Monday, October 30, 2017

Cold Front

A cold front blew in last night and the temperature this morning is only a bit above freezing. I took these pictures late yesterday afternoon on my way to a friend's house. If you look closely at the bottom photo you'll see that it's a cotton field below the cold, wild sky.

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!