Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hurrier I Go, The Behinder I Get!

Today when it was 12 noon and time to go to lunch my co-worker had to tell me. Good thing too otherwise I would just have kept working away!
I couldn't believe it! It seemed like I'd only just gotten here a few minutes ago and I hadn't even made a dent in the work I have to get done today.

That's an actual picture of me over there on the left! Ok, well, maybe that's not really me, but the only reason that isn't me is because we are paperless. But imagine if every email in my in box were printed and placed on my desk it would look just like this picture. And it's only Tuesday!

There is just no way that I can get all this stuff done. What I wouldn't give for "back in the day" when you could just stick something in a file and say you never got it...now there's a paper trail! Can you believe it? A paper trail when you're paperless???

How's your week going so far?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why we love Mariachi Music in my Family

"...the first mariachis did not read their music, they felt it." Jeff Nevin

There is just something in Mariachi Music that sings to the souls of all those in my family...from the youngest to the oldest. Mariachi's and Pinata's are our childhood. We all have our favorite songs and the one in the video above is my favorite. At about 1:33 in the video you will see two of my cousins, Elpidia and Ofelia or Pete and Faye as they are affectionately known, singing along with the Mariachi. And in the very left corner you see my own beautiful sister giving out a yell Mariachi style! We had a blast at this party and I'll share more photos in another post. For now enjoy the video. The lyrics are below and I have tried, as best I can, to translate the song.

Lyrics to El Rey :
(El Rey means The King)
Yo se bien que estoy afuera
 (I know well that I am outside)
Pero el dia que yo me muera
(But the day that I die)
Se que tendras que llorar.
(I know you will have to cry)
(Llorar y llorar, llorar y llorar)
(Cry and Cry, Cry and Cry)
Diras que no me quisistes
(You'll say you never loved me)
Pero vas a estar muy triste
(But you will be very sad)
Y asi te me vas a quedar.
(And that is the way you will stay)

Con dinero y sin dinero.
(With money or without money)
Yo hago siempre lo que quiero.
(I always do what I want)
Y mi palabra es la ley.
(And my word is the law)
No tengo trono ni reina.
(I don't have a throne nor a queen)
Ni nadie que me comprenda.
(Nor anyone that understands me)
Pero sigo siendo el rey.
(But I continue being The King)

Una piedra en el camino
(A stone in the road)
Me enseno que mi destino.
(Showed me my destiny)
Era rodar y rodar.
(Was to roll and roll)
(Rodar y rodar, rodar y rodar)
(Roll and Roll, Roll and Roll)
Tambien me dijo un arriero
(Also I've been told by a muledriver)
Que no hay que llegar primero
(That you don't need to arrive first)
Pero hay que saber llegar.
(But you need to know how to arrive)

(Chorus - Already translated above)
Con dinero y sin dinero.
Yo hago siempre lo que quiero.
Y mi palabra es la ley.
No tengo trono ni reina.
Ni nadie que me comprenda.
Pero sigo siendo el rey.

The meaning is lost a little bit when you translate it into English, but it's your basic love song. Guy meets girls, he screws something up and she kicks him to the curb, so that's why he says he is outside, he's outside of her life, but he knows that she is going to regret it and someday when he dies she is going to cry and cry and cry!! She'll lie to all her friends and pretend like he wasn't "all that" and she never really loved him but she's never going to get over him...or so he says :-)

Then he get's all macho and tells her that it doesn't matter if he has money or not cause he always does things his way (which is probably what got him into trouble in the first place!) And then he says that his word is the law...hmmm, maybe that's what got him into trouble? For some reason whenever any Mariachi sings that one line the women all swoon and go nuts, seriously, go back up and listen to them scream...women! We just love the bad guys *sigh*. Anyway, he goes on basically saying he doesn't need anyone when he says he doesn't have a throne or a queen and he's so misunderstood... but it doesn't matter cause he will always continue being the King!

Then he sings about a rock or a stone or a pebble he saw while on the road and he realized his destiny was to be like a rolling stone and roll and roll. You know, like the song, "Papa was a rolling stone. Where ever he went that was his home; and when he died....all he left us was alone!" Or like a rolling stone gathers no moss? Anyway basically he's saying "That's how I roll woman!"

