Positivo… Pass it on!

Let’s get started!

Welcome to our blog, Positivo… Pass it on! 

Hello! I’m writing these short blog posts in order to thank the many people, business owners, managers and friends, who have helped me over the years. These folks have made a positive impact in my life. None of these people have asked me to write about them, nor could they pay me to do so. This is simply my way of saying, “Thank you!” Additionally, many people prefer to remain anonymous, therefore, I will only use their first name and last initial, unless they instruct me to do otherwise.  

Also, if you read these short blog posts and feel inspired to Pass them on….or, and even better, would like to express a story about someone who has made a positive difference in your life, please reach out to me to discuss this further. The more positive stories and good feelings we generate, the more good we experience in our lives! 

I can be reached at: [email protected]

Make it a positively great day!

That’s One Amazing Friend!

Hello, Patrons of Positivo!

I woke up this morning about 1:15 am thinking about a very special person in my life. This post is a bit longer about my friend, June, who is past the age of 85 now, so I hope you will bare with me as I share how I first met this amazing lady. It was back in the mid 90’s and my third marriage had suddenly ended and I had just moved back to Arizona from California. I needed a job badly so I telephoned a friend at work and told her I’d like to work for the Maricopa Community Colleges where she worked. She immediately told me it wasn’t possible because there was a hiring freeze at the time. It’s funny how when you’re desperate you just aren’t willing to hear more bad news. I politely asked her to transfer the call to another department! As you probably guessed, she transferred the call up to the 6th floor of the district office. The gal who answered the phone was very polite but told me the same story. And of course, I asked her to transfer the call to another department. When the next lady answered, she said “Marketing and Public Relations, this is June”. I can still hear her southern accent and the kindness in her voice. For the life of me, to this day I don’t know how she pulled it off, but before you could say “Auntie Em, Auntie Em, it’s a twister, it’s a twister”, I found myself working part-time with June, as her receptionist and occasional comedian!

You know how amazing it is when someone enters your life and literally changes everything for the better, without even knowing they had that type of impact? That was June’s impact on my life. She kindly introduced me to so many amazing teachers. I’m not referring to the district college teachers, but rather, international award winning teachers and authors. These teachers were in the field of metaphysics. And up until that point in my life, I wasn’t very familiar with metaphysical teachers. June knew so many interesting and thought-provoking teachers. She graciously introduced me to Dr. Friedich Plog, a German doctor of Homeopathy. Then, once, she and I traveled to sit and meditate with Michael Singer, whose books and teaching are truly life transforming.    

During the five years I worked with her, I found that being a good part-time receptionist was important, but the joy I experienced from laughing with June was something I will never, ever forget! Every opportunity I got, I’d do something to get her laughing. Sometimes and especially when it was inappropriate, I’d find a way to get her laughing. As hard as she tired not to, she’d laugh until the tears came. We’d be in a training meeting and I’d say something and she’d say “Annie, not now.” And too late! I was absolutely determined to make her laugh. Man, those were the days! 

I remember once Dan Harkin stopped by and left a Christmas wreath in a box for our department. June turned the project over to me with instructions to assemble it for Helen’s door. Helen was the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and if I may be honest, she didn’t have the greatest sense of humor. Turning the wreath assembly project over to me was big mistake. I have never been able to assemble things, even with the written instructions! I still remember frantically trying to put the wreath together and nothing was working correctly. I thought I had extra pine branches, so I tossed some. Then, I realized I didn’t have enough. It looked absolutely ridiculous! Time was running out and everyone would soon return from lunch and see what looked like something Smokey the Bear managed to save from a wildfire. What could I do?

Well, you guessed it. I grabbed the crayons I kept in my drawer and wrote a note with crooked letters that literally looked like a five year old had written it: “Auntie Helen, I hope you like the wreath”. Phew! This was back in the day before we knew anything about Impostor Syndrome. Clearly, I was pretending to be a well-adjusted adult with artistic skills. If you are wondering if June was upset with me? Nope. This southern lady was a class act. She smiled and went along with the hoax I had perpetrated. In other words, she saved my ass!

