Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The amazing Market Basket story

My kids and I shop at Market Basket. They are a family owned grocery store with stores in a number of cities and states along the east coast. They are known for reasonable prices and good quality foods--especially the produce.  Usually that is purchased from local farmers when possible which is awesome. 

They are a great place to shop for a cost concious family. They are a great place to work as well.  I have residents who have worked there and there is a great bonus structure for the employees.  Even part time cashiers receive sizable bonuses yearly.  (FYI larger bonuses than I receive in my  office position where I have worked for more years than I am willing to write!) LOL  They are also known for hiring the disabled and being proactive at helping them to succeed in their employment there.

So why do I bother writing about where I buy groceries?  Because for the past month I have not been buying groceries there.  The family that owns the chain is feuding.  Actually they have been feuding for about 25 years, but with one side of the family recently wresting control from the other, things reached a boiling point.

What is interesting to me is the fact that the workers sided with the ousted family members.  Though a number of senior level employees were terminated, there have been rallies, protests and an amazing amount of solidarity surrounding this.  For the first time in recent memory, workers have really helped to influence the outcome of a sitaution at their workplace.  We don't live in the time of powerful unions anymore--and in fact to the best of my knowledge, this situation has no union involvement at all.  Yet the workers have managed to keep alive a strong and united protesting presence.

For the record, I have *hated* shopping at the other store that was available to me.  My bill is $50.00 more a week and I don't buy convenience foods or meats.  I am absolutely hoping that the situation resolves itself soon.  But for now, I stand in solidarity with the workers of the Market Basket chain and hope that all their efforts result in a return to a great place to shop and a great working situation for them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

And still more camping!

Last weekend me camped again, this time at a new to us campground in upper NH.  We were literally a stone's throw from VT.  It was a peaceful little mom and pop operation, yet in an ironic twist the owner is from the city we live in.  I did not know this at the time and there were as a result, 30 folks from our city up there for a family reunion!  Truly our world is smaller than we realize!

We spent Saturday at the kids favorite theme park (we have season passes) and then late Saturday afternoon headed to the pool.  There KC and Lissa made friends with two little girls and I started chatting with their dad.  We all got really friendly and have exchanged emails and phone numbers as they have family not far from us and visit down in our area often. (they were not part of the reunion crowd and actually live in NH)

After supper, we all played with the glow sticks that I brought, and the large grassy field lent itself to raucous games of chase.  When it was time to settle a bit, everyone, including the new friends came down to our tent site for a campfire.  The dad is new to camping and learned about  smores and mystical fire that night!

We also found a cafe where we had breakfast. A ymmy breakfast, too!  One of the fun things we do when we camp in a new locale is to try and find a small  place to eat a breakfast or a lunch. Nothing y pricey but something that is not a chain.  I have nothing against Subw*y and such, but truly there is nothing like finding a cool place that is owned and operated by a person with creativity and good cooking skills.  Rob is usually the guy I put this challenge to, as he aspires to a culinary career.  He has not steered us wrong yet and the Moon Beam Cafe was stellar.  (if you will pardon the celestial pun!)

As is our norm, the weather was rainy the night we arrived--we literally got our tent up seconds before a downpour.  Then it was cloudy on Saturday and gorgeous on Sunday when we had to depart.  But we are way past letting rain or clouds bother us.

I don't know whether it is knowing that this may well be the last year Rob will come with us--at least at this level of camping.  Or if it is needing a mental break from harsh realities of our world, but we have escaped to campsites around new england more this year than ever before.  WE have made wonderful memories, deepend old friendships and made new ones.  Under gleaming stars with fires warm glow, the hatred of Ferguson MO seems far away.  The threat of another war on the horizon can be pushed into the farther reaches of my mind.  We laugh. We sing and tell stories.  Because at the core of who I am I believe that these experiences are a foundation that will help my kids successfully face adversity and remember how to find peace when their spirits need it.  Which is why my spare bedroom is still filled with camping gear, as we leave again on Thursday for our traditional Labor Day weekend campout at the ocean!

Early August campout

We are back from another camping excursion.  This one was to a favorite campground with some friends of ours.  What I especially love about this location is that the tent camping folks (aka us) have sites that are no where near the RV camping folks.  I have nothing against RV campers.  I just like being separate because they bring all their "house" stuff with them.  Radios. TV's Other electrical and noisy things.  All I want is us and  the  natural world.  You get that in spades here as long as you don't mind a long hilly walk to and from the bathroom and the rubbish areas.  Given that there are also black bears in the area, I think being far awy from those things is good as well. LOL

Weather was far from ideal.  As seems to be our pattern this year, we had rain.  Almost every day in varying amounts.  But we still had fun.  It was so quiet at night that it was really hard for me to sleep the first night we were home in the city.  But after that I was used to it again.  Sure did love the peaceful quiet woods though!

In the day time, the kids played with our friends daughter and with other camping friends they met.  In an odd twist of events, we often bump into people we met in years past camping and that happened again for KC at this campground.  He and the little boy got on famously.

Despite its remote location  every Saturday there is a ton of kid friendly activities at this campground.  From 11 a.m through to the magic show that ended at 8 P.m. there were crafts games and more to keep the fun rolling along.

Despite that, I think the memory that the kids will carry away from this one was an hour of swimming in the rain

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just Beachy!

Weather wise this has been an odd summer.  Not a lot of weather that was conducive to visiting the beach--at least on the weekends, when I am not working and can bring the family.  Fiona was supposed to visit this weekend but the house said they did not recieve either of my 2 emails so they could not accommodate.  I am going up to thehouse tomorrow to spend some time with Fi and to help her do some sorting and hopefully organizing of her room.  It is unacceptable to me that we don't have time to see each other.

This meant though that today was free for the beach--I would not have gone if Fiona was with us as the ocean frightens her.  We went shopping early and set off by 8:30 for the trek.  A bit under an hour later we were there.  The sky was that perfect cerulean blue that I associate with high summer.  The temperaturse were perfect so that you could warm up after being in the water but not burn your feet on the sands.  Truly it doesn't get better for the beach in New England.  I only took a couple of shots as K had to stay home.  If I am watching 4 kids at the ocean, I spend very little time looking through a lens and a LOT Of time in the water making sure all are safe and having fun.  I snapped these during our lunch break.

I have always said that everyone blooms when they are ready.  Today was Chet's day to bloom.  Chet loves the ocean but is over stimulated by it. The first part of the day was spent helping him acclimate.  When Chet gets wound up, even in siuations he likes.  When the sound of the waves, the feel of the water and sand, the birds, etc combine, it is hard for him to regulate his responses.  He begins to talk incessantly, to forget to swallow and start to drool, wave his arms around and lose a sense of personal space.  For the most part in a situation like the beach I can help him through it.  But it takes time.  That can be hard on the other kids--particularly KC who is profoundly upset when he never gets a turn to talk, or when Chet begins to drool.  But we got through it.

And then something amazing happened!  Chet was able to learn how to boogie board.  We have tried to help him with this for years to no avail.  He would wind up using the board to slap the waves, but never get the concept of lying on it and riding the waves in.  Yesterday--it connected and he successfully rode.  And then did so over and over for several hours. This also allowed him to "hang out" as he put it with the other boogie board folks and he did so with appropriate actions to boot.

We finished the day at our favorite ice cream stand on the way home, sandy tired, and full of joy.