Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Here's the definition of TRADITION from

"The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." does that apply to Thanksgiving when the "generations" have taken such a hit in the past couple years?

Well, that's my situation or so it seems. The year 2009 was the first without my brother, then 2010 was missing my dad, and now in 2012, it's the first without Annie. So many firsts. 

And yet, if I really analyze it, was there ever a TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING in my family? When I was a little girl, my Gorder cousins traveled up from San Diego and my great aunt and uncle came from downtown Los Angeles. Ours was the typical mixture of rambunctious kids making too much noise amid womenfolk trying to get dinner on the table. 

But then my mother died, and the Gorder cousins moved away. Not sure what we did that first year (although I remember flying to Florida for Christmas). We probably spent a couple years in downtown L.A. (where my aunt sometimes made rabbit (!?!) instead of turkey), until my dad got married again and we started spending holidays with Annie's family. 

Shortly thereafter, Barry married too and sometimes he and his new wife's family spent holidays with us, but sometimes they didn't. 

Over the years, though, my most enduring memory of Thanksgiving consists of Barry's family and step-brother Mike's family...until, that is, Barry's own kids started marrying, at which time tradition...well, morphed once again. I can remember spending at least three Thanksgiving with Mike's sister-in-law, one of those occasions down in Palm Springs. 

Bottom line, I guess I have to admit that even with the passing of my closest relatives, there's never been one SINGULAR tradition as far as who's at the table and who's not. 

So why does Thanksgiving produce so much melancholy? Sandy Banks says it well in the L.A. Times:

"The holiday season tends to be hardest for those of us who've lost someone. The focus on family and reliance on rituals just magnifies those empty spots.

And the need for enforced cheeriness can turn the journey from Thanksgiving to Christmas into a wearying keep-your-chin-up slog.

There's this pressure to knit an age-old holiday around fragmented modern lives."

So true.

Which is why I'm establishing a NEW holiday tradition for this fragmented modern life I'm now leading.

Adios, bitches. I'm heading to Puerto Vallarta!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

It  might be fun--or scary--to sift back through my Thanksgiving posts over the years to see what my mindset was at the time. But, hey...I s'pose you could say my new motto is to live in the present, so no jumping in the way-way-back machine today.

No, today I'm ruminating over what I'm thankful for during THIS Thanksgiving season. The one happening in 2012. And besides the normal stuff (being thankful for what little family I have left), what immediately comes to mind is how grateful I am for Bemco's continued success.

Don't get me wrong. It's not about making money, although that part is certainly welcome. More importantly, I thank God that for the past three years, there hasn't been ONE WEEK where I worried about making payroll. Trust me, I have plenty of memories when this wasn't the case. And when you've got roughly 25 families relying on you for the paycheck that will cover rent, groceries, car payments, and (hopefully) iPads, video games and vacations...well, it can be rather daunting at times.

So, here's to Bemco...and continued good times. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Glossary for 50-Somethings

Today, as a public service to youngsters facing their sixth decade on the planet, I offer “terms to know” from the perspective of a woman approaching (gulp) sixty.

SciaticaUnfortunately, this word doesn’t become clear until you experience it in a very visceral way. Up until then, it’s just some vague area of the body. Like a muscle, maybe. Or something to do with the lower back or leg. But trust me on this, when you feel the pain, you’ll say, “Ah! Sciatica!”

LimitAs in two-drink limit. I don’t know about you, but I used to be able to slam cocktails into the wee small hours, never bothering to count. But somewhere in my 50’s, I morphed into one of those people who practically has to call in sick after three measly glasses of wine.

AARPThe folks behind this outfit are truly evil. Somehow (they must have tapped into the Social Security Administration database), they get your name and begin stuffing your mailbox with hurtful harbingers of old age while you’re still in your relatively youthful forties. Shame on these people. Give us time to get there, will ya?

IncontinenceOkay, I’m not admitting personal knowledge of this one. Suffice to say my friends who’ve had children complain they can’t laugh, sneeze, or cough with any degree of confidence these days.

As long as we’re on the “in” words, here’s another one: Insomnia (and its pals Tylenol PM, Ambien, etc.). Remember how you hated naptime in Kindergarten? Well, let me tell ya, when you reach your 50’s you’d pay good money for an uninterrupted night of sleep.

