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volunteering...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I am going today, with some fellow Publix employees to do some yard work. I assume it is a United Way project, as there is much emphasis on a corporate level on giving back to the community. A big supporter of the annual UW fund-raising campaign, all the store managers are expected to talk to their associates, and thereby gain 100% participation of all employees in supporting the fund. Sometimes I will pledge a dollar a week from my paycheck, sometimes I make a one time donation, but I know the easiest way out, to avoid being nibbled to death by ducks, is to fork it over the first time I am approached by the store manager.

We are going to a community center down on the south side of town. The sign up sheet I put my name on indicated we would need to bring tools like rakes, hedge trimmers and gloves. I am loaded up (all the time) with gloves, clippers, and bug stuff. So I am planning to be down there on time, to do a bit of trimming and cleaning.  Nothing heavy like chainsaw-ing or serious trimming,(although I certainly could if someone else would pull the rope to get it started) but some of the lighter stuff I can do without risk. As I would like to retain all these body parts to which I am so attached.

I will go on and get there on time, and do some work, with the intention of leaving early. I suspect that a couple of hours of that, will likely be all the fun I can stand. If I were in charge, I would have planned this project to start about 7:00 in the morning, and be done before it gets so blasted hot no one can function out there.

and another thing...

Monday, July 28, 2014
... that I am thankful for is. Freedom. A definite benefit of being a law-abiding citizen. Where did that come from, you may ask? Let me tell you about what was going in when I went from church to work.

I got out of my car in the parking lot at about 10:40, was walking towards the front of the store, when I encountered my friend P. She was waiting to give me one of her post-it notes from church, that had: "I'm grateful for you"  which was a great way to start my work day. We talked a few minutes, walking towards the door, and she said she had noticed several black-and-white cars parked near the entrance. I told her you can often see a big red ladder truck parked there, right by the signs that say: No Parking, Fire Zone. When it is close to lunch time, and the fire guys all come in looking for something to eat. So other emergency vehicles were really not unusual, as it was getting on towards the 'lunch-ing hour'.

But when I walked into the lobby of the store, I asked a worker who was sitting there about all the cop cars. He said: "What do you think?"  I replied they were either looking for lunch or there had been a shop lifting incident. He said:  "They caught someone". And went on to tell me that it was a young woman, who was boosting cosmetics, and strangely enough, her second trip into the store that day. The worst part: She had a baby, that she had left in the car.

I have pondered on this situation a lot, wondering what in the world she was thinking, and conclude she probably was not. Possibly due to being in a fog. As I cannot imagine the possibility of putting a child a risk. I have to believe she was simply not thinking. She was not even stealing anything essential, or something for the baby - no formula, or diapers, but frivilous, superfluous stuff.

I asked one of the managers, when she walked by later on in the afternoon if she  would mind tell me the woman's name. She is Alyshia. When she told me that, she asked if I knew her. I said I did not, but knew I needed to be praying for her. I continue to wonder about how that scenario played out. I am pretty sure Publix is very strict about enforcing their policy in regard to Five Finger Discounts. So unless she could call someone to come and pick up her baby, in a carrier, the child would have ended up in protective services. What a mess...

lots of wurkin'...

I will be going to work pretty steadily over the next week. My cohort, M., who is the specialist in the floral dept. is taking some of his multiplicity of vacation days, which means I will be on the schedule. Working enough days that the managers will probably tell me to go home at some point on Friday. Due to having gotten too close to the forty hour limit they enforce.

I've toldM. several times I think he should consider working a four day week. I don't think he could do that year-round, but certainly during the summer. He gets several weeks of paid vaca. time, and adding that onto the holidays we get paid for working, he could certainly enjoy some nice long weekends over the summer.  With ample time to travel to FL, or north GA to visit family members. But honestly, he probably enjoys working so much,and so accustomed to the routine of being there, interacting with customers, doing his job from day to day, he will likely never retire to stay at home and prop his feet up. Even though they surely hurt like mine do at the end of eight hours.

Now that I am 'cross-trained', and getting more so each week, I spend more of my working days doing stuff in the prep. area of the produce department that working with plants and cut flowers. You should know I am the person most likely to be making your pretty, custom salads in the cooler. And those tasty, attractive fresh-fruit and yogurt parfaits that lure you like a 'siren calling from across the waters'.

It seems like I always run out of time, never actually get it all done, and the thing that goes lacking (along with personal housework, which I deliberately avoid!) is tending to plants, watering, grooming, fluffing in floral area. So today when I go in, I hope to get started on that part earlier in the day. Instead of leaving it until last, and neglecting the fluffing part when time gets short. I often think when I am feeling the 'weight of responsibility' when M. is away: it is supposed to look as tidy and immaculate as it does when he is on duty.  Pretty weighty, to be sure. But I will do my best, think: 'WWMD' while he is away, and hope my efforts meet his standards.

thankfulness....

