Labor Day

gear-408364_640This Monday begins a new month and also marks a turning point in history. In the United States, during the industrial revolution, work weeks were often 12 hours shifts, 7 days a week. Children, barely more than toddlers, were working in factories and mines instead of playing games. No kindergarten for these kiddies. The whole family had to work to make sure mouths were fed. Working conditions, especially if you were poor or new to the country, surpassed dangerous and sometimes were just plain deadly.

Labor Unions began to form and began protesting the poor working conditions. In 1867 the government signed into effect a law regulating working hours for federal employees and Illinois workers, changing their shifts to an 8 hour day.  May 1, 1886 there was a movement to include the rest of the nation.

The thing is, they never actually enforced the law. A shorter work day and better pay work-384745_640sounded great to overworked, underpaid employees. So union banners were taken up and the peaceful protest marches began.  Some employers feared a “workers revolution” so they quickly signed on for shorter work days.

May 4, 1886 a rally was organized in Haymarket Square to protest the shooting of striking workers by the Chicago police the day before. The turn out was less than what was expected and the speakers either didn’t arrive or were late. Rain began falling toward the end of the rally which sent some of those who had hung around scurrying for home.That was when the police showed up to disperse the rest and chaos erupted. Someone from the crowd threw a bomb, shooting began which led to the deaths of seven policemen and four workers.

No one was sure who brought a bomb to a peaceful rally, but blood had been spilled so someone had to answer for it. Eight men, (*Cough, Cough, scapegoats) were rounded up and charged. Seven of the men were sentenced to death and the last one was give 15 years in prison.

matchstick-20237_640More strikes and more rallies happened over the next eight years, but it wasn’t until the American Railway Union began a boycott of Pullman railway cars and brought the nation to a stand still, that notice was finally taken.  Pullman Palace Car Company, maker of railway cars, had cut hours and fire union representatives. The workers went on strike and the boycott began. Things got so bad, troops had to be brought in. Which, of course, outraged many and started a wave of riots in Chicago.

In 1894 Labor Day became a Federal Holiday.  So now, on the first Monday in September, we sit around the barbeque with our friends and family enjoying the holiday.  Kids don’t have to go to school and the banks are closed so everyone can have a day off.  (If we aren’t scheduled to work.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Meetings, Bills, and Doughnuts

Monday, Monday. The fact that I remember what day it is should be cause for rejoicing.  The fact that I also remembered to post should mean balloons, a parade, and cake. Sadly, as I look out my window, I see none of those things.

We did have doughnuts at a meeting at work, but I had to stay after work for the meeting so that kind of took the joy out it. I still devoured a couple of glazed confections but the meeting left me glassy eyed. (Coming off of a twelve hour shift that isn’t hard to accomplish.)

After the meeting ended, instead of coming directly home, I had to run by the electric company and have a chat with them. My water bill had bi-polar. One month it was normal and reasonable then suddenly it jumped to extremes.

The people I spoke with were very nice. They are looking into the problem and in the mean time reimbursing me for some of the bill and for when I had problem with the toilet constantly running way back in March. I was surprised. I had no clue they took leaks and such into account.

It is time for me to go to bed. I am feeling a bit punch drunk and I am spending more time starring at the computer than typing.  Tomorrow I have to stop by my insurance company to discuss my home and auto insurance.

I stopped by today, after the electric company, but their computers were down. I am trying to find a way to save a little money.  I used to have my home and auto bundled together and I am looking to do it again. Separating them was a mistake.

🙂 All of this taking care of things makes me feel like a real grown up.

I’m not really, you know. I’m just good at faking it when the need arises. Now if I can just pull the act off when I meet the kids’ teachers for the first time next week…

A word about depression

I woke up this morning from nightmares. As I lay there watching the shadows cast by the labyrinth-handsfan and what little light shone under the door, I came to a revelation. I have been depressed.

I have anxiety depression. I know this. It is a fact of life. I take a little blue pill every morning after breakfast to help with it. Yet I still fall into that quagmire of dingy gray without realizing it. The world loses color, I sleep too much, and everyday activities take a herculean amount of effort.

Looking back I can kind of notice where the slide began this time. The multiple days of rain haven’t help matters either. Neither has sinus trouble and a sick child.

The ascent out of my gray world began yesterday when I sat on the porch for an hour and read the newspaper. (You would think that reading tales of drug dealers and politicians would make me more depressed.) That one hour out of the house and in the sunshine did something.

I am sure it had something to do with vitamin levels and such. But I prefer to think that a bit of that sunlight managed to trickle down to me where I was trapped and wrapped in gray bindings. That while I slept last night I was able to use that trickle of sunlight as a rope to climb up.

I am not completely out of the hole yet but I can see top. And from where I am in my climb I can look back on that dingy gray world and say: Oh. I was depressed. 

 

Time

Time is a strange thing.  It runs slow when you are young or when you are waiting for timesomething good to happen and it runs too fast as you grow older or when you want to sleep but can’t.  It gives perspective and dulls memories.

It is something we never have enough of, yet we spend it as if we have an infinite amount.

Everything has a “time limit”.  Songs, television shows, and books are written about it.  We get paid by the “hour” and count things down to the “minute”.  We are obsessed with time but it is an oblivious obsession to many.

timerunIn almost four hours (3 hours and 50 minutes) I have to go pick my children up from their father’s house, where they spent the weekend. (72 hours) In a little over 12 hours I have to go back to work. (12 hours and 49 minutes) Where I will work a 10 hour shift with a 30 minute lunch.

