Friday, January 31, 2014

Aftermath

Snow has pretty much melted but since we're not getting very warm during the day, the icicles are growing longer.  But things are heating up and we're looking for warmer (and "Irish rain") next week.

Hubby took this one this morning when he stepped out the back door and looked up.  Have a great weekend!


 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sleet, Freezing Rain and a Touch of Snow

Normal to many you, not so much for us.  

 The same tree which serves as my icon.

Fake bird with ice.

 Real birds...some flew off, the rest glared at me to fix the frozen side of the feeder. 

This little doggie sits quiet and still.

This little doggie does not!
No, Bou's tail isn't frozen. 
 It's the exclamation point on that bark for us to Come on and Move!


 Move...like this!



Ah, the difference a couple of weeks makes.


Now if only my fingers will warm up now that we're back inside!
This southern gal was not made for weather that's 22 degrees (-6 C) at 10 a.m.!


Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Coming

Outside my office right now it's about 69 degrees (20C) and the sky looks like this.


But on the other side of the building...a storm is brewing. 

We don't get snow in the south very often, but the front which is building off the coast and moving inland is suppose to dump 5-6" of snow on us Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday morning. (That's the local Weather Dudes...the Weather Channel Gurus are saying 8-12 inches!) 

For anywhere else, that's a drop in the bucket.  But here in the land of They-Who-Do-Not-Drive-In-Snow-But-Once-Every-Ten-Years it's an accident waiting to happen.  Although I've canceled lunch for my senior citizens for Tuesday so they'll stay home, I'm still waiting to see what the Boss says employees do.  My bet is we knock off early Tuesday.  Which would be nice as my part of the country is expected to see more snow than the workplace...and since it's coming inland, it's hitting my hometown first.

I'll keep you posted...just so those of you who have snow can laugh a little longer. 

However,  this reminds me of a similar forecast from my childhood...and we ended up with 3 feet of snow overnight! Locals still talk about "The Blizzard".  It brought the entire state to a standstill because we're not equipped for that.  I was walking home from school when it began and the snowflakes were so pretty.  By the time I got toward the end of that mile walk, it was coming down so fast I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me.  First time in my life I realized that snow could be sinister.

So, time will tell.  At least this time, I don't have to walk home.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Full Circle

Life is filled with "full circle" moments which usually come unexpectedly.  Usually.  I actually went looking for the final link in an important chain and found it, just after Christmas.  A gift from Little Girl Me to Who I Am Today Me.

If you've been here a while, you might remember my story of "The Bracelet"Not just any bracelet, but the MIA bracelet I wore as a kid during the Vietnam War.  In a true full circle moment, years later I was able to find the son of that soldier and give my bracelet to him, for his own daughter. 

One of the major characters in that chapter of my life was an NBC reporter named Garrick Utley.  For reasons I've never figured out, I was drawn to him. He wasn't just a reporter, he was the beacon into the adult world of Vietnam, one I trusted to guide me, to explain what was going on.  Ironically, "why" never seemed to be part of the explanation... probably because none of those who had gotten America into that mess really understood either.

As an adult, I've always wondered about Utley's point of view.  Guess I'm about to find out, thanks to the gift I gave myself.

The book, written by Utley, also has a CD with 30 minutes of television footage that will probably seem familiar on one hand and enlightening on the other as seen from further down my life's journey.

Okay, so I'll admit to one moment of childish glee, which sealed the purchase.  I actually grinned from ear to ear yesterday when this arrived because...
I have a copy signed by the man himself. 


Yeah, I know.  The weirdest stuff makes me happy. Wonder what Mr. Utley would think if he knew the little girl who watched him faithfully grew up to aid wounded soldiers?  Would he be proud to know that, because of what he inadvertently taught me as a child, a part of him is represented as well?

I hope so.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Giving Permission

Anyone who truly knows me, would probably say I'm the original Goody Two Shoes.  Miss Do The Right Thing.  I'm like the southern version of, "First, do no harm."   Whether it's genetics or good home training, like a homing pigeon, I keep coming back to the Golden Rule.  In my mind, if you're kind to others, you're most likely to receive the same.  I said "likely".  I'm optimistic, not naive.  There's always the exception to the rule.  Yet I am most comfortable behind the spotlight, putting someone else first.  I find an inner joy in doing something nice for others.  Even strangers.  The cashier at out small town grocery knows that if someone behind me only has one item, I will look over my shoulder and say, "Is that all you've got?  Come on.  Get ahead of me."

And that's sort of how I've lived my life, no matter where I am.  You need a hand?  I've got two.  You need someone to listen? I can do that...and not repeat what you just told me.  You want me to do an extra project for work that you will likely take credit for but it benefits my senior citizens?  I can do that.  Granted, probably not as cheerfully on the inside, but the seniors will never know. 

