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Monthly Archives: February 2012

18,829 Pounds

18,829 Pounds

18,829 pounds…

That is just a tad under nine-and-a-half TONS!

And that was our total for last Saturday.

 

Each year I spend at least one Saturday morning at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma with as many members of my work family as possible.  Today was our day.  This year, from our 11 stores, we had a total of somewhere around 85 folks.  It’s pretty remarkable to see what eighty-five people can accomplish when they work together.

Summary.
Here’s the details of what we processed:

Cases Pounds
Frozen Spinach 247 7,410
Cookies 71 1,207
Crackers 397 5,955
Snacks 241 3,615
Packaged Meals 27 378
Cereal 22 264
Total 1,005 18,829

That figures to be around 232 pounds processed per person.

 

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What We Do.
By process I mean prepared for distribution.  Sometimes we get frozen corn ready to be distributed, sometimes bread, sometimes we work on packaging the food sacks for the Food For Kids Program (my favorite program), sometimes canned goods – whatever needs to be done.  Each task is a little different, but the premise is the same – take it from whatever shape the RFBO receives it in, divide it into units, package so many units into cases, palletize the cases – repeat.

Today’s big project was the frozen spinach…
Never ending pallets of spinach – I will probably have green dreams tonight.  The RFBO received 4′ by 4′ bins of bulk frozen spinach.  Because most families would not have much use for 1,000 pounds of spinach, it became our duty to break that down into more reasonable portions.

Step 1. (My job) Scoop 2 pounds of spinach into the plastic bag.
Step 2. Verify the weight on the scale.
Step 3. Seal the bag and put into a case.
Step 4. When the case has 14 bags seal the case and stack it properly on the pallet.
Step 5. Repeat for all eternity…  Because they seemed to have gotten an infinite amount of the green stuff!

 

The Kids.
This year I was impressed with the number of kids that came out.  There was at least twenty kids helping us – maybe more.  I love the fact that my kids go with me – they love it too.  I enjoy them coming because it gives them a chance to see how blessed we are and that our responsibility is not to hoard our blessings, but to share them with those less fortunate.  My kids love it (I’m sure) for other reasons.  Kaity made friends last year with my boss’ daughter – she could not wait to see her again, and this year the two of them made friends with the daughter of one of my peers.  Giggling, labeling boxes, and exchanging phone numbers…  Girls!  Noah enjoys going, not because of the other kids, but mostly it seems to play with Jack & Bill – especially Jack.  Jack and Bill work for the food bank, they help me arrange the event each year, and Noah LOVES trash talking with them – and Jack dishes it right back to him.  Great fun!

 

        

RFBO.
You can watch a video about the background of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma here.
And you can check out their website here.  AND please do – they are a high quality organization giving back to our community in many ways.

Take a minute and review the different programs they offer:  Kid’s Cafe, Food For Kids, Senior Feeding, Urban Harvest

If you’re looking for a good place to spend a Saturday morning (or Thursday evening – Rock ‘N’ Box)
– try the RFBO!

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in My Life

 

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The Silent Mentor

Disclaimer.
The events in this blog post are factual.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent, as well as the guilty…  And also, in case the real life Jerry reads it, to prevent the unfortunate side effect of pride – swollen head syndrome – from afflicting him.

Jerry.
Jerry is in retail management.  Long hours.  Moderate pay.  Marked by demanding bosses, demanding employees, and demanding customers.  This is not a glamorous job, but someone must do it.  Jerry thinks he does a pretty good job.

He has strong opinions on just about everything – politics, religion, family life, and work ethic.  He believes he (and those under him) get paid to do what they are told, when they are told to do it, and how they are told to do it.  Neither Jerry nor his team get paid to complain, or argue, or even reason – execution is the goal.

If the powers that be decide they want the store to look like a cluttered, garage sale today; that is how Jerry will make it look.  If, after Jerry has convinced all the nay-sayers the cluttered, garage sale look is in, the powers that be decide the store needs the clean, less is more look; Jerry will retrain his team to be sold out believers in the clean, less is more cult.

Why?  Because the bottom line, core values of the retail company are: Respect, Service, and Excellence.  So long as those three things are not compromised – everything else is negotiable.

Mary.
Mary worked with Jerry for a few years.  They were partners, working third shift.  Mary is a working mother, a very busy woman.  Torn between the demanding bosses, employees, customers on one hand – and her husband and children on the other.

