A Psychometric Questionairre

Yeah, humans are social creatures

you know, we see faces

inside clouds, fungus and tea stains.

Children conduct full-length conversations

with “pet” rocks and plush dinosaurs,

then as adults, they still try to assign meaning

to their frighteningly mysterious days

through science, philosophy, religion,

art, astrology or psychology.

Pfister barista Desiree

longs to crack the code

of her workmates

through Myers-Briggs,

which according to Wikipedia is,

“A psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.”

She keeps the Myers-Briggs test page

as a favorite on one of the café’s

complementary iPads.

If a staff member lingers a moment

for conversation,

Desiree will ask them to take the test.

desiree
Desiree and her list of 39 people and their types.

 

When she handed me the ipad,

I had one question for her:

“Are you 23, Desiree?”

Desiree paused,

“Yes… how did you know?”

It was the year I was 23,

when everyone my age

(who I knew)

seemed to be into that test.

My result remains:

“ENFP” a.k.a.,

“Emotional Intuitive Feeling Perceiving”

myers-briggs
Found on ritholtz.com

 

so I’m just like Oscar Wilde.

Mister Wilde would fit in at the Pfister,

since according to Desiree’s list

of all the 16 existing Myers-Briggs types,

one quarter of the staff shares this type.

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http://www.truity.com/personality-type/enfp

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“This is not at all a statistically sound survey,”

according to my best friend Jessie,

the professional statistician who made this chart.

But-but-but—

Desiree discovered

that all five of the tested baristas

are Introverts.

One of the baristas, Toni is shocked,

“But we have to deal with a lot of people!”

True, but that wide marble counter

and plexiglass divider

protects a barista’s

tender auric fields.

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Desiree, behind plexiglass.

Two of the tested bellhops are ENTJ’s,

the type known as “the Commander,”

and all of the bellhops are Judging types,

that must be an asset for anyone who has to weigh,

organize, heft and swiftly deliver luggage for guests,

while maintaining safety for the contents within.bellcart

All the security guards on Desiree’s list are judging types,

maybe that is why they were paired up

to share a desk with the bellhops.

Her list also shows

there is no unifying factor

between five of the Pfister’s servers,

indeed,

introverts and extroverts,

sensing and intuitive,

feeling and thinking,

judging and perceiving persons

are all likely to take your order;

while those with management positions at the Pfister,

tend to be sensing rather than intuitive people.

On the official Myers-Briggs site,

they say people who are the sensing type think:

 

  • I remember events as snapshots of what actually happened
  • I solve problems by working through facts until I understand the problem.
  • I am pragmatic and look to the “bottom line.”

That sounds like a manager’s mind, all right!

 

But one in four of the staff are “champions”

with intuitive tendencies rather than perceiving.

For them, it is more common to think this way:

 

  • I remember events by what I read “between the lines” about their meaning.
  • I like to see the big picture, then to find out the facts.
  • I trust impressions, symbols, and metaphors more than what I actually experienced

 

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This is exactly the sort of brain that is critical in preserving romance,

by carrying forward the gilded service

that matches the gilded stairs,

that matches the truth:

there is no place in this hotel that is ugly

or even just plain,

there is more for the eyes to see here

than they could ever retain.

You could never figure it all out,

just as Desiree will never

figure her workmates out

entirely.

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Sam, a frequent cafe customer also took the test, becoming the only non-staff member on Desiree’s list.

 

When you look at some modern art it can stump you.

Barbara has been giving tours for the Milwaukee Art Museum over a half century.

“When I first came to the museum, there were eight employees.”

This January I started my fifty-second year.

I retired when I was 50,

but I’m still going in,

teaching and working

‘cause I don’t want to sit at home.

I train the docents

and they tour about 80.000 people a year.”

She’s taken 75 trips to Europe,

“I counted it all up when I retired.

England was the first country I went to.”

Last year she took her docents to Belgium and Holland.

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And she made her own dress.

 

Being an art museum docent is hard.

“People expect you to know everything.”

When you look at some modern art it can stump you.

“Ellsworth Kelly’s “Red, Yellow, Blue,”

that’s one people have a hard time with.

Red, Yellow, Blue II

But you have to understand,

it was hand done,

he mixed the colors, that yellow

is the yellow he wanted,

he copied it from nature,

like a bird he saw,

he didn’t just go out to Menards!

How can I make these people understand?

Their grandchildren can’t do it!

When Kelly was in the war

he asked to be in the camouflage department.

