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this is something ....

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
...that has  not happened before. You will probably think: ho-hum, so what? But it is a novelty for me and after recent occurrances in my job, sort of surprising that there has not been an uproar, some sort of brouhaha about what's going on.

I went in really early (5 a.m.) on Saturday morning to help with prep. stuff for a busy day in the produce department. The big deal for nearly two weeks has been a BOGO/buy-one-get-one with fresh cut, sweet, juicy ripe red watermelon chunks. And there is such a demand, it takes several people to get it done from one day to the next - not really getting ahead, just staying caught up. When it's in season, there is not much better that locally grown south Georgia watermelons.

It was nearly five o'clock in the afternoon before I left the store, meaning that other than a thirty minute break to sit down and eat some lunch, I was on my feets for nearly twelve hours. And oddly enough, when you are busy and occupied, you don't realize how tired you are until it's over. So I did not feel weary until I started home, and nearly could not get out of the car to walk in the house to flop down.

I'd told the boss I would come in early on Saturday to try to get ahead on fresh salads, but never got around to doing it. So I said I would come in early on Sunday and get it done before the store opened. Meaning I was there again at 5 a.m. Doing what I intended to do the day before. Another looong day.

The really interesting part - that has never happened to me before: I had over half a week on the time clock even though I had only worked two days. Which means this will be a short work week for me. Short, as in getting it over sooner, but better pay-wise than the usual twenty or so hours that normally accrue for me as a part-time worker. And a decent paycheck will be nice after being disciplined and sent home to ponder my poor behavior the week before.

a little walking tour...for Memorial Day...

Monday, May 25, 2015
... and a surprising bit of information. I have a dear friend who is an Army veteran, in addition to my 'pen pal' friend who served in WWII with my dad. The friend, P., who lives here has been with me to walk around the nearby National Cemetery at Ft. Mitchell, AL. It is owned/operated by the Veteran's Administration, so anyone who has served in a branch of the military can be interred there, as well as spouses of veterans.

I asked her to go with me to walk around the road that meanders through the area, where there are hundreds and hundreds of small white rectangular grave markers. Representing hundreds of service men and women who have been protectors of America and our freedom. I like to go on a holiday weekend, where there are always small flags placed by each of those several thousand grave stones. It is pretty, peaceful, quiet, a reverent, respectful sort of place to be.

The cemetery at Ft. Mitchell was started when the one on the main post at Ft. Benning began to run out of room. And there is plenty of space, out in the woods, where more trees could be cleared as the need for more gravesites occurs. The drive is designed in a big looping sort-of circle, with about twenty sections of neatly mowed lawn, filled with those bright white little upright stones, neatly planted, standing in formation, meticulously spaced rows. With information placed nearby by for the ease of looking up the section, row and number of any one who has been interred there.

As we started out on our walk, were about a third of the way around the loop, some one in a SUV slowed to ask if we needed a ride. We said we didn't, but were just out walking the loop. He said you are not allowed to walk here. We said: 'Really?" He said he constantly runs people off: walkers, skateboarders, bicycle riders, people with dogs. We were astonished. So astounded we did not have the presence of mind to say: we have come to visit a friend.

He was very polite, as well as firm. He had a sticker on his fender that said 'Director'. And looked like a guy who was more than willing to enforce the rules. I can fully understand how people could be in the area and not be respectful of the cemetery. But we didn't even remotely look sketchy.

So all during the rest of our walk, and the drive back to GA, we practiced what we should have said. Things like we are here to visit someone. We are looking for a particular marker. But he's probably already looking us up on some website, to report us as suspicious characters, with the likelihood of being vandals, spray paint in hand. Practicing graffiti when we creep out of the woods to deface government property. Really?

talking to a friend...

Sunday, May 24, 2015
... a person who worked as a cashier for a number of years at my workplace, and recently retired. She was in the store yesterday, I stopped to speak to her for a few minutes. Oddly, I had just been thinking of her, telling myself that I should run by Taco Bell one day, and get a sack of eats to just go and knock on her door say' Let's do Lunch' in your back yard!

I've had lunch with her (at the Bell) a time or two since she quit working, and really enjoy her company. She was struggling with some health issues, having problems with standing on her feets for eight hours as a cashier, that caused her to decide the misery was not worth the pay. And has apparently been enjoying having all the time in the world to putter around her house and yard. Cleaning out closets, attic, planting things  - those things all of us would do if we had leisurely life day after day.

She also said that her adult children had come to visit on Mother's Day weekend. Not planned, just happened. Neither the son or the daughter knew/expected their sibling to show up - it just all fell into place by accident. And she was delighted. No grandchildren, no spouses, no in-laws. Just her favorite people. I told her: 'I know. I really know exactly how you feel.' I don't think anything in this life pleases me any more than getting together with my family, and nothing is more better than having a meal together: for us to all sit down around a table and enjoy each other's company. Eat and laugh...

My friend, L. said she found it to be so gratifying, she asked them if they would find time to do it intentionally in the future. To set aside a weekend to deliberately plan to be together. One coming up from FL, the other from the northeast corner of TN, just to spend time with each other. That sounds like my kind of joy too.

diggin' around...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
...in the leaf mulch yesterday afternoon. Was a very therapeutic thing to do. I started on Sunday, and  more yesterday, between rain showers. Working in the 100% humidity, with my shovel and a bucket, making my way through the trees, digging up those smilax tubers. It was very satisfying - to pull back the layers of leaves, and dig down to get up those aggravating little bulbs. Some the size of the head of a corsage pin or smaller, some bigger than the palm of my hand. And some even bigger.

