Chicago Birthday Trip

John and I were married on December 6, 2006. My birthday present was a trip to Chicago where St Patrick’s Day is a big deal. They even dye the Chicago River green to celebrate. Of course, this had its drawbacks growing up in Chicago. I thought the parades and celebrations were for my birthday. How neat was that?

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day.
Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day.

True to the tourist visit we took the boat ride on the Chicago River. Despite growing up in Chicago, I had never been on the boat ride.

Suspicious-looking men on the Chicago River cruise.
Suspicious-looking men on the Chicago River cruise.

Maybe we watch too much CSI, but some of the characters waiting in line were a little scary looking. Once we all boarded the boat, they seemed even more suspicious because they were so occupied with taking pictures of the bridges.

Then playing junior detectives, we took some pictures of them.

After we got back to Colorado Springs, in an abundance of “if you see something, say something” we contacted the FBI. At their request, we sent copies of the pictures to the FBI. We never heard anything back but then I guess that’s standard procedure.

Check out https://gibsongrafe.com for some big and bold and beautiful jewelry!

 

 

More San Francisco

Looking down Lombard Street
Looking down Lombard Street
Lombard Street at night
Lombard Street at night looking up

San Francisco is as magical as it always seems to be. Especially if you live in a little cottage on Russian Hill. I rented the little cottage from the owners of the main four-story house facing right on Lombard Street, at the bottom of the famous crooked street.

The EPNG office was in the Bank of America building, on the 29th floor,  right downtown. Within walking distance of Russian Hill.

 

 

Beautiful Lombard Street
Famous Lombard Street, San Francisco, California
Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge
Looking east towards Coit Tower
Painting of Cable Cars at night on Hyde Street
Painting of Cable Cars at night on Hyde Street
Looking east from Lombard Street towards Bay Bridge
Looking east from Lombard Street towards Bay Bridge

How I Ended up in Tesuque, New Mexico

How I ended up in Tesuque, New Mexico . . .

1996, San Francisco, CA

I reached up and grabbed my boss’s boney little shoulders and shook him trying to make my point. He looked at his secretary, who was standing nearby, and said “You’re a witness. I’ve just been harassed.” I didn’t realize at that moment that this would be the end of my career with El Paso Natural Gas and that I would soon be on my way to exciting new adventures in New Mexico.

Soon after our little episode, I was contacted by Human Resources in El Paso to tell me that a new early retirement package was about to be released. Since I had turned 55 in the past year, I was eligible, and they said I could just use up my vacation and I didn’t even need to come into the office anymore – they would just send out all the paper work. I think they were afraid of the damage I might inflict if I returned to the office. Deciding discretion was indeed the better part of valor, I took the package.

This was really the first time in my life that I was making such an important decision all on my own. Growing up, my parents had dictated any decisions, then once I was out of college, it was my job. Then when I was married, it was my husband. Then after the divorce, it was the job again.

So here I was with an enormous decision to make on my own: where should I move and live?

Santa Fe, New Mexico had always exerted a pull on me ever since I went there with friends in the late 1960s. It’s been a haven for artists for decades and there’s something about the undulating edges of the old adobe structures that I always found appealing. Indian Market, an enormous art show showcasing Native-American art, held every year in August was always a wonderful time to go. Staying at the La Fonda, a Santa Fe landmark right in the center of town just off the plaza, always made for a stimulating and inspiring visit. The whole place just seemed magical. What better place to run away to?

First thing I needed was a car. One advantage to living in a city like San Francisco is the public transportation. I lived close enough to the office that I would either walk to work or ride the cable car. I had gotten the “wild and crazy” car out of my system when I was living in Midland, Texas and bought a red Porsche 911. It was a “spur of the moment” decision to buy the thing and I loved every minute I had it. The payments were astronomical and there was an enormous balloon payment due at the end of five years which would have had a very serious economic impact. But the real decision-maker was driving a $50K car with a manual transmission on the streets of San Francisco. I was a nervous wreck! So much for the image – I was sure I was going to seriously demolish this wonderful little car, so I bit the bullet and sold it. End of an era.

