Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It really all boiled down to this one question:  would you sign an employment contract that clearly stated your employer could - at any time and for any reason - give away your job to someone who did not even work at your place of employment? (It's called outsourcing.)

Of course you wouldn't.

Sadly, the media did not talk much about this part of the Boeing strike. They consistently reported the strike as "issues of wages and medical benefits."

Thanks much, media. Would you have signed that contract with your station?

Yes, negotiating a good financial and benefit package was important. It is in any contract negotiation. But this time it was more important to negotiate the actual jobs, the job security issue and keeping those jobs for employees who actually work for the company. The folks who made them so very profitable. Oh, yeah, those guys.

Thanks to the media almost non-reporting of this most important part of the reason for the strike, I've had 53 days of verbal abuse by a boatload of folks. 

No, I don't work at Boeing. Never have. But my sweet husband does. And yes, he has been on strike for 53 days and counting.

The most recent abusive comment to me:  You guys are just greedy, selfish bastards! You should be grateful to have any job at any pay in this economy. What gives you the right to strike against your employer? Do you realize how many people are losing their jobs and taking cuts in pay? Greedy sons of...

Well, you get the general drift of that one. It went on. Sadly, it was another comment from yet  another friend. I didn't even respond. I was too tired of being the punching bag for the anger of those who didn't care to find out if there was another side of the story.

Thanks much, media.

For those who don't know, yes. I actually do understand all too well the fear behind those comments.  Come Friday, my own job may be cut or my pay cut. We will find out at a meeting that day. With my health, the most important part of everything is the issue of health insurance availability. Currently our insurance is held with my job, so it's been pretty dang scary at times. But I am trusting that God will provide for our needs. It's what I believe. It's what I'm living.

As of last night, a tentative agreement has been reached between the Boeing Company and the Machinists Union. In preliminary information, it's looking pretty dang good for both sides. As soon as we get a full copy, we'll read the fine print to be sure. But from all the reports, it's looking like it will be a winner.

It's been interesting lately. A week or so ago, I moved into "refuse to discuss" and self protective mode. I know people are simply scared and taking it out on me. I'm trying to avoid damaged relationships, so I won't talk about it with anyone now. Hoping that once the guys go back to work, people will focus on something else and we can move past the hurtful things said.

...may there be mercy and a grace in forgiveness.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

lovely weekend

We're just home from the Fall Color Festival.  Too bad there wasn't any color yet!! In about 2-3 weeks, the color will be glorious. Today, the day was glorious, but the color was just starting to turn. Oh well, we had a fun time anyway.

The plan was to take our cameras, pick up a buddy from work and go enjoy this festival. Since the color wasn't cooperative, we never got our cameras out of the trunk. Big disappointment on that, because I really wanted some picture taking time today.

I'm embarrassed to admit that we've never visited the local wineries, with the exception of the one that is across the street from my friend's house - and that one only when they have had events raising money for breast cancer research.

The first winery, Eagle Haven, is the closest on the drive upriver. It's a young winery, only open since 2004. The tasting room is cozy and inviting and pretty. The staff is just plain fun. Obviously they enjoy people and are knowledgeable about wine - in spite of the fact that the employee today in the tasting room really is a whiskey drinker! We laughed with her, learned a little about this winery and enjoyed a relaxed and fun tasting. This is the first year they are selling a Pinot Noir. It's young, so it's a little on the light side rather than full bodied, but it does show they have potential. The Sangiovese was lovely and I brought a bottle of that home. I will go back there again.

The second winery, Challenger Ridge, is in a pretty setting overlooking the river. The tasting room is very pretty, however it's quite dark and has the feel of a smoky jazz bar with a slightly odd twist of being back-woodsy. We were told they are planning for the future in that they want to become a destination winery with a bed and breakfast, restaurant, etc. Great plan! We need a destination winery.

It's too bad that we felt they are a bit stingy! The person running the tasting room had a great personality, but gave very small tastes - small enough that I didn't feel anyone could really get a sense of what their wines actually taste like. I've never seen a winery that only poured enough to show a little bit of color in the bottom of the glass... really just wetting the glass and a sip more. I told my sweet husband that the two sips worth of wine were not real sips, just "wet your lips" sips. Not enough to taste the wine and determine if I liked it.

The other thing she did that turned us off was that she raved and raved about how their Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderful, the best seller, etc. - but oh, sorry, "we're not tasting that one today." Huh?? She had a full tasting room, about 10 people, half of whom wanted to taste it (most of whom would have probably purchased it) and refused based on the fact they would not be open in the tasting room for the next several days. To save the cost of the leftovers of a single bottle of wine, she threw away the profit on at least 5 bottles. Actually more since there were more folks in there at the time. Everyone in the tasting room at the time thanked her for the tasting and walked away without buying a thing. Not the way to get that plan of a destination winery going!

The last winery was Glacier Peak Winery. Probably the loveliest setting of the 3 wineries, surrounded by mountain peaks and boasting a glorious view of Glacier Peak. The tasting room is a bit of a letdown visually and is nothing special in the way of decor, but is light and open. The person running the tasting room didn't have the personality of the other 2, but she was pleasant and knowledgeable. While we would not make that long a drive to this winery again, we did enjoy their Glacier Red wine made from Hungarian Agria grapes. It's a bit on the sweet side, but has a surprising hint of pepper to counteract the sweet. They sell it as a dessert wine and it will be good with sharp cheeses or rich dark chocolate sometime this winter. Definitely in front of the fireplace!

