Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do You See What I See?

Hi friends,

As threatened promised, here's an update on the Great Chili Cook-off.    No, we'd no participants from Golf.  I wasn't really holding my breath.

While all promised 15 pots of deliciousness didn't appear, there was plenty to go around!
(I'd have tried taking better photos, but at the 11th hour I was 'voluntold' to serve.)

Jose and Sonia

See those two stinkers?   Never a poker player, my stress-face always gets the best of me!

It all started when I woke up at 3
AM, worrying and obsessing that no-one had been asked to bring a ladle or serving spoon.

Then, while I was preparing the ballot slips, one of our maintenance techs walks over with a guilty expression:  
"I think I screwed up my chili."

"What?  Why do you say that, Daniel?"

"Jose told everyone they had to bring their ingredients to the BBQ area and begin cooking this morning.  I made mine last night."

"Well, d***!!!   We specifically said, "Cook the night before and bring your own crock-pot.   It's right there!  Here! ... on the flyer!"

"Well", he grumbled, "I never bothered to read the flyer."

With visions of an Unholy Mess on our hands ... my career in the toilet, I stomped off.
He was right behind me.

"Oh, and do you all have enough to feed the landscapers?  They were told they would be served a meal, so no-one brought their lunch."

Had I remembered to put my nitro pills in my bag?

When Daniel's boss appeared a little later for the morning leadership line-up, I jumped in his face.  "Jose, what the ****?"
I was about to go on (and on) when I glimpsed the twinkle in his eyes, his struggle to keep a straight face.

Maybe that's what I get for never having had a brother to yank my chain?
I've gotta stop taking all this junk so seriously.

In addition to the chili, we had a departmental pumpkin carving contest.  Some folks are so creative!
(You can click the pictures to enlarge.)

Pumpkins on Parade

... and the Winner is, Housekeeping!
(That a vacuum cleaner under those duds, and her 'arms' are fashioned from toilet-paper rolls!)

Since I spend so much time talking about my 
weekdays, here are a few shots of the 'neighborhood.'

Outside my window, looking towards the pool and spa. 
Pausing outside the break-room yesterday morning:  How I'd like to run barefoot across the course!

Another glimpse from the break-room.
See those silos in the background?
Built on the grounds of the old Heard Ranch, they were once the tallest structures in Maricopa County!

A peak at my office

La, la, la ... looking out my front door.
(No-one normally makes themselves at home on the floor!   Brian was summoned to repair a tear in the carpet.)
That's Halie in the background, at the doorway leading to Registration/Front Desk.

... It's not much, but for better or worse, it's my home-away-from-home.   Now you see what I see!

'Will be back soon with a State-of-(my)-Carcass report, and other absurdities!

Have a frightfully fun Halloween!


Hugs from Phoenix,

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Touched by an Angel

Uh-huh, there's an angel lurking 'round my workplace.  
Still, I never would've guessed she'd be outfitted like a bumblebee wearing a baseball cap!    

We call her Sonia -- sometimes referred to as, "Oh-no-Sonia-what-have-you-done-now?"  
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A few months back I was leaving for the day when the head of Security approached our back door -- accompanied by a little gal I'd not seen before.  Myra, say hello to our new SO, Sonia.
What a pretty name! I remarked ....  to which her smile lit up the whole county.   Seriously, it had been a long time since I'd glimpsed that sort of expression.

As our days go, it was a while before I spotted her again.  Then early one morning she sat the break-room table, head bowed, hands clasped in prayer.   Stowing my lunch in the fridge, I apologized for the interruption.  No, it's OK.  She rose with a smile and gave me a big hug -- the sort I've not felt in years.  (Awkward.  We don't do hugs at work.)

Tell that to Sonia.   Practically overnight, she's become an Ambassador of Goodwill..... moving throughout the campus, offering encouragement and hugs to associates and guests alike .....leaving more than a few bewildered expressions in her wake.

Just the other day, my boss and I were engaged in a private conversation.  Not bothering to knock, here comes Sonia, arms outstretched.  Mission accomplished, she turned and silently departed.

Later that morning, sensing she'd crossed a line, she asked to share a vignette of the time she worked security at Chicago's Wrigley building:
My boss told me, "You don't look at, you don't speak to Mr. Wrigley unless invited to do so first."   Well, naw-uh!   One day I spotted the man waiting for the elevator so I walked over:   Good morning, Mr. Wrigley, I'm Sonia.  What do I call you? William?  Bill? 
(I wonder if my expression appeared as aghast as I felt.)

He said, "Uh, I suppose William will be fine."
... and do you know what?  After that, every time he was in the building he'd stop at my desk to say hello.