My son, Rhodes, had a ’93 Jeep Wrangler from his days in Austin at UT and was just about to move from San Francisco to Portland to enter graduate school. I think he was transitioning to a more “adult” phase and I was transitioning to an “I don’t know what” phase, so I bought his Jeep. For some reason, I decided that I wanted to get it painted yellow. Not taxi cab yellow, just a nice bright yellow. Rhodes was a bit horrified at my choice of color and reacted in that vastly superior way that members of the next generation have when they think their parents are doing something really strange and/or stupid.

Leaving San Francisco was hard because I had made some wonderful friends and it’s an absolutely gorgeous place to live. I hated to leave the little carriage house on Lombard Street on Russian Hill just a block below the “crooked street” where I had lived happily for the past five years. I did manage to sell most of my furniture that I had brought with me from El Paso and what was left I had shipped to Santa Fe and put into storage. Somehow, I managed to load everything else I thought I needed into the Jeep and I took off for Santa Fe.

I had never been that good at backing up anyway, but in the excitement of actually leaving for my big adventure, backing up the driveway from my little carriage house, I managed to back into and tear off the whole set of flower boxes on the wall along the driveway. My landlords had become wonderful friends over the years, and they were so gracious and kind in saying that they were planning on replacing the flowerboxes anyway. Not an entirely auspicious way to start my new adventure!

Rhodes drove out with me as far as the Albuquerque airport where he caught a flight to Portland. We had encountered some snow in Flagstaff, Arizona and when I was driving to Santa Fe from Albuquerque, it was just starting to really snow. It seemed so appropriate for the start of my new adventure. The excitement of starting on a new adventure was really settling in. My friend, Nancy, had retired a few months earlier from her job in San Francisco and was house-sitting in Santa Fe. She had offered to let me stay with her until I got settled. We had agreed to meet in the gift shop of the La Fonda Hotel. This was a favorite spot for both of us so we knew if we didn’t both get there at the same time, we could just settle in and peruse all the books and magazines. Another wonderful pastime is just sitting and watching the people in the La Fonda lobby. There’s always a fascinating, eclectic combination of people in a remarkably small space. We both arrived within five minutes of each other, which was good because Nancy was a little worried about the fact that it was snowing pretty heavily by then and we needed to get out of town and up into the mountains to where she was staying. She was renting a one-room “berm” house that had been cut out of the side of a hill during one of the “back to nature” periods that regularly affect life in New Mexico. It was one big room and the only privacy consisted of a curtain drawn across the bathroom in the corner of the room. A bit constipatory to say the least. The heat was provided by a wood stove in the center of the room that had to be re-stocked in the morning by the first one up and about. And it was cold! Snow covered the ground. I was sleeping on the top layer of a bunk bed which looked right out a window at ground level so you looked right into the snow.  It was a delightfully warm and cozy place once you got the fire going. But when the fire was out, it got REALLY COLD in a hurry.  When we first talked about my coming to stay with her, she had told me to just think of the house as my own. Apparently I took her word for it – to an extreme – especially when the computer that I had ordered arrived, combined with a computer desk, and I started getting settled. Nancy was quite gracious and tolerated it for as long as she could until she threw my suitcase across the room in a fit of pique and I figured I’d better find someplace else to live. The “house gods” were looking out for me and the very next day I found a little casita to rent in Santa Fe, from two wonderful gay guys who took me in under their wing when I mentioned that my son was also gay. Joel and Sam were both originally from New York and had recently moved back to Santa Fe after spending several years in Italy. Joel is an amazing artist and Sam was teaching English in the local high school. Joel had built the casita next door to their house for his parents to live in, but unfortunately his dad had died just before the casita was finished. Plans changed. Joel’s mom, Anita, moved into the main house with them and they fixed up the casita to rent. The inside was decorated like something out of Architectural Digest. Joel’s paintings made it seem like living in an amazing gallery. It was small but it had everything you needed. Which was exactly what I needed after hauling all my stuff across the country for so many years. I had just what I had in the Jeep plus my computer so I was completely moved in and as snug as a bug in a rug in the space of a couple of hours.

This was in February 1996 and Joel and Sam had already arranged to rent out the casita for August to friends who came to Santa Fe every summer for the opera. So that gave me six months to find a place of my own.

