Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday morning harvest

I have a lot of lettuce at the moment that needs to be picked and either eaten or given away. It's getting to be too hot for lettuce, plus I need the space.

I pulled a few carrots to do a size check, and they're still way too small to harvest. These tiny ones will be a sweet, tender addition to a salad, though.



Thursday, May 12, 2022

Just saying hi

 Hi friends!

Please forgive my lack of commenting on your blogs lately. For some reason when I try to leave a comment with my phone (which is how I do it about 75% of the time) suddenly I get a prompt that says "sign in with your Google account" but when I try to press the link to sign in, nothing happens. I can't figure out what's wrong. I've been so busy lately that it's hard to find time to sit down at my desktop computer so I end up reading on my phone when I get a few spare minutes. And then I can't comment on about half the blogs I read. The other half are just like normal. Why does Blogger have to keep being weird and changing and stuff? It's so annoying!

Work has been so busy and stressful. I've had even more tasks dropped in my lap, so to speak, and I just can't keep up with the workload. We have a temporary acting principal finishing out the school year, and I think I'm going to have a conversation with him soon. Even though he won't be our permanent principal, he works at the district office and he's a very good leader. Already we're wishing we could keep him permanently; he has an air of quiet authority and leadership that's making the school run so much smoother than it has in a long time. I feel sure if I go to him with my concerns, he'll do his best to intervene for me. What we really need is for a good new office assistant to be hired to help take over some of the tasks I simply don't have time for anymore. I'm doing the job of about 3 people at the moment and I need some relief. 

But! School will be out in two and a half weeks! I don't recall ever being this anxious for a school  year to end. Two months of gardening, spending time with the dogs and Marco, taking naps, and watching crap tv sound like heaven right now. I'm hoping for much better things next year.

Since I haven't shared one in awhile, here's a new picture of Marco. I took it on the back porch yesterday. Isn't he beautiful?



Saturday, May 7, 2022

Girls' trip

 I got a surprise call from my friend Marla's husband the other night. With Mother's Day coming up tomorrow, he had an idea for a gift for her and he wanted some input from me. He had the fantastic idea of paying for a girls' weekend away for her and two friends (me and Martina) anywhere within driving distance that we want to go. How awesome is that?!

 He asked me to come up with some ideas that he can present to her tomorrow as her gift. We talked it over, and he said he's willing to pay for either a nice hotel or a bed and breakfast "as long as ya'll don't book the penthouse" ha! We'll each pay for our own food and entertainment.  I've never had a getaway with girlfriends before and it sounds heavenly!

One of the better ideas I've had is to go to Raleigh, NC. There's currently an interactive Van Gogh "immersion experience" (click here) in town and it looks fabulous. Not only that, but I'm very familiar with Raleigh, since my in-laws live there, and there are tons of great things to do in addition to the Van Gogh exhibition. 

If not Raleigh, we have plenty of other options within driving distance: Charleston or the beaches, Asheville, NC or any of the surrounding mountain areas, even Savannah. As soon as Toyo tells Marla about it we'll be able to get together and make plans. She's going to be thrilled! The trip will probably happen in late June or early July, so we have plenty of time to talk it over and decide. 

I'm very, very excited!


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Gardens and puppies

What a busy week it's been. Work has been okay. Although we're still in limbo as far as who our next principal will be or what's going to happen, everything has been surprisingly quiet. Very few students or parents have even asked about what's going on. I'm very grateful for that. 

I got most of my garden planted last Sunday! The only things left are some peppers and cucumbers that are still too small to go out. I ended up with a dozen tomato plants, two each of the following varieties: Aunt Ruby's German Green, Brandywine, Classic Beefsteak, German Pink, Gold Medal, and Bonnie's Best. I put in four sugar snap pea plants, basil (between the tomatoes), and a row of green onions. Once the sweet banana, jalapeno, and cayenne peppers and the cucumbers are planted in a week or so, I'll be done. The carrots are almost ready, and I'm still getting lots of lettuce. I pulled up the last of the radishes on Sunday to make room for the snow peas.



