Sunday, July 31, 2005

I got mad today

Here's why:

I showed up at work in a happy, upbeat mood, ready to charge right into doing the dishes and to bread lots of chicken, as usual. But then...

My coworker comes into the back room (where the sinks are and I was). She has tears running down her cheeks and is sobbing. I haven't seen her this way before. Upset, yes. Emotional, almost always. Crying like her heart is broken, no.

OK folks, I'm an aspie. Things like this aren't supposed to bother me. After all, "autistics lack empathy". (Bullshit!! we just feel and show it differently!)

But it did. I'm not even close to her. She's a co-worker. That's all.

Now----> She was crying because: She is at least 8 months pregnant, and she was having very painful cramps in her lower pelvic area, causing shooting pain to go down her legs. I have felt this. I know what that feels like; it hurts like bloody hell. It happens during labor. The fact that she was cramping concerned me...she shouldn't be cramping up at all until closer to her due September..not early August...

The manager wouldn't let her go home, despite the fact that she was visibly in tears and too much in pain to be productive or good for anything at all in the deli. The girl sat down for a blessed moment on the cans of dry goods in the back room and stole some measure of relief...even if only for a moment or two..

I was incensed!!!!! Yes, we usually have a third person there so she can cover for us while we take our lunches. Screw the lunches! Send her home and let her rest before she suffers a minute longer or worse yet, goes into full fledged labor! I wondered whether the store would be at all liable if overworking her and refusing to allow her to go home sick had such an effect....I suspect not. I wondered whether anyone would get in trouble if the baby wound up premature in an incubator...or would it just get shrugged off as 'one of those things'.

The biggest manager in the store happened to come by, and I immediately informed her that my co-worker was in serious pain and needed to go home...she abdicated the authority to the deli night manager and basically washed her hands of it. I was seriously tempted to talk to the boss, who was also in the store....but to be honest, I like the boss. I don't want to be confronted with the harsh reality that perhaps he wouldn't care. Maybe we aren't people with feelings and needs and aches and pains, to him. Maybe we're just worker drones. I don't want to know, I don't want to find out. So I didn't.....

Part of my fury was self-centered; I see this girl work, and I'm impressed. She is doing a hell of a lot better than I will be at her gestation. I know that, I've already had five of them. I'm five months along now. My last prgenancy was, in a word, hell. I was in a lot of pain in the third trimester. My hips got bad enough that at times, every step felt like liquid fire. I was out of breath, my heart hurt a lot and was irregular and I had lightheaded spells, because my heart was also giving me trouble. All this was in addition to the pelvis soreness and achiness that, frankly, gets worse with every prgenancy. I spent an awful lot of time in bed simply because standing up and doing things was agony and too strenuous. I was picturing myself in the shoes of this girl: in serious pain and unable to leave and go home without getting fired. They've already done that to me before, when my hips were giving me hell.

In short, I pitched a fit and let it be known that I was considering a different job if this is the way pregnant women can expect to be treated. I don't ask for kid-glove treatment...just humane other people get. Like the girl who used to whine about menstrual cramps and headaches used to get. Like the night manager gives herself- one day she went home early simply because she didn't feel like being there that day.

In the end, we found someone to substitute for her, and she did get to go home early. Her tears dried, and she was happier simply knowing that she'd get to go as soon as her replacement arrived. Hope is like that....

But the incident has sown a lot of doubts in my mind about the job......

Friday, July 29, 2005

LOL, LOL.......

I just realized why a lot of those does at the Nationals didn't look so hot, for a change. See, I've seen maybe half of them (or their herds, at least) before, and shown against them. I didn't do well, and I couldn't understand why my does were so lean in comparison to theirs, how they could keep flesh on their does if they were milking like mine do (which is well- I cull does who don't produce according to my standards, perfect udder or no).

I would go to a show, and they'd commnce milking their does some 14-16 hours before the show. (Normally, a dairy animal gets milked twice a day, 12 hours between milkings). Well, I'd milk the very stressed does or those who had gone off their feed (due to the stress of the show and new surroundings) 14 hours beforehand, but most of them got milked about 12 hours before. Its hard, because you don't know how long the judge will take in judging the animals. Some are pretty danged fast and others take a very long time and the show stretches into the night. I don't want to risk my animals being in pain or serious 12 hours is usually enough, by the scheduled time, because it's generally longer than that before they go into the showring.