Then he said he was told by an "arriero" which is a mule driver, I guess some guy that he stopped to chat with and complain about how his woman "done did him wrong"...anyway, this mule driver tells him, "you don't need to be the first to arrive, it's better to know when to arrive" or "it's better to make an entrance". I guess when you seek advice from a mule driver you get what you pay for as it sounds good and makes the song flow in Spanish, but it really doesn't make much sense to me? Any suggestions?

So that's the song in a nutshell. Oh...and go back up and watch it again and watch for the lady Mariachi! Gotta love her! I always wanted to be a Mariachi but sadly I can't sing or play an instrument or perform in public or wear blouses that you have to tuck into your skirt! Other than that though I could probably be a pretty good Mariachi!

Thank you to the Baldenegro Family for hosting the celebration of their parents 50th Wedding Anniversary and giving us all a chance to get together for a happy occasion for once.
Que Viva los Baldenegros...Long Live the Baldenegros!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Could you live an entire year eating locally or the food from your garden? Barbara Kingsolver transplanted her family from the deserts of Arizona to the mountains of Virginia for their endeavor. Join From Left to Write on February 21as we discuss the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

I have to admit that I really couldn't find myself getting into this book. Not that the subject matter doesn't seem incredibly interesting; but more the fact that right now my head is filled with problems and dilemmas and a lot of pressure at work and I find when I do have some free time to read that I really don't want to read non-fiction or instructional books. I want to get lost in a great mystery or love story. Something that takes me far, far away from real life.

That being said, I did read the first three chapters and that was enough to give me some inspiration for a post. As a member of From Left to Write we don't actually write reviews of the books we receive; instead we write a post inspired from the book itself.

Photo taken on my cell phone at one of our many, many, many stops at Rest Areas.

The book and the reason for it coincides with a recent trip that I took to Arizona with my mom and my sister Lisa. On the way while travelling through miles and miles and miles of beautiful desert my mom was inspired to share stories of her childhood with us. Normally when we would take long car trips as children it was my dad who would do all the talking. He would tell us wonderful stories of when he was a fighter pilot in the war (which he never was, he was just great at inventing stories to keep us kids occupied and avoid the inevitable "Are we there yet?" questions.)

But this trip, since my mother had our ears she started telling us stories about the things she used to eat as a child. To give you a little background on my mother, she hates food...plain and simple. Nothing would give her more joy than to have a little pill invented that would provide all the nourishment and vitamins she needs to survive and stay healthy. She's never loved cooking and sometimes just the thought having to decide on what eat when her body begs her for food even when her mind is rebelling against the thought, can make her physically sick. Let me tell you, it's not easy being me when you have to be around my mom. I joke that we're a sad pair as she HAS to eat and doesn't want ANYTHING and I want EVERYTHING and shouldn't eat ANYTHING!

So my sister and I were curious if my mom had always been such a picky eater and what she ate as a child. She said she mainly ate a lot of beans, refried with tortillas. But that she could remember as a special treat when they were able to get their hands on zucchini squash that her mother would cut them into rounds and dry them by inserting them into the needles of cactus growing up around their home. They would also grow what vegetables they could in the dry Texas land they lived on and trade with neighbors. I think of how much work that must have been. In those days the family's sole job was to come up with enough food just to feed their family!

I can't imagine myself in this day and age working 8 hours a day and then having to come home and work in a garden to raise my family's food and then picking it and cleaning it and cooking it and canning it, day after day? I see that when I buy a loaf of bread it can last for a month without any mold growing on it when back in the day I can remember my mom buying bread and if we didn't eat it within a week it was be all moldy and gross. So I understand that there are tons of preservatives and other chemicals in the foods we consume. But do I honestly want to come home and bake my own bread when I can swing by any grocery store and buy a fresh loaf? Let me answer that with a resounding "NO".

My dad was a farmer all his life. I've written posts before about all the crops that he would grow from Bell Peppers to Apricots so I know first hand how delicious fresh tomatoes straight from the field taste. I know that when I first had my daughter April that I used to buy vegetables and make her baby food for her as I wanted her only to have the best and the healthiest and the freshest. But do I want to work as hard as the Kingsolvers just to put food on the table for my family? Well, not at this point in my life, but I applaud all the young parents out there that buy organic or grow their own produce...but for me at this point in my life, my kids are all grown up and it's hard enough getting my mom to JUST EAT, let alone eat healthy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I've got the FEVER...Downton Abbey Fever!

On Thursday I knew nothing of Downton Abbey, a series on PBS Masterpiece Theatre.