Before I left Nancy’s hospitality, I gathered up all my retirement papers and we started a fire up on the hill outside. She had found a drum in the house, so with Nancy doing some sort of ritualistic drumming and with the encouragement of several bottles of wine, I burned all my EPNG papers and plaques in a blaze of glory. It all felt very cathartic and perfect for a new beginning.

 

Driving back and forth to the “berm house” from town along Bishop’s Lodge Road, I had noticed a For Sale sign for an “artist studio”. Having worked as a chemical engineer for 35 years, being an artist was a dream that had been buried for many years. (Another fantasy was to be a ballet dancer, but that hope had been quickly dashed when I persistently fell over the coffee table in the middle of the living room as I was growing up.) Although the For Sale sign was on an outside adobe wall, I just felt drawn to find out what was behind that wall, marked by a sign pointing to a place called Tesuque Meadow. Once I got to see the little house behind the adobe wall, I just fell in love with it. Despite my unfortunate encounter with the flower boxes in San Francisco, I was won over by the flower boxes on the front of the little house which has once been a two-car garage. Probably due to its humble origin, it was about the only place in Tesuque that I could afford. Tesuque is a little village just north of Santa Fe that borders on the Tesuque Pueblo land. For years it had been a sleepy, quiet little village until it was discovered in the 1960s when Santa Fe became the destination for the wealthy, “IN” people. Since then, a lot of the little houses that had belonged to families for generations were bought and torn down to make way for HUGE adobe houses set behind high adobe walls, many built for people who lived there only few months out of year. A minimum lot size was declared for the village, making it impossible for the families who had been living there to split up their lots to pass on to their children. Sometimes, the animosity to the “new” people was almost palpable. I eventually got sort of used to hearing people say “Oh, . . .” when I said I lived in Tesuque as though this automatically meant I had loads of money. I felt obliged to dash their misconceptions by telling them I lived in a garage – granted, a two-car garage, but still a garage.

Tesuque Meadow is on the west side of Bishop’s Lodge Road, just outside the city limits of Santa Fe, in the village of Tesuque. It consists of a small “gathering” of buildings, sitting on almost two acres. Originally there was one house with a separate two-car garage and a barn, all facing on Bishop’s Lodge Road. In the late 1970s, there was a housing shortage in Santa Fe and the two-car garage was converted into a duplex and rented out to students from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. Somewhere along the line, the barn was torn down and replaced with a little shed. About 1985, a woman from England bought the land behind the original house, down the hill behind the garage and the barn. A driveway was put in between the garage and the barn, leading down to the “meadow” part of Tesuque Meadow. The planned new house plus the original house plus the converted duplex meant there would now be three houses (a house is defined as a residence with a kitchen sink) on less than two acres – and only one well. The minimum lot size in Tesuque was ¾ acre. The solution was to drill a new well and to form a condominium with all three houses sharing the same well. About 1990, the “new” house was finished and looked like an English cottage surrounded by the beautiful gardens. The English woman who had built the “cottage” house then decided to build a log cabin on the other side of the Little Tesuque Creek that ran through the property. The cabin was not classified as a residence since it didn’t have a kitchen sink (or a stove for that matter) and it was built solely for Native-American ceremonies and was not to be used for anything else. This would raise some interesting issues later on.

By the time I bought my little house in 1996, it had been converted back from the duplex to a single-family residence with quite a simple floor plan – two rooms and a kitchen and a bath added on to the back – 900 square feet total. This was just the perfect little house for me. I redid the kitchen and had a two-way fireplace built in the wall between the living room and the bedroom/office. This made a wonderful, cozy space for those cold New Mexico nights.

I remember thinking that this would be a nice, quiet place to live, perhaps even a bit boring after the exciting lifestyle of San Francisco. Little did I know!!    Stay turned for more adventures.

Check out https://gibsongrafe.com  for some big and bold and beautiful handmade creations.

 

Kendra Scott

Jewelry Mogul Kendra Scott Joins America’s Richest Self-Made Women List

This story appeared in the June 13, 2017 issue of Forbes.

When Kendra Scott decided to launch a jewelry collection in 2002, she was coming off a stinging failure. She had just shut down her unprofitable hat shop in Austin, Texas, which she had started eight years earlier at the age of 19. But while the hats didn’t sell, she’d noticed her bold handmade earrings and necklaces did.