Thinking back, we had so many great times together. You see, I came from a hugely dysfunctional family. I had never experienced a large family holiday gathering such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, until June took me along to meet her family in Georgia. Wow! Her family members really enjoyed each other, had huge meals together and even sang songs together while playing their piano. This was like something out of a movie! In my home growing up, unfortunately the guests often turned out to be 1-2 police officers asking my parents to “Keep it down”, meaning their fights were disturbing the neighbors. I don’t know if June ever really knew what meeting her family was like for me? I mean the impact it had on me was profound. It was really nice to know that some families actually enjoyed holidays together, very much like what you saw in the movies.

This reminds me of another amazing thing June did for me. Without my knowing it, she organized a trip to Las Vegas for my 35th birthday. June had a way of doing things without you ever finding out how she managed to pull it off. She organized the trip and even drove her own car while my best friend, Lori, came along on the trip. June crafted a Burger King crown and vale thing I was to wear the entire trip, while sitting atop a booster seat in the back seat of June’s car. Off we went, headed for Las Vegas. Me, sitting in the back looking like royalty from some far off country. Along the way, a state trooper had the audacity to pull June over. I can still hear her saying “I don’t believe this! I haven’t gotten a ticket in over 25 years years!” We were all very nervous and had no idea what June had done to cause us to be pulled over. Then the trooper stuck his head in the driver side window and asked me “Why did you take the crown off?” and I immediately said “Photo opp!” and out of the car I scrambled. This state trooper was very kind and did not give June a ticket for anything. In fact, he played along and pretended to put me in handcuffs, as you will notice from the pictures above. 

When I say June had a way of pulling things off without you knowing it, I mean it! When we got to our hotel room, there was a birthday card type tree waiting for me, absolutely loaded with birthday cards, signed by district employees. Some of these folks I didn’t even know. These employees were in other departments and June took it upon herself to ask them to wish me well for my birthday. And they did! Did they ever! As I sit here typing this, I can barely see through the tears of joy, even now, remembering all the wonderful things that this amazing lady brought into my life. How do you ever thank someone for so many wonderful years filled with so many amazing adventures? If you figure it out, please do let me know. 

Managing through Leadership.

Hello, Patrons of Positivo… 

I want to talk about a manager who is doing a great job. This brings me to today’s blog about Kevin W. the store Manager at Fry’s (#12) in North Phoenix. 

First, I want to say I shop at Fry’s, #12, even though this is not the closest Fry’s store to my home. I do so because I have found competent management and leadership in this store. You see, not long ago, I became very frustrated at the lack of cashiers in this store, and I let management know I would shop elsewhere! The funny thing is, I found out Safeway and Fry’s would soon operate the same way due to a corporate merger. So, I returned to Fry’s in order to find a way to tough it out. It’s actually rather funny that the very manager I said “Goodbye” to, due to a lack of cashiers, is the same manager who has since gone out of his way to help me after I returned. 

Now, I also need to let you know that years ago, I actually accepted a job working for a different Fry’s, one closer to my home. However, I quit after 3 days while I was still in training. You see, I was asked to sit in front of a computer and watch videos to get my “training”. That was fine, except 3 different times, the computer got stuck in the same place and would not advance. The following day, I told the manager what was happening, and his response was, “Just watch it again.” I quit that day.

You see, competent leadership is critical, especially if the financial goal is to move the needle up and to the right. Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard store managers say, “It’s hard to find good help.” Well, I have come to understand that once you find great leadership, good help begins to show up. The only way to be really successful, long term, is to hire great leaders. Employees will go above and beyond for great leaders. Great leaders listen and inspire the best in their employees. 

Additionally, I have taken the liberty of speaking with several of the store employees, and they have confirmed what I already knew. Kevin is not just a manager; he’s a real leader. The employees really enjoy his leadership style, and they feel “heard” and inspired by him.

Speaking of good help….it’s no surprise to me that so many of the employees at this store are pleasant, helpful and “hands on”. They actually make shopping a much more enjoyable experience! Once, Kevin even introduced me to the man who orders some of the products I needed. This was an interactive conversation which better helped me understand the ordering process. He, like Kevin, listened to what I was saying, then offered helpful suggestions. This is the part of teamwork I especially appreciate.

It’s funny to me now, but Kevin, the aforementioned manager I complained to about the lack of cashiers, is the very manager who showed me a thing or two about real leadership. He listened to everything I had to say when I stormed out, and he listened again when I returned and needed help finding a certain product. Kevin knows how to listen. He is proactive and very competent. I know, because I spent many years hiring people with his talent for leadership. I know it when I see it. He’s also the reason I returned to Fry’s and continue to shop there. 