Anyway, other exhibitors don't usually do that. I was told flatly that I would lose if I didn't have 15+ hours of milk in my doe's udders. I didn't lose, they placed about where they should have.... Sometimes the other does are leaking a lot of milk or standing hunched up and in pain. Most of them don't leak. Their teats have had a special "stop-leak" glue applied to the orifices. Sometimes my does leak, too. They're used to dam raising their kids (others generally bottle feed) and they aren't really used to having even 12 hours of milk at one time, it's sometimes too much for what they're producing. I have been known to milk them out a little before the show because they are TOO FULL...and I don't want my does to be in pain.

Anyway...I couldn't figure out why these other does, who I've stood behind in the local shows before, looked the biggest show they could go to!

I woke up laughing.....because I suddenly realized why.

The National Show requires what is known as a milk out. Everyone has to milk out their does at the same time before the show. It's either 12 or 14 hours beforehand...and there are people who come along and check that every doe has been thoroughly milked out....completely. There was VERY little over-uddering at the National, a whole lot less than I've seen locally. Most of the does who were overfull were very young, their udders weren't used to holding a lot of milk yet.

All this time, I've been unfairly comparing my productive dairy goats to these overfed show animals who don't even begin to produce what mine do...and it never hit home until now....LOL.....I have spent I don't know how much money buying expensive, registered stock at high prices from these people....(and then been dismayed when many of the does didn't produce a whoel lot)...all the while bemoaning what I had...LOL, LOL. Oh, the irony....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I just got back from the National ADGA Dairy Goat Show. I am thinking (without any sound evidence to the fact except for high probability) that it is the biggest, most complete (inasmuch as the best specimens are represented) goat show in the world. And this year, it was only an hour away!! What an opportunity! My only regret at this point is that I didn't have my act together enough to have attended as an exhibitor, rather than as a spectator.

By pure coincidence, the only day when I could conveniently attend without it being a pain in the a$$ also happened to be the day of the Alpine show (the breed I raise)! Sweet. This is the first time I've been to a National; I've dreamed about it for years...(yes, even as a spectator).

So- my persective on the long awaited event:
  • The event was not as intimidating as I had thought it would be
  • Some of the people I'd wanted to meet were...less nice than I had imagined.
  • Others- total strangers I'd never heard of, were extremely nice and friendly
  • There were herds that I'd had a LOT of respect (even awe) for, and after seeing the animals in the flesh, and in comparison with other some cases I flat out lost the most cases the awe simmered down to interest or a footnote. In retrospect, a lot of the awe was due to hype or publicity or a huge, overinflated ego on the part of the breeder.
  • There were herds that I hadn't paid much attention to...and wrongly so. I'll be keeping a closer eye on them in the future.
  • And then there were the classics: herds that I knew I respected, and that I retained respect for.
  • One thing that also struck me: many of the does were beautifully bodied but didn't seem too productive!! A National Show Animal ought to have more than 2-3 quarts in her udder...epsecially a mature doe.... In a lot of the cases, I can honestly say that my does produce better.
  • The foreudders were not of the caliber of excellence that I had been (unrealistically) holding my does to.
  • Feet!!!! Breed for better feet, people! And for better legs, too.
  • Some of the does, including mature does, were small! I mean, really small. I won't be as obsessive about this (though it's still important to me not to own runts!)
  • And...I hate to say this...but I retain my loathing for the falsehood of posing and concealing faults. One doe placed high in her class for a nice topline, when in fact, she has a roached loin. Her handler had posed her well enough to straighten her back out when she was standing. As a handler, this is our make our animals look good...but the judge should look out for this when the doe is walking. But with some 40-50 does in a class, something is bound to get overlooked...
  • Last but not least, I came away from the event with a much greater respect and appreciation for my own does. I saw only one doe that I coveted. There were does who were nicer than mine, but I didn't see anything that made me want to throw mine away and buy all new stock. In fact, I felt a little bit...smug. My does are good. They wouldn't have placed at the top of the line...but neither would they be at the end. My breeding program is headed in more or less the right direction and I'm extremely happy with what I have. :-)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Reading: A Species for Eternity

This is a neat book. Of course, I'm biased...because this tome about American maturalists and botanists features my ancestor, John Bartram, prominently. This guy was just flat out cool. He was a Quaker, but eventually managed to get himself kicked out of the meetinghouse (or whatever they call it) since he couldn't believe that Jesus was divine, and espoused the (then) modern theories of Newton. He found at least as much joy and fascination in plants as I do, and shipped 150+ new species to England, to be classified (classfication has just been introduced by Linnaeus...the two were contemporaries and correspondants). He became a very competent botanist despite that fact that he had a very limited formal education and didn't know Latin (a disadvantage in the circles he moved in). He opposed slavery and set a slave free who had been born into the family. On top of all this, the man was a pretty accomplished self taught artist. IIRC, so was his son, William. I haven't gotten to that part yet.

