Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Letters, revisited

Color me excited, m'friends!  DH and I will be hitting the road to the high country this weekend, letting the painters have their way with the house. Before we do, I wanted to share a few snapshots ... postcards, if you will.

Dear Camry,
I hate to break it to you, but you'll be staying home this weekend.
Yes, you've been darn reliable these past 11 years ... but your near 207,000 mi. has me a little concerned.   
I promise to keep taking good care of you.  And you?  You just worry about getting me back and forth to work each week.

Dear Macie Ann,
Because you'll be 3 years old soon, I really, really believed you'd outgrown your fascination with toilet paper.
My fault for leaving the linen closet door ajar!

Now I swore I'd never 'humanize' another animal again ... but my mind must not have been paying attention.  
I'm afraid to discipline or raise my voice because you and Grace will be going to 'doggie-camp' tomorrow, and I don't want you to think it's because you're being punished.

Dear Boss,

I appreciate your wanting to enhance our work environments.
But really, I was perfectly happy with my one 17" monitor.
These dual monsters have me feeling like an air traffic controller!  

Dear Readers,
It's been an emotionally-taxing week here in the Valley of the Sun.
Still, our flags were returned to full-mast this morning.

One of our news stations posted a heart-wrenching article -- written from the perspective of one police officer's wife.   
I think her words apply not only to peace officers, but to military families as well.
And what better time than Memorial Day weekend to honor their discipline?

It's much too long to share here ... but I was particularly moved by this part:

"As the officers stand in formation at the graveside, we'll see resolve like we've never seen it.  They can stand at full attention and sob without making a sound.  The tears run down their faces like something foreign that doesn't make that trip often.  Their hearts break.  And we can do nothing for them.  Not a single thing.  
We stand behind them, but our sobs make a sound and our tears know the way."

PS - 
Once again, I've gone on longer than I intended.  
But!, I was struck by something I saw on last night's news ... something several of us were discussing at work this morning.   

In his eulogy yesterday morning, Officer Glasser's squad leader shared a habit he (Glasser) had of saying, "I love you" each time he and his fellow officers parted company.
After all, he reasoned; it might be the last time they saw one another.

Sure, young Glasser caught some ribbing for it; but soon, the Sgt. allowed, they all adopted that custom.

So ... that said ... 
I feeling like retiring my normal "hugs from Phoenix" and simply close with,

I love you,


I don't know if WiFi's available where we're going, but I'll do my best to read and respond, at least as best these fat fingers can!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Off the top of my head ...

Entrance to son's place

Dang it, folks ... I'm pissed angry.
Angry, and sad.

Some of you may have heard about the ambush that took the life of a Phoenix police officer Wednesday afternoon, not far from my workplace.  35 years old ... he was a decade younger than my own son.

Unfortunately, these sorts of tragedies are not unusual.
I don't know why this particular case has affected me so keenly.  I never met the officer, but my heart aches for his family.

Of course, Governor Ducey immediately called for flags to be flown at half-mast.  
Anyone care to guess how many I counted yesterday during my running around?   

Even the U.S. Postal Service missed the memo.
Seriously, I wanted to turn around, march inside and ask them what in the **** they're thinking.
(Ah well, the postal employees' I've seen recently just personify the robotic voice in my phone.)

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect, in some circles, our flag's become an after-thought.

OK, rant's over!  (For now.)

To be fair, I didn't always ... but I love our flag.
My son's taught me a lot about patriotism, by example -- something he gets from his Grandpa.

Some of you've heard this story before, but I never tire of sharing.  Who knows ... my dad's ritual might catch on?!

Ever the patriot, my father was real big on flying the flag for Special occasions.   
Ours being the quissential government town, I thought it unusual (that) more folks weren't acquainted with the "do's" and "don'ts" of flag etiquette.   Instead, they looked to the Willer's front porch:  If our flag was displayed, they'd hurry to put theirs out before leaving for work.   

One afternoon, a neighbor approached my father.   A bit embarrassed, he asked, "What exactly are we commemorating today, Ad?"    To which my father deadpanned, "It's Lum's birthday."
Remember, I said Special occasions?  To Dad's way of thinking, each of our birthdays was reason to fly the U.S. Flag.    I'm not sure what the VFW would have to say about that, but I still chuckle imagining our neighbors inadvertently helping to commemorate each of our birthdays.

* * *

Thanks for bearing with me this morning, friends.
I promise to do better, lighter next time.

Hugs from Phoenix,

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The rest of the story ...

Whew!  I didn't mean to be so long!
What's that they say? ...

... well, ya!

Before I forget ....   (Thank you for asking, Debby!)
Aside from Show-and-Tell, my only other hit involved a group exercise called, "Never Have I Ever."   