Once in a while I’ll be lucky

and a student will be in

Ellsworth Kelly camo.

I’ve met Ellsworth Kelly several times.

He’s a very kind person,

a little on the shy side.”

 

What are Barbara’s favorite areas of art to talk on?

“American History and Decorative Arts

furniture, silver, ceramics.

My favorite is probably seventeenth century colonial.”

 

“Over the years a lot of people have visited Milwaukee

and I’ve taken them around,

Madame Chiang Kai-shek.”

(I hadn’t heard of her, so I looked her up,

former first lady of China, 1948-1975)

23325_web_ThisDay-Madame-Chiang-Kai-Shek-AP

“David Hockney, I loved him.

“I loved this young man who is now a rock star, but when I met him he was just coming up, um, I can’t think of his name. It’ll come. He works on China, Africa and America… Kehinde Wiley!

Gilbert and George when they came from England,

I met Andy Worhol. He never talked. My brother had a friend who knew him quite well.

Mark Rothko,

Tony Randall of the Odd Couple,

he knew everything,

he was the smartest man I ever met.

I let him do all the talking and I did the anecdotes.”

Barbara has never watched Star Trek,

but she gave Dr. Spock a tour.

“He gave me a Dr. Spock ear,

I didn’t know what it was or what I was supposed to do with it.

Ginger Rodgers,

Ray Milland, he never took his hat off because he didn’t have his toupee on,

Vincent Price,

Noguchi,

Sofa and Ottoman
Noguchi!

di Suvero,

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 11.38.44 AM
This is what googling di Suvero’s “The Calling” looks like.

 

George Shearing, he’s blind and I got a call from him asking to take him around.

A grandmother had the same thing, I took her around.

Gordon Parks,

and when the Beatles came to Milwaukee the first time,

I held the door to the war memorial open for them.”

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“Excellent Broth! I’m going to have it every time I come.

I’ve been begging for broth here.

I like soup very much but,

I don’t like heavy duty,

I like to have broth.

It kinda curbs your appetite,

settles your stomach,

it’s good for your bones,

and I just love hot broth.

Right here at the café counter I met Shaquille O’Neill.

DSCN9596
Right there!

He wasn’t feeling well.

I didn’t know who he was.”

Shaq’s manager worked on a crossword puzzle with Barbara,

and explained who Mr. O’Neill was.

Barbara gave Shaq a ticket to the art museum,

and he went.

 

A Mom Letter and a Dad Letter

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I was taking a picture of the roses in the lobby when Val, the bartender summoned me over to see something. I took a stool at the bar and waited for a moment as Val rustled around in her bag, elbow deep.  At last she exclaimed “Ah!” and pulled out an envelope to show me. It was sent from a woman named Coco who came here for a birthday drink the other day, along with her baby. Coco’s friend and her friend’s baby joined her for the celebration.

coco

I took the contents out of the envelope and saw a most charming picture. Val got to know the two ladies and their babies quite well over a period of three hours, and asked, “Would you write this woman a letter back for me?”

coco poem

So I wrote Coco a poem on one of Valerie’s guest checks and sent it to the return address on the envelope.

 

Soon after Coco emailed me that she wrote a blog about getting a letter from the Pfister in the mail.  So,

IjustwroteheranemailthatIwrotethisblogaboutheremailaboutherblogaboutgettingaletterinthemailbecause,

shesentaletterinthemailaboutapleasantafternoonofpolitevalets,chattingandbabies!

Phew!!

 

Another day, another letter:

lydia's daddy

A father comes to me in need of his daughter’s forgiveness. In the city of Madison where he and his family reside, there is a highly competitive theater program for kids. His daughter, Lydia tried out for a production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” in hopes of being cast as one of the dwarves. Lydia, who is in fourth grade and has never had an opportunity like this before, was a nervous mess the morning of her audition. Sympathetic to her distraught, Lydia’s dad gave her a pearl of encouragement, “Don’t worry, everything will turn out just fine!”

 

The two of them stayed up late, awaiting the phone call to let them know if Lydia would be expected to come back in for call-backs the following day. It was so late by the time the phone finally rang, Lydia was already put to bed. She was wide awake when her father came in and told her the answer was no. Lydia sobbed, dampening her pillow. Her dad assured her that she was younger than the rest of the kids who had tried out, and that it was likely that she would be cast in the coming years, then said goodnight.