“I loved color gemstone jewelry, and I couldn’t really find jewelry I could afford,” says Scott, now 43. “Everyone was using the same-shaped stones. I really felt like there was white space in the industry.”

Jewelry Mogul Kendra Scott
Jewelry Mogul Kendra Scott

Thankfully, many hundreds of thousands of women agreed. In 15 years, Kendra Scott has grown her eponymous firm from a wholesale business run out of her spare bedroom to a chain of 60 stores, mostly in Texas, California and Florida, and over 2,000 employees. Its estimated 2016 revenues were $160 million.

Much of the firm’s explosive growth has been thanks to its in-store Color Bars, where women can customize their own pieces. Shoppers select the style, the metal and any of the bright, pristinely-cut gemstones that have become synonymous with the brand.

The jewelry brand is known for its colorful, pristinely-cut gemstones.
The jewelry brand is known for its colorful, pristinely-cut gemstones.

 

The pieces are ready within minutes and are affordably priced. A pair of the company’s most popular oval-shaped drop earrings in a rich purple jade surrounded by rose-gold-plated brass retails for $65.

In December 2016, Boston private equity firm Berkshire Partners acquired a minority stake in a deal that valued the company at $1 billion, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction.

That makes Scott’s stake worth at least $500 million, enough for her to rank number 36 among America’s Richest Self-Made Women. She joins fellow fashion jeweler Carolyn Rafaelian of bangle brand Alex and Anion this year’s list.

With its recent infusion of capital, the company plans to open new stores in regions where it hasn’t had much traction to date, like the Northeast.

Scott has also started selling homewares and other accessories — think picture frames and jewelry boxes — as well as $16 bottles of nail polish with names like Dusty Rose Quartz and White Pearl.

Back when Scott was agonizing over opening her first store, she could never have foreseen this sort of success. “I had loans. I put everything up for collateral,” she says. “It wasn’t easy. But it makes it that much more unbelievable.”

Clare O’Connor ,  FORBES STAFF

Be sure to check out Susan Gibson-Grafe’s bold and beautiful jewelry at https://gibsongrafe.com

 

My Solo Flight to Jal NM

My Solo Flight to Jal

Jal NM publicity seal
Jal NM publicity seal

t was a beautiful fall day in El Paso – perfect for my first cross-country solo flight. I had been taking flying lessons for quite a while, working up to this solo flight. The plane was a little 152 Cessna.

 

Cessna 152
Cessna 152

The first cautionary moment occurred when the plane’s engine wouldn’t turn over and they had to drive over and hook up a car battery to start it. I was so excited about getting started that I only worried for a moment about what would happen if it wouldn’t turn over after I had landed and was heading back to El Paso. But only for a moment and then I was off!

I had been out to Jal quite a few times to visit. This was the tiny town where El Paso Natural Gas Company started in 1929. Obviously, quite a few years before I first visited Jal.

 

Some of the original pipeliners!
Some of the original pipeliners!
A prototype for company housing.
A prototype for company housing.
Some of the challenges faced by the early pipeliners.
Some of the challenges faced by the early pipeliners.

Jal was a little bigger now, but not much. I studied the map and it looked like a straight shot from El Paso due east and then turn left at Wink. Jal was supposed to be easy to spot because there is a lake spelled out with the letters JAL.

JAL Lake.
JAL Lake.

The problem was that I missed Wink. Realizing my error, I turned north and ended up flying out over Hobbs. I was just glad nobody painted their street number on their driveway or I might have tried to land there.

Luckily, getting from Hobbs to Jal was a straight shot and I found the Jal airport and safely landed. There used to be someone assigned to the airport for incoming flights, but either because they didn’t know I was coming or they had been victim to one of the budget cuts, no one was there. So, I dutifully tied down the plane and took off down the road to Jal.

I must have looked a little strange trudging down the road, but typical of kind Texas people, a man stopped and was on his way to Monahans but offered to drop me off at Jal.

So there I was, walking into the office at Jal – much to everyone’s surprise. They immediately asked me how I had gotten there. At least I wasn’t wearing high heels like at my first job showing when I was assigned to the Midland office.