Sunday, July 27, 2014
...is another word for the sermon I heard this morning, that was actually titled: "Gratitude". I came away with a sense of thankfulness for so many  blessings, things we all take for granted, mundane-ness of our lives. Knowing how we seldom stop and say: "Yay for potable water!" Or consider how much we actually 'enjoy' the convenience of washers and dryers. Or deliberately think before we get out the keys to say: "Yay for reliable vehicles, and another big Yay for funds to buy gas or make repairs when needed for that vehicle that gets us where we want to be." Or that amazing box that sits in our kitchens, keeping a big pile of food cool and ready to eat.

The bulletin, passed out as we entered, included a couple of  yellow post-it notes. We were instructed to write something down that we are thankful for and bring the sticky notes when we walked to the front of the sanctuary to take communion. I needed a lot more paper than that. But I made a couple of notes, thinking about the people on the church staff who do so much, and seldom get noticed. The receptionist J., who is probably the glue that holds the whole thing together. And the minister of music, J., who creates the environment that invites the presence of the Holy Spirit into the place.  Plus about a thousand other people who show up on Sunday mornings to benefit from all the effort these two and others put into making it such an amazing experience.

There is so much stuff in our lives, a constant accumulation of 'too numerous to mention', that we use or not, things that make our lives easier, days go smoothly. We don't think about these things, or take the time to realize how our lives would be without the benefit of electricity, light bulbs, heating and cooling that make our houses comfortable. But they make a huge difference for all of us, in this Living in the Land of Plenty lifestyle. So in addition to all these things that we benefit from, I am thankful for the US Constitution. The document that provides us with the assurance we can go to church, without doubt or fear. So: Thanks Founding Fathers!



little yapper....

Saturday, July 26, 2014
The fuzzball is gone. She was in residence for a week, but her owner, E. returned from a week in FL, and came to retrieved her to this morning. I'd left a note on the crate for her to let me know when she stopped by. I was worried that the tiny little bladder would create problems if she was left in the house too long - like all day. So I was expecting to come home for lunch to let her out, and save myself the aggravation of having to clean up a mess.

I am glad it will be getting back to normal here, and peaceful at night. It will be nice to be able to sleep without the whining of a dog that thinks she is being mistreated because she is alone. But she was a good walk taker. That little pink tongue would be hanging out, and feets stepping as fast as they could go when we were headed back toward the house.

I won't say I will miss having her to go with me when I get out and do my two miles in the late afternoon. But I can say it did not take me long to get into the habit of having company to go along. I am pretty sure I have all the 'high maintenance' individuals living here I can manage at the time. If Lucy the cat were patient enough, and willing to sit still, I think she would enjoy a wagon ride. Though it is not at all likely she would tolerate it long enough to admire the scenery. And would, I am sure, be very vocal about her preferences. If you can picture it in your head, it is certainly an amusing sight. Sitting there in the wagon, black as night, like the Queen of Sheba, enjoying the passing sights.

short road trip...

I got myself up unusually early on Friday. To drive to Decatur for the day. No particular reason, just hanging out. We walked the dogs, did some errands, went by to visit friend R. who has two fat babies. One who is a toddler, goes every where at max. speed, leaning into full tilt, looking like he is always headed uphill, into a stiff wind. The other is a baby, but like his brothers: very dense. Picking him up is like trying to get a handle on a sumo wrestler.

Went into midtown to pick up a birthday cake/cookie and found a neat little place to have lunch on the patio. Remarkabley out of the busy traffic in the area, it was most un-city like. You could possibly imagine that you were not in the middle of the metro/five million people. Contemplating the expensive landscaping, with cypress trees and lots of blooming annuals, it was possible to almost believe you were some place relaxing and calm, as peaceful as a restful flower garden... not within rock-throwing distance of a twelve land interstate highway.

I had suggested that we might want to consider going to the public pool for a bit of swimming. Not thinking of how much it has recently rained, or of how unpleasantly cold the pool water would be. But we were really brave and waited it out, hopping up and down long enough to get past the icy part, and enjoyed a dip, surrounded by dozens of splashy, noisy kids. I

I wanted to get out of town before traffic got awful, but missed the mark. Though I did not encounter any problems, I noticed at one point on the northbound lane, a SUV charred, surrounded by emergency vehicles, and traffic backed up for several miles. Thankfully on the other side of the interstate, and not problematic for southbound drivers. I got home about 5:30.

they are soooo....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
nasty. I have been chasing and stomping those gigantic black grasshoppers. When they hop, I do too, to try to get a shoe down on them before they jump again.   These are not the multicolored ones people call Georgia Thumpers, but a greatly enlarged version the ones that are completely black, except for a yellow line down the back. I was busily stomping on the little version back in the spring, when they were half an inch long, newly hatched.  But obviously did not even begin to get them all, as they have matured into something that is gruesome, especially when I do get a good stomp going and that stuff oozes out.   
I know I have smushed at least a dozen today, and expect there are that many more leisurely chomping away on my landscaping, if I would stay out there waiting for them to surface. There are corpses all over the yard.  So icky nothing, birds, what-have-you, is interested in eating the remains.
And several from a week ago right by the boxwood planted near the driveway: it looks like they just dessicate and pretty much remain intact. Some were even in the act of reproducing, so I am really glad I got those two lovebirds, to keep them from making more for next summer's stomp fest.