Now for a Poppy update! (That's what you're all waiting on, isn't it?)

We're so pleased with her. Having such a young pup has been a new experience for us. She's so smart! And spunky. She annoys George half to death, though. He's fine with her until she jumps on him and nips at his ears and face with her puppy teeth, and then he snarls and runs away. We're doing our best to teach her to act a little calmer around him, but she's got that crazy puppy energy that she's just going to have to grow out of. We don't interfere when he corrects her, just like we didn't get involved when Ginger had to put him in his place back when he was the crazy new puppy in the house. In this case, payback is literally a bitch. :)

Today Princess Poppyseed lost her last baby tooth! Gregg saw it fall out and he picked it up and texted me a picture of it. (Maybe the tooth fairy will have to come see her tonight). She's growing really fast. On Saturday she goes back to the vet for a booster shot, and it will have been three weeks since we first took her. She weighed 24 pounds then; we're certain she's pushing 30 pounds by now. Everyone seems to think she'll be between 40-50 pounds when she's done growing. 

Her little canine teeth were the last to go. 


She always runs out to the fence to greet me when I get home from work, even if it's raining, like it was in this picture.


Here's a photo of her with all the sticks and pinecones and half-chewed up toys she assembled on the porch rug. Running in and out of the dog flap into the backyard and gathering stuff to drag back inside is one of her favorite things! See how long and lanky she's starting to look?


Last, I forced her to take some selfies with me this afternoon. She wasn't especially interested, but was a good sport about it.






Saturday, April 30, 2022

Upheaval

Thank you all for all the kind, helpful, and encouraging comments on my last post. Physically I feel much better today. I have no shortness of breath, no allergy symptoms, and the general feeling of malaise has lifted. Whew. 

I went back to work yesterday, apprehensive about what the day might bring in terms of the two women I'd had the problems with. Well, I could have saved myself that worry. One of them wasn't there at all, and the other left early. I never even saw her. The rest of the staff were so kind, stopping by my desk to ask if I was feeling better and telling me I'd been missed while I was out. A few students even came to me and said they had missed me and was glad to see me! Then I cried a little when the lead teacher of the Special Ed department presented me with a lovely card from the SPED teachers for Administrative Professionals week. They wrote such nice things to me in it. Knowing I'm appreciated by most of my coworkers is a real comfort when dealing with the few bad apples. Then at lunchtime, a mother showed up and presented me with these



also as a token of appreciation for Administrative Professionals week. How wonderful is that? I was sincerely touched. So everything was going just peachy for awhle.

 Around lunchtime it became apparent that something big was brewing behind the scenes at the school. People were creeping around and acting weird, like they were waiting for something to blow up. And that's exactly what happened.

The principal pretty much got fired and yesterday was his last day. I say he "pretty much" got fired because they offered him a demotion to a classroom teacher at another school, effective immediately, if he wanted to remain employed by the district. He wasn't given a choice. It was a move designed to humiliate him, and of course he turned it down. They refused to even let him finish this year out, and we only have four weeks of school left! Just booted him right out the door! When he called a staff meeting to announce what had happened, the room went silent with shock. Then there were tears and anger and disbelief. For all his faults as a principal, he's a decent and kind man, and we can't imagine why they feel it's necessary to get rid of him in such an ugly fashion.

One of the last things he did before leaving yesterday was send a letter of grievance to  the school board about the situation. He's alleging a hostile work environment, harassment, and civil rights violations from the higher ups. We know all the details of this letter, because the last thing he did yesterday afternoon before they shut down his email account was send it out to the whole staff! The whole situation is just bonkers.

So that's how our Friday afternoon ended. We have no idea who's going to be at the school on Monday morning running it, or if the assistant principals will have to run things for a while, or what's going to happen, or even what to say to the students and parents when they ask about it! 

These next four weeks are going to be interesting. At best. 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Catching up

 I'm home sick today. After almost two weeks of dealing with shortness of breath, a dry cough, chills, and a general feeling of being unwell, I called the doctor Tuesday afternoon and made an appointment for yesterday. 

