Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ah, Travel, Who Knows Anymore

I'm sitting here in a rocking chair comfortably chatting with some new friends, some of the several thousand "friends" around, listening to boarding calls to far away places with strange sounding names that someday I hope to visit. Unfortunately,today I'm just trying to get home. The optimal word here being "trying".

I awoke this morning at 2:45 am to a cheery automated call from the airline informing me that the second leg of my flight home had been cancelled due to mechanical difficulties. After a quick call to the airline, I was re-booked on a later flight. Given that I did not need that plane for another 9 hours or so, one would think an international airline with 100's (maybe 1000's) of planes would have a spare one sitting around - you know just in case something happened. But what do I know.

I was advised to be at the airport at least two hours prior to my scheduled departure (vs. my normal one hour) due the number of flights. So I had a 3:15 am cab waiting. What they failed to tell me was that the ticket counter (where I needed to check my luggage) did not open until 4am. However, I had the company of other fellow travelers who heeded the same advice. (Following the rules will get you no where.)

This is when my laissaz faire attitude of air travel kicks in, which serves me well. As long as I have cash, my laptop, and my iPad I'm OK. Check luggage - done, security - check, first flight - no issues. As I got off the plane, I walked past a good fifty folks standing in line at the airline service desk. Do they not have a phone and realize that it is much faster to call the airline to get service (or least start calling and be on hold while you are in line to see which is faster.) These folks were just standing there zombie like. Unless the airline was giving something away free (which I seriously doubted) I had no sympathy for them.

Now if the older Jewish lady next to me would just stop complaining about her daughter-in-law. Her husband (who never had a chance to get a word in) and the rest of us had to listen to how her son's wife could not cook, drove some kind of sporty car that a woman of her age should not drive, let their granddaughter wear anything, and worst of all, insisted on not wearing any makeup. (And, how he should have married Ilana. After all her father owned that chain of jewelry stores and she knew how a lady should look.) All, I could say was that daughter-in-law must either be a saint or a heavy drinker.

Back to my rocking chair, where else but in the south would you find rocking chairs throughout the airport. If they would just install ceiling fans and offer sweet tea or lemonade to weary travelers. But that would be asking a little much.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Hot's Hotter than Their Hot

I've been in Arizona too long. Someone commented that it was only going to be 108 today and it never phased me. I go in and out of buildings, walk down the street to lunch, even comment how nice it feels when we emerge into the "warmth" after being in a cold building all morning. It must be something in the water. A friend of mine commented, "Once it hits the triple digits, what difference does it make?"

When I tell someone from back home that the forecast for tomorrow is 113 but that is much cooler than the record of 123, it seems surreal. In full disclosure, I have only experienced 115 and it was pretty hot. Even the locals were commenting about the heat. Of course they don't have the humidity out here. So it is a "dry heat". Well, the oven in my kitchen is dry heat but I have no desire to live in it. I fear returning to the humid heat of the south is going to be cruel.

So when I leave the hotel tomorrow morning at the 3:30 to catch my flight home (yes, I am have an insane scheduled flight at 5:30 am AZ time) I will be leaving the dry heat and going to "cooler" climes. But of course, "cooler" is a relative term. As long as no one starts throwing that "heat index" number around I'll be fine. When the thermometer says 96, why make it worse by crying, "But, Lord the heat index is 103." All I can tell you is that it is hot as Hell.

In fact, I can assure you, the heat back home will take a toll on me unlike this has. No one out here talks about a "heat index". When I grew up, no one ever said anything about a "heat index". It was just warm, hot, or darn hot. I imagine the heat didn't bother us much when we just looked at the thermometer and did not have to use this new fangled formula to come up with a misery index. Spare me the misery. If it's hot, it's hot. If I'm miserable, I'm miserable. I don't need some scientific formula to tell me how hot I am.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Remember You

I'm in Arizona, staying at a hotel where I've stayed several times before. The hotel itself is one of the older ones in Phoenix but has been totally redone and today is a modern stylish design. The accommodations are excellent and the service first rate. The first afternoon a group of us finished work and gathered in the bar located in the lobby.

