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Sunday, October 22, 2017

School Days

We have fun at the school where I work. I came back to the front office after my lunch break on Friday and found the band director and three of his guitar students serenading the office staff. They were playing (and singing) "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" when I walked in.

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Before anyone asks, all three of the students pictured here have parental permission to be photographed. I'm in charge of our school's social media pages, and I have to check before sharing any pictures of students. I posted this photo on the school's Facebook page. 
Our band director is a sweet guy and his students adore him. I also like our school's Spanish teacher, a young woman from Costa Rica. She's offered to help me in my efforts to learn Spanish. This is what her classroom door and the wall beside it looks like:

We also have two new teachers (both young women) from Jamaica, and a young male teacher who works with disabled kids from Romania. They're all so interesting and nice! The students at our school are lucky.

This week will be our football team's last game (the boys are undefeated so far!) and on Friday night we'll be having our Halloween Carnival and Dance. I'm looking forward to helping with that and taking lots of pictures to share on the school's website and social media pages.

I have to say, I didn't enjoy my school days nearly so much when I was a student.!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween in my 'hood

This is a giant display in front my neighbor's house. Every other house in this neighborhood has something Halloween-ish on display, but this is my favorite. Look how big it is! And it changes colors, too. It goes from white to purple to dark and then back to white.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Just another Sunday

The view from my front door this morning.

Weekends sure fly by now that I don't work on them. I can't complain, though. There's never a dull moment at my job, so the weekdays go by pretty quickly, too. I'm looking forward to the five days off we get at Thanksgiving (Wednesday through Sunday) which still feels far away but in actuality it's only about five weeks. Gregg's taking those days off with me, and we're planning to take the dogs and go camping.

It's finally a little cooler outside. Up until this weekend, besides two or three days when hurricanes were churning out at sea, it's been unseasonably hot and humid for October. The pumpkin you see on my front step has started to rot in the back and will have to be thrown out and replaced. It's just been too hot for pumpkins to sit in the sun!

Today has been a lazy day. I did a load of laundry, took a nap, and read the first quarter of a book for next week's book club meeting (the bigger of my two books clubs). This month our selection is Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. So far it's....okay. It's one of those Gone Girl type thriller/mystery novels that quite honestly isn't my favorite genre. I'm hoping that In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware will be better; that's the October pick for my smaller club. I'm glad my love of books is no longer contaminated by working at a job I hate in a bookstore!

Speaking of work, for those of you who asked, I did not take on a second GAL child. It was a 16 year old boy with severe mental health problems who has been committed to a psychiatric ward for treatment. His 17 year old brother would have been part of the package but he's in prison for rape (!) and will be serving time beyond when he ages out next year. I was frankly kind of appalled that the GAL program director would even suggest such a case for me. When I said no she quickly said she understood and that they would try to find an experienced male guardian for the younger boy. I wonder why they didn't just do that to begin with! So for the time being, Kay remains my only GAL assignment.

It's about time for Gregg to get home from work, so I'd better wrap up this blog post. We have leftovers for supper tonight, but I'm going to attempt to make little baked apple hand pies for dessert. I have some apples I cooked down into chunky applesauce the other day that need using up. Gregg loves fried apple pies, but they're too messy and time consuming to make very often. We'll see how the baked version turns out instead! Wish me luck.

Have a good evening, everyone.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Getting in the mood...

...for Halloween! I decided it was time to pull a few decorations out of the "holiday closet" to add a little seasonal cheer to the house.

I love my Edgar Allen Poe LED candle.

And just look at these cheerful guys! 

I also added some purple lights and big fuzzy spiders to our front door, but I didn't take a picture because I'm not happy with the way it looks yet. I still need to buy a couple more pumpkins because I have two carving parties to attend before the big day! One is small, just me and Marla and Martina at my house where, in addition to carving pumpkins, we'll be discussing our book club selection for October (In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware). The other is a big party thrown every year by a couple I know. For the past 3 years I've had to turn down their invitation because I always had to work the Saturday night before Halloween, but this year, thanks to my new job and my wonderful work schedule, I was free to accept. I'm looking forward to it.

