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did I admit....

Friday, May 30, 2014
to planting tomatoes recently? Every spring, I swear I will not, adamantly refusing to get lured into that again. Determined to not go through the process of buying, digging a trench (my dad said you should plant them horizontally, to bury all but the top few leaves, and allow the length of the stem grow more roots, make a much stronger/sturdier plant), putting in my premium/home-made 'good' dirt, mulching, watering, tying up, fertilizing, waiting, watching, feeding, observing, watching, waiting, etc.... to get such a diminutive, annoyingly under-performing crop as a result for all my effort.

I did it again. Bought them when I heard the 'siren call', voice of possibility one day when I went into Wallyworld through the garden shop entrance. Meaning to run in and grab a bag of kitty litter and be on my way. Lured into purchasing a couple of little peat pots of 'celebrity' plants. About eight inches tall, with two plants in each pot (I'm always a sucker for a bargain! But suspect the price included that possibility of plants x 2.) I took them home, where they sat by the back door for weeks, neglected, drought stricken, ignored, until they actually had quarter-sized tomatoes on the struggling plants. So certain they wanted to grow, they put roots down into the clay where the peat pots were sitting.

I got them in the ground, nice good rich home-made dirt, a couple of weeks ago, watered well, then said: "OK, guys. You are on your own." Which is what I generally say to things that I put that much effort into planting. I've been out a couple of times to water them, and put some mulch on them this morning.  I'm not expecting great things: with a history of remarkably poor production despite good effort and best intentions, I will be pleasantly surprised if I get to enjoy even a semi-decent crop.

maybe I should just...

... change my mailing address, since I stay on the go as much as I am home. I am in Decatur again. Left home mid-morning to do a little project at church, and then get in the road to drive north. My daughter has a friend, who she was very close with in their high school years, now living in Savannah. He is graduating tomorrow from the Savannah School of Art and Design. After several years of floundering around, he has done remarkably well. I have heard her speak of him in recent years, how he seems to have found his niche, and loves the creative expression he finds in cinematography. He's the guy who got on a Greyhound bus in GA, and rode to the west coast to 'break into the movies'. I suspect there is much more opportunity and likelihood of regular meals in the direction he has chosen: behind the camera.

I'd asked her some weeks ago if she was planning to go to the commencing, and she said she had not thought to. I suggested he would be delighted to see her, and thrilled to think she would make the effort to attend his graduation. Not knowing tickets were needed, and they are at a premium. But she found enough to get us in the door - and I will assume that the tickets and numbers of seats available will come out even when we get there. So we will get up in the morning and drive to Savannah for the day.

She said she had talked to the friend's dad, suggested that she would bring the makings to cook dinner for everyone after the ceremony. So we've been to Sam's Club to get the necessary ingredients for a meal tomorrow night - probably for less than half the expense of a dozen people going out to eat someplace. We will go to the graduating at 4:00, observe the pomp and circumstance, and then go back to the duplex where he lives and enjoy a meal together: compliments of the chef!

Which means it will be one of those occasions when there is more time invested in coming and going than actually being there. But it should prove to be a pleasant drive, weather permitting, and an opportunity for friends and family to join in celebrating a considerable achievement. Congratulations, BL!

414.... (Wed., May 28, 2014)

...on Wednesday, does not include the ninety minutes I drove about a hundred miles on Thursday afternoon from Columbus to Decatur. Where I spent the night, to get up early (6 o'clock) on Wed.  morning to drive on up to SC. I went to see my pen pal in Greenville for the day.  I usually only make the Decatur to G'ville and back again loop in one day, but knew I had to be at work early on Thurs., so was pushing to get the driving over with before I fell into bed on Wed. evening minutes after getting  home at 9 p.m.

My friend Homer had a friend visiting. The friend, BC., is the daughter of a man he met in the service in the 1940's when they were sent to France. In the same unit in the Army, they became friends, keeping up a correspondence after they all got out and went their separate ways. Homer had kept in touch with the C. family, though they lived in Missouri and then California. Where BC lives now.

 She came east to visit a retired work friend near Charleston then on to visit with Homer in SC. One of the rare times when I did not feel like I had 'invited myself', as Homer had let me know about her travel plans, so I could try to get up there when BC was in town. I'd not seen her in several years, so it was a good visit, with time to talk about families, listen to a few war stories, and be together.

He is such a sweet, amusing guy. He has several base-ball style caps, that tell everyone who sees him he is a WWII veteran. And wears one every where he goes, so everyplace someone will see the cap, and want to talk, thank him for his service. He is so humble, and appreciative. When I am with him, he is always wanting to introduce me, tell the people who stop him to shake his hand, that I am the daughter of his C.O. But he is the one who is of that Greatest Generation, one of the rapidly diminishing few who so determinedly went where they were told, did what was necessary and safely retuned. Came home to go back to work, marry, raise a family, and re-integrate into society without  complaint.

planting stuff...

Thursday, May 29, 2014
I've been puttering in the yard when I've had time in recent days, trying to get some stuff that has been sitting around in pots in the ground. Thinking it will stand a better chance of surviving the summer planted, in good rich dirt, with plenty of mulch to insulate from the heat than it will in pots. But, foolish me, I have also been putting some other things deliberately in pots. In several big planters to sit out near the front door, so they will need lots of water, to keep healthy and hopefully blooming all summer.

I went to Kmart after work this afternoon, and bought more stuff. What is the matter with me? Have I completely lost my mind? Yes, possibly. Bought a little six pack of red vinca, to put out in the bed in front of the house, so they will be colorful and inviting, near where the butterfly bushes are gloriously blooming, happily attracting hummingbirds. And some hosta to put out in that raised planter to the left of the front door, where it is always shady. Some of last years' plants did not come back, apparently not surviving that (completely unnecessary) miserable cold we endured over the winter. I am very partial to variegated. And had spotted some at Kmart several weeks ago, so went back primarily to check out the hostas.... somehow got lured into buying over $25 worth of things to plant, water, fertilize, nurture, talk to, encourage, tend, provide attention, etc....

And accidentally bought: the red vinca, lantana, a six pack of red salvia the hummers will love, and some yellow blooming, daisy-like gazinias to put in the big planters there on the brick coping, adding color to the assorted herbs: oregano, thyme, creeping jenny along with some purple verbena. I hope it will all do well, grow and be happy there. Hoping also that these are all things the deer do not care for: I saw one standing in the driveway last night when I came home at 9 o'clock, that did not seem at all alarmed about being discovered mosey-ing across the yard.

Got everything planted except one of the lantana, and several other things that have been lingering around for weeks, months (possibly even years) in pots, waiting for me to provide the holes, good dirt, and motivation to get them in the ground. Now comes the challenge of keeping everything watered. I've learned to give everything a good start/fighting chance, digging out that hard non-nutritious red clay. And replacing with my mix of good stuff: peat, vermiculite, manure, osmocote, potting soil.( This from the person who used to get a hearty laugh watching people actually pay good money for a bag of dirt!)

Yesterday's digging/planting included several pots of mini-roses that I have rescued from certain death/dumpster over the years. Mostly blooming red, some yellow. I've kept them watered, and started planting them in the same bed where all the hyacinths were so pretty in the early spring. I won't be surprised if they never bloom, due to the deer browsing through and finding the buds a tempting treat. But they have done remarkably well in spite of the general ignorance/neglect they have received in pots up near the house. We've not had rain recently, so I have been dutifully dragging the hose, hoping to get them established for lots of summer blooms.

Decoration Day, part 2...

Monday, May 26, 2014
As we walked and talked, my friend PC was telling me about growing up in Iowa, and spending time with her grandmother going to the cemetery and taking flowers to leave in remembrance. She said her grand mother took actual plants and would put them out around the graves of loved ones. That this grandmother often, on holidays would make the effort to go to the cemetery to visit. Always on Christmas, on decoration day, and other times when she would want to go and commune with the departed.

