Woodland workout

Another blue-sky day.

Need a good calorie-burning, heart-rate-raising, muscle building and strengthening workout?  Come with me to the woods where all those things and more will be provided, free of charge.

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First big snowfall of the season

Getting ready to unlock winter

Winter has finally arrived here in the Bogs.  The snow has been falling and falling and falling throughout the night and morning.  It’s almost dizzying to watch the snowflakes whirling and twirling as they descend from the sky.

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Yesterday I read this article: At Wal-Mart, Lessons in Self-Help

To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about it.

When I first started working in the pharmacy at Wal-Mart, I vowed to myself that I would quit work if I ever developed what I call “the Wal-Mart shuffle.” The Wal-Mart shuffle is something you see a lot among the older and/or overweight associates (for those not in the know, Wal-Mart calls their employees “associates”). It’s a way of walking, or shuffling, that gives off the message: I am in pain. Physical pain is a large part of it, but there’s also the mental and emotional pain of working for a company whose management style, in my experience and opinion, is designed to beat people down, sucking the life, the confidence, and the self-esteem out of them.  I’ve even see a few members of management acquire their own version of the shuffle due to Wally World’s trickle down policy.

I’m pretty sure I was doing a version of the Wal-Mart shuffle when I quit. The back pain and sciatica were heavy contributors, but in hindsight, the job itself was wearing me out. I was lucky in that I’d had some good bosses (pharmacy managers and pharmacists) throughout my almost six years with Wally World. I also had the misfortune to have worked with some loony toons who had no business working in a pharmacy and/or with the public.

The thing about this new plan of Wal-Mart’s is that I can’t help but wonder if the associates would be better off in the long run, healthier and happier, if Wally World would take the money used to fund their new program and give it to the associates in the form of higher pay, better benefits, and compassionate work schedules. With their open availability policy and erratic scheduling, Wal-Mart makes it difficult on their associates to build healthy habits (such as regular exercise). Maybe it’s just me, but I find it much easier to maintain an exercise habit if I get into an exercise routine where I work out at the same time every day. It’s difficult to do that if your work schedule varies from day to day and week to week.

It should be noted that when I worked for Wal-Mart I did have a fairly regular schedule which varied according to the comings and goings due to a high turnover of techs and pharmacists. I was lucky in that I was hired in to work week days between the hours of 9-5. I didn’t work nights or weekends unless I was asked to fill in for another tech. That said, I do know that most associates are not so lucky. Back in the 90’s I worked as a cashier for Wal-Mart and my schedule was so erratic that it was impossible to plan anything. It was also exhausting in that I’d often be scheduled to work until closing (“closing” is when the store is clean and tidy as declared by a member of management which means that a particularly sadistic manager might keep everyone there until 1, 2 or 3am) and then scheduled to open the next day at 7am. That sort of scheduling, in my experience, is more the norm than my own schedule while working in the pharmacy.

The program sounds, in theory, like a great idea.  Self-improvement and environmentalism.  Who could argue with that?  And who knows… perhaps many of Wal-Mart’s newly self-improved associates will self-improve themselves into better jobs.


(Rain on the living room window)

We went from a chilly frost to a rather warm rain the past 24 hours. When I went to bed last night the rain was coming down at a steady pace which lulled me to sleep. What has been a peaceful rain for us has been wreaking havoc in the southern states. The news didn’t look good this morning.

I quit my job yesterday. My last day was supposed to be next Tuesday, but I made an executive decision and took charge of my life and this pain. Going to work has not helped me in the least. I suspect it’s been making things worse.

I knew my job was causing a lot of stress in my life. I never realized how much until I arrived home last night after a long day in the pharmacy and had this overwhelming sense of having put down a very heavy burden. I can’t begin to describe what a relief it is to know I don’t have to use every bit of energy I have to drag myself off to work anymore.

I feel as though I’ve done a major decluttering of my life. :))

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Morning Thoughts

(Ohiopyle Falls. July 2006)

I was in the mood to look at a waterfall this morning so I went back through my photos from the summer and came up with this. We’ve had enough rain lately that water shouldn’t interest me. I can’t explain it. I just wanted to look at one.

M the Elder and I haven’t been hiking in a long while. I think that fact may be partially responsible for this down in the dumps feeling I’ve had lately. The constant pain, of course, doesn’t help matters. Still, it helps to get outside and enjoy nature once in a while. Perhaps if we have some decent weather on Friday I’ll coerce M the Elder to go for a hike with me.

The long-awaited MRI takes place on Thursday morning. On the one hand I hope they don’t find anything because, of course, I don’t want anything serious to be wrong. On the other, I hope they find something that’s easily fixable because I’m getting worn down with this constant pain. The past few months of pain have certainly given me a better understanding of some of the pharmacy customers. Not just more sympathy, but a genuine empathy.

I have four more days left at work (two this week and two next week). I didn’t think I’d be sad to leave. Yesterday a lot of the regulars stopped by. I’ve been in that pharmacy for almost six years and it’s the customers/patients I’ll miss the most.

I’m running late this morning. I’d better get moving.

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there. ~Monica Baldwin


(Moon setting. November 6, 2006)

At long last, freedom! Freedom from political ads. Freedom from the phone ringing constantly with calls asking us to vote for or vote against. Freedom from surveys and unofficial polls. Freedom from the bombardment of politically oriented email urging me to vote, to call, to write, to volunteer.