Speaking of parties, there's going to be a Halloween dance at the middle school! I volunteered to help out and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. One of the halls leading to the gym (where the dance will be held) is going to be a "haunted hallway" with games and activities. One of the science teachers has snakes, geckos, and a bearded dragon that will be on display. The 8th grade math teachers are having a "throw wet sponges at your math teacher" contest, and there's going to be Halloween bingo, games of Cornhole, and a costume contest in addition to the dancing and food. I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, probably serving as a chaperone, but no matter what I do I think it will be a good time. And even better: I'll earn "comp time" that I can use later if I need to leave work early or come in late.

I'm also happy that I'll get to be at home on Halloween night this year, instead of having to work at the mall. I hope we get a few trick or treaters. I saw some candy at Walgreens that I'm planning to buy to hand out (along with chocolate bars):

Sugar skull lollipop rings!!!! How cool is that?

Do you enjoy Halloween? Do you have any plans for celebrating it? I'd love to hear about it if you do!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Let's just change the subject.

I didn't realize I was opening a can of worms yesterday by mentioning that my husband and I own two small pistols. Even though we're staunch believers in much tighter gun control, even though I think the NRA's stranglehold on our political leaders is a national disgrace, even though I think automatic weapons should have been outlawed years ago, I'm getting all sorts of negative feedback implying that I'm some kind of paranoid, uneducated, gun-loving American. I hate feeling like I need to defend myself (over something of such minor significance in my life).

I realize I'm a bit overly sensitive right now, so rather than discuss it further, let's just change the damn subject. Okay?

The weather has been unseasonably warm for this time of year. We finally got a little bit of rain yesterday, but that just made the humidity worse. It's sticky and gross outside. Everything is damp. And how long can it stay hot in October, even in South Carolina?

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Long week.

This past week felt terribly long. I'm so grateful the weekend is here.

First there was the shooting in Las Vegas, which I couldn't bear to follow on the news after the first day or two. I'm not normally one to get overly emotional about such things (other than being horrified and sickened by the frequency of deadly gun violence in this country) but for some reason every time I tried to watch or read about what happened I got choked up and had to fight back tears. So many lives lost, so many lives forever changed, so much heartache...for what? Nothing. Nothing but a mentally ill person with access to weapons made for mass killing, that no private citizen should be able to buy. I'm not anti-gun. My husband and I own a couple of handguns for personal protection, and although we don't hunt I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with hunting rifles used for sport. The kind of weapons I do have a problem with are military assault types that no one outside of the military have any business with. I also have a problem with how easy it is to buy guns (any kind of guns) in this country and how our culture glorifies violence.

On a related note, a student at the school where I work made a video of himself brandishing a pistol and sent it via social media to another student to threaten him. We have a school resource officer (an armed policeman) that is stationed at our school and he was involved in the conferences held with the administrators and the parents. The boy got suspended and will soon be on his way to alternative school, but that just goes to show how easily even middle school kids can get their hands on a gun. Which is why the middle schools and high schools around here have to have armed police officers on staff  these days. That would have been unthinkable when I was growing up. Also this week: in a primary school 10 miles down the road from us, a first grader (!) brought a loaded gun to school. It was all over the local news. The child was 6 years old!  Unbelievable.

Putting aside the crazy gun news, we had a sad event at my school this week. A little girl from the PMD (profoundly mentally disabled) class passed away Sunday night. Last Thursday she started running a high fever, no one knew why, and had to be admitted to the hospital. By Friday she was on life support, and her teacher and the principal went up to the hospital to see her and her mom. Sunday night she was gone. Monday morning the principal broke the news to the school in the morning announcements. It was a sad day. The class teacher is a sweet young woman just out of college who arrived exhausted at work Monday after being at the hospital most of the night. The kids in the other special needs classes took the news especially hard, as did their parents. My heart ached for everyone, and I was embarrassed to find myself brimming with tears more than once throughout the day.

