Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Alien Life Form?

Okay amateur detectives, what is it?

I've never seen this before in my 60 years and 105 days on this Earth. It looks even weirder as a negative. You all remember negatives? Rolled up strips of thin plastic that you put into a camera? Then after you have taken a bunch of pictures you take the plastic to the drugstore and they give you printed pictures? Doesn't ring a bell? Check Wikipedia under "history of photography".

Okay, give up? These are frozen eggs. They were not frozen intentionally — it was quite by accident — although I'm putting part of the blame on our unseasonably mild weather (relatively speaking). Normally this time of year, Phoenix expects sunny days with highs about 110 degrees and 40%-45% humidity (I mentioned the weird weather in last week's issue). Well, the mercury is barely reaching 100 degrees and the relative humidity during the heat of the day has only been 20%-30%.

In fact, people from California (which has been experiencing unseasonably hot weather) have been coming to Phoenix to cool off. I kid you not. That is a reversal of the usual pattern where people from Phoenix visit San Diego or Santa Barbara or San Francisco to escape the monsoon season.

Oh, frozen eggs? Sorry, I got sidetracked there. My theory is based on the fact that the milder weather came just after we had our new central air conditioner installed. The old A/C had to struggle to keep us cool during the hot summer days. And we had to lower the temperature settings in our refrigerator to make sure things stayed cool in a not-quite-cool house. The new A/C is keeping the temperature at a constant 80 degrees — with the result that the refrigerator did not have to work so hard and thus kept its contents colder. In the case of the eggs, too cold.

I was just ready to throw them out when Mizuki said we could use them. After they thawed, she added sugar and a few other ingredients, then put most of the mixture into a frying pan over moderate heat. As the egg set, she rolled it up allowing the uncooked portions to reach the hot pan. She continued this process until she used all the egg mixture — producing a wonderful log of cooked sweet egg.

For any of you who occasionally venture to a sushi restaurant, you'll recognize that she just made tamago, just like tamago sushi but without the sushi rice. She is a talented cook who hates to waste food — and note that the tamago was quite tasty, even when made with frozen eggs.

Also this week, I had lunch with the old gang from HP — five of us anyway — who used to work along side each other in the Phoenix/Tempe office — albeit in separate jobs, working for separate organizations. Things are a'changin' at HP — it seems that so many people are working out of their homes, have been laid off or have retired that HP does not need all the space in the local sales office. Only about eight people are working in the office on a regular basis (one friend described it as a morgue). As a result, HP has negotiated a new lease utilizing perhaps one third of the original space. The workmen are scheduled to soon begin building walls to separate the space that HP is giving up from the downsized office.

One of our gang is still working at HP in IT (Information Technology) and was potentially to be impacted by the new "IT-employees-must-work-in-an-IT-facility" policy. I have mentioned this new policy in previous issues — that no longer permits IT employees to work from their homes or remote HP locations — an arrangement that HP pioneered and has supported for many years. Well, the powers-that-be have decided to soften the policy slightly — so that if an IT employee has been working from a non-IT HP facility on a regular basis, they may continue to do so. Of course, all such employees must hold their collective breath waiting for the yet-to-be-announced next phase — which may cover all IT employees. So for now my friend, Scott, can stay in the phone-booth-size office in Tempe. He just can't plan for the future.

Despite this dark cloud overhead, all of our gang (at least the five who were able to have lunch) are doing well. The retirees (three of the five) are enjoying their retired lives and keeping very, very busy. The remaining employee and contractor are enjoying their jobs. But the best thing is having the time to get together and catch up with good friends.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com