 

The next morning, as Lydia glumly ate her cereal she told her father, “You lied. You said everything would be fine, but everything is not fine.”

 

The statement unsettled him, and the combination of his daughter’s broken heart and distrust in his word tarnished his entire day. So much so that when his job brought him to the Pfister hotel and he met me, he asked for a poem of encouragement (not from him or his perspective!) to give his child.  lydia

This is Howard. I just met him in the kitchen.

Anja: How long have you worked in room service?

 

Howard: Nine months.

 

Anja: What does that all entail?

 

Howard: Well… amenities, hospital doing orders, and uh, being very uh… kind and gentle with guests hospitality wise. You make them feel wanted, and if they want anything, you do it with care and grace! (Howard giggles a high-pitched, masculine giggle.)

 

Anja: How does this job make you feel?

 

Howard: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………. happy to even like, tadalafil just grateful that I even have a job, like…

 

Anja: What was before this?

 

Howard: What was before this? I worked at Menards. (giggles)

 

Anja: This is a step up.

 

Howard: Yeah it is! I worked at Menards, that was my second longest job, which was three months! Heh heh. Yeah, I worked at Menards as a cashier… the only male cashier.

 

Anja: Oh wow!

 

Howard: And there were about fifteen cashiers there.

 

Anja: Geez.

 

Our conversation is interrupted when we have to both scrunch against the wall in order to let a cart of cupcakes through the corridor. The cart looks to be about six feet tall, and features tray after tray of what I am informed to be flourless chocolate cupcakes.

 

Anja: What have you learned since your time here?

 

Howard: …

 

Anja: About LIFE!

 

Howard: To be on time, hee hee hee!  Because when I was a little bit younger, in 1919, I looooved to purposely procrastinate, because in my mind I knew I would get it done right before the deadline, and I never did. (Laughs.)

 

Anja: You have a very musical laugh.

 

Howard: Yeah? What does musical laugh mean?

 

Anja: I don’t know! You hit many different notes… (Anja and Howard both titter) …when you laugh!

 

Howard: I just joined an acting class last Thursday!

 

Anja: Nice!

 

Howard: For like community theater. First it was just going to be like monologues, but it turned into community theater because the school that did monologues cancelled because there weren’t enough people.

 

Anja: Are you going to be in a play now?

 

Howard: I, eh, um, this is my homework: I have to come up with a stage name and uh, ten accents. That’s a bit much isn’t it? I thought of Southern, Italian, uhhh Latin, like Mexican, Mexican like Chollo though, you know, like the hood,…. annnnd British? I don’t know, people have been giving me suggestions, but it’s only been like four or five so far.

 

Anja: Don’t forget you can do Wisconsin.

 

Howard: Right, right, right. I went to Florida one time, when I was in High School, and we went to go talk to these lovely ladies—hee hee hee, at South Beach, they were in the Ocean, you know, the water, and one lady was from New York, and you can clearly hear she’s from New York with the Bronx, you know, accent, so then they asked, “Where you from, Wisconsin?” And we were like, “WWWWHHHHAT? How did you know that?!” I guess we have accents! I did not know that.

 

Anja: So what makes for a good stage name?

 

Howard: Whoopi Goldberg? Heh heh heh!

 

Anja: What was the last thing you dressed up for Halloween?

 

Howard: I’ve never even participated in Halloween until last year.

 

Anja: Really?!

 

Howard: Yeah, and I’m 21.

 

(Howard and Anja emit peals of laughter.)

 

Anja: Was it not allowed in your house?

 

Howard: Yeah, exactly— or I just didn’t catch the vibe, like Valentine’s Day. So, I just, I just bought a Michael Myers mask and wore that to a Halloween party, an adult Halloween party, and they told me immediately to take it off because I was scaring people. Because when I walked in I didn’t say a word. These are like my friends, and I’m just standing there like Michael Myers would do. The guy whose house it was came up to me and said, “You don’t have to pretend anymore, you can just take it off. You’re kind of scaring my girlfriend.”

 

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Butter on a Plate & Hat Swapping in the Bathroom


The whole hotel is my beat so I’ve got to drift.

I’ve got to find the swirled butter on the plate.

Regard this spiraled stack of paper napkins. This miniscule, considered bit of hospitality intrigues me.

DSCN9562 DSCN9397I like to chase the shadows of bicyclists with my camera from a height of 23 stories.

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On weekends my ambulations deliver me to London.

