Showing posts from July, 2013

Three Gratitudes - Day 17

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

This exercise seems to be working on improving my outlook. I'm in the middle of Buffett ticket and Parrot Grande craziness and it usually leaves me frazzled. This time, I'm taking it one step at a time and focusing on the positives that I'm going to get to see a lot of friends at both events and we're going to raise a lot of money for charity for the latter. Hopefully, my positive attitude carries through the rest of August.That I bought my car. I feel very fortunate that when I went to buy a new car, a loaner had been turned in the day before with all the bells and whistles. If I'd had to buy new, I wouldn't have been able to talk myself into the extra money for those features, But I ended up paying about the same as I would have if I'd gone new and without the features and I couldn't be happier. Nearly every time I get in my car, I feel a fris…

Three Gratitudes - Day 16

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Summer dress code at work. We're really lucky that we can wear shorts from July 1 through Labor Day. They can't be too short or too tight but, man, is it ever nice to not be a sweat box just from going outside during the day. They felt especially good today since I just spent five days in 70 degree weather and today's high was 108. A bit of a rude awakening back to the summer heat.Phoenix drivers. Yeah, you read that right. I think it's a matter of being used to where you live but every time I spend a few days driving elsewhere, I'm relieved to get home. At least in Phoenix, I know what to expect from the idiot drivers. The Milwaukee drivers were complete tailgaters which we usually don't have. I suspect it's because they're so frustrated at their speed limits. Seriously, 50 on the freeway. Those limits were driving us crazy, I can't imagine…

Three Gratitudes - Day 15

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Having a home, sweet, home to return to. I love to travel but no matter how luxurious the hotel or how generous and welcoming your hosts are, nothing beats that moment when you can fall into your own bed after getting home. And, in my case, falling into bed then having 14 purring pounds of fur fall on you. There are many people out there without homes of their own. I'm very grateful that I do.Beer. Just as with wine, I applaud those who came before us and figured out how to make a fine, fine beverage. Beer provided me with a great topic of conversation on Friday night with a Milwaukee restaurant owner and was the basis of a tour of the Miller Brewery with Steven on Monday. I have lots of great memories from previous tours, too. Beer was also a source of small amazement as Steven and I had bought a couple of cases of Dos Equis, Dos Equis Amber, Tecate and Sol for my parents…

Three Gratitudes - Day 14

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

This entry is inspired by one of the best days of my life.

My parents made it to their 50th Wedding Anniversary. I think 50 years of marriage is going to become more and more rare as society has changed. I'm lucky that my parents have had a long and happy marriage. Sure, they bicker but they love and support each other and they love and support Steven and me. I'll be eternally grateful to have them as my parents.That my parents are the people they are. I was amazed at the turnout for my parents' anniversary party. Not only did we have four generations of family members in attendance, there were literally childhood friends of my Dad's there as well as family friends from when we lived in Wisconsin, crap it's a long time, 40 years ago. The biggest surprise was when people that we used to camp with in the early 70s walked into the room. They live in Minneapoli…

Three Gratitudes - Day 13

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Connecting with the generations. Having nearly all of our family live in another state, it's hard to really get to "know" people. That's why the opportunities to connect are so wonderful. While we were having lunch at The Pfister, my phone rang and the theme song from Doctor Who rang out. That's when we found out that my cousin's youngest daughter is a big Whovian and led us into a long conversation. One of my other cousins and her husband and son came to spend the night with us and not only did we get to know her husband better, we got to hang with her son. I'm not saying Steven and I are immature or anything but we did color and read Superman last night.Card games. Kids in our family are taught to play cards at a very early age. Like as soon as they can hold them. Playing cards is a great way to pass the time, enjoy conversation and trash talk. …

The Pfisters Descend Upon The Pfister

The great thing about talking to people in the Midwest is that when I have to give my name, I can say "Pfister, like the hotel" and they get it. That's because there is a semi-famous hotel in downtown Milwaukee that was opened in 1893 by Guido Pfister and his son, Charles. It was the first hotel to have individual room controls for heat. That's fancy! It's also supposed to be haunted, scary!
When we were deciding what to do on our Milwaukee trip, a plan came together to have lunch at the Pfister Hotel. Somewhere along the line, a rule was declared. You had to be either a Pfister by blood or married to a Pfister to attend. Sorry, Mom's side of the family, you didn't make the cut.
We ended up with nine in all and called to make a reservation. My Aunt put it under my Dad's name and the hotel thought we were pranking them. Charles Pfister making a reservation at a hotel founded by Charles Pfister over a hundred years ago? Right...
We got there a little e…

