Monthly Archives: January 2015


I just got back from Charles Town, West Virginia with an overnight stay at The Inns at Charles Town and plenty of game time at Hollywood Casino.  A trip sponsored by Imperial Plaza and what a time we all had. There wasn’t one frown on anyone’s face, that I noticed, and everyone spoke well about the trip.  I’m not going to say who won or lost or even if I won or lost.  Let’s keep that close to the vest and say we all had a really good time and would like to go again although my wife and I often go it alone.  We are planning to go back to Maryland Live Casino on a day trip.  During the Christmas Holidays we spent four days there and while we were there we went to The Inner Harbor and Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.

That’s what I love about Imperial Plaza, there is always something to do and someplace we are driven to at minimal cost.  We were driven to Maryland Live the last time and casino trips are every other month, alternating between Maryland Live in Maryland and Hollywood Casino in West Virginia.  I love taking the Imperial Plaza bus for either a day trip or for an overnight.  This way, unlike having a commercial bus taking us, which has a set time schedule, our bus does not.  I love it without set in stone time constraints.  And, thinking of money, there is not an issue of the possibility of money lost due to cancellation because of weather or some other reason.  We are called and told it is because of this or that and told they will reschedule, if possible.  No problem, no hassle.

I have heard a complaint about the staying in West Virginia overnight and I choose to overlook it.  This is my reasoning about this person’s comment.  The person that commented does not go on day trips and have nerve enough to talk about the overnighters.  There are only around fifteen or so of us that go on most of the trips.  These trips are not only to the casinos but the wineries, museums, etc.  Most of the same people can be counted on to go on the trips.  There are a lot of people around here that sit around and say there is nothing to do, no place to go and nothing to do.  I hear them but don’t hear them.  I find these people are negative about almost everything.  I’ve even heard them complaining about the restaurant and that place is great.

As for the other matter, here at Imperial Plaza, so far it’s quiet and I’m thinking it’s the calm before the storm.  I have another article, about that, coming in a few days.  But, another item, the employees have things looking good around here, like always.  I applaud them for all the good work they continuously accomplish.  They are very friendly and great.  Keep up the good work!


I’m back so soon because yesterday I was shocked by the going on here at Imperial Plaza, aahhh, I should say Brookdale formally known as Imperial Plaza (as the sign out front say).  I’ll get into that later because I want to mention my surprise first.

I was on my way to my birthday party, thrown for January babies by Imperial Plaza, and saw all of the employees going to the auditorium.  Nosy me had to ask why.  There was an impromptu employee meeting called and it was mandatory for all employees to attend.  I saw the “queen” leading the pack into the auditorium.  Later, I went to the wine tasting and, after a while, here come the “queen”.  I have never seen her at any of our functions and, for that matter, be at Imperial Plaza after three o’clock.  Believe me, I was in shock and everyone was murmuring, especially when she walked by tables asking how they were doing.  By the way, she never approached my table and I cannot honestly say it was on purpose.

I don’t know what took place at the meeting but I am sure I will be told next week.  I am hoping she has not threatened anyone because good jobs are hard to come by and I don’t want to be the cause of someone losing it.  Maybe things are beginning to change.  I’ll know within the next two to three weeks.  I see a lot of good improvements and, as I have discovered, these things were implemented last year, before the “queen” got here.

Now to the Brookdale sign.  Last year, during a Townhall Meeting, it was announced that the name was changing from Imperial Plaza and that caused an uproar.  After a lot of debate it was decided that the name would remain Imperial Plaza but under the owner (Brookdale).  Brookdale own facilities all over the USA with Imperial Plaza being the largest.  There is even one other small facility on the west end of Henrico.

Some people would wonder why we were against the name change.  Welllll, there are several reasons with the main one being, seniors do not like change, no matter if it’s good or bad.  When musicians come here to perform, they play music from the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.  Nothing modern, ever.    Then there is the fact that everyone knows Imperial Plaza.  I have tried to explain where I live by giving street names, etc. and no one could figure out what I was talking about.  As soon as I say Imperial Plaza, then everyone know exactly where I am.

