Friday, July 31, 2009

Telex from the Neighborhood

I heard through the neighborhood coconut telegraph this morning that a guy on the opposite side of the circle in the cheap seats had Radar picked up by a shelter. I hope Radar gets adopted and not euthanized. The guy prides himself on being able to walk his highly-trained dog off leash around the neighborhood, so I'm sure Radar was a nuisance to his rigid routine. If his dog reverts from his training and runs up to someone to be petted, the guy throws a tantrum because it's an embarrassment to his ego. He yells at the dog, throws his water bottle at the dog, etc... Just put the damn dog on a leash and be proud that it heels!

Activity in the neighborhood is back to the nuts level! The Mexican catering wagons fly around the neighborhood streets blaring their horns at the construction workers, more foundations are being poured at 4 a.m., and the streets are an obstacle course of large piles of lumber. I ran into the construction superintendent this morning

and in between political rants, he told me they now have 60 some new starts in the neighborhood. Why the hell can't people turn off politics for two seconds and just be friendly? Or at least professional!

After listening to as much of THAT as I could take, I rode my bike over to my favorite farm lane. Unfortunately, my camera wasn't onboard. I HAVE to get a picture of the trashiest house on the lane one of these days! The driveway is a jumbled tangled mess of bicycles and kiddie equipment all heaped in one big pile. It's amazing! I'm wondering if there's not a kickstand in the entire pile, or if the kids minds are as jumbled as the parents'? LOL Obviously, they don't park any cars in the garage because the pile never goes away. I'm not sure how a kid could separate his bike from the mess to ride it, and the mess that lurks behind those closed garage doors must be amazing! The same house has a shed out back with a sign that says Onsite Psychiatric Care. Pretty funny. Three barking dogs in the backyard race up and down the fence as I pass -- a Chow mix and two Pugs.

On down the lane, two adorable little shelties watch at the fence. The chickens from the petting zoo had escaped onto the road this morning, and it looked like they had some new exotic goat -- brown with black stripes up by his horns -- in the pen. I'll have to go back with my camera another day.

I think today's going to be a 'take it easy' day. Maybe Michael and I will go out for one last lunch. He leaves Sunday to head for Montana and the Northwest. Hopefully, their infernal heat wave will be over and he can catch some cool air! : )

Tomorrow's August 1? How time flies when it's hotter than Hades! I'm on the countdown here. I figure we're more than halfway through the hot season now. At least I HOPE so! August is still nuclear, but I seem to remember the temps in September moderate slightly into the low 100's?

And let me see, I'm now under the 90 day mark until that next trip to Isla! Woo hooooo! Let's celebrate!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home Again!

Baby Golfer is in the house! Not sure if he would like me referring to him that way, so don't tell him! He's back in Phoenix for a short R&R after being on the road since February. He's parked his wagon and is taking time off to veg, swim in the pool, and play some golf.

Tuesday morning we took a long swim in the pool and then set off in search of a new cellphone for me. First stop was Costco. Fortunately, Michael knew the guy managing the cellphone business in that store. It was his next door neighbor from his ASU East college days. And like Michael, the guy has found out he can make a better living doing something other than golf management. Michael's friend steered me away from the phone I'd been looking at to the best deal in the house -- a new Blackberry phone for free.

After the cellphone purchase, we headed to Pita Jungle for lunch. I didn't get any photos of the food, but I did trick Michael into a photo with the new camera phone. Pita Jungle's been one of Michael's favorite Phoenix restaurants since college days, and now they've opened a new location close to our neighborhood. They serve organic Greek/Mediterranean food. I ordered the Pita Rustica with grilled chicken, artichokes, and roasted peppers. Michael had the Beef Gyro with a side order of what he says is the BEST hummus he's ever had. And it was good!

I spent the afternoon trying to figure out the new phone. (I'll probably be spending more than one afternoon! HA!) Can't remember if I've ever posted this here, but here's the Baby Golfer! He was gone all day today playing golf with friends. Thirty-six holes (18 at The Raven, 18 at McCormick Ranch) in 111 degree heat. They MUST be CRAZY!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Time Flies!

