daylight I had to chide myself for my ridiculous mental preparations.

It's always the same story:
We sit in the little exam room, examining the ceiling tiles like they contain a dark secret.   Our eyes roam here and there; everywhere but at one another.  Then, the magi appears and I'm intrigued all over again by his footwear.  Today's moccasins are a buttery caramel that look soft as a baby's bottom. So I'm sitting all prim and focused with my little notebook, when all I want to do is caress his right shoe leather.

BTW, last night's concert totally blew away any expectations I may have harbored.   Even Tom (who I suspect came along for the ride) said it was one of the best shows he's ever seen. Have you ever heard of frozen cheesecake on a stick - and red wine - served at concert venues?  Tom enjoyed his drizzled with hot fudge.  Thank you, but I take my 'dago red' straight up.  (smile)

I was initially dismayed that our seats  - so carefully chosen on line - afforded us MAYBE a quarter view of the stage.   The fellow beside us was nearly apopletic: "For what I paid, this is *****!  I'm going to Guest Services and give them a piece of my mind.).  His poor wife just sunk a little lower in her seat. I was tempted - just for a minute - to offer her some wine.
Instead, I put on my 'nice' face and asked an usher -- if  if our section wasn't totally full, might we move down a bit.   He did better than that, and exchanged our tickets for two on the 4th row.   Woo-hoo!

Well, it's back to the office tomorrow, for one more day.  I could get used to these abbreviated work weeks!

Enjoy your Friday, my friends!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Play Mandy for me

On the outside I think I appear pretty calm and collected.
My innards are a whole 'nother story ... butterflies-on-speed comes to mind.

Waaaaay back when (74, 75?) a tune called "Mandy" exploded to the top of the charts - and I fell in love from afar.
With each successive hit, I was convinced Barry Manilow somehow 'got' me.  Like no other.  Never mind there was a legion of folks who felt the same way!  LOL.

Obviously, my infatuation's waned over the years.   But seeing Barry in concert remained a fantasy.
Until last November, when I sent my left brain out of  the room and the right hemisphere aided and abetted my purchase to Manilow's "One Last Time" appearance in Phoenix.

Hopefully, our fellow concert-goers are mostly of our same generation ... and won't feel compelled to stand and dance, effectively blocking our view. (I suppose I'd be better suited to enjoying a torch singer in a more intimate lounge.)

Hopefully, I can get through "Even Now" without bawling like a baby!

Rumor has it, Manilow wrote that song about his father.    Still, I'm reluctant to scratch the surface; to burst the bubble.   You know?

What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?

Thanks for your well-wishes re. last week's trip and fall.   I was finally 'cut loose' from further medical care yesterday.  The hoary old physician was no-where to be seen, but I really wanted to run away when the attending opened with, "So how's your left hip today?"  (My RIGHT KNEE is just fine, thank you.)   Health care in this Country is getting scary!

In other news, I spent this morning's PTO-time getting the oil changed on my aging Camry. And wound up having to have all 4 tires replaced.   I've been too oblivious, too long.

If your so inclined, I'd sure appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts tomorrow - when DH and I see his oncologist for the results of his latest scan.

Hugs from Phoenix!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bones Don't Bounce

Sometimes my own immaturity surprises me.

Standing before a (presumably) innocent clerk the other day, I fixed her with my best icy glare: I Do.Not.Want.To.Be.Here.  I Do.Not. want to be a good example.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we.

One moment I was strolling from the south parking lot towards our Admin building, humming a Phil Collins tune.  The next, my purse and lunch bag were airborne, and I inexplicably found myself up-close and personal with the pavement.

Being a paranoid type, the first thing I did was look this way and that, making sure there were no witnesses. (Whew!)
Then again, how in the heck was I to get up?
Rather than clutching my knee and howling at the setting moon, I clamored to my feet (not unlike an inebriated crab) and struggled to the office.

(If I'd had an ounce of common sense, I'd have dragged my sorry derriere the other way and gone home.)

One look at my bloody hand and torn slacks, my RM summoned a security officer to pen a report.
Serious humiliation, having to bare my old-lady knee-high hose to that 12-y/o.  So studious, he noted my 'bruising.'   ("Um, excuse me. That's a varicose vein.")

Ignoring my protests, my RM advised, "You need to set a good example for the associates." and sent me to Concentra.  
Now I don't know if any of you've had to endure the looooooong process of worker's comp but it's a time-consuming hot mess.  After an hour-thirty, I'd caught up on Facebook and blogville.  I began to study my co-victims - trying to ascertain who was legitimate, who might be playing the system.

Finally, I was invited back to be assessed by a fellow resembling Methuselah's great-uncle.  No breaks (thank you, Lord!), but they determined I've a strained knee and slight whiplash.    Naturally, they pulled out the physical therapy card ....  and I struggled not to cry from sheer frustration.

Thank you, Lord (again!) for the therapist who - unfazed by the chip on my shoulder - calmly performed her evaluation and agreed with me, no further therapy is warranted.   (After all, I'd assured her my pain level was a "1; perhaps a 2."   Never tell 'them' the truth!)  

So, I broke my "no-wine" Lenten promise that night - and the next - but figure it was close enough!

Today's Easter observance has been unusually low-key.            
DH and I are presently without a church home.  I'm hoping that will change, but I cling to something my former minister said, "I don't care what you call yourself.  Go where your soul is fed."
I've been intermittently hanging black-out curtains in our SW corner bedroom, visiting with Mr. God, and growing sentimental over old family photos.  

Since I've helped observe hubby's Polish heritage most of the last 10 Christmases, I thought it might be fun to honor my own ancestry and craft a Norwegian-themed dinner.   Unfortunately, most involve lamb (right up there with Lutefisk) and orange cake.   (Those of you who know me, understand I don't eat fruit ...or anything fruit-flavored.)    DH is grilling chicken breast and darn if we'll not be glad for it.   That, and the wine!  (smile)

I hope you've all enjoyed a very blessed Easter and Passover, and the coming weekdays are kind!

Hugs from Phoenix,


'Just for smiles ...