Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Candy

Butterfinger and Nestlé Crunch chocolate eggs!

It wouldn't be Easter without candy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Is it Friday yet?

This week is dragging on and on. Friday is a half day at school; and next week is Spring Break, so after Friday we don't go back until April 9th. You'd think, with the way the days usually fly by, that this week would be a breeze. Wrong! Everyone is losing patience with being there, students, teachers, and staff alike, and tempers are short all around. Maybe it's spring fever? Who knows.

My husband has been in a funk, too. When he's got something on his mind he turns silent and withdraws and won't tell me what's wrong. It can be mildly upsetting to me, although after all these years as a couple (twenty all together) I know the best thing to do is leave him alone and let him work out whatever it is. He'll talk about it when he's ready. I suspect it's his oncologist appointment next week, possibly combined with some lingering grief for his mom. Her birthday is coming up.

The house is kind of messy, too. I didn't want to do much housework over my birthday, and Gregg has been working extra hours some evenings, so things have gotten kind of funky around here, fast. After unusually irritating days at work, I haven't felt like doing much after I get home and so dinner on the table and a maintenance load of laundry is about all I've got left in me. Sigh. I hate a messy house.

The only fun part of this week so far occurred last night when I discovered via a friend's Facebook post that the third season of Better Call Saul had landed on Netflix! I love this show, and we binge watched half the new season in one sitting. Greedy pigs, we are! It's a prequel to one of my favorite shows of all time, AMC's Breaking Bad, and has the same great directors and writers (and even some of the characters!) We'll probably finish season 3 tonight. So that's been the bright spot in this crappy week so far.

Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Colors on my table

My table and kitchen looked so pretty yesterday when my friends came over. There were flowers, as you can see....

....and a bucket of fresh local strawberries from the Farmer's Market, the first of the year. 

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Of course I had lots of yummy food prepared for us to enjoy, but my favorite dish was the visually pleasing Southwestern Corn Salad with Chili-Lime dressing.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018


My birthday was yesterday. It was a nice day from start to finish. The latter half of March is always beautiful in this part of the world. I took the following picture in my backyard early yesterday morning as I was leaving for work. I love the early morning light and the dogwood flowers.

The principal at school always mentions student and staff birthdays during morning announcements, so I had lots of kids and coworkers wishing me a happy birthday all through the day. And at lunchtime, Mr. Hyman (the music teacher) brought a group of his beginning guitar students into the office to serenade me! I was so surprised! They played "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, and then they all wished me a happy day as they were leaving. How cool was that?! I love our school.

One of the teachers has an aunt who bakes cakes and goodies for a little post-retirement income. She comes very highly recommended, so two weeks ago when I was still on my gluten-free diet, I ordered a chocolate cake from her to be delivered on my birthday. After having a slice, I see why she's so highly recommended. I haven't had a cake of that quality in years. It's delicious.

Chocolate on chocolate. Incredibly moist and delicious!

Gregg gave me two new birdfeeders for my birthday. I love feeding the birds in our backyard, and all of our feeders were getting old and falling apart. He also bought me a giant bag of birdseed to go along with them. The little sparrows and the cardinals have already found the new feeders this morning....that didn't take long!

Tonight my friends Marla and Martina are coming over to help me celebrate some more, and then on Sunday I'm going out for Mexican food with some of my friends from book club. It's shaping up to be a very nice birthday weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Your funny for the weekend

This made me laugh so hard, I had to share it here. Have a good weekend, everybody!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

This week.

It's already been quite a week, and it's only halfway over. Yesterday I had to take a personal day off from work, because there was a court hearing I was required to attend in the morning and afterwards I had to make a trip to the seventh circle of hell  DMV to renew my driver's license. I'm not sure which was worse...