I remember many times as a child going with my grandparents to cemeteries. To visit people they were related to in towns far from home, but also making the trip to go to visit in cemeteries and be reassured that the grave sites of parents, family  interred for eternity were neat, tidy, in good repair, being cared for.  One side of the grandparents' families, my maternal grandmothers people, were from the eastern edge of the state, and the granddaddys' folk: from the western edge. So its pretty unlikely that they would find each other, fall for one another, and end up creating a family that included my mom. Coming from such different places geographically back in that era of early nineteenth century, it is hardly believable that they would end up in a little town in south GA, where my mom met my dad and created another generation: making my brother and: me!

 We both commented on how people are so geographically distant that does not happen  much any more. But I think it is due, in equal part, to the fact that people are not willing to make the effort. They just get involved, wrapped up in so many other things, they do not choose to make time in their lives for remembering and re-visiting the past. People stay so busy with daily activities and immersed in things that are more immediate, they do not stop to reflect and remember.

I've long had this saying/thought that 'if you don't show up (for the committee meeting, lunch date, (assignment of choice), opportunity for service) people think you don't care'. I think this might apply to visiting the cemetery as well. I know there are as many reasons to not go as there are people, but ultimately it is a choice. I love to go to family gatherings that have been happening in recent years in east Georgia, especially on the Sunday of that weekend in June. When we all trek out into the woods, on a little spit of land, surrounded on three sides by a man-made lake. Where the forebears are safely interred. On a hill, overlooking the old home place, now under the water of Clark-Hill reservoir. Family members go and make sure it is well maintained, road is clear, trash from random beer drinkers is picked up. And ready for the group - usually numbering fifty or more -  to come and have a picnic lunch, sit under the pines and hardwoods, remembering....

Decoration Day...

We went across the river, and drove down to the cemetery. A pleasant trip, as we always have lots to talk about, info. to share. I was hoping there would be numerous flags out in the cemetery, and was not disappointed. Not only was there a small American flag on a dowel in front of every marker, there was also a red poppy for each member of the armed services who was buried there. Plus lots of flags at the entrance to the area, and many more lining the roadway as you drive into the park-like setting of the cemetery.

I'd not thought about the friend who was interred there last summer. So after we made one loop around the various sections, separated by wooded areas, we looked in a 'locator' book to find where she was buried. And had to walk nearly back around to get to the spot where the most recent burials had occurred. The loop around is only about a mile, so it was not too bad to walk it twice. It was interesting to observe a number of other visitors, families coming to visit, leaving mementos for loved ones permanently resting there in the peaceful surroundings of the perpetual care of Veterans' Administration.

 I was telling PC that I has asked lots of questions when I went a couple of years ago to a funeral on post, and curious about how things are done in national cemeteries. I was told that if there is a spouse, the graves are always dug to a depth of nine feet, to allow for the spouse to be in the same location. The name of the spouse would then be indicated on the back of the marker. So I guess Jeannie and John will be planted together.

When we stopped a worker to ask if there would be some sort of remembrance or memorial service taking place, he reported it had happened on Sunday afternoon. We'd seen a collection of green funeral home awnings, and several port-a-potties that would indicate some sort of planned event. The worker on the golf cart said there was talk of doing that Service of Remembrance on Memorial Day next year, so we'll know to pay attention, and watch for an announcement, notification in the news.

A quiet, restful, serene place to be, spend some time in meditation and contemplation... not a bad spot to devote a few minutes or hours pondering the ways of the world....

Memorial Day, May 26, 2014....

When I was driving with family folk up in VA, we passed a small, brick-wall enclosed cemetery, with lots of headstones in carefully aligned rows. So I asked if it was primarily Confederate soldiers. There deep in the heart of the Confederacy, where Richmond was the capital, before the Union troops began to close in. And the gold bullion that supported the war was loaded up onto wagons to transport south, safe from the advancing Union Army. And then vanished, while desperately trying to stay ahead of Northern Aggression, disappeared, possibly in central Georgia, and never seen again.

I'm not certain if all the graves there, in that small plot on a street corner  were of that era, but they were in neat rows, looking so like other national cemeteries I've visited or seen photos of. Those tidy little white monuments about two inches thick, with curved top. Later than day, when we drove by again, avoiding a strung out traffic snarl on the interstate, they pointed out the flags. Said if I looked real quick, through the gap in the wall where the entrance is, I could see that small American flags had been put out by each carefully tended white marker. My brother said he had often been with Boy Scouts who volunteer to put out flags in National Cemeteries prior to federal holidays of  remembrance: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day.

I've been thinking about that. And asked my friend PC if she would ride with me over to Ft. Mitchell this morning.  It's a short drive south of Phenix City in Alabama. There is a national cemetery there: that's really about all there is to Ft. Mitchell. Though it was originally a fort and trading post on the Chattahoochee River, centuries ago. I think the land there was part of the reservation that is now Ft. Benning, on the GA. side of the river, and has been in recent years developed as a cemetery, as the one on post at Benning began to reach capacity.

I've been several places/national cemeteries over the years on a 'flag' holiday, mostly to see the hundreds and hundreds of small brightly colored banners placed in neat rows by each marker. And thought I would like to go to Ft. Mitchell today. PC always gets up and walks several miles each morning. So I asked her if she would like to go to Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery to do her walking today. I'll take a photo or two with my ratty little phone, but you won't see it until I can get closer to my tech support... keep watching this space!

travelin', part 4...

Sunday, May 25, 2014
The subtitle of this one should probably be smuggling, except if it were to show up in the heading it would probably attract unwarranted attention from the local authorities. Personally, I consider it to be perfectly harmless as it did not involve endangered animals or controlled substances. But others, tasked with enforcement, would probably feel differently about the matter. They were agricultural products that are normally given a through inspection before they cross over several state lines, and if pressed, in the most narrowly interpreted letter of the law, would be contraband.

We went to a little roadside farm market, where there were some beautiful, locally grown vegetables on sale. Hard to associate the word 'beautiful' with beans and onions, greens and strawberries, but they were: fresh, clean, just harvested right there in Hanover County and really attractive. So, though the strawberries did not refer to a blonde beauty contestant, and beans do not refer to some skinny runway model, they were gorgeous. I can see how people just stopping in for milk on the way home, would be tempted and buy lots of things they did not intend to prepare and consume for dinner.

I bought a coleus (shades of RG!), and a pink geranium. The coleus is one that I had several years ago, as a gift from a fellow plant lover, very unusual shape to the leaf, and variegated foliage. The geranium is a shade of pink I have not seen before. You usually find them in a sort of orange-peachy salmon color, but this one is more of a true pink, what my family would refer to as 'Barbie pink'. Closer to the color of 'Double-Bubble' bubble gum than something with more yellow in the tint. There were a lot of things that caught my eye I did not purchase, knowing I could  not transport back to GA.

I took them out of the little plastic pots, dropped them in plastic bags, and wrapped them in the bubble wrap I had used to take those framed (contraband) family pictures on my trip north. Secured in my suit case, where no one took the least notice, to even bother inspecting. Not a soul asked me to open the luggage for them to get a peek at contents. I noticed a TSA 'sniffing' dog in the airport before leaving Richmond, who did not seem to notice. So I just kept quiet, hoping I was not wearing my 'guilty' face.

Safely arrived at my destination with only a few of the petals from the geranium having shed in the bubble wrap. Remarkably intact for illegal importation. I've already put them in pots, and got them watered, located in a shady spot to adjust for a few days. I hope they will thrive, do well, grow and get big enough for me to take some cuttings, to make more. I'd love for them to 'multiply', as I really like the gorgeous foliage on the coleus and the unusual color of the Barbie pink geranium.

