Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Own Little Tribute for Jackie

In September 1988, one month fresh out of college, I came out here to the desert to interview for a job.  Actually, I had three interviews lined up.  My aunt was living out here and with her connections, helped set up these interviews.  Here I was, a new college graduate, going for my first official job interview.  I had a fresh new haircut (my hairdresser back in Texas told me I needed a "mature" cut, you know, now that I was a college graduate and all...).  And I had my interview outfit picked out.  Looking back, I can't quite remember if I wore the same outfit to all three interviews, but I think I did.  It was drilled into my head back then, what you were supposed to dress like for job interviews.  So, I had this cute black and white check skirt, with a white chiffon-like top, with matching little jacket.  Black pumps.  Sort of suit-like.  Professional, ya know?

So, I had one interview at Mission Hills Country Club, for a job in the tennis shop.  Another interview at the La Quinta Hotel Gift Shop.  And my third and final interview was at the La Quinta Hotel Tennis Club, for the position of "tennis hostess."  My degree was in Clothing and Textiles, so my goal was to do the merchandising for the shop, but for now, this was the job that was open.

As I am walking through the tennis club area, over the saltillo pavers, in my pumps and in my very professional attire, carrying a leather pad that held my resume, and in awe of the beauty of this place, I think to myself, "This is dumb...why am I wearing this?  But what else do I wear for my first interviews out of college?  I'm supposed to look this way, right??"  I was very, very uncomfortable.

Anyway, I walk into the tennis pro shop and ask for the gentleman with whom I have my interview with...the Director of Tennis, Jackie Cooper. 

Jackie comes out of the office, we shake hands, make our introductions and he takes me over the restaurant so we can chat.  Me, in my suit.  And he in his white, short Fila shorts--complete tennis attire.  We walk in silence over to the restaurant.  I'm thinking he thinks I look like an idiot.

So, we chat for a bit.  I give him my resume.  I can't even remember what we talk about.  I'm nervous.  He's 40-ish, I think.  Tan.  Blue eyes.  Good looking.  Jackie is as nice as he could be to me.  By the time I leave town, I am offered all three jobs, but I accept the one at the tennis club at La Quinta.  A month later, I made the move to California.

I never put that suit on again.  For the next ten years, I sported the cutest tennis gear around.  I didn't really play, but at least I looked like I could. 

Working at La Quinta Hotel Tennis Club was one of the best experiences of my life.  Everyone I worked with was great.  There was Jackie.  Karen, who ran the shop and was Jackie's right arm.  Francine, who did the buying for the shop.  Jim and Julian, and Fred and Mike--teaching pros.  Me, who arranged matches. And Sonia and Mona...our retail girls who worked on weekends.  Good people.  We were a great team and had fun.  There was never a dull moment around that tennis shop.

Jackie was great to work for.  He was a great tennis player.  So fun to watch play.  He had a great sense of humor.  He was funny.  He was easy going.  Laid back.  He enjoyed life.  He never took anything too seriously.  He was charming.  And always made sure everyone who came to play at this club was happy.  He had a knack for making everything work out for everyone.  If someone came in and wanted to play and no court was available, he figured out a way to get them on.  If someone wanted a match and no one was around, he helped make it happen.  He took care of people.  Everyone loved Jackie.

He gave great advice. 

One day, I must have been complaining about something to him.  He looked at me and said, "Lori, you need to stop being a troubleshooter."  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I can still see him to this day...sitting in the back office, in his chair, back against the wall, feet up on the desk, saying that to me. (If you know Jackie, you know and remember this vision).  And everytime I start to find a problem with something, I can still hear those words. 

Another day, I was driving him from the golf club back to the tennis club.  There were people walking in the middle of the street....and me, being annoyed, said, "Geez, why are they walking in the middle of the street?" Jackie tells me (reminds me)..."Hey...they're on vacation...they're at La Quinta..they should be able to walk in the middle of the street."  Thank you Jackie for that reminder.  To just relax.  I loved your outlook on life.

Back in the day, La Quinta Hotel was the premiere place to come for tennis (golf, too, for that matter).  I know it still is, but back then, it was owned and operated by Landmark Land.  Ah, the good 'ole Landmark days.  It was run much differently back then than it is now.  Over the years, many things have changed.  It was and still remains as my very favorite place, ever.  It's beautiful and peaceful.  Nestled in the Santa Rosa mountains.  Palm trees.  Blue skies.  Beautiful flowers everywhere.  We had 30 tennis courts, 6 of which were grass and 3 clay. There were several weeks a year where all 30 courts would be booked solid for hours at a time. 