I'm proud to say the entire school staff has rallied around this child's family. The teacher suggested that since the mom is a poor single mother barely getting by that we have a collection to buy her gift cards to a grocery store, Walmart, etc. A very generous sum of money was raised--pretty much all of the teachers, administrators, office staff, etc gave whatever they could afford. The little girl's mom called at some point and asked if it would be possible to hold the funeral service at the school. The principal got permission from the superintendent and was able to say yes. The custodians will go in early tomorrow and turn on the air conditioners, and set up chairs in the gym, and the band teacher has already set up a microphone and sound will be nice, and will also save the mom the expense of paying a funeral home to have it there. There have been sympathy cards signed, pictures of the child at school framed for presenting to the mother, and just so much care and concern for this lost student. It makes me happy and proud to work in a place where everyone, staff and students and parents alike, are treated like a big extended family.

Speaking of children and school, I met with Kay's guidance counselor Tuesday morning. She's doing well this year; I was pleasantly surprised to learn that her grades are decent (B's and C's), she's had zero behavior issues, and her attendance is good. The only complaint the counselor had was that the foster mother hasn't responded to requests to have career planning meetings for Kay. Since I'm her court-appointed guardian, I offered to step up and do it, and the counselor agreed.

Remember when I said I wasn't going to take a second GAL assignment right now? The program director emailed me yesterday to ask me to reconsider. There's a young girl living in a group home here in Florence that needs a guardian, and there's a court hearing coming up in early November for her. Suzanne, the director, said she'd totally understand if I turn it down...but my inclination is to say yes. (I told her I'd give her an answer Monday). Kay is turning out to be an easier case than I expected, and as long as she continues to do well I'm only expected to check in with her once or twice a month. There's time in my schedule, and Suzanne (who's becoming a personal friend of mine) wouldn't ask if she wasn't in real need of help. We'll see.

It's been a loooooong week, friends. I'm looking forward to spending some time today and tomorrow catching up with your blogs! It's a cool, foggy, and overcast October morning here...really nice. The heat has been slow to leave this year but today finally feels like fall. I'll wrap up this post with some photos of the full Harvest Moon I took last night while out walking the dogs.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Things I bought at the market

Yesterday at the farmer's market I was careful not to spend too much money. I set myself a limit of $40 and managed to come in a little under that. These are the things I bought.

A pot of marigolds and a pumpkin for the front steps.

(I just love bright orange marigolds).

And I couldn't pass up wine and apples.

I think I showed admirable restraint. I wanted to buy everything in sight!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Plant and Flower Show

This weekend is the annual Pee Dee State Farmer's Market's annual fall plant and flower show. It's a great time to plant perennials in South Carolina, so there are lots of them for sale with vendors from all around the eastern part of the state. Of course, there are also fruits and vegetables for sale, and fair food, and crafts. It's usually a nice time. The weather is gorgeous this weekend and perfect for the show, so my mom came to visit and we went and had a look around. I took a few pictures to share.

Blue sky autumn day.

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Cheerful fall wreaths!

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There were so many pumpkins. 

Remember kids: all worm castings are NOT the same!

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I ended up buying a pot of these marigolds (and a small pumpkin).

Perennials for sale.

I'm not sure what these flowers are, but they're very pretty!

Beautiful fresh beets and sweet potatoes.....

...and "country grapes" for $1.99/pd.

Speaking of country grapes...!

  1. Apples from the mountains of North Carolina.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


I'm feeling a bit weighted down with responsibilities at the moment. There's been very little time to read and comment on my favorite blogs lately, and for that I apologize. My work as a Guardian ad Litem has been especially heavy.

I've visited Kay a couple of times now. I've been checking in with her on the phone on the weeks that I don't see her, and there was a court hearing last week.  Now that she's over 16 years old she's required to be there. Kids in foster care have to have their cases reviewed at least once every 90 days as a part of their "permanency planning". There will almost certainly be no permanent solution for Kay--she's been up for adoption since she was 13 or so and not one single family has ever shown interest in her. Very few people want to adopt teenagers, which I guess is understandable, but it's still heartbreaking. Kay still hopes to be adopted, and she told the judge so in court last week. That makes me really sad, but I think looking to the future is what's best for her now. This weekend we're having lunch together, and next week I have an appointment for a conference with her school guidance counselor. I want to look over her grades, attendance, behavior, class schedule, etc. and see how we can work together to help her have the best school year possible. I hope, more than anything, to be able to attend her high school graduation next year.

