08.23.03

Having been raised in the desert but going summer after summer into the cool pines of our Arizona mountains ... and then seeing what wildfires can do in the wilderness and towns of Arizona.

Having been through Yellowstone in its perfect and pristine beauty ... and then again after the fires in 1988.

Having the pleasure of spending time for some much needed rest and relaxation in Los Alamos in 1996, before the city and forest burned in 2000 and then ... witnessing the devastation afterwards.

My heart truly goes out to the people of western Canada, around the Kelowna, B.C. area.

Yes, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


08.21.03

Sometimes I wonder.

I run a business. I know that if I do not provide quality service and a quality product, my clients will go elsewhere and spend their money.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, however, if I was the only vendor in metro Phoenix and hospitals valleywide were completely dependent upon my company?

Just imagine the value of that kind of a situation. Value ... as in monetary worthiness.

But what if my business had a breakdown ... you know, a problem with equipment or perhaps not enough service technicians to keep the hospitals running ...

... I guess we would see patients in wheelchairs, on gurneys, in hospital beds ... lining up outside of the one or two hospitals in Phoenix that I was able to keep running.

Would that be acceptable? Of course not.

This is basically what has happened here in the Valley of the Sun.

For two weeks ... but more severely since Sunday ... we have been forced to wait in lines that are some times over a mile long for gasoline. Yep, Phoenix is outta gas.

Apparently the situation today is better than yesterday ... with 55% of the gas stations having fuel but the long lines remain.

And since Arizona does not have a "no gouging in times of crisis" law, there are stations charging up to $4.99 for a gallon of gas. Yes, they are getting buyers because some people cannot afford to wait in line for 6-8 hours for fuel (time is money) and it ultimately is cheaper to pay high prices for fuel than to wait in queue.

So, where did our gasoline go?

Ask Kinder Morgan. That is the company that owns the pipeline that goes from Los Angeles to Phoenix ... and from El Paso to Phoenix.

A 50 year old pipeline that broke. And apparently, cannot be fixed.

Imagine a situation like that? You own the main source of getting fuel to a city the size of Phoenix (who has a lame mass transit system, no subways, rail or tram service) yet you do not do repairs, update the pipeline, and have equipment that cannot pass a pressure test?

Arizonans are screwed. Why? We cannot "go elsewhere" for a main source of fuel. They have us by our gas cans!

We are totally dependent on our cars to get us anywhere in this city. The city is spread out like gouda on a sizzlin' pizza stone and the bus system is just not adequate.

Like most of the major cities in the west, we are a city of drivers.

I know our Governor is angry (or so she appears to be angry in her press conferences) and her constituents are pissed ... but I have to question why Arizona has no redundant fuel system. Why do the major cities in Arizona have to rely on one private sector vendor to provide fuel?

Fixing the problem is the fastest solution. Kinder Morgan just did a press conference and showed us how they are going to bypass the bad line and doe-cee-doe the line seven miles here, and then back sashay seven miles there. Uh huh ... dance for me baby.

Come on Arizona ... get off your saddles, circle the wagons, and ride into the 21st century!


08.18.03

Down there ... at the 8/14 post ...

I wrote about how I need to get my home clean and myself groomed when I see radar indicating impending stormage.

When I was writing it, I flashed back to my childhood.

You know, waaaaay back then.

Anyhow, I had a neighborhood friend named Kathy F. that I used to play with. Barbies, bike riding, playing "store" ... just being girls: lots of giggling, dressing up, and silliness.

She had an older sister named Tina and two older brothers, Roland and ... um, whatever.

Her dad, John, was a Sergeant with the Phoenix Police Department ... in the homicide division. I remember that I thought he was very handsome in a young James Garner sort of way.

Not that this is integral to this story, but Kathy and I would sneak into her parents' bedroom and look at the glossy black & white photos of homicide victims. I was so young and unaffected, they just did not seem like real people.

And once, she and I snuck into the bedroom to look at photos and instead found his service revolver. Yep, we both picked it up and looked at it. Of course, nothing happened ... but when I think back .... whew.

But alas, I digress ...

... Kathy's mom, Margaret, was a bit ... er, shall we say "eccentric"?

I remember that she had her light beige carpet cleaned but some of the doggie stains just would not come out. She went out and bought sooo many boxes of dark green Ritz Dye Powder and proceeded to mix bowl after bowl of dye in a large mixing bowl... and on her hands and knees, using a big yellow (soon to become green) sponge, she dyed her carpet.

It took days and days to dry. The house smelled horrible for weeks.

Margaret was a huge, mega, totally devoted John Wayne fan.

Back in the 1960's a local teevee station used to show a movie every Saturday night. "Channel 5's Silver Dollar Movie".

Movies of the "western" or "war" genres were big around here. Hence, at least once a month some John Wayne movie would be featured for Saturday Night Faire.

So, on these Saturdays ... Margaret would clean the house. I mean really clean. All Saturday morning and midday. When the house was spic and span we were warned, by threat of life and limb, not to mess anything up.

Margaret would not, however, make dinner on those special Saturdays.

Instead ... late in the afternoon she would disappear to her bedroom. She would slip into a long, hot bath ... then maybe add a bit of henna to her mousy brown hair ... and sit at her dressing table for hours fixing her hair, dabbing on perfume, painstakingly putting on make-up.

[Kathy and I spied. Kathy told me that her mother did this, but I did not believe her]

Margaret would lift her short, pasty white legs and slowly, so slowly ... bring up a silk stocking ... then another ... only to have them disappear under her modest underslip.

She would then slip into a very nice dress (often sewed with little beads or a sprinkle of rhinestones).

