Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pretty Purple Surprise

When I walked outside this morning I found this blooming beside the house:

What a sweet surprise!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Medical matters

Gregg got a call from the dermatologist yesterday. The spot they biopsied on his forehead is indeed basal cell carcinoma, and will need to be removed in the next week or two. The doctor also wants to examine him all over for any other suspicious skin sites. Gregg spent many years getting lots of sun, and as a fair skinned person, that's a really bad idea. Although he's known better (and done better) for the past decade or so, these things take time to pop up. The good news is, they're usually slow growing and when caught early have a super high cure rate. The treatment is likely to be a simple outpatient procedure, thank goodness. He says he's not really worried, and I believe him, but I can tell that the "C" word has cast a pall over his mood. I don't blame him; I don't like it either. I'm just grateful that it should be easily fixed and forgotten this time.

This has driven home the point for me that I need to continue to be picky when looking for a new job. We would be in trouble without proper health insurance, and I carry it through my job. Gregg's work doesn't have the option. So any job I consider has to come with a decent benefits package. I have to say, despite how much I've disliked some parts of my current job, the health coverage has been pretty good and I'm grateful for it. It will be an essential part of my next situation--it has to be.

Speaking of medical matters, Ginger had to go to the vet yesterday for her bi-annual heartworm prevention shot. She's such a good girl. There's barely a need to put a leash on her; she'll almost always do exactly what you want her to do in any situation. The newer vet in the practice saw her, and had the nerve to say my perfect little girl needs to lose some weight!

Ok, maybe a little bit of weight.

The vet suggested a 10% reduction. She's 67 pounds and so about 60ish is what we're shooting for. On the way home I told Ginger not to feel bad. I need to lose 10% of my body weight too! We can do it together! I've been considering taking her for slow jogs when I go for bike rides, and we can both cut back on treats and meal portions. Look out world, the Sparrow Tree Girls are going to get in shape this summer! Haha.

In addition to taking Ginger to the vet yesterday, I had an eye exam. I needed new contact lenses and the clinic I use requires a yearly exam to make sure the prescription hasn't changed. A new eye doctor, who looked about twelve, examined me and said, "You don't need bifocal glasses yet....but maybe by next year. You're in your early 40's now, you know." Jerk!

Happy (belated) birthday Joanna!

Today I'm taking a sick day off from work. I've had colicky pain in my stomach for the past two days, and the over the counter medicine I took for it had an unpleasant (ahem) side effect. (I can't stray far from my bathroom). I have episodes of pain like this every few months. The doctors I've seen have run all sorts of tests, but they can't seem to pinpoint a cause. My gallbladder has been removed (I had terrible gallstones) but it feels a bit like a mild gallbladder attack. Not fun. I'm hoping it will pass very soon this time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fish and Chips--South Carolina style

Since seeing a meal of "fish and chips" over at Yorkshire Pudding's blog the other day, I've had a craving. So today I went to Tubbs restaurant for lunch to satisfy it.

Delicious fried flounder, waffle cut fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, and (un)sweetened iced tea. I cleaned the plate!
Tubbs has the best seafood in this whole area. Lucky for me, it's only a few blocks from my house!

I might be slightly traumatized

I woke up yesterday morning from a dream where I was at work, talking to my boss, and my teeth were crumbling to pieces in my mouth. I kept having to spit them out. (Ugh!)

My boss didn't seem to notice and kept talking to me as if nothing was amiss. It was all slightly horrific.

No more trips to the dentist for me anytime soon! And I
think it's past time for a good long vacation.

What do you think? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

An unsettled kind of day

Today was somewhat unsettled at the Sparrow Tree house.

Gregg had an early appointment with a dermatologist to get a weird, colorless mole that popped up on his forehead examined. His regular doctor said it didn't look like much to her, but since he has a cancer history it would be a good idea to have it checked out. The dermatologist said he's pretty sure it's a common basal cell carcinoma, but the biopsy they did today will tell us for sure. As cancers go, this is about as "good" as it can get. It will be easily removed, and is unlikely to have spread or to recur. We're not particularly worried--after surviving stage 3 lung cancer, a pea-sized clear dot on the surface of the skin doesn't seem as scary as it might otherwise. We are taking it seriously, and will of course treat it immediately when the biopsy results come in, but I don't think it's going to be too traumatic. I sure hope not.