Once everyone had been given a red Solo cup -- each containing a dozen peanut butter cups -- I placed a box in the center of  the room and explained the rules:

Going around the room, the first player makes an honest, declarative statement: "Never have I ever __________"  (e.g., been skinny-dipping.)
If anyone else in the room had done that, they had to forfeit one of their candies in the box.

Obviously, players strategize to choose something they feel most everyone else has done at one time or another.
Why, the air positively filled with Reese's cups when one fellow admitted, "Never have I ever been to Los Angeles."

The biggest hoot came when, early on, a player stated, "Never have I ever lied to Michele."  (Our GM.)

Dead silence.

Then, before the atmosphere could grow any more uncomfortable(!),  a young man ran up and dumped the entire contents of his cup into the box.

It was pretty neat that the last player with candy remaining was our housekeeping manager -- who got to share the bounty with her hard-working associates!

* * *

Ya know, I was seriously considering making a (PG-rated) list of my own Never Have I Ever's to see how many treats I might collect from y'all!

Then it dawned on me, there's little I've not done (or tried).  
Like Mr. Anka wrote,  "Regrets?  I've a few, but then again, too few to mention."

* * *

So, I've had something rattling around in my mind for a couple months now.

A while back, a corporate BMOC came a-visiting.  
Gathered in the conference room, he asked each of us to introduce ourselves and answer his question, "Do you feel safe?"

Whoa.  Way to be (not!)!  Situated immediately to his left, I had no time to consider the implications of my answer.  
"No, I do not."

BMOC looked mildly surprised, but I went on to explain that (I think) feeling safe is synonymous with complacency.

Sure, I answered that question from a business standpoint, but I'm not sure it's not true of life, in general.
I suppose the last time I truly felt safe was the night before my father woke me up for school and shared the Bay of Pigs incident ... and presumed war.

Some of you may remember, I've adopted a 'parachute" philosophy:
Pathetic maybe, but most everywhere I go I've fallen into a habit of scoping out emergency exits ... and restrooms.
(Stepping on cracks aside, I still lift my feet when crossing railroad tracks.)  

How about you?   Do you feel safe?

Have a great week, everyone! 

Hugs from Macie, Grace
... and their mom :)


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Games people play ...

... That's just one of the nicer terms I used to describe Fun and Games Time that follows each morning's leadership line-up.  

No, I'm not making that up.
When our organization was acquired by the Big Corporation, that activity became an expectation.

Sure, I'm all about joviality and boosting morale.  
Unfortunately, when you've a dozen diverse participants ranging in age from their early 20's to (ahem) 60-something ... most of whom are athletically inclined ... someone's gotta play the fool.

I've never pretended to possess much hand-eye coordination.
... or any coordination, for that matter. (lol)

Yet, in the last year-and-a-half I've been compelled to play my very first games of 

Basketball (something they call 'pig')
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Pass the Lifesaver-on-a-Straw
and what seems like a 100 varieties of beer pong  ...minus the beer, of course!

Normally, I'm the first to laugh at myself.  
I wouldn't feel so bad had I not glimpsed an eye roll now and then.  Or worse, sensed someone's dejection when paired with me.

1968 all over again.
Wow. When Janis Ian recorded "At Seventeen" I felt like someone finally understood.    

... Those whose names were never called, when choosing sides for basketball.

When April rolled around, it became my turn to facilitate the games people play.  (Woo-hoo!)  

Vowing not to deliberately embarrass anyone, I focused on Robert Fulghum-istics.

Except, I once relapsed and handed everyone a piece of paper containing a diagram of the United States.  I set a timer for 5 minutes and asked them to fill in the states' names.  That went over like a proverbial lead balloon!

My favorite activity was "Show-and- Tell."
When, at the beginning of the month  I announced that every Monday would be "Show-and-Tell", I was met with blank expressions.  Some wanted to know, "What are the rules?"

After the first couple of weeks, almost everyone became really enthused.
One young man brought in the carburetor from a car he's restoring. Another unbuttoned the top of his collar to reveal a tiny gold cross (that) he's worn every day since his grandmother gave it to him on her death-bed 40-some years ago.
One woman's story elicited a few tears ... and a smattering of applause from her peers.

... and it occurred to me, Blogland's not all that different than Show-and-Tell.

There was another activity everyone enjoyed
involving total disclosure, strategic intent and Reese's peanut butter cups.
In the interest of time, I'll share that next time.

Perhaps the biggest take-away from April is the realization, this isn't 1968 ...and there are no losers.  At times, my co-workers exasperate and annoy me. I probably do them, as well.
But in the end I believe we truly care about one another.

"And it is still true, no matter how old you
are - when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together."

- Robert Fulghum

 Hugs from Phoenix!