At some point I need to “find the time” to sleep, go grocery shopping, hang my new set of wind chimes on the porch, wash clothes, and add at least another two hundred words to my work in progress.

It seems odd how something so intangible is so important and so abstract.  I think the David Tennant, playing the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who, described it best when he said:doctor wibbily   “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”

This post took 28 minutes to write. 😉    (I had cat interruptions.)

Now I’ve done it…

overflow cover via amazonTwo days ago I published a book.  It is just a small chapbook of poems but it is out there, floating in cyberspace and available on Amazon.  I went through createspace and Amazon KDP, so I guess that means I am self-published. Or I went indie. Or I am a micro-press with a client of one.   You can take your pick on which one you want to use. I am still in that stage of semi shock, where I ask myself  “Okay I’ve got it, now what do I do with it?”

vampire-hunting-kitI know there are people out there turning up their noses and sharpening stakes because I didn’t go through the usual long trek up the mountain of publishing.  Hey, calm down it’s a chapbook, 24 pages at the most. And I have said all along that if I got my wish I would be a hybrid author. (I think I’ve said that here…I’ve certainly thought it enough.)

Will that wish ever be granted? Who knows.  What I do know is that I gathered a bunch of words I wrote and turned them into a book.

Was it easy?  Well, no.  I didn’t know what I was doing at first. I kept making stupid User-errormistakes and formatting was confusing.  But I kept at it until I was satisfied. (The formatting probably wouldn’t be that difficult for anyone else, it was user error on my part.)

I didn’t just slap the first draft of the chapbook up there and call it done.  I must have re-uploaded that thing at least two dozen times.   The important part is that I did it, and that I did it to the best of my ability.

I had someone I trusted look over my work for mistakes.  I didn’t settle with widows and orphans left on pages because of a single space. I went back through a took out the extra space.  Then re-uploaded again.   At one point all of the contractions were translated into kanji for some reason.  I went back and fixed that too.  Then I ordered a proof copy and priority-mail-boxwaited days for it to arrive so that I could quadruple check everything.

I decided on the cover. (It was a picture I took on a walk.) I decided the font, the color of the cover, the title, what went on the back, and even the color of the paper.  I do wish there were more font choices, but all in all I don’t think I did that bad.

Velocipede_for_LadiesThe thing is, now I know I can do it and that is kind of scary. Kind of like learning to ride a bike.  When you first ride by yourself it’s exciting. You made it to the end of the driveway! Go You!  But then you realize there are more places to ride than just to the end of the driveway.  There are hills out there. And hills are whole different terrain than the familiar flat drive way.

 

The poetry of sleepless nights

I couldn’t sleep Saturday night.  I had gone to a Doctor Who themed picnic earlier in the afternoon with my daughter.  We had a good time and met some new people.

I was hot, tired, and just a tiny bit sunburned when we got home.  I thought about taking a nap but it never really happened.  My brain would not stop.  This unfortunately continued until around 5am Sunday morning.  I tried just laying there. I tried reading a book. Nothing worked.

I spent most of the night cobbling together poems I have written over the years to see if I had enough decent ones for a chapbook.  It passed the time and by 5am my brain was finally calm enough to let me sleep.

I still need to locate or write another five or six poems. (I have them scattered everywhere.) Then I need to get them copy edited.  After that…well it looks like I will have a book of poetry coming out at some point this year.

 

A Chilling Post

Monday’s post wasn’t really a post, so I thought I would make up for it with this one.

tissuesI went to bed sick last night.  I’m still not feeling that great this morning.  I had nightmares all night, (I always do when I get sick), and I woke up with a pulled muscle in my right shoulder and a slightly swollen left eye.   I am not sure what I did to earn either of those, but I am guessing I wrestled with something in my sleep.

It is cold outside. The local weatherman says it is 25 degrees right now, my computer reports 22.   The kids did not want to go to school this morning and I don’t blame them.  Still, I did the evil mom thing and made them go anyway.

However, after dropping them off I could not force myself to return home.  I do dumb things sometimes, and this may prove to be one of them, but instead of going home I took a walk. I haven’t seen “outside” since last year.  It feels like the last sixteen days have been nothing but a repeat of: work, home, school, grocery store.IMG_20140116_074816_035

There is an entrance to The Greenway, a walking trail that goes all over town, just down the road from the school.  So despite being sick and injured,  I decided to stop and take a stroll.  It was great.

I do not like being cold.  It is near the top of my list of things I don’t like.  That’s what makes my impromptu side trip even more odd.

IMG_20140116_074145_770But as lost feeling in my nose and my toes turned into icicles, I also forgot about the pain in my shoulder.  I remembered crunching frozen mud puddles as a kid and I marveled at the steam rising from the small brook that runs near the trail.  The grass was frozen white and reminded me of frosted mini wheats.

There was just one cloud in the sky. It stood like a fluffy white pillar in the distance and IMG_20140116_074504_990gave me a great idea for a story.  Shivering I returned to my still warm car and drove home.

The warm cup of tea I am currently sipping seems like the best I’ve ever had, even though it’s “the cheep stuff” sweetened with a spoon full of honey.  My walk only lasted fifteen or twenty minutes, but it is good to remember what cold feels like every now and again. It makes you enjoy warmth that much more.