So, recently, Sonia decided it was everyone's best interests to host a chili cook-off.
"But, we don't DO that sort of thing here anymore."  

In spite of my discouraging words, Sonia convinced management and I found myself creating flyers.

Woo-hoo!   Approaching my desk Wednesday morning, Sonia waved a piece of paper above her head.   I've got 15 people signed up so far, and the guy in the Golf Shop said his dad's got a killer recipe and ...
Spotting the look on my face, she paused.
Sonia, please tell me you didn't just invite the guys in Golf to participate?   F&B, too?

What?  Did I do something wrong?

I felt a bit like a parent who has to break the news to their children, there is no tooth-fairy.   
 Once upon a time, yes, we were all one.   Then, shortly after our take-over, the Clubhouse, restaurant and golf course were sold.  Through a series of unfortunate happenstance - probably avoidable, but none of which bears repeating - relations have been strained to the point we barely speak to one another. It's not a rule, but no-one goes over there anymore.   

I couldn't not tell my boss - whose eyes grew wide, her mouth forming a perfect 'O.'  Behind her, our AGM giggled.  Why not?

... and it occurred to me.   Wouldn't it be a hoot if, after 4 years, a third-party contract associate were to single-handily effect a healing?   
Like blog-friend Susan recently posted, "One life can make the difference."

I'll let you know how that turns out!  

Have a wonderful new week, friends .....

Hugs from Phoenix!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hodge-podging along, singing a song ....

Thanks for hosting this week's episode, Joyce!  
I won't lie .. it's sort of a heady feeling to be 'interviewed'!

What would you say is your strongest sense?

'Have to admit, my hearing's pretty acute.
I try not to let on ... especially at the office, where my desk sits only a few feet from our G.M.'s door.
(Unfortunately, that came back to bite me recently.  I overhead something that upset me greatly.  In the long run, it wasn't worth calling her on it -- and in so doing, showing my hand!)

Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'?  Why, or why not?

Yes.  But I'm disappointed not to have experienced it personally.
Just watch our fur babies!  If they don't like someone, it's usually with good reason!!!

When do you most feel like a slave to time?  Explain.

At my workplace.  When our company was acquired by the Really.Big.Corporation, they were wonderfully generous -- my salary and benefits remained unchanged.  
However, my once 'exempt' position became 'non-exempt', and I had to begin using a time clock.

Unfortunately, not 6 months later I was among a half-dozen associates given verbal warnings because "in the space of one pay period we had taken three or more 29-minute lunch breaks -- instead of the 30-minute breaks afforded us by law."
(Yes, I'm serious.)

To this day, when I clock-out for lunch I set the timer on my phone!

Have you ever worked in a restaurant?  Nope.  How would you rate the experience?
If you could own a restaurant, what kind would it be?

I would love to own and operate a homey, 'comfort food' joint! (Pardon the cliche.)
DH and I used to enjoy going to such a place in the north valley each Saturday morning.  A no-frills little spot with Formica tables situated too-close to one another.
The food's awesome and many of the same wait staff have been there 13-14 years now.
"Where everybody knows your name ..."
Ya.  THAT sort of spot!

Ever traced your family tree?  Share something interesting you learned there.

Thankfully, both my mother and father were careful custodians of their heritage.   
There's little in the way of surprises, but I'm humbled at my ancestors' (seemingly) simple tastes and their work ethic.

What did your childhood bedroom look like?

I don't think my parents ever took photos of 
their 2nd floor!
Mine was a narrow, spare space with pale yellow walls, crisp white percale curtains, one of these ...

one of these ...

and a striped steamer blanket. 
(The same one sitting on our guests's bed right now!)

Anyone who knows me, knows I love .....

My son-n'-family, my blogging family, red wine, cold weather, and SEC football: "War Eagle!"

.... and cheesecake!

Insert your own random thought, here:

Hugs from Phoenix!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A'nother 'pleasant valley' Sunday.

G'evening friends!
Did everyone enjoy a nice weekend?

With no vacation plans in the immediate future, I'm burning my remaining PTO time just about every Friday.   A body could sure get used to this!

Nope, no rest for the wicked.   
I'd booked back-to-back appointments at Valley Radiology first thing Friday morning.  The fellow who did my DEXA scan couldn't have been any nicer ..... and chattier.   Somehow the subject of smoking came up, and I confessed to still longing for a cigarette 3 years after the fact.   
'So surprised when he concurred and volunteered, "I sometimes go stand near a group of smokers on purpose and breathe real deep."  (Ha!  I thought I was the only one!)    

