Friday, November 30, 2007

Who wants a Christmas card?

I had two sets of cards made, which each picture above on a set. I made them with my mac, transmitted them into the ether, and received them today. They really turned out well, and I am proud to send them out to all.

The first image above is one I took in Estes Park, Colorado, in March of this year. The second is elk enjoying the snowy ground in Rocky Mountain National Park, also taken in March.

If you would like to receive a Christmas card from me, please email me your name and address to


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shut Your Mouth and Get out of My Store

This is what I repeated over and over to a ranting, raving, loud, manic man tonight.

I was on the first floor when a couple of customers told me a man was out of control on the second floor. I hopped upstairs and found one of my peeps, my Inventory Manager, trying to get Crazy Red Jacket Man to leave.

Over the years I have unfortunately had a good amount of practice in getting the out-of-control and off-their-meds people to vacate the store, but they always create a big scene when they do. Using our walkie-talkies, I told my staff to call security and the police.

One of the tricks I use to get said crazy person to leave is that I start saying 'let's go' while slowly walking down the stairs to the front door. It works every time, because they want to follow me to continue their rant. I've learned that they will not leave if I just stand there and repeat repeat repeat that they must go.

I've also learned that they stop again just short of the front doors and begin their rant again, because they now have a big audience (people waiting in line at the registers, people in the cafe, etc.) This is where I again walk slowly toward the front doors, open them, and wave them out the door. The whole walk n talk sounds simple, but it really does work..most of the time.

Tonight, Mr. Crazy Red Jacket Man wasn't leaving, so I took a chance--I took two steps forward, completely invading his personal space, looked him firmly in the eyes, and repeated, "Shut your mouth, and get out of my store," over and over until he finally started to leave. Of course that was the point at which security showed up.

Following an 'episode' such as this, I always get feedback from my customers and my staff. I apologized to my customers that they had to see that, to which they always respond, "It's ok. I thought you did a good job." And my staff always asks me if I'm ok, which is nice. And then my staff and I spend the rest of the evening laughing about it, because really...haven't you always wanted to say "Shut your mouth, " at work and not get in trouble for it?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Memphis BBQ--Part 1

At last, my long-awaited review of the two barbecue dinners I enjoyed while in Memphis this past week. And I want to start by saying that today it appears that blogger has fixed the problem that wasn't allowing me to imbed links or video. I'm very excited, because now you won't have to cut n' paste the url to go to the websites.

On that Sunday evening, after asking 5 or 6 people for recommendations, I made my way down Poplar Avenue in Germantown (a suburb of Memphis where I was both staying and working), to a place called Corky's. It was well after dark when I set out, but I was able to find it rather easily. Finding a parking place, however, proved a challenge. I negotiated a series of completely illegal U-turns up and down the wide, non-median'd street while I waited for a spot to open up. After a few minutes I was able to pull in and park, only to enter the small establishment to see a large group of people standing and sitting, waiting to be seated.

Not really in the mood to wait 45 minutes for dinner, I decided to try their drive through, which was poorly lit, but efficiently run, with an affable young man helming the window. Shame on me for forgetting to snap a picture of their menu board! I paused at the board, looking for a 'most popular' or 'tourist's best choice' type of listing when I saw "BBQ Sausage and Cheese Plate, A Memphis Tradition". Well, I sure as heck was going to get that! A Memphis tradition? Of course I had to try it. So I placed my order for that as well as the pork plate. Too much food for one person, but what the heck...the hotel room had a refrigerator for storing leftovers.

The sausage part of the 'Memphis Tradition' was wonderfully tasty--tender with that wonderful bbq sweet/spicy/smoky flavor. The rest of the plate, however, was less than stellar, prompting a quick once over to sample the simple cheeses and pickle spears (which I normally adore), with a subsequent banishment to the trash can. I should have known better than to get such a plate at a bbq joint.

On to the pork plate! The pork meat was delectably tender and moist, smoked to perfection, and topped with Corky's own bbq sauce with cole slaw, bbq baked beans and a wonderfully fresh sourdough roll. The dishes make for a very earth-toney meal, but then again, aren't all the best foods brown?

The slice of pecan pie came with the pork plate. And let's just set the record straight by clarifying the pronunciation of pecan. It is puh-CONN, with the emphasis on the second syllable, not PEE-can or PEE-conn. If you're not pronouncing it puh-CONN then you're just flat out wrong. This slice of pie was a little slice of heaven, but heaven only knows what a maraschino cherry was doing defiling the perfection of it. I quickly exiled it from my sight. My mother makes a killer pecan pie, but this one took the cake, or the pie, rather. The crust was simple yet up to the task of holding the dense pie load of goodness. The pie was neither too sweet nor too sticky. It was, in a word, yumiliciousness personified. Wait, does that count as two words?

So, if you're heading to Memphis and want to make your taste buds dance a little jig, check out Corky's at one of their three locations around town. I'm told it's a 'touristy' kind of place, but that the locals also frequent there. It's worth it, just for the pie.

Next time, on Jenny's blog...our favorite girl-about-town visits the Germantown Commissary for some ribs! Stay tuned.

Friday, November 23, 2007

bbq update coming later, promise

But now I must away to the grocery store.