Caregiver, assisted living, Hospice, 911These are a group of terms you’ll need to acquaint yourself with when it comes to your parents. Ugh. Sad, but true.

“Readers”what you’ll buy at Rite-Aid when the small print isn’t really so small after all. It’s your SIGHT that’s gone to hell.

PainYeah, get used to it. I don’t care how fit or healthy you are, SOMETHING in your body’s gonna ache or hurt. And nine times out of ten, it’ll be unexplainable and vague.

Rogueas in hair. Rogue hair. The kind that sprouts up on your chin, neck, or eyebrows (for the men, we’re talking EARSeuw). While you’re at it, you can ditch the word “razor” because more and more, you won’t need one. Yes, God deletes the hair on your legs (and under your arms) and sticks it in the aforementioned chin, neck and eyebrows. Go figure. I guess he’s got a real sense of humor, that God. By the way, put on your READERS and check it out if you don’t believe me.

One inchthe maximum allowable heel height for dress-upassuming, you still dress up 'cuz that ship has pretty much sailed.

Greyand we’re not talking fifty shades ofwe’re talking the color of your hair, both the stuff on your head and the stuff, y’know, down there. (Again, let the record show I have no personal knowledge of this yet.)

Finally, I’ll leave you with one last word to get chummy with in your 50’s:


Need I say more?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Fun On The Phone (See Yesterday's Post)

Geez, maybe I should start a blog just for office phone conversations. Today's? Another classic.

Caller: "Accounts Receivable, please."

Me:  "She's not here, but this is Randy. Maybe I can help you." (Sidenote: the only reason I said this was just in case it was a customer with a problem paying us.)

Caller: "Hi, I'm with XYZ Debt Collection Company, and we can gaurantee--"

Me: "Sorry. I'm not really interested, but thank you for the call." Click.

A minute or two passes....


Me:  "Good afternoon, Bemco."

Caller: "Randy, that was really rude. Why--"

Me: "I don't know how much more courteous I could be. I told you I wasn't interested and thanked you for the call." This time, CLICK.  (Okay, it may have been a wee SLAM.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Post--Oh, Yes! A Post!

I know it's since I last posted. Chalk it up to...well, chalk it up to whatever you like. I've been kinda busy. And uninspired.

But the other day, I was looking for something I'd posted--a photo, actually, and I never found it--but anyway, so there I was, perusing MY LIFE over the past several years, and I discovered that hey! I MISS having this little on-line diary keeping track of my comings and goings. My musings.

So I vowed to rev up the old blog again and today, I have the perfect topic. One too lengthy for a fly-by on Facebook or Twitter (which I don't do much of anyway), so here goes...

My office manager Joey is out on maternity leave (and yes, her name is Joey, mine's Randy--perfectly good names for FEMALES). My sister-in-law Polly is filling in, but babysitting duties yank her away on a frequent basis. Hence, I'm answering the dreaded phone.


Well, I guess I hadn't realized (since I don't usually answer the phone), how many calls my late brother gets every day. At least two or three, sometimes four a day.

Mostly I'm polite. "He passed away three years ago," I say rather gently. (You'd be surprised how often the caller just HANGS UP. No "Gee, I'm sorry" or ANYTHING.)

But now I'm starting to get a little irritated, especially when the call has interrupted me in the middle of a complicated thought process (picture spreadsheets!), or the phone is ringing off the hook.

Here, then, are some of my better (?) moments.

Caller: "Barry Bruskrud, please."

Me: "May I ask who's calling?"

Caller: "Mary Smith with XYZ company and I have something I know he'll be
interested in."

Me: "I sincerely doubt that since he's been dead for three years."

* * *

Caller: "May I speak with Barry Bruskrud, please?"

Me: "Only if you have a direct line to heaven."

* * *

Caller: "May I speak with Barry?"

Me: "I'm sorry, he passed away three years ago."

Caller: "Oh, can I speak with his replacement then?"

Me (gulping): "There IS no replacing him."

* * *

Caller: "Barry, please."

Me: "May I ask who's calling?"

Caller: "John Doe. Just tell him I'm on the line, he'll wanna talk to me."

Me: "Oh, I'm sure he would. Can I ask what this is regarding?"

Caller: "He'll know. We talked about it the other day. Just connect me."

Me: "Update your database, Mr. Doe. Barry passed away three years ago." CLICK