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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oh Man, It's October - Back to Work on the Outside

After working from home for 17 years, it was time for me to go back into the world outside and get a job.  This was not something I really would have chosen to do.  I like working from home for myself, sometimes even in my pajamas, because I could.  My time was my own and if I had to go to an appointment or be with my husband or kids, I could make my schedule flexible enough to do that.  Unfortunately, the nature of my business changed with the advancement of technology and, while I am old enough to retire and collect Social Security, the longer I wait to do that, the more money I'll make so I talked it over with my husband and applied for a job at my favorite craft store, Michaels. 

In September I posted this picture as one of my 365 pictures:

I had just had an interview with the assistant manager at one of our local Michaels Crafts Stores.  I got the job and on September 17, I began working.  The first few days were mostly spent on the computer getting oriented to the rules and regulations of working retail.  A little time was spent watching the cashiers but by the third day I was assigned a cash register and left on my own.   

Not totally alone because there is usually more than one cashier and I have a headset on so I can ask questions and everyone is very patient and informative.  Most of the transactions are simple sales but there are returns and occasionally someone will bring an item up that has no price on it and I have to call for a price check.  I try to be as quick and efficient as I can because sometimes the line winds around the store!

Michaels has always been one of my favorite places to shop and they have really good deals.  In addition, I get an employee discount!  I made a promise to myself not to shop until I had earned two paychecks.  I got my second one last week so look out! 

We have soda and snack machines in the break room and I even have my own locker.  I had to keep the combination written on a piece of paper (along with all my other passwords and employee number) because I couldn't remember everything.  It is getting easier now. 

On the bulletin board in the back of the break room there is a place for encouraging and supportive notes from managers and coworkers.  I got one for helping with a slime event!   

I am used to looking for coupons and I saw one the other day on the floor at Safeway.  I recognized it immediately as one of the coveted "entire purchase" discounts!

My kids told me that working in retail was going to be difficult and that people were going to yell at me.  I have had a few less than pleasant customers but I find that if I start them out with a smile and a friendly greeting, things usually go smoothly.  If I can offer them some kind of discount, that works well to shift the tone too!

I did notice that I am a little tired when I get home and I am having to pay more attention to what day it is and what time it is so I get all my transcription work done before I go to the store to work there.  They have already asked me a couple of times if I could stay longer than I was scheduled and of course I said yes.  Technically I am a seasonal hire and they could let me go in January after the holidays end but I am hoping that I am doing a good enough job that they will want to keep me around for a while.  

How about you?  Ever switched careers?  Worked in retail?  Pay attention to the name tag on the cashier?  Shop at Michaels?  Love to hear about it.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Oh Man, It's October - 365 Pictures

It has been a while since I shared my 365 pictures.  Here are a few in no particular order:

#255 - I think I'm going to use this for my new logo.  Does it make you smile?

#275 - We lost another great one with the passing of Tom Petty.  We were fortunate to have seen him twice.  This is from 2014.  Wish I had better pictures but at least I have memories.

#270 - According to WordPress I have 51 followers!  People like me :)

#264 - I have four scrapbooks documenting our yearly trips to Boulder Creek for the golf tournament.

#280 - I love how my phone tells me where I want to go next and how long it will take to get there :)  But what if I'm not ready to go home yet?

#269 - Cards I made for my Etsy shop.  Some already sold!  Better hop on and grab yours quick!

#266 - My daughter was showing me the "fun" things you can do with snap-chat.  Using this for my September selfie because it makes my face look thin :)

#267 - I love these marshmallow bits!  So yummy.

#271 - My first paycheck from Michaels.  Dream job #2.

#274 - Lots of crafting, not just cards being made in preparation for my Holiday Boutiques coming up next month.  Some of this is on Etsy too!

#276 - We found out my husband's heart beats too fast and irregularly.  I thought he was just in love with me.  Turns out this is a medical condition.  We are handling it.

#279 - Book #17 in my Reading Challenge for the year.  Interesting tale about the dreams writers have.  Looking forward to reading the one by Stephen King.

#278 - October's Full Moon through the trees.  

#265 - This is a mini-album I made for a friend of ours who was celebrating his 60th birthday.  He owns a boat and I thought this would be cute for him.
#277 - Went to the Scorpion's concert and fell in love with one of their songs we had not heard before.

#282 - This is the setting sun.  The sky is orange and hazy because of the massive fires about 60 miles north of us.  We could smell the smoke and our daughter going to college at Sonoma State was told to evacuate.  She is safe and her area is okay to go back to but the damage is horrific.  She said she felt like she was driving out of the apocalypse. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Oh Man, It's October - Scorpions In Concert

We are down to our last two concerts of the year.  Last night was Scorpions at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.  Megadeth was the opening act.  I am definitely not a fan of metal bands but I do like the Scorpions so I figured I could tolerate Megadeth and if it was really bad, I could go to the back of the arena and get food or something.

The first thing we noticed was an increase in security.  We took our local transit to get to the arena and even walking in the Bart Station near the Coliseum I could see more security jackets.  Then, we had to go up a ramp to get to the doors and there was a security checkpoint there that had never been there before.  My bag was searched and they asked my husband to hold up his jacket.  Once we got to the doors, there was the usual bag check and going through the metal detectors.  Inside I could see more security than usual walking up and down the aisles.  Personally, I didn't mind and I didn't really hear anyone else complaining.

