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Many old friends suddenly fired from their jobs

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I got a surprising email recently, informing me that the nursery where I used to work had been sold. The email was somewhat upbeat about the "transition", but in fact, it was a way of letting all their newsletter subscribers know that everything in the store was now 35% off.
I knew things were bad, because I still have a lot of friends there, and they've been texting me with cryptic gossip about the ominous changes that were happening. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I don't think anyone wanted to acknowledge what was coming. Sales were slumping badly. It had already started while I was still working there. They never picked up again, they just continued to slide. Two years later, and it's all over for another independent, locally-owned garden center.
The email lured me in, but it was such a sad sight. the once bustling four-acre nursery yard was bare-bones empty. It was sobering to see all the empty fields, and only three employees watering plants in the middle of the day, where there used to be 8 or 9.
I spoke to my old friends, the ones who were there that day. There were emotions ranging from bitterness to resignation in every conversation.
One person seemed particularly down- a fellow who has done some part time work for my company since I quit working there. I felt so bad for him, and wished I had some work to offer him. His expression was flat as he told me not to buy anything, because it would all be going down to half off in another week.
Inside the greenhouse, same story. It was like a ghost town. A handful of glum employees, and empty, skeleton shelves.

I walked out into the sweltering parking lot, the islands once well-tended and filled with pretty plants, glancing at my part-time employee's still-new Mustang, and another friend's shiny Corvette. How sad.


The search continues for new trees to replace those that will be coming down this month. Today I drove a little further to check out another nursery. I was able to cross some items off my list as "unsatisfactory", while I found others that looked promising and were nicely priced. On my way back to town, I stopped to fuel up the truck.
The gas station was busy, and another truck quickly pulled up behind me, followed by a sedan on the opposite side of my pump. The driver of the truck quickly struck up a conversation with me, but he was no match for the chatty sedan driver, who immediately flattered me by complimenting my BIG truck. I noticed he was well groomed, and driving a late-model Volvo.
Both the men spoke to me, but neither was in direct view of the other... we maintained this pleasant conversational triangle for a few minutes. I would have liked to continue talking to both of them, and could tell my new aquaintances felt the same way. I was sure the guy in the Volvo, who was much closer to me, wanted to contact me again, but as I waved goodbye cheerfully and hopped back in my truck, he still hadn't asked for me for my card.
I made it one block and caught the traffic light when the Volvo pulled alongside me, honking his horn and waving his arms. We pulled over, and he got my card.

He called when I was back at home sitting at my desk.
He asked me for a job.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BODYNSOIL1 6/6/2010 10:26PM

    As you know I have been off spark for awhile so I am out of the loop on what has happened with people. The last time we spoke you had just become certified and were doing an installation at a golf course. I am happy to see that you started your own company and it seems to be just in the nick of time too. Congratulations for your success and I am happy that you are doing well in something you truly love..

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MBSHAZZER 6/6/2010 12:14PM

    I hate it when local, independently owned businesses go under. I always try to patronize those first, but it's getting harder and harder as they are few and far between.

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PHEBESS 6/6/2010 8:53AM

    How sad! But it seems as if you got out at a good time.

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JLPNURSE 6/6/2010 7:49AM

    So sad for the people let go. I really hope they find work.

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SECRETFUN 6/5/2010 10:55PM

  That beautiful store! good luck to the workers, and to you.

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_UMAMI_ 6/5/2010 8:07PM

    Oh, that is really sad about your former workplace. I'm a big suppporter of mom-and-pop businesses. Aren't you glad that you had the foresight (and fortitude!) to strike out on your own?

And Volvo guy---hee-hee!

Here's wishing---for all our sakes---for a better economy soon. My husband is going to ask his boss for a raise this week. He's doing his ex-boss's old job *and* his old job and is only making half the salary both jobs paid two years ago.

May YOUR job thrive! emoticon

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KISSFAN1 6/5/2010 7:55PM

    I hate this economy, so many of us are hoping we don't lose our jobs and those that do have such a hard time finding another one. I'm so sorry for your friends losing their jobs and hope they find a new one soon.

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PKTREKGIRL 6/5/2010 7:50PM

    The economy stinks so badly...I guess people are cutting back on everything - especially on 'extras' such as flowers for their yard, etc.

