Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Energy of a Wacky Thought

I returned home from work, fed my pet bunnies, and nuked a frozen dinner in the microwave. I’ve come home more depleted than usual lately. The weather has been muggy and dusty – typical monsoon temperatures for Arizona in August.

Lately I plop down on the couch and turn to Netflix to watch another episode of Voyager.

I am 20 years behind in my television viewing. The show has been off the air since the 1990s. But since it’s set in the future, it doesn’t really matter. I mindlessly eat my sweet and sour chicken (which probably only tastes marginally better than Voyagers replicators) and I see what Captain Janeway and the crew of the USs Federation Starship Voyager are up to. 

Normally I am not one to veg out in front of the tube. I have a full day of work, family, friends, my spouse, CB, my pets, continuing education, Buddhist activities, and an array of household chores to keep me busy. But CB is out of town working, so my lesser self takes over and I give in to a guilty pleasure of watching TV. I’m too tired at night to do anything else.

A weird dust storm washed over the city earlier today. The sky turned dark, leaves, plastic bags and debris littered the landscape. Even within the protective walls of the office of my workplace, I could taste the dust in the air. I was tired and I wanted to go home. Unfortunately, it was early afternoon and I had at least two more hours of work ahead of me before “quittin’ time.”

I put together a couple of media lists together for some press releases that needed to go out and performed a couple of mundane tasks. I had more creative work to do, but assumed my dusty mouth and mind were not up to the task. However, rather than enter data on a spread sheet, I decided to do some research for my next writing assignment.

I sifted through the information about scholarships. I know I could have done some modifications and revised an older piece and be done with it, but that is not what makes me tick. I’m not happy unless I’m flexing my creative muscles. I did some research and discovered some interesting data. Strange data. Weird data. Stuff that made me laugh data.

 Suddenly, I had a wacky thought for where I might take my new assignment. It would be a place where no press release in the life insurance galaxy had ever gone before. I wrote a clever headline and lead sentence. I sketched out an outlined for the rest of the article and played with it until it was time to go home. 

My wacky thought energized me more than a jolt of caffeine. It carried me through the 20 minute commute home and through the duties I had to carry out before I could join my friends on Voyager. After the show ended I took a walk, admired the clouds, enjoyed the cooler temperatures, returned home, and wrote the first non-work-related blog I had penned in nearly three months.

It’s ironic. The Voyager travels through the galaxy looking for new life forms and energy systems. It seems they are always on the lookout for a new batch of Dilithium crystals as a power source. That’s all well and good, but when I want to go the distance, a little creativity and a wacky thought can go a long way.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Road Less Traveled the Better

I am directionally challenged. There, I said it. My name is Sally Marks and I am directionally challenged. It must be genetic. My dad used to say my mom could get lost exiting a phone booth. I must have followed in her confused footsteps. Decades later, and even in my home town of Mesa, AZ, I can (and do) lose my way on a regular basis. 

I joke that I tried to take a wrong turn down the birth canal. The story goes that I was my mom’s longest and most difficult labor. Apparently I wouldn’t turn my head and the doctor couldn’t reach me with forceps. Doctors were more reluctant to do c-sections at that time. Mom, the doctor and my dad (who was asleep in the waiting area) just had to wait until my head slipped into place. But I don’t know if I was lost or just reluctant to leave the womb. It’s a memory long forgotten.

However, I do remember another time I had difficulty finding my way. I was probably nine years old. My brother, Terry, and I attended a YMCA summer school event at a neighboring school. I don’t remember the details, but we were dropped off at the site in the morning and the plan was to wait out front and we would be picked up when the program ended in the afternoon. The problem was there was no event that day. Mom must have dropped us off at the wrong school, or on the wrong date.

Terry and I found our way to the locked cafeteria. A maintenance man saw us pulling on the door and must have assumed we were vandals. When we explained we were looking for the YMCA he said, “I’ll YMCA you!” This was not a time to discuss the matter. We ran away – as fast as our little sneakers would take us. Since it was obvious we couldn’t hang around on campus, we decided to walk home. 