Three Gratitudes - Day 12

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Friends from all over that come out to play with me. There are many cities that I can go to and send out a "Hey, want to meet for cocktails or dinner?" and get a "You bet!" I love that. When in Milwaukee, those peeps are my cousin, Tim, and Rick and Sherry Perkins of the Milwaukee Area Parrothead Association. They were kind enough to entertain me for an evening and Sherry even recruited a few more from the club to join us. Despite their hatred of Jimmie Johnson, they were good people. We went to a great place on the Milwaukee River called the Sail Loft. Lots of great beer selections and Sherry introduced me to the owner and a couple of guys that work there and I had some great conversations with them. Then, it was on to Twisted Fisherman which is a very cool, parrot head like bar. You could almost pretend you're in Key West. Sherry and I closed it down …

Three Gratitudes - Day 11

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

That I can maintain my sense of humor when traveling. Here's my last experience with my family. Steven's friend picked up Steven and my parents to take them to the airport. His friend is mostly deaf. That didn't stop my Mom from talking to him in her quiet voice which started Steven's day of irritation. Then, when we got to the airport, I went to the line for people who had printed out their boarding passes. My parents and Steven were already in the other line as they had no passes. Of course, I had emailed Shorty his flight info so he could print them out and check in online. He wasn't capable. Sigh. I had checked them in the day before and texted Steven their confirmation number. He got them checked in but he was on my reservation and the woman seemed reluctant to help him. He had two reasonable options. Tell her he didn't know his confirmation number…

Three Gratitudes - Day 10

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Fantasy Football. I've been playing in a FFL for, golly, 18 or 19 years? When I first started, the commissioner had to manually add up the scores and we used Tuesday's USA Today as the official record. We also had to phone in our lineups because not everyone had email  (gasp!). What's great about FFL is that you get to trash talk people you may not normally see. There's one guy who works downstairs in my building and we may run in to each other every 3 or 4 months. But, when we do, the trashing begins! Not only do we dig each on other on our Fantasy teams, our real life teams get abused, too. The Cowboys guy in my work league really got hammered last year. Rightly so. FFL is also a great excuse to get the gang together in a sports bar on Sundays so you can watch all the game together and point out how many points your running back is scoring against your oppone…

Three Gratitudes - Day 9

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.
goodreads. As most people who know me are aware a read a lot. Several years I ago I was introduced to goodreads. I tell people it's like Facebook for readers. You get friends, you can follow people and then you see their postings. Their postings are what they've read, their reviews and what they want to read and I've found many books from there that I've enjoyed. The really neat thing about it is that you can use a tool to compare your books to another person and see how many you have in common and how close your ratings are. So, if someone reads way different genres then I do, I don't become friends with them and won't have to weed through their irrelevant postings. If Facebook would allow you to compare, say, religious and political beliefs before you accept a friend request, well, let's just say I'd have a lot less friends. Yesterday, goodrea…

Dysfunctional Songs

There's a new Luke Bryan song that's super popular. It's catchy and seems very romantic. Until you listen to the words and realize he's describing a completely unhealthy relationship. Basically, the dude is saying he will stop whatever he's doing, whenever he's doing it, if the chick comes a calling.

It actually makes me a little uncomfortable listening to it. Sort of the same feeling I got reading the Twilight books when Bella wanted to die because her pedophile boyfriend broke up with her.

I will admit that if Luke Bryan sang it directly to me, I might feel differently. :D

It reminds of an old Tim McGraw song where I had that same queasiness.

Seriously, the dude gives up everything for the chick and she goes off with another guy and he pretends to be happy for her. Just to see her smile. Ugh.

