Monday, February 28, 2011


(This entry has nothing to do with the lovely Doris Day, but if my GPS system was personified, she would be a lot like may be this entry has a lot to do with Doris to decide...)

Driving home from L.A. in afternoon traffic, a black convertible sports car whizzed past, blasting Madonna's "Material Girl." The driver of car was a bald African American male, with large sunglasses talking loudly on his blue tooth. His license plate read: 1FunGuy I tried to get past him in traffic to take his picture, but the traffic did not allow it. He must have turned off at an exit, never too be seen again.

I should have known better to leave Disneyland after 2 pm, but I was hoping that a holiday Monday would be lighter in traffic, but of course I was wrong. It seemed that everyone had the day off, and that everyone was either enjoying the dry weather, or on their way home from the long weekend like we were.

"Extreme traffic ahead, recalculating..." my GPS woman exclaimed this almost every 5 miles throughout our journey out of the city. Can you say irritating? Nothing would shut that .itch up..

Let's call GPS woman, Doris.

I have a love/hate relationship with Doris. Sometimes she gets me to where I need to be, and I am very thankful for her company, but there are often times where Doris directs me to places that I shouldn't be, or don't want to be, and places that I never knew existed.

While in Marina Del Rey, Doris took us to a non-existent movie theatre, located in the middle of a lovely condominium duplex, one wrong exit, and a closed restaurant. There was a moment there where I was very tempted to throw Doris out of the window, but I didn't. I think Doris needs to be updated--it really isn't her fault. She does take me to the right place most of the time, but there was a moment there when she directed me off of Hwy 5, to an exit in L.A., looking over the city, where I seriously feared for the lives of myself and my innocent children. It was like being in an episode of Southland. I expected to see gun shots exchanged, or a high speed police chase happen in front of me. AND, still there was that exit Doris directed me to take because of more "extreme traffic" warnings, where she directed me away from Hwy 5 yet again, to avoid the Grapevine, where I found myself driving through Palmdale, onto Hwy 138--Avenue D.

Lovely Avenue D

Avenue D - Highway 138 proved to be a stretch of 38 miles through the middle of nowhere. It's a lovely road of nothing on both sides, only road kill, abandoned vehicles and little more. True there were a few ranch homes there, and some lovely hills in the background, but nothing else. In my daughter's words, "It's a place you are brought to be shot and left for dead." It was also a place where people apparently had abandoned many vehicles. We counted quite a few and we drove past. Who knows what or who was inside of them.. If it wasn't for the fact that I did have a full tank of gas, and had my vehicle fixed and checked beforehand, this place would make me very, very nervous. It's not a place you want your car to break down on.

Highway 138, Avenue D (D for Dead or D for Doris?) is a two lane highway, with slow trucks. One must pass the trucks to go faster---and, yes, I did. I passed 4 trucks, and I swear one of those trucks sped up when I was trying to pass it. Luckily, it was still daylight out, and I was not alone. Seemed like other vehicles with corrupt GPS systems, such as Doris, had directed other motorists in the same direction. It made me feel better while I was dodging trucks to know that I was not alone. I didn't know later that this stretch of highway had nicknames like "blood alley" but I could understand why. After finally getting off of Avenue D, back to Hwy 5, I was very tempted to throw Doris out the window so she could meet her own demise, but I don't throw expensive toys out the window, and it's the only thing that saved her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Afternoon At Sears Optical

The other day I had the great honor of taking the Queen mother (my mom) to the optometrist at Sears. Wow, it was quite an experience! I couldn’t believe the characters we ran into at that place. There must have been a week of a new moon, because the people we encountered there were out of the ordinary. My mother and I spent a good portion of our time just sitting there in the lobby taking it all in, sometimes laughing and snickering in Portuguese. (Knowing a second language comes in handy sometimes.)

My mother immediately pointed out one customer that looked like the cartoon character, Peter Griffin from Family Guy. I was surprised how quickly my mom made that connection. I was unaware she even watched Family Guy. My mom is just full of surprises! This guy WAS in fact a dead ringer for Peter Griffin! He had the hair, the clothes, the glasses, only difference is he was wearing Birkenstocks with blue turquoise socks. Okay, he was a Santa Cruz version of Peter Griffin. Of course, guess who got to sit across Peter Griffin in the lobby while my mom got her eyes tested? Yes, I did, and wow, I quickly learned that Peter was quite the conversationalist! Lucky me!