....actually, I'm kidding. The court  hearing was worse. It was for the two kids I went to meet on Saturday, and for my court report I felt compelled to share some concerns I had for the childrens' physical safety. They were unattended in an upstairs bedroom for at least 40 minutes while I waited in my car for their father to arrive home, and there was a space heater on the floor surrounded by piles of clothes and rubbish. Space heaters are notorious for causing house fires, and children ages 5 and 7 have no business shut up in a room alone with one. The Guardian ad Litem attorney told the judge of my concerns and the father had to answer for it. I felt bad turning him in, simply because he was too poor to afford to heat his house any other way, but I couldn't have lived with myself if I had let it go and later heard about a house fire on the news. He still gets to keep his children, but DSS workers will be periodically checking in on him for a few more months at the very least.

I ended up getting on the elevator with the father after the hearing and he said, "I'm sorry you think I shouldn't have a space heater, but if I hadn't had some kind of heat you would have complained about that, too." And then he turned away from me before I had a chance to respond. That was a really uncomfortable elevator ride! I could tell that he was hurt and offended and I didn't know how to answer him, so I didn't say anything. I wonder what he would think if I had told him that I actually lost sleep over whether to report it or not? It's a grave thing, telling the court about issues that may separate a parent from their children. It's not something I take lightly, at all, and I wish he understood that. I'm not trying to make life harder for anyone; on the contrary, I'm trying to do good things. Visiting families, phoning and emailing caseworkers and school personnel, writing monthly monitoring reports for the court, and taking time off from my "real" job isn't exactly my idea of fun. And I'm not making a dime from it, either. Oh well....I should have waited for the next elevator! The good thing is that since the court decided that with proper monitoring he can keep custody for now, and the boys won't be going to foster care, they no longer need a GAL and I'm already relieved of this case. I won't have to see that man again...although I'm sure there will be plenty more just like him in the future (and worse).

After my uncomfortable half hour in court, I went and got my license renewed. It expires on my birthday, which happens to be the day after tomorrow.  I had waited until the very last minute to do it because the DMV is the worst. But now that's done, too, and I can enjoy the rest of the week and this weekend! Tonight is book club, where we will be discussing Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. That's the book I kept promising to post a review of here, and still haven't had time to finish. Sorry!  I loved it, though, and I think tonight's discussion will be fun. Even better than that, though, will be seeing all my book club friends for the first time since last month. We always have a good time!

Since my birthday is Friday, I have all sorts of plans for this weekend. I may not be back here until next week, but I'll try to get some pictures of the fun.

Have a good one, everyone!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Another perk

There's yet another perk of my job I meant to mention here: fresh eggs! One of the science teachers keeps a large flock of chickens and sells wonderful eggs for $2.50 per dozen.

Aren't those beautiful? They're the best eggs I've ever had. Look at the rich orange yolks....

We had some for our supper tonight. Delicious!

Saturday, March 17, 2018


I've taken on a new case as a Guardian Ad Litem.  This morning I have to drive to Lake City, a town about 30 minutes from here, to meet two little boys and their dad. There's a court date on Tuesday to determine if he gets to keep the kids and to ask the judge to take away the mother's parental rights, as she's mentally ill and has been missing for a long time now. She may be dead for all anyone knows. There's been some question about whether or not the father is fit to raise the boys, so I have to go and check things out and prepare a report for court.

I've been dreading it (the visit). To people under investigation by child protective services, everyone assigned to the case is part of "the system". (Often people confuse a GAL with a DSS employee) It's kind of intimidating, going to a stranger's house to inquire into all sorts of personal family business during a time of crisis. I'm glad I arranged to go early (11am) so I can get it over with. I did speak to the father to arrange a time to visit, and he assured me he's willing to do whatever he needs to do to keep his children. He told me to come anytime it would be convenient for me, so that was reassuring, at least.

I have to take a personal day off work to be able to make the court date Tuesday. I wasn't able to make Kay's last court date because the GAL coordinator got a date mixed up and I had less than 24 hours notice to be there. Many of the volunteers are retired from paying jobs and so are able to accommodate things like short notice. I can't. Yesterday this was part of a group email that the volunteer coordinator (the one who mixed up the dates last time) sent out about next week's court docket:

Also I need you to be at these hearings the program has been frowned upon by the Judges and the Guardian attorney that too many Guardian are not being present for hearing, so I need you there; if you need a work excuse let me know I will provide this for you to give to your employer.

