Am I a “Karen?”

A view from a hike in Flagstaff.

This past weekend in Flagstaff my husband and I walked around Old Town, waiting for a text from a restaurant called Fat Olives that our table was ready. The restaurant had a 30-minute wait. My husband spotted a sculpture through a window of a shop. We are looking for a few pieces of art for our new house and he found something he thought would be perfect.

The front door of the shop was open so we started to walk in. An employee at the counter said “We’re closed.”

“I just want to check a price. I’ll be out in a second,” my husband said.

I noticed at least six customers in the store and several employees.

“Come back tomorrow,” the employee said.

“We won’t be here,” my husband said.

“We won’t be back,” I added.

We walked out but I turned around and saw the employee with fists up to her eyes doing a “wah wah wah” crying gesture and everyone in the store laughing. I flipped.

I walked back to the door and called out, “Are you the owner?”

“What?”

“Are you the owner?” I repeated.

“I’m the manager,” she said smugly.

“Well I’m going to write to the owner,” I said.

“Come in here and talk to me,” the manager said. “Don’t yell.”

“I’m not yelling. I just want the owner to know how you treated us.”

“I’m following the owner’s policy,” she said. “We were supposed to be closed 20 minutes ago.”

Really? I wondered if the owner of the shop’s policy included ridiculing potential customers behind their backs? I doubt it. Also, it was 6:10 p.m. so it was a lie that she was supposed to be closed at 5:50 p.m.

I told my daughter this story and she called me a “Karen.”

She said I had no idea what it’s like to work in retail and how the manager is underpaid and abused by customers all day long. My daughter worked in retail for Lululemon and had customers throw clothes at her face. My daughter added that the manager was just doing her job and I was in the wrong.

I told her that the manager lost the store a big sale. But my daughter said the manager is probably an hourly employee and that means nothing to her.

So what do you think? Was I being a Karen? Also, have you noticed a lack of customer service lately? I’m old school. I remember a day when the customer was always right.

Despite the hail…

We had a great weekend celebrating our anniversary in Flagstaff, despite the hail that scared me to death and damaged our car. I definitely want to return to do more exploring. Plus, I loved the hotel the Little America. We stayed at a Little America in Salt Lake City for all the swim meets during my daughter’s college years at “the U.” Go UTES!

We visited a meteor crater, the hotel had two and half miles of hiking trails, I swam in the pool, the food was great. Here are some pics from our trip:

pool at Little America Flagstaff
The pool at the Little America hotel where I swam.
nature trail at Little America
The nature walk at the hotel.
Meteor Crater Winslow
At the Meteor Crater.
Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon.National Monument.
red wild flower
Flowers on the nature trail. Anyone know what they are?
Little America light buttered roll
THE Little America ROLLS! Boy, I missed these from our Salt Lake City trips. Light, piping hot, filled with butter!
Meteor Crater
View of the meteor crater.
sunset in Flagstaff
Sunset from the hotel parking lot.

Hail storm in July!

Hail storm

Friday we left for a two-hour drive to celebrate our anniversary in the cool mountain town of Flagstaff, Ariz. We were looking forward to getting out of the heat, exploring a new area, hiking, dining, and staying at our favorite hotel brand, Little America.

Halfway to Flagstaff, we were entranced with big dark clouds that had long threads of rain hanging from them. Then there was a thunderclap and it started to rain. The rain turned into hail within minutes. It sounded like our car was being hit by golf balls. I was scared out of my mind.

My husband asked me to turn on the hazard flashers. My hands shook so badly I couldn’t do it. I began praying the Hail Mary!

We saw cars pull over on the right shoulder of the two-lane highway. But there was a cliff on that side and the visibility was getting awful. We were in the left lane where there wasn’t room to pull over, just a ditch.

Visibility went to zero. My husband drove at one mile per hour, completely blind to what lie ahead. He said he didn’t want to stop in case someone barreled into us.

