Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bad week = good run.

Some observations I had while going on a jog/walk around Midvale Middle School this evening:

  • If I hadn't eaten dinner only an hour before leaving, it would have been more of a jog and less of a walk.
  • I'm going to have to find a new place to run on Thursday nights. It's apparently little-league football season, which means my running route was lined with trucks and SUVs with NFL team logo stickers plastered on the rear windows. Most of them with team moms and dads waiting with the car running for their child to finish practice, and eying me suspiciously as I was jogging a little too close to their cars for their comfort. Next time maybe I'll just put a helmet and shoulder pads on, and they'll just think I'm one of their players being punished for mouthing off. Just as long as they don't throw a football at me, because my complete inability to catch one smoothly would tip them off.
  • Midvale, in addition to being known for having more Arctic Circles per square mile than any other place on earth, is apparently a natural breeding habitat for some kind of little quail. Mom and dad quails that run around with little quail babies, and teenage quails that pester each other are all over this place. I'm pretty sure I ran (jog/walked) past the quail-equivalent of a game of tag tonight.
  • As I watched little kids running around the neighborhood with no sign of any kind of adult around to watch them, I worried for their safety in our borderline-shady neighborhood. And then I wondered if people thought the same of me growing up as I ran around the streets of Rose Park by myself and darted across Redwood Road regularly to play on the Jordan River Parkway.
  • A young man was walking a bassett hound down the street. I didn't think that anyone could have less energy and spunk than their pet bassett hound, but this young man managed it. I wondered if he was yet another victim of World of Warcraft or other video games that cause people to go weeks without seeing the light of day.
  • Sometimes, if you decide to go just one more lap, you're rewarded with a brilliant sunset.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Turns out life isn't fair.

Do you ever wish you could go through the people you encounter in your life and pick an all-star team of them to carry you through your day-to-day tasks?

I had to say goodbye to one of my all-stars today.

It's a man who will remain nameless just in case he'd want it that way. He was assigned to work at our warehouse by the Dept. of Workforce Services, from whom he received a certain amount of money for the 32 hours a week he volunteers with us. When he first came to us it was obvious that he was homeless and struggling. In fact, I had one person in the warehouse comment on his smell, and ask if I could get rid of him based on the fact that it was unpleasant for other volunteers to work around him. I refused, certain that once he got some resources under his belt that he would naturally take better care of himself. Until then, people could just deal.

And I was right. Over the next several weeks his appearance began to become less and less unkempt. As he got to know the functions of the warehouse and the different tasks that needed to be done he would do them without having to be asked, and he would do them carefully and quickly. His demeanor became less beaten-down and more jovial as he gained confidence in his abilities and his knowledge. Eventually we would send new volunteers to him to be trained, and he would do so with the patience of a saint. He was known for his kindness and his reliability, and he was always, always looking out for me. Making sure I had everything I needed to do my job well, asking if I needed his help with whatever I was doing. On the days when I was evidently frazzled, he'd ask how I was and if he could do anything to help out.

Even when I'd mess up on his time sheet which meant it would be a couple more days before he'd get his money, he would approach me gently with the problem and ask if I could resolve the issue when I had a moment. I wish I could explain to you how refreshing that was, because a lot of other people are a lot LESS nice when they don't get paid on time.

And as it turns out, cuts in government funding meant that his benefits program ended this month. As far as I know it's his only source of income. I don't know what he's going to do from here, because from what I understand there's no other program to catch these individuals. So today was his last day of work, and I had to leave him with my contact information, a promise of an outstanding reference or letter if he ever needed one, a silent prayer that he'd be okay, and a hug.

I'm upset that someone with such a wonderful work ethic and respect for others has to live in the Road Home, while there's a couple of people at my workplace who get regular paychecks and regularly make my job a lot harder than it needs to be due to their lack of follow through. People who would definitely NOT make the all-star team.

Maybe it would make me feel better to just cryptically tell the less-effective ones that tomorrow. "You SO wouldn't make the cut."

Saturday, July 25, 2009


A man came in today asking if he could volunteer in exchange for some food.

As is policy, I told him that no one takes food from our facility, and that he would have to seek out his nearest community pantry. I gave him a brochure with all of the pantries in the county.

"But none of them are open today."

I pointed to a couple of them that ARE open on Saturdays.

At which point he uttered some curses under his breath and called me ridiculous and left.

Then I glanced at the baggy of homemmade chocolate chip cookies I had brought for my coworkers and wondered if I should have offered him one.


Do you have a hierarchy of interest when it comes to surfing the web?

On reeeeeally slow days I've discovered this is mine:

My email. Then Facebook. Then Google Reader. Then KSL for local news. Then CNN for national news.

And then... back to KSL to look at the kittens in the classifieds.


Please be gentle with your mockery.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Catching up on weeks of moments.

Interaction with Stella, 60-ish yrs old, from South Africa, regular volunteer at the food bank:

"Oh Haley, you cannot believe what happened yesterday."

"I can't? What happened, Stella?"

"Yesterday I made myself so that I should have looked like a spookie!"


"Yes, I was with my daughter and I decided I would make an Asian food, and the spices, I don't know if the spices and my body, but I was itching all over the place!"

"Oh no, that's no good."

"Yes, and so I put the white soda and I put it all over my body. And I said, 'Lord in Heaven, if anyone comes in at this time they will be so afraid of me!"

"I can imagine!"

"Yes, I was like a ghost in the day! Heeheeehee..."

...and away she went to continue sorting food.


A boy with Autism came to me with a jar of organic peanut butter in his hands.

His comment: "This looks over-rated to me."

He meant expired. But I wanted to hug him.


Found in the food-drive tote: Chocolate Body Frosting.

1. Light candles.
2. Open jar.
3. Offer paint brush.
4. Announce softly: "Dessert's on me."

Discovered by a group of scouts.


Question about doing court-ordered hours at the food bank:

"Can two people's hours count toward the same offense? Can we, like, split it up?"

In case you wondered, the answer is no.


Gregory is a regular volunteer at the food bank. He is near 60 years old, and is assigned to us through the Easter Seals program, which gives seniors a small amount of money for the service hours they provide. He is missing most of his teeth, and just recently found somewhere to live after having been homeless for several months. But I've always been impressed with how sharp he is.

Today I found out that he has a PhD in Philosophy and is a European-trained Master Chef. The only one in Utah, in fact. I didn't believe him at first, but the more detail he gave the more I knew he wasn't making it up. So I asked him how he came to his current status.

His answer: "My ex-wife raped me in the divorce. Never get married."

You're not lost.

It's just me changin' things up a bit.

I've decided that most posts from here on out will be descriptions of little things throughout my regular day that make me giggle, make me sad, or make me think. Hopefully you'll find my life as amusing as I do. If not, we'll reevaluate.

And since I spent most of tonight playing with my new header, I'll actually start posting another day. Till then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Sorry to leave you hangin' guys. I'm in the process of formulating a new theme for my blog. I'm thinking a theme might help me blog more regularly and give me purpose. This current fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants isn't working for me it seems. And, the wireless internet in my new residence in Midvale leaves much to desire in the speed category, which is why I'm mostly pictureless these days.

So I'll get back to you when I have more direction. In the meantime, thanks for still lookin' in. As a reward, take a gander at the largest can of tuna fish you'll ever see: