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Weekend Agenda

Friday, February 26, 2010
There's a lot of stuff on my calendar for the next couple of days: starting yesterday! It looks like I get myself so involved in various and sundry activities, I would not have time to actually 'attend' in the unlikely event I should have steady employment. And there are barely words to express how much I appreciate the fact that I am not out there with so many others, looking for work, or searching for something more meaningful or fulfilling. I have probably refused a dozen substitute teaching jobs this week, as I find myself so thoroughly occupied, I have not had a day this week when it was convenient for me to accept employment.

I went down/Uptown to the monthly meeting of the MasterGardening group at noon on Thursday, and then to be a volunteer body with the same folks at a school district event in the afternoon. MCSD has an annual Teacher Expo. where teachers and vendors set up displays, tri-boards, demo., handouts to provide other teachers with ideas for classroom projects. New ways of seeing how to inspire learing of various subjects at all levels. Like using fruit roll-ups, jellybeans, and twizzlers to replicate a skeleton: after ID'ing all the parts, you get to eat your body! Home-made board games for reinforcing learning, tricks to catch interest, 3-D visuals to capture their attention. Lots of creativity on display. I was there with the Botanical Gardens, giving teachers info. about hands-on field trips the schools, or scouts, or daycare programs can come and get educated while having fun.

Today: an afternoon of volunteering with the Sports Council for softball competition at South Commons. College level teams from all over the US, here for an Invational tourmanent to start their spring season. I see the high temp. is expected to be in the mid-50's so I am planning to layer on the layers, and have my toes crossed (while I am typing with my fingers) that my assignment will be a job out of the wind. It looks bright and clear out there: looks like a gorgeous day, but the wind chill can be numbing.

Then going with friends tonight to see an amateur play at the Family Theater.

Tomorrow will be training for a volunteer weekend in March, then assisting a co-worker from Publix with decorating for a family wedding. I also accidently got drafted into attending the wedding in the late afternoon, to help with the food serving, though I told her I don't do 'dress up'. She said I would be o.k. in kahkis. It should be very interesting, and probably a little rowdy.

Working at Publix on Sunday after church... then another week of: being cheerfully unemployed :-)

Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning

Saturday, February 20, 2010
I read this little, barely noticeable buried blurb in Thursday's newspaper (that by the way, hardly deserves to bear the title 'news' since it gets thinner and less informative on a regular basis) about a quilt that was at the Infantry Museum through Saturday. I wanted to go on Friday to see it, but got waylaid with another project, so knew I HAD to get down there today, or miss my chance.

The Quilt was not more than 5 feet in width, but about 20 feet long. Depicting a 'representative' from every state, a service person who had been killed in Iraq. Each square had a tiny, GI Joe size fatigue jacket with the face of that service man or woman, most were OD, but the ones for Marines were jungle camo. print, and Navy had dark blue blouses. Each of those service people, mostly Army, but several Navy, and about six or eight Marines: was depicted with a photo/likeness of that individual as a school kid. Included in the state by state listing were the name, rank, hometown, comments by friends and family of the most memorable thing about each of the young people who has died in the war. If the fatigue jackets had been empty, or even with the faces of young adult warriors, it would have been touching: but seeing those children's faces, knowing they were all somebody's son or daughter was heart-wrenching. Lives of those left behind changed forever with loss.

I don't know the background of the quilter, but do know there is a story: behind the service records and loss of life of each one of these young people, there are families and friends who will never forget, and always grieve.

I just recently read a book by Jim Brady: "Why Marines Fight", that was basically interviews with fellow veterans. Brady served during Korea, and talked at length to a number of Marines from the Korean era to Iraq, from enlisted to Pentagon bras, in an attempt to identify and better understand why they choose/volunteer for that particular branch of service. There are as many reasons as there are Marines: but the general consensus of why they do what they do so well is training and a desire to support their comrades. The interviewees all said they felt successful in their military assignments because they believed they were so well trained to carry out the mission, and their determination to not 'let down' fellow Marines. Those men who were to the left and the right when they were in foxholes, pinned down in fire-fights, piling off landing craft onto the beaches or slogging through the jungles. In situations of insurmountable odds and unlikely success, they could not, would not quit. Brady didn't put it in so many words, but I would say: character and grit.