After the comments on my Monday post, I decided to figure out how old I was on my first trip to Isla. I've always had a problem remembering my age! (Da' Nile ain't just a river in Egypt!) I came to the conclusion that I was 48 on that virgin voyage in 2002. I think the last seven years have been really tough on me because I looked a LOT younger in this photo! Ha! I need to figure out how to recapture my youthful glow! And here's the youthful Craig. I think we were at a restaurant on the lagoon in Cancun.

Here's another photo of Craig, male Bimbo, on that trip in 2002!

I know this sounds morbid, but we keep reminding ourselves now that we need to seize the day before we become too decrepit to travel and do all the things we want to do in this life. The events of this past year with relatives and friends have been a painful reminder that your ticket can be pulled at any time. I think I started a Bucket List somewhere in this blog! I need to unearth it and begin checking the list! (Ziplines have already been checked! HA!)

Here's a song from Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews that says it all!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas in July!

The natural vegetation gets fairly dry and ugly this time of year in Arizona, so it's hard to imagine these prickly pears would look so pretty in the dead heat of summer! It's Christmas in July!

By the way, I'd already written this post when I saw Tom in Cancun's post by the same title. I thought Christmas in July was just a phrase people used. Little did I know that some people do a special Christmas in July celebration in the summer. This prickly pear photo might be perfect on some Christmas notecards!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Isla 2004

I can't get Isla off my mind since I finally have another trip planned. I was thinking about my October/November trip in 2004 and how the island seemed quieter and more innocent then. Or maybe it was because I saw Isla through a different set of glasses? That was my first solo trip to the island, so that probably also influenced my perceptions. I split my time between Color de Verano, where I was up early to watch the streets come alive, and Hotel Media Luna, where I had lots of times to lie in the hammock and listen to the waves crash. Here are a few photos from that trip that now seems so long ago!

Hammock Meditations

Media Luna Lifeguard Palapa

Cemetery View before Ixchel

Crucifix on Cemetery Gate

Color de Verano

The Old Caribbean Queen

Egrets on the Colonia Lagoon

Playa Norte Lifeguard Palapa

The Beach Girls

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mexico Builds Border Wall

Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out US Assholes

I know a lot of you may have already seen this on Isla Travelers, but it struck me funny and I thought I'd share it with people who don't lurk there. Sorry about the A-word, but I think a lot of you already know it's in my vocabulary. : )

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Channeling Freckles?

I think I've mentioned before that when my brother and I were little, we owned the terror of the neighborhood -- Freckles. Actually, we didn't own him -- he owned us. Most mornings, my mother would awake to find an assortment of neighbor's papers, milk deliveries, shoes, etc... on the back stoop. Freckles met his tragic demise after supposedly biting one of the meanest kids in town (who had a brick in his hand especially for Freckles).

Well . . . I looked out this morning and the front yard was a nightmare. Shredded neighbors' Saturday papers, a small bathroom rug, and the neighbor next door's decorative flag -- all lying in our front yard. And what woke me up was Ears barking for a half hour solid, evidently trying to catch our attention so we'd come out and see her new collection of toys. Actually, Craig has renamed the dog Radar. I don't know WHY!

Craig quickly ran out there and got all the shredded evidence into the trash so neighbors wouldn't have even more reason to call the dog catcher.

Radar has a pattern now. She shows up here around 7 p.m. when she sees us outside watering the pots. Last night she was dripping wet because she'd been in the lake chasing Taffy and Daffy. Craig feeds, waters, pets her, then comes inside. Radar then alternates between running round the neighborhood and lying outside our front door. She's no longer scratching the front door and pouncing on the windows, so that's an improvement. But she is barking off and on all night at anything on the street that moves. She then disappears in the morning, probably after she's given us her 30 minute wake-up call.

We took a morning bike ride this morning and saw no sign of her anywhere. Who knows! Maybe she's like some of those Isla dogs who actually have homes, but roam around downtown begging the tourists for extra food and attention? But she's certainly being neglected if that's the case.

