Showing posts from February, 2016

Captain's Last Flight

Any day I learn something new is a good day. Any day that I experience something while traveling that the more experienced road warriors haven't is a great day! (Well, not scary experiences.)

I was flying from Phoenix to Houston and, while waiting in the lounge at Sky Harbor, overheard a conversation. One of the people was the brother of our pilot who said that there was a group of family getting on board to celebrate his brother's last flight before retirement.

Apparently, this is a pretty big deal. The agents at the gate announced it. The purser on board announced it and also gave a bio of the Captain, Rob Wilson, over the loudspeaker. A short while before we landed, the purser handed out copies of an official looking memo in celebration of the event. I wish I had taken one but I wanted to make sure all of the family got a copy.

But, that wasn't the end of it. As we taxied to the gate, the plane was subject to a water salute while another announcement was made thanking t…

Twelve Albums

There's one those Facebook things going around. You're supposed to list 12 albums that have stayed with you, but only one per band/artist. Don't take too long and don't think too hard. No compilations.

You're also supposed to tag 10 people to do it after you. I don't tag people in these types of activities so I posted mine and told people to participate if they want to.

It wasn't easy. As soon as I was done, I thought of another 4 or 5 right away. 

I also wanted to explain my choices which would have made for a long Facebook post. But, a great blog post! So, here goes.

This was my immediate pick. An instinctive one, really. It has Jessie's Girl which is sorta "my" song but also so many others that I love. It's not at all uncommon for me to queue this up on my iPhone and listen to it all the way through. It's not quite as cool as listening to it on vinyl but it suffices. My Rick Springfield crush persists to this day. He played at the Arizo…

Pick A Lane!

I did two round trips on I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson this month and lost all patience with my fellow road warriors and part of my faith in humanity. Oh, the stupid and annoying!

I continually remind myself that I have plenty of time to get there or get home and that, if I arrive a few minutes late, it's OK. But, as soon as I get on the road and encounter a driver who violates "my" rules of the road, my blood pressure rises and I start fantasizing about owning and operating a portable rocket launcher.

The Left Lane

Is the above sign that difficult to understand? Maybe there are just that many illiterate drives on the road?

I know I'm a fast highway driver. I don't expect everyone else to be. If you get in the left lane to go past some slower traffic and slow me down for a bit until you can move back over, it's OK. What's not OK is if you pull in front of me and then drive at exactly the speed limit. If you pull in front of me and drive below the speed l…

Lobster? I Hardly Knew Her!

Everyone's pictures and descriptions of their fancy Valentine's Day meals this weekend made me think about the last lobster dinner I attended. It was a team celebration dinner for one of our Germany projects and our CEO and his wife, Curt and Beth, hosted it at their home. In addition to key team members, the entire Senior Management staff was in attendance.

They are the most gracious of hosts and sincerely welcome everyone in to their home. Even when we just invite ourselves which we some times do.

The theme was Lobster (why, I don't know but maybe just because they were in season and it was a special event) and the table was decorated with an ocean theme. Beth had found plastic plates that looked like paper but had lobsters on them. Super cute! And, reusable.

What I didn't know until we got there was the they had flown in live lobsters for dinner. Ugh. They completely creep me out. I'm not all that excited by the taste (might as well just slurp melted butter) and…

Continued Destruction

Samwise and Starbuck have an unhealthy attraction to my iPhone charger. I keep it by my bed to charge at night and I think they spend all day while I'm away chewing on the metal end that goes into the phone. They chew it until it no longer works.

I think we were on cord number three. Could be four.

Thinking I was smart, I started opening the top drawer in my nightstand and putting the top of the cord in there when it wasn't plugged in. Apparently, that wasn't the best idea as this is what my cord looked like when I tried to charge the phone on Thursday night.

Yep, closing the drawer on the cord eventually broke through to the wire. Dammit.

I headed to the store on Friday to get a replacement. I bought two. I have a feeling I'll need them both.

What's especially maddening is that I also have the cord to charge my Kindle there, too. They've completed ignored it.

Maybe they're just Apple haters?

Marathon Playlist

A friend of mine told the story of putting together his playlist while running in one of the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon events and it reminded me that I've never told this tale here before. I've told it plenty in person to a lot of people, though. Because, grrr.

Side note, it was my friend's first ever blog post so I'm proud of him for racing and proud of him for taking on a new creative endeavor.

The Arizona Parrot Head Club worked a water station for the race here in Phoenix for many, many years. We'd bring out our sound system, dress up in Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts and cheer the athletes on. We were the best and we got the awards to prove it. Yay, us!