I was pretty sure I didn't have Covid, because I'd taken two at-home tests that were negative. The doctor confirmed that it wasn't that (thank goodness) but just as I expected it was an exacerbation of seasonal allergies that led to an exacerbation of asthma. He also thought I might have the beginning of a bacterial infection in my lungs. I came home with prescriptions for prednisone, antibiotics, a new inhaler, a nasal spray, and a note excusing me from work for the rest of yesterday afternoon and today. 

One thing the doctor noticed worries me a little. My blood pressure was very high, particularly the bottom number. This was very unusual. He didn't seem too worried about it, given that I'd been feeling so bad and struggling to get good deep breaths, but it bears watching. One thing I didn't tell the doctor is that when I left work the hour before, I was very angry and upset. The office women were being horribly rude to me (they were mad they'd have to cover my desk and the front door while I was gone). Normally I can shrug off their toxic behavior, but when I'm not feeling well physically that becomes harder to do. On Tuesday when I first made the appointment and let everyone know I'd have to leave for a couple of hours, the principal overheard one of them going off on me about it and he was pissed. He called me at home that night and told me he intended to address their nasty attitudes. He said, "You work way too hard to be treated that way." Apparently he hadn't had time yet (yesterday morning) to talk to them, and when it was time for me to leave for the appointment they were incredibly rude about it. I was in tears when I left, and plenty mad, too. I'm so glad the doctor told me not to go back to work afterwards and to take today off too! Let them suffer for treating me like dirt! Hopefully by the time I go back on Friday the principal will have addressed the problem with them. In any case, I wonder if getting so emotionally upset had anything to do with my crazy high blood pressure reading? Gregg thinks it's definitely possible. When I'm not feeling so physically poor I should be able to ignore them and let it go, like usual. I don't expect things to change much, but I've gotten very good (most of the time) at shrugging it off.

I made a mistake in taking the first dose of prednisone with dinner last night. I probably didn't get over 3 or 4 hours of (broken) sleep. I'll be taking today's dose as soon as I eat breakfast! I already feel a good bit better despite the lack of sleep--prednisone is like a miracle drug for me. My eczema clears up, my allergies dry up, and I feel much better, fast, whenever I take it. I've decided to get a referral to an allergist and to talk to them about getting a full range of allergy testing and starting allergy shots. We'll see how that works out.

I meant to post last week as my spring break was winding down. They had the plant and flower festival at the farmer's market, and I went out and bought three blueberry shrubs to plant over by my raised garden bed. I got two of the variety "Premier" and one of "Pink Lemonade". The Pink Lemonade is supposed to get pink berries instead of blue, and they're supposed to be twice as sweet as the blues. We shall see! My little quarter-acre "homestead" (Haha) is coming along nicely. Even the crabapple tree I planted in front is finally, finally getting some tiny new leaves. It was a bare stick for so long I was beginning to despair that it was really alive and not merely dormant! The fig tree I planted is growing nicely. I expect by next year I should get a few figs from it. In summer garden news, I've been getting loads of lettuce and radishes, the carrots are almost ready to harvest, my tomato and pepper seedlings are ready to be planted out, the potato vines are sprawling all over the place, and my cucumbers and snow peas are finally sprouting. My gardening brings me a lot of joy.

One last thing of note from last week. On Saturday Marla and Martina came over for a couple of hours. I almost canceled because I wasn't feeling too hot, but I really wanted to see them. Marla brought little Carsen with her, too! That child is growing up fast! She'll be four next month and she's got that crazy little kid energy. Between her and the puppy chasing each other through the house, George trying to stay out of the way, and Marco getting excited and wanting to be in the middle of everything, it was like a circus over here for a little while!


She's loved the big aquarium since she was a baby. Gregg keeps telling Marla she needs a tank of her own. To which Marla responds, "And is Uncle Gregg coming to take care of it for us?" :)


This next picture was typical of the visit!


I don't know about Carsen, but Poppy was worn out when they left.


Marco loved every minute of the chaos.


