Posts Tagged ‘February theme’

It seems like everyone has finally figured out the secret of keeping their customers tied to them — loyalty or reward cards.  With so many retailers offering customer reward/loyalty cards, it has made me think of the whys.  It does make sense.  When a person is tied to a store through points which equal cash back and/or discounts on their purchases, they are more likely to shop at the store that offers them these bonuses.

Just this past month I noticed that there are a lot more stores doing this.  Big Lots just started their reward/membership program.  Kmart has just begun theirs too.  (At least locally, in the Pacific Northwest, they have just begun, Big Lots in December and Kmart in January.)

How many loyalty cards do you carry in your wallet/purse/keychain?  I know I now carry no fewer than ten, ranging from pet stores, to grocery stores, to department stores.  I use them, too.  I find that there is very often a very nice discount on products that are already on my shopping list if I pull out my loyalty card.  And it doesn’t cost me anything extra.

Loyalty cards certainly make sense for customers and retailers alike.

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Watching the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics tonight, I was moved to tears a number of times.  It’s my tie to the humanness of the games that is responsible for that, I think.  First, with the horrible news of the tragic death of an Olympic athlete, the joy of the ceremonies was marred.  As I watched the small team of athletes from Georgia, I cried.  Here, on one of the most joyous nights of their lives, a moment they have waited for for years, instead of marching in the opening parade of nations with joy and exuberance, they marched in a solemn and somber mood.  No smiles.  No sign of joy.  Black bands on their arms.  Tears in their eyes and pain in their hearts.  How could anyone not have cried?

As a mom who enjoys sharing the important and joyful moments of my own kids’ lives, I cried when newscasters explained that the parents of one Australian female athlete could not travel to Canada for the Olympics.  Their daughter is getting married in a couple of months so it was a tough choice, afford a trip to watch her compete in Vancouver or give her the wedding she wants.  Very tough choice.  As a mom, I wished there had been some way for her parents to accompany their daughter on this joyous trip.

As I watched the athletes marching, dancing, laughing, waving, smiling, I cried tears of joy for everyone of them.  What a wonderful moment for them.  What an accomplishment.

I hope that there will be no more accidents or incidents to mar these competitions.

I hope that the tears I cry during the rest of these games will be tears of joy for these athletes and their families and their countries.

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Denny’s~Food Ties

When I joined the Denny’s group on Facebook last week, a friend made a comment about it, criticizing my choice of picking Denny’s.  This actually upset me a bit.  No one should presume to tell me where I can eat and where I cannot eat.  And my choice of picking Denny’s is just that…MY CHOICE.

I’ve eaten at Denny’s for many, many years.  I remember eating there quite a bit when I was first married in the 1970’s.  In the early 1990’s, when I was going through a divorce, my kids and I ate at Denny’s a lot.  With my kids and I having vastly different tastes in food, Denny’s was a good choice.  They’re nationwide and we did a lot of driving so again, it was a good choice.  I find their food to be fresh, reasonably priced, nutritious, and very tasty.  Another reason for choosing Denny’s when we drove around was the fact that they were always open.  When we did our driving trips from Los Angeles to the Texas Gulf Coast, and then from Los Angeles to the Canadian border, we needed a place that was open any time we got hungry.  Consistency was another factor in choosing Denny’s.  Their menu is the same whether you order in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, etc.  It’s the same food, the same quality, the same price, the same portion size.  With kids, consistency is good, especially with picky kids!

I have a lot of Denny’s stories.  Perhaps I’ll post them soon.  I wanted to type this out though to let anyone that questions my choice know that it’s my choice and I am not ashamed of eating there.  There are other places that I enjoy eating and that I do eat at, but Denny’s remains a favorite, even now.

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Many years ago, my aunt Sara had an almost unbelievable experience that might fall under the heading of “strange but true”.

My aunt sold Stanley Home Products, usually through home parties.  During  one of those home parties, she began with a “getting acquainted” type of game.  In this game, everyone took turns saying one thing about themselves.  For example, everyone would first say their name then on their second turn they would say where they were born and the third turn would yield another fact, and it would continue in this fashion.  On the first turn, one of them women said her name was also Sara, like my aunt.  Her last name was the same as my aunt’s maiden name, too.  They noted that and chuckled, joking that perhaps they were related.  As the game continued, they found that their father’s name was the same and again chuckled.  Then a bit later they found out that their father’s were born in the same small town in the Mexican state of  Jalisco.  At that point the game ended so that the party could go on but my aunt and the woman with all the similarities decided they would talk after the party.