The hail turned back into rain and when we made it to Flagstaff it was sunny and close to 100 degrees. What a July.

At the hotel, shaken and exhausted, we inspected the car. It’s dented all over the hood, roof and trunk.

What type of freak weather have you experienced? I thought our snow when we first moved to Scottsdale was odd.

Thoughts on COVID Notifications

Lake Tahoe view from Zephyr Cove hike.
View from a morning hike at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

A notification just popped up on my iphone. It was from the state of Nevada and it stated it could let me know if I’d been exposed to someone with COVID. This really creeped me out. How did they know I had visited Nevada for the weekend?

Seriously. This is scary. Are we being tracked? I wanted to look back at the notification so I could write down the verbiage, but it disappeared off my phone as quickly as it appeared.

I checked out the Nevada state’s COVID website and found what must have been it: COVID Trace.

COVID Trace is a free, easy-to-use mobile phone app that gives us the information we need to fight COVID-19, without compromising your privacy.

The app will help Nevadans protect each other and slow the spread by notifying you if you’ve likely been exposed to COVID-19. Empowering you to quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk for your loved ones.

COVID Trace is a contact tracing mobile app developed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services that uses a technology called the Exposure Notifications System from Google and Apple. The app exchanges anonymous information with other phones in your vicinity and can notify you if you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

My question remains. Why did the state of Nevada send a message to my phone? How did they know I was there?

What are your thoughts about this app? Would you sign up for it? How do you think they traced me to being in Nevada and had my cell phone number?

The mystery of the missing glasses — solved!

Last September and October I was housebound waiting for cataract surgery. I wrote this about our beach vacation and how my glasses went missing, just as I needed them the most. I had to go without contacts for weeks on end so my eyes would normalize. My contacts add pressure to my eyeballs and change the curvature of my eyeballs. So, before the doctor would perform surgery, he’d check my eyes and waited until my vision stabilized. A very stable 20/2000!

This is what I wrote last fall:

horses on the beach shore

Views from the morning beach walk.

We unpacked from vacation last night and I can’t find my glasses. This is especially bad, because I’m having eye surgery in a few weeks and I’m not supposed to wear my contacts. The question is — where did my glasses go?

Our vacation was in a VRBO beachy house in Summerland, a quaint town near Santa Barbara. We had our daughter and Waffles the pug stay with us for the first weekend and then mid-week our son and his girlfriend joined us.

It was one of the most relaxing and best vacations in recent memory. We walked the beach a few blocks below the house each morning. Each day brought new sights with a combination of fog, clear sunshine, horses, dogs, seals and dolphins. After the morning walk, my husband and I’d log onto our laptops for a few hours work. Then back to another beach for hours sitting under an umbrella, watching the waves and reading. We’d end the beach day with another walk with our feet in the cool ocean water. What we found so surprising was practically vacant beaches in August — in So Cal!

Dinners we shared with friends and the kids. We know several great couples who live in the area and we laughed through great meals and memories, like grilled fresh ahi, a delicious Italian restaurant and a make-your-own pizza night. For the kids, I cooked prime steaks, salads and their favorite veggies, using my tried and true reverse sear method I found on youtube.

turquoise beach house with tropical plants

The beachy VRBO.

I was resigned that the wonderful vacation must come to an end. What I wasn’t prepared for was losing my glasses. The last time I wore them was at our friend’s house and I packed my small handbag with contacts and glasses — I’m sure.

The next few weeks will be interesting, because without contact lenses, I cannot drive. I’m literally going to be housebound until my cataract surgery — except if my friend takes me to Masters swimming and I can manage to swim blind.

My contact lenses change the curvature of my eyes, so I have to let my eyeballs rest and return to normal. I scrounged up an old pair of glasses at least five years old and scratched as heck. But it’s better than nothing, I guess. I plan on taking my morning walks, and continue on with my writing, although at a slower speed and most likely more typos — since I can’t see worth beans. In the long run it will be worth it. But, where did my glasses go?

pug running along the beach

Waffles on a beach run.

