Tuesday, August 21, 2018

We 💚 Boston!

June 6, 2010 ~ Rocky and I stayed overnight in Boston. Our flight to Ireland took off the evening of June 7, so we had about 24 hours to enjoy one of our favorite places.

The flight from El Paso to Boston was uneventful (the best kind) except for our hostess. She reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West. She was busy busy busy ignoring any needs of the passengers, and glaring at those who were lucky enough to catch her eye and make her do something.....like her job. She was really quite attractive but her sour attitude took care of all that! Her partner in crime was almost as bad, especially when she was hacking and coughing all over the passengers. Now, I know that sounds kind of mean, but come on!!

When we were at cruising altitude they broke out the drink cart, and when they passed by your seat and you happened to be reading or having a conversation with someone, you were out of luck until they came by to start picking up trash. If you were brave enough to ask for something at that time, you got it, but not until the airplane was spic and span!

When she made the second trash pass, I wasn't paying attention again, and I guess she actually had to stop and wait for me. To get my attention she shook her noisy plastic bag in my face....like a scary trick-or-treater. She was UN-pleasant.

And can you believe if you want something other than a soda (in a tiny cup with ALOT of ice) you have to pay for it! I couldn't believe it! What a rip off. Witchy woman walked up and down the isles with $4 sandwiches, $3 cookies and $3.50 cheeseboards - and I use that word loosely! While I was enjoying my cheeseboard, I couldn't believe passengers would actually pay for that sort of thing!! (I know, but gimme a break.....it was a 5 hour flight!)

Unexpected Bargain!

Not far from my house is a furniture store - Charlotte's.  I've been in there before, and unless you're dressed appropriately for a gala, dripping with diamonds, and with bullet-proof Texas hair, they won't even look at you, much less wait on you.  Knowing this, I decided to take a another chance, and I bounced in there with my capris, sandals and average looking blouse.  Also my hair was typical "me hair," but it was clean, and I had it stylishly pulled back behind one ear, so my pretty earrings would show.  That's all I had going for me!  Well that, and my very attractive purse, on which I get many compliments!

Two sales ladies were sitting at a desk, chatting, and after what seemed like 20 minutes, they both turned to look at me, and then looked away!  I thought, "Again???" So just as I whirled around on my very sore heel (big mistake!) to leave the store, one of the ladies actually got up and offered to help me, and she was nice!  Stunned, I just stood there for a minute, not knowing how to respond.  I thought maybe she meant she would help me out the door. 

I was looking for a cabinet that would hold my kitchen dishes.  The catch was it had to fit in a space 36" x 27" x 8 feet.  She showed me several pieces, all of which were very classy, and none of which would work.  Just as she was going to have me look through some catalogues, she remembered this beat up, but interesting antique piece.  I fell in love with it, and the measurements were perfect!  I thought it was very expensive, for what it is, but I'm a good talker.  After a few minutes I had them almost begging me to take it off their hands, and they would even deliver it for free!  (I exaggerate a bit here).  But I got the piece, along with some pretty deep discounts.  I thought when all was said and done, it was a fair price!  

As I was leaving the store, the nice sales person mentioned that the store had a free consulting service.  I jumped all over that!  She came by yesterday, and we chose a couple of great paint colors for the kitchen, so we'll see.   You who have seen my monochromatic kitchen will understand why I took her up on this service.  I was going to ask for her help with my study, but I didn't dare let her in there.  I would have had to ask her to sign a release from liability form!

At YOUR age.....?

In 2010 I worked as an occupational nurse.  I liked the job, but things out of my controlled slowly began making the environment more and more unpleasant.  I decided to quit, and used the excuse that I was going back to school to get a Master's degree.  So....I gave my 2 weeks notice, and my last day was August 19, 2010.  Little did I know, the next class at UTEP started on August 23, 4 days later!  Poor planning!  So I scrambled, made a quick appointment talk to the Dean about why I was the best candidate for one of the few spots still available in the program.  It was one of my better moments!