DSCN9358 DSCN9355

 

High tea preparations imbue the room in the rusky scent of cinnamon.DSCN9351

 

The other day as I got off the elevator, I discovered that Italy was getting reconstructed on the seventh floor.

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 DSCN9545

Is that Basilica di San Marco?

 DSCN9567

Free gondala rides.

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What is up with that vat of plastic grapes?

DSCN9573Oh, I see.

DSCN9581

I tell these grape stompers, “You know, my great-grandma actually made wine that way.” They tell me, “A lot of people have been telling us that tonight!”

DSCN9583Can you guess how many olives are in this glass urn?  I thought it was 603.  Apparently not, since I haven’t gotten that phone call telling me I won the iPad.

 DSCN9549

Of all the Italy I see here, I most enjoy the giant see-through paintings.

DSCN9553A crevice implores me to monkey around.

DSCN9558And really, this picture is much better with me added to the scene.

DSCN9577

Women in inflated chef uniforms and stick-on moustaches emphatically call “Bonjourno!” and “Mangia-mangia!”
 DSCN9606

In the bathroom I run into a friend of mine and her business partner.  They run a florist company called “Flower and Bee.” They are arranging wedding bouquets.  The whole sink area smells like a realm of olfactory love and harp music.  It must be all the jasmine.

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I ask them who is getting married.

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It turns out I actually know the couple.  Sure enough, when I check out the lobby bar I recognize half the wedding party.  One of the groomsmen folds a paper napkin into his empty breast pocket.  And as long as it is dry, you won’t notice that his handkerchief is not silk.DSCN9675

I type a quick congratulatory poem for the couple.

DSCN8477The next day I get together with my friend Adam for a brainstorm session.  He tells me “Thanks for allowing me push this meeting back a few days.  I was really busy, I had to officiate a wedding yesterday.”

And yes, it turns out to be the same wedding.

Excuse me Adam, I have to use the bathroom.

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In the bathroom a lady admires my hat so much she asks to try it on.  I let her, and she likes what she sees so much, she asks me if she can buy it from me.  Before I’ve even had the chance to use the bathroom facilities, I’ve sold the hat off my head.  Additionally, she gives me her own crocheted hat.  It matches my outfit far better than the one I had before.  I soon find out this hat-loving woman is the aunt of yesterday’s bride.
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Goodbye purple hat, I will always remember the day I completed you.
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What I’m Whytching in the Pfister

Concierge Peter suggests

we all need to practice

“whytching,”

watching our surroundings

while wondering why,

or how is it like that?

To behave like the elated toddler

who discovers everything is dimensional:

it can be crawled over, pulled, pushed

bitten and unraveled to reveal

what is at the end,

and why it was rolled up and put away.

DSCN9274
Whytching reveals that a dental equipment extravaganza is occurring on the 7th floor.

 

I whytch the herd of twenty blue hoodies

with grey sweat pants slinking past,

every one of them six feet or much taller,

calling out to each other in male voices

aged by two decades of Gatorade consumption,

I know because I see a bottle of it

through the mesh of their backpack pockets.

I don’t have to harass them with inquiry

to surmise that they are a college basketball team

and that the man of middle years accompanying them

with shirt and pants made out of sweat fabric and drawstrings

is their coach.

DSCN9304

Whytch the flowers being rolled in on a cart,

the lobby’s living color changes most every day

I wonder does this change reflect the mood

of the florist and then become the hotel’s mood?

Or does the mood of the hotel determine

the florist’s choice of the flowers?

Either way it does not feel as emotionally purple here

as it did yesterday when the flowers all spoke violet.

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Whytching reveals patterns.

There’s Joe with his coffee and subprime mortgage lecture at the bar again!

There’s Monette who comes here every week for the caesar salad,

though today it appears she is just having a tall glass of water

and an earful of subprime mortgage talk.

DSCN9321
Monette and her tall glass of water.

 

Practicing whytching is imperative

for excellent eyesight,

c’mon, stretch your eyeballs out

and learn:

lanyards = business conference

leather satchel = business lunch in the café

backpack = brief overnight stay

sunglasses walking down the hall = leave me alone I am famous

red tie = high achieving business person (usually man)

DSCN9288
Theorizing on the landing.

 

Whytching demands theorizing

yet suggests no conclusion,

life is learning, death is knowing

maybe

I have never been dead except

when I fail to whytch,

when I grumble and pucker,

staring at the skin on my arm

without seeing the hairs, pores, freckles,

the mysterious red spots

or appreciating the scent of wrist.

