To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Looking around on Careerbuilder et al to look for jobs and also just to see what industries there are in this area.

How come "entry level" jobs require experience? Hm? Unclear on the concept. Except I bet the concept is "we have high expectations and pay squat".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

From my mother (quoted with her permission):

Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

The other day I was trying to figure out how to find the origin of this quote but was not sure enough of the wording to google it. This morning I was purging my favorites list and ran across this link: Alexander Pope Quotes. There it was!

For some reason, my brain is suddenly picking up moments from my life, mostly pleasant, such as the moment Mammaw and I were working in the garden, discussing fads, etc., the pros and cons of fads, and that some people seemed to be the first in the community to have the newest fad in shoes, clothes, etc. Mama quoted the above to me. I think she was trying to get across that if one lets someone else try out something first, it will be more tried and true than to just jump in and get "taken." But, she said, don't be a die-hard and be the last to do something. I guess there was really something deep in that that I am not fully describing, but I have never forgotten all these years.

Now, the question is: When did this farm woman find time to learn quotes from literature, whether poetry or not? I think her (and her peers) only intellectual outlet was reading. What are we missing today, those who are not reading? Then, what are we reading?

My Mama was a wise woman. She left me with some good stuff, and I think I fall far short in measuring up to her!


My mother's mother grew up in a tiny farming community in Mississippi. She had a sad childhood - her mother died in childbirth when she was only six, and the kids were farmed out to relatives - but eventually her father remarried and he and her kind stepmother brought the kids back home. When she wanted to go to school past 8th grade she had to leave her community and board somewhere - ? because the school there didn't go any further. Ma, you need to write all this down. I thought I knew it.

Then she got married, settled down on a farm with no indoor plumbing or electricity (those came much later) and had 8 kids, including a pair of twins. One died of diphtheria as a toddler but the others grew up, some left the farm life and others really didn't. Making a living on a farm, especially before all the modern farm equipment, was gruelling labor and everyone had to work hard just to put food on the table. Leisure time was very scarce. They were poor as far as material possessions went but poor obviously doesn't mean uncultured or stupid. My mother remembers reading - was it The Fall of the House of Usher? one rainy day when she was a kid and having to put it down and go find her mother b/c it was so creepy.

I remember my gentle grandmother and I regret that she did not live to see F, having died shortly before F came along. She would have loved her and been proud of her.

Friday, November 23, 2007

When F was a little kindergartner I was driving her to school one day, she was looking out the window, and she asked:

"What are those strings for?"

"What strings, honey?"

"The strings between those, those - those bird-standers."

She was talking about the power lines. Wondering what they were doing, stuck to the poles that kind people put up so that tired birds could rest on their way from point A to point B.

Naturally, 15 years later we are still spotting bird-standers. Florida has quite a few.



I'm told these are ibises, and they are everywhere. You see them marching through the neighborhood in groups of 15 or more, searching for bugs I guess.

And then there are your garden-variety ducks.



Here's a closer look:



Water cold? Scared of alligators? Just like bunching up? Don't know.

We spotted this bird-stander when we went to Clearwater last weekend. Yes, the sunset really was that gorgeous, and more.



And finally, some birds just stand on the ground. Do not ask me what this is. I do not know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Feel like I ought to refer to another post from the blogger I just mentioned, since I read his entire blog and only had a negative thing to say. This rings true to me. I hate that whole can't-inconvenience-a-total-stranger thing. Sometimes other people need to just freaking wait a minute. Now it's true that people who hold up the line b/c of their inattention irritate me, but that's totally different.

And I say this although I've found myself at the grocery store on what seemed to be International Old Folks Go to the Grocery Store Day (actually stepped outside once and saw the Wesley Senior Services van, so yes, it was.) I go to my Zen place as they snap and snarl at each other - "It's rice! It's just rice! They're all alike! If you want it put it in the basket and go on!" and "She wants you to pay now! Get your checkbook!" "What?" and have endless, endless patience. But once I MANAGED to get my shopping done and my stuff paid for, and was actually headed out the door, when somebody shoved her cart right across in front of me - God knows why - while she paid for her stuff. There I stood until a store employee saw me and shoved it back. It was all I could do not to say, "THAT'S ALL RIGHT, TAKE YOUR TIME. I'M GOING TO BE OLD SOME DAY AND I'LL BE TEDIOUS AS HELL - IT'LL BE MY TURN." But I didn't say it. Because it's probably true.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My mother laid this one on me about what the preacher said this AM:

He was telling a tale to illustrate something and this had to do with a young female teacher who was putting her skills as a reading teacher to the test. There was this young student who was being slow to learn. The teacher was wanting to get across how to relate what we know to sounding out words. They were studying about Thanksgiving and ran across the word "thank." The kid was not putting it together. Gently, the teacher was "hinting" by suggesting "thank." "Thank." "Thank." The frustrated kid came back with "I AM thanking!"