Third shift does not afford much for relationships, so those that are committed to it are a tight knit group.  Jerry and Mary became friends.  They would share lunch and discuss life, dreams, and goals.  Remember, Jerry has strong opinions on everything – sometimes sharing those opinions can cause friction.  Mary may or may not have been offended by Jerry’s opinions, she kept her thoughts to herself.  Eventually Jerry moved to another store, and they didn’t keep in touch.

She kept her thoughts to herself, until about five years after Jerry moved on.  Then, because she was moving out-of-state – Mary decided she should call Jerry and tell him exactly what she thought of him.
She said something to this effect:

“Hi Jerry.  This is Mary.  I know it’s been years since we spoke.  My husband just got a promotion so we are moving, and I didn’t want to leave town without telling you a few things…  First, after working with you for so long and listening to you talk about your family – I have decided my children are worth more than my pay check so I am becoming a stay at home mother.  Second, after listening to you talk about finances, I bought a book by a guy named Dave Ramsey and my husband and I have decided it is time we make good use of the money God has provided us.  And – thirdly, after seeing your faith in action, we have found a church in our new city and are committing our lives back to God.  I just thought you should know that you made a difference in my life.”

George.
George was an assistant to Jerry for a few years.  George was a pretty dedicated assistant.  He had his quirks, but he also had a desire to succeed.  George watched as Jerry demoted or (in some cases) fired other assistants that refused to do their jobs.  George did not want to be in that number.

After a few years, George transferred to a larger store that offered more opportunity to advance.  George left Jerry on less than ideal terms, but maintained a respect for Jerry and his strong opinions.  George took a temporary assignment at a challenging store to show the powers that be that he is in fact ready for advancement.  Jerry had spent a few months at the same store a year earlier, with much the same mission.

George was doing his time, trying to make a difference and give some direction that would help this store. A few of the employees told George what they needed to do was what Jerry had implemented when he was there.  George didn’t think about the Jerry he knew until a few days later when the name was mentioned again…  and then again.  George finally asked, “You mean Jerry from that other store?”

“Yeah, that’s him.  When he was here we did this, and that.  And this wasn’t a problem because Jerry had us do it this way – you know, work it the way it is designed,” was the answer.

So George called Jerry and said something like this:

“Hey, Jerry – It’s George.  I’m over here at this other store for a while, and I guess you were here a while back too.  I know a lot of times people do things and don’t realize the effect they have on others – we usually hear the bad…  So, I wanted to call to tell you that you sure did make a difference to several of these folks.  They were telling me all about how you did this and that and made their jobs better — and I thought about what you’ve done for me and just want you to know I appreciate it and these folks appreciate it.”

Linda.
Linda was looking for a job.  She used to work for the company Jerry worked for.  In fact, a couple of years after Jerry had moved on, she managed the same department he had.  She had not met Jerry – there had been several managers over the department between them – but anytime she would do something or asked for help it seemed someone would say:  “Well, Jerry did it this way.” or “Jerry would do this.” or “That’s not what Jerry did…”  Linda learned a lot from Jerry during her time in that department.

But she had moved away, and was now coming back.  She needed a job, so she called her old boss.  “Sure, I have an opening,” he said, “I’ll have someone call you for an interview.”

A few days later a man called Linda to conduct a telephone interview.  He introduced himself.  Linda couldn’t believe it.  “Jerry?  Did you used to work in that department at that store?”

“Yes…”

“Jerry!  You were my silent mentor!  Even years after you left they would tell me about you and I always tried to live up to the expectation they said you set.  Wow!  I always referred to you as my Silent Mentor.”

The Silent Mentor.
The point is not to make Jerry feel good – although, no doubt he felt like a rock star after getting these calls.  The point is no matter what you are doing, you are being watched.  So long as you have a job, or child, or walk outside to get the mail — someone is watching.

What will they see?
Something worth emulating?  Or something humiliating?
Something elevating?  Or something draining?

Romans 14:7, Matthew 5:16, Colossians 3:17 – and many more.

There is no doubt: You are a Silent Mentor.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Musings

 

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Updated: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Aw, yes – Nurse Sonshine demanded Golden Palace…
Giddy cannot withstand the Nurse’s will!

Here is another installment of –

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles!