My girlfriend has searched her house on her hands and knees. I have done the same in my own house. I’ve gone through trash, laundry, drawers, suitcases, bags, under beds, and throughout the car and trunk. Of course, I blame my missing glasses on my husband — but that’s a story for another time. Just when I need my glasses the most, poof! They’re gone!

MYSTERY SOLVED! This summer in August we returned to the same beach house for vacation and voila! In the back pocket of my worn out Tommy Bahama beach chair were my glasses! Now I have them, and I don’t need them. Of course.

 

To Swim or Not to Swim

I’m looking back on August’s past. Here’s a beach reflection from 2016.

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I’m a much better vacationer today than I was in my 20s. I’ve learned how to relax.

When I was in my 20s, my yearly vacation was spent going home to Washington where I grew up. I had to see and do all the PNW things. Ride a ferry to the islands, dig clams, fish, go hiking in the woods, go to the city, ride a bike around Greenlake, go to my cabin and spend the night, visit my best friend and my other best friends—and all my friends. Visit my favorite professors. I had my Daytimer with me and scheduled events by the half hour! It would drive my husband crazy and soon I made my annual jaunts home by myself.

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This year, we rented a house in a sleepy little beach town near Santa Barbara. Our good friends live close by and we had many fun meals together, planned at the last minute. We spent hours walking on the beach, riding beach cruisers through town and sitting on the beach reading. I am reading the third Neapolitan novel by Elena Ferrante and there’s nothing better in my mind than having long stretches of time to read a good book.

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My daughter came with us plus a swim friend from her age group days. Isn’t it amazing how swimming bonds friends through life? They’re both college swimmers and they ran, lifted weights, swam and got massages.

The only downfall of vacation was the spotting of great white sharks at the beach. Only two hours after the girls had an ocean swim, a 15-foot great white was spotted exactly where they had been swimming.

IMG_3338A lifeguard told me that last week, she watched a seal by the swimming dock. It was pulled underwater, tossed up and eaten by a large creature with a fin. She said it was like watching National Geographic as the water turned red.

I was looking forward to ocean swimming and kayaking. I was going to try SUP (stand up and paddle) for the first time. But, like I said, I’m better at vacations now and sitting on the beach with a book made more sense, given the great white sharks.

Video of the girls swimming before the sharks were spotted: 

What’s your favorite thing to do on vacation?

Are we doing good?

I wrote this five years ago about my summer vacation with family and friends at the beach. Yes, I miss those days!

My son learning to dive with the swim team.

My son learning to dive with the swim team. He’s third from the right.

“Do Good. Be Good. We’ll Be Doing Good.”

These are the words my son recorded for our voice mail message when he was four years old.  I saved that for years.

What a thoughtful thing for our young son to say! My husband and I adopted that saying as our family motto.

A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.

A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.

I try to do good. Be good. Some days it’s a bigger struggle than others. But, it’s something to think about, too. What are we doing with our lives? Are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we are in it?

A lot has to do with our outlook. I’m definitely one of the “glass is half full” types. I try to look at the positive and stay away from those who are negative. Turning on the TV can put you into negativity land. I truly believe that we can stay positive by removing negative influences around us. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Read interesting books and essays. Swim! Like Ray Bradbury said, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message.

My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message. Vacation pic from years ago.

After spending a week in paradise—otherwise known as Carpinteria, CA—I look back on our vacation as perfect. We have great friends who live there who inspire me. I always come home with so much energy from being around positive, hard working entrepreneurs.

Also, my children spent a bit of the week with us. What a treat that was for me! With two college aged kids, having them together was priceless. We rode bikes, hiked, swam in the ocean, sailed, shared meals together. It’s hard to leave them, but I’m so thankful for the time we had together. That’s my glass half full talking as I sit in my lonely, quiet house once again.

Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.

Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.

I’m proud to say my kids look truly happy. They are definitely doing and being good.

My kids and friend.

My kids and friend.