I actually did have some business to take care of, since we (Systems Engineering, Main Office) were working on computer simulations of the Permian Basin gathering systems. I did get some great maps of the gathering systems to take back with me.

Some great looking guys out there.
Some great looking guys out there.

They had told me that the man who had the key to the gas pump out at the airport was out in the field and was expected back soon. I was worried about being a little low on gas after taking the wandering, scenic route to get to Jal. This was before cell phones, so he had no way of knowing I was waiting. Soon enough, I realized that I had waited long enough and had better get going before it got dark. I had never flown at night before. So a couple of the men (I think they were curious about the whole odd situation) gave me a ride out to the airport. Hallelujah, the plane did start on its own (lower altitude probably helped).

But I realized that I didn’t have enough gas to get back to El Paso and the closest airport was at Monahans. “The Oasis of the West Texas Desert.” It lived up to its reputation that evening. The air flight school provided me with a credit card, I guess just in case. But after sitting on it in my back pocket all that time, the card had cracked in half. So there I was in Monahans with half a credit card. West Texas is a wonderful place and somehow I paid and filled up with gas and was ready to head home.

Treating plant at night lit up by flares.
Treating plant at night lit up by flares.

Luckily, I knew it was a straight shot west to get to El Paso, as long as I stayed higher than the mountains. As I got closer to El Paso, for the first time, I availed myself of admitting on the radio that I was a student pilot and had never flown in the dark before. Sure enough, the airstrip in El Paso was lit up like Christmas and I made it!

But I really got a scolding and was cautioned that if I ever did anything like that again, I would never get my pilot’s license. I found out later, that a lot of the consternation was due to the fact that the exterior lights were not working properly and the plane was never supposed to be flown at night.

Believe it or not, I did get my pilot’s license. But flying is a very expensive hobby and one I couldn’t afford. Much to the relief of all those people on the ground.

 

Be sure to check out our website for designer affordable chic! https://gibsongrafe.com

 

Remembering Kate Spade

Remembering Kate Spade (1962-2018)

Hal Rubenstein , CONTRIBUTORI write about fashion, food and culture.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I always looked forward to calling on Kate Spade in her showroom because the encounter insured sensory and psychological overload that was equally uplifting, edifying, cheekily retro, and ever so slightly eerie.

Kate Spade image 01
Kate Spade

She was uplifting because in the ’90s, New York gained legitimacy as a world fashion capital by staking claim as the epicenter of studied minimalism, presented in runway shows as buoyant as a Carmelite mass and rendered in a palette that ran the gamut from anthracite to charcoal brown.

Kate Spade with handbag display
Kate Spade with handbag display

Evidently, Kate Spade never got the memo. Her showroom was merchandised as if her core clientele lived in Candyland. It was as if she had eagerly taken an oath of loyalty to the Crayola box that housed only 16 crayons. The effect of being surrounded by her effusive rainbow array of Sam bags, boldly striped tops, floral appliquéd dresses and two-toned Mary Janes made you giggle, because with one panoramic spin you were reminded that fashion’s primary function was all about making people happy. Maybe that’s why Kate’s smile was ever-present.

The designer in her office 2002
The designer in her office 2002

Kate was edifying because in order for this prismatic euphoria to have its desired effect, she opted to price her collection that she called a cross “between L.L. Bean and Prada,” within reach of carpooling moms and very junior executive women and envisioned its aesthetic walking confidently down a subway platform rather than a catwalk. In addition, by stamping her understated, lower case label onto the outside, rather than the inside of her leather bags, she also helped initiate the now ubiquitous retail success benchmark we call “branding.”

Kate Spade (early picture)
Kate Spade (early picture)

To me she was always cheekily retro because she always dressed as if she lived down the block from June Cleaver and Donna Reed. Her half-bouffant, half-flip hairdo, wide-skirted dresses, stoles, permanent smile and Emily Post-worthy body language all harkened back to a time when Father Knew Best and magazine ads featured women waxing the kitchen floor in a starched shirtwaist and heels.