George was a very good boy, as usual. He's been so patient with Poppy, and he's always glad to see Martina and Marla and even little Carsen. Here he is saying goodbye to Carsen when her daddy came to pick her up. After she left, we all had wine and adult conversation.



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Spring Break

It's been an eventful week.  We brought Poppy home last Wednesday night, just as my spring break was starting, and that proved to be good planning. I can't imagine dealing with the first few days of a new puppy in the house while going to work! I still have the rest of this week off, and things are already settling down a little bit. 

Poppy is a real delight so far. She's super smart, sweet, and incredibly playful. Having never gotten a dog this young, this is all new to me. Also, I need to give my George a big shout-out. He's been incredibly patient with the puppy. She follows him around, dives on him, brings him toys to try to entice him to play, and he usually just lets out a heavy sigh and ignores her. Every now and then, when she jumps on him once too often and attempts to bite at his ears with her needle-sharp puppy teeth, he issues a quick but stern correction. Ginger used to do the same thing to him when he went too far! In fact, Ginger helped us raise him, and now it looks like George will do the same thing with Poppy. He already seems to accept the fact that she's going to be living with us now. What a good boy!

Puppies are tiresome.




We had a pretty good Easter. I cooked a ham, deviled eggs, rice served with glazed ham drippings, green beans, and fresh salad (lettuce and radishes) from my garden. I picked enough salad from the raised bed that I was able to share two big ziplock bags full with Ms. Luella next door. I can't wait to harvest some carrots--they're not quite ready yet.






Did I mention that I'm growing some potatoes in a large container as an experiment? It's the method of growing potatoes where you slowly add layers of soil around the plant as it  grows until you reach the top of the container. (You start off with a thin layer of soil in the bottom). Here's what my potato bush looks like as of this morning.


The only other thing of note going on this week is that my seasonal allergies have gotten so bad that my asthma has been kicking in. I had two or three nights of wheezing and getting short of breath despite using an inhaler, and I haven't been sleeping well. Yesterday I decided that if I had another restless night I'd call the doctor and go see her today. I feel a little better, though, and slept fairly well last night. I'm hoping a trip to see the doctor can still be avoided. 

All in all, it's been a wonderful spring break so far! A new puppy, a thriving garden, sunshine and nice weather--even the crabapple stick tree we planted in the front yard has put out its first tiny leaf buds! The chickadees nesting out back obviously have babies right now, given how often they're flying in and out of the nestbox. And on Easter Sunday I saw the first hummingbird of the year--about 15 minutes after I hung the feeder up for the first time!
It's a really nice time of the year to have a vacation. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Poppy

The new puppy came home last night! We've decided to call her Poppy. 


Thanks for all the name suggestions and good wishes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Help us name this dog!

The puppy will officially come home tomorrow night! Since I'm on spring break after tomorrow that gives me almost two weeks to get her acclimated before I'll have to return to work.  She has a vet appointment Thursday morning to get her shots and anything else she may need.

Now we need a name for her.

We have such a hard time naming pets. It's a good thing we never had human children because I'm not sure 9 months would be enough to decide on something for a human child!

A few names for the puppy that we like:

* Charlie (it's kind of cute for a girl, plus our Ginger's first best friend was a boy dog named Charlie, so the name has ties back to her and warm connotations for us).
*Poppy (I like names from nature)
*Pippi
*Annie or Abbie
*Olive (I like this one more than Gregg; I think it's cute).
*Molly or Millie (they're so common, especially Molly, that we're not too excited about these, but we do like them).

So here's where you, my blog friends, come in! Please comment with a name (or names! as many as you have!) and give us some more suggestions. If we end up using a name that a blog reader suggests, I'll come up with a small prize to send that person as a thank you. 

Here's another picture of the little girl, walking with her new big brother.


And curled up asleep at my feet.




Sunday, April 10, 2022

Pupdate

 It looks like a puppy will be coming to live with us next week. ❤





I'll be asking for your help narrowing down the list of names in a few days! 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Best yet!