The book is interesting in its own right, though. I never really realized how much trading of plant material took place between America and England, France, etc, especially at that time. It kind of makes me sad though...becuase these men, from all different backgrounds, countries, religious persuasions, were drawn together in the pursuit of science and were very generous with one another towards that end both in terms of time, expense, and trouble (John Batram went out for weeks or months at a time on plant collecting expeditions, braving wild animals, hostile Indians, and risking his own poor health). He did all that while raising a family with 7 kids and managing his own farm!

And now....if a layman wanted to do something like this, it'd be so hard. Just consider the regulations and restrictions on plant material and seeds! I understand that there are reasons for that....but what resources and potential are we sacrificing by doing this? Would we see such brotherly cooperation between countries, across political lines, regarding plants never before identified or seen by a white man's eye? I can't help feeling disappointed by the way things are today.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Aspie relationships revisited

I'm still of the opinion that an AS + NT relationship is likely to be fraught with difficulty without extensive, ongoing work and acceptance by both parties involved. It could be (fairly) said that this will be true of any relationship, and I will grant that. However, I think that this sort of mating has even more hardship than the usual and both parties are less equipped to adequately understand their mate than would usually be the case.

************moving along then****************

An AS + AS relationship:

Communication and understanding are less of a problem.
Trying to survive and hold down jobs can add stress.
If sensory issues conflict, it can cause trouble. For example, one party craves scents while the other is absolutely repulsed by them.
There is a tendency to assume that the other party knows what you are thinking...Oops!
More tolerance of touch aversions, tactile sensitivies, and overload.
Emotions can spike easily on both sides.
Arguments can result in cold silent wars until one or both parties relent.
Natural solitude can easily be mistaken for sulking.
If special interests conflict or compete.....uh.....hmmm.
Overall though, I have found that there is a lot of mutual joy and happiness and security in knowing that there is someone else like you who understands and accepts you because they are that way too.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Rodeo Days, Woo-Hoo...
Ok, as promised, I review the Rodeo Days Weekend (last weekend, I am still reeling from the 7-4 madness this week).

First of all, I didn't go to the Rodeo. I stayed at the store and dutifully cooked more deli food and fried chicken than I care to think about. My customers were many, hurried (they had to get to the rodeo) and ate lots of deep fried food. Nearly all of them were very excited and hyped up about the rodeo. The girls who had to stay at work were bummed...they wanted to go. One was able to leave early so she got to go after all. Secondly, I could care less about the rodeo. I had absolutely NO interest in going.

It just isn't my thing, and I had a hard time explaining why. Seeing grown men hop off horses and wrestle a small calf to the ground 10-15 times in a row is, well, boring (along with being a pathetically misguided show of machoismo). I can see no sex appeal there. I can admire barrel racing- it involves skill and quite a bit of work, and it doesn't hurt, scare, or traumatize any animals. let's not even get into what a low opinion I have on goat roping.... As for bareback riding and bull riding: in all honesty, why would a girl find this sexy? The poor guys look like limp rag dolls tied to the comparatively gracefully twisting and struggling chunk of muscle beneath them. Every time they land hard, I picture what it must feel like for their balls to get smashed like that, and I wince. I can't help wondering if it affects their performance.....and I'm sure that it must cause damage... Why would any sane girl *want* a guy who does that habitually and publicly?

So when they asked me why I didn't want to go and had no enthusiasm, my response was that, IMHO, the rodeo is nothing more than a (tamed down) modern day version of the Roman colosseum. (The same would go for wrestling, boxing, football, and other contact sports).

So....Starurday night, the second to last bullrider was a 17 year old kid. His bull hadn't been ridden much before, and it was mean. To make a long story short, the kid lost his balance, and his head went forward while the bull's head went back. Someone said that the bull's horn gored his skull, the paper merely stated that the bull's head hit his head and gave him a concussion. At any rate, he fell off, and then the bull stomped on/kicked his head and chest. He had protective chest gear on but no helmet (got to leave room for that fancy hat). He died in the helicopter en route to the hospital. This is our entertainment. People paid to see this.

I rest my case.