But Spade subverted the image, because there was nothing anachronistic about this woman heading an apparently foolproof company, or the breezily empowering effect her clothes and accessories had on millions of young, aspirational women. At InStyle—the magazine that pioneered accessible fashion and where I was Fashion Director—a Spade credit repeatedly instigated a complete sell-through long before e-commerce was the norm.

Kate Spade
Kate Spade

Kate was also slightly eerie because her persona was so fully entrenched in the effervescence of a bygone era—as if she was channeling either a good-natured Tracy Lord from The Philadelphia Story or Sabrina after Audrey Hepburn comes back from Paris. And as lovely as it was to be with her, the experience approached performance art. Because her abundant charm cleverly masked carefully measured warmth, one couldn’t help but try to engage Spade in a personal, fashion-free conversation in hopes of detecting a chink in her taffeta armor. But Spade proved impenetrably true to her radiantly crafted image.

No one has the right to speculate on the life of a person you don’t wake up alongside every morning. So, I will never know the source of her sorrow. But how heartbreakingly and unfortunate that the joy, pride, and delight this insightful designer brought millions of women wasn’t enough to invoke a smile that went deeper than brilliant branding strategy.

 

Kate was edifying because in order for this prismatic euphoria to have its desired effect, she opted to price her collection that she called a cross “between L.L. Bean and Prada,” within reach of carpooling moms and very junior executive women and envisioned its aesthetic walking confidently down a subway platform rather than a catwalk.

Slime!

I’ve gotten absolutely hooked on slime! So here I am with a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering and I had to learn how to make slime from my two granddaughters, Elizabeth and Natalie.

Instructors: Elizabeth and Natalie

It took me a while to get the knack of it oin my own. 

But now I’ve gotten better and the kitchen is filled with containers of slime. Now, what to do with all that slime? One suggestion was to spread the slime over your computer keyboard and then peel it off to clean the keyboard keys.

But my latest idea is to fill the plastic easter eggs (for some unknown reason, I order 144 of them!) with slime. Not quite sure what I’ll do with them right now.

#14 (Back to El Paso)

EarUno015: silver crystal tassel EarUno
EarUno015: silver crystal tassel EarUno

Back to El Paso . . .

Thank God, Cecil came back from Viet Nam unscathed, except for bad memories, which hopefully will fade over the years.  So I’m ensconced in Exxon Math and Systems — and Cecil came back to Process Engineering at Exxon Research and Engineering. Fortunately, we’re both in the same building with only one car — my little red Tempest convertible.

Sadly, my father passed away during this interval. Cecil and I made all the arrangements for the funeral and the trip back to Norfolk for the burial at the old St. Mary’s Cemetery.  I was really upset with my mother’s behavior at the gathering at the funeral parlor. She was absolutely euphoric and was acting as though it were a celebration of some sort. Looking back now, I realize that it actually was a sort of celebration for her to be free from the terrible situation she had lived in over the past two decades. Actually, my father was probably celebrating too. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Schwartz from the Popular in El Paso, was calling to find out when I was coming back to El Paso now that Cecil was home. Acting as the “good wife”, I told him it was really Cecil’s career that would be the deciding point. So Mr. Schwartz asked me what Cecil was a chemical engineer and so he contacted people he knew at Texaco, Chevron, and El Paso Natural Gas Company. Naturally, all of them were looking for an experienced chemical engineer with Cecil’s background. And they all contacted Cecil and offered him a trip to El Paso for interviews.  Cecil and I were used to the days at Exxon when the wife always accompanied the candidate on an interview trip. But no invitation for me. So Mr. Schwartz said the Popular would pay my way and I could interview with the Popular.

So I went along when Cecil was interviewing with El Paso Natural Gas Company. Little did I realize at the time that I would be meeting people at EPNG that I would be working with in the future. Small world! Needless to say, Cecil got the job with EPNG and off we went to move to El Paso.

Cecil was absolutely thrilled with the housing costs in El Paso, and we bought a beautiful house in the foothills of the mountains. At one point we almost didn’t make it when Cecil made an offer on the house and I said: “But we’ll go higher!” I obviously was not a negotiator!