Late yesterday afternoon I was on my way to meet some friends for dinner before our April book club gathering, and I got a phone call. My phone is connected to my Scion via Bluetooth, so I was able to answer even though I was sitting in traffic. It was some lady with the Department of Social Services asking me if I was going to make it to my job interview in the morning? And I had no idea what she was talking about. She said something about an email that went out on April 11th about a group interview of several candidates for a job. I never got said email.

I was totally confused, and trying to navigate 5:00 traffic (not pretty in downtown Florence) and the woman on the line was obviously bored and checking off a list of people to expect, and pretty much said something like "Check your email. All the details are there. The interview is at 9am tomorrow. Bye."

I didn't know what the *&!% to think.

I sat in the parking lot of the restaurant where I was meeting my friends, and tried to remember which state job I had applied for that this could be. There's been a handful over the last two or three months, and I couldn't remember. When I got home after book club, I looked for the email. I finally found it in the "trash" email folder, not my regular inbox. It didn't mention what the job was for, but it said it was a group interview with about 8 other people, and to bring a "handwritten (not typed) statement about why you're the best person for the job", as well as photocopies of a picture ID, three references, and to come prepared for the interview to last from 2 to 3 hours.

There was no way I could prepare all that in less than 12 hours, especially without knowing what job exactly I was interviewing for! I talked to Marla, who works for the state, and she said she had never heard of an interview process like that. Just......bizarre. So I decided not to go. I sent a reply to the email and explained that I had only just received it and couldn't alter my schedule with such short notice. I apologized and stated that I would be happy to come for an interview if they were interested in rescheduling. I didn't hear back. Oh well.

It was a strange day, and not in the good 4/20 kind of way.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I've got my smile back! (finally)

After months of work and waiting, and a lot of money spent, I'm finally done with dental work for a while! (Knock on wood).

Yesterday I got my three crowns and one bridge tooth put on and they're a perfect fit. Ever since the one tooth broke in January, it's been an ordeal. First I had to have the tooth surgically removed, then I had to wait for the socket to heal, then I had to have the three teeth behind it prepared for crowns. The lab that creates the crowns, and the bridge, normally takes two weeks to complete their work. The first time they were done I went in, but one of the crowns wasn't a perfect fit, so everything had to be sent back. It took three weeks the second time, but yesterday I went to the dentist and everything fit just right. What a relief!

My smile looks and feels completely normal again, for the first time this year. Everything looks great--which it should considering that all this work cost me $3900, only $1000 of which my insurance covered. And that's not counting the money I spent at the oral surgeon's office in January, or the cost of the two root canals that led to all this misery last June. Still, who can put a price on a big, happy smile? I might be broke, but at least I can smile with confidence again!

And I don't want to see the dentist again for at least another year.

Early morning, just-crawled-out-of bed selfie.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

I'm just popping in to wish you all a very Happy Easter. I have to work. We have regular hours today and there won't even be any holiday pay or time and a half. Oh well. At least I'm not religious.

Enjoy the day, those of you who will be celebrating!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Little Girl / Old Lady Flowers?

My African violets are blooming again. I shared these two photos on Facebook a little while ago.

Image may contain: flower, plant and nature

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature

My friend Meg commented, "Aww. I remember those from when I was a little girl!"

And it brought back a memory for me. When I was very little girl, someone gave me a potted African violet. I had heard that if you talked to plants, they would grow better, so I named it "Rosie" and talked to it every day. It lived in an East facing kitchen window, and it thrived. I remember my grandma saying "I've never seen one bloom like that.." So was it my grandma that gave it to me in the first place? I can't remember, but it's very likely. She loved flowers and I remember her making that comment about them.

Plus, don't African violets just kind of seem like a grandma flower? They do to me. I'll bet one of Meg's grandmas grew them, too....

Rosie looked like the second picture.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


I'm beginning to feel like I'm never going to find a new job. I'm so discouraged.