I soon found out there were more than a few spots still open.....like 40 spots.  That should have been my first clue that I had made the wrong decision.  I can't even begin to explain why I say that, because the answer is so vast, complex and sad for purposes of this blog.  But I will try.

That weekend before classes started, I bought new "school clothes,"  books and pencils!  I was so excited.  Monday morning, I discovered I could go to class in my pajamas, because the entire program, with a few exceptions, was online!  How can a Nurse Practitioner program be online?  I'm still trying to figure that out, even tho I've already graduated!

One of Rocky's nephew's said "All nurse practitioners ever do is write papers," and that's why he didn't want to join up.  I was very protective of my decision at that time, and thought he was a dope, but he was right on target!  That's all we did for 18 months.  I wrote papers on apoptosis, nurse-to-nurse bullying....all kinds of things that would not help me become a better NP.  That's what happens when the professors leave us up to our own resources!  We were supposed to read each others' papers (they were posted online) and make in-depth comments.  My apoptosis paper received only one comment....."Good job!"  I guess that's all they could think to say.

Poor Rocky - he's a saint!  When he would come home from work, almost every day I would be sitting at the kitchen table crying.  He was so kind and patient....for about a month.  Then he said, "OK, here's the deal.  There's no crying in medicine!"  I was so lost and in over my head, and now I couldn't even cry!  Well, I still cried, just all alone in my bedroom or in my car!  How pathetic is that? 

I was warned about the "30 pound weight gain."  But there I was, being able to sit down all day long and just read and write.  That was a dream come true for me!! But wow! I think I sailed past 30 pounds the first month!  It's just awful!  So, that's my new challenge.

I'm pretty computer saavy, but "Blackboard," the program we used for the online program came with it's own set of challenges.  We had to "post" on time, which means you had to turn in your papers on time.  When I missed a deadline due to a program malfunction, I would have to beg my professors to open the board again and let me post because........"  Their standard answer was "No!"  That's when I went to work trying to make them see the folly of their decision.  I was always successful.

After 3 semesters, we all started our clinical rotations.  We had to find our own preceptors!  My first rotation was pediatrics, and my preceptor was unpleasant and intolerant.  I guess she expected more from me since I was old enough to be her grandmother.  Heck, I was old enough to be the physicians' grandmother!  After 70 hours of pediatrics, I moved on to 70 hours of Women's Health, where my preceptor was a dream.  Her office partner, who was also wonderful and taught me so much, turned to me one day and asked "What were you thinking?" Another reference to my age!  By this time I was thinking the exact same thing!  What WAS I thinking?

Christmas vacation couldn't come fast enough, but to my dismay, we had to sign up for a crash course in complementary and alternative medicine.  It was 8 hours a day for 14 days, in an actual classroom, with an actual class leader.  Interesting experience......that's all I'm sayin'!

The next year we had to sign up for another class during Christmas vacation.  It was a full-term course, and we were required to do it in 2 weeks.  What a nightmare!  We worked at least 12 hours a day, and had to work in groups.  My group members lived in San Antonio, Ft. Worth and Dallas.  Group work is so  hard at best, but under those conditions, it's almost impossible. We had a major paper due every day.  I started crying again, even in front of Rocky.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mini-Boot Camp

Where I work, we've started a fitness program for the associates who are interested. So far, we have over 270 participants! To kick the whole thing off, a local trainer volunteered to set up her "Survival of the Fittest" boot camp at work. Up until the day of the boot camp, my stomach would start churning every time I thought about it. I couldn't connect the dots between "Boot Camp" . . . and . . . "Me!" I'm 60 years old, and 55 of those years have been spent sitting on the couch or laying in bed! You can understand my angst!

While driving to my death, I did an awful lot of praying. Seriously. Praying I wouldn't make a fool of myself in front of my co-workers. Praying the ambulance wouldn't have to be called. Praying I'd be able to walk upright when it was all over. Praying I'd have the nerve to stop praying and actually get out of the car!