All of this go back to communicate and, if you are not from the immediate area, negotiate and ask questions.  All of this is before implementation of a policy or change.  Why get residents riled up when you can have them on your side by simply listening and calmly communicating.  Communication is a two way street and should be used as such.

Lack of Communication

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In my last blog I said to get someone’s attention that is hard to get to, rattle their cage.  I did just that and I did not exactly hear from the person, I heard from a representative and made an appointment for lunch.  My calendar stay rather full and the lunch date was today, after a five day wait.  I made room on my schedule just for that.  The cancellation was made by, again, a representative.  Now this is twice I’ve been insulted or must the “queen” only speak through others?  I do not; I speak for myself and make my own appointments.  I am at home and “the queen” is in my home.

I had many things to talk about at the lunch and all week I was constantly thinking about it, rethinking it, listening to others (residents and staff) without them knowing I was listening.  All the things I heard were interesting as well as disturbing.  Because of some of the disturbing things, some of the staff is gone.  Some of that is due to nepotism.  I do not call her “queen” (I purposely did not capitalize the word) because of non-socialization but due to the nepotism also.

Yesterday I attended the Townhall Meeting and was surprised at the information that was given.  The Head Maintenance man (he is new) talked the longest and answered many questions.  This eliminated most of the things I wanted to talk to the “queen” about.  This told me one thing; there is a lack of communication.  Remember the old movie “Cool Hand Luke”?  When the warden was about to punish Steve McQueen, he stated “What we have here is a lack of communication.”

I found out that there are volunteer committees, here at Imperial Plaza, which deals with almost every operation of Imperial Plaza.  If everyone know about where to get information, complain or make a suggestion, a lot of things would not have gotten out of hand.  That does not solve the problem with the staff and we here at Imperial Plaza have some very good people that are ready to leave after many years of service.  I believe the solving of that goes back to nepotism, communication and socialization.  By socialization I mean to get out among the people and be one-on-one (without an entourage) and to not make people afraid of their jobs (as I have heard from too many people).

I will make another date to see the “queen” and I will again attempt to help others.  If anyone have any input, contact me.

Cage Rattling

There is a saying that if you want to get someone’s attention, rattle their cage. I rattled the cage of the Executive Director of Imperial Plaza and got a lunch invitation. Since the availability of the Executive Director is scarce to common folk rattling the cage was the only way to get a response. I am suppose to be retired, not being in the middle of administrative squabbles. I want to live in peace but the problems here can not be ignored by me any longer.

Like all of the other times, when I was a manager or supervisor, I was a people person. My people came first and damn what overhead said. Listen to your people (and your bosses) and compromise for the best outcome to benefit all to the best of your ability. Most of the time it would work but on rare occasions it would backfire because of a stubborn higher up. Then, normally, you will find that the higher up has not conveyed the entire story or problem, trying to somehow benefit themselves. Congress is the same, in some ways.

A person will run for office telling you that this or that will be done and it is their priority. Upon being elected to office it’s all about what they want, not what the original bull was all about. I look at congress today and I look at Imperial Plaza and see virtually the same thing. As the saying goes…they are talking out the side of their mouth.

That was one reason, when I was a man-in-charge, I was always with my people and that was for, mainly, a couple reasons. First, the people kept me grounded, informed and always reminded me of where I came from and that I may be back. Second, the people could get information I was not privy to. I always knew what was going on and under no circumstances would I ever reveal where I got the information.

I thought I was retired and could lay back and do whatever whenever. There is no hurry in being retired. However, I was talked into being on the Activities Board, here at Imperial Plaza, and was given a list of who was on the board with me. At the bottom of the paper I noticed my name again and beside that was vice-president. That is like looking at your morning paper and the headline have you elected to congress. That happened to me years ago, when I was in the military. I belonged to the NCOA (Non-Commissioned Officers Association) and was elected vice-president when I was absent. The following year I was President of a sizable chapter that wielded considerable power on base.

I said that to say this. I know what power is. I was a Kennelmaster, Flight Sergeant, First Sergeant, etc. I know you have to be tuned to the people because that is where your power, bread and butter, is. Do not listen to the people and you will eventually fail.

