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I did not sleep through my alarm, though I did hit the snooze bar twice. This is uncharacteristic of me, as I think the snooze setting is counter-productive in all ways. (Except in the dead of winter, where I jump out of bed, turn up the thermostat, and dive back into the warm bed while the apartment heats up for a few minutes.)

Work was exhausting for many reasons, not the least of which is I have a new day baker to train. Over the years I have come to realize that training night bakers is actually easier than training day bakers, once you set aside the sleep-disruption issue. Night bakers are narrowly focused on bread production and they don't have to package anything other that their muffins. Day bakers make everything from granola bars to cake, package everything that the bakery makes, and deal with the other bakeries we do business with, not to mention the coffee houses we supply with baked goods. And deal with customers. That's a lot of ground to cover!

Anyway. Today's new baker was a pleasant young woman who I will call M. According to my friend Linda, who was my co-leader in the troop, M was in our Girl Scout troop when she was in kindergarten. I remember that we had two girls of that name in our troop at that time but nothing else, but Linda is the type of person who remembers such things so it must be so. M clearly doesn't remember me, but since I didn't remember her I think that's fair.

Part of me hopes that from time to time she remembers the troop and thinks fond thoughts. That hope was the thing that made being a leader worthwhile.
daidoji_gisei: Rukia being her normal delicate self (Delicate)
This afternoon at a semi-official gathering of the store's management staff, one of my co-workers said he never wanted to use the phrase "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission". I was agog at this, because back when I was a co-leader of a Girl Scout troop of high school girls, my co-leader and I had the express goal of teaching the girls this. We figured that boys got taught stuff like that as a matter of course, and we wanted our girls to be prepared.
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Last week I installed Miro in my MacBook. Miro does many things, but what I was most interested in was its ability to quickly and painlessly download clips from YouTube. Thanks to this lovely bit of open source software, I now have footage of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse. It probably sounds odd, but I was utterly fascinated by this as a high school student and being able to watch it again makes me happy. I also have the clip of Vir's answer to Morden's question. Yes, that one. The first time I saw it I wanted to stand up and cheer out loud, and time has not diminished that scene's power over me. Vir was sometimes a buffoon and almost always a pawn, but he understood exactly what Morden was about and he wanted none of it.

I've also discovered a few cool things that are new to me. Right now the jewel of the collection is an Advent Children AMV that I discovered while looking for something else. I fell so completely in love with it that it was a few days before I could wonder why. I think it speaks to me as a one-time Girl Scout leader--deep down inside, I always hoped that I could inspire at least one girl to think that she was capable of doing important things. I don't think I ever managed it, but it was a worthy dream and to me, that's what this vid is about: a girl being inspired by a woman in her life.

The song is by KT Tunstall, whose pronunciations are sometimes odd to a Nebraskan's ears. In case you have similar ears, the lyrics are here.


Dec. 31st, 2007 06:50 am
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These past few days have been filled with socializing. It's strange, but pleasant.

My bf Karin and her husband Ami are in town for Christmas, so I have been spending lots of time hanging out with them. For my birthday I took the day off from work and we went to the Strategic Air Command Museum. It was a lot of fun--I'd been there before, but always with my Girl Scouts, so I hadn't had a lot of attention for the planes. Most of the planes in the collection are parked somewhat randomly around the hangers, so you can walk around and touch them. Some of them have had part of the fusalage walls removed, so you can walk under the plane, look up, and see what they looked like on the inside. The Museum has both a B-36 Peacemaker and a B-52 Stratofortress and I am here to tell you that those planes are huge. When we were walking around it I proposed the hypothesis that the B-52's wingtips were in different zip codes. More about planes and Girl Scouts )
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The water park trip managed to happen in spite of girls arriving without permission slips, partly-cloudy skies and a semi-conscious leader. Linda drove, so I managed to get an hour-ish nap on the way to Grand Island and that improved matters some.

On our way to pick up the girls Linda and I decided that they were now old enough that they could pair up into buddies and roam the park without us--as long as they stayed with their buddy, which has been a problem with some of them in the past. But they all did stay together this time, so a good time was had by all. Linda, as she usually did, stayed on shore and watched. I, as I usually did, went and frolicked in the water for a while. (I suspect my character sheet has Fascination: Large Quantities of Water.) After a few sessions in the wave pool (which reminded me of the ocean in New Jersey, which made me miss mbf Karin), and some trips down the wussy slides (I just wasn't up to the three-story slide with the almost-free-fall section) I was good for the day and went to hang out with Linda.

We didn't talk as much as we usually do at such times. Part of it was probably that we were both tired. And in my case, part of it was that the thing I needed to talk most about was the thing I wanted to talk about least: My leaving the troop. I had known when I applied for a Story Team position that if I got it I would have to let scouts go, and I had warned Linda when the process began. And even though she was very supportive of my quest, and happy for me when I succeeded, all summer she has been making suggestions on how we could change the way we run the troop so that I could continue to be a leader in spite of my extra job. I hadn't directly said, "No, this just won't work", in spite of my conviction that it wouldn't. Partly this was because I treasure my friendship with Linda and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize it, and partly because sticking with it until Linda's daughter graduated from high school would have given a satisfying sense of closure (and I like her daughter), and partly because I've spent around a third of my life as a Girl Scout leader and it's hard to think of myself as not-a-Girl-Scout-leader.