I know, I know. They're just songs and Twilight was just poor fiction. But the message refuses to sit well with me. How about some songs about nicely balanced, treat…

Three Gratitudes - Day 8

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Al Gore for inventing the internet. (OK, I know Al didn't invent the internet nor do I believe he meant to say that he did. Get off Al's back!) I'm planning a 50th Anniversary Party for my parents this summer. The party is going to be in Milwaukee and I'm doing it all from here in Arizona. The internet enabled me to consult with several peeps on locations and using Yelp I found a source for the catering and Evite is helping me keep track of the guest count. Well, as much as it can. I actually have relatives that don't have email which is nearly unimaginable. Think back to the olden days. I would have had to use intermediaries on the ground in Wisconsin or go to the library to find a Milwaukee phone book and, gasp, call around. And, I would have had to mail money back. How primitive! You can complain about how the internet is an evil timesucker but for all t…

Three Gratitudes - Day 7

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

My club BOD and Chairs. I needed to speak with a personal banker on Saturday about our club's debit card. As we were chit-chatting the woman asked me about the Arizona Parrot Head Club. I could talk for hours but I gave her a five minute speech on how many clubs there are in the world, how Buffett requires a minimum of community service events to be a club and how our club, like most others, does more than triple the minimum. She asked me what all we did and I started a list:  PF Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon, Alzheimer's Memory Walk, 50/50 raffles that support St Mary's Food Bank, Lost Our Homes, Angela's Closet, Hemophilia Association and our Parrot Grande event that supports ChildHelpAZ. Her response was an amazed, "You coordinate that all on your own?" No, ma'am, I do not and could not. If it were my only job, I might be able to do it but n…


My friend Cyndi lives on a horse property and actually has several horses. I hate horses for many reasons but let's just sum it up as they're evil.

While everyone else wanted to go look at her new foal, I was enticed outside by the fact that her neighbor has llamas. Awesome!

Cyndi said there was a friendly one named Kai but we heard it as Kyle and decided that's just a better name. So, Kyle it is. And, Kyle is, indeed, friendly. We walked up to the fence and called him over and he came. He had a buddy who followed behind but was too afraid to get close to us.

I tried to get a picture of Kyle's bad llama teeth but he wasn't in focus when he smiled. His buddy gave me a further away smile, though.

Kyle was very sweet and let me pet him for a while. They seem like nice animals though apparently they will spit on you. Which is gross so I don't approve.

Can't wait to visit him again. Of course, I had to send a picture to my Llama Hot friend, Ashley. She was very je…

Three Gratitudes - Day 6

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.
My Poker Chicks. I first met Stacey, Angela and Chris back when we all worked at Bookstar. We only worked together for a short time but those initial bonds have remained. Through the years, we've not only managed to maintain a solid friendship but have also added in Stacey's sisters, Cyndi and Beckey, and Angela's husband, Morgan. We go to movies, dinners, concerts and play poker, of course. Most of their poker play is maddening to me but they really enjoy my frustration so it's a win for them. I just don't know why I don't come home with their money each time. We played last night and did the math. We met in 1993 so this is our 20th year together. That makes me grateful. Now, if it would just not make me feel old. It's one thing when you add up the years with your grade and high school friends. But, when it's 20 years with people you met after …

Three Gratitudes - Day 5

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

My nerd herd. I have friends across the country who are into sci-fi/fantasy/tech as much or more than I am but they're far away. My work team is with me five days a week. I'm sure it's a byproduct of being in IT, but the nerd and geek quotients are higher than the mitochondria levels. We have group conversations nearly every day over a variety of topics. Which is our favorite IT Crowd episode? Our innate queasiness at the news that JJ Abrams was directing both Star Trek AND Star Wars. (It's just not right, for some reason.) How Joss Whedon is a genius who kills our favorite characters. And, of course the Mac vs PC discussion. Something related to that comes up nearly every day. We also share pics with each other. I send out the caveat, "If you don't get it, don't tell us because you will be mocked." Tis true. There are some things that people …

Because We're 'Mericans, Dang It!

We had a request to display a message in our software to notify the user when something was canceled.  I put in the development request and said to display "This gift card has been canceled." My developer wrote it as "This gift card has been cancelled."

I commented on the development request that I knew I was being nitpicky but I wanted the spelling with one L because that's the US standard. Another developer posted two web links explaining that one L is really wrong (though accepted) and we should be spelling it the way the Brits do.