Craig's going to make some more calls this morning to try and find someplace that could take her. From what we found out yesterday, the Humane Society and other shelters are packed with 'foreclosure' dogs. And according to Craig's contacts, a lot of those places euthanize after three weeks. So sad. I can't send this dog to her death. She needs people who can handle a young dog with a lot of energy! Preferably someone with some land where she can run it off! We're also going to check out a German Shepherd rescue organization. Several people have said she could actually be a purebred because some of them are bred to have that sloping rear end and they look rather goofy (like Radar) when they're younger.

But then again, maybe Radar is Freckles come back to life!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Wolf Is at the Door!

Literally! Another case of watch what you wish for! I was whining yesterday for inspiration, so a blog (dog) post comes beating down my door! The wolf is at my door!!!!

Beautiful sky this morning! Isn't it! And ask me, why was I up early enough to photograph this wonderful sight? It was Ears here. Ears kept us (Saby and I) awake all night long.

A neighbor called yesterday morning to warn me that a large black dog that looked like a wolf mix was on the loose in the neighborhood. She called me because our dog, the comical Saby, does not get along with other dogs. In fact, when Saby sees a dog like that and she's on a leash, she's a danger to herself, me, and the other dog. She's too powerful for me to hang onto. She's literally pulled me off my feet and practically jerked my shoulder out of socket! So I was careful to walk Saby in the other direction yesterday morning away from the lakes where Wolfie had been spotted.

When Craig took Saby to feed the ducks last night, he ran into Lobo. Craig prefers Lobo to Wolfie. And Lobo (actually Loba)was attracted to Saby. Saby, of course, did not care for the dog, but Craig has the muscle to hang on for the ride! Loba (Wolfie) followed Craig home and Craig got a bucket of water and food for the dog and placed it out front. Meanwhile Saby's running all over the house extremely upset for the entire evening. And Wolfie has found her courtyard!

Wolfie dog barked all night long out front in our courtyard. Howling at the moon, howling at cars, howling at other dogs and/or anything that moved in the neighborhood. Also jumping up and down on our front door repeatedly, jumping up on our windows, staring in the windows, running around to the park behind us and barking at all the other dogs in the neighborhood -- you get the drift! Craig had to put the trash and recycling bins in front of our large (expensive) wood door because the dog was scratching it up and down and hitting the handle repeatedly. And Saby's on the other side of the door frantically barking to protect her territory.

Meanwhile Craig is off in dreamland and I'm awake all night! Grrrrrrrr. I feel so sorry for the dog. It will sit on command. But it won't quit raking our front door and keeping everyone in the neighborhood awake (well, maybe just me) all night long.

We can't keep her because Saby won't tolerate siblings, so we're going to get help for her today. Maybe Wolfie will stay in the vicinity of our house for long enough for an animal rescue organization to come pick her up. Who am I kidding -- she's out there barking right now! The Shea saleswoman in the models also has a history of being able to place abandoned strays in homes in the neighborhood very quickly. I'm also going to circulate an e-mail to see if anyone in the neighborhood has lost her.

At the moment, she's racing back and forth between our house and the Bumpuses. At the Bumpuses, she's gleefully running patterns, ripping up the turf, practicing her high jump skills over the low rail fence, etc... She's ecstatic that she's found attention, water, and food. And a courtyard to protect.

I feel slightly guilty for not just taking the dog in, but Saby's an only child and won't tolerate it. And I'm not sure I could handle Wild Thing. And Wolfie won't fit in my VW Bug to haul her anywhere.

Despite her large set of white canines, she's a very sweet dog. And I'm guessing a young dog since she's playing by herself in the Bumpuses front yard. Maybe she could pull some weeds while she's over there!

Craig's volunteered at an animal rescue facility in Gilbert, so that'll be the first call this morning. Hopefully, Wolfie already has a home and just got loose without her collar.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unprepared and Uninspired!

This sounds like an unemployment recipe! But not.

I'm uninspired because I've really been in a blogging funk lately. Nothing to write about. This morning after I walked Saby, I decided to take a bike ride across the road to the nature preserve since the purple clouds (probably a monsoon after thought) were still blocking out the intense sun and keeping the temps down. I decided not to take my camera because I figured nothing could possibly be colorful in the desert summer heat. So once again, I was unprepared with no Kodak for those Kodak moments!

