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a funny story about the funny stories...

Thursday, October 23, 2014
... happened today when I was substitute teaching in a second grade classroom. I'd gotten the call several weeks ago, and agreed to go and spend the day at a magnet school. Thinking that when I had done this type thing in past years, the teachers were all in a grade-level workshop, in the media center. Not even leaving the building, but devoting their day to some sort of in-service training. Not true this time, as I understand they were all at Columbus State attending a training.

When I got there, we began the day at 8:00. With me not knowing the kids, or their routine, or what to do about little details that are an important part of the early morning drill: taking roll (has to be done on the teacher's personal, school issued computer) and lunch count (you first have to find out what the menu for the day would be prior to asking who wants what) .Then various other things that happen right off the bat: pledge, singing, announcements that won't happen without the Smartboard, that can't happen without the computer. Which is not all bad, as I would not know how to start it anyway due to being technically challenged.

As you might know, from time spent with small people around this size and age, they still enjoy telling everything they know, and love to be able to inform adults when they appear to blunder around, floundering due to lack of knowledge. So I had plenty of guidance throughout the day, correcting my every mistake, as I would attempt to proceed to do tasks out of order, or 'not the way Ms. T does'.  But all in all, it was a good day, with pleasant, well manner youngsters who were for the most part agreeable and cooperative.

Something made me think about the recent blogs about fishing fiascoes, so I told them about my blog, and the stories I shared here. I think it came up when someone said: you sure do like to use big words. I agreed that I could get wordy, and admitted that I do enjoy writing and using a varied vocabulary.  And told of recent writings, reminiscing about the time Papa got hooked and how desperately I did not want to skewer the worm, but did it anyway. They enjoyed my stories, but of course, had their own to tell, in an effort to get completely off track/task, and wandering out into space on unrelated tangents.

another funny fishing story...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
...that involves my dad and both daughters. Many years ago, I loaded up daughters and went to south GA to visit the grandparents. There is a nice sized private pond across the highway from their house, that my dad was allowed to fish in. The granddaughters were jumping up-and-down, begging to go over and fish. So he went out in the back yard to his favorite place to dig earthworms and found them: ready to be sacrificed (though blissfully unaware as earthworms with practically no brain can be.)

We got poles and walked through the pasture and pecan orchard to the edge of the water. My dad was putting worms on hooks and everyone was having a great time. Little people can be neither still nor quiet as required for good fishing... but somehow they caught little hand-sized fishes anyway. I am so ill-informed, I don't know what type, but hardly big enough to be worth cleaning. Plus I doubt they would have eaten, so I suppose they eventually went back in the water.

As we were fishing, and my dad was steadily applying bait to one hook and then the other, while the fish were nibbling them off, they actually caught enough to put on the stringer my dad had brought along in his tackle box. Several small fishes threaded on the stringer, flopping around in the shallow water near the bank, where he had tied it to a little willow tree. We turned around when someone one noticed: a snake was trying to eat one of the fish. The fish was quite obviously too large.

I have been led to believe snakes can actually physically 'un-hinge' their jaws in order to swallow prey. So when they catch something that is too big to fit, they can still consume it. This snake had a fish stuck. Halfway in: and 'way to big too swallow. Sort of at the crossroads of: can't go forward and can't go back. Sadly I don't recall how this scenario played out.  But I do recall small children jumping up and down on the bank, making lots noise in a complete panic. Which, as you might guess, was the end of the Fishing Expedition.

Until one of them, swinging the cane pole around wildly: caught Papa. He got hooked in the upper arm. And told me I would have to take the hook out. It was, of course, still attached to the line and pole, so it had to be done. I thought I was just along for the ride. But after he demanded I remove the hook, I squeamishly pushed it back through his skin. End of fun. We went back to the house for first aid treatment. I assume he cleaned all the worm, fish, pond-water gunk out, as he survived. I don't know what happened to the stringer of fish or the snake. Sorry.

a funny fishing story...

...that will prove to you I am a tough, resilient individual. But not by any stretch of the imagination one who enjoys fishing. I guess if I had been taken as a kid, and learned to do all the icky things it requires before I got old enough to think them 'icky', I would feel differently. But I don't recall ever going fishing with my dad as a child, so was never exposed to the cold hard facts of being a fisherman: skewering living things with hooks.

The youngest daughter, P. was maybe ten years old. She was invited to go to a schoolmates' house with a group of classmates. They were going to fish in the private pond on the family property, and maybe have lunch? or swim? This house was located a pretty good distance from school, so I knew I would not be making two trips, and planned on staying for the duration. Which meant I would also be assisting with the fishing expedition.

I have never claimed to have a strong constitution, or been a person who would jump in responding to some blood-letting event. I would definitely be willing to help in an emergency situation, but would gladly step aside for a more trained,  knowledgeable, experienced individual to take charge: applying tourniquets, bandaging, comforting the injured. I have taken CPR/emergency training on a number of occasions, and would not stand by and watch someone in distress, but provide the help with my limited skills, until the experts arrive on the scene.

On this occasion we drowned a number of worms. I don't recall that we caught anything, but if she did, I assume someone else freed it from the hook. I do remember putting a number of sticky, oozing, icky worms on that hook at the end of the cane pole. I would not reveal I was such a wuss I had never done this before, and really did not want to be doing it that day. So I gathered up my gumption and applied bait to hook a number of times: as the fishes would nibble the bait, and the worm would be dismembered, reapplying more as necessary. 