On the way home, though, something happened that kicked me over the edge. It was a really trivial thing, but it highlighted my major grief of the past year: I am not getting anything from being with this troop, and the girls are getting nothing from my being there. I'd be willing to run myself into the ground for them if I thought they needed me, but the truth is they don't. And that being the case, there is no reason to linger. I told Linda that I would stay and help until she found another adult to help lead, but my time is over. I hope she will forgive me.
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I am still tired from Gencon and the writing I've done this week, I woke up an hour before my alarm went off for no good reason this morning, and I have to go into work today because it is Sample Day and I need to conduct the Great Flax Bread Challenge. (I intend to introduce a flax bread into our production line-up, and am trying to determine which of the three recipes I've developed is most popular with our customers.)

None of that is the Doom part. The Doom is that this afternoon my Girl Scout troop is driving out to the water park at Grand Island for an afternoon/evening of fun, sun and water. I don't know if I have the strength to get through this. I haven't seen them all summer, so it's possible they have improved some, but...I'm not holding my breath.

This was not, by the way, the original plan. The original plan was that we were going to do a Sunday/Monday overnight trip, which would have been a longer time spent with them, but would have given me more sleep beforehand. But that trip fell through because not enough of the girls would commit to it, so mid-week Linda came up with this idea. Which I had to support because the girls had earned the tickets to the water park by the troop's success in cookie-selling, and it would be a shame not to let the girls enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I suppose I should be more positive about this. While we are actually in the water they won't want to hang around me, and there will be large numbers of lifeguards present to help keep them out of trouble. (This is very important, because to swim I have to take off my glasses, and I'm very nearsighted. If the troop had to rely on me alone, we'd never go near a pool.) So. Optimistic thoughts! If only I weren't so tired...

Two Haiku

May. 30th, 2006 11:47 pm
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The last scout meeting of the year was tonight. I may have more thoughts on this later, but for now here are two haiku I left scrawled on the sidewalk of the church we met at.

Peonies in bloom
in early summer heat
nod heavy pink heads

Catalpa rising
into heaven fears no lightening
only time

I think the first one is more successful overall, but I like the idea of the second one better. Maybe I'll try to work on it more? I'm really a lousy poet, but I like the compactness and stringent design of haiku.

After the meeting Linda, Linda's daughter and one of the other girls and I were leaving the building together. The others stopped to read what I and others had written on the sidewalks. "What's that?" the other girl said. "Haiku" I told her. "You're weird," she said firmly.
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My troop won't be having its regular meeting this week; our Service Unit is having its Bridging Ceremony tonight and our troop is supposed to attend and do the flag detail. I'm hoping enough of them show up to make an adequate color guard.Read more... )


Apr. 25th, 2006 12:28 pm
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I have a Girl Scout meeting tonight. I'm not looking forward to it. In fact, I lost the capacity to look forward to anything connected with my troop some weeks--possibly months--ago.

This is an unbelievably painful thing to say, because I've been a Girl Scout leader for 15 years now and it's been the source of a lot of good things. I've had fun campouts, interesting trips, and an ever-deepening friendship with my co-leader, Linda. I've learned coping skills and leadership skills and how to make ice cream using two coffee cans. Leaving Girl Scouts is going to rip out a lot of my life--but at the moment, it would be worth it to be free of this group of girls.

It seems foolish to say that I'm frustrated and unhappy over the behavior of a bunch of jr high girls--they're jr high girls, for heaven's sake. But I've had a troop in this age group before, and though they were argumentative and stubborn and flighty they did manage to not act as if they despised their troop leaders. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Of course, it't possible that I'm being cowardly. I mean, I could toughen up and be a brilliant and compassionate human being who loves these girls in spite of themselves. I could dedicate all my time to reading up on child psychology and leadership, so as to become the kind of leader who takes things like their wanting to be able to use their cell phones to talk to people during the troop meeting in stride.

Or I could say the hell with it and use that time on me. Selfish, yes, but at 41 I have a limited amount of life left and with no husband and no family if I don't take care of myself no one else will. I feel the need to invest my time in people who might possibly come to my funeral, and that doesn't describe this group of girls.

It would be hard on Linda, though--her daughter is in the troop (and, to be fair, her daughter isn't really one of the toxic ones) and she's unlikely to quit while her daughter is still in Scouts. I'm committed to riding out the school year before I make the final decision, so that if I do leave she has time to find another co-leader. And it would be hard on me, because I have come to treasure our post-meeting dinners together, where we would talk about politics and religion and what we wanted to be when we grew up. What could I find that could replace that? Could anything replace that?

All this emoting may be moot, however--my mom's cancer has left my dad in bad financial straits, and I feel compelled to help out. This would mean getting a second job, or getting one that pays more than the one I have now, and that could end my involvement with Scouts right there. But saying "I'm quitting because of work" is different from saying "I'm quitting because I don't want do do this anymore", and I think I need to decide what it is I really feel about this.


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