Another book I recently accidently read: "Final Salute" about the men who do the gut-wrenching job of going to tell families that their loved ones have been killed. It follows several Casualty Duty Officers as they spend time with families of fallen warriors, helping them sort through the process of making funeral arrangments, making all the decisions they are forced to face. I think this one should be required reading for every officer, and every individual serving in Congress and the Pentagon: to better understand the true cost of sending someone else's sons and daughters into danger.

After we saw the quilt, and went to the IMAX, we spent a couple of hours wandering through the exhibit halls at the Museum. I could spend a week there and not really be finished, not get all the info. read and everything in the displays thoroughly studied. I wish I had known to ask my dad about his service when he was alive, but do not know if he would have been willing or interested in talking about things that happened well over fifty years ago. Sad that I belatedly became curious and interested in military history.

I understand the quilt is 'on tour' and will be at the GA state capitol building next week.

What it's Not is Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I worked more hours in six days over this past weekend than I have in the past six months at Publix. The new guy, Produce Manager, kept asking if I was tired. I'm not sure if he was just being kind and chatty, or had doubts: but I had to respond with 'of course not, No, I'm good, etc.' And finally I told him after about the fourth time that I knew the secret to being on your feet for eight hours a day is to keep busy, and just plow on through to the end of the field, one row at a time.

And after a day of Not doing it, I'm mostly recovered. Have already had two calls from the school system, that I just kinda 'hung up' on, refusing in an off-hand way, so if the computer calls back with something different/better I might go. Or might not.

The home Bible study/Community group I attend on Tuesday nights was having a 'hail and farewell' for a couple who is moving to the west coast soon. So we did not actually get better educated/informed/holier last night, but did have 'way too much to eat. I made a carrot cake (thought I had forgot how: it's been many years since I grated the three cups of carrots required to stir and bake a birthday cake with that lick-your-fingers cream cheese icing) and black-eyed pea salad, and Fran's famous Confetti Cornbread muffins. The male part of the departing couple claims to be a vegetarian, so we struggled as a group to produce things that would both satisfy his desires for no meat, and satisfy in general. Carrot cake it is! I truly believe with enough imagination, discussion, creative thinking, one could possibly find the entire Food Pyramid in a slice....

Happy Heart Day

Sunday, February 14, 2010
I don't have any news, but feel mostly justified in lack of reporting the 'lack thereof', since I have been working a Publix for the past several days. I had not been scheduled as Floral Clerk in months, the last time being when the Floral Specialist was taking his last bit of vacation time before the end of 2009. Factoring in the sad, stomped on, disheveled Economy in general, and people attempting to help their weekly budget stretch even more, shopping at the highest priced grocery place in town has been somewhat slow.

Meaning the expendable part-time workers might get 3, or 8 or 0 hours on the weekly schedule. I continue to be thankful for the individuals who made sure I did not get dropped out completely from Publix Employment. And am hopeful that the rumor has truth: I understand the New Guy had a recommendation that putting me on the schedule would free up his other workers to do what they know best. As well as give me the opportunity to keep from getting completely rusted-out with floral work. Like those junked vehicles that have been sitting in the overgrown pasture so long tree trunks are growing up inside the frames, and they are now completely hemmed in, unmoveable...

So I worked last Sunday, then Thurs., Friday, Sat., and go back today (after my weekly dose of Jesus). He had me go in at 8:00 last Sunday, and I am thinking if he chooses to have me work on a regular basis, I will attempt to negotiate the starting time so I can get to early church, should he want it to be on Sunday.

So: Happy V. Day. Hope you get chocloates instead of Roses. I will also be working on Monday, to do some cleaning up and re-assembly after the storm of "desperate to do the right thing men" has passed. Which means I will be there bright and early on Monday morning when all the left-over Reeses' mini-peanut butter cups are marked down to half price: my little (non) secret addiction... :(

This week will be busy...

