Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Merry Christmas and don't let the door hit you on the way out"

Peoria Journal Star reporter Phil Luciano recently wrote about a longtime United Way employee who was fired because her husband had cancer and, so he reported, was told she would miss too many days taking care of him. She stated, however, that she could continue to work her three-day-per-week schedule.

Phil interviewed one of the employee's former bosses who said she was invaluable to the organization. On the PJS Web site, a commentator who had volunteered with UW testified to this employee's wonderful qualities. Maybe the UW has some serious dirt on this 77-year-old retired farmer who has worked for the UW earning minimum wage for many years. Or maybe it's just managerial arrogance run amok. (One cynically suspects as much.)

I generally do not support the UW, although I have given minimal contributions in the past. This year, however, I left the pledge envelope on my desk unopened. I'm not even sure why, just a gut feeling that I'd had enough. Maybe I am growing more cynical in old age. I do know that I would rather give directly to some of the best organizations in our community.

Maybe employers, instead of supporting the UW campaign, should have "Give Directly" campaigns and offer to make payroll deductions to any charitable organization that an employee wishes to support. That would provide more money to organizations, as we would cut out the UW executive salaries.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An issue with tissue

My most recent trip to the bathroom revealed to me serious feline distress. The tissue had been pulled from the roll and shredded into a huge mountain.

All three kitties are frustrated by single-digit temps. They want to go outside and take out their feline frustration on neighborhood mice, birds, and ground squirrels. But that darn freezing wind makes it difficult. They retreat inside. Big grey cat harasses the old, beautiful tortie. Little white Siamese, tries to cuddle with big grey, but that doesn't work, so he, too, hisses at very old Odetta.

Banjo, the kitty mamma tries to keep the peace, but, in the end, he can only take so many hits to the nose. My water spray bottle is at the ready, but sometimes I miss my cue.

Then, I wonder, who's the tissue terrorist? Big grey is just "large" and dumb. This is the same cat who fell into the pool while chasing a mosquito. Who jumped into the path of a moving car when he saw the wipers activiated. Who tried to overtake an enormous wild turkey.

Little white kittie is wiley and smart. He runs away when a vacuum or car starts up. I think he is most likely to think of taking his cabin fever out on the tissue. But, certainly, I will keep monitoring this issue.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kitty Mamma

Not sure my three-year-old Lab likes the designation, but often I refer to him as the "kitty mamma." He is the one who monitors feline behavior in our house. The two kittens like to harass the 14-year-old, frail cat. When they get too rough, Banjo intervenes, pushing the offenders away or distracting them with a game of chase.

The kittens love him. The other dogs grunt or turn away when they walk past. But Banjo tolerates them. They appreciate that. They take it further. They want to be near him. He is their protector. Their advocate. Maybe even their surrogate mamma. Little Blaze climbs in bed with him every morning and snuggles. Sometimes he just want to put his head up against Banjo. Other times he remembers snuggling with his real mamma and starts kneading Banjo's belly.

The amazing Banjo tolerates this. I think he knows that not only is he responsible for the felines' well being, but must have concern for their comfort as well. It's a touchy situation, but for the most part, harmony is maintained.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Best Day Ever

My nephew woke up early Saturday morning. He wanted to get on the computer, but I suggested that he create some artwork instead.

His attitude did not seem promising.

I was surprised at his creation, which suggested that this was going to be "the best day ever."

Isabel, my husband's step grandma and one of my best friends ever, used to say: "sometimes I wake up and just feel that something wonderful is going to happen. And then it does."

She and Riley must be on the same wavelength. I want to believe that we can channel positive energy and create something wonderful!