I felt slightly annoyed at that, considering it was his mistake that caused me and probably a couple of others to not be present last time. And that's another thing: it's difficult to have a paying job, with school hours, and be expected to work effectively as a GAL. I need to be meeting with guidance counselors and teachers of these school-aged kids that I'm trying to serve, and with limited personal days (only 2 per year) and the same work schedule the teachers and counselors have, that's tough. When I did my volunteer training, I still had the job in retail and I had much more flexibility in my schedule.

So I'm not sure how this all will work out. I'm committed to doing at least a year, and certainly things will be easier over the summer when I'm off. We'll see how the next six months go.

In the meantime, wish me luck this morning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Today is the final day of my 6 week gluten-free diet experiment. I'm proud to say I didn't cheat, not even once. I can be extremely stubborn when I make up my mind firmly to do something! It was a real challenge but I was determined to give it a fair shot to see if my skin issues would improve. And the verdict?

I can't tell much difference, to be honest. For a while I thought the skin was improving, but it became apparent pretty quickly that it was just the normal ebb and flow of the flare ups I've experienced for years. I had thought there was a chance I might suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis  instead of standard eczema, but apparently not. I had one semi-bad flare after a couple of stressful days (stress is a known trigger for eczema) and another one right before my period last month. What I was eating didn't seem to make much difference at all. So much for that!

On the bright side, I won't have to face a life without bread. That would be a hard, hard life! For my birthday next week I've ordered myself a luscious chocolate cake to enjoy. And tonight, for the first time since January, I might just have a sandwich!!! Oh, how I've missed grilled cheese sandwiches!

The great Gluten-Free Challenge is officially over!

ps...I know I promised you all a book review. I'm working on it and hope to have it ready by the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thought for the day

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Working on letting go of people and situations that no longer serve my peace of mind
and emotional well being.

Back tomorrow (with a book review I'm working on for you). Have a good Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Crimes & Misdemeanors

If our parrot Marco was a human boy, he would be living in juvenile detention. I have no doubt of it.

For one thing, there's his love of destroying others' personal property. As proof, I present to you......

Exhibit A:

I can't keep a hairbrush in the house without it getting ruined. He just loves to bite off the little plastic tips on the bristles. Despite my best efforts, he's adept at sneaking over to the brush and biting off a tip or two before I can stop him. Eventually he always gets them all. 

Exhibit B:

The rubber on the handles of my cookware is slowly getting chewed off and it's ruining my pans. We try hard to keep a close eye on things when he's out of his cage, but it's easy to forget about him when he's quiet--which is when he's plotting his next crime.

There's also the coffee cup he pushed off the counter last week, causing it to shatter on the floor. When I came storming in the kitchen to see what had happened he looked at me defiantly and said, "What's wrong with you?" That was the second or third piece of dinnerware he's destroyed this year alone! 

This morning in the 30 seconds it took me to go get the dogs' bowls for breakfast he jumped over to the kitchen counter and was standing over by the coffee pot, looking innocent when I came back in. He loves coffee, and you have to watch him when you're drinking it or he'll be face down in the cup, drinking for all he's worth, but I hadn't poured any yet so I thought everything was cool. I took him to the bathroom with me (he loves to hang out with me while I blow dry my hair and put on makeup in the mornings) and I noticed he had his beak firmly shut every time I looked at him. Eventually I realized that he was slowly chewing on something and that brown powder was falling from his beak into the sink. He was trying to swallow it all before I noticed him. Guess what he had found? Just guess.

A coffee bean. And he had eaten most of it by the time I figured out he had it. That bird is the devil!

"Helping" me brush my teeth yesterday morning.
He insists on supervising all morning activities in this house!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

In like a lamb.

Despite a couple of chilly nights, March has begun with some gorgeous spring weather. I won't be surprised if we get one last freeze before the month is out, though.

I'm not the only one who loves warm, sunny days...

Basking in the warm sun at midday!
Here are some more early March photos from our backyard.

The blueberries are in flower.

The dogwood tree is beginning to bloom.

The best part about this time of year is how quickly we're  gaining daylight. The days are notably longer now. This final photo was taken at 6pm today.