My reply?

What country do we live in?

I also replied that I, too, could go find links to support my preferred spelling. Seriously, you can find something to support any view on the interwebs if you look long enough.

I took our conversation off the development request form to spare everyone one else from reading our comments and IMd my buddy who posted the links. The conversation started off with me calling him a foreigner. Because …

Three Gratitudes - Day 4

Continuing on my quest to feel happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

Our Corporate Challenge Cup games. We have an awesomely big trophy that gets passed to each winning department when they win challenges like bowling, softball, poker, spelling bees, steak eating (seriously), broom ball, darts, electronic games, etc. If an event can be a competition, it counts. Not only does the company support the events, it picks up the cost. The experiences have been great to not only build up team spirit within our department but also to promote relationships with other departments that we don't interact with on a regular basis. I just came from one event and we lost which is a huge bummer but it was dang fun which was fantastic.A flexible work schedule. Yeah, there are days (and sometimes weeks) where I have to put in a lot of long and specific hours but, for the most part, I can come and go as I please. We ask that everyone who's not telecommuting…

Three Gratitudes - Day 3

Continuing on my quest to feel (I changed this from find because I think it's a more appropriate word) happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

The weather in the Valley of the Sun. Sure, there are a few days when it's hotter than Satan's oven and we might have a couple of haboobs, microbursts or the occasional hail but that's all worth it for what we don't have. We don't have blizzards or snow storms of any size, tornados, hurricanes, ice storms or earthquakes (technically not weather but I'm still grateful). Oh, and humidity. I hate humidity and, while there are a few days that could qualify as "muggy", we mostly don't have it. We might complain when it hits 110 but then we're pretty good until it hits 120. That is hot. Really, you know you have pretty temperate weather when five minutes of rain is deemed newsworthy. And, people don't know how to drive after just two minutes of rain.Browser cache…

That's Not Quite What I Said

We've adopted a phrase that I think came from my crew in Iowa. When things are scalding or extremely sexy, we say they are "Lava hot!"

Yesterday, my crazy friend Ashley (well, she's one of my crazy friends, not the only) asked me to drive through Starbucks on our way back to the office after lunch. She ordered two overpriced drinks to-go and was struggling with not burning herself while getting everything safely in the car.

I said, "That's lava hot!"

She said, "Llama hot?"

I said, "Not exactly, lava as in coming from a volcano."

She said, "I like llama hot better so that's what I'm going to say." She then proceeded to post on Facebook "Holy cow it's Llama Hot!" Two other people besides me liked her status. I don't know if they're crazy, too, or just being supportive of her randomness.

Of course, I had to follow up so I posted this picture on Facebook.

My friends are apparently used to me postin…

Software Kitteh

At our last monthly managers' meeting, I used my laptop to display everyone's visual aids. I had a Keynote presentation, three others had PowerPoint and one person had a Microsoft Word document. As we were looking at the Word document, it was commented on that I had a cat on the screen.

If you turn on MS Office's Office Assistant, you get a help feature. It comes with a little graphical character that you can change. The default is the Paper Clip. I think his name might actually be Clippy
For experienced Office users, it's actually a bit of a nuisance. It pops up too frequently and you're usually like, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Shut it!" 
While you can choose different images (even a little Albert Einstein), I love the cat. It actually meows, purrs, curls up to sleep, wakes up and stretches and brings out a hand stamp when you print. 
The best part is that the meowing always freaks George out. She must really think it's another actual cat.
If you…

Three Gratitudes - Day 2

Continuing on my quest to find happiness, I'm going to post three things I'm grateful for for 21 days.

George! Of course, my baby is on the gratitude list. You know how some people have cats that are really cuddle bunnies and others that run and hide? Those are normal cats. It's only fitting that I would get a cat that, on her best day, is quirky and on her worst is a demon. George is a contrary creature. She refused to be trained to stay off the counter and the dining room table yet will come from another room if I call her. Try to pick her up or hold her and she cries like you're literally destroying her organs but she insists on lying on my chest each morning when I wake up so she can purr and lick my face and sometimes just rest her head in my cupped hand while she sleeps. She interferes with my packing yet doesn't do anything destructive while I'm gone. In fact, she greets me at the door and proceeds to tell me long stories about what's happened in my a…

Happiness And Work - Going Together?

