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Friday, May 29, 2009

I am not sure why I have not mentioned it here, but last October, after returning from the Dominican Republic knowing that we would be headed back a few months later for a wedding, I decided that I would get a part time job to earn a little extra spending money. The first and only place I applied was Ann Taylor Loft. I was in the ‘still thinking about it’ stage of getting a job, when I found myself in Ann Taylor just wandering around killing time before I met up with my family for lunch next door at Red Robin. I thought, 'I think this might be a good place to work.' So I asked for an application and went home and filled it out and brought it right back. I was given a place online to go and fill out a questionnaire. John says WINCO has one too, they call it the HONESTY TEST. I waited a week and no answer. I figured I must have flunked the honesty test. Another week later I got a call to come in THAT DAY for an interview and was hired. My plan was to work a few months, earn some extra money and then once we got back I would quit. Maybe that is why I never mentioned it here, since I just planned on quitting soon. Well, my ‘few months’ are over and I’m still working. I really enjoy it there! It is only part time. At first, it was only about 8-12 hours a week…really not much in the way of spending money really…especially given the fact that they give an unbelievable employee discount…so you can just make a guess at where my ‘spending money’ went…yep, right back into their pockets. But I liked it, they are excellent at giving you any time off you request, so it has not cramped my style at all, I am still able to do Red Cross, see my grandkids, meet up with friends and family for lunches, you name it. I even took those days off and went to see Dennis and Abby a couple of weeks ago. Well, now to top it off…just before I left for D&A’s place, I was asked if I wanted to move up to be a shift manager. My first reaction was “No way!” But they kept working at me. I know there were others there working who were way more trained for it than me, but they were not available to take it on. So after a while of thinking it over, I went ahead and said yes, I would give it a try. I’ve made it through the training and am now officially a shift manager now. We get 20 hours a week. I know it is still new, but I come home every day thinking how glad I am that I decided to do it.
I would never have thought that a salesclerk job would have so many awesome moments. But almost every day something happens there that just makes me so happy that I was given the opportunity to work there. It is not like we just put stuff on the racks and the ring it up for them. Over half of the time, when I ask a client if they are looking for something, instead of the expected “no, just browsing”, I get a real request from them. I can’t tell you how many funerals I have helped dress women for and so many other things, weddings, job interviews, graduations, parties, vacations. I get to console them when they are feeling fat and the clothes don't fit and also cheer them on when they are so happy with a weight loss. I get to translate to Spanish speaking clients . I've helped women with tubes find clothes to disguise the tubes and shirts to not show that they have had a masectomy. I have had to help drunk women in and out of clothes and keep a watch on certain suspected shop lifters when they walk in. And then there all the men who want help finding something for their women. It is so fun! Actually really rewarding. It is pretty cool to have a woman come up to you on her way out the door and tell you thanks for all the help. I had one woman come in and give me a hug the day after I had helped her with an outfit. She said she has never had so many compliments on anything she has worn before. It is so funny to me to think that now people think because I work there, I am an expert on dressing them. I am asked how colors look, how it fits, will it shrink much, what jewelry would work with it.
But, my favorite experience so far was the time two blind girls with seeing eye dogs came in. (They were in their late 20’s, not really girls I guess) I was sure that they were in the wrong store. They just were standing there at the door with their thick parkas and hoods on. They just did not seem to be in the right place. I asked them if I could help them and immediately one of them said she was looking for a dress to wear to a concert. I thought "OK…now what do I do?"…well, I just started in…”OK, do you want a formal one or casual,” “what color” (oh man! do you ask a blind girl what color??!!!)…”well follow me.” Those dogs just lead them in. I took them all over the store and held up each dress and described it from top to bottom as they felt each part I was describing. One dress I was describing as, teal and black and white print. “Her friend said “I remember what teal looks like!” I had an off white one and the girl said “I’ve been told I don’t look good in white” I held it up to her and said I didn’t think white was very good on her either. She was so happy and thanked me for confirming that for her. (my word is official, right?) So we narrowed it down to about 10 dresses and headed to the wardrobe for them to try on. One was trying on, the other was there for moral support and zipping. I stood outside while she was dressing and then she would come out and ask me what it looked like on her. I asked her just how much vision she had and she said zero. The other girl could see a tiny bit of light. I explained that we had some really well lit mirrors, and they just laughed saying that they would have to be on the sun to be able to see in a mirror. They were so easy to be around. They were so accepting of their blindness, as if they were talking about their hair color. I was with them for a couple of hours, they felt the jewelry I brought in for them to match up and wanted a sweater to go with the dress, ends up she bought two dresses, since she could not make up her mind and a sweater and the other girl found a sweater she wanted also. Then the dogs lead them out of the wardrobe, past the maze of mannequins to the checkout counter to pay, then on out the door to the concert. They said that they would be back soon! I sure hope so!