Approximately 60-65 associates showed up. We were given a colored star to hang around our neck. This was to identify our team members. I was given a yellow star and in my fragile frame of mind, it reminded me of the yellow identifying stars the Jews had to wear just prior to the Holocaust. I started praying again. All I wanted to do was go home!

During the next two hours we jumped, skipped, hopped, crawled under ropes, ran thru tires (just like the football players!), did traveling push-ups, (push-ups on the move), dribbled basketballs thru cones, ran with 8 pound water jugs in each hand, pushed a wheelbarrow loaded with bags of cement around the parking lot, threw medicine balls in the air while doing squats, did bunny hops (that's where you jump over traffic cones, then reach down and touch the ground (and stand back up again!) about a billion times. We also boxed which I really enjoyed because I got to hit something. I heard our trainer tell another trainer (the one wearing the fatigues from head to toe) "Wow! She really packs a punch!

We also did triceps exercises that actually blow your triceps out the back of your arms, along with thrust jump outs, mountain climbers, floor jumping jacks (I thought this one would be like laying down making snow angels), more mountain climbers, ladder drills, abdominal elbow and knee rocks, and lots more. I can't tell you what these exercises are now, but I'm proud to say I did about 95% of them! I stopped when I temporarily lost my vision!

It wasn't fun, and it was unbelievably difficult, and now I have a much larger special place in my heart for our soldiers. Imagine doing that all day for 8 weeks.

I was home by 11am and was TOTALLY exhausted. I spent most of the day in my favorite spot.....the couch, watching the basketball tournament. Sometimes I slept. I took two hot jacuzzi's and got in the spa outside during the rest of the day. It felt so good, and I had the ridiculous notion I wouldn't be all that sore the next day.

Early Sunday morning I hopped out of bed and as soon as my feet hit the floor I started screaming like a little girl! Kendall Brown Jessup, said something a long time ago about how she loves "second day soreness." What is wrong with her?? My entire body felt as if it had come in contact with several steamrollers. Every time I took a step I either screamed or grunted. I'm sure Rocky got really tired of hearing all that!

I stumbled into church walking like Frankenstein. If I happened to drop something, I had to just stand there, looking at it longingly, and wait until someone wolunteered to pick it up for me. I tried to tell my Sunday School class about my boot camp experience, but all they wanted to talk about was the dance they attended the night before. I didn't understand, because my story was WAY better.

By Monday I could take a deep breath without screaming, and Tuesday a bit more of the soreness was just a horrible, distant memory. An interest survey was sent around the office to offer the boot camp two more times in the next twelve weeks for a small fee. You can't imagine how many people actually signed up! I'm holding out for the time being. The Director of Human Resources told me, as the occupational nurse, I should sign up and set the example. My lower lip started quivering!

Tomorrow I start workouts with Boot Camp Woman. Can you believe I'm actually going to pay good money to be treated like that?? What is wrong with me?! So wish me luck on my journey! That's what they call it .... a journey. Positive people!! To me it was like a journey to H E double toothpicks. Had I blogged this last week, I'm sure I would have left out the double toothpicks part!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Patti's Affinity for Taxis

Well....it's been a while, huh? Blog-worthy events rarely happen to us, as you already know if you're one of our 3 faithful followers. I heard on the news tonight about a woman and her blog a1bout how difficult it is to be a military wife and not having your husband around for such long periods of time. She has over 19,000 followers! Can you believe that? Maybe we should visit her blog and then blog about that!

So Patti and I were in church a couple of weeks ago and started sharing childhood stories and teenage memories. She mentioned when she was in pre-Primary, she won the Best Dressed Cowgirl! Yee Hah! Somehow Daddy was supposed to take her to the rodeo with the tickets she won, and Patti remembered Daddy getting real mad about having to do that!  Daddy was easily annoyed!