We had just sat down in the comfortable chairs when the cheery bartender came over to take our orders. She looked at two of us and said, "Oh, I know what you want, I remember you." I looked a little sheepish. (In full disclosure she had done this to me the last time I visited.) She continued, "You would like the oaky Chardonnay. You're with Wells, aren't you?" "Close. You've got the important part right. I definitely like the oaky Chardonnay, but I cannot claim Wells."

The two co-workers (I had just met for the first time earlier that day) just looked at me as if I were some kind of lush. Before I could could say something witty in my defense, my co-worker who had been remembered for her penchant for Mojitos said, "Oh, she's that good. I've never figured out how she remembers what everyone drinks."

As our younger co-workers placed their orders, suddenly I could see in their eyes I had perhaps risen a notch above the middle age woman they had seen earlier by just having a bartender remember what I drink. Hey, it's not much, but I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Anything but Lycra

I hope who ever developed Lycra understands the impact he or she has inflicted on our cvilization. Only super models like Heidi Klum and Kate Moss (and they would never be caught dead in it) should ever wear this skin clinging fabric. There is this miscaonception that it "contains" one's (perhaps larger) body and makes one look more shapely. Another fallacy is that if one purchases a size or two smaller, one will appear more petite. Wrong! Two tons of fertilizer do not fit in a one ton truck.

I was people watching in the airport and swear there should be mirrors by all the moving sidewalks., just in case folks failed to view the ones in their house as they exited in the morning. One woman had on a white Lycra top that was so tight not only could one could I see all of her "love" rolls as she walked past, I could see the topographic landscape of her torso, including every bump, beauty mark, and scar. One thing I will say, the seams had to be industrial strength, because they were holding tight. If I ever wondered what marshmallow fluff tightly wrapped in saran film rolling down the concourse looked like, now I knew.

These folks must not realize what they look like when they leave the house. But then again, the way they act, I don't think this is an issue with them. What they fail to realize is, it is an issue with the rest of us.

Until I can figure out how to get my Food Saver to vacuum seal my rear end down two sizes, I'll stay in regular clothes, thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost Posts

I have written and tried to post three times this morning and each time it has gone to Blog heaven. My Aunt kat would tell me I am "not holding my nose right". Whatever, I am totally frustrated with Blogpsot and only hope that maybe this gets through.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

78 Days and Counting

. . . to white sand, crystal clear water, Mimosas, and Bellinis  - Zoltan we're on our way back.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's All About Being "Liked"

In starting to market and sell my photography with my website and gallery, my oldest daughter suggested that I really needed to use Facebook. I am not a big fan of Facebook for two reasons - 1, I really don't want to know that Mary just sent John out to mow the grass and 2, there are serious privacy and security issues with it. And, I wanted to know how I was going to market my pictures through Facebook, Post "See this, Buy it"? However, I was quickly given a lesson in marketing on Facebook and introduced to a world I never knew existed.

And, it is a complicated world. First, she had to show me how to set-up a separate "Page" that has nothing to do with my personal site. After going through all the settings and inputting who I was, what I was marketing, uploading photos (of my photos), and answering (what seemed like) 15 million questions about when I wanted to know who was doing what on my page, I thought I was ready. But, oh no. It had just started.

"Now, you have to get your friends to like you," my daughter explained. "I think most of my friends do like me, otherwise they would not be my friends. Trust me they don't hang around for my looks or money." "No, 'Like' you, as in enter the thumbs up 'Like' button on your page." For security purposes I had locked this down on my personal page so that no one could "Like" any of the very few posts I made and I never "Liked" anything anyone else did because I did not want it to be linked to me. In this respect, I was downright unfriendly. Guess that had to change. Oh, how we will sell our souls in the name of commerce.