Yesterday, I surprised myself by taking a stand which put me first.

Okay, before you mutter, "Good for you!", the reason was my need to do a good deed. And the odds were stacked against me on this one.  Our charity's annual Fundraiser is the same day as a mandatory work event.  The evening part of the charity event wasn't a problem, it was the one prior to it for our wounded soldiers.  They come from several states, these men and women of the military who've been harmed doing their job to protect me and mine.  I communicate with all of them through e-mail so meeting them face to face is more than a treat, it makes my year.  So, even when explaining to my Supervisor that I understood my job requirements and I had not picked the date in question I still received that disapproving look Mother's save for their worst child.  I calmly explained the date had been chosen by a nationally known outdoor group, with a television show which would give our charity national exposure, thus the ability to aid more soldiers.  I was met with an expression of, "So?"

If I've learned one thing in my job, it's to pick your battles.  I waited a week and e-mailed the Supervisor with my best logical argument.  I was not the only employee capable of collecting money at the gate.  I offered that since we were being assisted by a local bank, surely one of them could do the collections.  And yes, I did usually take photos, but the newspaper had a photographer on hand as well.  The reply was a simplistic, "We all have our little hobbies we enjoy, but this is your job.  Do it or get written up."

And the Saturday work event I would be missing?  The annual Kite Flying contest.

No brainer right?  Soldiers who have been wounded and permanently scarred should win without a second thought.  Unless you're Miss Don't Rock the Boat.  Miss Reliable. Miss Always Does Her Job and Then Some.

When I advised the charity's Board that I'd be unavailable, two things happened.  First they looked at me as if waiting for the joke's punchline before becoming really outraged, assigning a Board Member to contact my Boss' boss.  The second thing happened inside of me.  I squirmed.  I felt uncomfortable, bordering on miserable.  In my mind I saw a soldier we'd aided, who'd been literally hiding in his room until his buddies forced him to us and we put a bow in his hand.  He'd learned to smile again, shocking his buddies at last year's event when he came charging up and grabbed me in a bear hug of greeting that was genuinely warm.  The same soldier who had once looked at me and said, "The Army doesn't want you when you're broken."

My misery doubled.  Do my job or do the right thing?  The Board told me not to worry about it, they'd take care of it because I was the "heart" of our charity and I would be there.

But "Worry" could be my middle name...although I suspect that has something to do with possessing an X chromosome.  I spoke to a trusted co-worker in a position of authority who said with a shrug, "Let 'em write you up.  You're a good employee.  It's no big deal."   Yeah, unless you're me.  I replied with a rather warm, "Are you kidding me?!" and he laughed.  That's right.  He.  Free of that X in his DNA.

I waited another week.  Until yesterday.  For yesterday was the last day I would be a certain age.  For me, birthdays are a time to reassess and plan for a better me for the next year.  So I sat me down in a quiet moment and asked softly,"What do you really want to do?"

And the instantaneous answer was, "Do what's right...for the soldiers.  Because what they've been through, and continue to go through, just so I have the freedom to make a choice means I need to make one.  For both of us."

Which is how I found myself yesterday seeking advice from the Dept. Head.  With a simple preface of my predicament, I heard myself say, "If I have to choose between kites and soldiers who have been blown up and are still fighting demons at home, then I chose the soldiers.  I need your advice on how to share that with my Supervisor."  And to my amazement, she told me to merely explain to my Supervisor that I understood my choice meant I had to be written up and I understood that.  As I thanked her, a huge weight lifting off my shoulders, she gave me a quick smile and added, "You're a good employee.  It won't be held against you...and it'll never leave this office, so no one else will know."

But I knew.  Yesterday I choose the soldiers and myself.  Feels good when you find your backbone and use it for good.

Today I go into my new year having given myself the gift to not second guess my choice.   Because I made the right one.  For all of us.

 "Happy Birthday to Me!"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January Jolt

Last week it FELT like January...especially leaving the house for work when it was 14 degrees!  (-10 C).

Today, it turned springlike and we had THUNDERSTORMS this afternoon that left the yard flooded.  And had Hubby calling me from out back in his shop to declare, "You have got to see this rainbow!  Grab your camera!"

I did and it was much more spectacular than it shows.  It was also raining, which wasn't apparent until I got past that big old pecan tree out front.

Even in the wide open spaces of the country, it's still hard to get past the power lines. 

Now I did ask for an "odd" Christmas present...an ornamental windmill.  
After all, what's a farmhouse without a windmill?

 I kept thinking how Kim Ayres would bring out the deep colors 
in these shots..because this doesn't do the sky justice!

This feels more country like...looking out to the fields which have been harvested.

But merely turning around gave me the best shot of all.

Have a good weekend y'all!