Showing posts from February, 2013

Leaving Our Mark

A few of the bars on Ambergris Caye encouraged people to write notes and put up signs and other paraphernalia. We took full advantage where we could. Names were written, sentiments expressed, koozies, appliques and business cards were hung and, hopefully, something will remain when we go back in two years.
The only thing that didn't get put up was the Midwest Region t-shirt that a bunch of us signed. Jim gave it to the bartender at BC's who promised that the guy who puts them up would have it done by the next day. The next day, we went to BC's and the bartender said, "You're wondering where your shirt is, right?" He still had it behind the bar and said the guy didn't show but that he should be in that day. It still wasn't up when we left.
Maybe our bartender is wearing it?

We Are The People

There's a Jimmy Buffett line that we old folks love to pull out to make us feel like we're still young and cool (or, at least, cool):  we are the people our parents warned us about.

On our last night in Belize, our room was the spot for the "Drink all the booze" Happy Hour for our gang. As befitting a Princess, I did none of the work. The party was actually hosted by Crash, Susan, Sandy and Howie.

It started out normal enough. Everyone brought their leftover beer, wine, Gin, Rum and mixers and there were snacks. Enough snacks to become dinner for me. Not enough snacks to keep me sober.

The evening went on in normal, adult mode.

But, then the alcohol fouls started.

Jello Shots may have been a contributing factor to the beginning of the shenanigans.

The shenanigans: Then, the alcohol really kicked in.
And, the party ended with this:
The next morning, I was sitting at breakfast and uploading pictures to Facebook. At the table next to me was the woman who had been stayin…

Professional Packing

I'm notorious for waiting until the last minute to pack for trips. Oh, I fret about it and think I need to start early but the reality is that most of the places I go to are so familiar that I'm packed in ten minutes without even thinking about it.

Calgary? Sweaters, jeans and my boots.

Key West? Shorts/capris, sandals and tank tops.

Mexico? Shorts or jeans, t-shirts, sandals and a light jacket. (Actually, this packing list gets adjusted according to the season.)

I have a fully packed toiletry bag with its own set of cosmetics and hair products. I also have a curling iron and blow dryer just for travel. All I need to do is move them to the appropriate suitcase or bag.

What I've discovered about packing early is that you end up adding things. "Oh, I may need a sweater." "I should take some closed toe shoes in case it gets cold." Before you know it, you've packed twice as much as you really need. So, there's a method to my last minute madness.


What's On Your Phone?

We had a corporate project celebration lunch on Friday and I was seated across from our CEO and next to our VP of Sales/Marketing. There were a couple of other Directors in attendance as well.

Somehow, the topic of a Tempe landmark, Minder Binders, came up. It was a go-to bar for the college crowd but it's been closed down for years. I drive by it every day and noticed a few weeks ago that there's some construction (or demolition) going on. I was able to snap a pic on my phone as I was stopped by the light so I showed it to the VP and CEO.

As you can see, it's a pretty distinct looking building. Even the VP who didn't grow up here remembered seeing it.
He then said, "You know, who else but Kathy would have pictures of bars on her phone?"
Here's the thing. He's Mormon and, just as I would be fascinated with the "alien" life style of say, Trappist Monks, he's fascinated by my Parrot Head life style. So, it was pretty funny.
I scrolled thro…

Ratted Out

I logged in to my work email one time while I was in Belize and that was only to send my department an email with two pictures. I chose to show them the body painting done at Carnaval and sent one picture of our group with Kelly McGuire and another of some little kids completely covered in paint.

When I got home and checked my mail, I found this post card:

The card was from our CFO who LOVES to take random pictures of people, make them into post cards (that's one of our products) and mail them. He threatened in his note that there are many copies in the world.
Well, there was certainly more than one copy because, when I got back into the office, one of the cards was tacked up on our in/out board. I found another hung up in my cube. Seriously, I expect I'll be seeing them for a while.
On the back of the cards, it says "Work hard, play hard" and lists my work email address. Um, I don't think I'll be mailing them to anyone work related. I did send one to my besti…

The Photo NOT Taken

Our friend and Trop Rock musician, Kelly McGuire, plays down in Belize every year for his birthday. We missed his actual birthday party but we were able to catch him playing at FIDO's twice while we were there.