Tell me I look like the picture of innocence???

travelin'... part 3

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Had to get up before the crack of dawn again, to get to the airport early enough to stand in line and get the counter agent to print my boarding pass at RIC for return flight to ATL. I was completely oblivious to the fact of choosing a seat before leaving home, that I should have made that decision when I made the reservations months ago. And, once again, my only choice when I tried to print the pass last night was for those seats over the wings where the emergency exits are located, with a tacked on fee: extra charge for an inch or two more of leg room. Which I was not willing to pay. It all worked out for the best, as I probably got a better seat when the agent at the AirTran counter made the decision for me. Closer to the front of the plane, and quicker getting off at the gate when we arrived at Hartsfield.

My printed info. was that it would arrive at 8:02, though we hit the ground at 7:30. I was concerned that my ride would not be there when I got back to the terminal, but it took nearly half an hour to make my way down the concourse, escalator, plane-train, escalator and into the baggage retrieval area. I had not checked any luggage, but knew that was where I needed to go to be picked up. I've told people over the years the best meeting place is out in the median, in front of the terminal, where folk get dropped off. There is a large replica of a piece of luggage, covered with expired license plates from all over the US, stuck on a short pole, designed to be an eye catching piece of art - unique and quite noticeable - that is the designated pick up spot.

 I just forgot to mention that when I got put out several days ago, so she did not know I would make my way out into the sunshine, and wait at the big, multicolored, fake suitcase, breathing carbon monoxide from all the vehicle exhaust. So she met me in the terminal. I was happy to see a familiar face.

It was a good trip, enjoyed visiting with those seldom-seen folk, but as you can readily imagine, and completely agree: the best part of any trip is getting safely home.

travelin'....part 2

Thursday, May 22, 2014
When I was getting myself organized, packed up to take flight to VA., I remembered I had several framed pictures I wanted to get to those people who live far away. And thought I could use some bubble wrap to keep them safe and put them in my suitcase to take with me on the airplane. Then I began to wonder, worry if the TSA people would take the family mementos away from me when I was trying to get through the check in.  I was so sure they would not allow me to travel with that dangerous, breakable stuff,  that I kept thinking, expecting I would have to give them up when they demanded to look in my little wheeled suitcase.

I must have asked at least five people about them, and they were all remarkably unconcerned about my taking frames, with glass, on the plane. I would not have let me board the airplane with such risky contraband. And wonder if they have gotten so jaded over time they are not looking closely enough at stuff that passes through the scanner. I am still surprised they did not even bother to actually look at what was in there.

So after feeling like I have skated through the inspectors, smuggling illegal materials - I'm willing to push my luck and try to take agricultural products through now. I have purchased some plants at a little farmer's market I plan to take back to GA. And some untreated/highly dangerous wildflowers I pulled up along the way....even worse, making me a common criminal, for certain: a bloomed out flower head I pinched at the farmer's market with some seeds I will try to get started for new color of daisy I had lust for, but did not purchase.... Can you post bail if I use my one phone call on you?


...to Virginia, visiting my brother and sister-in-law. Got 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday to take a shower and get organized, hoping to leave the house by 5:00. To get to Decatur before crazy people all got out on the highways. Was tooken to the airport and on the 10:25 flight to Richmond. He met me at the airport and we went to lunch.

They were responsible for baking potatoes for church supper so we went to put the potatoes in the oven, heat up a pot of chili, and eventually eat along with a green salad, and various toppings for our evening meal. When that was done, we came home and talked ... just like back in the olden days before television was invented. When people used to just sit around and visit, did not need to be mesmerized for entertainment.

It apparently takes very little with the folks here: they told about sitting in the recliners, watching the little green sticky frogs stuck to the outside of the windows catching insects. And the best show they ever had was the time the frog ate the lighting bug. That continued to blink after it had been consumed. And all this time,  I have been thinking of myself as a person who was easily amused....

at the Fox...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We had a great time. Not the best possible seats, but definitely within our price range. The show was really neat. When we got there, the organ was playing. "Mighty Mo". Can't say how the massively huge pipe organ got that name, but the man who was playing it was really belting out the tunes. A grand sound that beautifully filled the auditorium.

We found our seats, and Keillor came on stage about fifteen minutes before 6:00, apparently the 'warm up guy'. He had the organist play several patriotic tunes and asked us to all sing along. Which we did, being an audience of older folk who knew most of the words to The Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America and My Country 'Tis of Thee. (Too bad he was not taking requests, or I'd have been asking for some John Philip Sousa tunes!) It got the be 'show time', and he introduced his guests, and regulars.

Thoroughly entertaining. I definitely enjoyed the show. And have decided to become a confirmed Prairie Home Companion listener. I think I have never been a big fan of Keillors' because he has been so popularly publicized, such a well-known, highly regarded media darling. But not of any particular talent, though I do like to hear a banjo being played. I think the best part of the show was the guy, Fred Newman, who is actually a Georgia native, from La Grange, his special effects man. It is astounding and amazing to see him produce the variety of sounds he can generate. Nothing electronic, nothing canned, nothing pre-recorded. All created on the spot by Fred. Remarkable.

appropriate behavior, part 2...

.... and another thing. As we were discussing the societal malaise of inability to arrive at work on time. She said that she would always be prompt. If she did not learn anything else from growing up under her dad's authority, she learned to be prompt. Her dad is the guy who, when the doctor's office makes him an appointment to be there at 2:00, will be sitting in the waiting room at 1:30.

And if church starts at 11:30, he will be there at 10:30. She said she takes getting places on time very seriously. Due to her dad feeling the same way. She gives him the credit for instilling in her the desire to always be prompt.  Says he is the reason she is such a stickler for timeliness, both in herself and others. No sense wasting anyone's time.

He's the guy: when the kids were small, and I was trying to get three people dressed, and socked and shoed, and brushed and hair-bowed and out the door on Sunday morning - would be sitting in the car, with the engine running, waiting for me to get three people ready to walk out the door. Not being helpful, not searching with me to locate shoes, hair bows, or sweaters, but waiting, motor running, wondering what was taking us so long to get going??? Determined to be there On Time. So now: we drive two cars, so he can go when he gets ready, and I can go, squeaking in just as the music starts.

appropriate behavior...

...in that conversation we had, my daughter and I, about getting to work on time, and showing up ready to work.  She was commenting that many of the people she hires, is responsible for their work activities and behavior, are really ignorant of how they should act. They don't seem to have any sense of the necessity for being prompt.  They are oblivious to routine, run-of-the-mill expectations of employers.  They are consistently inconsistent

They, these teenagers and twenty-somethings seem to be floundering, not taking employment seriously. Just passing the time, apparently of the school of thought : "I was looking for a job when I found this one, so I can always find another?" And don't understand, wondering 'what's the big deal?' when confronted with the fact that coworkers are depending on them. Expecting them to be there, doing their jobs, fulfilling obligations, attending to their duties. And On Time is part of the job.

They don't seem to have an understanding of proper behavior or appropriate wearing apparel for the work place. I see things in my workplace, customers coming in the retail market in clothing that makes me wonder if they have mothers. Feeling like someone should stop them before they leave the house to make them look in a mirror and say: "Really? Have you thought this through?"

Part of the conversation about our continual amazement at how people will dress and act included the fact that there are obviously people out there who did not get any lessons in basic, common-sensical manners from their moms, grandmothers, caregivers. They do not know it is uncouth to pick one's teeth in public. (I apparently married one of these.). They are not aware it is bad behavior to belch and fart in public, especially in dining establishments. They never had anyone tell them: 'You are not properly dressed if you wear short-shorts to work'. I could go on....

about my wurkin'...

In  a recent conversation with my oldest daughter we were discussing how people seem to have such monumental difficulty getting themselves to work in a timely manner. I laughed and admitted that work is the Only Place I am capable of arriving on time. Most every other place I go, I have a really hard time getting there at the appointed hour: church, dr. appts., meeting folk for lunch, etc. But I do get myself to the point to punching my number in the time clock at the earliest possible minute.