"Go on," I asked daughter to further enlighten me. "First, you need to 'Like' your page yourself, that will start the ball rolling. Then send it to all your friends." After doing all that, my new page had two "Likes" within five minutes or so. However, given that after forty eight hours (I have two hundred or so friends) there are a total of eleven "Likes", not only is this discouraging, this is down right embarrassing. It's like throwing a party and nobody shows up.

Patience Grasshopper. I have learned it's not enough to love someone, you need to "Like" them.

Light and Landscape on Facebook

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Time it Should Work

Saturday evening we attended a BBQ wedding reception for some friends of ours. The wedding had been a small informal affair that had taken place earlier in the day. We had already seen pictures of the nuptials on Facebook. Somehow, contrary to a generation, civilization did live without Facebook - and survive. Imagine that. But I digress.

The weather was unseasonably cool, in fact so much so that we enjoyed the early evening affair outside very comfortably, something I cannot remember doing this time of year in ages. I congratulated the bride, who looked radiant (as all brides should). Her response was, "Well, it's going to be a 'weekend' marriage, so this will be something new."

"Something new" refers to the fact that this is the bride's third marriage and the groom had been married five times before. Cindy, the bride, is an extremely fun loving teacher who does not show her age of sixty-something. After her second divorce, she sold her house and moved back in with her parents. When her father died, her mother wanted to move to an assisted living facility. Cindy took it all in stride and moved with her.

She continues to teach and have an active social life, albeit off the assisted living campus. Her activities don't always fall in line with the rules and restrictions of the facility. Her new husband plans to keep his job and home in a city about 45 minutes away. So Cindy's plan is to stay with her mother, teach during the week and spend the weekends with her new husband. They seem happy and whatever works, works. Hopefully after 7 marriages between them under their belts, maybe they've figured it out.

On the way home, my daughter commented, "Did you know the wedding was at 9:30 this morning?" "No, that's an odd time." 'Well, Cindy and Eddie figured out, given all their prior weddings, that was the only time slot neither of them had gotten married , so maybe if they planned the ceremony at that time this marriage would work." Well, if nothing else, you got to give them credit for trying to get it right this time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Well I Never

I am a firm believer in saving money, however I also have very little patience in a check out line. Yesterday I was standing in line in Wal-mart trying to purchase some Diet Coke with lime. The little lady in front of me was purchasing a bag of iceberg salad mix, one yellow squash, a cucumber, and a bunch of bananas. To set the seen she had on her "Sunday-go-to-meeting" outfit complete with matching hat, purse, and shoes - no doubt the gloves were in the purse. (And it was only Thursday.)

As the cashier rang up her items, the lady commented, "Now, that lettuce should be a dollar fifty." "Nom', it says here a dollar sixty eight cents." "Well the sticker on the shelf says one dollar fifty." "Mam, I just go by this here machine and it says a dollar sixty eight." "Hm." And, the cashier continued to ring up the remaining items.

"Now, those squash were seventy eight cents a pound." "Yes mam." "So don't tell me it weighs a pound." "Must not 'cause it says fifty eight cents." I could tell from the look on the cashier's eyes, she feared the lady was going ask her to do the math on that one. But she was spared. "That'll be five dollars and seven cents."

The little lady opened her coin purse and handed the cashier a five dollar bill. The cashier stood there with her hand still extended waiting for the rest of the money. The lady just stood there. After a few moments, the lady smiled and said, "You owe me eleven cents." Perplexed, the cashier looked at the five dollar bill in her hand and the amount of five dollars and seven cents on the register. I could see her mentally trying to figure it out. The little lady continued, "The lettuce was only one fifty and you charged me one sixty eight, so you owe me eleven cents."

At this point both the man behind me in line and I were both reaching in our pockets for eighteen cents to spare everyone the pain of this situation. The cashier didn't know what to do. She was three times the size of this slight of a woman but you could tell she wasn't willing to pick a fight with her. (Thank God when I worked in my Daddy's drugstore had this issue arisen, I could have just said, "Yes, mam", handed her the eleven cents and be done with it. In Daddy's eyes the customer was always right.) However in today's world, this was going to require a call for a manager over the PA, an override of the system, and some type of documentation.