In fact, if I weren’t already retired, I would consider myself fortunate to work with this man. He’s got great listening skills, and he knows how to be proactive in order to get things done. He also knows how to create a win/win. Most importantly, he knows how to engage with employees so they want to do a great job, not just collect a paycheck. Believe me, if I were younger, I’d make it my priority to recruit Kevin W. to run my organization. No question about it!

What’s up with UPS?

Hello Patrons of Positivo!

Today I am thinking about my neighborhood UPS store. Many years ago I was lucky enough to find this great UPS store right in my own neighborhood. It’s kinda funny how I came to use this store. You see, since I’m no longer working, I just wasn’t using my printer very often. And, as a result of not using my printer very often, I found that when I did try to use it, the ink had dried out and the printer wouldn’t print! Now, that same printer sits in my garage and I actually save money by not buying printer cartridges anymore! I also find I don’t swear nearly as often as I once did. On the rare occasion I want to print something, or fax something, or send something back to Amazon, I just pop into my local neighborhood UPS store, where Mike and his friendly crew always make sure I get things done right, the first time. It really feels good to get things accomplished on my to-do list and whenever I need office type services, I stop in and I know things will get done right. Not only that, these folks actually make getting things done, enjoyable.

In fact, it was back in 2020, when the pandemic was raging, I wanted to create a banner the employees of our local grocery stores would see, so they would know they were appreciated. That’s when I reached out to Mike. I worked with Mike and explained exactly what I wanted and he created the banner for me, which I then happily passed out to local grocery stores. I knew it was a very scary time for employers and employees and I wanted to do something so they would know we, the customers, appreciated them. I love that you can still see this banner on the walls of some of our local grocery stores today! I included a picture of the banner above, which Mike created for me. I know it isn’t a Rembrandt, however, it was very meaningful to me and I sincerely appreciate that Mike did what I asked him to do to create it.

Over the years I have probably gone into my local neighborhood UPS store about once a week. As I mentioned, I go in for help with printing, copying, faxing and sending Amazon items back to Amazon. And there’s one thing I really, really appreciate about Mike and Hannah and all the friendly employees at this store. They always help me with changing technology issues! They make it easy for me to get things done and they are friendly and efficient in the process! 

In closing, I want to say I consider myself very lucky to have found a store in my own neighborhood with friendly, helpful people. I really do appreciate all the help they have given me over the years. Also, I asked for permission to tell you which store this is, in case you ever need help, which is actually helpful! 

Mike’s UPS store is located at: 16845 N. 29th Ave. Phoenix, 85053 

Friends over 5 decades… what are the odds?

Hello Patrons of Positivo!

Today I’m thinking about my childhood best friend, Lynn. We met about 55 years ago while we were both living in the small town of McCloud, in Northern California. McCloud is located about 9 miles from the base of mighty Mt. Shasta. I’ve included a picture above so you have a better idea of it’s amazing beauty. Growing up in this small town of less than 1,000 people, was truly a joy second to none! In my opinion, there is nothing that compares to growing up in a small town in the country, surrounded by nature and so many amazing experiences! 

Now, during this time, my father worked for the forest service by day and was an alcoholic writer by night. Lynn’s father was a truck driver and had a second family in another state. I mention this because it was not only our families dysfunction and lack of money that connected us, it was our absolute willingness to experience lots of fun and joy in our day-to-day lives, that truly bonded us. While growing up in this magical, small, lumber-mill town; out in the country, we created our own world, far away from the dysfunction of our families. For us, it really was a magical place and time. The town was very small, with only about 1,000 residents, and we walked from our homes to school each day. In those days, kids played outside on the weekend’s from morning until dark. In the wintertime, the snowplow would clear the streets and pile snow up so high that all you really saw was the upper part of the house and it’s roof!    

As kids, Lynn and I created amazing adventures and spent as much time together as we could. Mostly, she came over to my place to help me with my chores and then, with my weekly allowance, we would take off for Cooly’s ranch to spend our allowance money on horseback riding! We were the absolute best of friends. She was, and still is, my soulmate, to be sure. I have so many hilarious memories of she and I. Like the time she climbed up the rose trellis outside our bathroom window, pretending she as going to save me from something, only to find my mother in the bathroom!