Reminds me of the state trooper who pulled over the Tennessee boy and said, "Got any ID?" The boy said, "'Bout what?"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Interesting blog post here.

The blog author works with and for disabled people. He and his partner were making fun of the way people in the mall were dressed, until he started making fun of one person and his partner told him to stop, because that person was disabled. Then the blog author wondered if he was right to stop, because the disabled person deserved to be made fun of too. I am probably not telling this right.

Because it seems to me that it's wrong to make fun of other people's appearance, period. I assume that everyone is doing the best he or she can. God knows that if the blog author ran across me when I had to go somewhere right after work he would have some things to say. As I've said before, you don't dress like a beauty queen to work in a laboratory, and sometimes it's just too hot to wear that lab coat. And my hair is floppy by the end of the day, no matter what I do, and it seems that the makeup slides right off my face. So go for it.

But it reminded me of something kind of funny. I irritate R and others when I answer their questions before they finish asking them. Some people repeat themselves and others keep adding qualifiers, and I KNOW what I'm going to answer, and I sometimes don't want to take the time for them to wind down before I do. Sometimes I answer the question three or four times before the questioner hears me b/c I think they're done, and while I am answering they are tacking more words onto the question and not actually changing the answer at all. I will say that under many circumstances I am an extremely patient person. Usually I am less patient with smart people b/c I think they ought to be able to express themselves clearly and succinctly.

Anyway, I used to work with a man who had a profound stutter. I know that you do not jump in and finish sentences for people who have stutters. (Of course, it's always rude to do that anyway, she said guiltily.) So this guy would call me at my desk to ask a question. I'd answer the phone, he would start the complicated process of greeting me and telling me who he was, and I would wait for him to manage to get his name out before I'd say, "Oh, hi, Bob," like I didn't know who he was. All of our conversations continued to go that way. I tend to think while it's right to be patient with a person who has a speech problem, I should actually be patient with everyone. But now it appears that my stuttering coworker deserved for me to be rude to him like I (sadly) am to others. Is that right?
The continuing soggy ...

Last week I flew to Wisconsin. Yes, I did. I had a job interview.

The interview went very well indeed ... but I was shocked at how I was homesick for Central Florida while I was there. I've only been here since July 21 and I've bonded to the area like a piece of sticky tape. Palm trees and weird birds. And highs in the mid-80's, in November. Lakes with ducks and swans. We just really like it here.

The job has a lot of promise. Actually, it looked pretty cool. I got an offer today and I turned it down. We are going to try to stick it out here. Dang, I hope the sale goes through.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Monnie has a post about Bill Cosby's new book. The statistics about black people and violence bother her, as they do every right-thinking person.

When I was still in Memphis, my last job was in a very bad part of town. (Actually, the one before that had razor wire around the parking lot, and the one before that ... well, anyway.) The lab was down in the plant, with the parking lot a short distance away. If I left work at or after sundown and any of the operators saw me come out of the building, he would drop what he was doing to walk me to my car. All of the plant operators were black. Once another operator was just coming into the plant when we got to the parking lot, and he said, "How come you don't ever walk me to my truck?" "Cause ain't nothing gonna get you!" my escort replied, laughing. But that reminded me that statistically, those guys were at greater risk than I was. I started telling them when I thanked them that I appreciated their care and concern, and that they actually needed to employ the buddy system among themselves after hours. They didn't take me seriously, though. I think those statistics aren't generally known and understood.

One of the things that bothered the crap out of me, when I was in Memphis, was the amount of focus and effort and attention on things like sports arenas and fancy boat docks, and how much money the city needed to spend on those things (money we didn't have; besides there were always, always cost overruns and the inevitable discovery of somebody's hand in the cookie jar later on.) I wanted so badly to run across Mayor Herenton out on the sidewalk somewhere and to grab some random black kid - preferably a teenage boy with the khaki pants dragged down so that the crotch was between his knees and he had to duck-walk, you know how that is - and say "Look at this, Mayor Herenton - THIS is Memphis! This is the future of Memphis! Not the FedEx Forum, not Beale Street Landing - but this kid right here! How are we investing in this kid?" And to turn to the kid and ask him in what way the City of Memphis expresses to him that it cares whether he lives or dies. The park program is underfunded - public swimming pools not kept up - summer jobs programs cut - no community centers - nothing that is not privately funded or run by the churches. But by golly, we will have plenty of public funding for entertaining rich folks.

So the kids are neglected and have nothing to do, they see all the attention given to things that are and will forever be out of their reach, then we wonder why they feel disaffected and why they drop out of school and why the crime rate is so high. And it beats heck out of me why the politicians with those entertain-the-rich-folks attitudes and the hand in the cookie jar have so much popular support.