February 18, 2012:  Crispy Golden Cookie – Contains Wisdom Carved on Pale Paper.
A new pair of shoes will do you a world of good! (Nurse Sonshine’s…  she still hasn’t gone shopping)
You will enjoy doing something different this weekend.
Your respect for others will be your ticket to success.
Your respect for others will be your ticket to success.
(I guess we really needed this message, since we got it twice)
Your judgment is a little off at this time.  Rely on friends.
(The 4 year old got that one…  We’re trying to teach her not to give into peer pressure!)
You would be wise not to seek too much from others, at this time.
(This too was the little one’s…  I think Buddha may be bi-polar?  
He is definitely sending mixed messages here.)
Listen these next few days to your friends to get answers you seek.
(I’m finding a pattern here…  Anyone have any advice they want to give me?)
You will soon embark on a business venture.

Cwick Cookie Fo' Mo' FZZ...

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Fortune Cookies

 

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Heaven’s Door

Heaven’s Door

Tonight, I learned a bit about Emily Dickenson…  There was a performance of “The Belle Of Amherst” at the library this evening, so we had a home school field trip to see it.

I am not into poetry, and never have been – mainly because I don’t get it.
A little Poe, a little Frost.  I can’t handle much else.

But I ran across this, by Dickenson:

Going to Heaven!
I don’t know when —
Pray do not ask me how!
Indeed I’m too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to Heaven!
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the Shepherd’s arm!

Perhaps you’re going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first
Save just a little space for me
Close to the two I lost —
The smallest “Robe” will fit me
And just a bit of “Crown” —
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home —

I’m glad I don’t believe it
For it would stop my breath —
And I’d like to look a little more
At such a curious Earth!
I’m glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the might Autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.

I have absolutely no idea what she means with the third verse (or whatever you call it in poetry).  The first two, however, are pretty plain and I sure do get it – as sure as flocks go home at night/unto the Shepherd’s arm!

Emily wrote somewhere around 1,775 poems…  Maybe I’ll read them.
So far this is my favorite:

A Door just opened on a street —
I — lost — was passing by —
An instant’s Width of Warmth disclosed —
And Wealth — and Company.

The Door as instant shut — And I —
I — lost — was passing by —
Lost doubly — but by contrast — most —
Informing — misery —

 

When people pass by me, I want my door to be open – wide with warmth, wealth and company –

for the lost.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Musings

 

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Made For Each Other.

The weather was the same in both locations.
High in the upper 60’s, lows in the mid 50’s – slight wind, no rain. Close enough to average for the first day of autumn.  Uneventful from a meteorological standpoint.  Yet both of the women would be birthing a child before lunch.  The children were born just a few hours apart.  A few hours, and fifteen-hundred miles.  The first would be a boy, the second a girl.  The first in New Hampshire, the second in Oklahoma.
The date: Friday, September 22, 1978

Sixteen years later, in an orthodontist office in Oklahoma the boy from New Hampshire is looking at pictures of patients hung along the waiting room walls.  One of the frames holds a young girl.  She appears to be a year or two younger than he.  Hopefully not more than two-years younger, the boy would like to meet her.  She has a beauty that is deeper than the photographer’s talent.
“Hey, does she go to school with you?” The boy asks his friend, who is a couple of years younger.
“Never seen her,” his friend replies, “Besides – it’s a glamour shot, she doesn’t really look like that anyhow.”
The boy moves on.
The date: Fall/Winter 1994

It’s a typical school day for the boy, a Junior in high school.  Returning from lunch he sees a friend of his near her locker (a sophomore) and they visit.  A girl walks up – she is definitively pretty.  The girl has keys in her hand.  She shares a locker with his friend – must be a sophomore too.  He hasn’t met her yet.
The boy wants to talk to this pretty girl, so he asks:
“You drive?”
The pretty girl looks at the boy, jingles her car keys in his face before throwing them in the locker, and says: “You think?”
“And you’re a sophomore?”
“Yup,” and she turns and walks away.
The boy moves on.
The date: Spring 1995

The summer rolls around.  The boy cruises the town with a dead guy in the back seat (explanation some other time) and goes to a party with his friend.  The boy notices the pretty girl is at the party, but doesn’t have the guts to talk to her.  They share a friend or two – that’s close enough.
Summer comes, summer goes.
The boy moves on.
The date: Summer 1995