I was laid off from my job on Mach 31 - I'm a CPA who is suffering from all the jobs being moved to India and Brazil, etc, by IBM (my old employer) and other large corporations. So no beautiful garden for me this summer. In fact, I had to let my yard guys go as well...although they talked me into letting them stay on by offering to do my yard for $25 per month until I get another job.

It's not pretty out there, that's for sure. I hope that your friends are able to find employment - and that they have better luck at it than I have had so far.

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I'm finally adding a conifer

Friday, June 04, 2010

One thing my garden has been lacking is a conifer. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that my garden is so SMALL. I planted a Chamaecyparis when I first moved here, but it didn't live.

I've wanted a conifer BADLY, and now that the big trees are scheduled to come down, I've been shopping for new stuff. I was specifically hoping to find something narrow (so I could fit it into the small space) and unique.

A local nursery is liquidating their inventory, and they have a beautiful weeping Serbian spruce. I want that spruce.

It's priced at $260., but if nobody else snatches it by the 20th, it will be half price, and MINE.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 6/5/2010 11:10AM

    I love the way you are so passionate about trees.

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PHEBESS 6/4/2010 7:23PM

    First link wouldn't let me in, but I like the conifer in the second pic - and yay for conifers! I spent years in the Evergreen State, so I'm a big fan of trees that stay green all year long!

Hope you get your spruce!!!

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Got milk?

Monday, May 31, 2010

I'll start by saying that I'm not a milk drinker. Something about humans drinking the breastmilk of cows disturbs me. But this caught my eye:

ScienceDaily (May 28, 2010) Women who drink two large glasses of milk a day after their weight-lifting routine gained more muscle and lost more fat compared to women who drank sugar-based energy drinks.

The Science Daily newsletter says the study monitored women drinking milk and engaging in resistance training.
The women didn't eat or drink anything (except water) for 2 hours before working out. Immediately after exercising they swigged down 500ml of fat free milk, and a 2nd glass an hour later. They did this every day for 12 weeks.

"The women who drank milk gained barely any weight because what they gained in lean muscle they balanced out with a loss in fat" said a researcher. "Our data show that simple things like regular weightlifting exercise and milk consumption work to substantially improve women's body composition and health. We expected the gains in muscle mass to be greater, but the size of the fat loss surprised us".

Maybe there's something to this human-bovine breastfeeding....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BODYNSOIL1 6/6/2010 10:34PM

    Interesting article. I am surprised that they couldn't eat or drink anything but water for two hours before working out then drank fat free milk after. I am not a milk drinker either but do consume yogurt often, I have been trying to up my calcium intake and put milk on the menu.. This article solidifies my new milk habit but I am still not a huge fan so I have to make yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, frozen fruit and shake mix smoothies to get it down. I can say that I have notice a change in bodyfat but had attributed to the shake mix but perhaps it was the dairy.. Things that make me go hmmmmm

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MBSHAZZER 6/2/2010 3:01PM

    Hmm, I wonder if that would work with soy or almond milk? I share your feelings about drinking the breastmilk of cows!

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SHORTY20 6/2/2010 7:53AM

    I'm a huge milk drinker, so this is great news for me!

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PHEBESS 6/1/2010 10:24AM

    Interesting - I'm not a big milk drinker either, but it's a quick source of protein, so I try to add some every day. (Plus the calcium.)

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_UMAMI_ 6/1/2010 12:09AM

    Hmmmmm....not a huge milk drinker here, and always wary about what the dairy industry might be touting as research, but I have read things in the past about chocolate milk not being so bad for you post workout (vs. other choices).

I'll try to remember to read the article (about to fall asleep now), but I'm wondering if it's just the benefits of lean protein post-workout, or something in milk itself.

So many people/cultures are lactose-intolerent, too, right?

I'm kinda big on cottage cheese w/ probiotics lately, though.

But mostly I say, give those cute little calves their mama's milk!

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CAROLX914 5/31/2010 11:33PM

    hmmm interesting theory. I wonder if its just cow milk. I actually find that drinking a glass of milk after working out takes my cravings away but I have been drinking soy and almond milk.

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LILPAT3 5/31/2010 10:38PM

    Yummy...might have to try it! emoticon

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SECRETFUN 5/31/2010 10:36PM

  I wonder if the type of milk changed what the results would be (and also how tightly controlled/blinded/well randomized) the study was. Lots of things that look promising small fail to reproduce, but it is an interesting hypothesis to test.