I am two years old than Terry, but when you are a little kid, those two years make a big difference. I took my role as the big sister to heart, took charge, and boldly headed off in a direction that I thought would lead to our neighborhood. No doubt I didn’t have a clue, but I certainly thought I did. So we walked. I’m sure we didn’t amble for too long, but it felt like it. It always seems that way when you don’t know if you’re headed in the right direction or not. I should know. I have that feeling a lot, but I’m usually behind the wheel of a car when this happens. The exception is when I’m in the parking lot trying to find my car. But I digress.
The journey home from the YMCA-camp-that-wasn’t was before cell phones, so we couldn’t call anyone. And it was summer in Arizona, so there weren’t any folks wandering around to ask for directions. I considered knocking on someone’s door and asking for help, but I didn’t think it would be wise to take that risk. It wasn’t just me, I had my younger brother to protect. Anyway, we boldly walked where no Marks had walked before, and hoped for the best.

After what seemed like hours (probably 15 minutes) I started to get nervous. Nothing looked familiar. At one point we scanned the sky and looked off into the distance. We shrieked in delight. We saw a useful landmark, the golden poles of the Apache Lanes Bowling Alley sign glinting in the sun. Our home was five houses away from the rear of the bowling alley, so we had a beacon to follow. We were so excited we ran the rest of the way home.

Years, OK, decades, have passed from the first misadventure. I know I’m prone to losing my way so I try to compensate by writing out a list of directions (maps don’t help me) I check for landmarks, and I use a GPS whenever possible. I have also been known to call friends who play the role of traffic controller and guide me to my destination. Needless to say, I’m not too proud to ask for help.

 Usually I stay close to home, or let someone else take the wheel on trips. However, my life took a different course. I started a new job and had to travel to Rock Island, Illinois for work. The first time I took this journey I declined the use of a rental car. It was still snowing in the Midwest, and as a desert girl who has never driven in snow or ice, I did not want to take a chance navigating on icy roads. Luckily I work for Royal Neighbors of America, and when I explained my situation they went out of their way to accommodate me and my transportation needs. It’s one of many reasons Royal Neighbors has earned the distinction of being voted a great place to work.

However, for my next trip in April, the weather had improved. I had no excuse to decline a rental car, and I did not want to rely on the help of others because of my directionally-challenged brain. I went online and studied maps of the area, I had my daughter download a GPS Ap on my droid, and even gave it a test run in Arizona so I would be confident that it worked.  I also built in extra time for each trip – just in case. 

Well as luck would have it, the GPS Ap that worked so well from the well-traveled seven-mile road from my daughter’s house to my abode, would not power up. I had studied the area, but rather than take anything to chance, I asked the hotel clerk for directions. The older woman at the desk gave me great instructions. My younger readers may not appreciate this observation, but older people give better directions.  I guess it’s a small bone that life throws at us for being on the planet a long time. Anyway, I made it to the town (yes, I forgot to ask for the exit and the right way to get to the office) but after a few incorrect turns I recognized some landmarks from my earlier trip the month before, read a few streets signs, and eventually got to work with 15 minutes to spare. 

Okay, yes, I left the hotel an hour before and it was only a 20 minute trip under normal circumstances, but hey, I made it. During my time during this work trip I ventured out by car eight times and got lost two out of eight attempts. I had the trip to work and the hotel under control, but we had an event at a nearby hotel and casino for our womenLEAD Forum and found myself headed in the opposite direction.  But I stopped (twice) asked for directions, and eventually found my way. I also successfully navigated my way to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and flew home without a hitch.

So what is the point of this rambling story? Sometimes things that seem easy for some are a confusing ordeal for others. My request is to show others compassion when navigating the highway, and throughout our existence on this planet. During our journey in life you don’t know where life is going to take you (especially if you’re in a car and I’m driving.) But if you don’t get too upset, look around you, ask for help now and again, and learn to enjoy the ride, you will eventually get where you need to be.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Good Feet Helps Folks Take a Walk on the Mild Side

