The View From Here

musings by John The Irishman

Sacile, Italy

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Written by johntheirishman

Monday, 31 May, 2010 @ 18:14 at 18:14

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Coolest. Job. Ever.

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At least for my adult life ~ I DID grow up working in a bar/bowling alley/restaurant surrounded by family & friends & sports, you know !  I have been in various management positions, designed specialized equipment & production lines, was the “go to guy” for the owner of a $50-million per year company, and some other cool stuff.  While my new position may not be for everyone ~ I LOVE it !

And what am I doing now, you may ask (or not) ?  Managing one of the largest Emergency Food Pantries in Greater Cleveland !  This job has all the elements (except $$$) that I wanted in an ideal job : not sitting behind a computer all day analyzing reports, working for a non-profit and actually helping people, dealing with the public, close to home, not “dressing” for work, etc… ~ there’s a lot more but enough said.  I also get to work with many, many community groups for fund-raising, networking, outreach and the like.

It all started with me answering a want ad 8 months ago for volunteers needed for a local agency that has a very large food pantry, and social workers that can provide assistance with obtaining food stamps, utilities help, foreclosure & rental remediation, legal aid, employment assistance and many other services.  We are basically “one stop shopping” for almost all of our client’s needs.  We have a very diverse, multi-cultural clientele, and with a population base of around 125,000 people for our specific agency, there’s a lot of need !

I started volunteering in the pantry in March, and quickly became a supervisor and ran things when the volunteer pantry manager was out.  When that gentleman left in September, I became “acting” manager, working there every day.  Heck, I was unemployed with no prospects so why not ?  Everybody’s gotta be somewhere !

In late September they decided to make it a part-time paid position, and after a normal interview process I was asked to join the staff !  That was awesome, because I loved what I had been doing, but never thought it would be a career.  I am basically now getting paid for what I was doing for free, so it feels more like I got a raise than the ecstatic feeling one gets with a new job.  I am in charge of other volunteers, procuring, storing  & distributing perishable and non-perishable foods, inventory control & warehousing, and everything else that a large pantry would typically require.  I am also required to maintain operations within OSHA and FDA Guidelines.

On a side note, I also help manage our 5 community Farmer’s Markets, and am heavily involved in our Community Garden project (1,200 2,400 square feet !) in conjunction with the City of Lakewood.  It’s all very exciting stuff to me, and there’s a lot more going on than I care to bore you with (if anyone is even still reading).  I feel this has been the culmination of my quitting my job over two years ago, stepping out in faith (  A strange series of events have led me here ~ well, not so strange ~ I see His hand all over it.  I am truly blessed…

Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 4 November, 2009 @ 16:56 at 16:56

Good Night, Roxie

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Our beloved Roxie was put down on Monday, July 27th;  In Lakewood, age 13 (going on 3).  I don’t want to get into the details, but her downhill slide took roughly a month.  She was very alert, still wagging her tail when I came over to her though clearly in serious discomfort.  She had not been eating regularly for weeks, and was getting very weak.  It killed us to put her down, but if you loved your pet like we loved Roxie you had to ~ her quality of life was just not there and we didn’t want to prolong her agony.

I cannot tell you everything she meant to us, me especially.  She was Slim’s dog for her first few years, but when I came into the picture 9 years ago we became companions very quickly.  We put up with all her anxieties : thunderstorms, strong winds, fireworks, fireplace noises, escaping through open windows ~ there are many more.  We accepted these things as the way she is, and adapted to her.  She was very smart : she knew that “dah” meant yes and “nyet” meant no, and she knew right from left, among many other things (though she was easily & regularly duped by our Beagle-mix, Terra).

Roxie was also very much my dog in the sense that we loved being out of doors.  She and I couldn’t wait for Spring, loved the Summer, and stayed outside as long as possible in the Fall.  She would lay in the snow when I would shovel and look down the hill at her domain, always in her “Great Sphinx” position.  She was my shadow, and always had to be near us ~ not always under foot, but always where we were.

I won’t go into everything that made her a special companion, but it was obvious to the myriad of people that knew her that she was not your ordinary dog.  She had no way of knowing how loved she was, but I think she had an idea.  She was a bright spot in our lives, and will truly be missed always…

Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 29 July, 2009 @ 14:38 at 14:38

One Year

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One year.  It has been one full year since I have had a job.  I am still on “the public teet” as Uncle Mike would say,  but I know that will eventually end.  I never imagined that I would be unemployed a year later ~ I have “always” had a job.

I got my first job at the age of 9 working for a family business ~ my Grandparent’s Bar/Bowling Alley/Restaurant, and continued to work there until I was around 19.  I also worked at my Dad’s retail business from around age 12 until I was 18, then I started getting “real” jobs.  I have never gone more than a few months without employment, so this is really strange for me.

