Archive for March, 2014

Unanswerable Message and My Back Patio

March 30, 2014

I receive messages on a dating site. I had a bevy of them in January although I did nothing to elicit them. The messages have tapered off but I’m still receiving a trickle. The other day I got one from 32212 (Jim) which said. “You look expensive.” How was I to answers this?
At first I took it to mean that he thought I was a high-priced prostitute and was totally insulted. However the message lingered in my mind after I signed off the website. Did he mean I was a high maintenance woman who expected expensive gifts and to be wined and dined and kept in a high falutin’ lifestyle? That gave me quite a laugh. I do not engender the desire in men to present me with gifts, expensive or cheap. I am more likely to give presents to men, after which they often break up with me.
So how should I respond to this email? Assure him I’m not looking for a Sugar Daddy? It’s not like I’d mind going to nice restaurants, to travel or receive jewelry as tokens of affection. It’s that I don’t require them in a relationship. Every time I’ve traveled with a man I’ve paid my own way. I wasn’t making a statement, the guy just expected it. I think the guys I date assume I have a lot of money. I don’t but neither do I want to risk my financial stability for a man. I seem to attract men who are in the same position as me. I do okay money-wise but don’t have a lot to splurges. On my part this is because I choose to work very part time and subsidize my writing career. That’s my extravagance. In the end I decided there was no reasonable response to 32212 (Jim) so I didn’t message him back. This bothered me because I always respond, even if I’m not interested. I tell them why, according to their profile, even the thirty-five year olds from Australia.





This multitude of messages after two and a half years of never using the dating website reminded me of my back patio. In January I finally cut back the bushes. I don’t ever water them but they grow with a vengeance, mostly with thorns: bougainvillea, lantana and other unidentified plants. I only go out back to clean up the dog poop every Sunday. I also weed so the place isn’t overrun. How can this vegetation thrive with no visible means of water? As I was scooping today, I realized that not many of the weeds had regenerated, but the bushes were back.
It seems that even if I don’t pay any attention to a website or my back patio garden, they will grow without any attention paid.

Are those shamrocks growing near the cacti"

Are those shamrocks growing near the cacti?

Check out my book, Reinvented Lives, available on, my
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Birthday Blast

March 18, 2014

Yesterday, St. Patrick’s Day, was my birthday. The good thing about having a birthday on a holiday is that everyone remembers it. The bad part is that it’s embarrassing if I forget other people’s birthdays, although Facebook makes sure I know my “friends” birthdays. I heard from all three sons and my granddaughters sang me “Happy Birthday” over the phone.

The shamrock glasses make the outfit.

The shamrock glasses make the outfit.

To go to lunch I put on a few of my St. Patrick’s Day clothes. Over the years I’ve accumulated bracelets, scarves, ties, dresses, earrings, necklaces, etc.
Elissa, Joan, Laura, and Susan Garvin met at R & R. It’s a two storied restaurant in downtown Scottsdale. It was packed, as was the patio restaurant across the street. It’s Spring Training and all of downtown Scottsdale is overflowing with baseball fans. Susan Garvin and I ordered shamrock-itas. The waitress deflected inquiries as to the contents of the drink. She only said it was served frozen. The drink was delicious. It hit me into an altered state of mind in twenty minutes. I think I had blue cheese sliders and a hot fudge sundae, but I can’t be sure.
Luckily I hadn’t driven. Joan dropped me off and I staggered to my bed for a two hour nap. Sparky and Louie joined me. This picture shows my fuzzy mood.
I had to take a nap after the shamrock-ita because everything was fuzzy.

I had to take a nap after the shamrock-ita because everything was fuzzy.

I awoke to shower and dress for dinner at the Roadie’s house. Since he’s English, I wasn’t sure how my Irish apparel would be received. He was fine with everything but the flashing shamrock, which I shut off.
He made me bangers and mash with special Irish sausages that were laced with garlic. He always cooks from scratch. He marinated the sausages in beer before grilling them. It was yummers!
Bangers and mash and baked beans, a traditional English dinner

Bangers and mash and baked beans, a traditional English dinner

My birthday was grand.

The Humor of Older Women

March 17, 2014

The Humor of Older Women

I’m on the plane back to Phoenix, chuckling over the humorous items I jotted down during the second half of our training. Some may not be funny out of context so I hope some conference participants find their way to this blog.
One morning at breakfast a gorgeous, thin, well-dressed woman in her thirties passed by our table. A portly older woman at my table said, “I wish I had her closet.” She paused and said, “Hell, I wish I had her body!”

Many of the trainees were from parts of the country that have had a brutal winter. One woman asked my team member, “Where are you from?”
Jan answered, “Arizona.”
“Oh,” the other woman said. “Lucky you! You went from warm to warm.”

For one part of the training we did improv scenarios in teams to practice how to deal with students off task. As two woman walked to the front to present tone said, “I don’t need a paper to tell me how to act out.”
The other woman said, “This one scares me.”

One morning I said to the older woman beside me after I set up my work station, “I feel perky today.”
“Not me!” she said.

We are learning to assess students using a computer script (CAPI) and easels, making sure to read verbatim and gesture the same to ensure the assessment’s reliability across the country. One woman leaned over and said to me, “Between reading CAPI and making sure to point at the right place on the easel, the kid could be running around the room before I noticed.”

In one section of the assessment, we test for speed in color and speed discrimination. One of the keys on our computers has a raised dot (the fuzzy button) as a starting place for the students. One woman reported she woke up at 3:30 a.m. ready to put her finger on the fuzzy button.”

For me, the training was rigorous but boring. The camaraderie of the women and their humor saw me through.