It is SO FUN! All those years of playing with my Barbies have paid off!!! (thanks Mom!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I had a great time at Dennis and Abby's place!

I got there on Thursday afternoon and stayed until Sunday night. I have not been down since they bought their condo, so it was nice to finally get to see where they live now. Thursday we went out to dinner at an Italian place and then just hung out at their place and played with Midas and Dagny. Friday we went to C.A.R.D.(Center for Autism and Related Disorders), where he works and he showed me around and I met some of the people he works with. Then we went to Huntington Gardens. http://www.huntington.org/ Abby did a project there for her work and so she was able to get us free passes in!
I had a blast taking pictures! It is acres and acres of gardens, one garden is acres of just cactus. Every kind, I had no idea there were so many and tons of them were in bloom. There is a Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, English Rose Garden, Australian Garden, a Botanical Garden, Herb Garden, Jungle Garden, Lily Ponds and water falls, and a Conservatory. I took 447 pictures just at the gardens! Dennis and Abby were so patient with me...here are some shots of the gardens and then some of them waiting around for me to continue. Along with the gardens, there are museums and a library. They have an amazing collection of books and letters in there! One of them was the first book ever printed on a press, the Gutenberg Bible. They did a BBQ for dinner that night. Dennis made burgers and pomegranate margaritas and Abby made salsa...good stuff!! Then on Saturday, we drove to Oxnard and went out to lunch with Uncle Jimmy. It is always fun to spend time with him. Saturday night, Abby's Mom and Dad, (Lanie and Terry), came up and we had another BBQ with them, including churros for dessert. Sunday we went to their new church and then out to lunch and back to their place to hang out some more before I had to catch my plane. The last time I stayed with them, I experienced my first earthquake,right in the middle of the night we woke up to the whole place shaking. Quite a thing to wake up to, especially having never gone through one! Well, I almost made it out of town before another such experience. An hour or so after they dropped me off, the whole airport was shaking! I've read that it was between a 4.7 or 5.
It is just so amazing to see your kids as adults, to be in their home, see them cooking, cleaning and living life on their own. Like it is pretty weird to have HIM making ME breakfast and out there on the patio, is an arbor they built with grapes that they are growing. Take a look at the planter he built for his tomatoes...they grow upside down! That plant is full of green tomatoes already!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I know it's kinda weird, but I love to paint (I love to iron, too). There is just something I enjoy about seeing something go from messy to pristine, dirty to clean, wrinkled to pressed...you get the picture. Our front porch needed a new coat, so I painted it yesterday. It was so beautiful. I say WAS...I got it all done, stood back to admire my work, and noticed something dropping on my head...those awesome Oregon raindrops!!! Good thing I love painting...I can now redo the steps. So far that looks like they were the only part damaged from it. I swear, I checked the weather reports...no rain until LATE night...and I checked a couple of sources for more than one opinion. Oh well, I will do it next week. I'M OUT OF HERE!!! I head to Los Angeles to visit Dennis and Abby today! My first trip to see their new place. I'm really looking forward to it...I have not seen him in a year and a half. He had an airline ticket that was about to expire and no time to use it...and it could be used by anyone with Dixon for the last name...that qualified ME!!!!

p.s. after 3 weeks...my eye is pretty much back to normal. I can't believe how long it took the bruise to go away.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring petal forecast: After a beautiful flowering season, expect heavy accumulation of petals in any flowering area.

I am amazed at the amount of petals this year. Not sure if I even noticed it before.








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