The walk with George and the puppy went so well! They actually got close and George sniffed her all over, and then they walked nicely together for the rest of the way home! No barking, no growling, no raised hackles or pulling on the leash. I'm honestly amazed. 

We decided not to push our luck, and I wanted to end things on a positive note, so once we circled the block one time we headed home. George got lots of treats and praise once we were back safely inside. 

We seem to be on the right track. Things may work out after all!



Walking with friends

This week we've been working at acclimating George to walking with the puppy our neighbor is fostering. We've only been on three walks so far (it poured rain on Tuesday afternoon) and we haven't dared let George get too close to the pup. He gets overly excited and barks and lunges, trying to get over to her, and we're being very careful to make sure nothing bad happens. For the most part, George has done okay. I handle him while Gregg follows behind us with the little girl. As young as she is, she already walks nicely on a leash, and seems very curious about George. Our neighbor reports she gets along great with the other dogs at her house, and loves to play with bigger dogs and other puppies and everyone, really. She's going to be a great dog for somebody--whether or not that will be us is the question!

Today Gregg works late, so Martina is stopping by on her way home from work (at the vet's office) to help me take the dogs out. As long as George stays calm, I'm going to try to let the dogs get a little closer together this time. He's securely attached to his leash via a harness, so I have control of him in case he starts to act aggressively. I don't think he will; honestly, I think his barking and pulling when he sees the puppy is pure excitement. I can tell him calmly to hush and to sit, and he'll do it, so I'm pretty sure we can reduce the distance a bit more than Gregg is comfortable with. Also, Martina is experienced with handling big dogs, and George loves Martina, so I think having her helping out will be a good thing. I'll report back later, but I'll say this:

I think this puppy will be a good fit for our family if George will accept her. It's obvious she's smart, well socialized for her age, and most of all....spunky! She's sweet and playful and curious about everything. I can tell Gregg really likes her. He hasn't said much, but I keep seeing him stopping briefly to pet her and rub her soft ears. For the time being we're calling her "Laylay" but last night he said we'd have to pick a better name for her if we decide to keep her. Again, it's all up to George. Wish us luck!




Saturday, April 2, 2022

Saturday odds and ends

Another long week at work finally came to an end. This has seemed like the longest school year ever. It's as though the two years of Covid have just bled into one another and combined to form one long, crappy year. 

Things are not going well at our school. There's a huge exodus happening in which more than a dozen teachers and other staff are either transferring to better schools in the district or else are fed up and retiring (those who have enough years in to retire). Little P.'s mom has been so mistreated and bullied by some of the same people that used to cause me problems that I'm afraid she's going to be the next to go. No one likes to work hard, try hard, and then be at the mercy of petty, backstabbing, lazy people with no scruples. I feel so bad for her. Then just a couple of days ago yet another of my favorite teachers told me she's leaving. She said the stress is starting to negatively impact her health and she's had enough. It's the best teachers and staff who are leaving, naturally.

It all makes me sad. Morale is so low that a feeling of gloom pervades the halls. We keep hearing that the principal will be leaving at the end of the year, either by quitting or else being sent somewhere else (I've even heard a rumor that a specific woman who's currently at another school will be replacing him) and honestly.....it would probably be for the best. I hate to say that. I like him a lot as a person but as a principal, well....the buck stops with him, so to speak. I'm just laying low, doing my job, and hoping for better things. What I want is to feel pride in my school again, not to mention a promotion to a better paying position. I'm finishing up my 5th year and I think I've earned it.

At home, though, things are really good. My garden is coming along nicely. Today I harvested the first radishes and soon there will be lettuce and carrots to go along with them. My tomato and pepper seedlings are ready to be potted up and by the end of the month I'll be planting them in the raised bed. The bluebird box we put up last month has a pair of Carolina chickadees nesting inside! They're such cute, sweet little birds that I'm not sorry to have them instead of bluebirds. 