A good portion of the hotel guests and members at La Quinta were very influential people.  Many successful, wealthy businessmen (and women), TV personalities, actors, professional athletes, coaches, movie producers, etc.  And Jackie knew most all of these people.  Many he was friends with.  But, even being surrounded by all of this, Jackie was one of the most grounded, down to earth people.  Not arrogant in any way.  He was dating and shortly married Shelley.  Blonde, beautiful, sweet, healthy Shelley.  She was a physical therapist.  She, too, was so very down to earth.  And Jackie had three daughters:  Carrie, Laura and Jamie.  All three sweet, down to earth, naturally beautiful, good girls.

After almost four years, I left La Quinta for another job.  I saw Jackie a few times maybe here and there around town, after I left there.  The resort was sold and he ultimately left La Quinta, as well, as did the rest of our staff.    We became facebook friends a year or two ago...he's commented on a few items of mine, which always makes me smile.

It's been a very, very long time since I  have seen Jackie. 

Several days ago, I heard the news that he has stage 4 cancer.  I was so shocked and saddened to hear this news.  I know nothing really about any of it, other than this, and that next Sunday a tribute and celebration of his life will be held at La Quinta. 

So, Jackie, if you are reading this, I want you to know how much I have been thinking of you.  To just let you know that I thank you for hiring me and giving me the amazing experience and opportunity that will go unmatched in the years that I worked for you at La Quinta.  These thoughts I write here are just a fraction of the memories I have of you and La Quinta.  I am sure you have no idea how many little things made an impact on me.  It is evident you have touched so many people and how many people love you.  You are a one-of-a-kind, special man.

Sending you much love, healing thoughts and look forward to seeing you and your family next Sunday. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nice Gesture. Not.

Today, Chandler, Rylee, Ashton (Rylee's friend) and I were at Target.   As we were just about finishing checking out (I had just finished paying), Rylee picked up a lip gloss out of our basket and said, "Mom, I don't think he charged us for this."  We had 3 Baby Lips lip balms in the basket.  The checker says he believes he charged us and pulls up the receipt.  I quickly look at the receipt and just as soon as I say, "No, I don't see a third one on there, " the woman next in line behind me grabs the lip balm and says, "PUT THIS ON MY BILL...I'M IN A RUSH!!"  She GRABS the lip balm and scans the item herself!  I was so dumbfounded.. Is this really happening?  I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry if we are holding you up, that's not necessary for you to pay for it."  She continued to complain about her not having time for us to figure out if we paid for a lip balm or not.  She was so nasty about it. I reached into my purse and pulled out the $3 it cost and handed it to her and apologized for holding her up.  She shoved the money back at me, saying she didn't want my money.  It went back and forth one other time and I could see it turning into one of those whose paying for dinner scenes and as she shoved the money back at me a second time, I decided to take it and leave.  Fine, bitch. 

It was the strangest encounter I have ever had.  I am positive we were making a scene.  I think she thought she was doing something nice, as well as making her own life easier.  I've been in a position like that before, you get frustrated by being behind someone in line that's taking up more time than you'd like, but geez...calm the f___ down.  At least act like you're doing a good deed.  I wanted to say, "This does NOT make you a nice (er) person."  She could have handled it so differently...and come out smelling like a rose.  And avoided making so many of us there feel so awfully uncomfortable. 

I hope everyone there thought she was as big of an ass as I thought she was. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Closer to Home

I read this on a friend's facebook wall today:

"One of the hardest things about becoming adults, is watching our parents grow older, (in some instances) suffer, and leave this earth, when we simply feel, we're just not ready to be without our mamas and daddies."

She took the words right out of my head.  Except I don't know that we are ever ready to be without our mamas or daddies. 

My heart has been heavy lately.  Friends of mine losing a mom, a dad, a brother.  Two in the last two weeks.  Another a month ago.  Several others in the last two years.  And others close to me with health scares.  Growing up and through the years, people dying or getting sick always happened to someone else...Not so much anymore.  It's hitting much closer to home now.   Friends I grew up with now losing their parents.  As our circle of friends grows and as we grow older ourselves, the inevitable happens.  Inevitably it becomes our reality, too. 

Whether you know it's coming because of an illness or if it is sudden, I can't even imagine being ready or prepared. 

Sending big hugs to my friends and loved ones tonight. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Under the Weather

Haven't been feeling great the last few days.  Not sleeping well.  Burning sore throat.  Minor earache and body aches and now coughing for the last 24 hours.  No fever but feeling just bad enough to not want to do anything.  I suppose if I'm going to be sick, might as well be now.  Holidays are over.  Projects mostly done.  Kids back to school.  So, I'm not feeling so guilty about doing pretty much nothing.  Hoping I get it all out of my system now and that no one else gets it.  And that it stays away...

In my extra free time these last few days, I have been perusing Pinterest and finding and reading up on some new blogs.   I'm glad to know there are so many others that blog about their everyday life or whatever journey they are on.  And I truly love reading them.  Sometimes I wonder if people really care what I write.  But, I have 1775 page views, so I guess some people are tuning in.  :)

I got homemade chicken soup simmering away, finally.  And it smells heavenly. After a few beautiful 70-ish degree days, we have another "cold front" coming in right now.  And that's fine by me.  As much winter-like weather as we can get, I will take.