The first night as also our toga night so it was pretty chaotic with the comings and goings. The second night was his last night playing for that trip and we were able to have a more relaxed time at the show.

Because I'm me, I have to be noticed. As Kelly was thanking people for coming to see him from Omaha, Chicago, etc., he left out Phoenix. I hollered at the stage, "And Phoenix!" He said, "I knew you would remind me."

A little later he said, "I'm trying to think what to play next." and I responded with, "Idonwannabe!" He said, "That's just what I was thinking." To which I replied, "That's because you and I are like this."

Idonwannabe is my favorite Kelly song (and he has a lot of great songs to ch…

Best Laid Plans

It wasn't a bad first week back to work after vacation but it was a tiring one. I looked forward to doing nothing more on Friday night then going to the grocery store then sitting in front of my TV and clearing shows off the DVR. I didn't even care about dinner but I was two glasses of wine in when I got a text message.

Here's the thread happened over about 30 minutes:

Thom: Wanna meet us at the Elks?
Me: Nope. Wined up.
Thom: Oh. We'll come get you.
Me: Lol. I think I'm good.
Thom: See you in 15.
Thom: You better be ready.
Me: Lol again.
Thom: You think I'm kidding.
Me: I'm just going with the flow. It's a tad crazy to pick me up.
Thom: Clearly you don't know your friends
Thom: Are you dressed and ready?
Me: I just poured another glass of wine
Thom: Pour three more
Me: Three?
Thom: Unruly Zin?
Thom: Cheryl (I knew he was with Crash, didn't realize who the third was)
Me: I have some unruly

Front door: knock, knock, knock.

Me: Welcome to my filth…

Taxi Cab Confessions

My dear friend, Crash, is quite the social butterfly. Every time we were in a cab in Belize, she had to ask the driver for his name then exchange full histories while riding. Even if she doesn't remember it the next day.

The cabs on Ambergris Caye were mini-vans which was very convenient as our sub-group fit nearly perfectly in them. On one of our trips, Crash called shotgun. This is how the conversation mostly went:
Crash: Hey, what's your name? Driver: No Ingles. Crash: What? Me: He doesn't speak English. Crash to driver: Where are you from? Me: He doesn't speak English. You have to say "De donde es, usted?" Driver: Soy de Guatemala. Crash: Blah, blah blah. Question, question, question.

And, she said it all in English but with a really bad Spanish accent. As if that would suddenly make the poor man understand her. I'm not even sure he responded to her at all as I was shaking my head at an example of "Ugly American" and "Crazy Gringo"…

Toga Pub Crawl

Of course, you must have a Toga party when you're in Belize. I mean, doesn't everyone do that?

Jim, our Fearless Leader, decided the best way to celebrate Saturday, our first full day on Ambergris Caye, was to dress in togas then do a pub crawl down the beach. We were all in, of course.

There was a contest for best toga and we were told to incorporate bananas into our outfits to represent our hotel, Banana Beach Resort. You can't tell the Arizona Parrot Head Club people there's a contest without them determined to win it!

OK, the AZPHC people probably would have had a boring showing except that Crash's friend, Susan, decided to join us on the trip and is an extremely talented seamstress. She made us each togas and they were spectacular. The Queen also whipped up some head gear for us. We won, of course.

The rest of the group did a great job with their togas, too.

We headed down the beach and made several stops along the way. What could be a leisurely 30 minute stro…

Just Another Gringo In Belize

I know I said I was going back to regular postings on my blog then I pretty much disappeared and looked like a loser. I had a great reason, though. I was in beautiful Belize!

The concept of the trip started quite a while ago. One of my Parrot Head friends used to be a travel agent and has been to Belize a bunch of times. He started talking about a group trip and was encouraged by several of us to make it so. Despite some of those early encouragers bailing on us (boo), the event was put together and held.

Around 30 Parrot Heads from Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona, Texas, Kansas City (and I think Washington DC and North Carolina) descended upon Ambergris Caye in Belize for a week of fun, sun and shenanigans.

Let's just say they're going to remember us.

Ambergris Caye is delightful. The people were very friendly, the drink prices (very important) were low, the food was good and the weather couldn't have been better.