So my work with Kay is keeping me busy, not only visiting her and meeting with her foster family, caseworkers, and counselors, but writing monthly monitoring reports, going to court, and required continuing education classes. There was a two hour workshop just last night. Right before we left, the volunteer coordinator put out a plea for GALs willing to take on a second case--there has been a surge in new cases since school started and they're overwhelmed. I almost put my hand up but thank goodness common sense kicked in and I refrained. I still have my "real" job as well as a family life that I need to consider.

Speaking of which, I still love my new job! The people are nice, the schedule is wonderful, and I'm already beginning to feel comfortable and settled there. My life has changed for the better and I'm profoundly grateful.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Art of the Biscuit

John Gray over at Going Gently asked me about a recipe for biscuits when I posted this picture of my breakfast on Facebook.

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For my friends across the pond, our biscuits are nothing like yours. What you call a biscuit, we call a cookie. What we call is a biscuit is a soft, savory bread that's a staple food in the southern states of the USA.

Not many people can make a good homemade biscuit. It's a dying art. The ones pictured here were bought as frozen dough and baked, and they're pretty good, but nothing like a real honest-to-goodness homemade biscuit.

My maternal grandmother made the best homemade biscuits ever. There was never any recipe involved. She would pour a bunch of flour in a bowl, scoop a handful of lard (yes, lard) on top, and with one hand would start kneading the dough while slowly pouring in buttermilk with the other. When the dough was smooth and elastic, she would deftly pinch off the perfect amount, roll it between both hands, and put it onto a greased baking sheet. She would keep on doing that until the sheet was full, and then pop it into a hot oven. A few minutes later, you'd have a dozen or so perfect biscuits. They were heavenly.

No one could cook like my grandma. And no one makes biscuits as good as hers. I'm terrible at it, and my mom isn't much better. I must have watched my her make biscuits hundreds of times as a child, but I've never been able to master it.

John asked me for a recipe. I don't really have one beyond what I just described seeing my grandmother do. I'm sure that a Google search will bring up many different recipes and techniques for making a biscuit, but take it from me, it's more difficult than it looks. That's why I stick with the frozen and ready to bake kind!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Afternoon mischief

As soon as we get home in the afternoon, we try to let Marco out of his cage for some free time. Unfortunately, he immediately looks for trouble. Usually it starts with him flying over to the computer and walking across the keyboard. He did that just now and I shooed him away. So he pranced over to where we keep some fish food and started trying to bust into the bag. Brat!

When I shooed him away from that, he flew into one of the bedrooms and spent some time hanging out on the bed. He refused to step up on my hand when I tried to make him come to me. You can't leave him unattended (unless you want to return to a disaster scene) so I finally had to grab him and make him go back to his cage. I took another picture first.

He doesn't care what you think.
Life with a parrot can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a real pain in the a** sometimes!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Hounds

I took Ginger and George for a quick walk this morning before the wind and rain from (now tropical storm) Irma began. We won't be able to go tonight at our ordinary time. I think they appreciated a quick stretch of the legs--those two are always down for a walk.

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What they don't appreciate is having their pictures taken. Look at this close up of Ginger's face!

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I'm beginning to see reports of power outages around town, so who knows if I'll have power much longer. But we're all safe and well and for the most part, out of harm's way.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dodged a bullet.

It looks like we're not going to feel very much of an impact from hurricane Irma beyond some strong gusty winds tomorrow and heavy rain. It's such a relief, and we still have supplies if another storm comes this way. Hurricane season is only half over so it's still a possibility. We got lucky this time.

Now I'm worried about our friends and family in Florida. Thank goodness that evacuations and preparations started early. With the devastation in Houston still fresh in everyone's mind, people have been taking Irma seriously from the beginning, which can only be a good thing.