Happy days!   This was the first time in the history of Ever, "that" other test didn't hurt.  Her instructions cracked me up, and I couldn't help but draw a parallel  to a Dark Period in my life:  Golf lessons.   "Feet straight ahead ... slightly spread ... no, a little more. Chin down.  Good.  Now, butt out.... Relax the right shoulder.  No ... butt out a little more.  Now, relax."   (Seriously?)

Seriously.   I'm in awe of modern medicine ... and the technicians who facilitate the process.  I study the young lady for any indication she's "seen" something that's not supposed to be there, but hers expression's as inscrutable as Bond.   James Bond.  (*smile*)
Even DH who had his scan done Thursday morning admits to trying to wield information from the tech.   I suppose  that's human nature?

To take our minds off our annual verdicts, I thought it would be fun to check out the new Harkins 16 Theater that opened Thursday ....  boasting recliner-chairs and a bar.   (All the better to fall asleep!)  

Good grief!  At only 1:00, not only were all the lots full, but people were parking on the adjacent land and walking across the road.
As I get older, I really, really can't stand crowds. 

So, Saturday morning we attended the "senior" Saturday morning matinee at its sister theater down the road.
Tom hadn't read the book, "Girl on a Train" ... and frankly, I was hoping the movie would be more enjoyable than the book.

Unfortunately, Tom was thoroughly confused in the first 15 minutes.  (I can totally see why.)
Me?  Not unlike watching a Tennessee Williams play, I just felt this cloak of despair about the whole thing.
Hey, that's just me.
We're not big movie-goers, so don't take my word for it!

Given our recent history, I've been wanting to go back to my 'chosen' church, 30-some miles north, for a while now.

Even tho' we were unfashionably late because "someone" thought services began a half hour later (color me shredding my cuticles), it was nice being back.  
Weird, the sweet feel of belonging .... even in the company of 100-plus strangers.

It's been more than 20 years since a despondent me ventured into Unity of Clearwater after reading an op-ed in some indy newspaper about its 'unconventional' lady minister.

When, at the conclusion of the service, she 'invited' (ahem!) everyone to join hands and sing, "Let There Be Peace on Earth", well, that just felt soooo weird, so foreign.   (Sorry, I don't appreciate the forced camaraderie that some congregations promote.)

But! ... Holding hands and swaying back and forth -- not unlike a company of students at a football rally -- tears inexplicably filled my eyes.  "With God as father-mother, a fam-ily are we; let me walk with my brother, in peace and harmony."

All these years later -- in a whole 'nother space -- my left hand entwined with a round-faced fellow with kind eyes .... wouldn't ya know, those dang tears still jumped in my eyes.

 In keeping with custom, James Dillet Freeman's "Prayer for Protection" usually follows.
Sure, I speak it aloud to myself on each weekday commute, but it felt pretty neat to hear the words all around me, spoken in an affirmative chorus.

Given all the rancor and nastiness out there, let's try and be extra kind to one another ... at least for the next 4 weeks?  (lol)  


Hugs from Phoenix,



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Solitary (Wo)Man

Sweet Michael cracks me up!
My hair guru - yes, his name really is Sweet - is one of the most extraordinary souls I've ever known.   Larger-than-life, he speaks in exclamation points ... scissors punctuating the air like a baton.  
By his own admission, he never manages to replicate the same cut, color (or bill!) twice ... but I'm enjoying the dialog too much to be bothered.
I only took this selfie to bring along next time and ask, "Please sir, once more."

Anyway!  Last week we were talking about his wife's workplace; Kathy's an executive with the State prison system.
Somehow, the subject of "solitary confinement" came up, and he practically pirouetted:  "Oooooh I would die! I would truly die!"

On the other hand, I'm sitting there thinking a sojourn in solitary sounded pretty good.  Are pens and legal pads permitted?  I'll have to remember and ask.

Given my upbringing as an 'only' child -- coupled with an overdeveloped case of Bashful -- my best friends existed in books and in my imagination.

Obviously, I forced myself out of that cocoon years later and learned to adopt an on-demand, outgoing personality.  But deep down?  I can envision myself an isolationist, reluctant to depend on others.

Does anyone else enjoy hypothetical questions?
One of my favorites goes something like this:
"Given the choice, would you rather break a (sports) record as a solo athlete, or as a member of a team?"

Aside from the fact I'm the least athletic person in the world, it's no contest.  (
No pun intended.)
Once I argued with my Brownies counselor, "I can too!" carry the watermelon down to the campsite by myself.  Of course, it slipped and tumbled and split like Humpty Dumpty, right there in front of God and everybody.
After all these years I've still a terminal fear of letting others down.