Soup will taste good and feel good tonight.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Projects and Other Stuff

I am sure I am like most people and want to start the new year out right...being nice and organized and cleaned out.  Over the last few weeks, I have tackled a few projects:

In December we had back-to-back garage sales that were pretty much flops for us.  On the bright side, we took every single item that we didn't sell to the rescue mission.  This made way for clearing out lots in our garage! 

Clean out fridge and freezer:  Check.

Clean out pantry:  Check.

Clean out laundry room:  Check. 

Today it was a LOT of laundry. 

I've said this before, but I wish I was as organized as I think I am.  What it boils down to, is that I hate clutter.  I'm fairly good at getting rid of the clutter, just not organizing what's left.

So, next on the closet.  I think I am getting close to that happening.  Really soon. 

Actually, I make it a habit to clean out.  About twice a year I do it more "big time."  August is the back-to-school cleanout and then there's this New Year cleanout.  Feels good.  Lightens the stress.  It's good chi or something like that, right?

I haven't made public any resolutions I have made.  If you really want to know, you can archive my post from last year.  I didn't really make good on any of them.  So...each new day is a new day to start over and just keep trying to do my best.  To make healthier choices.  To be a better person.  Done with putting too much pressure on myself. 

And our little "good things that happened to us box"....only one thing has been written down in 6 days.  We need to pay more attention to our days! 

Kids are back to school tomorrow and what a great break it's been.  Just taking each day as it comes.  Three Sundays in a row, a few friends and I have gathered at this area where the kids can ride their Penny boards and bikes and we can sit and have snacks and drinks and enjoy the beautiful day.  It's been awesome. 

I'm about ready for more of a routine again.  But I am sure when those alarms go off at 6:00 am tomorrow that will be another story....

Happy Back to School Day tomorrow! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone.  I just re-read a post that I wrote on New Year's last year and it seems like it was just yesterday. 

2012 has been a really good year.  Many great things have happened, along with some challenges. 

I began my first year of nursing school in January.  There is no one word that can describe this journey of going back to school.  Exciting.  Scary.  Amazing.  Daunting.  I am continually motivated and encouraged by nurses who are working who relay stories of feeling the same way my fellow classmates and I feel about what we are going through.  I have made some wonderful new friendships along the way.  New sisters and brothers with whom we all share this bond.  I've met people who have come and gone from my life, too, during this process, and I'm not going to lie:  It's made me sad to lose some friends with whom I felt had a connection.  Doesn't matter how old we get, still hurts. 

Along the road of 2012, Chandler broke her nose and Craig rolled a golf cart and had a nasty injury to his lower leg.  Chandler had surgery and Craig was darn lucky, to say the least.

We had a fun cheer season, traveling with super fun parents, who know how to have a great time and make the best of every situation!

This year, I was fortunate to be able to visit with old friends.  Whether it was catching up for 30 minutes at a cheer competition, or for a few hours with margaritas, poolside.  Or for 10 minutes at a tailgate orlunch or spending a weekend together.  I am grateful for true friendships and for those who make the time and go out of their way to make the connection happen.  And not to mention the priceless moments with good girlfriends here...laughing til we cry.  Yes, I've had a broken heart or two this year, but these moments make up for them ten-fold. 

We took a wonderful trip to Lake Tahoe in July.  It was a perfectly wonderful vacation, complete with good family time, horseback riding and lots of time on the lake.  And seeing old friends again.
We made a few day trips to the beach and soaked up every bit of being in the sun and sand.

And how can I forget going to Dallas Cowboys Training Camp??  Woot woot!

Rylee turned 13 and Chandler turned 18.  Chandler registered and voted in her first election.  And got her first job.  It was all very exciting. 

I was awarded over $6000 in scholarships for nursing school, which took me by complete surprise.  What a blessing that was for us....

In November, Chandler and I traveled to Norman for a campus visit of OU.  An awesome trip all around. 

Sure, we had our not so shining moments, too.  There has been stress and feelings of not being so much at peace with various things.  But, overall, it's been a very positive year for our family...and we must all recognize the positive, because it is too easy to let the other fester and take over.

I read my new year's resolutions from last year and I regret to say that I wasn't so successful at keeping most of them.  So, this year, I keep trying.  And for the new year, something new for us to do:  I have a little box with a notepad in it.  Each time something good or positive comes along our way, we will write it down and put it in the box.  At the end of the year, we will sit and read about them together.  I am so looking forward to that.  A great way to focus on the positive through the year.

I might add that 2013 is a big year for us:

Rylee will finish middle school.  Chandler will graduate from high school.  Craig turns the big 5-0.  We will celebrate our 20th anniversary and I will wrap up the year when I graduate from nursing school!!  Wow! 

Can hardly wait!