And it snowed here yesterday....nothing stuck, but it did Dallas......on Thanksgiving.....and it sleeted a bit and rained. Wintry mix.

and the bbq update will contain pictures, so be ready!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy the day, my friends. I'll be posting a review of the delicious Memphis barbecue I had while there this week.

I have to go and quickly get ready and drive to Ft. Worth.

Bye, have a great day!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Walkin' in Memphis

I'm heading out for Memphis as soon as I shower and pack and load my car. I am going to train a new GM.

See ya on or after Thanksgiving. Have a Happy one!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally! Vacation Part II

Blogger finally let me upload my photos.
Sunset on the last day at Indian Rocks Beach.
Our 3-foot high sand pyramid complete with etched bricks and shortened versions of our names.
One of the nearby public access points to the beach.
The house we rented. Look at that fiery sunset ablazing in the window reflection.
Amy stands outside my car as traffic is stopped for half an hour on I-10 due to an SUV running off the road and emergency equipment needing access to the area.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sans Tuna, Dinner is Oatmeal

I can pretty much guarantee you that no one has ever had THAT as their blog post title.

I was looking forward to a quick and easy dinner of Tuna Helper (yes, I like that stuff). I had already put the water+milk+butter in a pot and had it boiling on the stove when I went to grab that can of tuna that I had placed on that shelf right th......

Yep, that happened. The can of tuna I thought I had was not actually present. Hmmm, quickly switch to backup plan. Actually, quickly create backup plan before roiling boiling milk concoction overflows the pot. I grabbed the quick cooking oats (for which Charles will surely shun me), and dumped in a bunch. Several minutes later...voila'. Not a very exciting dinner, but I wasn't all that hungry, anyway.

Tomorrow I'm running a job fair at another store. I really don't like job fairs, quite honestly. Some of the people who show up for these things are such an inappropriate fit for the position to such an extreme that it's almost sad. On the up side, I do get a lot of good 'material' for the next time my peers and I are sitting around and shooting the breeze. Unfortunately, I cannot share any details here, but you'll have to trust me that I've had some entertainingly awful interviews at these things.


This Saturday I leave for Memphis, to train a new GM Sunday-Wednesday of next week. It's not good for me to be out of my store the week of Thanksgiving, but this person is brand new, and their DM has asked me to go, so I'm happy to oblige. You know I don't like to fly, so fortunately it is not a very long drive. And I'll get to have some real Memphis bbq again! WooHoo!


That's all for now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Vacation Pics

drat, blogger won't upload them
I'll try again tomorrow

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Little Sis's Job Woes

I must start off by saying that I do not have the highest regard for my sister's career choices in the past. Instead of buckling down and finding a job that paid enough to live on and repay student loans, for many years she piddled around, getting deeper in debt, and blaming everyone and everything but herself.

My sister, Jamie, turned 30 last month, and she's had what I would consider her first 'real' job since last February. Before that she worked in a bar, worked IT for some guy who paid her a pittance but did pay for her truck and second college computer degree; she also worked sound design, scene design, lighting design, and other theatre and live show work.

Her first college degree was in theatre arts, and she wanted to do all the 'design' stuff I listed above. I'd say she had decent talent, but that business is difficult to earn a living in, jumping from job to job, show to show, theatre to theatre. I'm all for people following their dreams, but I think a good dose of financial-responsibility-sense should always be part of the mix.

Currently she is working in IT for some insurance company and really cannot stand it any more. Today she shared with my family some of the reasons why, and I have to say I almost laughed in her face. The things she sees as injustices against her are normal business practices and not underhanded in any way. She keeps saying she isn't getting paid enough, but I wonder how much she thinks she should be getting paid for just having earned her IT-related degree a year ago and not having reputable experience before then.

Her comments and behaviors remind me of when I interview recent college graduates. Many of them believe that they should be making $60k, $80k, $100k, right out of the gate just because they have a diploma, or because that's the amount they've decided they want to earn. Hey, knock yourself out, go for those high paying jobs when you're 22. Why not? And if you get one at that age, more power to you.

They also don't understand exactly how important 'experience' is. Taking a class on management, computer programming, acccounting, etc. may provide you with the basics, but what have you done with it? Tell me about your customers. What specificially did you do with your team to drive these results? Talk to me about issues you've had with coworkers and supervisors. How did you handle the issue? Give me examples.

So today when Jamie was talking about a few points she had issue with, my older sister, Dad, and I weighed in on our opinions and experiences. After a few minutes, Dad and older sis got up and left the table, and I was left to listen and try to explain to Jamie how, while she may disagree with the handling of the events, it sounded to me like her company was handling them correctly and fairly.

Of course she didn't want to hear any of it, but that doesn't stop it from being true.

I think she's finally getting her introduction into the world of business, where things such as pro-rated merit increases, additional responsibilities for salaried employees, and re-alignments/restructuring of personnel occur frequently.

Unfortunately, I don't know if she'll ever see it that way. She's never been very constant in her practices, and I think she's going to be a person who job hops for her entire adult life, always looking for the next best thing, just as she tries to do in her personal life. On the up side, she'll have a lot of new experiences. On the down side, she'll never give herself the chance to be at peace and really enjoy whatever it is she is currently doing, because she'll only focus on the parts she dislikes about it, rather than focusing on the larger parts that she does like.

To each her own, but I think that's a rather tiring and defeating way to go about one's life.

Any thoughts?