I remember when Mother bought Patti and I matching dresses for "Go Western Day." Mine was turquoise and Patti's was bright pink. They both had tons of tacky, silver ric-rac all over them and the blouse was sort of a peasant style, with a scoop neck and lots of elastic! They had huge full skirts requiring blow-up hoop skirt petticoats to make them look especially bouncy and lovely (and ridiculous)!!. To top it off, we had white cowgirl hats, white boots and silver concho belts. Belts have never been a good look for me! We must have looked like the biggest losers, and we never won any prizes. No one even spoke to us, and it even might be the reason I got beat up once at school! It seemed those dresses lasted for YEARS, and they kind of did, because when we grew out of them, Pattis' was looming in the closet for me!

Back to the story as it relates to the title of this post!  Another memory from Patti was in pre-school when she was on the merry-go-round and got sick (like she always did whenever she moved. See one our older posts, "The Bear That Went to Cloudcroft!") She had to go home, and instead of coming to get her, Mother sent a taxi to bring her home.....which reminded her of the time when she attended Austin High School and she didn't have a ride home after the football game, so she called Mother who sent another taxi! "Why couldn't she just pick me up herself?" Patti whiiiiined!

In Mother's defense, she worked the night shift for over 25 years in Labor and Delivery at Southwestern General Hospital, and she slept during the day when we were at school. There were lots of other issues we won't get into now, but I guess it was just easier for her to send a taxi rather than getting up and dressed to run all over town after Patti!

I think the same thing happened when Patti graduated from high school. Our brother had joined the Marines so he wasn't available to attend. I couldn't go unless Mother went, because I was too young to drive. So no one saw Patti graduate. After it was all over, she must have called Mother again to pick her up, and soon after, roaring down the street, came another taxi!! I asked her if she had to climb into the taxi with her cap and gown on, in front of her friends!! Imagine! Poor Patti.

But to Mother's defense, Rocky reminded me of another taxi incident. We went to the Miner football game one Saturday night when the games were actually worth the price of the tickets. It was really crowded all around us, and suddenly Robyn got sick and started throwing up in the stands. Well, that cleared everyone out immediately, and suddenly we had great seats!! But back to the story. Robyn continued to feel pretty bad, and Patti, apparently hardened by her own sad taxi experiences, and following family tradition, called a cab to take Robyn home! Patti had more important things to do....like watch the football game! On the ride home, Robyn threw up again in the cab which really displeased the cab driver!!

I guess now I should say "Poor Robyn!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sweet Baby James Taylor

Now, isn't he just a dream come true??

On September 10, 2009 Rocky, Patti and I got to see James Taylor at the Plaza Theater. He was so good. You could just sit back and close your eyes and be transformed. But of course, we didn't do that. We couldn't take our eyes off the stage. (I can't really speak for Rocky when I get all dreamy like this!)

Right before the show started, they played that annoying "ring tone" audio and told everyone to turn off their cell phones, not just put them on silent, because the light comes on when you get a call, and, well.....you know. I thought Patti was going to have to be tranquilized. She has a special relationship with her phone and they go everywhere together.

Robyn had suggested that Patti hold up her phone during the concert so she could hear James from Santa Cruz! Even Patti didn't think that was a good idea, but Robyn said "Everyone will be doing it, waving their phones, standing up and singing." I guess she didn't understand this crowd was much like those who attended the Queen concert - except WAY more sophisticated and better dressed!! Once we were installed in our chairs, there was no getting up!

But at one point, I felt something pushing against my lower leg and when I looked down, it was Patti, almost standing on her head, trying to get her phone set up so Robyn could listen. But after a good long while, she finally gave that up and settled back in her seat so everyone around her could enjoy the concert!

James sang so many of our favorites and I guess we'd still be there if he had sung them all. The harmony of his group sends the goose bumps all over my body. So beautiful. His band is just great. Each member is a fabulous musician in their own right.

He has the cutest, most innocent sense of humor. I had never seen that side of him before, but it was delightful.