Wrists smell in their own way

unlike anything else.

Just whytch.

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Closeup of a dental equipment poster.

 

Someone takes the steps,

climbing two at a time

dipping the tall reed of their person

in rhythmic appreciation

of this marble terrain.

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Someone else runs up the steps

with swift anticipation

for a new location,

an urgent duty,

to be not here

but there.

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Those who practice whytching

generally acknowledge

she who types on the landing (me).

Those who love whytching

more than anything else

will hand me a hello.

DSCN9311
Whytch carefully, and you will see me in this picture.

 

Let’s make a pact:

don’t be too fast for manners

and I won’t be so slow

that I preach,

instructing you what to do

except, please,

be whytchful.

We Ate Our Last Meal Together At The Pfister

We ate our last lunch together at the Pfister, buy cialis

my Grandma and I

and family,

I wrote a story about it the other week,

except then I did not know it would be our last meal

when I sat next to Grandma

DSCN9011

and we both ordered the salmon salad

from a booth in the café.

The nice thing about a booth

is that it allows multiple people to sit in the same seat

like a couch

like you’re at home

with grandma, patient

my last,

my matriarch

with the passion for hospitality.

She had been talking about taking us out

to a meal at the Pfister for weeks before,

a stupendous outing, a big to-do.

After our meal we slowly ambled through the ballroom

looking at the paintingsDSCN9018

as I carried her purse

which must have held fifteen pounds

of everything anyone could possibly ever want from a grandma.

Chickadee, find would you like a stick of gum?

Do you need a Kleenex, a dab of lip balm or lipstick?

Life savers, a wallet stuffed with family photos,

five dollars worth of change

and biscotti at the ready,

so organized

like her kitchen table

that three weeks after our last meal

has a stack of all her receipts

with the one from the Pfister on top,

obviously her favorite purchase

of the bunch,

an afternoon with the family

she loved so much

that she kept two refrigerators

and an industrial freezer

stuffed with chickens, soups, roasts

and ravioli at the ready

in case we all showed up

with a platoon of long-lost relatives

and their neighbors all

playing

a symphony of deep

growls,

howling stomachs

in need of their 88-year-old matriarch’s

wooden spoon and steel stew basin magic.DSCN9196

A month ago she cooked Christmas dinner for eight

with both conventional and organic broccoli

(just for me, the grandchild with a zillion food sensitivities)

“Well, I don’t want you getting sick, Anja-Mangia!”

And that same day just for her, I typed this poem:the existence of grand love

 

The Backside of Everything You Will Never Think About

Roving the lounge

I roll up to a family

with one of those dual seat strollers

and make my introduction, viagra sale

“Are those two ‘youngins’ twins?”

“They are almost Irish twins,” says the mama.

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Irish twins?

I’ve never heard

of that one

what does that mean?

 

Says mother:

“In order to be an Irish twin you would have to be born within twelve months of your sibling. But these two were born thirteen months apart.”

 

“Hmmm,”

I hmmm, realizing

my Dad and aunt are Irish twins.

I’ve got tell Dad

how he’s spent seven decades

probably not knowing

this part of his identity.

 

The things you can learn

when you go twin watching

at the Pfister.

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I really have met a lot of twins

by roaming the Pfister.

The very same day

as near-Irish twins

I meet fraternal twin siblings,

Levon and Levona,

almost two-year-olds

pausing for pictures

with the lion twins.

Now, what kind of twin are the lions?

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There’s a hat on the bar

beside a mostly empty coffee.

Snappy hat—

red black grey feather

leather hat,

probably smells good

but I don’t sniff stranger’s hats,

taking pictures of them

is enough.

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This quiet evening with the curtain in a knot

inspires me to write a birthday note.

I know three people with birthdays today

that I’m going to give this to:

 

“Happy Birthday to the missing tooth

and the room with no people in it

and to the shrink wrap bag

with nothing shrink-wrapped in it

happy birthday to the backside

of everything you will never think about

even with a search engine

and fifty widdle five-year-olds

who ask about when fish feel sad

and what is inside the popcorn kernal

to make it explode?

Those kids always talk about eternity

but I’m talking about the backside of eternity

and I’m wishing it a very happy

a berry merry birthday.”

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First I give this note to Birthday Bridget

along with my spare Tom Thumb typewriter.

As we sit on the orange velour couches of the lounge

my friend Natalie exclaims

this line thrice:

 

“The hot cocoa here, oh!

