Saturday, September 26, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
This past weekend got off to a terrible start. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit me like a ton of bricks Friday night. I burst into tears, which alarmed my husband, and couldn't stop crying for a good half hour. Not because of her dying (although that in and of itself is sad enough) but because I knew that the Trumpers would be rubbing their hands in glee and would immediately pounce on the opportunity to fill another SCOTUS seat with a religious extremist. (I was right.) And it fills me with despair to think of that iconic woman battling to her last breath to hang in there until after November. She deserved so much better--a chance to rest and enjoy a few years of retirement, at least--not to feel compelled to leave a message with her granddaughter that her "last, fervent wish" was to not be replaced until after our election. She knew what her passing at this particular moment would mean. As my friend Marian so succinctly put it in a text she sent me later that night: WE ARE FUCKED.
It's almost too much to bear. This whole year has been nothing but fear, despair, loss. I'm not sure how I'd cope if I didn't have a strong, happy marriage and several like-minded friends to share my anxieties and heartaches with. Marla and Martina came over for drinks on the porch Saturday night, and our first order of business was raising a glass to RBG. This was followed by hours of wine, food, and talk. It was exactly what I needed. The next morning, Sunday, I met up with some other friends, Marian, Paulette, Kathleen, and Karen for coffee at a cafe with outdoor seating. They're all having a tough time with everything that's going on, just like me. Again, it was good to be with like-minded, sympathetic people. We all had a chance to do some venting and blowing off steam. Then I came back home and made a strong effort to forget about the outside world for the rest of the day.
The weather was beautiful. It's finally turned cool, and the nights have been getting downright chilly. Hummingbirds have been sucking down sugar water at the feeder furiously for the past week or so. It's got to be about time for them to depart. I wonder what things will be like here when they return next spring?
So that I don't end on a sour note, here's a little video of Marco on his porch swing the other day. Gregg said, "You shouldn't put that on your blog. He looks ratty right now!" and he does, but that's all part of molting which he's starting. He's growing new feathers, so I'm sure you all understand. :) Everyone likes a good Marco post, so this should make up for the lack of those lately and all the doom and gloom.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away, and I, along with thousands of others, am mourning this giant of a woman, this hero for Equality, this American icon. There will never be another like her. What a devastating loss for our country.
May her memory be a blessing. May her passing inspire new generations of women and men to stand up and fight for Justice and Truth. May she rest in Peace.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
|This little tree frog watched us leaving through the back gate. Isn't he a cutie?|
|Interesting shadows of the boys.|
|I meant to zoom in on this a little--the neighbor that lives here has a large grapevine beside his house, and it's always neat and well tended. If you zoom in some you can probably see it.|
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
It's almost been a week since I posted anything here on the ol' blog. Being back at work really cuts down on the time available for blogging activities. How is everyone? I've tried to snatch a few moments here and there to read your blog posts but I haven't been able to keep up very well. Nor have there been many opportunities to comment on said posts. Usually when I have a few spare minutes to read I do it on my phone, and typing comments on it is a real pain. I've missed you all!
Last weekend was a long one because of Labor Day. Gregg and I had Sunday and Monday off together and it was so nice. The weather cooled off nicely and we did a fair amount of work in the yard. Sunday was exciting because I planted a tree in the back! It's a fig tree that I grew from cuttings given to me by a friend from her massive, old Brown Turkey tree last July. I had potted it up a couple of times and finally deemed it big enough to put in the ground. Of course, if we have any truly cold weather this winter I'll take steps to protect it because it's still young and delicate.
We also finally thought to bring one of Marco's long, twisty rope perches out to the porch and hang it out there. He loves being out there on it. We should have thought of it sooner.
We did a bunch of other small things around the house, and in the yard. I baked another apple pie on Monday. We've enjoyed several short walks around the neighborhood, looking at the changes fall is bringing. We grilled out Sunday night, and I cooked the best potatoes we've ever had over the coals, along with bourbon marinated pork chops. George got a slab of pork ribs all to himself. We've never cooked on the grill without making something just for the dogs, too.
At some point over the weekend, just spending time at home with Gregg and the boys, I realized that, for the first time since the end of July, I was feeling pretty happy. Of course I realize that coronavirus is still out there and very dangerous, 45 is still POTUS and every day is a fresh hell in that regard, California is on fire and there are riots all over the country. All of that is still terrible. The only real difference is that my grief over Ginger is beginning to lighten and now home feels like a happy place to be again. The new normal is beginning to feel....more normal.
Work is weird. We have so few students who are physically in the building that the halls are eerily quiet. My job is really different this year, but honestly I'm one of the few people in the building actually having an easier time than usual due to all the Covid restrictions. Speaking of the school, here is a short video of the new aquarium Gregg set up in the lobby! The last 5 goldfish will be arriving this week, so for now there are only 7 fish in the tank. Doesn't it look good?
So that's where I'm at today, friends. I'm looking forward to spending some time catching up with all of you soon!
Thursday, September 3, 2020
For someone who's only had to answer a few phone calls at work all week, I sure do feel worn out. Tomorrow is a half day (all staff leaves at 12pm) and then we have a three day weekend for Labor Day. The extra day off will be more than welcome. Two weeks back, and already I'm craving days off. Sigh. My job is fine, I'm just so tired. And I sure wish the heat would break.