It wasn’t long until two other cartoon characters walked in. This time, it was Hank and Dale from King Of The Hill, personified. Both of them walked in wearing glasses and high rise wrangler jeans. They were wearing t-shirts, tucked into their jeans, both revealing a pair of swollen beer bellies. All that was missing was a can of beer in each hand, and a cigarette hanging out of Dale’s mouth. My mom and I exchanged glances at one another, and tried our best not to burst into laughter. It wasn’t as much as their appearance, but the way they approached the lobby. They slowly entered the lobby like deer caught in the headlights. It was very strange. They were apparently both on a mission.

We all got an ear full of their “mission” while I politely conversed with “Peter” while my mother was getting her eyes tested. We overheard, “Hank” complaining to the salesman, as he tried to bargain on a price for a new pair of transitional lens glasses for his brother, “Dale”. Apparently, he “bought his brother a pair with his Sears charge card three years ago, and the lenses aren’t turning into sunglasses when he goes outside no more…” Let’s just say Hank was not amused with the price to replace his brother’s glasses.

“He is actually bargaining with the sales clerk!” exclaimed Peter.

The atmosphere was getting a little heated before the salesman got on the phone to speak to the manager. Meanwhile another guy walked in to pick up a pair of glasses. This guy looked like Elmer Fud. He wasn’t wearing a hunting cap, but I wish he had been because he had this large dry scab on the top of his bald head. The sales girl couldn’t find his second pair of glasses, so Elmer sat there, waiting for the salesman to get off the phone. He went on to chat to the poor girl, telling her stories of how he had already out-lived his parents, and how he saved himself from drowning in a creek. He never said anything about his head injury, and I’m quite surprised he didn’t because it looked rather serious, and I would have thought he wanted to impress the girl with yet another story about how he had gotten it. May be it’s from when he “saved himself” from drowning in that creek. May he hit a rock?

Well, meanwhile, Hank and Dale finally got the negotiated price they hoped for the glasses, and Hank’s voice went down a few notches. Dale said nothing. I don’t think he even spoke once. What seemed to be eternity, my mom finally got out of the exam room, and Peter Griffin finally went inside with his turquoise socks.

My mother chose a nice pair of Sophia Loren glasses. After waiting 15 minutes for the sales clerk to finally find my mom’s prescription for the glasses that were right there at the register, he sat down with us and it wasn’t long before he was pitching to my mother the wonders of transitional lenses. By this time, we were tired of hearing about these glasses---Hank and Dale’s situation did not help the cause. I guess this sales clerk was a little disappointed when my mother said no to them. She had to tell him three times before he finally got a clue. This sales clerk had a very stuffy nose, that he was constantly clearing while he sat with us. It was not pleasant. Let's call him, Sneezy.

Sneezy explained that he had some kind of disease (he explained what it was, but I don't remember) that made his sinus’stuffy, and eyes water. Too much information. I think he was trying to impress me. He kept on asking for my name, telling me that I could pick the new glasses on Valentines Day. Wow. The waving of my left hand with my wedding ring, did not phase him. He did fix my mom’s old glasses though—I will give him that much. Apparently the reason why my mother has been feeling dizzy, and why her handwriting has been a little messy lately isn’t because her prescription was too old, it was because the person who put them in last put them upside down. Mystery solved!

After 3 hours at Sears, we finally left the building. The people we met that day unfortunately will be remembered for a long time. No, I did not go pick up the glasses on Valentines Day. The glasses are still there.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Annoying Friendly, Hippy Guy...