Our group was great. No one got bent out of shape about anything a…

Mac and Jake - What A Night!

2012 was a sucky work year but I had a lot of highlights in my fun activities. The concert with Mac McAnally and Jake Shimabukuro is one those highlights. And, what a high it was!

I have loved Mac McAnally from afar for many years. For those who don't know him, he's Jimmy Buffett's guitar player, an award winning songwriter and a producer. He's also been the Country Music Association's Musician of the Year a bunch of times. The dude has chops.
I call him my favorite muppet because his hair is always so big and fluffy and, with his beard, he just reminds me of a Jim Henson creation. And, he seems really nice like a muppet should be. He's one of those people that I've been hesitant to meet because, if he weren't as nice as I thought he was, I'd be devastated.
Jake Shimabukuro is an amazing ukulele player who gained significant exposure when Buffett decided to feature him at some of his shows. This guy has mad skills. Check out this video:

To have both…

Shatner's World

A while back, one of my Chick Poker friends suggested we go see William Shatner's show at the Mesa Arts Center. I had no idea what he was going to do, say or perform but for only $65 a ticket, how could I say no? It would at least be worth a good story, I was sure.

The show day was the same as the PF Chang's Marathon where we worked a water station on the full marathon route. After literally standing from 6:15 AM to 2:30 PM, I was bushed. I had a solid 90 minutes of sleep then showered and headed to the show. The thought of skipping it was really strong since I was exhausted but I made a commitment so I dragged my sorry butt to MAC.

I'm glad I did! Someone described the show as 90 minutes of an old guy talking about himself. Yep, that summed it up. But, it was damned entertaining.

Shatner came out on a stage that was simply dressed with two chairs with tables (one set on each side of the stage and a big movie screen in back. They slid a rolling office chair out to him afte…

Restaurant Review - Vovomeena

Some of the Chick Poker girls and I decided to meet up for brunch and chose Vovomeena because of its central location and the intriguing thought of the Portuguese Donut Tower. Which, no one ended up ordering.

The restaurant is right in the middle of Central/Downtown hipster Phoenix and tucked into a center with a couple of other places to nosh and shops. There's both indoor and outdoor seating and, since it was an unusually cold day in Phoenix, we grabbed an indoor table.

You order at the counter and get a number to mark your table and the food is brought out to you. We ran into a minor issue where two of our peeps' number was written down incorrectly on the ticket and we finally convinced the girl it was their order.

The food was quite good. I had the Pawtucket West - two pancakes, potatoes and sausage. Stacey thought the pancakes were "OK" but I thought they were really good. Perhaps, because I never make them at home so they were a treat.

The others tried the Pain…

Good Time

This is a corporate video that was premiered at our annual Company Breakfast Meeting this morning. What a hoot for us. Everyone had a great time filming and watching. It's cute to watch if you don't know the people but really funny when you do because some of the unlikeliest folks turned out to be the biggest hams.

Our Senior Management team is featured at the beginning and there are employees from the US, Canada, Japan and Denmark. My department is the group juggling and throwing foam apples.

I.T. has become known for those apples. One of our employees bought about 50 of them from a store that sold teaching supplies and they're lined up on our cube walls. If someone walks in to the area and asks, "What's with the apples?", it's a cue for everyone to start pelting the questioner. There have been several battles and a lot of apple hoarding for said battles.

I don't participate too much because I'm always worried we're going to poke someone'…

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Well, hopefully, anyway.

I've been an intermittent, at best, blogger over the past few years. I've done many things that I thought worthy of writing posts about and even composed them in my head but couldn't find the energy to put them out in to the ether.

I sort of knew the reason at the time but now I know for sure. Work was bringing me down. Not my actual job, per se, but one soul-sucking project that went on for over two years. It wasn't just my soul, either. I could see the drag it had on a lot of others.

I joked that I wasn't actively looking for a bus to step in front of but I wasn't checking for one before stepping into the street, either.

Yeah, it was that bad.

And, I know it was because we are finally done and I feel reborn. The last major changes went into effect on January 1 and we had some cleanup to do throughout the month but things are now back to what I remember as normal.

This week has been the best week at work that I can remember in literall…