What an intriguing idea...being happier at work makes you more productive!

One of our managers at work shared this TED talk with me and I, in turn, shared it at our monthly managers' meeting today.

I've watched it three times now and it's well worth the 12 minutes of time. Not only is the message a strong one, Achor's presentation style is fabulous. He's fast, funny and personable. I want to be Amy the Unicorn! (You have to watch it to get that one.)

It's funny how the idea is one we've been hearing for years. If you're happy at work, you'll be better at your job. And, better at your life, I imagine. Mind over matter and whatnot.

He also makes a great point about how you achieve a goal then immediately set a higher goal rather than enjoying where you're at. You get good grades, you want better grades. You get a good job, you want a better job.

Achor even gives a prescription to achieve more happiness. Every day for 21 days, do one of the followi…

Reasons To Be Happy That I Have To Work The Fifth Of July

Everyone at work is heading out early today and also asking, "Are you off on Friday?"

Um, no.

My response elicits looks of pity and also incredulity. A lot of people can't imagine why I'm not making it a four day weekend.

Well, I can't because all of my days off for the rest of the year are already earmarked. I'll certainly enjoy those days off then but I'm feeling the need for some bolstering now.

So, in no order of importance, here are the things I'm telling myself to make myself feel better.

At least I have a job.Traffic will be really light so the commute will be fast and smooth.I don't have to pay to keep my house at weekend temperature instead of the 86 degrees I leave it at during the week.We'll probably leave early.It will be a good time to catch up on project work that requires a lot of concentration.I can also catch up on some management webinars that I've been meaning to watch.Someone has to help keep the ship sailing, might as w…

Why I Can Never Pick Music As A Jeopardy Category

Don't tell SiriusXM that I would pay so much more for their service than they charge.

I was driving home from work and heard a familiar song. I even sung along.

Gimme dat, gimme dat
Gimme, gimme, gimme dat
Gimme dat ding, gimme dat

I thought, "Cool, Doctor Hook song."

Then, I looked at the display and it said the song was by Pipkins (1970).


Who the hell is that?

I surmised that it must be a group also fronted by the same guy as Doctor Hook. (Whose name is Ray Sawyer but I couldn't remember it until I looked it up. Ray, I could have gotten. Sawyer, not so much.)

I chanted Pipkins the rest of the way home because I won't google and drive and I didn't want to forget to look it up. I can't stand ignorance.

You can only imagine my surprise to find that The Pipkins was a duo composed of Roger Burrows and Tony Greenway. No association with Ray Sawyer at all!

How did I not know this?

Here's the song. I sincerely hope that no one else knows this but, con…

Summer Practical Joke Idea

I suspect this will only work when it's really hot out.

Empty one of these and screw the top back on:

Put it in the cabin of someone's car where they won't readily see it.

The heat will change the pressure on the bottle and make it randomly crack. The sound is much like a rock hitting the windshield or the side of the car. Of course, it will make the sound when the car is stopped as well, which is what will drive the person really crazy.

How do I know?

It took me three days to figure out that the empty in full sight in the back seat of my car was making that cracking noise. Drove me to the point of fury, in fact, when I was driving and then when I heard it when the car was off.

Yes, I live to be an example to others.

Movie Review - Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon is a super genius and I want to hang out with him and try to get IQ points via proximity. And, hang out with his super cool friends to see if you can get Cool points via proximity.

I want to be best friends with ALL of them!
OK, that's the short review of my opinion of Much Ado About Nothing.

Whedon is so creative. He took the play, moved it to current times and filmed it in black and white at his home. Oh, and did the music, too. I read that they only took 12 days to film it but you can't tell from the beautiful framing and clever shots (Barbie dolls in the Dollhouse!). It's gorgeous and fun. And, did I mention gorgeous? That party scene! I also want to live at Joss' house because I suspect there might be a lot of alcohol consumed. Bonus!

I knew it was going to be good when the opening scene is a dialog free add on that was perfect for explaining the Benedict/Beatrice love/hate. Wesley and Fred, er, I mean Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker brought a lot…