Once I got there, I noticed the recent rains had filled some of the water reclamation backup lakes. Masses of black-necked stilts in their black and white tuxedos were walking and floating in one marshy area. The reedy grasses, which remind me of the Moses in the Bullrushes Bible story, had multipled and grown taller. And the prickly pear cacti had formed large bumpy berry red nodules that would make the perfect cactus picture for an Arizona Christmas card.! So now, I'll have to make a return trip tomorrow or Saturday morning to see if the tuxedos on stilts are still massed in that marshy area!

I can't believe the abundant local flora and fauna I noted on this morning's ride. Alfalfa, corn, coyotes, jackrabbits, grackles, egrets, hawks, roadrunners, bouganvillea, kildeer plovers, sparrows, dragonflies, butterflies, saguaros, blue herons, hummingbirds, Taffy and Daffy, mesquites, Palo Verdes, willow trees, mourning doves, pigeons, turkey vultures, quail, night herons, coots, mallards, etc. . . . The list goes on and on. Thankfully, no scorpions, snakes, or tarantulas crossed my path!

I also can't believe I posted this earlier this morning and it went POOF and disappeared when I hit Publish! I spent an hour searching all the published posts and drafts and never found it. If you see my post running through the worldwide web (hate that geeky term!) -- let me know!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Watch What You Wish For!

I'm waking up this morning to the sound of God throwing potatoes in the bin! At least that's what my grandfather used to tell us. I love the sound of thunder, but Saby's cowering on the floor next to me and refusing once again to go out and take care of business. She gives us this blank stare when we ask her. She also refused to go out last night because it was storming. Hope the girl doesn't blow up!

Last night was the third night in a row of stormy weather (dirt, thunder, and rain again!), and it's the same this morning. I'm tired of looking at dirt (the pool needs cleaning again!), so I put a few photos through the paint machine. I need some tropical colors! Here are some blues and yellows from Kauai.

Ke'e Beach

Banana Joe's

Hanalei Afternoon

Hanalei Pier

Monday, July 20, 2009

At Last!

We were just having a nice evening. I snapped a photo of the sunset and one of Craig and Saby, then we decided to take her on an evening walk. Granted, it was still 110 or more out, but when a girl's gotta go, ya gotta take her.

Once we got out in the open, I saw the big brown cloud. Another haboob! I knew it! I can always predict storms because they happen when the weatherman announces at 5:00 p.m. that it looks like the storms will stay well to the south of the metro area. HA!

Third night in a row! But this time I noticed something different. The sky was actually spitting raindrops. But I still didn't hold out much hope for rain because it always bypasses us.

I dashed back home, once again scooped up the red umbrella which had gone airborne, and we all hunkered down. It wasn't long before we heard the rain thundering down on the roof. All hell had broken loose! Thank God! I LOVE that rain! (And please excuse the expletives!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pot of Dirt!

We haven't had any rain to speak of around here yet, but I've seen some nice dirt storm rainbows! Somehow, I don't think those are the rainbows Jason Mraz is singing about in his song! There's probably just a pot of dirt at the end of these rainbows! The last two nights, we've had dirt storms. The sky turns purple with spectacular lightning, looks like all hell is going to break loose, and then the wall of dirt moves in. The haboob. I'm including this Wikipedia link because I know some of my friends think I created that exotic (yet funny) word! Notice the picture of the Awatukee haboob in the link -- that's a Phoenix suburb to the west of us.

I caught this dirt storm rainbow last week when I was out on evening patrol on the bike.

This one was taken several weeks ago from our backyard just as the haboob was hitting. Once again, the pot of dirt at the end of the rainbow! And it's a double rainbow!

I've officially tracked the end of the rainbow and its pot of dirt to this lovely ramshackle homestead east of our suburban neighborhood! Too bad they don't find a pot of gold and beautify (or sell!) their hacienda.

Pray for rain! I'm going crazy for rain!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Where Were You?

Many of us remember exactly where we were on July 20, 1969 when man first walked on the moon -- the same way we remember exactly where we were when we found out JFK had died. Of course, I also know that some of you weren't born yet, so it probably seems like ancient history to you.

