Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Courageous Generation

The generation before mine is often called "The Best Generation".  I have no argument with that.  They, as a whole, were an amazing group of people who accomplished great things.

I would like, though, to nominate my generation as "The Most Courageous Generation".  This is why.

The economy, as we know, is horrendous.  Budget deficits abound and with those deficits come layoffs.  I know more than one person who, when their position was deleted or their company went under, lost their jobs.  These are educated, accomplished people who thought that, after years of service, they had job security.  They did not.

So, these people who were suddenly unemployed, what did they do?  Did they give up their homes?  No, but some did lose them when they couldn't find work.  Did they apply for welfare?  The folks I know didn't, at least not until they had used all of their own resources and some of their family's.  Did they sit and wait for the government to help them?  No, they did not.

Most of them, after looking for a new position for months, after sending out resume after resume, after travelling to interview after interview, often on their own dime, did not find a new job in their chosen field.  A lot of them were not hired because of their age.  We all know that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of age.  We all know that employers do.  I am not blaming them.

But, what did those people of my generation do?  They looked around.  They asked for help.  They got training in fields that they never, ever thought of as a career.  I know attorneys who are truck drivers.  I know business owners who became door greeters at the big box store.  I know accountants who are now private tutors.

Most of these people are not making, monetarily, what they did in their previous lives.  Most of these people, however, can still look at themselves in the mirror when they get dressed to go to work and know that they have done the best they can.  That they are doing the best that they can.

It takes a special kind of courage to face a world that you never intended to enter and to make a success of it.  It takes a special kind of courage to get up every day and do what needs to be done, whether it is going to school or knocking on doors or calling old friends for leads or making cold calls for jobs.  It takes a special kind of courage to not give up, to not sit in a government provided house, eating government provided food, and just waiting for the job fairy to show up with that 6 figure job.

So, friends,  I am proud of you.  I am proud of each and every one of you and I am proud to call you my friends.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Boysenberry Memories

Yesterday my brother told me that he had picked 4 lbs of boysenberries.  I immediately offered to pay shipping on the jam or jelly or whatever he wanted to do with them.

My parents had boysenberries in their yard - a LOT of boysenberries in their yard.  It seems, looking back, that a good part of our summer was ruled by the boysenberries.  If we weren't watering them, we were picking them.  Yep, that was the extent of it.  Turning on a hose and putting berries into a colander and taking them into the house.

From there, my mother would work her magic.  Those berries became jam and jelly and pie and ice cream topping and sometimes just berries in a bowl with milk.

I hated boysenberries.  All we ever got on our peanut butter sandwiches was miserable homemade jams and jellies.  I used to trade at lunch with whoever had Welch's grape jelly.  We, poor abused children, never got store bought jelly.

My mother also had the audacity to make us take homemade cookies in our school lunches, which I tried to trade for Oreos.  The flip side of this, of course, is that the children with Welch's and Oreos were always more than willing to trade for things made by Mom.

Funny the things that stick with us.  My mother kept her flour and sugar in large square canisters with screw tops in the "back door in the cupboard".  My brother says they were pickle jars but I don't remember that.  I do know that Anchor Hocking makes them now.  I know this because I bought myself some and then, when my daughter said that she wanted canisters like her grandma's, I bought her some.

The "back door in the cupboard"?  I have no idea.  It was the cabinet in the kitchen to the right of the sink against the back wall.  It was hard to get into, unless you were tall which we all were, thank goodness.  The cupboard had two doors and the one furthest away was the "back door".  So, if Ma wanted something from there or is we asked where something was, the answer was sometimes "the back door in the cupboard".  It's where she kept things she didn't use often.

Things she used every day were in the large cupboard (twice the size of the back door cupboard) above the pull out cutting board.  This is where the salt and pepper, butter, mustard and even mayonnaise were kept, on the bottom shelf, handy for sandwich making.  None of us died from the unrefrigerated mayo but I did NOT like the taste and never used it on my sandwiches.  I do keep my butter in my cupboard, above the part of the counter where I make sandwiches, right next to the mustard.

It pleases me to know that Ma's canisters are alive and well in my brother's house, as well as in my memory and my child's memory.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yet more opportunities

We currently have 4 dispatchers working 5 days each to cover 21 shifts per week.  This leaves one shift open and the 4 of us rotate covering that shift.  We are in the process of hiring a 5th dispatcher who covers that shift along with vacations, holidays, sick days, etc.  If none of those situations arise, the 5th dispatcher, to guarantee her a 40 hour week, works in the office.

One of the dispatchers wanted the weekend off for her child's birthday.  No problem.  She was scheduled for days on Saturday and days and 1/2 of evenings on Sunday.  The night girl stayed over 4 hours on Saturday and the evening girl came in 4 hours early on Saturday and all was right with the world.  I had planned to cover the 12 hours on Sunday myself.

The night girl called on evenings and said that she was not coming in and probably wouldn't be back.  When asked why she did not give two weeks notice, she said that she knew that if she did, the rest of us would just take time off before she left.  She's probably right.