When corporate made a decision that employees could clock in fifteen minutes early, prior to the time listed on an individuals' schedule, they inadvertently opened the door for me. I had been getting so little scheduled work time, I started taking advantage of the opportunity to  add fifteen minutes to my paycheck. If it should occur four times in a week, that adds an hour to my pay... not much, I agree. But when I was only being allowed to work five hours a day x two days a week., adding an additional hour made a difference.

And now that we've been through several holidays, times when I could work a whole lot more than ten hours a week, I've continued to try to get myself in the door early, and standing by the time clock, pointer finger poised. I'm not a slacker, sitting around killing time, but get there, and get started. Clock in, put on my' haz-mat gear' (slip-proof shoes, waterproof apron and hair net: most of which protects the buying public as much as it protects me!) and begin the work day.

Most every day I'll be making salads, and doing prep. work in the produce department before getting to the floral work needing a bit of attention.  Which takes at least half my day, before I can even look at what has come in from the warehouse for the floral shoppe. That will usually include: cut flower bouquets that have to be recut and put in buckets of water. Buckets of water that always need to be scrubbed and refilled. Plants in cartons that need light, air, water, often in sleeves that must be removed. Roses that need to be recut, water added, displayed in cooler. All manner of plants in need of watering. Plus my number one job: premier customer service.

All in a days work. It's often a struggle to get it all done in six or eight hours, so I do not even slightly fathom how a manager would expect it to be done in five hours. I expect there are not many people out there who have any interest in being thankful for their bosses. But I am. I had a very difficult one for a long time, and it is such a joy to work for one who is agreeable, congenial and pleasant to work for. If you do have a person who supervises your daily activities in the workplace, and find that individual to be someone you respect, you feel good about... you are fortunate. I know there are lots of people who hate their work, do not enjoy their coworkers and are chronically frustrated with their situations. I'm glad that's not me.

last Monday morning...

Saturday, May 17, 2014
...which was the day after the turmoil of Mother's Day weekend, was noted on my calendar as a volunteer opportunity at the Botanical Gardens. I obviously was not thinking about how tired I would be trying to recover from all that fun in the floral shoppe. I'd agreed several weeks ago to help with ninety-plus kids coming from an elementary school on a field trip that morning.

This has happened often enough that the people who enjoy working with kids, helping them explore nature and provide the learning opportunities to experience the wonders of the environment, are pretty adept at doing what they do.  Most of the previous visits by school-age children have been smaller groups of kids and their home-schooling Moms. And reportedly not nearly as cooperative and well mannered as the ones who come from public schools.

Lots of things to see and do at the Columbus Botanical Gardens. A well restored and maintained farm house, built in the late 1800's by the Adams family. A beautiful garden venue open to the public, available for rental for weddings, receptions, parties. Lots of things blooming, providing eye-catching color through out the year, in every season.

There is a walking trail, where groups of kids, lead by adults can roam in the woods, observe nature through their senses. A bird viewing area, with baths and feeders, brushy areas for protection where kids can look through the barn windows and see a wide variety of native and migrating birds. There are microscopes available for groups of kids to observe flowers and leaves in amazing detail. There is a moss garden, where kids, equipped with magnifying glasses can get on their knees and see things growing at close range. There are binoculars available for kids to learn to use, and observe wildlife and growing things at a remarkable distance. Lots of opportunities for city kids to experience the natural world.

I was fortunately, blessedly, thankfully not in charge of anything. Assigned to be with the guy who was instructing the rotating groups of about fifteen kids on how to use, adjust, enjoy binoculars. I think these kids were fifth graders, from one of the magnet schools.  My responsibility was no more complicated than passing out the binoculars to the kids, and taking them up again when our little twenty minute session was over. I was impressed with how well mannered, cooperative they were.

While they were taking a break I noticed a turtle walking across the grass.

going to the 'Fox'...

I've only been on couple of occasions to events at the Fox Theater in mid-town Atlanta. Once many years ago when I was a chaperon for a group of high school students who were viewing the "Phantom of the Opera". I think it was a traveling show. I was really impressed, even from the great distance up near the clouds and stars where we were sitting.

And have been a time or two since the daughter who lives in Decatur moved away from home for life in the city. Shows we thought might be good, knowing the experience of going to see anything at the Fox would be time well spent. Even went one day on a 'behind the scenes tour' (that was not as behind the scenes and below the stage as I had hoped) into places a ticket for a show doesn't cover.

The building was built back in the 1920's, I think. Really a delight to look at, with very unique architectural detail. And at one point, probably mid-century, in an effort to 'modernize' the uptown area, was slated for demolition. To build another high rise I am sure. But lovers of the history, lovers of architecture, those with fond memories of days spent in that grand theater, those with a bigger view of city life, banded together to start a 'Save the Fox' campaign. I don't know the details, but they raised enough to get the pigeons out and renovate.

In talking to a dinner companion last night, I heard a funny tale. She reported part of the saving involved signs all over town that said 'Save the Fox'.  I don't know if this was billboards, on bumper stickers or actually on license plates as part of the fund-raiser. But she said that people who were unfamiliar with the campaign would come to town, and ask: 'Why are you saving foxes? What is it about those devious carnivores that has suddenly become so desirable?' Hilarious, no?

We are going to see/hear the live version of "Prairie Home Companion". I'm not the world's biggest fan of Garrison Keillor. But think it should be fun. And believe I will either become a dedicated fan or have enough to last the rest of my life. I do occasionally, on the odd Saturday, happen to catch it on the radio and enjoy listening, in a mildly amusing sort of way. But have never deliberately set aside from 6:00 to 8:00 on a Saturday evening to listen to the radio.

More to come....

happy daughter day....

Friday, May 16, 2014

...which is Mother's Day in reverse. I worked a lot last week, unpacked a lot of cases of pretty plants. Boxes and boxes of hydrangeas, bulb plants like tulips, hyacinths, Asiatic lily, calla lilies in colors I have never seen before, azaleas that had been groomed and shaped into mini-trees as topiaries, colorful rhododendron, loaded with blooms just beginning to open up. Lots of green plants that I randomly added satin bows to, in hopes of selling for someone who was desperate to not go to see their mom empty-handed.

Some of the big lily plants were nearly $25 each. Big beautiful plants with three stalks in each pot, and several of those big, fragrant blooms on each stalk. Even though I do not think I am normally a person who does frivolous stuff, I bought three.  Knowing that after they bloom out, the bulbs can be planted outdoors to rebloom year after year.  Gave two of them to daughters, and said 'I am so thankful for you". And the other one to my friend PC, just because she is a mom too.

Those lilies smell so wonderful, I hope the people who got those pots of aromatic blooms have that delightful odor wafting throughout their houses. If the cats have not gotten so curious, interested in that unusual aroma, the blooms got shredded as soon as the plant got in the door.

a little diversion...

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Even though I was on the schedule to be at work at 6 am, I set my alarm clock for four, and got there about 4:45. Hoping to get in and get started on making salads. People are scheduled to be there at 4:00 most mornings, so I knew there were workers in the store. Getting them to come unlock the door is a different matter. Fortunately, my boss, with a key, had scheduled himself to be at work at 5, so he came along at just the right time.

I'd had an understanding with my manager that I could come in early to leave for a couple of hours and go up to Callaway Gardens for some volunteer training. I had hoped to walk out at 8:30, as I expected it would take nearly an hour to get to the classroom where the training would occur. I stopped along the road, and picked up a little box turtle that would surely be smooshed. It rode with me to Harris County. I sort of forgot it was in the car, in my hurry to get into the building for the 9:30 meeting. But remembered when I went back to my car, so I put it out in the mulch near the parking lot. I hope he will find a good home, in his new location, and possibly a mate to make lots of children, and live to be ripe old age with grandchildren who will come around to hear about that time he went on a great adventure.