Last night I went to a community theater play with Martina, her husband Will, and one of the veterinarians that she works for. We had so much fun! Gregg isn't a fan of community theater, nor musicals, which is what this was, so he didn't care to go. He was amused to find out that our family doctor was part of the ensemble cast, though, and I took a photo of her after the performance to show him. At one point she was tap-dancing in an egg costume, which made him laugh when I told him about it. He said he would have liked to have seen that!


Florence Little Theatre

This is no joke!!! It’s OPENING NIGHT of Something Rotten!! Join us for a night of laughter, big-hit musical numbers, and of course, those tap dancing eggs!!!

Tickets are still available for tonight’s performance and can be purchased at the door starting at 6:30pm!


Doctor Shelton after the show! The guy with dark curly hair behind her was another local physician who played William Shakespeare. It was lots of fun.

One other thing of note this weekend is that this morning I met a sweet little puppy that my neighbor (the dog rescue person) is fostering until a good home can be found for her. Gregg is going to meet her either tonight or tomorrow, and we might consider trying to introduce her to George. She's right next door so it should be easy to take her on a trial basis if we decide to. I put her on a leash this morning and walked her around our property (George was in the house). She acted right at home and didn't seem to want to go back to Heather's house. We're not going to rush into anything, though. And George may not allow it anyway. 

We'll see.






Thursday, March 24, 2022

Festivities

I've had such a great birthday this year, and there's still more fun to come.

For the first time I created a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, kind of on a lark and not expecting anyone to actually donate much, if anything. I picked Doctors Without Borders/Medecins san Frontieres and was pleasantly surprised that we've exceeded the automatic $200 goal that Facebook sets! I'll be doing that again next year--it's such a worthy charity.

I finally figured out what to get Little P. for his birthday. I asked his mom what kind of gift cards he might like, and she said his favorite place in Florence was Cold Stone (ice cream). So all your suggestions about ice cream were spot on! I ended up getting him a $25 gift card to Cold Stone and a tie-dye parafoil kite. He seemed pretty excited about both!



Since the nurses at school got me the pretty flowers with the Happy Birthday balloon attached, all the staff and parents and students saw that it was my birthday and I got lots of well wishes all through the day. A couple of the kids gave me hugs. It was nice. After work, I met up with a couple of friends, Paulette and Marian, and we had an early seafood dinner at Tubb's. After we ate, it was book club night, so we proceeded to Karen H's house (she was the host). I was given more flowers and cards and even a gift card, none of which I expected. It was so very nice of them!

Gregg's gift to me came earlier in the week: a nice food dehydrator! I'd been wanting one since last fall, and with my garden prospects for this year looking good it should be a useful gift. I've already made some delicious apple chips, and some less-than-stellar banana chips (I need to keep working on that recipe). I'm hoping to use the machine to cut down on food waste, since most vegetables and fruits can be dried and added to recipes later. I'm also interested in making homemade (good quality) treats for George. Dried strips of chicken breast treats cost the earth and should be easy enough to make in a dehydrator. In any case, I'll have fun experimenting!

The last part of my birthday festivities will be happening on Saturday. Season 2 of Bridgerton drops on Netflix on Friday, so on Saturday (Gregg's day to work late) Marla and Martina are coming over for food, birthday cake, wine, and a Bridgerton marathon!!! I'm sooo excited! Gregg looked at me funny when I told him that was my big plan for my birthday. "That's really what you want to do?" he said. Umm, YES! Marla and Martina both thought it sounded fabulous when I suggested it! We're going to have so much fun, even if the sexy Duke of Hastings won't be a part of season 2. :)

It's been a very, very good week. I'm such a fortunate woman.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A lovely surprise

When I got to work today I was presented with this by the two school nurses, Lisa and Shalonda. I was so touched!



I have plans with friends tonight and also this weekend--more about that later!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Some weekend pictures

 Can you spot the baby rabbit? We apparently have a nest in our back yard. This one let me get very close and take a picture, but even from a couple of feet away he was well disguised.


I repotted most of my house plants on Sunday.



The lettuce and radishes in the raised bed are really starting to grow. The carrots are sprouting, too, but you can't tell in this picture.



George and the daffodils. 



