Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Name Dropper

When I watch Dateline, or listen to a podcast that involves a crime, I am always amazed (and a little frightened) for the people when they are asked to recount where they were and what they were doing at any given point in time.  With the help of technology, and the proper settings on my phone, my calendar would be my lifeline in assisting me in providing an alibi, explanation (and I am even talking about looking back last week).  The memory isn't what is used to be....

But, I do remember where I was on September 10, 1982.  How about you?  As I like to tell it, I was having lunch with the President of the United States.  In 1982, I was younger than all of our kids except Madison.  I was working full time at a place called Insurance Services Office and helped make ends meet by working as a cocktail waitress at the Topeka Club several evenings a week.  The Topeka Club was where the Republicans gathered (located on top of the then Merchants National Bank Building).  The Democrats were over at the Top of the 1st National Bank Building.  (Even then they didn't mingle).

The evening of September 9th, I was waiting on a table of what I called "big wheels" although I only knew one of the gentlemen.  There was one man in particular who kept smiling at me and being a friendly type of gal, I smiled back.  Let's not forget, tips were the main source of income for this job.  At the end of the evening he asked me to walk him to the elevator and he would give me my tip.  Yea, I thought, I have had to fend off this type of tip before (I was quite the man magnet in my younger years). Imagine my surprise when he handed me a ticket to the $100 per plate luncheon being held the next day as a fundraiser for the then President Reagan.  (I think those luncheons go for about $25k now).

I found out the next day that the man who gave me the ticket was the Executive Secretary of the Republican party in Kansas.

Of course, I went to the luncheon and when it was over, I wrote a detailed letter of the event to my mom.  She saved it and recently gave it back to me.  Two things still stand out for me ALL OVER AGAIN after reading this letter.

At that time, I was so impressed with all the "power" in the room.  I was young in my working life, still at my first job and working as an executive secretary at the time.  Mentioned in the letter was the thought process going through my head that if I spoke out loud, the President, along with many other important leaders, would hear me.  The second point I made was, I would probably tell my grandchildren this story (if I lived that long).

Since that time I have had the opportunity to work with many people in various levels of power and authority.  And have met additional "power" people.  While many of these people have left impressions on me, I am no longer in awe of power in the room.  Once you know the "powerful" as people, you lose the mystery.  We are all just who we are.

And finally - I have lived long enough to tell my grandchildren, and I do have several (five to be exact) so let me go on record that this is the official notification of my brush with The Chief.

Until next time,


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What do we expect?

For those of you who may not have noticed, we are in an Election Year.  What that means is we have more campaign commercials than quality television and are subjected to this barrage of media torture from dawn until dusk.  I have been pondering over the state of our government, the way our system works and the overall inability of our top leaders to get along and my only comment is..."what do we expect?"

Is there any other area in our life where we "campaign" for the desired position, not by speaking o

f the talents, great experience and potential they bring to the office, but by constantly badmouthing all those who might be also "running" for the same job.  And what kind of jobs, except those elected, do any of us pour millions of dollars into the effort of securing, for so little return?

No one can be excluded from this bad behavior - although some do better than others.  Think about it for a minute.  All the top companies in the world do executive searches for the best talent when an important opening occurs.  What if those candidates under consideration were interviewed and all the hiring panel heard was bad things about the other candidates?  How do you spell success?

I'm not running!
What if a student considering where to attend college went to visit a prospective school and all the school could tell him/her was why they should NOT attend several other schools the student may have been considering?
Can you imagine what our courtships would look like if our prospective spouse, when popping that ever important magical question, also presented a laundry list of all the reasons you should NOT marry any one else.  Hardly an endorsement for a life time.

Yet, that is what we are subject to for close to twenty-four (LONG) months leading up to the elections.  We also need to hold the media accountable, as they feed this fire to a point that the issues aren't even being talked about, just who said what about whom.

And this is what I have figured out after all this pondering.  Out of all those who talk about everyone else (rarely good, always bad, snidely indifferent at times), one of them gets elected.  Multiply that by however many open positions we have on any given election, and you have now gathered a group of "winners" whose most advertised talent is their ability to speak poorly of each other.  And now we expect them to work together and get along?

I don't have the answers to everything but I do know the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Which leaves me with this question - with all this campaigning going on, how do we really vote for CHANGE?

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Never too old to learn

So this week I am in Mediation training.  It's a 40-hour course I am really interested in and today was the first day.   We were reminded of the different learning types, what is important to people and the different mediation styles (for starters).

I am primarily a visual learner.  I have always known that but it was fun to review the list again and validate all the reasons on the checklist.  I had to laugh when I saw "draws pictures instead of using words".  Many times I find myself trying to draw out what I am trying to say to an individual (or a group) so they can SEE what I am SAYING.  Another style is kinaesthetic, or physical.  This is sooo Madi.  Just last week I was watching all the girls basketball team line up for the national anthem. Everyone is standing still, with their hand over their heart....everyone that is, except Madi.  She was swaying back and forth. keeping time to the music.  Later, while she was taking a break from the game, everyone else sitting on the bench is still, intently watching the game.  Her legs are bouncing up and down so fast, she might as well still be on the court.  That's my girl.