One year, the person who usually did the DJ work wasn't able to make it. I got a request from the Event Chair the night before to bring my tunes. I looked at my standard Buffett playlist and realized there are a lot of slow songs on there and a lot of songs the majority of the athletes coming pa…

My Favorite Bar - Living The High Life

I spend a lot of time in bars. It's because they're such great places to meet people and engage in deep conversations about all sorts of topics. The more cocktails, the deeper the conversation. Or, so it seems.

OK, I spend a lot of time in bars because I love cocktails, too.

I don't get to my favorite bar very often, though, because it's 1,400 miles away in Des Moines, IA. My friend Dawnie first took me there years ago and I was instantly smitten for many reasons.

First, the name. The High Life Lounge. The Champagne of Bars! Perfection!

Second, the decor. Think 1970s Dad basement bar. Beer signs, wood paneled walls, nondescript carpet...

Third, the menu. If I were President, I would sign an Executive Order on my first day in office that every restaurant must serve Tator Tots, that's how much I love those little grease pillows. You can get your basic Tots at The Highlife but you can also get bacon wrapped tots! Nirvana. They also have Tang. Yes, the drink of the ast…

Musical Memory Lane

Ask people what was the best decade for music and they pick the years where they came of age. At least, anecdotally, that appears to be the norm. The question is a great conversation starter, regardless of their answers.

While I love pop/rock from the 50s forward, the 80s were my favorite decade. However, I don't know that it's because that's when I really got into music. I think it's more of the influence of MTV.

Music videos brought a whole new level of engagement to the game. Reading liner notes while listening to an album and articles in Rolling Stone were no longer the only ways to get to "know" your favorite musicians and bands. While there was definitely some spin put on performers to make them appear personable, or not depending on the marketing benefit, it was that much easier to make an emotional connection when you could see them cavort across your TV screen.

The emotional connect was especially easy if the artist was hot like my fave of the decade…

Grateful For First World Problems

Between Christmas and New Year's, my dryer stopped heating up, my water heater sprung a leak in the middle of the night, my toaster decided to only heat one side of the bread, the cold water faucet in my bathroom broke and I spend $300 on tickets to see my Green Bay Packers get demolished by the Arizona Cardinals.

To say things weren't going my way was a bit of an understatement, in my opinion.

Fortunately, I was reading the perfect book for my doomsday week.

A friend whom I consider to be even more negative than I am said that this book had made a positive impact on her attitude. The author tells her story in the first person as she spends a year trying to be more grateful. She cites a great deal of research on what makes us grateful and how it benefits our health and mental wellbeing.

I used her techniques to reframe what was going on and it made me feel so much better.

Instead of bemoaning the expense and inconvenience of having to buy major appliances right after Christmas…

A Rewarding Experience

Our Sales Team has an annual day where they present all matter of Sales Awards to the team. There's a breakfast session for half of the team and a lunch session for the others. It's led by the Sales Managers and Director and they selectively invite colleagues throughout the business whom they feel are critical to their successes. It's an honor to be invited and I've had the great privilege to attend the past two events. (They know me well enough to invite me to the lunch session instead of the breakfast because, well, mornings, ugh.)

I enjoy attending for several reasons. The main one is the chance to see everyone. Most of our Outbound Sales team works from home so it's a delight to catch up in person. I also like seeing who wins, of course. And, it's heartwarming to see the support and enthusiasm the team has for each other. They do a lot of celebrating of their colleagues' wins.

This year's event was pretty fancy. It was held at a nearby hotel and we …

A Family Affair

I got an email out of the blue from my Mom's cousin, Tom, a few weeks ago. He and his wife, Agnes, were driving through on a road trip vacation from Wisconsin to California and wanted my parents' contact info. He happened to have kept my email address from when I collected RSVPs for my parents' 50th Anniversary a few years back so I was his first, and last, stop on the social network.

I didn't tell my parents so they were super surprised to hear from Tom. Shorty was all like, "Guess who's here?" and I was like, "Yes, I know." It's kind of our thing.

Coincidentally, when Tom and Agnes were scheduled to be in Phoenix, my Mom's sister Betty was here on a visit, also from the Homeland. So, we had quite the crowd gathered at my parents' house. In addition to us and Aunt Betty, my Uncle Jack and his wife Rose Mary and my Uncle Jim (both are my Mom's brothers who live here) were in attendance. And, Agnes' sister and brother-in-law w…