Memorial Day…then and now

Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arli...

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Memorial Day was initiated as a day to honor our fallen soldiers, but has long since evolved as a day to remember all of our loved ones who have passed from this life.  I remember, as a young child, going to the cemetaries with my grandparents to place flowers on the graves of relatives I’d never known…the parents of my grandparents, some of their siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins…so many people I’d never met.  That taught me that we pay homage to those who came before us and who had a hand in who we became, whether or not we ever knew them.

Working in a retail environment that provides a vast array of flowers, greenery and the supplies to make remembrance saddles and cemetary cones, I am heartened to see how many people still take the time to decorate the graves of their loved ones.  I think there are a few differences in how it’s done now and how it was done when I was a kid.  Now people are more likely to use artificial flowers…this allows the arrangements to last all summer (providing the cemetary allows you to leave the decorations up that long…many don’t).  People also tend to visit the graves on Saturday or Sunday, leaving Monday (officially Memorial Day) free to be with family and friends, having cookouts and kicking off the summer season.  I don’t think my grandparents ever thought of it like that.

I’m not saying that one way is superior to the other.  After all, everything changes in this life.  The important thing is to remember and honor the past while living the best life we can in the present.  I’ll be working today, but I am remembering those relatives and friends who have departed this life…Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, Kay, Aunt Deon, Uncle Bernie…love you all and miss you every day!

Why I think birds are a lot like people

Bushtits mass on a birdfeeder in Salem, Oregon.

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I have a couple of bird feeders, a suet feeder, and a bird bath outside my kitchen window.  Usually watching the birds is relaxing.  However, Wednesday I heard a terrible ruckus outside and rushed to the kitchen window in fear that a wild cat was out there terrorizing the birds.  Nope, not at all.  What I saw was a demanding, loud young bird sitting on top of the suet feeder.  It was screeching at its poor harried mother to feed it NOW!!  The mother kept hopping down to the bar on the arch, grabbing the suet as fast as she could,  then hurriedly placing the food in the wide-open mouth of the youngster.  All the while, the young bird continued its very vocal demands for more food, more food, faster, mama, faster.

This brought to mind the many times I’ve seen children making ridiculous demands of their parents (the young bird was sitting directly on top of the feeder and could have easily reached right in to get all the food he needed, but instead of doing for himself, he felt entitled to sit there while his mother was wearing herself out administering to his needs).  It also reminded me of the many times I’ve seen parents (usually mothers) doing things for their children that the children could, and should, be doing for themselves.

The only difference was that the mother bird was  teaching her young one how to get the food he needed on his own, while so many human mothers continue to do things for their children long past the time they should have learned to do for themselves (mothers doing their grown children’s laundry, cleaning up after their lazy teenagers instead of demanding that they pick up after themselves).  Instead of teaching children how to survive in this world, too many mothers (and fathers) are teaching their kids how to be leeches.  Somehow I don’t think that’s doing anyone any good, not the parents and definitely not the kids. 

Come on, parents…raise your children to fly away…they’ll always fly back to the nest, but at least they’ll become contributing members of society instead of whiny brats with a sense of entitlement.

Show me the money

Emergency medical technicians evacuating an in...

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Or at least the register tills we put the money in.  Just please, don’t smack me in the face with them.  I was at work yesterday morning (like almost every morning), getting ready to open a register.  Surprise, surprise…no register till out there.  I can’t really figure out why people can’t bring them back out after they close the registers at night…but that’s another story.

I hurried into the office to grab a till.  Unfortunately, all the tills were stacked on a shelf way above my head (yes, I know…I am vertically challenged…not much I can do about that).  In rushing to get a till down, I grabbed a screwdriver that just happened to be there (don’t ask) and attempted to pull a till off the stack.  When that didn’t work, I decided to just slowly pull the entire stack forward and tilt it until one slid off. 

Well…didn’t quite work the way I thought it would.  The entire stack came crashing down right into my face.  Talk about hurting.  I admit it, I said a few words that I shouldn’t have said…it was the pain talking, I tell ya!!  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!  I was afraid I’d have a nosebleed, but I didn’t.  Just had a little cut on the bridge of my nose, some mild swelling around my eyes and my teeth were hurting (did my mouth slam shut from the impact?  Don’t really know, don’t remember that part).  Then I developed a really bad headache over the next few hours and a little bit of dizziness off and on.  But I kept on working, thinking it would be all right.

Out on the floor, I started getting really dizzy and sat down (yes, on the sales floor…hey, that’s better than falling down and banging my head…again).  I guess one of the guys called an ambulance, because here come the EMTs.  People were gathered around and I felt like an idiot.  I told them I didn’t want to go to the hospital.  They said they couldn’t force me to go, but that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal (ha!  if only they knew me, they’d know I’ve never been normal), asked me a bunch of questions (you know, the “Do you know what day this is?  Do you know where you are?  How many fingers am I holding up?”), then wanted to see me walk.  After all of that, they asked me to sign a form saying that I was refusing treatment.  Okey, dokey…if that’s what it takes to get you to leave me alone.