During that after the party discussion, they realized that they were indeed sisters — half sisters.  They shared a father.  There were about twenty years of difference between their ages but it was through that meeting that my aunt and uncles and my own father found out more information about their father, a man who had disappeared before my father’s birth.  My aunt eventually tracked down her father and realized that at the age of 70+, the man was still fathering children!

Later, at my aunt’s funeral, I saw a young man that looked very much like pictures of my father when he was in his early 20’s.  I was introduced to him only by first name.  His was Ramon.  It wasn’t until weeks later that I learned that the young man, younger than I was at the time, was my uncle.  He was the youngest son of my father’s father, also named Ramon.

Unfortunately, with relatives spread all over the country and with the older ones dying, I’ve not ever been able to discover much more about this elusive grandfather or any children he fathered after he fathered my father and the young man at the funeral.

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Yesterday I mentioned that The Godfather has been my favorite movie since it came out in 1972 and that as a 16 year old at the time of its release, I wasn’t allowed to go see it, however I did see it.  Here’s the story.

Mr. Matalone was my second period teacher.  The class was Western Civilizations.  Mr. Matalone had been one of my favorite teachers for some time.  He had been my social studies teacher in eighth grade then when I got to high school, he was there.  What he said was gospel.  So when he came into class one Monday morning and told us about having see The Godfather over the weekend, we all listened.  He talked about the movie the entire period then again on Tuesday.  He pretty much gave us a scene by scene narration of the movie.  He went on to tell us about how historically accurate the movie was.  It was also his opinion that it did a wonderful job of portraying the customs of a typical Italian family.  Mr. Matalone was Italian.  He compared the way the different family members related to each other and added that it was very typical of how his own family respected the parents and each other.

That morning we heard about the opening scenes of the movie, and about Connie and Carlo’s wedding and how very Italian the wedding scenes had been.  He basically gave us an extensive critique of the film and then went on to give us a lot of background information on the Italian family and on the United States in the 40’s, which is the setting of the original movie.  Mr. Matalone told us about Johnny Fontane (played by Al Martino) and how the character was patterned after Frank Sinatra with the swooning and syllabication of the song phrasing, and the way the public responded to him.  He also told us of rumors surrounding Frank Sinatra that were portrayed in the movie as part of Johnny Fontane’s characterization.

We listened intently and asked a lot of questions.  Mr. Matalone told us about how his own father had packed up his family and left literally in the middle of the night because he refused to pay protection money to mafiosi in their native Chicago.  The family even changed their name from a very Italian surname to one that sounded more Irish than Italian when they moved cross country, in the middle of the night.

On that day, a lot of us decided we really wanted to see the movie.  We were all pretty young, mostly fifteen and sixteen.  Most of us did not drive yet and we were all pretty sure we weren’t going to get our parents to take us because it had been written up as being very violent.  But we all wanted to go.

About a month later, my parents went out of town without us, something they never did.  This time however, because they had to go during the week and we couldn’t miss school and our older brothers were all of age and living nearby, they let us stay alone.  There were four of us.  My older sister was a couple of weeks shy of turning eighteen and I was almost seventeen.  My younger sisters were fifteen and fourteen.  The plan was that we would stay alone during the week and my brothers would come check on us.  Then on Friday and Saturday, we were to go to my uncle’s house across town and stay there.  So that’s what we did.

My uncle and aunt had a young girl that was working for them as a housekeeper.  She was eighteen.  I got along with her but she was very quiet.  My sisters didn’t really like her.  When we were there, my uncle suggested that we take the young housekeeper with us to a movie or out some place so she could be with someone close to her own age.  He gave us money to go to the drive-in so my sister drove us.  What to see?  What to see?  No one could agree.  So I took the opportunity to push my choice onto the others.  I never did that.  Not now and not then.  I usually sit back and let others have their pick but on that night, I pretty much insisted that we go see The Godfather, telling them that Mr. Matalone had made it an assignment.  So we went.  I love the movie and I could tell them ahead of time what was going to happen, including when to look away, because Mr. Matalone had told us all about the violent scenes.  In the end, my sisters and my uncle’s housekeeper all fell asleep half way through the movie.  I was the only one that stayed up for the whole thing.

