I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Republican National Convention

2012 Republican National Convention Logo.png
The RNC has wreaked havoc on my life. But, you say, the RNC is not til later in the year and has not even occurred yet.

Yes, it is the same RNC. It is The Republican National Convention and it will be just North of here in Tampa.
But how can it be affecting my life already you ask??

These are important people of whom a large percentage are currently in the business of running our country. Scores of people are working behind the scenes to ensure these men and women will be safe the entire time they are in Tampa. As these are the people who will  be determining the Republican delegate for President of the United States. Not to have you think the Republican Party is the target of my angst. The DNC is happening in Charlotte, NC later this year as well. The preparations for both are similar.
Democrats.org Obama for America

The preparations can not be discussed but know the food supply will be safe.  We train year round on food inspection. We train on Agroterrorism (Yes, I laughed when signing up for that one). We train to work with other organizations in case of emergency. And we are a mere low budget State organization.  

We train, the federal organizations train and anyone even marginally involved is put through their paces
(read me). So even though my affiliation is not Republican my job involves protecting the public. They are the public and ethically I am bound to do so. Unfortunately, many in congress so not feel the same obligation, And that is in both parties.

But I digress.

The RNC has added roughly a week of work to my schedule and that is just til now. Can you imagine ho much time is added to the people who are not marginally involved? Spread that across facilities security, security of personnel as well as anti-terrorist intelligence, traffic control, air traffic safety and countless items that one can not even begin to consider. That means thousands of people in local, state and federal capacities are working extra and costing the nation more money. This to ensure that those involved in our political process and the families that will travel with them will be held safe from harm. ( What? It is in Tampa - do you think the family will pass up some time in sunny S. Florida on the gulf???)

The question becomes, "Does the convention bring enough money into the local economy(ies of Tampa and Charlotte) to offset the expense to the public? I have no earthly idea.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Just thinking........

Friday, May 4, 2012

Turning 44 in Immokalee

This has been an absolutely crazy week! I spent Monday and Tuesday playing catch up from being in Tampa the previous week. Wednesday and Thursday I did re-inspections in Immokalee and Ft. Myers. On Wednesday I also found out that my boss nominated me for a national award ...and I got it. I am still a bit stunned.

Today is my 44th  Birthday and I spent the day doing re-inspections in Immokalee. Sounds crazy but it just seemed right. Seriously, places like where we were today got me a national award and have kept me in bread and butter the last 3 years. Even crazier, I normally do not mind working in tough locations. My boss has trained me well and every one of them can be a challenge. After all almost anyone can inspect a Publix or Sweetbay or a 7-Eleven. How many people get to inspect places that have both turkey vultures and chickens on site at the same time??  And yes, this was a grocery store.    

In my job I see places and a side of America that at times seems like I am in third world country. Not like I am less than an hour from Naples, one of the richest places in Florida. The places are colorful, loud and at times a bit smelly. The people, for the most part, are like most of us only they speak different languages and have not have the benefit of our education system.

I have watched the buses roll in at sunset coughing out sweaty, weary field workers in front of the bodegas while loud accordion music blares from the bars up and down the street. The workers are tired, most likely hungry and covered with the evidence of hours of toiling in the sandy soils of South Florida. Sunrise brings a reverse with the workers somewhat more subdued loading onto the buses to head out to the tomato fields or orange grove or whatever crop happens to be ripe for the picking that day. They are the ones who ensure we have beautiful produce on our grocery shelves when we are to busy to grow our own.

At one of the last training sessions I attended a woman from University of Florida IFAS spoke. One of the stories she told was about the shortage of field workers with all of the laws enacted to stop illegal immigration. The local farmers needed hands to plant the strawberry crop and could not get the usual workers. In an attempt to plant the crop they hired local hourly labor. Most workers did not last 8 hours and many who did last did not return for a second day of work. It is hot, sweaty, backbreaking work. We want the fruits of the labor but do not want to recognize the labor that has produced our food.  

So at the end of my day I drove the hour home. Back to comfort and the world of Publix and 7 -Eleven. I filed my paperwork, checked my Facebook and grabbed a beer. (Gluten free of course.) Rob will be home soon and we will have pizza and relax. I guess for my 44th I got a new perspective on Immokalee and a whole lot of gratitude for the gifts from my family.    

Hugs to all!!!