Moaning & Groaning

So far the new year have been good but it has just started and I am a pessimist. I have been taught in the military and law enforcement to expect the unexpected and to always be on guard for it. The unexpected have a way to jump up and bite you on the ass. It has happened to me many times and I am now forever watching and waiting. I’m not gloomy but constantly on my guard because life can be harsh and non-forgiving.

The same can be applied to living here at Imperial Plaza (Brookdale) where we get into a tranquil feeling, attuned to the status quo. The Christmas Holiday is a good example of that warm, good feeling. We all expected the same celebrations as we did times before and, maybe, a little extra added. The painted windows along the corridor, where the Activity Rooms are located, was expected. The decorations, placed by dedicated residents, on the table on each floor in front of the elevator, especially in The Dogwood Building, were beautiful. The Christmas trees and other decorations were the norm.

We recently acquired a new Executive Director and things changed dramatically and, to a lot of us, caused quite a bit of moaning and groaning. No more window painting or independent table decorations, etc. From what was expressed to me, the rest of Brookdale properties did not do this and we were to be in-tuned to what the other sites did. This also meant the executive director is seldom seen by the residents except for the Townhall Meetings in which most of the meeting is run by the Imperial Plaza staff. Then add in the change in the news letter that come out once a month. It is all about Brookdale all over the country.

As for my feeling about it, it’s pretty but I live at Imperial Plaza in Richmond and that is what I care about and want to read about. What happens in Florida or New Jersey, etc. does not interest me or do I care about. Different mind set, different living conditions and different surroundings. The way things are done elsewhere normally does not apply to me or Imperial Plaza.

As I’ve said before….there is always an inherent resistance to change. Is this a change for the better or am I self-centered and really don’t want any changes, good or bad? I ask another question….can I make the change as things change around me? I will see and time will tell. I like it here at Imperial Plaza. I like the people, the conveniences, the location and the quality of living. However, if things get really bad or the rent get outrageous, I can always go elsewhere. I gave up a perfectly good house to come here and I can always go to some other facility or get another house.

I wish all a Happy New Year and will get off my whinny horse and try to start the New Year right. See you next issue.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year….hope this year is better than last year for you and yours and is sprinkled with lots of fun and love. I realize I have neglected my writing for a few months but a lot of interference have occurred that prevented (or should I say “made me lazy”) writing the blog. I promise to do better than I have been lately. I want you to hold me to it, put my feet to the fire. I need to get back to writing on my book but that is another story. Being too busy is no excuse and I don’t like it when I drop the ball like I did. This is a new year, a fresh start and the coals under my feet are hot.

Here at Brookdale’s Imperial Plaza there is a new person in charge of the facility and she is disliked by personnel and residents. When attending supervisory or management schools (I have attended a few) one of the first things that is taught is “there is always a resistance to change”. This woman have made a lot of changes and a lot of things that used to be are no longer. This has riled quite a few individuals including me. If she left today, myself and everyone else would be very, very happy, highly elated to say the least. It is so terrible of me to dislike a person I have only met twice in the three or four months she have been here. Oh well….nothing I can do about it.

I’ve been hitting the casinos lately. My wife and I just got back from a four day stay at Maryland Live between Christmas and New Year. While there we visited the new Casino in Baltimore (Horseshoe) and Inner Harbor (for some good food and after Christmas shopping). I’ve been asked by a few people if I won at the casinos and I have the standard answer. I’ve never expected to win (although I hoped and wished), I just went to make a donation and I wanted to spread out the donation to cover the entire trip plus have fun doing it.

Now that we are home my wife have decided to lose weight with my weight included. I am not over weight but my gut have grown a little. I guess I have no choice. I will have to work this in with learning to play the guitar, writing, going to my part-time job, and a few other chores I have to attend to along the way. Did I mention sleep? I’ll figure it out somehow.

Before I go “HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS”!!!!!! just had to put that in to antagonize the Dallas Cowboy haters out there. See ya soon and, as I used to say on the radio, BE KIND TO YOUR NEIGHBORS BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU’LL NEED THEM…..ALSO, INSURE YOURS WORDS ARE SOFT AND SWEET BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU WILL EAT THEM.