Luckily, no one asked what movie we had gone to see.  We couldn’t have lied and I’m sure we would have gotten into trouble.

Since that night, I have seen the original The Godfather at least fifty times, including two more times on the big screen when it played just before the release of The Godfather Part II and again before the release of The Godfather Part III.  I had the three on VHS then again on DVD when I converted to DVD.  Every so often I stick the DVDs in and watch all three movies, one after the other, with lots of breaks in between, and basically spend the weekend watching the three along with the bonus features in the DVD set.  Sometimes I watch just one but mostly, when I watch one, the others follow.

I wonder if Mr. Matalone knew how our opinions and actions had ties to his discussion of that film.  Very often, one influential person’s opinion ties many others to that original person.

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As Mona ties the last of the boxes that will be shipped the next day, a picture flashes into her mind.  It’s a picture that brings a smile to her tired face and old memories into her mind.  Her little girl, years ago, barely three runs to her mommy putting her arms around her neck.  “It’s okay Mommy.  Don’t cry.  I’m here.  I won’t leave you.  I’ll take care of you Mommy. I promise.”  It had been such a big promise for a little girl, but she had kept it.  Daisy had taken care of Mona even when she had not known she was helping her mommy just by needing her.  It had force Mona to stay on track, focused and strong.

Mona and Daisy had gotten through many difficult times and many more good times.  Mona’s pride in her daughter’s success could never fit in to a box or even a dozen boxes.  Her baby wouldn’t be here with her anymore; not physically.  But that was okay.  Mona’s little girl was getting her own chance to build her life.  She would be far away but not really.  Daisy would always be a part of Mona.

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Ties That Bind

You know that old phrase “ties that bind” which refers to things that tie us down or ties us back to a place or situation or actions?

Usually, ties that bind can be family obligations or work/career obligations.  Sometimes these ties involve other things.

With me, there are definitely family ties.  I cannot do anything without thinking how it will effect my family and by my family, I mostly mean my three kids but it also involves siblings and my parents and nieces, and all of the extensive family connections.  But mostly, it’s my kids.  If it will effect them negatively, I don’t do it or I will look for a way to do something that will not have the negative associations on my kids.  To me, it all revolves around my kids.

What about you?  What ties bind you and to what do they tie you?

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Ties~Annie Hall

If you’re old enough to remember the 1977 Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall, then you might understand this post.

I was in college.  We went to see Annie Hall and I loved it!  I loved her.   I picked up on her wearing a necktie as part of her wardrobe and I wanted to do it too.   One problem, I didn’t have any neckties.  My father didn’t have any and he wasn’t living at home at the time anyway.  My then boyfriend (who later became my husband and is now my ex) had a lot of ties.  He was a lawyer so he wore ties to work all the time and because he was a fairly  new and struggling lawyer (in fact he had not yet passed the Bar exam) he had been gifted with many ties.  One sister in particular would bring a tie to him every so often, for no reason, when she found one that he might like or might look good with one of this two suits.  I figured I would borrow a tie from him.  Before I could do that, though, I found one at a thrift shop.  It would go very well with a three piece pantsuit that I bought for myself with summer job earnings.  I decided I would wear my new tie with the pantsuit, minus the blazer.  I would wear the pants and vest with a white blouse and my tie.

Next problem: I didn’t know how to tie a tie.  I tried to ask but no one around me knew either.  I could only do one thing.  I could wait until I saw my boyfriend and have him show me how to do it.  So the next time he came to pick me up, I was wearing my Annie Hall outfit minus the tie.  I asked him to show me how to tie it.  Instead, he said it was too complicated and he would just do it for me.   So he did.  He made a crack about me wanting to look like Annie Hall and I was glad because I didn’t have to explain it to him.  I felt I had achieved the look!  Later that evening when he dropped me off, he showed me how to take it off without untying it so I could just put it on the next time and tighten it without any help.

I kept that tie like that for a long time and I loved wearing it with my Annie Hall outfit.  That time period was probably the last time I was “up to date” with fashion trends.

When I am out shopping and I see ties, I can’t help but look at them.  I like ties.  I just have no use for them, nor do I know anyone that wears them so for now, I will just remember the “ties of the past” and wait to see if there are any in the future.  (I am having a grandson, afterall.)

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