Callaway Gardens is always a delight. There is always something blooming, every day of the year. When I went in the main entrance, drove through that open pasture land, along a winding road, the wildflowers were gorgeous. The area where they were blooming in abundance was either tilled for agriculture, or really a pasture for livestock, but occasionally mowed, and rife with color. Early enough in the norming that it was still sort of foggy, but brightly lit as the sun was burning the mist off. Lots of wild  purple verbena blooming. And some sort of bright yellow wildflower on tall stems. With a growth habit similar to yarrow, but something I have seen around, along the right of way blooming. The combination of the rich purple and brilliant yellow was a joy to see. Making that flying trip up there, to cruise through the Gardens well worth the effort.

The going and coming took longer than the being there at the Gardens. I was gone for nearly three hours. By the time I got finished with what I needed to do at work and cleaned up it was almost 4:30. I don't think I have ever come that close to working around the clock since I started that job over sixteen years ago.

Sam's club shopping...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
.. for the coffee drinkers.
I'm sure I have mentioned here how I accidentally became the person who does the weekly shopping at Sam's for Sunday morning coffee supplies. I have a friend, PC, who has accepted the mission of going to Sam's each week to purchase the items requested by the staff. She asked me some months ago if I would be interested in being that person who will specifically go each week to get the goods to have adequate supplies for coffee drinkers.  It has become such a monumental undertaking, the staff decided that there should be a person dedicated to the Sunday morning shopping list .Our congregation obviously has  serious coffee habit, as there is seldom a week when I do not find a 'list' for needed items. Every and anything from Styrofoam cups to little plastic stirrers, and all the stuff in between. I went this afternoon, and by the time I got out of the building, I'd spent $263 and change. That's a whole lotta coffee supplies! And probably equals grocery money for this household for about three months...

My friend and I have had a conversation or two about how these purchases add up. She is often taken aback by the requests on the list she receives from the staff, which also includes various food and drink items. I am amazed at the willingness of the general public to believe that all this is due them, gratis. I think I might have consumed two cups of coffee at church, when I pass through the lobby and stop to make a cup. I only would drink de-caf, and not often. The last time I had a cup before church, probably back in the fall, it was so strong as to be undrinkable. It was so manly, I think it could have walked out of the building under it's own steam, without assistance. 

So I guess I am not much of a coffee connoisseur... hard to believe I came from a person who would get up in the wee hours and start drinking that stuff long before daylight!  I must be a wuss. One of my daughters made the comment, when she made me a cup, and got a sour face in response that: I must really just 'like a little coffee with my milk.' Yes, I guess - the flavored creamer is my favorite part.

I'm just not sure that supplying coffee makings for what amounts to nearly a thousand people on Sunday mornings is my definition of good stewardship. I know the availability of hot drinks can help to make newcomers feel welcome, and possibly opens the door to conversation, in the way that coffee and tea can serve as a 'lubricant.' It beckons the attendees, becomes a sort of early morning social hour, in the way that standing around the water fountain traditionally creates interaction in the work place. And can generate a time of fellowship, mingling, good will. But it seems to me like the people who show up expecting it will be there, available for their consumption are showing up, expecting it to be there: without considering expense. One cup is not much, but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds week after week after week. I'm thinking a 'goodwill' offering might be in order here...

hidden pictures...

Sunday, May 11, 2014
Remember that thing you used to get such a kick out of when you were a kid, learning about the world, and reading everything in sight? One of the things that was so fascinating was those illustrations that had 'hidden' items cleverly implanted in the trees, clothing, clouds? Your job was to try to find all the rabbits, or garden tools, or whatever was on the list of things that was disguised as shrubs, or other objects in the picture.

There are photos of an assortment of things 'hidden' in some of the previous blog posts. You have probably figured out that I am not technically proficient enough to be able to insert photos in my writings, so depend on people I raised to be smarter than I am. PI has been here over the weekend, and has put a dozen or so photos in some of the blogs I have posted in recent months. Going back to last fall, so some of the 'hidden pictures' are embedded so discreetly, they will likely never be viewed.

But I am glad to get them off my phone. Where they have been sitting for weeks, with me not being able to add them when I would write. So she had me send them to her phone, where they were stored in the Bluetooth.  Now all we have to do is delete them from my email where she sent them from her phone. Which did not work well at all, so then they got sent to her email, and then finally onto the blog. Such a smart girl - all she had to do was type in the word  for the blogmaster (?? I made that up, as I do not even begin to understand technology, and think there must surely be little people in the computer running around doing all that work??) to look for in the body of the message, and up pops the blog that I wrote months ago about a particular topic.  Like 'flags' or 'Callaway Gardens'. And there is the place to insert the photos I took when I was inspired by something to want to write about it and share with all you three readers! I was so impressed.

sadly, they disppeared...

Saturday, May 10, 2014
...after we found them yesterday, she did not like the fact that I knew where her little family was living. So she moved them at some point today. I went out to peer under the AC and they are gone. I'd put a bowl of dry food out there - hoping to endear myself to her, and eventually get her to warm up enough to me , and being around me that I might be able to help.  She ate most of that bowl of dry cat food I left out there under the compressor overnight, but when I went to look - the bowl was all I found.

I was hoping to get her to the vet, and take the kittens too. I still, still, still don't want any more cats, but I would take her to the shelter to let them spay her to prevent a litter every few months, and get immunized. Healthy, if she is going to be turned loose.

I thought that I would ask the neighbor who admitted to feeding her if she had been able to get close, but it's all a moot point now. Sort of a good news-bad news joke. I don't want her and don't want kittens around, and definitely do not want fleas, but I was hoping that she would be hanging around long enough for me to get rid of... and now she's gone...


This bird nest now has five eggs. It only had three when I took the photo. You should have been here, peeping around the corner of the house when I tried to take the picture. The first couple I took, it was so dark (no flash on my phone camera) that you could not see in the nest. So I went in the house and got my little flash light that has a stretchy band to go around my head. And put it on, adjusted the light so it would shine right in the nest, and took more photos, so you could see the little brown-speckled eggs in the nest. I think it is some sort of house wren, so it's nothing all that great... except that she built her nest in a hanging basket.

It is in a pothos that has been around for years and years. I  periodically pinch the runners off when they get too long and root them to make more plants. Bring it in the house in the late fall, when TP gives the alert about freezing weather, and move it back out on the porch in the spring. It's only been back out side for several weeks, and I had every intention of repotting it, and adding some new starts from the long runners I cut back when it came inside. But now I will have to wait until the babies hatch and fly away.

This make three bird nests I know of around here. One in the blue bird box my brother sent last year, that I finally got up on a pole in the late spring. And the one that is up on the side of the house under the eve, made of mud and moss, literally glued to the wall above a window. And now this one that I found in the pothos plant when I went out to water it, and got startled out of my skin when a little brown bird came barreling out right in my face.

cut-and-glue, make-and-do...

I've been doing this little project for several months for a Sunday School teacher who likes a visual aid in her classroom. She writes her own lessons, and thinks the addition of some sort of art on the wall, along with a memory verse, helps the little people establish the lesson more firmly in their heads.

I did a 'fire-y furnace' back in March, following a 'love one another' theme for February, and a little Easter related scene, complete with crosses, and a stone rolled over the tomb entrance for April. Here in May they will be talking about being obedient. With the verse from Ephesians 6:1, about 'children obey your parents'.The story she chose to use for illustrative purposes is Jonah and the Whale. So I went to the church this aft., and put up a big poster with a huge whale on it, and a little Jonah falling out of the boat. Lots of schools of little colored fishes swimming around beneath the little brown boat with red sails, and Jonah beginning to tip over the edge.

more cats, part 2

I tried to call Animal Control yesterday, to get some info about how I might relocate the new-found family that set up housekeeping under the AC condenser unit behind the house. And got a recording indicating they were closed for the day. The message said the facility keeps short business hours, so they can be open six days a week. They are open 10-4 Monday through Saturday, so I called back again this  morning.

