Friday, December 23, 2016

Here n' there and all about the town

My goodness, but time gets away!

Thank you so much for everyone's thoughtful comments on my last post. I apologize for not taking time to respond to each one.  What can I say?  ... Holiday hiccups and copious amounts of laziness got the better of me.  (BTW, BF Debbie is doing wonderfully.)

* * *

Let's see.  When we last spoke, I mentioned a little getaway down south.
Truth be told, not that far south.

A few months back I spotted something about these guys' upcoming appearance at Wild Horse Pass, and hustled to order tickets.
(The last time we made plans to see CDB, Tom had the nerve to go and get his hip replaced.  LOL!)

I wanted to get us a hotel room there so we might enjoy some adult beverages and a nice late supper at Shula's after the concert -- without worrying about getting behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, when I checked reservations, that little plan got hurled out the window.
(I'm sure some people don't bat an eye about paying $200/night for a soft mattress and shower ... but this gal's not one of them!)

Then again ...
I summoned my moxie and asked my boss what she thought if I asked our former DOS - now WHP's Rooms Mgr., if she would consider extending me a "friends and family" discount.
Crazy, but Michele went above and beyond, and got Denise to comp our stay!

A random Brit came along as I was taking this and asked, "Is he holding still for you?"

Some would call the room's decor 'top-shelf' -- but its modern (aka, stark) design and gray/blue palates left me underwhelmed.  Not our idea of comfort, but I suppose that's what's popular right now.  
I totally messed up and didn't think about making dinner reservations until the 11th hour.   They were totally booked, but rather than getting back in the car and up the highway, we decided to try their 24/7 cafe.  
WOW.  I take back any misconceptions I may have had about casino-food.   Our prime-rib dinners, the presentation ... even the service was amazing, and given it being on an Indian reservation, very reasonably priced.

* * *

Totally disgruntled by the huge crowds and ill-mannered attendees at other huge concert venues, WHP's more-intimate venue was really refreshing.

And Charlie?  
Whoa.  That fellow has more vim-and-vigor at 80 years old than I did at 8!

He kept everyone chuckling, recalling stories of his youth - eavesdropping on his mother's (phone) party-lines ... even his son's attempts to drag him into the electronic age.  
"Why do I need e-mail?  Here's plenty of envelopes and postage stamps."  
(Don't even get him started on Twitter!)

Sure, some of it's probably contrived.
But there's no mistaking his love of God and love of the United States of America.
Neither Tom or I'd ever seen a more stirring rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Truth be known, I liked his music, OK - but I never loved it.  
That's Tom's department.  
Except, since I've been following CDB's Facebook page, I've come to Really Respect that whiskered fella and his weekly "soapboxes."
For those who don't know what I'm talking about here's a sampling.  Kinda sums up what I feel myself, but never had the knack to express it in so many words.
(No, I don't mean read it Right Now.  I figure y'all have one or two more important things on your plates right now.  *smile*)

* * *

So! ...
Our itty-bitty trees and significant holiday touchstones are in place ...  baking's done ... packages have all been delivered (love you, UPS!) ... and we've but one obligation remaining this evening.

For Yule's sake, here are a few of my favorite and/or meaningful holiday moments frozen in time.

ca. 1953.  Wish I had a pair of those bunny slippers right now!

Abilene, TX, 1979.  How I loved that fireplace!

My dad's last Christmas, 1980. (Far left.)  
With former in-laws, Bartow, FL

Son Troy, me and mother.  (1982)

G'daughters Sarah and Chloe.  Port Charlotte, FL.

When Tom met Caraleigh he observed,  "She looks like a tamale with eyes."

Wild Horse Pass, Dec. 2016

Always and forever ... I'm so grateful for your friendship.
Y'all are a honest-to-goodness blessing!

Merry Christmas n' hugs from Phoenix,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Like Sands Through the Hourglass ...

G'morning (afternoon) friends!
DH and I are preparing to head south in a bit for a too-brief getaway.   Before we do ...

I should be over-the-moon (more about that next week), but to be honest, my heart's heavy.   Yesterday -- only few hours after my BF and I texted one another to schedule our monthly yakkity-yak -- her unmistakable ring-tone announced itself from the depths of my bag.  What's that all about?   

Debbie's flat tone, "Carl's dead."     
Her long-time significant other, best friend, sometimes abuser - suddenly and inexplicably passed during his most recent stay in a south Florida rehab yesterday morning.   
'Venture to say, few will mourn.   But darn it, what a shock!   Part of me wishes I could hop a plane to be with her;  instead I made Debbie promise to pour herself a glass of wine, have a good cry and call me any time of the day or night.

A little while later, I slid my carcass in front of the computer and spotted news of another passing.   My turn to pour an adult beverage.

In retrospect, my "once in a lifetime" Sunday was a bit silly, but I'm feeling drawn to re-post it.   
You know, even now when I'm headed to work -- usually discouraged, expecting nothing more than the same-old-same-old -- I have to remind myself that miracles do come true.   When you least expect it!  

With apologies to Ronnie Milsap, I’m feelin’ lost in the 80’s tonight ....

* * *

Having reached my mid-30’s, I didn't think it possible to develop a crush.   Silly Myra.

Long before “Bridal Fairs” became commonplace, my employers partnered to develop and stage such an exposition. Sure enough, come that chilly January morning, management was ecstatic at promised revenues. The rest of us were already weary ... a good 3 hours before the doors were scheduled to open.