Then my boss said I could go home.  Guess he didn’t want any more distractions in the workplace.  He’d had enough excitement for one day.  (He said he was out in his car eating his fast food lunch, when he saw the ambulance speed past.  Jokingly, he wondered if it was heading to our store.  Imagine his surprise when he came back from lunch to see an ambulance parked outside our front door!)  I went home and took some Advil (hmm…now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if that’s the best thing to do with a head injury?  Oh well, it didn’t kill me.).  I slept pretty well last night, felt some tightness in my nose and under my eyes, but experienced very little swelling or discoloration.  The bridge of my nose is still pretty sore, but I think I’ll survive with my brain relatively intact. 

One thing I have to say about my life is that it’s never boring…sometimes a little nutty, but never boring.

Testing the waters

Moving Truck

Image by netmonkey via Flickr

When it comes to change, are you the type of person who hesitantly sticks your big toe in the water to test it?  Or do you dive in head first, not worrying about what the water may conceal?  Me?  I’m more the big toe in the water tester…and it usually takes me quite a while to even approach the water.  I don’t readily embrace change.  I like routine.  I like being comfortable in my environment.  I’m not especially daring.  I approach new situations with extreme caution.

Has this behavior worked in my favor in my life?  I think there was a time in my life, many years ago, when this was a protective mechanism that worked for me.  But I think that time is long gone.  Now I think this type of behavior is preventing me from living the life I want to live.  I want to do things I’ve never done, go places I’ve never been, experience things I’ve only imagined.  And it’s pretty difficult to do those things when you’re not willing to try something new.

So…I’ve talked with our district manager and human resources person about moving somewhere else to have a store of my own.  Their responses have been very encouraging.  I’m sure this is going to happen, just don’t know when or where.  Wow…for someone who has never really liked change, this is huge.  I told the HR rep that I’d move anywhere…that kind of scares me, but I also find it very exciting.  I’m ready to start a new adventure in my life.  Who would have thunk it?

There’s a bad wind blowing

Image of a thunderstorm line (in dBZ) seen on ...

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I feel almost guilty talking about the storms that blew through here yesterday when you consider the devastation in Joplin, Missouri and now the tornadoes in Oklahoma, but I’m going to do it anyhow.  The weather really took a bad turn late yesterday afternoon.  A storm blew in quickly and with very little warning.  Very heavy rain and high winds hit our area for a brief period of time.  I was at work where the lights kept flickering.  My boss repeatedly asked, “Who has a flashlight?  Who has a flashlight?”  Well…nobody had a flashlight until he dug a couple out.  When we turned on the weather radio, it became obvious how serious the storm was.  There were a lot of trees down, roads closed, some power lines down (yikes!).

When the rain finally eased up a little and the wind had died down, I went home.  That’s when I could see how strong the storm had been.  A lot of trees were down all over town, including several that destroyed an apartment building close to campus.  My neighbor met me at my front door to inform me that the power was out and was expected to remain out for several hours (she was worried about what I’d eat for dinner…I ended up eating a bowl of cereal).   Where I live, we don’t often have issues with power outages.  It happens more so in the country.  It really wasn’t too bad for me.  I opened the upstairs windows (by this time the rain had completely stopped), so had a nice breeze.  I woke up at 1:45 am when the power came back on.  Pretty good work by the men and women who work for the power company.  On the news tonight, I heard that about 5,000 people around here still don’t have power and probably won’t until late tomorrow.  We’re still not sure if a tornado came through here or not.  Whatever it was, we made it through it with relatively little damage.

This is part of a tree that came down in front of the building next to mine.  I didn’t see anything serious in the complex where I live.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty blessed…no serious injuries due to these storms, lots of property damage, but things can be replaced.  My heart goes out to the people who are dealing with much more serious storm damage, injuries and even death. Prayers are going out for those people daily. 

Foggy Sunday morning

I went out for a walk early this morning and stepped out the front door to this…

It was pretty good walking weather though, the temps were mild and there was a slight breeze.  I didn’t see anyone else out at that time…I was starting to wonder if they’d all been raptured last night and left me alone in the neighborhood!  I have to admit, it was pretty peaceful.  I walked by this tree and had to take a picture…

Almost prehistoric looking…I hate those little balls when they turn brown and fall all over the sidewalk, drive and yard.

At least the pansies are still loving this crazy weather we’ve been having.  Now what will tomorrow bring?