And as you would expect from some one who seems to have a family motto of 'Murphy's Law', the people I needed to talk with are not there on Saturday. The machine answered, when I chose option # 4, so I left my message. The recording indicated that the people who would deal with 'free roaming' cats will return my call. I was quite amused by the fact that they are not called 'feral' or 'stray', but the more politically correct term of 'free roaming' - which is nuts, as that is what cats do regardless... along with being genetically programed to ignore you when you call them, want to get their attention.

more cats with more tails...

Friday, May 9, 2014
So: we were down to our last cat, right? And she's  been on her last wobbly legs for months, right? Well, guess what? We accidentally have at least three more. I had convinced myself that the big bulky black and white one that has been skulking (great cat word!) around for months was a big part of the reason the carport was always smelling like (pardon me) cat piss. From him coming around and helping himself to the buffet when we would leave food out in the bowls for our cats. Then playing the part of a bully, and spraying to mark his assumed territory, while terrorizing my little unassuming, mild mannered cats.

What an unwarranted surprise: kittens. So that big tom-cat is not a tom. But 'mom-cat' instead.

I walked over to the neighbors' to ask if that might be her cat. She said no, but that she had been feeding it. I thought to myself: "well, $%&*. If you are feeding it and it knows to come around and enjoy a free meal, it is pretty much your cat."  I told her it had reproduced, and she asked if the kitten was black. I said the one I saw was grey, so it has apparently had another litter.

I will try to contact the shelter tomorrow to see about getting a trap to try to catch it, and take them all in to the pound. I think I could catch the little ones, although when I went to look for them, and they were backing up in the corner, there was a lot of teeth-baring, hissing and spitting going on. Amusing from something so small, but I expect they could be pretty fierce if you were to attempt to pick one up without gloves. There is a program locally that will de-sex feral cats and release. You just have to get them to the place that will do the work. But since I have no desire to have any more cats, I hope I can trick her into getting into a trap so she will be relocated.

cat's tale, ongoing...

Lucy the cat is with us still. Seems to get skinnier each day, possibly having the weight of a 'soul', but hanging in there. I've been giving meds, with varying degrees of success since she first went to the vet with various complaints (mostly mine) back early in the year. She is theoretically taking these teeny little half pills plus a little squirt of a liquid from a syringe twice a day. As I said with only marginal success.

I came home from work at lunch yesterday, something I never do. To try to persuade her to take the wee little pills. About the sizle of a pin head. That she generally accidently consumes when I hide them in a small bit of wet (foul-fish-smelling) food. But lately she had become quite adept at avoiding the meds. Either eating around it, or spitting it out on the floor. So I pick it up, and try again, to tempt her by sneaking it in another small mound of fishy smelling wet food. After a couple of tries, I generally give up, thinking she is full and won't eat any more anyway. So she does not get both of the pill-type meds twice a day. Frustrating to be out-foxed by a five pound feline...

Then there is the problem of the liquid. She does Not like to have that stuff squirted in her mouth with the little syringe from the vet, used to measure the Lasix-type fluid. So I thought: mix in a small portion of milk. Which occasionally works, but less and less as time goes by. So there are days when she might get only half of the required doseage of that as well. Which is why I decided to come home in the middle of the day on Thursday, to try again. Because she had been up wandering and talking so much all night, that she was not awake and interested in food when I had to get going.

All with limited success on Thursday. And again this  morning, when she spent the night outside. So I guess I will be taking my lunch break by coming home to give the meds another go. I decided yesterday afternoon to give her enough attention last night to keep her awake. So she would sleep good. Remember having a baby that took such a long afternoon nap that the kid did not want to go to bed at the proper time? So wide awake and full of 'let's play some more' that the little person was up and going strong, long past what was a normal time for bed? I was trying to avoid that with Lucy, and then it turned out she wanted to go outside when I wanted to hit the sack. So she spent the night sitting on the car in the carport instead of being an 'inside cat'.

that's so true...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

At my Wed. night Bible study, we talked last night about service, and how everyone has the same amount of time, hours, minutes in each day... we just choose how we want to use it. And how it is so likely that we are often critical of how other people are occupying their time: feeling like they are poor stewards, squandering it in such foolish, ill-considered ways.

So, me being me, I had to pipe up and put in my two cents worth. And said: if you are not doing things that feed your spirit, whether it is taking time for yourself, or doing things that bring meaning to others (noticed and commended or not.) Devoting some portion of your time on this planet to meaningful service to others, you are not using it wisely. If you are not doing things that bring you joy, you should step back, take a look and figure out how to change your days to make this limited amount of time we are given more joyful. Get up and get going: do something that brings you joy... even if it's just going out the door, to see the blue sky, white fluffy clouds drifting by, bright sunshine filtering through the trees... take a walk, count your blessings.

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein."  ~ Jackson Brown, in 'Life's Little Instruction Book'

a quik trip to La Grange

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
I somehow got myself in this situation where I was a do-gooder today. The church receptionist called me over a month ago, asking if I might be available to help out with a logistical problem. This person, TB, had contacted her with a need for a driver, and did not know where to seek help. (I probably need to practice 'No' more often). She is someone I do not know, but attend church with, who reported she was in need of a driver to help her get back home after minor surgery in La Grange. About half-an-hour drive up the interstate. Probably from too much keyboarding, TB was having hand surgery, and due as much to anesthetic as the hand being indisposed, she was told she had to have a driver available, waiting in the building for her to be discharged.

So I spent the better part of my day sitting in the waiting space at the Emory Orthopedic Clinic on the west side of town, waiting for her to be released. It was a pretty day for a drive in the country, with honeysuckle blooming along the fence rows.  And the beautiful nuisance privet shrubs blooming where they have reseeded and volunteered in the woods, smelling most fragrant. I tied bows for the Girl Scout corsages while I was waiting. So they can grace the Awarded young ladies of eastern TN when they receive their Gold and Silver pins and certificates in a week or so.

TB was scheduled for the surgery at 11, then got a call on Tues to ask if she could be there at 10 instead. So we left about 9:30 and got back to town about 2:00. Uneventful trip, but I was hungry as a bear when we returned. I found a can of soup in my backseat, located a spoon, and ate it straight from the can. That hungry? Yes!

it was a very short 'day'...

...when I went to work for an hour this morning. Worked most all day on Tues., just rolling along, doing my job, minding my own business, trying to be un-noticed, stay below the radar. When the produced manager asked me on Tuesday what time I was scheduled to work on Wednesday. I said 'none'. So he asked if I would come in and help with a  monthly inventory that happens in all the 'fresh' departments.

For some totally obscure reason the store has the inventory people come once a month and do inventory on all the merch. in the deli., bakery, meat/seafood and produce department. With floral being under the produce banner, they count all the plants, fresh flowers, balloons, containers. Dept. mgr. was desperate to make sure the counters did not overlook anything that was considered salable merchandise. Apparently I did such a good job when they counted the whole store he wanted me to be there again. I'm sure there is a reason for corporae to think all that stuff needs to be counted every month, but the expense of having those people go to every store (close to 1,000) and do that on a  monthly basis does not seem overly practical or good stewardship, when every store is thoroughly counted, front to back every three months.  But what do I know??

So I got up at 5:00, to go in at 6:00 and spent an hour with the girl who was doing the scanning of barcodes for everything she could find. I just now, as I was sitting here typing, thought of something I did not tell her to count. Whatever....

Sunday afternoon, part 2... more about GSUSA

Monday, May 5, 2014
I am not one to toot my own horn. There does not seem to be any way to write this without it sounding like a 'brag'. Which is something that does not come easily. Which is something that well-raised, respectable people have no need for. So it is with great reluctance that I continue to type, sharing news and info. It's somewhat uncomfortable to continue....