Arriving at the Civic Center, I immediately regretted my decision not to wear a tuxedo like the others, feeling it wouldn’t look feminine.   Instead, to a person, they all looked amazing!  The peach suit and pearls I'd selected with such care felt downright frumpy. Oh well.   

Taking a seat in the foyer, I began sorting registration cards.

Eyeball-to-thighs. Peripherally, I noted a co-worker needed something. Again. 

Hang on a sec.” I held up an index finger. “97, 98, 99, 100 ... there!”

OK.  What can I do for ....”

The question died in my throat; my face began to burn.  Only a couple of feet away, a familiar someone smiled.  
The same someone on whom I’d harbored a ridiculous crush for years.  Was it coincidence I’d lost interest “Days” following his scripted demise?

What was HE doing here?   Today? 

Belatedly, I recalled that the network was going to provide talent, to boost attendance and moderate the fashion show.... but I’d paid little attention.

Gathering what little wits I had about me, I introduced myself and with what I hoped would pass as self-deprecating humor, explained my admiration .... and astonishment at his presence.

J was similarly confused. “What, exactly, is a Bridal Fair?”

Happily, I abandoned my post to show him backstage. Improbably, it seemed I’d found a pal: A few moments later J was back to help fold programs, stuff bags.

As the day grew long, our feet were beyond pain; faces stiff from smiling. Still, I was over-the-moon visiting J backstage. More comfortable in the role of listener, I learned of his passion for classical music and the theater. The speech patterns I recalled from television were true ... and endearing!

When J asked, "What's next?" after closing, my imagination went amok. (Of course it did ....)   He'd not yet remarried ... but I was.  Hating my unfamiliar resolve, I walked backstage to say goodnight.   And discovered J dozing in a folding chair.  LOL!

Monday morning I happened downstairs to watch his appearance on our local "talk" show. Momentarily shy, I stood aside as he posed for pictures and made the appropriate  noises. Mute, I offered a hand and smiled for the camera.

RIP Mister M.
Thanks for the memory!

Thanks for bearing with me ... talk to y'all in a few!

Hugs from Phoenix,


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Oh, we need a little Christmas!

"I can't believe you just asked me that!"

This, from my boss when I (foolishly) asked if I really had to attend this year's holiday party.    Knowing she's been baptized in the pond of political correctness, I couldn't resist calling it the "Christmas" party, watching her wince. 

ca. 2014

I can only presume this event is a knee-jerk reaction to last year's debacle:  Only managers and their spouses were invited to attend the formal affair ... although the day before, I was offered a ticket and a meal if I wanted to attend -- to work the registration table and distribute drink tickets.   (Um, that would be a 'no.')

Anyway!   Someone decided THIS year all associates at the local properties under Big Corporate's umbrella could attend the "Ugly Holiday Sweater" party with a guest ... eat, drink, dance and be merry.   
On a week-night.  In Scottsdale.

Now I've no quarrel with bringing a new toy to support St. Frances' children's ministry; but I draw the line at having to purchase a tacky sweater that I'll maybe wear once.  (Didn't that fad slip away about the time of Seinfeld?)   
That, and having to drive more than 100 miles round trip from our home in Goodyear.

I tried keeping a straight face when the final RSVP's were counted. Their projected 350 guests only numbered half that.   But, because my boss -- who really believes she's "Mrs. Claus" -- recently did something very nice for me, I felt I'd no choice but to support her.   When, in a pinched voice, she said, "Well, I'm not going to MAKE anyone go if they don't want to." I honestly felt guilty.  And petty.   
(Yup, she's got my number.)  
That, and my 'work brother' Brian reminded me last week, the only reason he's going is because I twisted his arm.  Hard.

So, why don't we have our own property Christmas party like we've done in the past?  We're not allowed!  

That's all-right.  MAC (my boss' nickname) wasn't born yesterday. Instead of a 'party', she and her managers are going to distribute pizzas to everyone, followed by a mid-afternoon hot chocolate bar we'll call "WinterFest." 

* * *

On a related note ... 
Last weekend I was actually losing sleep at the prospect of having to decorate the lobby tree.   In fact, as I confided to a friend, the idea of catching the stomach flu sounded like a better alternative.
Unlike 14 years ago when I was a newbie, near tears and too bashful to ask anyone for help ... come Monday morning I channeled my inner drill sergeant and 'voluntold' a handful of associates to help me -- including MAC.
Like so many things, it wasn't nearly as awful as what I lost time fretting about.

* * * 

On the home-front, Tom finally admitted, he doesn't think the two of us NEED a tree.  The beast (our pre-lit 9-footer) is a chore to wrangle, and since we bought a new recliner and love seat last year (which weighs a ton) there's really no space or option to move them around.   

Instead, I'm going to re-create a few little pieces we've enjoyed the last two years, and call it Merry.   

See that little green chair?  That's my favorite chair in the house ... something that survived my own wee bum (1951-ish) ... that gets to come out once each year.

Mother made the little tree and stitched that sampler ...  and the book, Three Christmas Eves, was given her (I think) the inscription reads 1920. 

We're not all about fancy or always tasteful ... but when emotions run high, as they're apt to do this time of year, I like to surround myself with comforting objects, warm blankets and olden music.  (Perry Como, anyone?)
Oh, and wine!   Care to join me?

Have a great week, friends!
Hugs from Phoenix,