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It's 7pm and all I want to do is go to sleep.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I've NEVER had such terrible insomnia. It's killing me.
I solved the hot flashes/night sweats problem by ramping up my HRT, but the insomnia persists, and it is truly awful.
I usually have no problem falling asleep. But my sleep only lasts about 3 hours. Every night, I miss huge, 4-hour chunks of sleep. By the time I am able to nod off again, it is daybreak. At that hour, whether I get up or stay in bed is immaterial. The day will be ruined either way. If I get up, I will crash after lunch; and if I drop everything and succumb to sleep, I might wake up around dusk: day ruined. If I stay in bed, I'll wake up around lunch, feeling groggy, and I'll stay groggy until dusk: day ruined.
I'm not one of those people you'll hear bragging about how well they do on four or five hours of sleep. It messes me up. I like my sleep schedule, and I protect it. I don't like staying up late or being awakened in the middle of the night. I like being well-rested and waking up early with lots of energy. I used to be a morning person- not any more.
Last night it was only 3 hours. Again. I had to pull myself together and do a planting job for I client (I promised it would be done today when she came home from work). I'm also working on completely redoing my own yard; right now I have a large tree soaking in a 100-gallon stock tank in my backyard, waiting for me. I love the tree, it's one of my favorites. I've been growing it out in progressively larger containers for four years, and it is too big for the one it was in. NOW, it is in limbo... like a stem sitting in a 100 gallon vase, waiting for me to attend to it... and I am just too tired. If my tree croaks it will cost me $250 to replace it.
I just want to SLEEP.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 6/2/2010 3:00PM

    I sympathize. I have struggled with insomnia before and it's the 9th circle of hell. Hope you get some relief soon!

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_UMAMI_ 5/27/2010 9:34PM

    Oh, you have my complete sympathy. I'm not having the hormone issues yet (knock on wood), but I've had issues with insomnia for years, and my mom has sleep issues.

Best of luck resolving the issue SOON, and please let us know what eventually works for you!


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SECRETFUN 5/27/2010 9:24PM

  talk to your doctor again, and also look into 'sleep hygiene'

And going ot bed at 7pm, sleeping until 10pm or midnight, then sleeping again 3:45-6 or 7am is better than what you have right now. Although some still get the drugged effect.

Sadly too common a problem.

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PHEBESS 5/27/2010 8:09PM

    Ugh, so sorry you're going through that - I totally understand and it sucks big time! I had several years where I woke up at 2 and couldn't sleep until 4 or 5 - while getting up at 5:30 for work.

It's the stupid hormone roller coaster - and eventually (after several years or so) you do even out.

But in the meanwhile, you just suffer - either that or develop a sleeping pill habit, which sucks too.

Absolutely no advice - just good luck, and, well, it will go away. Might be a while, but it will.

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How much does it cost to cut down a tree?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This isn't a long diatribe about the importance of trees, it's a lament about the cost of removal.
There's a tree in my backyard that has to go. It's a hazard (and I say that with some authority). It's time. Every hurricane season, I feel like I'm playing Russian roulette.
So, this week, as summer school begins, I'm collecting estimates... and it ain't pretty. The two I got today: $1400 and $1600.
Oh and by the way, there's also a long crack in the plaster on the living room ceiling that didn't used to be there.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_UMAMI_ 5/27/2010 9:36PM

    Oy! We're in tornado alley, and have lost some major limbs on trees due to many ice storms in recent years, but I can't afford to cough up that much for tree removal. Will continue to keep my fingers crossed....

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SECRETFUN 5/26/2010 7:33PM

  Yep, sounds about right sadly.

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PHEBESS 5/26/2010 10:53AM

    Oy! That's high! And yeah, I don't think it's something you want to do yourself.

Do you think the crack in the ceiling is from structural shifting? (If it's only cosmetic, that's an easy fix. But if the frame or foundation is settling or something, well, not fun.)

Poor NB!!!!!!! I hope you can find someone good (and cheap).

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NOTBLUSHING 5/26/2010 8:41AM

    Professional discount = DIY!

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JLPNURSE 5/26/2010 8:18AM

    Yikes! Can you get a professional discount?

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