On Friday while visiting the  wonderfully funny blog called, Blue Skies and Yellow Dogs I read that "The Zadge", writer and star of this blog had an addiction to this show and that she spent a whole snowy Denver weekend watching Season 1 which consists of 7 episodes. She spoke highly of the show and I thought, "Hmmmm, I'll have to see if I can watch a little of that this weekend."

Well folks, gotta tell ya, I spent the whole of my Saturday afternoon watching it and watched all of Season 1...7 episodes, staying up to 11:30 pm! I know, I know...that's just how I roll, wild and crazy on a Saturday night!

Actually, it was wonderful! I felt like I spent the weekend in the English Countryside at the beautiful Downton Estate. Being pampered and waited upon by lovely ladies maids and eating delicious food prepared fresh by a wonderful cook. What a spell-binding, dramatic and humorous show!

First you have the beautiful Lady Mary, who is the rightful heir of Downton but due to the fact that she was born with the wrong genitals she cannot inherit Downton as it must be inherited by a male heir and her mother and father only had three daughters. Therefore Mary must make a profitable marriage. But Mary is not a docile, submissive, little English flower...nope, she's intelligent, ambitious, seductive and unwilling to conform to convention! I love her spirit!

Oh...and the villains in this show...wow! You love to hate them. Especially the evil, arrogant yet totally gorgeous footman, Thomas! This guy is such a slimy weasel and yet so easy on the eyes. You just can't help but wonder why no one can see what an ambitious, vindictive, manipulative person he is. He just continues to get away with all kinds of craziness! I think he would make a great Twilight Vampire!
But the most intriguing and interesting character by far...the woman I want to grow up to be is the matriarch of the Crawley Family, the Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Well, actually, I don't want to grow up to be exactly like her because she is locked in the past and is not at all happy about new inventions and the world changing. She's also very much a snob. But she's ambitious and ready to do what she has to do to protect her family! She is also hilarious in a dry, droll way.

Today I was visiting Jo at A Majority of Two and trying to catch up on some of her past posts and wouldn't you know it, but Jo has Downton Abbey Fever too! If you get a chance, head over and read her take on the show. She shared a great video with the best one-liners by Lady Violet Crawley. I hope she doesn't mind that I borrowed it to share here on my blog too. Great show! Can't wait to watch more.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Technical Difficulties, Birds in the Chimney, Buck through the Window

How is that for a title?
I've had a busy week and I've had more than one odd thing either happen to me or happen to someone I've known or been told about it happening to someone. I know, that sentence made no sense....sorry...let me explain.

Ok, so first the technical difficulties part. It didn't actually happen to me, this technical difficulty thing...but it affected me. Today, a client asked me to fax to him the application he needed to review and sign in order to renew his policy. He asked how many pages I would be faxing, and I said 15, so he says, "Ok, that's fine, but I need you to fax them one at a time other wise my fax machine won't print them properly." Ummm, what? What kind of person has a fax machine so antiquated or decrepit that you can only fax them one page at a time??? But, being the wonderful customer service person that I am and not one of those "it's not my job" kinda people, I did it. I faxed one page at a time. It took me over an hour, but I did it. *patting myself on the back*

Then yesterday I had to take a continuing education class. It was a day long class taught by an experienced instructor named Lynn. I've had the pleasure of taking classes from Lynn several times now. Lynn is a wonderful instructor as she interweaves interesting stories that help you to understand the topic she's teaching about.

Yesterday she was talking about insurance claims and what types of things are excluded and why. She told us this great story about a lovely little old man and his equally lovely wife who had a lovely little house and Mrs. Lovely would tell Mr. Lovely that she heard some type of noise in the chimney of their fireplace. Did you know that women and men hear different frequencies differently? Just a random fact explaining why it is that the man in your life can never hear the odd things you hear squeaking or buzzing around the house or in your car while you can!

So anyway, Mr. Lovely would just blow off Mrs. Lovely's complaints of noise as he heard nothing. Until one day when it was a tad chilly and Mr. Lovely decided he would open up the flue and light a fire. When he opened up the flue apparently there was a whole community of birds that had built nests in the fireplace chimney. Smart birds huh? They found a nice, dry, warm place to build their nest, out of the elements.

The birds were quite startled and were all aflutter. Some of them flew up out of the chimney then came back. Well you know what birds do when they see other birds doing something? Birds of a feather, flock together...so other birds saw these birds flying into the chimney so they did so as well and all the birds had no where to go except down the chimney and into Mr. and Mrs. Lovely's living room!!!!