On my birthday last month I found a job opening online that would have been ideal for me. A job that I'm uniquely qualified for, a job with good pay and benefits, and most importantly, a job I think I would love. Seeing the opening on my birthday felt like a sign. I was convinced this was it.

So I went back over my resume, making sure everything that made me the perfect person for the position was mentioned. I wrote a very nice cover letter to go with it. I even wrote an email to the person who would be in charge of the hiring process, introducing myself and asking for an interview. After submitting everything I called around to some of my contacts (I have a lot of great contacts in this community) and discovered that a woman in my book club volunteers at this place. I reached out to her and told her about the position I was applying for so she could put in a good word for me. In short, I did everything I could think of to try to get a foot in the door. Then I waited.

And waited.

And........nothing. Not an email, not a call, nothing.

Which is just par for the course. I've applied for three jobs with the state (at DHEC and DHHS) over the last couple of months and haven't heard anything back from them, either. Then there was the job as a secretary at one of the high schools I applied for and got really hopeful about....because they checked my references...but then I didn't hear anything else until I found out through a friend that they had filled the position. I never even got an interview. Why they bothered to contact my references is a mystery to me. Every day, I check the online job postings, and there's rarely anything worth applying for. On the rare occasion that something seems promising, I do whatever I can think of to get noticed, but it's just not happening.

I'm so unhappy at my current job (anyone who's been reading here for any length of time knows that already, and I apologize for sounding like a broken record) and I've been searching for something better for so long, that I'm getting depressed about it all. Everything is great when I'm off work, but whenever I'm about to go in (like tonight) the dread settles over me like a dark cloud. 

The only thing I need to make my life completely happy is a new and better job. Everything else is great, and I'm grateful for all the good stuff in my life, but I'm so ready to have this job search behind me.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My daiquiri recipe

My friend and partner in crime, Marla, came over today and I made this year's first batch of strawberry daiquiris. We spent the afternoon watching funny YouTube videos and getting tipsy.

Here's my method for making daiquiris :

First, I wash and stem fresh strawberries and lay them on paper towels to dry completely. Then I put them into a Zip lock bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and pop them into the freezer.

When it's time to make the drinks I juice several limes and lemons. For each pitcher full of daiquiris I fill a blender with approximately 1/2 cup citrus juice, 4 cups of frozen strawberries, one generous cup of white rum, 1 cup of cold filtered water, one cup of raw (turbinado) sugar, and a few fresh chopped strawberries. Amounts don't have to be too exact, you can add a bit more or less of any of the ingredients. Blend, taste, and adjust.

I like to rim the glasses with lime juice and raw sugar. Add a whole strawberry for garnish and a straw for sipping and ENJOY!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Weekend off

I have the weekend off, and I didn't even ask for it. It's so nice to not be at the mall on Saturday night! I could  get used to this schedule.....

Today was somewhat productive, but nice too. The weather was perfect--blue skies and mild temperatures. I slept late, rode my bike, spent time with the dogs, and did a little bit of housework (the kitchen was downright grubby but an hour or so of scrubbing made things better) and shopping. Besides a typical grocery store trip, I checked out a new butcher shop that's opened up in Florence. A couple of my friends have been raving about the wonderful locally farmed meats for sale there. I'm so glad I went! The selection is wonderful and very reasonably priced. I bought some bacon-wrapped steaks and two pounds of shrimp for the grill.

This is what our supper looked like:

Image may contain: food
Bacon wrapped sirloin and shrimp marinated in Cajun spiced lime butter, cooked on the grill,
with brown and wild rice and mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes on the side.

While preparing our meal I had several mixed drinks, Diet Coke with lime and rum. (Skinny Cuba Libres). I bought a big bottle of rum and a bagful of limes because tomorrow Marla is coming over and I'm making us strawberry daiquiris!!

Speaking of which, I went back to the strawberry farm today and bought another big box full of beautiful strawberries. I didn't want to risk running out.

Image may contain: fruit and food
I'm known for my strawberry takes a lot of berries to make them right!

I also saved back a lot of grilled shrimp to make a cold pasta salad for our lunch tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing Marla and catching up over food and drinks.

It's shaping up to be a nice weekend!