Life goes on and we can now return to some sense of normalcy. Election Day is over and I’m glad of it. I haven’t had a chance to look at the news yet this morning, but when I fell asleep around midnight last night, the news was looking good. I’m not a big fan of either of the major political parties, but I was glad to see the red one getting the boot.

I was really surprised by the turnout yesterday. I went to my local polling place after work, which was around 6:30pm. During the past two presidential elections there were no lines at all that time of day. Not so yesterday. We had a 45 minute wait. Very unusual. When my husband and I got in line we both commented on the crowd. The guy in front of us said, “Looks like people are finally fed up enough to get off their lazy asses and come out and vote.”

From what I saw before going to bed last night, that appears to be the truth.

I officially gave notice at work yesterday. Talk about freedom! I feel almost freed from the shackles of the Evil Empire (Walmart). I have two more weeks and I am outta there. To be honest, I have very much enjoyed my job in the pharmacy. I’ve been there for five years and gotten to know a lot of our regular customers quite well. I’m going to miss some of them. Others, well, it’ll be nice that they won’t be much more than a passing thought. Or maybe not even that.

They’ve been passing the following around the pharmacy and I thought I’d share part of it here. It explains why you have to wait so long for a precription to be filled. Those of us who work in a pharmacy find it hysterically funny. Maybe that’s because it’s hysterically true. I’m not sure non-pharmacy workers will appreciate the humor in it.

“Why does my prescription take so damn long to fill?”

The question of why it took 2 hours for you to get 20 Vicodin has yet remained unanswered. I offer the following prescription scenario:

You come to the counter. I am on the phone with a drunk dude who wants the phone number to the grocery store next door. After I instruct him on the virtues of 411, you tell me your doctor was to phone in your prescription to me. Your doctor hasn’t, and you’re unwilling to wait until he does. Being in a generous mood, I call your doctors office and am put on hold for 5 minutes, then informed that your prescription was phoned in to my competitor on the other side of town. Phoning the competitor, I am immediately put on hold for 5 minutes before speaking to a clerk, who puts
me back on hold to wait for the pharmacist. Your prescription is then transferred to me, and now I have to get the 2 phone calls that have been put on hold while this was being done. Now I return to the counter to ask if we’ve ever filled prescriptions for you before. For some reason, you think that “for you” means “for your cousin” and you answer my question with a “yes”, whereupon I go the computer and see you are not on file.

The phone rings.

You have left to do something very important, such as browse through the monster truck magazines, and do not hear the three PA announcements requesting that you return to the pharmacy. You return eventually, expecting to pick up the finished prescription…..

The phone rings.

………..only to find out that I need to ask your address, phone number, date of birth, if you have any allergies and insurance coverage. You tell me you’re allergic to codeine. Since the prescription is for Vicodin I ask you what exactly codeine did to you when you took it. You say it made your stomach hurt and I roll my eyes and write down “no known allergies” You tell me……

The phone rings.

…..you have insurance and spend the next 5 minutes looking for your card. You give up and expect me to be able to file your claim anyway. I call my competitor and am immediately put on hold. Upon reaching a human, I ask them what insurance they have on file for you. I get the information and file your claim, which is rejected because you changed jobs 6 months ago. An asshole barges his way to the counter to ask where the bread is.

The phone rings.

I inform you….

If interested, you can read the rest here.

Yep, I’m going to miss working in that pharmacy. But maybe not all that much.

NaBloPoMo: Day 8


(Beer tray hanging in our basement. October 2006.)

Having given away our last Genesee tray, we replaced it when we were in PA. There’s a little beer shop that specializes in steins in Lancaster. The guy had two of these trays left, or so he said. I suspect he can probably order them by the hundreds.

It’s the first day of NaBloPoMo. And naturally I have nothing to post about. Not that there’s anything new about that. This must be the world’s dullest blog.

I think one of the things that makes this blog so dull is my reluctance to talk about my feelings and opinions. I do some of that elsewhere, in a journal. The main purpose of this blog was to try to keep family and friends up to date with us, especially after we move back east. It wasn’t designed to be a forum for my rants and raves. That makes it pretty impersonal, I suppose, and hence, boring.

I’m going back to work today. I suspect this is not a wise decision on my part. However, I figure I can be just as miserable at work, making money, as I can at home, not making money.

It’s not just the money part. I need to get out and get moving again. Being at home all day alone is eventually going to lead me to depression. I don’t need any help in that direction.

The pain was bad last night. It’s still pretty bad right now. I’m dreading the drive to work as sitting in the car is an exercise in severe torture. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to doing a little socializing at work. It might put a stop to this irritableness. Everything has been getting on my nerves lately. I was almost ready to write a rant about M the Elder last night and all he’s done is try to be nice and take care of me. He doesn’t deserve a rant.

I’ve even been yelling at the political ads on television.

It’s definitely time for me to get out of the house.

I was reading the news (although it’s hardly “news”) online this morning and see that Babs (Barbara Streisand) is still having problems with hecklers. I don’t understand why a Shrub supporter would attend a Streisand concert. Well, hell, I don’t understand why anyone, no matter what their politics or beliefs, would attend a Streisand concert given how much the tickets cost. I can’t think of one performer worth that much. But the world has got to know her political stance by now. Why support someone whose politics you disagree with?

It’s frosty here in the Bogs this morning. A great blue heron and a red-tailed hawk are at the far end of the pond, sunning themselves. We’ve seen the two of them out there together a couple of times. Perhaps they like having a bit of company when they hunt.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now. Perhaps work will give me something more interesting to write about tomorrow.


Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza. ~Dave Barry