The boy starts his senior year.  He learns more about this pretty girl from their mutual friend.  He learns they share a birthday, and her name is Kim.
“Hey, why don’t the three of us go to lunch at Garfield’s today?”  The mutual friend asks.
“Naw, we don’t have the same lunch period.” The boy answers.
“So, we can today…  We’ll just skip a class.”
The trio goes to lunch.  They talk, the boy draws on the paper table-cloth.  He draws a waterfall with a rocky edge and an evergreen sprouting from the bank.  Kim draws a dog cartoon she is awfully proud of.  The boy is more impressed with her looks than with her artistic ability.
The girl has an attitude, too.
“You think (so-and-so) will be upset you’re at not lunch with him today?” The mutual friend asks the pretty girl.
“I don’t care, I’m having fun.  Besides, (so-and-so) doesn’t own me…” She fires back.
Sounds like Kim is taken.
The boy moves on.
The date: August 1995

September comes fast.  September is State Fair time, and birthday time.  The boy has two tickets to the rodeo and a concert he and his friend (with the braces) are going to.  The evening of the rodeo the friend cancels.  The boy calls another friend – busy.  And another – busy.  Then the mutual friend, she can’t go either.
“Why don’t you call Kim?”  She suggests.
“Naw…  I can’t do that.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t really know her.”
“You know me, I know her, I know you…  call her – she’d be happy I bet.”
“I don’t have her number.”
“I do…   Do you want me to call her for you?”
The boy calls Kim.  She is available and will be ready in twenty minutes.

After the fair, rodeo, and concert they’re hungry but most places were closed.  So the pair drive’s through Arby’s.  Kim is surprised – and a little argumentative – that the boy would buy her dinner.
Surprised himself, the boy asks, “Just what kind of guys do you date?”
“So this is a date?”
“Seems like it.”
They eat their Arby’s drive-through chicken finger platters and the boy brings her home.
In the drive way they awkwardly look at each other.
“I had a good time,” she concedes.
“Me too – good night, see you tomorrow.”
“Good night.”
The boy watches as the pretty girl unlocks the door and goes inside the house.
Then…
The boy moves on.
The date: September 1995

The boy and Kim become friends.  They both stay busy with work and school.  He works at a call center harassing people into buying Southwestern Bell’s “The Works” package.  She works as a front counter queen at Burger King.  They talk on the phone.  They visit at school.  They visit at each other’s houses.

One evening, sitting in the Kitchen at Kim’s house, she is flipping through a photo album.  There is a page with a glamour shot on it.  The boy looks at it and immediately his mind goes back to a orthodontist’s office, nearly a year past.  This is the same girl?  The pretty girl in the frame on the wall in the office, is the same girl sitting at the counter with him?
“When was that taken?”  The boy asks.
“After I had my braces off.  A few years ago…  The doctor gives each of his patients certificates to go to Glamour Shots after he is finished with their teeth.”
“Cool.”
The boy moves on.

Another such night, shortly thereafter, they decided to go to Wendy’s to grab some food.  After the burgers, Kim dropped the boy off in his drive way.  The two stand outside her car talking for a minute…
It doesn’t take long –
The boy moves in.

They kiss.  It lasts too long.
It’s official – the boy will not eat onions for years to come…
BUT, the boy is in love.
The date: Friday, October 13, 1995

Happy Valentine’s Day Kimberly.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in My Life

 

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Unplugged. (Reviewed)

Unplugged. (Reviewed)

So.  Last Thursday night the Pelletier family Unplugged.
It was a typical Pelletier Thursday night, almost…
Thursday night sans I-pod, sans Wii, sans DSi, sans cell phone, sans text messages, sans email, sans Facebook, sans WordPress, sans lap tops, sans radio (we already live sans TV).

It was like the whole SOPA/PIPA blackout, just for our family only…  and we attracted no national media attention on something that didn’t really black anything out (I used both Google AND Wikipedia that day).
Ho hum.

Games Played.
First game of the night was Skip-Bo.  A lengthy game – enjoyed by all, especially Dad (me) because he won.

Second (and final because it takes FORE-Ever!) game was the infamous Phase-10.

Because this game can take 2.675 years to play a single game, sometimes we play only the even phases, or odd phases, or play-the-phases-in-any-order-you-decide.  We decided to play the traditional phase 1 – 10 in sequence way of playing. Can you say Epic?