They returned to the stage for an encore, at first with the entire band, and ending with just the vocalists. He definitely saved the best for last. It was so awesome! This is my third time to see James Taylor, but hopefully there will be plenty more opportunities, because he's worth every penny!

As soon as I got home, I went to iTunes and started downloading all my favorite James Taylor tunes. I tend to do that after concerts. You should see my Queen collection!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Strange........but true!

When Patti and I go out shopping together, we take pictures of things we think are funny. This all started at Hobby Lobby, but Target also has some interesting photo ops. You'll be surprised and probably a little sad when you see what Patti did there! I could call that one "Sad.....but true!" The other interesting place for "strange......but true" photos is my house!

At Target, we walked thru the garden department and were naturally disturbed by the garden gnomes, but the bird bath attached to the garden gnome is what caught our eye.......or maybe it was the unusually large birds right next to the tiny bird bath. Patti tried to re-enact a possible scenario of a bird heading toward the bird bath, and the problem this particular bird might encounter.

Here is a strange way to carry your car keys.

Here is Patti. This is the "Sad.....but True" part. I couldn't get the right amount of light exposure, and Patti was perfectly willing to move about the store with that stupid sparkly, plastic crown on her head and the still-wrapped scepter over her shoulder! I was able to snap three different pictures!! Bless her heart! Isn't she adorable?

Here's Patti again. She found some brand new nail polish (that didn't belong to her!) at the jewelry counter and decided to stop and do her nails.

At Hobby Lobby we found some Frisket Remover. We have no idea what this is, but good news! If you ever need your frisket removed, there's a kit especially for that! We didn't spend any time trying to find out what a frisket is; we just thought it was hysterically funny.

Mirror image? Nah, it's just Jennifer's twins, Hyrum and Joseph, at the deck gate. Aren't they the cutest little guys?

Here's Troy and the big doggies on the trampoline. They jump up there when he's jumping, and in the morning, they get up on the trampoline alone and wrestle with each other. It's very entertaining!

Sometimes when we visit Mom, she lets us do ridiculous things to her.

Here's Mom doing her "jazz hands" routine.

So that's our "Strange......but True" issue. While there is absolutely no point to this post, I know you're all probably saying to yourselves "How old ARE you two anyway??"

Maybe we'll go out trolling again for more pictures. I'm a little nervous to go back to Target. I'm sure there is plenty of security tape footage with Patti and I slinking around the store, taking pictures!

But there's always Walmart.....imagine what we could find THERE!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

On Turning 60!

Last Friday, July 10, I turned 60. It wasn't a big deal. Honestly, age is not an issue with me and never really has been. But what I'm slowing beginning to realize is that I'm no longer bullet-proof, and my days probably really are numbered on this earth. Other than that, I'm OK with it.

The pitfalls of getting older:

Last week I was shopping at Albertson's. When I reached the check out, my 12 year old cashier asked if I was over 55. I said "Yes, why?" At this point, her voice suddenly reached a 108 decible fever pitch, and she screamed "BECAUSE EVERY WEDNESDAY IS SENIOR CITIZENS DAY AT ALBERTSON'S! IT'S POSTED ALL OVER THE STORE!" She was SO excited and proud. I looked around the store and down the street to see how many other people might have heard. I graciously thanked her, refused help from the carry-out guy and headed out the door, head hanging, to the car. It was a little embarrassing. But when I got home I looked at my receipt and saw I saved $7.25!" Not bad.

The next day I received a letter from GECU with a lovely and personal greeting of "Dear Valued Customer." It went on to talk about milestones in our lives and I'm thinking, "Ok, here it comes." So now I get free checks (but not the cute ones with the ladybugs on them!) more interest on my savings account, and 15 more points on my jumbo CD (whatever that means) and they had already made the changes before they sent the letter! Yeah!

So I guess getting older has it's advantages. I'm just not as excited as everyone else seems to be when they discover they have a live one! I still don't qualify for the senior citizen discount at the movies tho. Now THAT will make me truly happy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Paperless Life........NOT!