What is it about a childhood best friend that fills you with memories that last a lifetime? Lynn and I truly figured out how to focus on the positive and leave the rest behind. Both our families struggled financially, and I do believe my mother was the original inventor of the “Post-dated” check. My father’s name was Gene, my mother’s name was Jean and my brother’s name was Gene. It was a very special gene pool, to be sure! Lynn’s father, Frank was gone a lot, so there was just her mother, Marie and her brother, Charlie. I thought her mother was a Saint and her brother had eyelashes like a giraffe! It’s funny how as a young child you form memories like these. I’m sure her brother, Charlie didn’t actually have eyelashes like a giraffe, but back then I sure thought so! 

Sadly, when we were about age 12, her father abruptly announced they were moving away and just like that, she and I were separated. We did get to visit very briefly one more time, a few years later, when her family came back to town for the day. I think we were both trying to keep a stiff upper lip and not cry, but it was really emotionally difficult. After that, she was gone for good. Consequently, we spent many, many years trying to find each other again. This was decades ago, back before cellphones, internet and Google. 

In fact, it was about 20 years ago when the idea popped into my head to contact the elementary school we attended together in McCloud. That’s how I finally found Lynn after so many, many years! While trying to find me, she had posted a message on a bulletin board at our old elementary school and I responded. Then Lynn called me and I nearly fainted! In fact, I was so doubtful that it could really be her, I demanded she tell me her real name. She said “it’s Bertha!” That was my Lynn. Her real name is Bertha Lynn, but for obvious reasons, she goes by Lynn. The odds of us finding each other again seemed nearly incalculable, because both our last names had changed and while she remained in California, I had moved to Oregon, Arkansas, back to California, then finally, Arizona. That’s where I was living when we finally found each other again!  

Since then, she has been to my home and I have visited her at her home. She most recently moved to Alabama and I am going to visit her there in the next few weeks. What were the odds after so many years we would actually find each other again? Probably about the same as looking up at the moon and seeing us there, together, like this!

Tami Armijo- Masterful Mortgage Mentor 

Hello Patrons of Positivo!

Today I am fondly remembering a very special person whose help got me into the beautiful home I live in today. I met Tami Armijo many years ago when I was working for ADT Security, and she was in the mortgage business. When we met, we were in a networking group called LeTip. She was always kind and very supportive. She actually took me under her wing and always made me feel welcome and cared for. At that time, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to buy a home, due to a previous bankruptcy and the fact that I wasn’t making a great deal of money. 

While I always wanted to own a home of my own, I just wasn’t sure I could actually make it happen. That’s where Tami came in. She took me by the hand and walked me through the entire process of getting a mortgage. She literally stood by me every step of the way! She explained every document in terms I understood. Tami provided not only outstanding customer service, she had my back. She met with me in person on every occasion and explained what every document was, that required my signature. I don’t know if all single women, over the age of 50 need that type of hand-holding, but I am so very grateful she was there to get me through the process. She made it far less stressful than it would have been, and for that, I am most appreciative! 

After more than 10 years, I still live in my home and I truly love it. More than that, I am so grateful to have this beautiful home and the security it provides for me, as I continue aging in place, as they say. I am especially appreciative today, after seeing how much apartment rents have increased the past few years. Not only that, how much home prices have increased. Once again, I am a very fortunate person and this has a lot to do with all the amazing people who helped me along the way. 

I think each of us can remember someone, or perhaps several people, who made a huge difference in their life. It feels really good to think about how fortunate I am to have met people along my path who really helped me when I needed it. Tami, is just such a person and I will always be grateful she went above and beyond to help me buy the home, which I love so much. I honestly can’t imagine going through the home buying process without someone like Tami. I am truly fortunate we met when we did and she was there for me the way she was. 

In closing this post, I asked for permission to include Tami’s last name, email address and phone number, just in case anyone who reads this, needs her type of help or guidance. And, just in case I didn’t make it crystal clear to this point, I am so very appreciative I met Tami when I did and she helped me in the way she did. If you ask me today, would I recommend her help should you be buying a home, Absolutely YES!

Tami Armijo-480-390-5963

[email protected]