Yes, I took a picture!!
The training flyer we received with all the important information (dress code) arrived a couple of days ago and it mentioned the dress code was casual...even jeans or shorts were permissible.  This was all good news to me.  I like to be comfortable when I am sitting in a classroom for eight hours focused on subject matter.

We were sitting in groups of four and I was with two other women about my age and a young man in his twenties.  Everyone was quite pleasant and during the group activities, we all equally participated and contributed.  I believe it was around mid morning when I happened to glance down and notice that my seatmate (the young man) had his shoes off.  Okay, I guess I know several people who like to kick their shoes off when sitting at a desk, table, etc.  NO BIG DEAL.

During our first break, as I was walking around the lobby to get some steps (think FITBIT), my new friend was returning to the class room.  BAREFOOT.  Now, I thought that was pushing it a little, especially when I turned to walk in with him and he then went up to talk to the instructors for a while. Still sans shoes.

But wait....there is more.

At lunch, we had an hour on our own and one of the lady's at our table and the young man, began to drift with me as I walked out the door, discussing eating options.  Deciding Subway was close and within walking distance, it wasn't until we were half way across the parking lot that I got it....still NO SHOES.  At this point, I believed it was safe to say that my highly intelligent, articulate class mate did not WEAR SHOES.

This brings casual to a new level.

After we ate at Subway (and weren't asked to leave), the other lady with us finally said, "I can't help but notice, you don't have on shoes".  How's that for taking on the shoeless elephant in the room?? As it turns out, he just doesn't wear them unless he has too.  And hasn't since college.

Now, I don't know everything but I do know this.  I thought I had to wear shoes in public.  He apparently doesn't feel the same way.  This is how people end up needing a mediator.  Ironic, yes?

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dating (my husband) at 58

So Terry and I (mostly me) have decided it would be a good idea to start having date nights.  Let's face it, Madison is going to graduate from high school this year and college is then just a quick summer away.  Despite her dad's best efforts, I don't see her going to the college just down the street from us (and continuing to live at home).

It's time to start getting used to "just us".  Starting out as a blended family, we never really had that type of atmosphere, so there is some concern that we won't have anything to talk about.

Keeping that in mind, I planned our first date night a couple of weeks ago.  We (again, mostly me) decided to start out with a date night every other week, and we will take turns planning it.  I thought about a movie but that eliminates all efforts at conversation.   I still thought about it (for quite a while actually) and decided that wasn't keeping with the intent of the outing.  So...I planned a dinner date at a restaurant we hadn't been to before.  It was quite nice (and as a special appeal to my husband, I even purchased a Groupon ). Terry likes a good deal.  I made a reservation for Saturday night and we were set.

Still crazy after all these years
Almost,   Leaving nothing to chance, I thought it would be good to have a conversation starter so we didn't veer off into Madison conversations, work or sports.  I saw an article that had a few questions couples could ask and share so I quickly emailed these to Terry for thoughtful consideration prior to the BIG NIGHT!  Dating didn't seem so hard when we first started out twenty years ago.

Our dinner was a three course Chef's special meal.  This was a restaurant with NO TV'S or children to be seen.   We each had an adult beverage and made small talk about the ambiance.  I noticed the fireplace and adult patronage and Terry commented on the lack of TV's. Hmmmm.  I didn't bring up the "questions" until the main course arrived.

The first one was "if you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?"  I had given this quite a bit of thought (for both of us) and was interested in Terry's response.  He looked at me and seriously said "I wish I didn't snore."  Luckily, I didn't spit the food out of my mouth at that soul searching response.  That's it...that's all you've got (is what my expression said) but I managed to croak out "Really?"  I then shared that the change I would make for myself was that I wouldn't be so defensive and I was going to try and work on this (starting right then).  He nodded approvingly.  (the thoughts that were going on in my head!!!)

No grudges
By the time we got to the question "do you hold any grudges" we were both lying.  In my head I had one main grudge I still held, ready to openly share and receive some feedback but when he looked me in the eye and said he held NO GRUDGES AGAINST ANYONE, I looked right back at him and said ME NEITHER.  GAME ON!!!  I was starting to develop a second grudge.....

The last question had to do with what have you had to "just accept" about the other person,  Well, after two glasses of wine, I might have been a little too honest on this question.  I went first and don't think Terry even answered.

We finished off the night wondering what Madison was doing...

Can't wait to see what exciting night he has planned for us this coming up weekend.  He did mention a UT men's baseball game.

I don't know everything but this is what I do know.  If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Until next time,

your pal,


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