I was in Manhattan, Kansas on a family trip staying at the Ramada Inn next to the campus. My brother was going through K-State orientation with my parents, and I spent the day sitting at the pool working on my tan, amazed that soldiers from Fort Riley were trying to flirt with me. I was 15 and shocked to have that kind of attention! One even gave me a room key. I took it, never used it, and saved it in my desk drawer as a souvenir! (And of course I didn't tell my parents!) That night, we sat by the television in the motel room and watched the moonwalk. Here's the Wikipedia background on Apollo 11. We all remember Armstrong's famous words as he placed his left foot on the surface of the moon: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

I'd swear that evening we also went to Aggieville and watched The Graduate. But that movie was released in 1967? I don't think it took that long to get to Kansas! Maybe they were showing older movies? It's plausible that my memory's correct because back then, I doubt my parents would have let me watch that movie at the age of 13 (in 1967)!

Anyway, where were you?

And now, Walter Cronkite, the man who reported the moonwalk, is dead. Kind of interesting that he died this weekend on the run up to the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Only Two Bucks!

I used to be slightly righteous about avoiding Walmart, but I don't feel like I can afford to stand on principle anymore since the economy's tanked. Yesterday I was in Walmart and I couldn't believe it. This huge thing was only 2 bucks!

All that and a bag of chips -- well not the chips -- but I couldn't believe the size of this watermelon for $2. I think it's the biggest one I've bought in years! I usually buy the little ones because they're so dang expensive a pound! I thought it would probably be overripe, but it's actually quite good! I had to cut the thing into bite size chunks and store it in multiple containers because it wouldn't fit into the fridge otherwise!

This watermelon reminds me of the county fair when I was a kid. Some organization (can't remember which one) would sell raffle tickets for a huge watermelon -- a gigantic freak of nature thing that they had on display. One year my dad won it! My parents had all their friends over that night for watermelon.

I also remember that night vividly because I'd ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl earlier and wasn't up to eating anything! In fact . . . . I'll just let you imagine the rest of the story!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I finally realized what species of ducks these are that we've been feeding at the neighborhood lake (a pond in any other state). They're AFLAC ducks! Duhhhh. It took me awhile.

Once again, we've managed to take the perfectly innocent and corrupt them. (According to our son, Saby was a perfectly trained dog before we got ahold of her.) Now the ducks start quacking (more like honking) obnoxiously when they hear us coming a block away. By the time we get there, they're out of the lake and on the move, waddling as fast as their fat white bodies will allow! And they're all over Craig when he feeds them. Moving in closer and closer. He's been teaching them to catch in mid-air. The moment I didn't get in this clip was when the duck between his legs grabbed the entire large chunk out of his hand and ran! I always miss the good stuff!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's Heating Up!

And the heatwave continues! As far out as the forecasters can see -- 110 and up. Hotter than a $2 pistol on the Fourth of July! Hotter than a June bride in a feather bed! Hotter than Paris Hilton's underpants! Too hot to even rain! The dry heat evaporates the clouds as they move into the valley.

But it's not just the temps. The housing market is also heating up around here! That's the good news! We've got a mini-building boom right here in our neighborhood! They've sold 38 new homes and they're just busy as bees. We saw some subs laying out a foundation the other night at 7:30 p.m., and I'm hearing the rumble of concrete trucks once again in the wee hours. When it's this hot, they pour foundations at 3 and 4 a.m.

Our neighborhood is benefitting from the fact that this development is one of the few in this area that hasn't gone belly up! So people are coming here to buy! The builder finally released some of the view lots they've been holding back hoping to get more for them when the prices go up. I think they finally came to the conclusion that they need the sales too much to sit on prime lots.

On the news tonight, they said area home prices have gone up .9% this past month here in the Phoenix metro. At first I thought they said 9 percent and I almost fainted. Ha! Extremely miniscule in relation to how much prices have dropped in the last two years, but I'll take it! Maybe we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel?

I snapped this one photo at dusk the other night. It's too dang hot to take photos during the day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Isla Scrapbook Page!

I can't ever get enough of the beautiful colors of the Caribe and Isla!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Melanie's Link

A lot of you know that this past year has been fairly hellacious for my family. In addition to the deaths of Craig's mother and one of my closest friends, my aunt, last June my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and is doing well now. You just never think it's going to happen in your family.