I recently read of a publicity campaign involving well known, readily recognizable personalities. People who are not constantly followed by paparazzi, but taken seriously in the business world. Women with high-profiles. Strong, capable, respected females who were telling the media of their desire to promote a plan for young girls to realize that they are not being 'bossy', just assertive. And becoming more willing to occupy the space as leaders in our culture and society. Space they are entitled to fill, and jobs they are fully qualified for.  You may want to correct me, but I have never thought of myself as being 'bossy', and not particularly assertive. Some of this is surely due to being raised to be polite and respectful as was common to my generation of GRITS. I would like to believe I am getting better at standing my ground, as opposed to being run over by dominating personalities. Likely due to advancing age, and awareness of not giving a whit for what others think.

So I went to that Awards event down on St. Mary's Road at the UMC, to recognize nearly two dozen  Girl Scouts. Girls from our area who had been so diligent and completed the process to gain recognition for their work. Being awarded the Bronze, Silver and Gold GSUSA awards for their efforts and accomplishments in bettering our community.

And was recognized myself. I got a twenty-five year pin as a Girl Scout. So it's obvious they counted back to when the adult who is now in her thirties first became a Brownie. And then I got awarded for being such a reliable volunteer. I'm not really one who seeks out recognition, certificates of accomplishment, publicity. 'Thank You' is sufficient.  But it was sweet to be recognized.

I love the idea of Scouts, what it does for girls, what it means for them as they get older and find it is more than just a 'club', and realize while they are having fun, being together with friends there is more than 'fun' here. They are learning skills they carry for a lifetime. We had a great time learning to thread a needle and sew on buttons at day camp last summer. But Girl Scouting is far more than that. They are developing  life-long skills.  The ability to cooperate, the self-discipline required to complete big projects, the motivation required to see things they can change for the better, set goals and see the difference they can make: those are things they will carry with them throughout life. That's why I love the idea of Girl Scouts.

Sunday afternoon...more about GSUSA

I received a postcard about six weeks ago that was an invite to the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia  Council-wide Awards event. The postcard actually listed a half dozen different locations across the state, where the Awards would be presented at the same time on the same day. Interesting concept. A way to recognize lots of people, both scouts and volunteers for their efforts, without anyone traveling a great distance.

Since many councils across the US have merged, the area of the Historic Georgia council now covers two-thirds of the state. From Columbus, Macon, Augusta: everything south to the Florida line, and that upper east corner of the state. It is a combination of three different councils, apparently an effort to conserve financial resources and theoretically to make the staff more effective and efficient. Somewhat questionable, but a debate for another time. The local event was to be at St. Mary's Road UMC on Sunday, May 4.

The older scouts, who have been working on projects that provide community service, receive well -deserved recognition for their time and effort at the Awards events. Scouts decide on projects that will provide needed support to various segments of their community, set goals for fulfilling those needs and plan how to best achieve their goals. The younger scouts work in groups, with fellow troop members, while older girls work individually, to meet their goals. Award levels are Bronze (younger scouts) Silver and Gold.

With Great Reluctance, I will say that the Gold Award is comparable to the Eagle Award in the world of Boy Scouting - but I know the young women who achieve their Gold are truly without comparison. The time, effort, focus, devotion, determination it takes to plan and complete their projects demonstrates their organizational skills, maturity, capability to make needed contacts within the adult community, ability to learn and master new skills, and finally success as they receive the highest Award the GSUSA bestows.

They do this: goal setting, and achieving, devoting and documenting many hours of their time, in addition to all the other things that keep teenagers busy: school, social activities, family life, church participation.  That's pretty impressive, don't you think?

the way working works?

From the looks of this space, you might think I had so much going on during the course of the day, I did  not have time to actually work. But work I did. Going in at 10:30 and leaving at 7:00. Making me wonder why there is not some trade off for calories. When you get as tired as I am after being on my feets all day, it seems to me like there should be some caloric compensation for the level of exhaustion. If you put in so many hours of being vertical without pause, there ought to be tremendous loss of weight as a result of expended effort. The only thing I'm eating while I am working is really healthy stuff like strawberries and the odd blueberry when I am doing the prep work in the produce dept.

Doesn't it seem reasonable to expect that putting in the time, often six or more hours without a break to prop up one's feet, would produce a remarkable reduction in poundage?? Is there no axiom that covers such a calorie investment that would allow for great weight loss as a result?? Who can we report this to for closer investigation? I firmly believe there is a remedy for such a baffling conundrum, we just need to get it to the right department for some in depth research.

later Sunday morning...

Sunday, May 4, 2014
I Love my church. I spent most of the past year not going, due to having to be at work too early to make it to the early service and still get to work on time. My new dept. mgr., bless his little pea-pickin' heart, will happily schedule me to come in to work after the early service is over. Which is what was supposed to happen again today. But I did not go at 9:00 a.m. as usual.

Instead we had a day of Church Has Left the Building. Everyone who is a regular attendee knew that we were supposed to go out into the community and do good. The staff had created a list of options, but your time on Sunday morning when you did not go to church was not limited to the ideas they listed. Some of which were: visit a nursing home, visit a  fire station, visit total strangers at the hospital. Or go out on the bike/walking trail and pass out bottles of water to passers-by.  On Sat.., there were a number of projects around town that needed workers to help clean, organize, paint.

My group decided to go to the Food Bank and help pack dry goods in boxes. The bank is not usually open on Sundays, but apparently they were more than willing to accommodate some free labor. I went at 9, and left about 10, so I could go by the church and then on to work. A friend, PC, reported the group of about a dozen people who worked for around ninety minutes packed nearly 500 boxes.

It happened assembly line style. With a couple of folks opening up flattened boxes, folding in and taping the four bottom flaps to close the bottom of the box, then starting the boxes down a long table. With us volunteers standing on each side, and the goods to be packed lining the center of the table. There were extra canned and dry goods stacked on pallets, ready to be used as supplies diminished. Things like cans of green beans, corn, applesauce,  a box of cake mix, a packet of blueberry muffin mix, and large bottle of juice/punch. Jars of peanut butter. The woman standing by me, said it reminded her of the old 'I Love Lucy' sitcom where Lucy gets a job on the production line in the candy factory, can't keep up with what is coming down the conveyor belt, and starts stuffing it in her mouth, pockets, coverall front...

The guy who works for the Feeding The Valley program provided some statistics before we got started. I think he said they cover about eighteen area counties, providing low cost food to those in need. The boxes we packed will go to some of those outlying areas, not enough to feed a family, but with food stamps or  limited income, certainly helpful to provide daily meals. He reported that Stewart County, to the south of Ft. Benning is the poorest county in the state. I'm just telling what he said. And that there is a county to the southeast of here that does not have a grocery store. The residents have to drive to Albany or Columbus to buy groceries. Hard to believe, here in this land of plenty.

So I'm being thankful for grocery stores. And washers and dryers. And potable water that comes out of the faucet every time I turn it on. And a pantry with enough food in it, to feed us for at least a week. And a job that provides the income to purchase the groceries, even if we do complain about how high a gallon of milk has gotten, or how alarming the price of a dozen eggs is, or question what makes a loaf of bread so dear?

sunday morning...(updated with pictures!)

I am sitting at the dining table, looking out the window as the early morning sunshine begins to lighten the tops of trees. Brilliant clear day, with the sunlight back lighting trees at the edge of the woods, creating a peaceful panorama of mixed light and shade. Rays of bright sunlight streaming through the leafy canopy.

There are clumps of  naturalized, native, wildflower (invasive, unwanted, expansive, irritating, irremovable) lavender 'Chattahoochee Blue' phlox, eight to ten inches tall, blooming in the bed out on the north side of the house. And the spikey foxglove I started from seed and planted a couple of years ago, in white and purple. Man, I think those things, with the elongated bell shaped blooms, dotted and spotted interiors, are so neat. And now, several orangey-yellow blooms on tall lily stalks have opened ,(surprised the deer have not found that!) adding more color and eye-catching interest.