Sunday, February 7, 2010
I usually have lots of blank pages on my calendar from week to week, but will be working several days at Publix this week, building up to the day of 'Chocolates and Roses' next Sunday. I actually went in today, (my feets are very much out of practice for the part where you are on the go for hours on end) and worked in the Floral Shoppe for the first time in months. The front end manager has been pretty good about trying to keep me from getting dropped out of the system by having me come in one day a month and work for several hours, just to be clocking in and out, so the computer would not delete me.

I was hoping with new produce manager I would be working at least part time for several days leading up to Heart Day. But he is being even more generous (or possibly just careful/covering his bases),so I expect to work the last half of the week, and a couple of days next week, since the 'xxxoooxxxooo' day falls on Sunday. MF will be off on Monday to recuperate (and I will likely clean up the mess).

I normally get calls several days a week to substitute teach, that I think often occur because most people who want to do the 'day labor' work are not willing to go into classrooms as a 'para-pro'/aide because the pay rate is less than working as a teacher. So they limit their employability, as I do when I refuse to go into middle/high schools and do battle. But I have the opinion that getting work at $65 a day is better than staying home/no pay, so I don't have a problem with second-in-command position and being the one Not held responsible for well-being and training of small mammals.

With the Publix work coming up, and knowing the weekend will be otherwise occupied, I don't plan to accept any of the sub. calls: my last deposit from MCSD for subbing about once a week was for a whopping $131... So I guess I should block the sub-finder from looking for me at 6:00 a.m. every morning...

The Rescue, part II

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The 'Friend' decided she would be o.k. after 48 hours of keeping everyone on Spence Ave in complete turmoil, going through the detox process from having so much to drink she should not even be alive: but she is.

So she came back to the place of 'you keep doing what you're doin', you keep gettin' what you got'. Daughter said she provided Friend with advice/info., so she knows where to get help locally, but we all know that you can't save someone who does not want to be rescued.

Once again, I can be so very overwhelmingly thankful for the blessing of daughters who have made smart choices. While at the same time, having a huge ache for a mom who feels helpless, does not know what else she can possibly do to try to save her girl from self-destruction.

I got a very frustrated, angry, tear-laden call about how aggravatting and irritating it is to have someone who needs assistance to find 'the system' littered with potholes, barricaded by roadblocks. Obstacles that appear to deliberately designed to prevent those who reach out from getting connected to the resources that we all mistakenly assumed are in place, and created to provide propping-up. I know that this young woman is making the decisions, but even if they are bad/poor choices: when she was ready, receptive, reaching out to get help with making changes, it is so sad that the system failed when she asked/wanted/was ready for help.

It's hard to know what to say: being (sadly) confident she will fall back into that same dark place, filled with demons found in alcohol and pills will occur, OR being determinded to make the effort to remember that young woman more frequently when sending out loving thoughts with wings... probably both have a lot of merit.

Counting Blessings, again

Monday, February 1, 2010
Just about the time I went to sleep last night, after having gone to bed
'way too early, because I was cold and through with the day: the telephone rang. It was daughter #1, asking me to go get a friend she only slightly/vaguely keeps in touch with from highschool days. The friend has a history of struggling to deal with personal/family problems. Daughter wanted me to bring the friend from Columbus to meet her in Newnan so she could take Friend to a clinic for substance abuse treatment.

I got up, put on my clothes, and went across town to get her, drove to Newnan, and got back into bed about 12:30, having prayed for the better part of two hours while driving, asking for deliverance for this young woman who has been beset by demons for years. So though you don't know her: please keep V. in your thoughts and prayers, as I know she will not have the strength to do it on her own. She is in desperate need of healing and peace.

Well: am SO thankful that is not my girl. I am SO thankful that they have not chosen to go down that road. I am SO thankful I did not self-destruct. (I do wish I now had all those brain cells I selfishly, unthinkingly destroyed.) I am SO thankful that I raised up a generation that cares enough to be there, available to step up, with the hearts to care and desire to help.... And truthfully thankful that the Friend was willing to make the call to someone who had the ability, heart, desire to respond to her need/plea for 'throw me a line, I am drowning!'

When He said: "What ARE you doing?" My response had to be: if that were my girl I would want someone to do whatever was in their power to save her... how could I NOT step in when the call came?

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, God is Good...