I took George to the vet this afternoon right after work. It was time for his heartworm preventative shot, and he also needed an allergy shot. The poor boy has been miserably itchy for a week or two and can barely stand to be petted. He's chewed his paws and butt until they're red and irritated and sometimes he whines in frustration because he can't reach some areas that itch. He'll feel much better now that he's had the allergy shot. A heartworm preventative has been developed that can be given as a shot only once per year, and he had that too. I don't know if heartworms are a thing in the rest of the world, but here in the southern part of the USA they're rampant and will kill your dog. I'm glad they've developed the once a year thing, it's so much easier than having to remember a pill every month. It's expensive, though. The two shots today cost $250, and I know that the allergy shot is less than $50 of that. We've spent a small fortunate at the vet in the last couple of months.
Today George saw Dr. Causey's wife (also Dr. Causey, but she's called Dr. Re') instead of him. I like her a lot, she's a sweet lady and a good vet. I found out that she's the one who made the cast of Ginger's paw print (I had assumed that the cremation place had done it) on the morning three weeks ago today when we had Ginger put to sleep. We both teared up and she asked if she could hug me. Of course I said yes, social distancing be damned. (We were both wearing masks, though). I told her how much that paw print means to me and thanked her for doing it. I also brought along some super expensive heart medication that Ginger only took a few days' worth of, and asked her if she could give it to another client. She offered to refund our account for it. I told her no, that I didn't care about the money, but that I'd feel good if she could give it to another dog owner who could use a month's break on the price of treating their dog's heart disease. Dr. Re' teared up again and told me that she would be glad to do that for us. So that made me feel good.
I finally made it home after that and I'm sitting here unwinding with a gin and tonic. Of course, that's probably going to make me even more tired, but I don't care. It's been a long day and a long week. Actually, scratch that, it's been a long few months! I'm ready to see 2020 out, folks. How about you?
Hope you're all having a good week.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Oooh, the excitement in blogland today! Tom Gowans from A Hippo On the Lawn has resurfaced after going missing almost 5 years ago (with only one short cryptic post in 2018 that left many of us wondering if it was even him at all). After posting a video this morning that had everyone abuzz over whether he had really returned or not, he followed up with a current picture and a quick note to confirm that yes, indeed, he's alive and well! I sincerely hope he begins to post regularly again. We've all missed reading about his wild adventures in faraway Angola. Please don't ghost us again, Tom! :)
It's hot as hell here this week. Far, far too hot for the beginning of September. The heat index when I left work at 4pm was hovering around 104 degrees. It's so swampy that sometimes it almost takes your breath when you first step outdoors. Getting in the car is like sitting down in a furnace. Wearing a mask for 8+ hours a day means that my face sweats constantly even inside the air conditioned building. Speaking of face masks, we got new ones with our school logo on it the first day back:
The district is very serious about everyone wearing masks. We also have these temperature monitoring devices set up in the lobby that all staff have to pass through in the morning. You stand in front of it (it looks like a large camera up on a tripod) and it does a body scan and displays your temperature. Anything more than a point over normal body temperature requires a trip to the nurse's office. The health room has had a super sophisticated UV light sterilizer/filter installed in the ceiling, there's plenty of PPE for everyone, and there's an isolation room set up in case a student or staff member has a temperature and needs to wait for a ride home. With the students split into two cohorts and having virtual instruction every other day, as well as parents having the option to do virtual learning only, the class rooms will not have over 12 students at one time. In a normal year we have almost 1000 students every day; in the time of Covid there won't be over about 180 physically present in any given day.
Will it be enough to keep us all safe? Who knows. A mother called today and asked about picking up her son's in-person schedule....getting to the school is a problem for her because she's sick with Covid....and it sounds like her son is coming to school next week! How are we to know if they've taken all the precautions at home that are needed to keep her son from being a carrier? We can't. There's all these gray areas, and it's truthfully very worrying. But I feel like the district is doing an outstanding job controlling what's within their power to do, and I feel as safe as I'm going to. We'll just have to see how things go. The teachers are under unbelievable stress, trying to prepare for the start of school next week with all these new challenges and a doubling (or tripling) of their normal workloads. I feel so bad for them!
Back at home, I decided to welcome September by making an apple pie from scratch late Sunday afternoon. I'd never made pie crust before, always opting for the easy way out and buying premade crusts, but this time I decided to try. It turned out to be much easier than I expected! The crust turned out great for a first try. I even rolled out some of the leftover dough and cut out little tiny leaves to decorate the top.
Actually, the crust turned out to be the best part. The apples themselves were kind of bland. I grabbed a cheap bag of small Granny Smiths at the grocery store and they didn't have much flavor. Nor does the recipe I used call for very much sugar: only three tablespoons tossed in with the apple slices. With flavorful apples that would be nice, and I plan to try again this weekend. North Carolina mountain apples should be starting to arrive at the farmer's market by now.
We saw a beautiful full moon rising last night. We were out walking George just as it started to come up above the trees, and the three of us stopped and took in the sight of it for a few minutes. It looked so big and golden when it was only just above the horizon!
As for George, he's a little more sober these days, but he seems to be beginning to adjust to all the changes around here. And he's still such a handsome guy!