Shopping trips 5/15-21


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I have to admit, I didn’t do a lot of shopping this week.  There wasn’t much that I needed and the sales weren’t particularly appealing to me.  I did run in to PetSmart yesterday because I needed cat food and litter.  I had very few coupons (one for the Tasty Treasures Friskies canned food…my cats really, really like this food).  I ended up spending about $26 for two weeks worth of food and litter.  I swear, those cats don’t have a clue as to how good they actually have it!  I’m going to have to search to come up with a bunch of coupons for my next trip to PetSmart…..maybe they’ll have one of those $5 off your entire purchase coupons soon…keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

I didn’t go to CVS at all this week.  I really didn’t see anything in the ad that I needed and I was so tired after work each day that I just wanted to go home.  I’m pretty well stocked up on health and beauty supplies as well as cleaning supplies, so unless a great bargain presents itself, I’ll likely just skip the trip…well, unless I have expiring ECBs…I’m sure I can always come up with something to use them on…saw a couple of deals that I’m interested in for the ad that starts tomorrow, so I’ll just have to check out those ECBS.

I did drag myself to Kroger this morning.  I didn’t buy groceries at all last week, so I was in dire need of bread (I made waffles the other day so I’d have something to spread my peanut butter on before work for the latter part of the week), milk and produce.  I did buy one transaction of the frozen foods mega-deal (fish, veggies, veggie burgers, a free box of the Stouffers farmstyle meal for one, a free box of Magnum ice cream bars as well as another box that I had a $2 coupon for).  My freezer is fully stocked, so I won’t be doing that transaction again any time soon. 

I bought a lot of fresh produce…had intended to go to the farmers market, but was in quite a bit of pain this morning, so settled for getting everything at Kroger.  Mmm…fresh cherries, strawberries, blackberries…I love fresh fruit when you can find something that tastes good other than apples, oranges and bananas. 

I also bought another heirloom tomato plant and a Cubanelle pepper plant…hope to get both of those planted tomorrow.  This little Kroger store in my neighborhood has a lot of locally grown heirloom plants for sale.  It seems like they do a much better job with that than the other, larger stores in town.

I ended up spending $77 today, saving $54.  Not my best trip, but not too bad considering this was two weeks worth of groceries along with the plants, a book (I know, I know…I just couldn’t resist the new paperback by one of my favorite authors), and 2 packages of Angel Soft TP…oh, and the 4 6-packs of diet Pepsi.  One of these days I’m going to kick that habit for good, just not today.  But at least I got the shopping done for the next week or so, and bought a lot of healthy food to last me a while.  Now to figure out what to cook to take to work next week.  Oh well, I’ll worry about that tomorrow!


Like A Bird On A Wire

Image by Bruce McKay~YSP via Flickr

Ahh…a rough work week is over and the weekend beckons me, tempting me to sleep late (which for me, is usually around 7…I well remember the day that crawling out of bed at 7 am was considered getting up way too early), relax, and sit outside listening to the birds.

However, the reality is that I have so much I need to get done…errands to be run, housework to be done, planting to be taken care of, bills to be paid (why does that always have to be on the to-do list?), and yard work that’s been put off way too long.  So I’ll try to make an early start of it in the morning so I can make it back home in time to get outside to try to accomplish at least a little before the heat hits…looks like mid 80s the next few days.  Sheesh, this turning the heat on for a few days, then the AC a few days later is ridiculous.  But, after living in a house for several years with no AC, I certainly appreciate it.

I definitely plan to make the time to sit outside and enjoy the birds, flowers and scenery though.  I’ll take some pictures of whatever strikes my fancy.  Weekends off work can’t be all about working at home, can they?

Questions about life changes

Why is change so difficult for most of us?  Even when we know that the change is in our best interest, we still hesitate and worry and fight it.  I know I do.  Is it just that I am comfortable with the way things are?  Is it fear of what might happen?  Is it concern that people in a new situation won’t like me?  Or that I’ll fail if I make the attempt to do something new?  Any of these?  All of these?

I may have to make a decision to change some things about my life early next year and I’m already worrying about it.  Part of me is just a little excited about it, wondering what is to come.  I guess that’s the part of me I need to work on building up, learn to embrace change and accept whatever the future might bring.  There are a lot of options available to me.  I need to evaluate all of them and choose what I believe will bring me the greatest happiness.  Frightening, yes, but also just a little bit exhilarating.  There will definitely be more to this story…stay tuned.

These are (still) the days of our lives

Days of our Lives

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Talk about a walk down memory lane…I just watched Days of Our Lives.  This is a show I watched many, many years ago with my mother.  I was never able to watch it every day, but that didn’t really matter because it takes forever for the story line to play out.  Missing a day (or two…or ten) didn’t mean you couldn’t keep up on the story.  Mom really enjoyed the show (soap opera, if you will) and we’d talk about what had happened if I had to miss it.  Good times…

I’m totally amazed at how many of the same characters, portrayed by the same actors, are still on the show.  Maybe they were smart enough to know they had a good gig…Mom would have enjoyed seeing that Bo and Hope are still in Salem.  But whatever happened to Marlena and John?  Does anyone out there know?  Oh no…am I falling back into the addiction of Days???