     The benefit of taking a walk has been praised from Harry David Thoreau to J.K. Rowling, but when your feet hurt, it can be hard to do. Enter Good Feet.
     The Good Feet store located in the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20022 N. 67th Ave., Suite 126 in Glendale, AZ is working to change that dilemma and make walking a less painful experience. The store opened April 24.
     Good Feet specializes in custom arch supports to help eliminate foot, back, leg and knee pain. The 1,200 square foot store is staffed with three employees and offers 250 over-the-counter arch supports in a variety of sizes and flexibilities.
     “Our supports are as effective, if not more effective, than doctor-made supports,” said Eric Kaplan, owner of Good Feet. “We receive referrals from doctors and other medical professionals on a regular basis. Our goal is to help more people get back on their feet and feel better about it.”
     Good Feet is the third store Kaplan has opened in the Valley in the past two years. He said he selected the Arrowhead Shopping Center location for its cleanliness, good reputation and its convenient access to the 101 freeway.
     The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
     Good Feet is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about the store visit or call 623-223-1169.
                For more information about events and activities at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Budding Student Artists Blossom at Student Art Fair

Trees and bushes won’t be the only thing blooming in Glendale this March.  The artwork of budding artists from Deer Valley High School’s Art Department will be on display 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 21 at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20022 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale, AZ 85308.

     Works from a variety of media including scratchboard, photography, watercolors, pastel, oil and charcoal will be featured. Spectators and shoppers are encouraged to vote on their favorite pieces. A winner will be selected from each category. 

Shoppers and spectators can also buy raffle tickets to win a special, student-created art piece. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the Deer Valley Art Department.
     “Displaying the works of budding artists is a perfect way to celebrate spring, as well as showcase the works of the talented artists from our neighbors at Deer Valley High School,” said Mary Walker, president of Power Promotions and event coordinator for The Village at Arrowhead. “It’s one of many things our center does to support the community.”
     The center provides a variety of activities throughout the year. Upcoming events include the free Music at the Village and Classic Car Show April 10, 17, 24 and May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. on AJ’s patio.    
       The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
         The shopping center is located on the southwest corner of 67th Avenue at the Loop 101.  For more information call Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Shopping for Valentine's Day

Even though the hoopla of Super Bowl XLIX is over, Glendale, Arizona is still a great destination. Now you can find smart lovers heading to The Village of Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20022 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale for Valentine’s Day shopping.

The shopping plaza, with its cobblestone-accentuated walkways, wrought-iron flourishes, faux stone accents and bubbling fountain, creates a perfect, romantic venue for lovers to peruse unique shops while enjoying Glendale’s balmy February weather. 

The center is reminiscent of a European piazza. French country flair is evident from the rough-hewn, glass and wooden doors to the green umbrellas that provide shade and color to AJ’s popular bistro. Before shopping at the upscale grocery store to prepare a romantic dinner, complete with wine and long-stem roses, customers can dine alfresco in AJ’s bistro, or nibble on a delicious pastry or specialty chocolate.

Another delectable alternative at the center is a heart-shaped fudge truffle cake with chocolate ganache ice cream from Cold Stone for only $36.95. Cakes should be ordered 24 to 48 hours in advance, however a variety of delightful desserts are always on hand. Other V of A dining possibilities includes Pei Wei Asian Diner and Chipotle.

In addition to dining, the center boasts an array of specialty services to help men and women look and feel their best. Nail Deport offers elegant manicures and pedicures. Rolf’s Salon will celebrate Valentine’s week (from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14) by providing their beloved customers with a complimentary luxury Kerastase hair treatment with the purchase of any hair service. Also, from Feb. 1-14, guests will receive a $20 Rolf’s gift card if they purchase $100 or more in Rolf’s gift cards.

Protea Medical Center combines beauty and health by specializing in physician supervised HCG weight loss programs, bio-identical hormone-replacement therapy, cosmetic procedures such as Botox, and Juvederm facial fillers, as well as naturopathic medical services. 

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Massage Green Spa is running a gift card special that includes a free, one-hour massage with the purchase of three gift cards for $39.95 each. There are also openings for romantic partners to book the couple’s suite for a relaxing couple’s massage.

Hearts and skin will glow after treatments at European Wax Center. The center boasts two specials in honor of Cupid’s favorite holiday. The first is a buy one service and receive a second service for 50% off. However this deal has a twist. European Wax Center allows the more expensive service to be discounted. For example an individual can pay $18 to have their eyebrows waxed and receive leg waxing (normally $68) for only $34. A second special includes free eyebrow waxing for new clients or anyone who has not had a waxing service at the center for at least six months.