Margaret would emerge looking stunning. The dowdy housewife was transformed.

She would take one wineglass down from the shelf, pour herself a chilled softdrink, and settle herself like a seductress on the sofa in the living room.

John Wayne was coming to Margaret's house. Margaret was in her version of Heaven.

The family indulged her. Everyone spoke in whispers. Sgt. John made the family dinner.

I was allowed to spend many Saturday nights at Kathy's house and I remember that "John Wayne Night" was almost a religious experience.

A ballet of a fan ... dancing in her fantasies with her movie idol ... sipping Diet Rite, Tab or maybe Tang ...

... and her permanently dyed dark green cuticles barely noticeable because of the sparkle in her eyes.


08.14.03

The county I live in, Maricopa, is under a severe thunderstorm watch as I type this.

They are flashing warnings on all the channels that in a couple of counties to the northeast of here ... there is a tornado warning. Yup, tornado.

Anyhow, this is really not a post about the weather here in Phoenixland ... but instead a true confession about what an odd duck I am.

During these late summer months, we in Arizona experience something called "monsoon". It usually does not amount to much but there are times that the monsoon has done some serious damage.

So ... where does my odd duckness come in?

I must have my house clean, my hair combed, I must dressed in something other than a nightie (nice shorts, clean decent shirt, shoes ... you know, acceptable outdoor wear), and my purse, cell phone and keys ready by the door BEFORE the storm hits the Valley.

When I see the storms on the radar and heading my way, I will start a cleaning frenzy.

Many times I will shower before the storm comes.

This is an obsession.

Why? Well, I have had numerous storm related emergency situations and every time, I was sweaty with dirty, messy hair ... and always was wearing a nightgown of some sort or another.

I am sure the Phoenix Firefighters wonder if I own regular clothes!

If the power goes out and it is 110 outside ... I want to be clean and not sweaty in an effort to stay cooler.

Should lightening strike my roofline (like it has before), I want to be prepared to get outta Dodge quick like a bunny!

... and I want to be dressed like a middle class, clean livin' woman - - not some reject whose looking to star in an episode of "Cops".

I remember an emergency situation that forced me to leave my home quickly and seek refuge in a hotel. I was a mess. This was an upscale hotel ... and I showed up wearing cut-offs reminiscent of 'daisy dukes', a half shirt with "ASU Athletic Dept" barely visible and torn under the arm, and a pair of flip flop sandals with a loose sole.

It was what I grabbed, threw on ... and dashed out of the door.

Checking in to the hotel was not too bad as I explained via cell phone as I was driving there ... that I was a mess, yadda yadda yadda.

However, the next morning upon checking out amongst all the business folks in their tailored suits ... I swore I heard "bad boyz, bad boyz, whatcha gonna do ..." playing in the background.

I swore ... never again.

Quack.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Meanwhile, I hope that all of those who are affected by the blackout of 2003 are keeping cool and staying safe. Be well, my friends.


08.13.03

Okay, is it regional?

For those of you who choose not to go "commando" ...

... and actually wear a garment under your clothing that um, er ... caresses the buttocks/genitals:

What do you call that garment?

Huh?

No, I have not lost my mind. I simply find various word choices fascinating.

I grew up referring to these garments as "underwear".

Lately, I hear so many people referring to them as "underpants".

I do not think these two word choices are gender related as are words like "panties" for the ladies and "boxers/jockeys" for the gents.

Yes, I remember my Mom telling my older brother to pick up his "underwear" and put it in the hamper. We would go shopping for new "underwear".

And these garments were always put away in the "underwear drawer".

However, my Father always referring to his as "undershorts" ... or simply "shorts".

I would not call them "skivvies" ... or "drawers". Uhh, no.

My former boyfriend always called his "briefs" whether they were those low rise, tight fitting "package makers" or the hanging loose silk boxers.

At the stores, especially stores like Victoria's Secret, they are simply referred to as Intimate Apparel. But they are divided into styles, like "bikinis" and "thongs".

Anyhow, today is National Underwear Day and I am curious.

What do you call yours?


08.11.03

For MY Best Friend

08.01.03

If you have been following this journal for the last two weeks, you know that I have been one HOT number! Whoa Nellie!

I just heard on our local news that Phoenix broke a weather record for the hottest July ...

... with an average of 108 per day.

And I lived through the bulk of this July Hell with no "normal" air conditioning.

My A/C went to Hell in a handcart mid-month and my home was constantly filled with grungy, sweaty, very dirty repair guys almost every day.

To no avail.

It almost became a joke. They simply could not figure out why a BRAND SPANKIN' NEW A/C UNIT would not work correctly.

We became so accustomed to each other that they would grab icy bottled water from my fridgey without asking. They stopped knocking.

When I grew up, I would hear my parents say, "Familiarity breeds contempt".

I have never really experienced this phenomenon ... until now:

While I do not want any visitor (service person or invited guest) to ever feel uncomfortable in my home, I found myself growing livid at the guys going into my VERY CLEAN bathroom without "asking" if I mind ... and their habit of putting their filthy hands on my pristine white walls (to lean) leaving handprints of some grimy substance that is impenetrable to cleaning sprays.

But tonight, as I sit here very cool in my 68 home (yeah, I know it is overkill but bear with me, I have been so hot for so long) ...

... I am just so doggoned grateful for each and every person who did whatever they had to do to make me comfortable. Alas, my new air conditioner was successfully repaired on Wednesday late in the afternoon.

When I showered this afternoon, I actually got cold. COLD!?!

Ahhhhhh ... bliss.



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