You can imagine how ready I was to wash my hands several times when we got back to the house...

about that weekend...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
...I feel like it got away from me. I had requested to not be scheduled to work at my 'real' job, in order to have it free to donate my time to working behind the scenes at a Christian retreat up in Harris County. I try to make myself available each spring and fall when these events are planned, and have been doing it for a number of years. The area I volunteer in is not labor intensive, and not even particularly time consuming. But due to being there, I don't get anything done here at  home.

It is always a neat experience, to go and devote the time to making the weekend run smoothly, be a small cog in the running of a machine that requires dozens of people doing their part to make it appear to be effortless. The people who are attending, spend much time in study, listening to speakers, eating well and often - with every need and necessity provided for from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.  They are always very moved, when, at the end of the event, after they are served lunch on the last day, the 'behind the scenes' people who have devotedly done the cooking, cleaning, set up and assorted preparations through out the time, seem to magically appear. Letting them see the faces of all the previously 'invisible' folks who put in the legwork to make the weekend so meaningful.

Most of those worker bees pack to go and stay for the weekend in a staff dorm. I drive back and forth. Only about a thirty minute drive: but done in the dark, both ways - leaving before daylight and returning home well after dark. I know I would not sleep well in a room full of noisy women, getting up all night long, letting the bathroom door bang shut. So though I loose an hour driving to-and-fro, I think my sleeping will be of a better quality, more restful than what would (not) happen if I were to stay up there in the woods the entire weekend.

Got home Sunday night and fell into bed, wore down to a nubbin. Knowing I would get up and drive to Valdosta and back on Monday. Due to having to go to work today. Feeling sort of jet-lagged.... I am glad I could make myself available for the Emmaus walk over the weekend, but it will probably take me a week or so to get fully caught up on home chores as well as sleep!

a body in motion....

Monday, October 20, 2014
stays in motion, right? That would be me, over the last five days.

Let me tell you about it backwards/sdrawkcab:  I got up this morning at 4:30, which was not hard to do, since I was to tired yesterday, it was not hard to go to bed at 9:00, and immediately fall asleep. I did it deliberately, knowing I would have to get up really early if I was going to get to south GA by 8:00. It went according to plan. I have been doing a whole lotta driving in the dark in recent days - which might be totally out of your comfort zone. But I don't think about it. Like Nike: 'Just Do It.'

And got back to town before it got too dark to see. Which was really nice, since I was driving north, back across south Georgia in the daylight and seeing fields full of cotton. Mostly defoliated, and ready to be picked to roll up in big bales and cover with plastic. Until time to take to the gin and process, turn into bales that will be turned into The Fabric of Our Lives. I'm partial to this time of year. I don't think there are all that many people who would say that Fall is their favorite season - most would likely prefer Spring. But, for me, it's always been Fall.

drinking beer for supper, part 2...

Thursday, October 16, 2014
.... along with a bowl of Cheerios and milk with a sliced banana. Not something I would recommend, but it worked. I went in at 3, and cooked that same recipe three times before quitting at 8, and leaving there at about 8:15. I got it all cleaned up, and put away, and was Very Ready to go home.

The recipe, which I will  not repeat here (I assume it is trademarked or registered or something) was for chicken and rice. But not that same chicken/rice you had as a kid that grandma used to make when you were sick, and she claimed it would cure all your ails. This one had lots of good stuff added to make it into a meal for adults. Likely not something that would appeal to the younger set, but I got lots of compliments, so think it was pretty tasty. I didn't try it, even though at one point I guess I could have instead of throwing extra in the trash that was not dished out to customers in the thirty minute period they allow before you have to toss it.

In the recipe with the chicken was chicken broth, ginger, red pepper flakes, sliced spring/green onions, soy sauce, honey, asparagus and mushrooms. If you wanted to look it up at publix.com, and go to the Aprons meals tab, it's called Asparagus Shitake Chicken. There was some brown rice that went along with it, that had sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, juice of a fresh lime and diced green onions. If I was to make it at my house, which I won't, I would be leaving out the mushrooms... just personal preference.

So once again, I cooked and cooked and cooked. And feel like I have looked at, stirred up, and served that recipe so many times, I should be able to recite it in my sleep. I won't be back in the store until there is a new recipe on Tuesday. (There is a calendar the company prints for the  month, telling the names of recipes from week to week, but it was all I could do to keep it all going - so don't know what's up next.) You might remember the variety shows from years ago, where the guys would come on with dogs, or bird,s or monkeys trained to do amazing tricks? And ventriloquists? Other guys would come on for the next act and be doing this thing where they would balance plates on dowels and keep 'em all spinning. I feel like I've been doing that all day!

drinking beer for supper...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
...again. Does it sound like I might have a problem? Too tired to even think about finding something to eat. I will likely be in bed by 9:00 again.

I cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked. Meaning I did the same recipe four times. Which sounds pretty impressive to me. But in a perfect Publix world, it should have been cooked, and sampled five times in the course of the day. I know that is what they expect, but I was pretty dang impressed to put it together and serve to customers/passers-by the four times they enjoyed free food today. Lots of people commented, reported how good it was.

I did not taste it. I was told I am supposed to give it a taste, but I could  not figure out any way to do that and not be standing there, in front of customers, forking food in my mouth. Then by the time it was gone, it was gone. So it was time to go wash everything, sanitize and start over. I've gotten the ingredients pretty much memorized. Can't tell you the amounts of different things, but could certainly recite the list of what goes in the Shitake Asparagus Chicken dish, as well as the Sesame Rice.

Even though I never actually put any in my mouth, the consumers told me that it was very good, and it smelled wonderful, so I'm pretty sure it was a success. The sauce for the chicken had ginger, low sodium soy sauce and honey in it. My mouth was watering the whole time. It smelled wonderful. I have to go back tomorrow and make it three more times.