We had such beautiful weather yesterday that I almost felt guilty about it. It was windy and cool, with a bright blue sky and almost no humidity. Today is cloudy and still very cool, and starting tonight there is a wind advisory in effect for about 24 hours. The maximum gusts should only be about 50mph, and combined with heavy rain we'll probably have some spots with power outages, but nothing approaching a real storm's destruction. We appear to have dodged a bullet, and I'm very thankful.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

State of Emergency

The governor of South Carolina issued a "State of Emergency" this afternoon after hurricane Irma started veering slightly eastward. By 5pm all the stores, big and small, were out of bottled water and there are long, long lines at every gas station in town. I've heard you can't find a parking spot at the big box stores. People are panicking. And they kind of have a point.

This is a record-setting storm that has the potential to be utterly catastrophic. I've seen some real no joke hurricanes in my life, including Hugo in 1989, but I've never seen anything approaching 200 mph sustained winds (with higher gusts). And Irma is big.. I heard today that it's the size of the state of Ohio. Ohio! A storm that big will end up being felt in several states no matter where it initially makes landfall.

Last weekend when the storm was still far away, we went ahead and bought some supplies. We reasoned that even if Irma didn't end up being an issue, it's still the middle of hurricane season and we might need them later. We have four cases of bottled water, plenty of nonperishable food and sodas, extra tp, batteries, candles, lighters, and matches. We filled up our cars with gas. Thank goodness for preparing early! I still want to top off the gas in my car tomorrow if I can, and we need to pick up an extra canister of fuel for the camp stove, but that's about it. We're ready. Or as ready as we can be, I suppose.

To my Florida friends and anyone else in the path of this storm: please do whatever you need to do to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. Let's all check in as we can, ok?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Red sky in the morning...

This morning I was awake and having my first cup of coffee when the sun came up. The light streaming in an east facing window was a strange shade of red; it reminded me of dried blood. What's that old weather saying.....?

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.

It all seemed slightly ominous given the monster hurricane that's out in the Atlantic right now.

I took a picture of Marco facing the sunrise. It doesn't really capture how odd the light was, though.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tiny Treehouses

I read an article online this morning about an artist who builds tiny, intricate treehouses in houseplants. Some of the photos made me squeal, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! I've never seen anything like these little fairy dwellings built inside of common potted houseplants. The attention to detail is astonishing. And they're just!

There's a link embedded below if anyone is interested in reading more about the tiny treehouses. Enjoy! And have a happy Sunday!

Los Angeles–based artist Jedidiah Corvyn Voltz is a prop-maker for TV and film by day who has a charming side business making tiny treehouses for potted bonsai trees, cacti, and succulents.......


Saturday, September 2, 2017

September's arrival

I'm enjoying the arrival of September in my part of the world. It's been a little bit cooler, a little less humid, and the dogwood trees are already beginning to show some very early color. I read an essay this morning about early September that I wanted to share with you. Of course it's by my favorite nature writer, Hal Borland. As always, he captures the mood of the season so beautifully!

September 2nd and 3rd


"September is the year at the turn, a young mother sending her children off to school and wondering if she can ever catch up with Summer tasks unfinished. It is Autumn at hand and Summer reluctant to leave; it is days loud with cicadas and nights loud with katydids; it is beets for pickling and pears for canning and apples for pies and sauce and cider. It is hot days and cool nights and hurricane and flood and deep hurt and high triumph.

September is both more than a month and less, for it is almost a season in itself. It is flickers in restless flocks, readying for migration; it is goldfinches in thistledown; it is fledglings on the wing, and half-grown rabbits in the garden, and lambs in the feed lot. It is the gleam of goldenrod and the white of lavender and purple of fence row asters, with the bright spangle of bittersweet berries.

September is fog over the river valleys at dawn and the creep of early scarlet among the maples in the swamp. It is bronze of hillside grass gone to seed. It is walnuts ripening and squirrels busy among the hickories. It is late phlox like a flame in the garden, and zinnias in bold color, and chrysanthemums budding. It is a last gallant flaunt of portulaca and petunias defying time and early frost.

September is the first tang of wood smoke and the smolder of burning leaves. It is bass and perch revitalized in the chilling waters of pond and stream. It is the hunter's dog sniffing the air and quivering to be off to the underbrush. September is time hastening and days shortening, it is the long nights of Autumn closing in with their big stars and glinting moon. September is the wonder and fulfillment and the ever-amazing promise of another Autumn."