I particularly love Phase-10.  I win often, and I like winning.  Nurse Sonshine on the other hand doesn’t share my enthusiasm – she seems to hate it when I win…  However, this past Thursday evening, I got stuck on phases 5, 6, and 8 – I never got past 8.  Sonshine led most of the game, but the boy rallied on the last two hands of the game to steal the victory.

Needless to say, Sonshine is still not fond of Phase-10.

***The youngest did not join us in the games, but spent her time munching (see below) and climbing all over me, playing with my hair – – – It’s amazing what that kid can do with 1 princess comb, 2 pink hair bows, and 1 captivated father.

Food Consumed.
Despite the little teaser at the end of the Unplugged post, we did not make it a vegan night.
Here is a list of what we ate:
1 crock pot of Balsamic Chicken (Wooo!  Good stuff!)
2 bags of Pop Weaver popcorn
4 Valentine Fun Dips
1/2 package of Oreo Double-Stuffed Heads or Tails cookies
3 Fun sized Sweet Tarts
2 Fun sized Bottle Caps
3 glasses of Sweet Tea
2 bottles of Sam’s Choice Water
2 glasses of Milk
2 pouches of Capri Sun

I’m not saying who ate what.  BUT I will say I stayed under my prescribed calorie count for the day.

“Missed” Media.
For the five-hours I was restrained from media consumption, here is what was “missed”…
2 text messages
2 phone calls
1 voice mail
5 emails
2 WordPress notifications
1 Facebook notification

I was surprised by the low numbers…

Tonight I received 5 text messages, 3 WordPress notifications, 4 Facebook notifications, and 4 emails just during the two hours I spent at church.
I do believe maybe the Unplugged post helped to communicate the “leave-me-alone” message.

Disclaimer: I did not check any of my notifications during church!
And NONE of them were from folks in the church family.

Aftermath.
Friday evening when I got off work, Iddy Giddy (the male child) immediately asked:

“Dad, can we do the Amish thing again tonight!?”

So, while we failed to attract national media attention (which would have been ridiculous and not part of the plan), we did attract our children’s attention!

…And they are a bit more important to me.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in My Life

 

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Unplugged.

Unplugged.

For sometime now I’ve been meaning to take one night per week to have an old-fashioned Amish family night.
Not really Amish – I’ll allow electric lights, and if we must leave the house we will drive the Town & Country (although a horse and buggy would be a notch higher on the ‘cool’ scale).  I think this will be the week it happens – Thursday.

SO…  I am determined to make Thursday our UNPLUGGED night.

What will Thursday Unplugged look like at the Pelletier home?
It will NOT look like this:

Really!?!  If Megadeth unplugs is there any sound at all???
Or this:

And – definitely not this:

I bet their parents are so proud!  “How’s Billy, you ask?  Oh that boy, he is one of those Sick Puppies!!!”
And I’ll have to beg your mercy on this tasteless pun insertion:

Our unplugged night better not look like that.
While looking for images for this post I also found this…

Now…  I love Jesus and am not ashamed of it – BUT I have two issues with this shirt:
1.  When Jesus unplugs you it tends to be a permanent thing…  I’m not quite ready for that.
2.  They spelled unplugged as unpluged…  How can you mass produce a t-shirt with a typo on it?
Unless they really meant it as “pluge” –
Wikipedia (Google’s informative cousin) educated me as to what a pluge is –

In television, picture line-up generation equipment (PLUGE or pluge) is equipment used to generate greyscale test patterns in order to adjust the black level and contrast of a picture monitor.

I suppose that could work, (Jesus takes the grey out of life’s decisions!) but then the design doesn’t make sense.  It should have something like this on it:

Oh!  I found a third issue with the shirt –
3.  It’s short-sleeved…

Our unplugged night will look more like this:

Can I get an amen?!?!
Thursday night…  how about no I-pod, no Wii, no DSi, no cell phone, no text messages, no email, no Facebook, no WordPress (sorry), no lap tops – maybe, just maybe, no radio (we already have no TV).

What, oh what will ever we do?!?!
Twiddle our thumbs?  Sit in silence and stare at each other?
I think not…  play pool (not the water kind, the billiard kind), play Clue, play Phase 10 – read the Word together a little more than usual, pray together a little longer than usual.

I cannot wait!
(seriously)

Oh!  One last thing…  I found this for my vegan friends (yes…  I have more than one):

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Musings

 

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