Now you've got all these frightened birds flying around the Lovely's living room trying to figure out how to get outta there! They're flying into windows, curtains, lamps, vases, plants and Mrs. Lovely's hair! Mr. Lovely grabs a broom and starts swatting and trying to shoo these birds out of the door which Mrs. Lovely has opened. Mrs. Lovely runs outside screaming and neighbors come to see what all he ruckus is about and they all go get their own brooms and try desperately to help Mr. Lovely shoo the birds away. Can you just picture this? I mean seriously??? Can you?

Eventually they get all the birds shooed away. The living room is a mess, bird feathers, bird poop and broken things everywhere! There was $15,000 in damages which they reported to their insurance company. Was this covered by their insurance policy? No...because their policy had an exclusion for bats, rats, birds, and vermin. Can you believe that? They had to pay for the damages out of pocket!

I used to work in a funeral home...and I have lots of stories about funeral and death too! I should dig some of those stories out of the trunks packed with mothballs and memories in my head.

But for now, let me share another story that Lynn told us about another claim. This next one is as sad and gruesome as it is interesting. So this client of Lynn's built a beautiful cabin in the mountains for himself and his wife. In the living room of this cabin was a beautiful big picture window, like this one, which looked out onto land owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

 This couple loved to sit and just gaze at the beautiful scenery. They enjoyed watching nature. Many times they would see deer and antelope and various other wild creatures.

One day a big, beautiful Buck catches his reflection in the big picture window. The sun must have touched the window just so and the Buck probably thought it was another Buck and charged at it, at himself, at the window.

You can imagine what happens next. The couple watches in horror as the Buck comes running at full speed towards the window...towards them. Then he leaps and crashes through the window. Somehow the shattering glass catches and cuts right through the Bucks Carotid Artery! Blood is flowing out of the animals neck.

The poor Buck is now terrified and hurt. It's running around their living room, blood spurting everywhere, crashing into their furniture, television, drapes. Knocking down pictures and vases and shelves filled with books and knick-knacks. And there is nothing they can do but protect themselves by staying out of the way until finally the poor animal, exhausted by the loss of blood falls and finishes bleeding to death.

I know...it's a horrible story. Imagine if that happened to you? Your living room is ruined, blood and debris everywhere, plus there is a huge animal carcass there. Can you imagine the clean up involved? Would this be covered by your homeowners insurance policy? She didn't have an answer for us as when this happened she didn't keep abreast of it and didn't know how it was finally settled.

Oh...and the girl sitting next to me in this class whistled through her nose when she breathed! I know that doesn't seem like such a big deal, but remember earlier when I said that women hear things differently from men? Well if I were to be a Super Hero, my Super Power would be my Sense of Hearing...coming in as a close second would be my Super Powerful Sense of Smell! I guess I would either be a super hero or just a bat-eared bloodhound! Anyway, it drove me crazy and made it really difficult to concentrate, plus she spent the entire day texting away on her cell phone which was very distracting. There was a test after the class...so I hope I passed it. Even if I didn't I came away with some pretty good stories for this post, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's not my Job!!!

I have to vent and I'm sure my poor little co-worker is tired of hearing my rants and raves so I'm going to bless all of you with them! Isn't that grand?

What I don't understand is the "It's not my job" mentality. When and where did that attitude materialize? I don't remember being taught that in school or at home.

I recently had to send an email regarding a claim to a person at an insurance company. We've been told to send them to this person, I'll call her Ms. Claims. I've been sending claims notices to Ms. Claims for the past year.

Seven days ago...I send Ms. Claims an email with the notice of a new claim and request she forward to the insurance company. I've still heard nothing. So I follow-up with her by email today.

What do I get? I get an email from her supervisor telling me IN ALL CAPS, that I have not followed the procedure for submitting claims!!!

Not an "I'm sorry, but our procedure has changed. We have forwarded your email to Mr. Smith in the claims department but from now on you can send him info directly at MrSmith@claimsdept.com. Nooooo! I get a nasty email that has just gotten on my last nerve.

Why can't we all just get along and do the best thing for the customer? More and more I hear the words, "that's not my job". Is it any wonder we can't get anything done in this country?

So ok...there you go, that's my rant for the day and pardon the ASS word above in the little photo, but I thought it fit this post perfectly!