I know if I can get the small ones up, they won't grow into huge things that will send vines twining up into the tree tops, where they will bloom, make seeds and spread like kudzu. So I do try to get the little ones that only have a leaf or two as evidence of where they have germinated under the mulch of years of fallen leaves. But it is so much more satisfying to get down under one of those big ones that have been there for years, growing in secret, sending out thorny vines to catch the innocent passer-by.

I want to get rid of them: an endless task. I guess they are spread by birds as well as from the tree canopy when they go to seed. So I have been out under the trees for the past two days, digging and putting them in a bucket. I empty the bucket in the trash, and will eventually tie the bag up and put it out by the street to insure they won't be sneaking back in at my house. I often put tree trash, sticks, limbs in an area behind the house, filling in a slough. But these tenacious little tubers are going to be transported/relocated to get them far, far away and prevent regrowth.

Sadly, I don't always have 100% success with digging them up, so there will be some that will come back in the same spot, from the original mother tuber. I'm doing my best to see that they won't be returning to my yard, reaching out to snag my pants, or bare skin in the future. Every one that goes in the trash is one that won't be attacking me.

Callaway Gardens...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
...was my goal when I left home this morning. I had a note on my calendar to attend a volunteer training session for learning about the Day Butterfly Center. I have been an occasional, sporadic volunteer worker at the Gardens in the past, assisting  (sort of) with several workshops like basket making, or how to design a landscape to attract pollinators. And helping a couple of times with the annual Spring Plant sale.

But I thought I would enjoy learning more about the workings of the Butterfly exhibit and possibly get motivated to go on a regular basis to assist with some of the work they do. I am sure the Day Center, like most every other area of the Gardens is struggling with staffing issues, and would welcome all the un-paid labor/extra hands that might show up offering a few hours of assistance. More work needing to be done than there are dollars or bodies to get things accomplished.

There were four other trainees who met in a classroom. And received a handbook, going over a booklet that was mostly about customer service. Covering the 'do's and dont's' of interacting with people who have paid admission to view the beauty of the woods, floral areas, native plants, insects, birds, assorted wildlife. A bit of history of the origins of the Butterfly Center, and Callaway family.

Then we went to visit the butterflies. The ones in the center are all tropical, being shipped from various places in south east Asia, Central America, where there are 'farms' that supply the chrysalis. I guess feeding and growing the butterflies that lay the eggs, closely watched until the right stage, and grabbed up to air freight to places that have been USDA approved to receive the hatchlings. The manager said that they have occasionally lost an entire shipment that would be held up or set aside or lost in customs, and the butterflies would hatch and die in the shipping container, with no way to get out to food or water.

I think I will try to start volunteering on a regular basis: pinning the chrysalis on boards where they mount them in a glass front box, so people can watch them emerge, and turn into wonderous wonders. We saw some today that were just coming out of the chrysalis, and drying out their wings so they could fly, get ready to be released into the enclosed tropical garden in the glass walled Center.
Would that be such a neat thing to do? Take them out of the box and prep those little inconspicuous cocoons - get them ready to turn into gloriously colored, light as a feather flutter-bys?

if you know...

me, you know of my willingness to admit to being hopelessly math impaired. I have this problem with all things numerical. My story, maybe not 100% accurate, but still my story. I got behind in the fifth grade one day when I was out sick, probably something like chicken pox, that was going through the class as a routine childhood illness being passed from body to body. On the day I was not in attendance, they took up multiplication. I started off behind and never got caught up. I still cannot multiply to this day. I'm ok with things up to the fives or sixes, mostly due to learning to count by fives, and six isn't all that complicated either. But after that: I'm lost until you get to ten. I can do a few of the nines as a result of remembering the numerals in the answer will add up to nine. Like 72 and 81.

So, you should be as impressed as I was when I got up this morning, early, to have a clear, fresh start.  Ready to tackle the chore of reconciling my checkbook register with the monthly bank statement. And lo-and-behold, it happened on the first attempt. There were a couple of things I had not listed, like a monthly debit and the funds that automatically transfer into a savings account. But after those odd ball items were inserted in the proper sequence, and I got out the calculator: Voila!

It was perfectly perfect.  I wish I had a video of me doing the happy dance, when I got up to put all my tools away. But even if I had some to make the photo of me delightedly hopping around, I would not know how to post it... So you will just have to imagine how amusing it was: me in my pajamas, dancing in a circle, pleased as punch to have all the numbers come out even on the first try.

Even more impressive as I admit that there have been times in the past when I would work and work and work at it, with great frustration, and no success. Then finally give up, deciding that the people at the bank/computer generated statement is surely better at this figgerin' than I am, so inserting the number the bank had decided would be my final balance after adding and subtracting. Throw up my hands, pencils, pen, calculator, register, white-out in an admission of defeat and say: "OK. I give up."

put me on your prayer list....

Sunday, May 17, 2015
... when you are brushing your teeth in the morning. I am going back to work after being off a week, and really having some anxiety issues about returning to the same job and location from whence I was sent home. There is a monumental excess of paranoia piling up over the prospect of having someone watching my every move.

I will be doing that same work that caused the problem last Sunday, so I am feeling really stressed about going back into that same situation, thinking they are looking for a reason to 'dismiss' me. Though I will admit to being somewhat amused by the irony of terminology. Do they think saying 'termination' and 'dismissal' sounds more politically correct, or less painful, than 'fired'? If it is  'PC' does that make it less traumatic and disturbing to the person who gets escorted out of the building?

If you would like, you could just put in a good word for my attitude. It needs help too. Although I keep telling myself that same line I have quoted to family frequently: "Life is too short to be miserable". And they are starting to give it back to me, reminding me that there is no reason for living in constant turmoil, with churning stomach, and continuous low-grade anxiety like a fever you can't shake. Always feeling like someone is peering over my shoulder, or so certain they can catch me in a misstep/mistake they will look at the video to see where I have failed in with compliance.