I wrote about planting more of the foxglove across the front of the house, up close, under the overhang. Most of them are either blooming, or, the more recently planted, still growing the spikes up about three feet tall, preparing to put on a show. Along with, literally, hundred of daisy blooms along the front edge of the bed, crowded together, beginning to lean and sag out onto the driveway. They were all upright as well-trained army recruits, but with rains and wind, they have begun to angle off, many with bent stems, beginning to tilt more like the soldiers who just received their first weekend off-base pass, and over-indulged with complete abandon of training.


Saturday, May 3, 2014
...is not usually a day of employment for me, unless the day prior to some holiday. But I was on the schedule to work today, and somewhat baffled as to why I was there. But then I discovered the store had decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Tres de Mayo.  Possibly thinking there would be more shopping traffic on a Saturday than on the actual day of the fifth.

So... that explains it: I was the demo. person for the produce department. And assigned the task of making guacamole, putting a dab in a little cup with a couple of shards of corn chips and inviting passers-by to sample. I told the department manager if he would get a sombrero I would wear it, so he offered to buy one if I would go across town to purchase it.

Then I discovered one in the store up at the food demo. booth. So I 'borrowed' the one that was decorating the Aprons counter. Then decided that a big black manly Latino mustache would be a nice touch. So I made one out of a piece of black styrofoam, like the trays the slices of cantaloupe are displayed on. And stuck it on under my nose with a bit of masking tape. When I finally pulled it off, it was far more painful that pulling off a band-aid - possibly as tear-inducing as getting one's upper lip waxed.

But it was quite an attention-getter. I had several people want to pull out phones and take my photo. And several people who actually wanted to have my manly mustaches. And several more folk that I offered to loan it to, when they have occasion to go someplace really fancy. It was such a big hit, conversation starter, I did not put it in the trash when I finished my assignment. Think I will save it for Halloween - it will be a nice touch to go along with my clown outfit.

a 'sort of'' yard sale...

The local botanical gardens has a garden market every year, with vendors setting up booths and selling plants, gardening supplies, yard art, mulch, various accessories. So if you looked at it from a certain angle, and squint, you could consider it a 'yard sale'. I volunteered to spend the day there on Friday. I've been helping for several years, and knew my assignment as a 'runner' quite well.  

But this year, my job changed to 'face painting'.  It was gratis, a freebie, along with a table set up out of the traffic pattern for parents to park kids to do crafts while they shopped. A good idea. Except for the fact that there were no kids in attendance. Which suited me perfectly.

I sat around, being a bug on the wall, listening to conversations about planting things, observing people picking and choosing, discussing where and how to plant. Occasionally adding my two-cents worth. Wandering. Kibitzing. Visiting with people I seldom see. I think I saw three kids in the course of the day. While I was congratulating myself for choosing Friday instead of Saturday. Knowing that 99% of the kids would be in school instead of running errands and plant sale shopping with mom.

Trying to avoid buying growing things. And doing a pretty good job until I saw some little 'painted' ferns I fell for. I'd seen some lushly growing in a bed last spring, and had some lust. So I bought four small plants.  I was so confident I would not be making any purchases at the plant sale ( yeah, I know: ridiculous idea, right?) I didn't take any cash, and ended up buying my little fern pots with a credit card.

I think of all the things I would have loved to see growing around the house, and how many I left there, knowing other people will be paying for, lugging them home, digging holes, planting, keeping watered. I made the right decision to 'just walk away', but they were all so gorgeous, beautiful, full of blooms, desirable, tempting, I'm still having regret. Thankful that I don't have all that hole digging work ahead of me, but a bit of remorse to know they will not be gracing my personal vistas. Or eaten by local deer.


Thursday, May 1, 2014
...all week. Until they won't let me come back. I've gotten so close to forty hours (getting into overtime of forty hours and one minute is a huge no-no with corporate), they sent me home. I am tired, and tired of having to get up to be at work at 6:00 a.m. But then, on the other hand - thankful to be employed and doubly thankful to be working for a manager who is pleasant, congenial, easy-going, hands-off, understanding that we've all been trained and perfectly capable of doing our jobs.

But I know I will be glad of the funds when I get a paycheck for all this extra time I've put in. It was be very handy when I have to pay for the nearly $500 worth of new tires I put on my little Toyo. Necessary to keep me on the go. Coming to a location near you, very soon....

If you have been reading this over time, you are aware of my insight into the 'time vs $$$' conundrum. It never seems to coincide in one of those fabled serendipitous moments. You either have the time to do things that you enjoy, be with people or go places that are assured of feeding your spirit. Or you have the financial resources to be able to afford to have good fun with those folk/in those places. It is so sadly seldom that the time and cash coincide: but when they do, you better take lots of photos!  And enjoy those fruity drinks with paper umbrellas while you sit with your toes in the sand....

did'ja miss me...

...while the cable guy was wandering around in the yard???

We had some really bad weather blow through the area early on Tuesday morning - I awoke to rolling thunder and lots of flashing lights outside, making it look like people with flood lights were standing out in the yard waving at the house. You probably read about those scary tornadoes that ripped up communities in east Alabama? We are not much farther to the east of there, though we had no discernible wind damage.  Apparently we took a hit on the cable box, as we were without for  a couple of days. I was not sad whatsoever about the lack of television reception, but after a couple of days of no Internet for email and blogging, I think I might have been having some withdrawal symptoms. If it had not resolved today, it's likely I would be sitting in the parking lot of the chic-fil-a, pecking away.

When I came in from work on Tuesday afternoon, and found TP sitting in the kitchen, reading old newspapers, desperate for entertainment, I asked how long he thought was appropriate to wait before calling for report his problem/request service. He confessed he had already called three times to try to get some relief from his excessive boredom. Thoroughly annoyed that he could not talk to a real person to vent, and was only getting a recording that reported they knew there was some difficulty and they were trying to 'resolve the issues. Then when he called one last time, the real person said they would have a service person here between 1:00 and 3:00 on Thursday.

So, though completely inconvenienced and profoundly aggravated, he took some solace in the fact that the Mediacom guy was coming.  I think part of the problem is that he sat at home all day, awaiting repairman arrival, and could not amuse  himself with junkfood for the brain on the TV, so he was well past boredom. Relax: it's fixed, the cable guy has come and gone, and he is sitting in his recliner, sleeping to the TV.  So, you might well ask  - what was the point of all this: the great urgency of having the cable back in service? The huge necessity for getting the CSI turned on again? Just to take a nap with the TV on?

When I was following the cable guy around the house, I asked him about relocating that horrible-ugly black plastic box that is attached to the wall in the kitchen. Located about 18 inches up from the floor, where the huge desk used to sit in a corner when the computer was in a public place. Desk and computer got relocated several years ago when we had the house painted, but the horrible-ugly black box is still a monstrous eye-sore on the kitchen wall.

Cable guy said we needed to have a bigger weatherproof box installed on the back of the house, where the cables are all connected. So he would put in a work order, and the person who will come replace the container full of wires could also relocate the horrible-ugly black plastic box. Right now, it looks like a box with an escaping octopus, lots of wires wriggling there way out along the crack, desperate to get loose. This horrible-ugly happened when I left them to their own devices: the cable installer and TP: men. Let that be a lesson to us all.

Now I have to start preparing TP for the inevitable relocation of the box, when I figure out where it would be less obtrusive and obvious. Preferably in a closet where it is not exposed at all, or in some well hidden location, far less noticeable than walking into the kitchen and seeing: Horrible-ugly.   I guess guys just have a much higher tolerance for horrible-ugly. Or maybe they are just actually completely oblivious to horrible-ugly?