#13 (The Great Reveal)

Oh, I almost forgot the GREAT REVEAL! Well, I had never liked the way I looked, probably from being told my nose looked like Dick Tracy, or being called Fang because of my crooked teeth, or having my mother ask me if I was “trying to make myself as unattractive as possible” when I cut my hair freshman year at college. Maybe it’s just delusional to remember all those things so clearly, but I did. So here I was on my own while my husband was in Vietnam. First, I tackled the teeth. Had all my front teeth capped. I’ll never forget the first glimpse I had in the reflective edge of the dentist’s tray and how thrilled I was that all my teeth were EVEN. What a thrill!

Then came my nose. I was running out of time since Cecil was due back in a couple of months. So I looked in the Yellow Pages for a plastic surgeon to find one that had hours in the evening. Made an appointment and then a date for the surgery. Luckily, the Army was paying for this since fortunately, I had a deviated septum from falling down in Chicago and breaking my nose. THEN the doctor’s office called to say they had a last-minute cancellation and could I come to the hospital tomorrow. Why not? I hadn’t told anyone about it so there wasn’t anybody to let know and off I went. I remember being wheeled down the hallway and being so happy with whatever they give you that I profusely complimented the janitor on what a wonderful job he was doing on cleaning the floor. I imagine he was just relieved to see me wheeled on down the hallway. They don’t put you out for rhinoplasty surgery because they need to see where your nose is going to end up.  It ended up okay so I went home the next day.

When you first go home, they tell you to be very careful in pulling off the bandages on your nose so I had just finished very carefully pulling the bandages off my nose when I leaned down to talk to Peso and he jumped up and hit my nose! I was sure I had heard it crunch so I went running across the hall to the apartment next door to ask her if my nose looked okay. I must have looked a bit hysterical and she told me it looked fine. I wasn’t sure so I went right over to the doctor’s office (thank goodness for those evening hours) and he took one look at me, took hold of my nose and straightened it out right there!

The next part of the “great reveal” was to show my parents. I hadn’t said anything to them so they had no idea what I had done. I told my mother that I was coming over and that I had a surprise. She opened the door when I got there, looked at me, and asked me if my surprise was a new pair of earrings that I was wearing. My father (bless him) was sitting on the opposite side of the room and said: “Oh, look, she got her nose bobbed!” Oh, how I loved that man!

More Continuing Saga to follow . . .

Be sure to check out our other website for bold and big beautiful jewelry: https://gibsongrafe.com

#12 (Back to New Jersey)

Blue-Sky: Beautiful sea-blue beach polished glass stones with pearls and sparklers, topped with a Swarovski faceted crystal wrapped in sea blue faceted crystal clusters.
Blue-Sky: Beautiful sea-blue beach polished glass stones with pearls and sparklers, topped with a Swarovski faceted crystal wrapped in sea blue faceted crystal clusters.
Madalene: Beautiful dark red faceted beads with rhinestone spacers fall to an acrylic pendant in glowing shades of sunrise.
Madalene: Beautiful dark red faceted beads with rhinestone spacers fall to an acrylic pendant in glowing shades of sunrise.

Some more pretties at https://gibsongrafe.com

Back to El Paso: 

I was so fortunate to get involved in some really interesting projects. Exxon (or Standard Oil of New Jersey) had affiliates all over the world, and each one had its own standardized systems of book-keeping (computerized of course). My assignment was to come up with a system to stack all those affiliated book-keeping systems into one consolidated report for Standard Oil of New Jersey. This led to a trip to London to test a version of the system. This was in the midst of the mini-skirt rage and I think London had the shortest of all!

We could only get computer time in the middle of the night, so while we were waiting, the Londoners took me out to dinner plus a few glasses of convivial wine. Well, by the time we got back to the computing center, I was so pleased with myself as being able to sort the cards and insert the new subroutines. Until the next morning, when the call from New Jersey wanted to know “What the hell did I think I was doing ?” Luckily, I could straighten it out that morning but I know my red face probably glowed across the ocean.

Another project was the optimization of crude oil recovery from wells in Venezuela because the Venezuela government was going to nationalize their oil production in two years. I never got to go to Venezuela but it was a fascinating lesson in a culture and part of the world that  I didn’t know a thing about. That was about 1967 and it’s interesting to hear about problems with Venezuela and its oil production even today (2018).

More Continuing Saga to follow . . .

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