About that time the little lady took her bag, looked at the cashier and said, "You can keep your seven cents, I still say the sticker said a dollar fifty, I don't care what your machine says." With that, she turned on the patent leather heals of her sensible shoes and left, muttering under her breath, "A dollar sixty eight for lettuce, well I never." I looked at the cashier. "You think that's bad, yesterday, this old man told me he had never paid more than a dime for Baby Ruth and he wasn't going to start now."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

86 days and Counting

86 days and counting - Days until I escape this insanity to do nothing. No decisions except whether it is white wine or a Corona Light. Just t-shirts, shorts, a bathing suit, white sand, and crystal clear blue water. Grand Cayman I'm coming back. (And this time I may stay - for good.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Me?

I was busy working at my desk and out of the corner of my eye, I caught Ellie's tail as she quietly walked by my door. I thought nothing of it and continued. Ten or so minutes later, I heard the faint rustle of paper. Now, my curiosity was peaked. I silently went to the door and looked around the corner. Sure enough, there she was finishing off the German Chocolate icing on a brownie (the paper that gave her away carefully unwrapped around her). She quickly looked up at me. 

Even she knows that Abby is no where near to take the blame. Poor Abby hasn't figured out that, she too, can jump over the gate, so she just stands, paws on top, and watches Ellie have all the fun.

Obviously, Ellie had been in my carry on bag that I failed to up-pack from the night before. Full disclosure - I had wrapped a half eaten brownie and never finished it. I moved the bag out of her reach, much to her displeasure. And, I returned to work. 

I noticed Ellie wasn't napping as usual on the floor by my desk but as long as she was quiet I wasn't going to chase her down. I had better things to do. When I got up to get a fresh Diet Coke (with lime) I almost tripped over one of my shoes in the hall. I didn't remember leaving that there. (Note to self - remember to pick up your clothes.) I returned to my office to find Ellie innocently asleep in her regular place. She looked so angelic curled up next to the book case. How could anyone call this breed demonic and conniving? (The breed standard historically used the word "Demon" in its description of these little dears.)

Before long, there was a commotion in the hall and I found another shoe half way through the gate with Abby on the other side pulling on it. By the time I got to the fray, Ellie was sitting back looking up at me with this, "I told her not to play with your shoes," total innocent look on her face. Abby, of course, was clueless that she had taken the fall. I send both of them out, fresh air would do them good. 

However, Ellie cannot blame Abby when that night  I found my suitcase "unpacked" and clothes strewn across the floor. I looked down the hall,  Ellie quickly dropped the small leather case she had in her mouth, with a "Who me?" look. Perhaps "Demon" should not have been removed and "Petty Thief" added. Perhaps, I hadn't misplaced that camera bag after all. The question was, where had it been "placed" for me?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes, I Know I Talk Like That

"Oh, I love to hear you talk." Suddenly, not only was I speechless, I was terribly aware of every syllable that came out of my mouth. We were visiting friends "up the road" (as they call Detroit down here) and I rarely think about my voice sounding something akin to Scarlett fussing at the Tarleton twins as the overture in GWTW quiets. We all know the line (at least most of us down here do) "Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war; this war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream." (Keep in mind that is "wah, wah, wah; this wah tawlks spoilen all the fun . . .") But I digress.

Or, worse yet, was I the new Eliza Dolittle? The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain. Don't get me wrong I don't think they were making fun of me and my "southern accent". "How many syllables are there in 'hound dog'? "Do you not have r's down there?" However, I don't remember asking my Yankee northern friends to repeat words. (But then I don't like to hear finger nails on chalk boards either, and to be fair that's New Jersey.) 

Somehow, I don't think I'm getting the same respect someone from Britain gets with their elegant accent.  All I ask is that I have the serenity to accept that I was born speaking this way, that they have the courage to accept that they will never speak this way, and we both have the wisdom to know the difference.