Hal Borland

"Sundial of the Seasons"
September 1955

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The one downside.... my new job has finally popped up today. I was afraid this might happen....

I'm sick. I woke up at 4am this morning with terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. I felt a little better by the time I had to leave for work, so I went in. (Calling out sick after only three weeks isn't the impression I'm trying to make). After a couple of hours, I started feeling bad again. I went to see the school nurse for some anti-diarrhea medicine, but even after taking it I couldn't stay out of the bathroom. Finally the other people in the office insisted I should go home. They were very nice about it, but I hated to leave. I told them that in the past I've very rarely called out sick, and they all smiled and said, "Honey, you work in a school now. You're going to get sick. It comes with the territory. That's why we have paid sick days!" It turned out that leaving was for the best, because as soon as I got home I started throwing up, too. What a morning I've had! I feel pretty awful right now.

I knew that I'd be exposed to lots of germs working around children at a school, but I didn't expect to get sick this soon. So now I've found the one downside to my (almost perfect) new job!

One of the office helpers started spraying down
my desk area before I had even left the building!

Saturday, August 26, 2017


The best parts of the new job, so far:

  • Regular hours! I go in early-ish but not too early (8:30am) and get off just after the rush of school dismissal is over for the day (4:30pm). No more crazy changing retail shifts. No more working nights. No more weekends or holidays! I can't believe how much having regular working hours has reduced my stress levels. Life feels so much easier now. It's great having regular, set times for meals and sleeping. Physically, I feel better.
  • The atmosphere of respect and professionalism among the staff. One thing that was strange at first was being called "Ms. Barlow" instead of "Jennifer" and calling all of my coworkers "Mr. or Ms." instead of first names. Everyone is careful, polite, and somewhat formal in their interactions with others....but they also manage to be friendly and warm at the same time. It's a wonderful change from the last place!
  • Looking forward to the upcoming holidays (even the small ones like Labor Day) and the time off I'll have. Gregg and I have even started planning a camping trip with the dogs to Huntington Beach State Park over the Thanksgiving holiday in November!
  • Seeing my husband at work when he comes to take care of the aquarium. Finding out that the library staff (the tank is in the library) and the custodial staff all love him and think he's a great guy. (He is). The aquarium itself is beautiful, about 90 gallons of water full of vibrant green living plants and small schools of colorful tetras. I'm proud of it, and proud of my husband for being the "fish guy" who cultivates it!
  • All the little surprises that come with working in a very visible, important part of the community. For instance, during the week before the students came back to school, two separate churches came out and provided large, delicious breakfasts for the staff. On the first day of school, the office people (I'm the receptionist) got a huge edible arrangement of fruit from a fancy shop in town. A local greenhouse/nursery emailed all district employees discount coupons. The State Fair in Columbia will be giving us each two free tickets for admission next month, and on and on. All of my coworkers who have been at the school for any length of time are used to it all and take it in stride, but I can't help but be delighted each and every time! 

A little surprise handed out to new staff members yesterday. 
So cute!! And ironic, since I'm married to the "fish guy".

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One photo from yesterday.

I took this photo as the eclipse was about to reach totality yesterday. The cloud in front of the sun helped me to safely look up and get a picture. It was quite dark outside, as you can tell by looking at the tree branches framing the picture. I'm glad I got to see it!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Postscript: Apoceclipse!

A woman who lives in Columbia, SC named Margaret Murphy posted this on Facebook today. It's too funny (and spot on) not to share. It's APOCECLIPSE, y'all!!

Y'all. Our city is in The Path of Totality for this eclipse thing, and let me tell you what. IT IS SO Y2K UP IN HERE! The public schools arranged the school year calendar around it, so my kids haven't started yet and will probably be blind by Monday at 2:45 in the afternoon. It is all the news people can talk about, second only to moronic white supremacists. "Treat this like a hurricane. Do all of your shopping ahead of time. Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary (if you need Krispy Kremes or nerve pills, this is always acceptable), and stock up on staple items. Prepare for 700,000 extra people in the city and plan for 9 football stadiums' worth of traffic." Chaos and recalls related to eclipse glasses on the daily. Are they safe? Are they not safe? Has NASA approved your exact pair? ARE THEY COUNTERFEIT? 👀 Eye doctors are saying don't look under any circumstances. Other eye doctors are saying it's fiiiiine with correct protection, but some of them wear glasses and therefore I am suspicious. Do they have holes in their own personal retinas? They don't say. 