I decided that 2009 was my year to go paperless. I have so much paperwork to do all the time, and I get so tired of having to touch so many pieces of paper everyday. Besides, I want my non-existent grandchildren to be able to climb a tree one day! So I bought a document scanner and set up some folders to scan bills, statements, receipts, contracts, etc. Well, I'm finding it's not that easy to go paperless!

It never dawned on me I would need cooperation from everyone who thinks I need their paper in addition to the paper I already have! When I ask them to email it to me, I'm met with dead silence on the other end of the line. That's when I realize they think I'm from Pluto. So after the awkward pause, I ask if they have a scanner. The responses run the gamut from a very proud "Yes!", "No," or "I don't know." How can you not know if you have a scanner??? The few who know they have a scanner are asked to scan the document to email and send it to me that way. Now I'm back on Pluto.....all alone. The usual response is "Well, can I just fax it to you?" "No.....that would involve more paper." (I'm being as nice as I possibly can, and that's not easy!)

When I email a document to them, they are SO IMPRESSED! But you'd be surprised how many people can't open the document because they don't know about "double click the attachment!" Seriously! How long have we had computers, email and attachments?

So back to my immediate problem. I set up all my folders and they're ready to be filled. Well....honestly, it's just so much easier and faster to file, by hand, each and every piece of paper. (The time I spend running back and forth to the bedroom to grab bandaids for all the paper cuts, is in addition to actual filing time.) Scanning everything takes a good amount of time and dicipline, and that's not my strength! So at this point, I have papers from January 1, 2009, neatly stacked, but in no particular order, ready to go!!

I guess I shouldn't make fun of those who are still looking for their scanner. I have TWO, and still have a boatload of paper to get rid of. I'll do it tho, because the best part of this plan is shredding!! I have a deep, emotional connection to my shredder!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Last night Rocky and I decided we'd go see Queen. You know.....the rock band? I like most of their music but had NO idea what to expect from the live show. This picture shows how I sort of remember them from the 70's?

The show was held at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and anyone who's ever driven there from El Paso dreads the l-o-n-g line that can start on the freeway, sometimes 2 miles before you ever get to the University exit. It's so dangerous and it takes forever to finally get off the freeway and into the parking lot. So we left a little early, and when we got to the off ramp, there were only 2 cars in front of us and they weren't going to the Pan American Center! In seconds we were in our parking space, along with the other 10 cars in the lot. Seriously!

When we got to our seats, I think there may have been about 100 people at the most there. They slowly hobbled in until there were maybe 2000 total, in an arena that seats around 15,000! It was SAD! Most of the people were either our age or older and real out of shape. And there we were....front and center! Best seats in the house!

I've never seen Queen, didn't know their lead singer was Freddy Mercury, didn't know he was gay, and had only recently found out he was dead! But they have an equally talented (and gay) replacement for Freddy! He could sing and he did, while he skipped all around the stage, kicking himself in his own rear-end, and all while wearing a bright yellow marching band costume! Rocky said the real show was on my face! I had no idea what to expect. I turned to him and said "Maybe that's why they call it Queen?!" I'm sure Rocky was thinking, "Ya think??"

"Freddy #2" kept trying to get us all up on our feet and clapping our hands overhead, etc., but most of us were die hards! It wasn't gonna happen. Besides, I can hardly lift my left arm over my head anyway! A German family sat next to me and when "Freddy #2" said to grab the hair of the person next to you, slap them in the face and make them stand up, Mr. German man looked at me and I just said "No!" It was hard to tell if he was disappointed or not.

The music was really pretty good, but Flaming Freddie was so distracting! At one point he came out with an American flag drapped around his sweaty body. That was a little disturbing. Then at the end of the show he carried out a red velvet crown and cape. Wow. I guess he didn't see the need to model it for such a small crowd.

So as you can imagine, we had absolutely NO problems getting out of the parking lot, and we were back on the freeway, headed home in about 2 minutes!

God save the Queen!