The Humor of Older Women

March 14, 2014

I’m in training in LA this week. Over two hundred of us are housed at a hotel near the airport. Was that to minimize the distractions? The conference rooms, to which we are confined from 8:30 to 5:30 daily, are kept at arctic temperatures to keep us awake. Even though it is almost eighty degrees outside, I wear turtle necks, jackets, and scarves.


We are “let out” of the training room for lunch, but that is in another room on the same floor. So far we have been served chicken at every meal. When I ordered wings for dinner at a restaurant tonight, my team leader said I’d eaten so much chicken I was going to start clucking or laying eggs.

There are two fifteen minute breaks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but only water is provided. Of course I go to the lobby for a Starbucks iced tea or to the hotel sundries store for a diet soda.

Although there are some men in the program, there are only women in my group, ranging from late forties to eighty years old. The women hail from Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

We started training on Monday and finish on Saturday. At ten o’clock the first day one of the elder stateswomen sighed, “Is it Saturday yet?”

Later that day, one of us sturdier-built women was asked to go “center stage.” This meant to take a seat at the demo table and practice in front of everyone and get critiqued. She started walking between the table and the podium but the space was too small so she had to go through a bigger easement. “I’m over-optimistic!” she quipped.

A little later the lead trainer asked one of the women, “Would you please read the first screen?”

“No,” replied the woman with aplomb.

This made the rest of us sit up and laugh.

One of the assessment questions was quite difficult for third graders. One woman reported that when she asked such a question of a student last year, he looked at her and said, “You asking me that?”

Fun times at Momma D's

Fun times at Momma D’s

Last night six of us took the trolley to Manhattan Beach and ate at Momma D’s, which was tasty Italian food. One of us forgot to use the rest room before leaving the restaurant. She suffered on the thirty minute ride back to the hotel. When she got off the trolley she said, “I wish I was a dog so I could pee on that pole over there.”

When I saw her this morning she said. “Can I tell you how good it felt last night when I went to the bathroom? The last time I felt that good was after I gave birth.”

There are more than a few of us who have some hearing loss. As I was walking to the room today, I overheard this conversation:

“Are you talking about …” one woman said.

“You’re twerking?” the other asked.

I’ll write more another night.





My Lack of Mechanical Ability Almost Led to an Internet Dating Mistake

March 6, 2014

I finally bought a barbeque grill. First I have to admit I’m afraid of fire. I’ve only owned gas or charcoal grills when I was married and they were the husbands’ domains. I’ve looked at electric grills over the past few years, but never found one worth buying. They seemed like George Forman grills on steroids.

I was in Scottsdale Fashion Square for a personal training lesson on my laptop. Afterwards I passed by a display of grills next to a kiosk. They were electric but they used wood pellets which caught on fire and cooked the food. I spoke with the salesman. It was a BBQ, smoker, and convection oven. He was a good salesman but I didn’t really understand how the thing worked. He said it was very simple to assemble. I bought it and he loaded it into my car. When I got it home I had trouble getting it out because the box was heavy. He must have been quite strong to heft in there so easily.

I am an intelligent woman but I have no mechanical ability. I called and texted my middle son, the one who is mechanically gifted, but got no reply. I took the grill out of the box and stared at the pieces. I was totally intimidated.

A few nights later I had a date with a guy who didn’t drink alcohol or coffee. I suggested we meet at The Sugar Bowl, an ice cream parlor in downtown Scottsdale. I arrived early but had a hard time finding a parking space. It’s Spring Training and downtown Scottsdale is filled with throngs of people at all times of the day and night.

The hostess seated me and I waited, playing the Scrabble game on my phone. I knew this drill. The Internet date comes in and checks me out. If he doesn’t like what he sees, he immediately exits before I spot him and calls and says he can’t make it. It only happened to me once, but it was an ego crusher. I guess my date liked what he saw because he came to my table.

He was quite good looking. He laid on a lot of flattery. The first thing I noticed was that he was surprised I ordered a regular, not a small, sundae. You are not my diet master, I thought.

He proceeded to tell me random work stories from the past, I’m not sure why. I guess he thought they painted him in a good light, but I didn’t think so. He had worked on a cattle farm somewhere in Arizona and managed to clean up the water supply and get an underling to spit polish the barns. His boss took the credit for it and that pissed him off. He also worked on a dairy farm in Utah and spied on some workers who were ripping off the owner. To me he came off as holier than thou. I also got the drift that he was currently unemployed.

He explained that he cheated on his wife because they hadn’t been intimate for two years. I see adultery as the chicken’s way out of a marriage. Why not have the gumption to talk to your spouse and say things are not right? He divulged some dish about some dates he’d been on through other Internet sites.

When we got to the part of the conversation when he asked what I was looking for in a relationship, I said fun and a companion. He said he wanted someone there when he came home at night.

When I told him about my unassembled BBQ he offered to put it together the next day. He said I should  look at the directions to see what tools he needed to bring. He walked me to my car, on a nearby street. When we got to my car he leaned in and kissed me once and came back for another wet one. I was not going to make out in the middle of crowds in downtown Scottsdale! I was nonplussed and drove away.

As I sat in my kitchen, sipping a soda, I thought about his conversation. He was not someone I wanted to date. He was pompous, unemployed, a cheater, and probably a polayer. I was glad I hadn’t given him my address. I texted him that I thought over our conversation and we weren’t a match because he wanted someone 24/7 and I would that person. I felt enormous relief.

I didn’t need a date to put my BBQ together. I called a handyman and scheduled him for a few days hence. Luckily my son, who lives on the other side of the valley, called me back, came over, and put the BB together in a half an hour. I cancelled the handyman.



Check out my book, Reinvented Lives, available on, my

website at