Spring is here!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Birthday boy

 Little P. and I have a birthday coming up next week! He's going to be nine years old. I adore that boy, and it's fun that we share a birthday. This year I have no idea what to buy him for a gift, though. A couple of weeks ago I asked him what he wanted, and you know what he said? "I don't know, I really already have everything I want." I thought that was rather mature, given how he usually has a big list of expensive items in mind when holidays and birthdays roll around!

I pressed the issue a bit the next day, since I'm going to get him something and need ideas. After giving it some thought he mentioned that he went to a birthday party at a skating rink a while ago and didn't have his own pair of skates. Since I know nothing about kids' sizing, or how fast his feet grow, I didn't feel comfortable with that suggestion. It's a specific enough request that it's likely someone in his family has already bought the skates, anyway. When I asked him what else he might like instead, he just shrugged. 

So, dear blogger friends, what would you buy for a nine year old as a birthday gift? I love to buy books for kids, but only if they like to read and will appreciate them. I'm sorry to say that even though P. reads really well (and well above his grade level), he's not turning out to be a real reader. What he does like is building things with Legos, and projects that involve electronics and robotics and even math. He recently qualified to begin the advanced/gifted academic track in school, so he's a really smart kid. And he likes active outdoor play and sports, typical boy stuff. Any suggestions will be welcome (not too expensive, though).

I have two more Little P. updates for his fans. Remember I told you he had a crush on a little girl in his class? Everything was going well until the day the teacher asked the class who had been whispering when her back was turned and the girl ratted P. out. He showed up at my desk that afternoon in a state of high dudgeon, a betrayed young man! From that day on, Love was Dead. 

At the end of January Little P. had his "Vocal Star" audition. He had picked I'm Still Standing by Elton John to sing. His mom said that when he first got up on the stage and saw the people looking at him, he froze, and then his bottom lip started to tremble. She thought, "Oh, no...." but then he pulled himself together, managed to smile (although she knew he was on the verge of crying) and then sang his song all the way through. His voice shook but he finished it! She told him afterwards how proud she was of him, even if he didn't win. I was pretty proud of him, too. That took guts!

 And look how handsome he looked in the new jacket she bought him for the audition:


(This picture makes him look so grown up for an eight year old! He doesn't really look quite this grown up in person).


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Irritated

When I come home from work in the afternoon, George and Marco are always eagerly awaiting my arrival and are so glad to see me. This is what happens every weekday at approximately 4:50pm:

George meets me in the garage, at my car door, to give me kisses before I even step foot out of the car. I open the door and wait for him--that's our routine. Then he jumps up and down about 10 times and dances around me as I walk towards the house. The only time this doesn't happen is when it's raining. George hates getting his paws wet and will wait for me on the porch on those days.

Marco starts to let out ear-splitting screams the moment walk through the door. Gregg says, "Get ready!" and covers his ears when I cross the threshold because he knows Marco can't be deterred from shrieking as loud as possible to welcome me! I have to go get him out of his cage immediately and let him ride around on my shoulder as I put my stuff down, take off my shoes, pour a drink, etc. 

It's like a hero's welcome, every single day.

And you know what? On a lot of those days (today being one of them) I'll whisper, "I'm so grateful for you!" to George and Marco. You know why?

Because human children can be real pains in the ass sometimes, that's why!!!!!!! And when they are I'm SO GLAD I don't have any of my own!

It's rare for me to get annoyed with the students at the school where I work. Usually I like them and have empathy for them and enjoy their company. I've always enjoyed kids in small doses, anyway. But I'd be lying if I told you there's not a few that I swear to god I'd like to drop-kick into the next county!

There are two young men at the moment that are driving me especially crazy. They're both big boys because they've failed a grade or two. They're always in trouble. Because the ISS (in-school suspension) room is near my desk, and the discipline in there is lax, these boys are always walking past my desk to get water from the fountain or to go to the bathroom. Or, more likely, cutting class and creeping around the halls. Any time I say anything to them they're rude and nasty and sarcastic in return. They think it's funny to be openly defiant and mouthy and generally just awful. One of these boys is a physically big fellow and a couple of times he came and hovered near my desk, smirking and laughing at me, Well, I'm not about to be intimidated by an overgrown BOY and I put him in his place and made him go sit down, and I called the principal on him and then I called his mama! He didn't like that, let me tell you! I was steaming mad when I left work. 