Security by the stage
Our concert selfie :)

I didn't know any of the songs Megadeth was singing but it was interesting watching the show they had on the screens and watching the crowd.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Someone needs to tell them that "death" has an "a" in it.

Most of the pictures I got of them were of the hair flipping variety.  

I couldn't tell you what any of them actually looked like because all I saw was hair.

I have no clue as to the significance of this...

Or this guy, although I'm sure a fan would know.

Then came the Scorpions.

Klaus Meine and Matthias Jabs

Still a little crazy but at least I won't have nightmares.

Rudolf Schenker

Pawel Maciwoda

And even though they are wearing hats, I can still see their faces.

Since we last saw them, they have replaced their drummer, James Kottak, because he had some substance abuse issues.  Mikkey Dee of Motorhead fame has replaced him and I must say he did a heck of a job.

At one point in the show his drum stand rises on a pedestal very high above the stage.  Each time he beats the drums, a picture of one of their album covers fills the screen until they are all up there.  Quite impressive.

They had a disco ball hanging down and it filled the arena with sparkles of light.

I love their logo.

This is the fourth time we've seen Scorpions, going back to the very first concert my husband and I ever went to together back in 1982.  They sang some new to us songs this show and one really struck my husband and I.  Today we did some research on it and OMG it is our perfect song.  We both agreed that it holds meaning for us.  Here it is...We Built This House, from the album Return to Forever from 2015:

I listened to an introduction that Klaus Meine did about the song and he said it was to show the longevity of their band as they have been together since 1965!  I think it tells the story of my husband and I.

The last concert we have scheduled is Bob Seger next month at the same venue.  It will be interesting to see if the increased security becomes a permanent thing or if time will ease the situation.  How about you?  Any end of the year concerts?  Ever get struck by a "new" song from an old band?  What do you think of We Built This House?  Love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September Smiles - Boulder Creek Golf

For the last 21 years, every September we've been making a pilgrimage to the Boulder Creek Golf and Country Club for a golf tournament that my husband and his best friend started.

In 1985 we had been married for about a year and I found an advertisement in the AAA magazine about a three day, two night stay on a golf course in Boulder Creek, California.  I knew my husband liked to golf and while I didn't, I did love to spend some time reading and relaxing so I booked a mini-vacation for us.  It was a wonderful trip, but then the kids started coming so we didn't get a chance to go back.

Here we are on that first vacation.  Wish I still looked that young and thin!

Fast forward 10 years and we went back down to celebrate the birthday of our friend, Tony.  My mom watched our two kids so we could get away.  

It was just the four of us but we had such a good time we decided right then to book another trip for the following year.  I was seven months pregnant with our third child in 1996 but we went down anyway and the guys thought that it might be fun to start a little golf tournament.

In 1997 the first Gentleman's Invitational began.  There were five golfers and four of the wives came.  We brought our baby, Rachel, and she was so good.  

The age of computers had not fully taken over yet so the official scoring was done on a placemat in the restaurant.  My husband won that first year.

Since that time we have added some players and lost a few for one reason or another.  A couple of years my husband was not able to play because of his back issues but we usually went down anyway, just to enjoy the relaxing time with our friends.  How proud we were when our son took golf in high school and then began to come down and join the tournament as well.  We have had as many as 18 golfers!  Most of the wives come too and we have several traditions that we have formed over this time.  

First, I try to take a picture of all the golfers at the start of each tournament:

Most times I ride in the cart with my husband for at least the front nine holes.  I take as many pictures of the golfers as I can without getting in their way.

The first night we are there some of us go to a restaurant we love called Scopazzi's.  They are very accommodating for our last minute reservations and the food is delicious.  If you are ever down that way I highly recommend them. 

The next night we all get together for a pot luck.  Everyone brings an appetizer to share and we rotate hosting duties.  Some of us get 2 or 3 bedroom villas and it makes it easy to accommodate everyone.  Golf issues are discussed by the men but most of the time it is just catching up with each other to see what has been going on since the last September.

The final round of golf takes place on Friday morning and then we gather in the club house for the awards presentation and I take a picture of the winners.  Before everyone runs off until next year, I ask one of the staff to take a picture of our whole group together.   

One year, as I was putting the album together, I realized that a stranger had come and photobombed our group picture!  We must look like a fun bunch to be with.

In the middle picture, the guy on the end with the plus fours and tam o' shanter hat is not with our group!
Since it is a vacation for me, I also take pictures of the different villas we stay in and the beautiful scenery.  Most of the villas are very well kept, although we have had one or two over the years that needed some upkeep.  When we find a good one, we try to get it again the next year.

You can see the first two of the Boulder Chronicles on the table in the top picture.  

So far I have filled three scrapbooks and started a fourth!

Tony is the "Commissioner" of the tournament and he writes a recap of the scoring and highlights each year.  I add that to the end of the layout for that year and my books have become a definite source of reference for the happenings over the years.  Someone always asks, "When did we first start coming down here?" or "Remember that time when..."

This is a layout of the villas.

I really look forward to our September reunion and this year was no exception.  During the morning while the guys are golfing I sometimes bring my scrapbooking supplies and work on the albums.  This year I brought down a stack of magazines and went through them, pulling out the things I want to keep.  I went through 11 magazines and read through a book I had on blogging tips.  

How about you?  Golf in any tournaments?  Have a "September family" that you see yearly?  Love to hear about it!