Eclipse parties - YES PLEASE! Basically like a hurricane party with less wind. Eclipse-related things to do all over the city. I hope there are bounce houses, pony rides, bobbing for apples, free Moon Pies and Sun Chips for everybody. Definitely a few keggers on campus at USC. Or at my neighbors' house; they like to party. If you don't have anything planned, just stand outside and sweat. The heat index is between 105 and 110 degrees. "Nocturnal animals will likely emerge," so SURPRISE, here's a pack of rabid wild coyotes that you'll never see coming on account of the special glasses. Don't mind these owls that hoot while your legs are getting chewed off. Bless. Restaurants are staffed to the max and every hotel within a whatever-mile radius is fully booked. If you want to leave your spouse, you'll have to pick a different weekend. 

But, my MOST favorite thing about the eclipse has already happened. I was passing by my TV the other night while the news was on, and a local reporter had just finished a segment about the eclipse. She was holding up a large photo of the human eye. Do you know what she did next? She SET IT ON FIRE, y'all. On actual fire. And she held the burning eyeball and was all "back to you in the studio, Judy." My life was complete at that very moment and I hope she wins an emmy award for best actress in a daytime drama.

Columbia, SC is SO EXTRA, and I am here for it, every single bit.

#apoceclipse2017 #columbiasc
#famouslyhot #famouslyextra #eclipse2017 #xanaxandjesus

*THIS JUST IN: The Publix on Forest Drive is a madhouse, as well as the neighborhood branch of the public library. THE LIBRARY, y'all. This is next level.

**Eclipse Eve Update: Just a suggestion, but if you are coming to our fine city for the apoceclipse, don't bring jeans unless you want to spontaneously combust before it happens. Please do not wear your eclipse glasses in church.
This is the south and we don't do that here. Also, y'all flatter me. Your comments, stories, and pictures are the most! Thank you! Anyone can share this post, as it is set to 'public.' You can subscribe to my public posts by simply clicking "follow" on my profile. Stay tuned for an amazing story involving Jesus, WalMart, and a sandwich. 🌒

South Carolina Total Solar Eclipse!

A grand celestial event is coming to the United States tomorrow: a total solar eclipse that will sweep across the middle of the country, starting in California and ending in South Carolina! This has been a very big deal for months now all over the country in the states where the 70 mile wide band of totality falls. People are flocking to areas where they can experience an eclipse at 100% totality. I live in Florence, SC, where the sun will "only" be 99.5% eclipsed. I don't think we're going to bother driving the 30 minutes it would take to get to Kingstree (the closest town to us to achieve totality) for less than 1%  gain.

A total solar eclipse is a truly rare event in any human's life. I can't wait to sit outside tomorrow afternoon and experience one! Ancient humans would have thought the world was ending....the religious down through the centuries have considered them mighty omens of a king dying or a nation being destroyed. Astrologers believe that eclipses bring endings, beginnings, revelations, change, and upheaval.  It's seems awfully ironic that this eclipse will go right through the middle of the USA in 2017 given our political climate!

Superstition aside, I'm especially interested in the science of it all. My very limited knowledge of  astronomy comes from things like watching Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson (a personal hero of mine) and years of getting a Skywatch weekly email. I try to get outside during the big annual meteor showers, I can pick out most of the major constellations, and I try not to miss lunar eclipses. So tomorrow is going to be a real treat for me--and one that won't occur in this area again until sometime in the 2070s. I'll be almost 100 years old then if I'm still alive. I'm not counting on making it to that one!

The schools here (as I mentioned yesterday) are closed tomorrow so the students can enjoy the eclipse with their families. Gregg will be at home with me because Monday is one of his regular days off. It feels like it's going to be a special day and it will most definitely be a memorable one! I'll report back Tuesday.