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the gas station next door to my office building. Well, it’s still there, and there is this guy there who doesn’t work at the station, but shows up ever so often to chat with the cashier that works there. This guy kind of gives me the creeps. It’s not because of his appearance, his stringy long white hair, and hippy attire doesn’t bother me, but his constant conversations do. I don’t know if he works around the building or what, but he apparently has a lot of time to kill, and he is just a little too overly friendly for my taste. He won’t touch you or anything, but he will try and start a conversation each time I walk into the door with a little compliments, like, “Boy you look pretty today!” or, “What a pretty dress!” “You have beautiful hair!” Leaving me to think, okay, this guy is just a little too friendly. What does he want? I just try and let it slide and not read into it too much, because I’m not interested at all in getting to know this guy, and I hope he isn’t wanting to get to know me. I just say thanks, and try to leave the place as soon as I can without looking obvious that I am trying to leave the place as soon as I can, because I don’t want to come across being annoyed with the guy, when I really am. Make sense? Why do I care so much if I come across as being rude or mean? Why? I’m not the one being annoying---he is. But, no, he won’t let me leave so fast, until he asks where I work, and how my day is going. Really? What makes some people think they can just randomly ask strangers questions about their lives? I mean, I don’t want to sound mean, but is it really appropriate for people to just try and jump into other people’s lives and ask personal questions about their lives when in reality they don’t even know your name? Well, fortunately, he doesn’t know my name. If he asks, I’ve decided to call myself “Sally”. Anyway, he reminds me of a woman I know, (a completely different blog entry) who is equally annoying, and I wish she worked in the building so I could introduce them both to each other. They would make a nice annoying hippy couple.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just some rambling thoughts..

When I was younger, I went to a trade/business school and earned a diploma for Travel and Airline. I never pursued this career because, at the age of 20, life was moving faster than I had originally planned. I found myself suddenly married, (the guy I met the previous summer left his homeland and family to marry me), and we were still living in my parents home, both of us looking for employment. Two years later, we actually both had two decent, good paying jobs, moving into our place and paying a mortgage, and my first born, Elizabeth was on the way. I had landed a great secretarial government county job, with insurance, and my dad told me to “never leave it” because I was “set for life” there. Well, guess what? 23 years later, I’m still working there.

If I were to leave where I worked, I don’t think my diploma for Travel and Airline would be worth much today. I’m guessing ticketing procedures have changed in the last 20+ years.. There was a time when I wanted to be a travel agent, or work on a cruise ship. But do people really use travel agents anymore? In this day in age, most everyone books their vacations online. I used a travel agent for my last vacation, and I really don’t know why. The travel agent proved to be pretty useless to us when it came to the seating arrangements on the plane. The whole purpose of booking a flight with my mother was so she wouldn’t be flying “alone” and after explaining this fact over and over again, our agent still seated my mother 5 rows ahead of us. She also booked my 6 year son’s seat two rows ahead of mine, which didn’t make much sense either. Thankfully we got to the airport on time, and we were able to change at least my son’s seating. As for my mom’s seat, she sat by an older gentlemen, ahead of me, and I could see only the top of her head. I went down the aisle a few times to make sure she was alive because she hardly moved from her seat!

I heard the other day that JCPenny was getting rid of their catalogue, and this made me sad. I remember when we had the Sears catalogue AND even the Montgomery Ward (aka Monkey Wards) catalogue growing up---both gone as well. They were all a source of great entertainment for me as a child. I made countless paper dolls from them, and even glued them to cardboard. They interacted with my Barbie dolls, and were the “one dimensional neighbors” that lived down the street, that never sat down. (When you are glued to cardboard, it is very difficult.) Now JCPenny catalogue is going away, and there is even word that the Yellow Pages/phone book is going out the door. Seriously, I never use my phone book, and I think there are 3 years worth of them in my closet, but I remember sitting on them when I was a child at the kitchen table. Sigh….

Every now and then, our kids will ask us an off the wall question that we just don’t know the answer to. My husband’s favorite answer is: “Look it up on the internet!”
Kids nowadays just don’t know how good they have it. I remember having to go to the library and using the copy machine to copy important information from books to complete my reports for school, and if that wasn’t available, I would go through Grandma Costa’s old prized encyclopedia collection from 1952. Can you still buy encyclopedias nowadays? I wonder…

I don’t know where I’m going with this entry…. Lots of changes are, and is going on, and I think I’m feeling a little burned and fed up in my current, old position. I think I need a change, but 23 years..damn---it all went much too fast for me. Right now, all I want to do is leave the office and finish reading a book.