Well, lightning didn't just strike once -- it happened twice! In February, my sister-in-law Melanie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy in March and is now doing wonderfully. She has her final reconstruction surgery at the end of July.

I'm astounded at how well she's done! And get this! In addition to her having the double mastectomy, my brother had both of his knees replaced the morning after my aunt's memorial. He's up and around again, and both of them will be walking in the Kansas City Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on August 9!

Check out her fundraising link. She's got a ways to go. Every little bit helps! Wouldn't it be amazing if they found a cure for cancer in our lifetime! How the world would be changed if people no longer had to suffer through this!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Endless Summer

Here in the Phoenix area, summer has arrived with a vengeance! 110 and above. And when they say 110, you can count on the fact that it's 120 on the asphalt. I've always wanted to try the mythical frying of the egg on asphalt here because I'm convinced it would work!

I decided to rerun the video by The Sandals because anything with water and surfing looks wonderful to me right now. We got in the pool tonight and it felt like a hot tub, so we turned on the aerator. It reminded us of Seattle -- swimming in the rain! We have an excessive heat warning in effect through 8 p.m. Sunday night, with a high around 113. By Thursday, it looks like a cold wave with a high of only 108. The only saving grace is that 108 in Phoenix usually feels like 108. There's something to be said for DRY heat!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some Favorite Places!

Now that our Isla trip for October/November is all booked, I've started thinking about all those favorite places and things on the island. One ritual I love is taking a stroll down Rueda Medina at sunset. The daytrippers have left, the vendors are less frenetic, and the commissionistas have headed home. And depending on the season, the sunsets can be sensational!

Another evening (or anytime after lunch) ritual is stopping off at Cool for one of those wonderful scoops and conversation. Rosemarie is one of my favorite people on Isla! We've spent a lot of evenings at Cool locations talking to old friends and new friends, feeding the kitties, watching the street dogs, etc... A half-half scoop of banana/coconut, banana/kahlua, or anything she makes is my favorite!

We love the French Bistro and practically anything on Victor's menu. It was one of the first places we ate on Isla, and we've kept coming back year after year.

What would dinner at the Bistro be without Petey!

Another favorite haunt is Bally Hoo! Especially for lunch on a hot day. The breeze and temperature out on that dock are wonderful! And the fish and chips or fish tacos! Yum.

And the views from Bally Hoo are sensational -- daytime or sunset!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Come Fly With Me!

At Air New Zealand, they're smart cookies. This little flight safety video keeps you in the grip because you're waiting for the sneak peak reveal that really never comes. But you do catch a glimpse of the buns at the end. : ) Notice how everyone is oh so fit! Can you imagine what the average flight crew on airlines you fly would look like clothed only in body paint? (Or God forbid, the passengers!) Don't you love listening to their accents!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eating Crow

Well, I have to eat a little bit because this week at work has been quite pleasant. The project has actually been enjoyable, the pay is correct, and even the Whip is quite congenial. It's fun! Too bad they don't have a job where you just do field tests all year long!

There's even been a catered gourmet lunch left over from a seminar/workshop taking place in the building. Maybe the Whip was given an anti-bitch serum? Or maybe she really just had a horrible three weeks in May? Or maybe this is just a stress-free project for her! She also has her male posse with her in the room -- two charming younger guys, one an ex-NFL player. I guess that would put a lot of women in a good mood! : ) A group of us were talking today on break and we'll be a little sad to not be working together. We kind of bonded in May and just click!

Almost done, and then I can start my endless summer! (Culminating in a fabulous vacation to Isla in October!)


Take that stinkin' crow off my plate! I'm not eating it! Craig said something interesting to me this morning before I left the house -- Watch out Becky because a leopard doesn't usually change its spots!

He must be clairvoyant because she was back in prime form bright and early this morning. Ever been reprimanded for showing up at your desk five minutes early? Must have forgotten to take the anti-bitch serum again! We were trying to figure it out in the break room and someone explained that she's Greek? Another woman wondered out loud -- Are Greeks abrasive? LOL