Francesca’s Collection has Valentine-themed gifts for the kitchen or bar including bar and cocktail glassware, wine toppers and flasks. Roka Boutique features an array of Valentine’s Day inspired gifts such as red velour throw blankets, candles and PJ Salvage and Wild Fox pajamas. 

For those who prefer their wardrobe in black and white, The White House/Black Market provides customers a surprisingly vast selection of basic black and brilliant white, clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories. In addition to displaying their new spring line, Talbots carries tees and dressy blouses with hearts in honor of the year’s most romantic holiday. For intimate apparel, Pretty Please customers are thrilled with the lacy Hanky Panky Panties that feel silky and light on the skin and don’t show a panty line. 

Chico’s is choosing an event that is close to the heart with Arrowhead CHICO’S Shop for a Cause Thursday, Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make a purchase and tell your style expert “I’m shopping for a cause” and CHICO’S will donate 10% of the moneys from the sales to The Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

Another can’t miss special event is a trunk show on Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. hosted by Robert & Jayson Miller Fine Jewelry highlighting the Isaac Reiss line. The exquisite jewelry features 14k and/or 18k yellow gold-enhanced pieces accented with diamonds, pearls and semi-precious stones. All items have a glamorous, matte-hammered finish. 

For the well-dressed man, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers presents traditional Valentine’s Day gifts such as ties, tie clips and dress shirts. They also carry a wide variety of dress suits, sports coats, pants, ties, sportswear, outdoor wear, shoes and accessories in a variety of sizes including big and tall. They are also experts in helping gentleman put their best well-dressed foot forward for events from cocktail parties, weddings, and job interviews to a romantic night on the town.

Choice Pet Market offers human-to-human Valentine’s Day cards, but is still the go-to place for the best in nutrition for our furry, scaled and feathered friends.  The store offers natural, organic and holistic foods, as well as toys, clothing and more to make every day a special occasion for our beloved pets.

For homo sapiens who want to enjoy romantic poolside dinners and leisure activities, Today’s Pool & Patio offers ruby-colored glassware, serving dishes and outdoor accents such as pillows that come in Valentine red as well as a rainbow of other colors and prints.

Although shoppers are encouraged to mail their gifts early for Valentine’s Day, for those who are in a time crunch, next-day air shipping is always an option through The UPS Store. AT& T (Spring Mobile) helps lovers stay connected and offers the latest phones, accessories, service plans, as well as a fast, reliable network. Another center mainstay is Compass Bank BBVA that provides consumer, small business and commercial banking.

 “Glendale became the center of attention for Super Bowl XLIX, but our customers are the MVPs at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center,” said Mary Walker, marketing coordinator for the Glendale shopping center and president of Power Promotions. “Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day excursion or a simple trip to your favorite Village at Arrowhead store, we want your shopping experience a memorable experience.”

The shopping center has been a hub of activity and the sponsor of numerous free, community events that collect food and donations for local charities. Popular events include Carriage Rides with Santa, as well as concerts and classic car shows in the spring and autumn.

The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around. The shopping center is located on the southwest corner of 67th Avenue at the Loop 101. For more information contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

20022 N. 67TH Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308

AJ’s Fine Foods 623-537-2300
Chico’s 623-825-6077
Chipotle 623-240-1289
Choice Pet Market 623-937-4444
Cold Stone 623-566-9400
Compass Bank BBVA 623-537-3100
European Wax Center 623-572-2800
Francesca’s Collection 623-376-2555
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers 623-566-7196

Massage Green Spa 623-242-2777
Nail Depot 623-376-9197
Pei Wei Asian Diner 623-825-9949
Pretty Please 623-561-2135
Protea Medical Center 623-572-1270
Robert & Jayson Miller Fine Jewelry 623-376-6344

Rolf’s Salon 623-537-2223

Roka Boutique 623-537-3500
Talbots 623-566-2895
The UPS Store 623-561-6475
Today’s Pool & Patio 623-344-5000
The White House Black Market 623-572-0710