As we headed back down river, we realized that we had not visited the Apple Shed at Perkins Apple Orchard... on the same property as Eagle Haven Winery! Silly us! Yep, we stopped back there on the way down. Sue, one of the owners and the Grandma/matriarch of the family was manning the Apple Shed. She was adorable! She cut apple tastes for us from about 10 different varieties of apples. Yum! Some of the varietals of apples I'd never heard of, but enjoyed immensely. They also sell honey from hives on the property and apple cider. Walked out of there with 4 pounds of Jonagolds, 4 pounds of Arlets and a gallon of fresh cider - so fresh that it was pressed this morning.

After dropping my buddy off at her house, we headed for home and some quiet time. It's been a busy, but very fun weekend for us. A little time tonight of "man, movie and wine" will complete the weekend nicely, allowing me to return to work refreshed.

...may there be mercy and many weekends like this one.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

lots o' stuff

Okay, here comes the monster update on life, living, friends from all over the place, health, work and more boring stuff than one could imagine. But the summer blogging didn't happen and some have been asking me for updates. Here goes.

Work: Well, that's the interesting thing for us right now. My sweet husband is on strike. Has been for a month. Remember all the weekends he worked overtime during the summer? Yep, that was the strike fund so we would be prepared and could survive financially. Thus far, we have not had to touch the strike fund at all. Hallelujah! If things continue as is - with us living carefully - we think we will have to raid it around November 1st. Hopefully the strike doesn't last that long. I'd really rather use the strike fun to remodel the bathroom!

With the current economy, my work is so slow that we expect a layoff there. It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the board allow the layoff of the 2-3 lowest paid and least knowledgeable folks? If so a board member's daughter will be laid off. Will the accountant determine that we must lay off folks with higher salaries and more knowledge? If so, then I fall squarely in that range of possible people. We just do not know what will happen... but we have made plans for any "just in case" issues. I'm one of the extreme few in the office who is not afraid. Don't get me wrong, the tension is so big that no one is stress-free. It's just that we have worked out what to do if it is me, so we are okay.

Friends: It's been an amazing summer of time with friends from all over the country. Scoot was here from Alabama and we spent a glorious day with Carrie in Seattle. One of those spectacular Seattle summer days with great weather, lots of laughter and an incredible lunch where we were treated like royalty. Then, 2 weeks later, Melissa from Florida and SuziQOregon surprised me... as y'all read about earlier in my blog about rockin' friends. Still can hardly believe they pulled it off and how lovely it is to have friends who will do something that outrageous - just for me. Love you guys!

Another 2 weeks and sweet Karen from Mississippi came to visit with her nice husband. It was such a fun weekend showing them the areas we enjoy, talking, laughing, eating way too much and getting a big kick out of their enjoyment of our very contemporary church that is so very different than their more traditional churches in the South. Hearing sweet Karen's glorious voice raised in song during church is one of my precious memories of the summer.

Another 3 weeks and we head down to Portland for an impromptu party to celebrate my friend Terry's 50th birthday. It was tons of fun, mostly because Terry is like my brother and we always egg one another on until one of us laughs so hard tears run down the face.

My friend Jenna got married in August in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I've seen. Over lunch - or was it breakfast - early in her engagement I gave her a bit of advise. Ensure that the last couple days before the wedding are errand and duty free so that you can be a very relaxed bride, prepared for your celebration both public and private. I was proud to see how she took that advise to heart and how it impacted her day. She was a joyful, relaxed and stress-free (not to mention stunningly gorgeous) bride. The ceremony and reception were filled with meaning and family and joy. It was my great honor to be celebrating with them!

Family: my dumb-ass brother is back on drugs and living on the street with the "will work for food" sign, where he makes almost $300.00 per day so he can buy his damn drugs. I'm angry at him and totally heartbroken at how he has thrown away his life, once again. When he gets arrested, and he will, he will then have to face up the the California 3 strikes law... and spend the rest of his life in prison. My family is so torn up by him, again. People keep calling Mama to tell her they have seen him. I'm angry with them, too. The first time someone calls is bad enough, although I could excuse it because the motivation could very well be letting Mama know that he is alive. But the 6th time the same person calls - within a month's time - just speaks to the fact that the person can't get enough of humiliating Mama. Heartbreaking all around.

Health: My sweet husband is being treated for a terrible case of varicose veins. Bad enough that the doc is trying a bunch of different treatments, but expects to have to do surgery anyway. Gotta go through the gyrations for the insurance company. Not life threatening, thankfully, but painful and a pain in the butt for him nonetheless.

I've been diagnosed with genetically induced high blood pressure. Thanks to both Mama and Bud, my birth father. Yep, I called them both to thank them for sharing. We were all surprised that it hit me so early, but taking a single pill each day is far better than having a stroke, eh? Besides, if I had a stroke, I probably couldn't quilt! Due to the high blood pressure, I've finally gotten serious about exercise and am walking 3 miles each morning before work. It's been good for me to do this. Between the meds, walking, eating better and losing a few pounds, I'm feeling better than I have in years. Yay!

Quilting: Not a lot has happened for a while. I'm stuck. It's the dang ugly-ass quilt (UAQ) that I'm making for my sister-in-law. I made the mistake of letting her pick the fabrics... and they do not go together at all. In fact, the ones that do go together end up looking muddy and boring, then add in the other fabrics that do not coordinate and you get the UAQ. I made myself get to a point on it and I'm stuck. I do not want to work on the UAQ, but I won't let myself work on anything else until it's done. Including Christmas gifts, which will need to be sent out in about 60 days. Yikes!!! I may have to put the UAQ aside until after Christmas and get it done in time for her birthday in March. We shall see.

Life: in spite of all the oddities and stressors above, we are happy and doing well. Yay! Our needs are met and we are spending time with one another, enjoying conversation and all the other good stuff.

And now my dinner is almost done, so I will go pull it out of the oven, pour a lovely glass of wine for us and do some of that enjoying with my sweet husband. It's good.

...may there be mercy and continued recognition of the good, in spite of any stress.