Thick and rich!”

 

She can’t believe how delicious it is,

or how she’s ordered hot cocoa

all over the city—

disappointing hot cocoas

concoctions of wateriness

contained in styrofoam cup

contrasted

to this whipped cream crowned cocoa,

of thick quality chocolate

that leaves rings

formidable

frappe-esque stain

inside ceramic mug.

“could you please send me a boyfriend who does yoga?”

 

Katherine has been coming here for years

she was married for three decades

to a man who came to the Pfister to just to jog.

He died ten years ago

so, viagra recently she asked the divine,

“could you please send me a boyfriend who does yoga?”

After she asked she didn’t expect a response,

so instead of waiting around for love

she went camping.

While she was out there in the wilderness

she met an interesting man

they talked quite awhile

and when they were done he asked for her number

but for whatever reason she wouldn’t give it to him

so it took weeks for them to run into each other again

but when they did

he asked her for her number again,

nicely,

so this time she did

and now she’s spending Christmas

and New Years with him,

her new boyfriend

who just so happens to practice yoga.

He wants to serve lobster on New Years Eve

which is frankly,

a tad daunting for Katherine

who has never eaten that before.

She is a woman with habits,

she comes to the Pfister

every year to visit with Val at the bar

after doing some shopping at Boutique B’Lou.

Her bags of loot sit on the stool beside her.

Inside the paper bag wrapped bounty

are Nepalese bracelets of woven beads

of which a portion of the sale

goes back to helping the women crafters of Nepal

and their families to live more complete and healthy lives.

So Katherine bought a few of these seed bead wonders

and took one out for me to touch

it feels like a snake

in a good way,

I know, I have touched snakes

they are cool

literally

cool and smooth,

in a bumpy way

but I have slithered myself into tangent

back to the story

this is how Kathy shows her love:

three moose are in the mail

(Or is it meese? Like geese?)

I don’t know what they look like

or if they are alive,

but she gestures how big they are

these moosen are headed

for Kathy’s great-grandchildren

who live in Minneapolis.

This morning she went shopping for the yogic boyfriend too

and he’s going to get

shrimp, champagne and chocolate cupcakes,

I know, I asked,

and now you know too.

And what did Katherine learn from all this?

She laughs, “Maybe I should pray more often.”

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By the way, I hear this lad in the shash recently picked up yoga!

The Gifts In Life Have Nothing To Do With Money

Jennifer is here. She just quit her job as the director of a troupe of tribal belly dancers. I learn that tribal belly dancing is more athletic than traditional. Apparently traditional belly dancing much more wiggly.   I believe it, medicine having taken belly dancing in college and finding it fairly impossible to wiggle that much. Jennifer says yes, older ladies really like taking the less wiggly tribal belly dancing.   She studied it for 15 years in San Francisco before starting her troupe in Milwaukee.DSCN8915

 

What’s next for Jennifer? She will keep dancing in some form. Right now she is a lady of leisure spending her afternoon in the lounge. Her son is one of the bellhops and is treating her to a stay.   She is writing her Christmas letters. Open before her is a card with a lengthy penned message to her friend in Russia. Jennifer sips a Moscow Mule.

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Val, sovaldi sale the bartenderess corrects me, “It’s an Austin Mule,” since the vodka is Austin made. She introduces me to two young men at the bar. They are ordering matching red wines that they will hopefully not spill upon their immaculate matching white shirts. They have matching hair and matching black slacks. They have both just finished job interviews for the same coveted investment-banking job. One flew in from Boston, ask the other St. Louis, but geez Louise, do they match! And even though they are trying for the same slot they converse on the couch like old chums.

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“The gifts in life have nothing to do with money, it has to do with the people you meet who change your life,” says Ronny, former basketball player and the founder of Athletes For Autism. Ronny connects people, entertainers and athletes together to form a voice for autism, a voice for the voiceless. He says the wisest people are often beggars, and many choose their poverty as a way of life. There was a beggar that Ronny would buy lunch on a regular basis. Ronny enjoyed conversations with this intelligent person and offered to give him a job and a support system so that he wouldn’t have to live on the streets anymore. The man accepted the job, cleaned up, wore a nice suit but couldn’t get through his first day on the job. It wasn’t in him; he had a calling to learn through suffering on the streets.

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Ronny provided the deepest conversation I’ve ever participated in at the Pfister.  He told me to write it down when I theorized, “You have to have empathy to have curiosity.”