I have done the usual job searching, including extensive “cold calling” to get my resume in front of HR executives, CEOs & Presidents, and department heads ~ nothing.  I have had interviews, and have been very close on a couple of occasions to getting offers, only to hear “nothing but crickets”.  I had one opportunity fall through in March that I STILL cannot believe I didn’t get !

Throughout this past year I have prayed, searched & meditated extensively to try and “figure this all out”.  The only conclusion I’ve really come to is that He knows where I’ll be, what I will be doing, and when I start ~ and that sometimes there isn’t always something for ME to figure out…

Written by johntheirishman

Friday, 5 June, 2009 @ 8:33 at 8:33

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And Then There Was (Almost) One

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As is family tradition on Slim’s side, we ventured to the Baltimore area the Friday after Thanksgiving for another Thanksgiving with the kin in Maryland.  I love that part of the country, and Uncle Mike, Aunt Mary and Anastasia have a beautiful home and property.  It’s always great to see everyone, and as usual, there was an abundance of food – including a bushel of Chesapeake Bay Oysters, thanks to Karl & Barb.  There is nothing like fresh shucked Oysters !

Mike & Mary have a nicely landscaped back yard that sits on a hillside, and includes a couple of ponds.  The yard is mostly fenced in, so we thought we’d leave Roxie & Terra off of their leashes to explore the vast yard.  Every now and again I would get a “visual” to make sure that Rox didn’t run off, and that Terra didn’t get abducted by a chupacabra or something.  Also, many of us were outside enjoying the sun and some fresh pirozhki – footballs as we call them.

All was going smoothly until I heard a large splash !  Since I knew that Terra – aka Fatty – would be where the food was I yelled for Roxie. “Roxie COME !  ROXIE COME !” – nothing.  I ran down the hill to find that she had fallen through the ice on the larger pond !  She was about in the middle, with her top half exposed, nails digging into the ice.  I called her but she wouldn’t even look in my direction – she was paralyzed with fear, wimpering lightly.  I pulled off my socks and shoes and went in and got her, delivering 45 pounds of wet, shivering canine safely back to shore.

Roxie HATES water, so this was a nightmare scenario for her !  Even bathing her is very traumatic, and she shakes the whole time – tries to escape the tub also.  I can only think that because the pond was algae covered and frozen that she thought it was just more of the yard.  I am obviously very thankful that we were outside and that I heard what happened, or we might be one dog short today !  I can’t wait to visit again to see if Roxie has a flashback when I take her back to that spot.  She may not be smartest dog in the yard, but she’s got the memory of an elephant…

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Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 @ 12:43 at 12:43

Posted in Randoms

Signs of the Times

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While driving along the North Coast last Sunday, Slim and I both observed something : almost every political sign in front of the multi-million dollar homes of the “old money” and “nouveau riche” were in support of the McCain/Palin ticket.  Today, as I was driving through one of Cleveland’s “Trendy & Cool” neighborhoods, chock full of hipsters, gays & young apartment dwellers – the opposite.  The only signs to be found were Obama/Biden, and I thought about the interesting contrast, especially since the two areas are only separated by a short distance.

Speaking of, LeBron James and Jay-Z are throwing a free concert at Quicken Loans Arena in support of Obama/Biden.  As I passed through downtown, I  noticed a line of about 75 people outside of Consumer Credit Counseling – how sad I thought.  Driving through Lakewood past the O/B Headquarters I noticed several hundred people in line for the free tickets.  Upon further review, the people downtown were doing the same, so I guess it wasn’t as sad as I originally surmised.

O/B’s campaign team has been out in force, trying to register voters and rally support – something I have not seen much evidence of from Mc/P.  I have even been visited at home multiple times.  I am not personally voting for either candidate for my own reasons, but I think it’s fairly clear that Obama will be our next President…

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Friday, 24 October, 2008 @ 12:34 at 12:34

And Then There Were Two

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Annabelle the cat, aka “Belle”, “Stewmeat”, “Keeper of The Underworld”, “Fat B*stard” and “R. Kelly” has passed; in Lakewood, age 15.  She stopped eating this week, and was diagnosed with late-stage kidney failure with basically zero chance for recovery – she went down hill extremely fast.

Lisa could not bear to see it, so I went back to the vet’s to “be there” at about 3:20pm today.  I told her she had a “good run”, especially being a rescue cat.  As I scratched her head she just purred away, eyes closed, then she quickly drifted off.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to put a pet down, and I felt bad – really bad, since she was still very alert albeit very sick.

Besides Slim and I, she leaves behind her partners in crime our two dogs, Roxie and Terra…

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Saturday, 18 October, 2008 @ 15:27 at 15:27

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