She just got back from vacation and has used all of her available holidays.  One of the other girls has 3 vacation days she must use before September 1st and I had a week of vacation scheduled starting in two weeks.

So, because this person does not want to work 8 hours overtime a month and does not want to work her two days off while I am on vacation, the three of us who are left, who worked our days off while she was on vacation, now get to work 7 days a week for the foreseeable future.  If a new dispatcher were hired tomorrow, there is still a three month training period.

To say that I am less than pleased is an understatement.

Is there some sort of litmus test for selfishness that I could use for the new-hires?

Just venting and didn't want to throw it on facebook....sorry y'all for whining....there are ample opportunities for success in the back room.

Ample Opportunities

When I worked for one of large retail establishments, we used to have morning meetings.  At these meetings, the supervisors would address any issues in the store.  The managers, who had all been to management classes, were very careful to never say anything negative and to always be encouraging.

One day, when the stockroom was in utter chaos, the manager said, "There are ample opportunities for success in the back room".  We all laughed and then we went and worked on the back room.

I use this saying now whenever things are in chaos.  "There are ample opportunities for success in..........".

I am telling this story so that the next one will make sense.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Real Presence

On Wednesday afternoon, after work, I spend an hour at chuch in Blessed Adoration.  We Catholics believe in the "Real Presence".  That is, we believe that once the host is consecrated during Mass, it IS the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  A consecrated host is kept in the monstrance inside the tabernacle on the altar.  St. Anthony's, like many churches, has a front altar and a back altar.  The back altar, directly under the crucifix in the sanctuary is where the tabernacle resides.  It is also where the priest used to celebrate the Mass pre-Vatican II.  Most churches left that altar in place and put another altar further toward the nave of the church, where the pews are.  The priest now celebrates Mass on this altar, facing the congregation.

The front altar is where, on Wednesdays, our Lord is taken from the tabernacle and is placed, in the monstrance, so that we can be physically closer to Him.  Blessed Adoration is a time to pray, to reflect, sometimes to just visit, to just "be" in His presence.

Now, when I was a child, for some reason, only grownups went to Blessed Adoration.  I prayed, as did most of my classmates and friends, with my attention on the crucifix.  It is part and parcel of our faith, to remember not just God's love, but His sacrifice.  I also learned that God was in Heaven and to look upward in faith.

So, yesterday, I found myself in prayer, focusing not on our Lord Himself, present in the monstrance but focusing on the crucifix.  I brought myself back several times and found myself again looking upward in prayer.  I started to wonder why.  I also started wondering why I was wondering instead of praying but that's a whole 'nother blog.

I think that maybe it is because looking at Him is just too hard - partly because I know that I am not worthy and partly because, when I do look at Him, I see the real me reflected in His brilliance.  It is easier for me to focus on a portrayal of Him than on Him.  I feel sort of like the little child who hides their face when they are talking to a grownup because they are afraid to look at them.

I have no answers and to be honest, I don't expect any.  I will go every Wednesday and I will spend an hour with Him and even if I can't do it the way I think it should be done, at least I am doing it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bocking Chicken

A friend of mine posted her opinion about the "support Chick-Fil-A" movement and protests today.  She stated that she was tired of reading and sorting through all of the hate-mongers on facebook.

For those of you who don't know, or for my family reading this in the future, a little background.  Chick-Fil-A is a family owned fast food restaurant specializing in chicken.  The owner is Christian and his stores (all 1600+) are closed on Sunday so that his employees can spend the Lord's Day with the Lord and with their families.  He recently came out publicly in opposition to gay and lesbian marriages.  His stores do not refuse to serve gays or lesbians.  He does not refuse to hire gays or lesbians.  He merely stated that he is opposed, for religious reasons, to gay and lesbian marriage.

And the maelstrom ensued.  He was praised by some.  He was villified by some.  Mayors of some cities called for the ouster of all Chick-Fil-A franchises.

Today, August 1, was "support your local Chick-Fil-a" Day.  Those who agreed with the owner should eat at his restaurants.  Those who neither agreed nor disagreed but firmly believe in his right to believe whatever he wants and to publicly espouse it should eat at his restaurants.  Those who disagreed, of course, showed up in protest.

Now, back to my friend.  She is one of the most gracious and tolerant Christians that I know.  It occurred to me after I commented on her post that, aside from one post from my daughter and the one from my friend, I had not ready ANY posts about Chick-Fil-A.

I know that my friends are aware of the situation.  I know that all of my friends have opinions.  I think that my friends use other formats to share their opinions.  I know that a lot of my friends, like me, do not view Facebook as a news source.  It is a place to touch base, a place to share personal triumphs and tragedies, a place of comfort and denial.

So maybe part of the problem today is that my friend had to read all of the diatribes because her friends have not yet learned this.  So, to her, maybe it's time to winnow out your friends and to rid your life of some of the negativity.  To my friends, thank you and God bless you, one and all.
Myanderings - Free Blogger Templates, Free Wordpress Themes - by Templates para novo blogger HD TV Watch Shows Online. Unblock through myspace proxy unblock, Songs by Christian Guitar Chords