Speaking of irritation, have I mentioned lately that I struggle with eczema? Like, really struggle? The last time I went to the doctor she said she thought I had dyshidrotic eczema because it's mainly appearing (these days) on my ankles and the tops of my feet. She prescribed a pill that's commonly used to relax patients before surgery, but that can also help with the allergies that seem to be a factor in triggering the skin inflammation. Well, just like topical steroid creams they worked great for a while and then gradually became less and less effective.

I'm currently suffering through a terrible flare. My feet are swollen, inflamed, and will bleed at the slightest scratch (thanks to so many years of steroid creams). And not scratching at the moment is agonizing, because the itch is absolutely maddening. It's really awful and it's making getting through the day a struggle. I itch almost constantly and have to fight with myself not to scratch. Sometimes I catch myself doing it without being consciously aware of it, and my socks will have bloody patches. 

Look away if you're squeamish. I'm embarrassed to show you these, but maybe it will help you understand the misery that is eczema. I've been dealing with flares like this for over 20 years now.

My ankles and feet today:





It's painful to walk, I itch to distraction, and I can't wear sandals in public. You'd be surprised at the number of people who will comment on it when my feet and ankles look like this. I can only imagine having a real disability and the things people would say!

I guess it's no wonder that I'm especially irritated at rude children and teenagers at the moment.  At least Marco and George love me, bad skin, irritation, and all!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

How we fared

 Here's how I prepared for last night's freeze:




This morning when we got up it was 23 degrees outside! I'm pleased to say that my plants were almost completely unscathed despite the bitter cold. The only loss was a few leaves on the fig tree (over where you can see a few leaves peeking out from the cardboard) but the majority of them were fine. The salad garden looked green and cheerful when I pulled back the tarp this morning, too. Tonight it's supposed to get just to freezing again, so I've covered everything back up now that the sun is going down.

One last thing....why, why, why must we continue to observe Daylight Savings Time?! I hate changing the time both times we do it in a year. I wish the powers that be would just pick one or the other and leave well enough alone!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Batten down the hatches

We're expecting wild weather later this afternoon and tonight. Strong winds and tornado watches through the afternoon will make way for a hard freeze tonight. Ah, March. I don't think any month is more temperamental. Just last week temperatures were reaching almost 80 degrees and I could wear shorts at night when we went out to walk George. Now it's going to be in the mid 20s tonight and lots of early blooms and tender new vegetation will suffer. 

My salad garden has been coming along nicely (lettuce, radishes, and carrots) and will have to be protected. I'm planning to drape a sturdy tarp over that side of the raised bed and find some good heavy stones to hold it in place overnight. The pots of camellia starts will have to be secured, either on the porch up against the wall or else in the garage. I doubt there's much I can do for the tender new leaves on the fig tree. A hard freeze this time last year took out the new growth, but more leaves sprouted immediately afterwards and there was no lasting harm. The daffodils should be fine. Did I mention that my newly planted daffodil bulbs are blooming like mad? I counted almost three dozen flowers this morning! I doubt one night of cold will hurt them, but I'm considering picking a vase full for the house just in case.

I'm not worried about the newly planted crabapple tree---because it's still nothing but a bare stick! At least in that case there's no tender new growth to lose. The pomegranate tree will be fine. It's covered in a flush of tiny leaves, but it's in the warmest and most protected spot in the yard.

What else? I think all that will be left to do after covering the raised bed and moving the potted plants will be to do one final scan of the yard and porch for loose items. My container of seed potatoes has small sprouts and will have to be moved into the garage for the night to protect them from the freeze, too. That should be all. All that I have any control over, anyway!



Radish and lettuce sprouts I'll be covering tonight
 when the temperature starts to drop.