Remembering Neil Diamond's splendid ballad, I've begun to pay attention to those solitary men (and women) along the way.

Probably on account the cooling temps, increased road construction has been taking place along my commute.

Aside from certain political candidates and pro athletes, are heavy machinery operators the Most Hated folks in the history of EVER?

Except, like Mother Nature, they take no mind.  

The other day, while sitting at a nearby intersection I happened to look up and glimpse the driver of this giant yellow apparatus that looked like a fork-lift on steroids.   Now it could be, he was listening to the comedy channel through ear buds ... but his expression looked like a man happy to be where he was, doing what he was doing.

How about you?
Do you prefer outside stimuli in your waking hours -- or, are you at your best left to your own devices?

Stay safe, and have a great week everyone!

Hugs from Phoenix,

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Firsts (on the 1st)

Happy October, m'friends!   I'm hoping expecting good things in the coming months.   (How's that for an attitude adjustment?)
Amazing, isn't it, what a few degrees difference in the mercury can make?

'Ma' had a great idea to chronicle a 'Memorable Moment' each day in October.   While I'm far too lazy to blog each day, I wanted to share a few of our recent 'firsts' ...

* * *

So, last Saturday morning we're taking the dogs to the vet.
Before we'd gone a few hundred feet, old eagle eyes here spotted a Goodyear cop on a side street ... who promptly pulled out and stayed on our tail.

Honestly, is there anyone, anywhere who doesn't get a 'rush' when that happens ...  recalling every transgression they've made ... or might be planning to make?
10:00 and 2:00, both hands on the wheel, eyes straight ahead.
Even the pups remained still.

Not 2 miles later, DH announces, "He's turned on his lights."

Well, in spite of the dogs going bat-s*** crazy, it turned out to be a pretty good encounter.

"Are you all right, sir?  Do you know why I stopped you?"
(No ...)

"You're travelling too slow."

I thought DH's sarcastic retort ("Well, that might explain why I've not had a ticket in 30 years.") was going to get us all thrown in the pokey.  

But this was, indeed a GOOD officer ... aren't most?
Aside from DH's bruised ego, I thought this was one Memorable Moment!

* * *

"What's your poison?"
(Does anyone still use that olden saying?)

When I first came to know my (former) in-laws, I suspected they thought I was culturally immature.  
Martini drinkers every darn one of them, I'd shudder and made ugly faces.
(Chip on my shoulder?  Probably.)

Then the other night at dinner -- totally out of the blue!!! -- I decided I'd like a gin martini ... very dry, thank-you-very-much.
 Silently, I toasted the McGlothin clan:
"To the good times. RIP everyone."

Isn't it pretty?

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a smidgen more grown up.  LOL!

* * * 

I've spoken before about Big Corporation's philosophies ... the importance of giving back (ya-da-da-da) ... and their Expectation (that) we contribute at least 8 hours volunteer work.

So Wednesday, I left my hose n' heels at home and prepared to lend at hand at St. Mary's Food Warehouse ... supposedly, the largest such organization in the Nation.

Thank goodness I was able to 'hitch' a ride with several of my co-workers!  That part of town -- and it's seemingly soul-less, strung-out denizens sitting curbside -- frankly creeped me out.

After our 'orientation', and spotting the assembly line, I had an immediate flash-back to Laverne and Shirley.


Now, our personality-PLUS facilitator was saying, to avoid anyone inadvertently locking their knees and becoming light-headed, they were going to play music and we were encouraged to dance. 
 (Seriously? ... People, I Do.Not.Dance.)

The only thing truly awful?  Their music we were asked to dance to was all hip-hop/rap.
There's little I truly CAN'T STAND, but that's one of them.

(OK, I suppose technically, hip-hop and rap aren't the same thing, but I'm proud to be an old fogey who can't tell the difference.)

Never having worked in an assembly-line situation, I've sure under-appreciated those who do!
Those boxes kept coming stinkin' fast and the 'drill sargeant' who kept walking by, telling us to 'Step it up, ladies'?   
Why, I'd have b-slapped her to the curb in a heartbeat, except I didn't have a moment to spare.

In all, they said we combined to put together 1,920 food boxes for the 'nutritionally insecure' segment of our population.

It did do my heart good the next day ... to hear some of my much younger associates complain about being sore.
While I wasn't achy, I'd never admit to them, I'd gone home to shower and promptly fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

Funny, how you never appreciate others until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

* * *

Have a sweet new week, everyone!

Hugs from Phoenix,