Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Hey everyone! My birthday is tomorrow, but I'm not going to be celebrating until Saturday night. We've invited a few friends over for food, drinks, and cake/dessert. I'll be buying a cake from a bakery, but I can't decide what food to serve my guests. Please help me!

What I DON'T want to do is spend the whole morning and half the afternoon preparing food, which is what I usually do when we have company over. I love to cook and entertain, but when it's my birthday celebration weekend I don't want to do that much work! So now I just can't decide what to make. I'm not totally opposed to ordering pizza or Chinese or something, but restaurant food is so often disappointing to me these days. What I'd really like are a few simple, party-worthy recipes that aren't too much trouble to make and that everyone will enjoy. 

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please share them with me so I can make a plan for Saturday! I'm really at a loss here.

(Drink ideas would be great, too!) 

Thanks in advance! :)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Saturday night stuff

I made it to the weekend! What a rough week. I hope I never develop another ear infection; it's been really awful, but it's finally starting to improve. This morning when Gregg left for work, I went back to bed and slept an additional three hours. I guess I needed the extra rest.

All of my plants survived the cold snap quite well. I covered everything with old towels, plastic, and large, overturned plastic pots. It looked weird but it seemed to do the trick. I may have to re-cover everything tonight and tomorrow night, but according to the long range forecast I should be good after that (at least for another week). 

Yes, it all looked funny, but it got the job done!

In other news, I did our taxes today. That's a chore I dread every year, but it wasn't too bad. It only took about 3 hours and now that's off my mind for another year. We're getting a decent little refund back, due to the fact I have extra taken out of each paycheck to cover all Gregg's self employment income from his aquarium gigs. Better to have too much taken and get a refund than have a nasty surprise (a big tax bill) at tax time. About half of the refund will go to some house repairs we've been needing to do, and the rest will go into savings. 

My birthday is coming up next week! I'm planning to have Marla and Martina over on Saturday to help me celebrate. Gregg will get off work early, and Marla's husband will probably stop by with their little girl for a while. I'd love to invite Martina's husband, Will, but he works on Saturday evenings. There will be food, cake, and drinks. I'm excited for all that because I'm still staying faithful to my diet. I've lost 19 pounds since the beginning of January! A day to treat myself (and see my friends!) will be a nice break for my birthday! One of my gifts to myself this year is a new pair of walking shoes. My old ones are worn out, and a nice new pair should help inspire me to walk further and more often. I hope so.

The school year is winding down. When I go back to work on Monday, we'll be in our final quarter of this year. I can't believe we're only 9-10 weeks away from being done. And there's a week of spring break in there that doesn't count (at Easter). On Friday we had a professional development day in the district, so students had the day off. Besides one hour long virtual training session for clerical staff at 8am, I had the rest of the day to catch up on work before getting off a half hour earlier than usual. The teachers were in the library all day listening to presentations be our principal's mentor. And speaking of our principal: she announced to the teachers on Friday morning that she's been diagnosed with breast cancer. She said she begins treatment next week. I have no idea what this means for our school for the remainder of this year. 

It's always something, this year. Thank goodness it will be over at the end of May!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


 For at least a week now I've been dealing with pain in my right ear. I haven't had an earache since I was a child, and it's been awful. This morning I woke up and knew I had to go do something about it.

My regular doctor couldn't see me for a couple of days, and urgent care costs a fortune, so I decided to give my allergist's office a call. The nurse said that Dr. Stone would be happy to look at it whenever I came in for my weekly allergy shot. So I called off work today and went up there right before lunchtime, and the doctor saw me right away--no waiting! What a treasure he's turned out to be!

Apparently, I have an infection in the outer ear canal, and he saw the cause of it, too. I've developed eczema inside that ear! I didn't know that was possible. I've also been having a terrible eczema flare on my ankles, and Dr. Stone looked at that and decided that there's an infection setting in there, too. I'm getting antibiotic ear drops and an oral antibiotic, too. Well, maybe. The pharmacy called and the ear drops are out of stock and won't be in until APRIL. Of course, I can't wait that long. My ear hurts really bad. So I called the doctor's office and left a message that I need some alternative prescribed. I'm still waiting to hear back.

I've been in bed most of the day. I feel awful and my ear is worse than ever. I sure hope I can get something tonight. I don't think I can bear to go back to work tomorrow if I've still got such bad ear pain. 

Have you ever had an ear infection as an adult? 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday evening stroll

 Even when it's cold and misting rain outside, these two count on getting their after-supper walk. 


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Recap of the week

 This week, in bullet points.

  • Work has been tough. Student behavior among middle-schoolers always seems to be at its worst in early spring, but this year has been a disaster on a whole other level. More fights, huge classroom disruptions, four incidents in the past week alone where kids were threatening teachers and staff, and on and on. While I'm luckier than most in that I have a quiet, private office to work in, even the stress of my job is getting worse. I have to hold regular truancy interventions with families, and you wouldn't believe the cans of worms THOSE often open up. I'm on the phone at least once a week with DSS making reports of child neglect (educational and otherwise), and I have to schedule and prepare paperwork for all of our expulsion hearings this year, too. (Processing discipline referrals is part of my job along with attendance and record keeping). It can all be very unpleasant, to say the least, when you work in a school with such tough demographics. Our student poverty rate is up around 70% which explains all the other problems, I suppose.
  • I still haven't heard anything about the job I applied for. It's still listed on the district website as open, and I hope that since the job won't start until July they're just taking their time about filling it. But I've decided the best thing to do now is to forget about it and keep looking. I was sad to learn that four more teachers I've known for years and (and really like) have accepted offers elsewhere. This makes 15 teachers that I know of who can't or won't continue working at our school next year. I don't know how we're going to function given the teacher shortage (and our school's reputation).
  • WINTER IS COMING BACK. Because of course it is. It's going to get down to freezing a couple of nights next week, and I'm trying to figure out how to save the new young leaves and flowers on the crabapple, fig, and blueberries. Late freezes are pretty common in the spring, but what's not common is how far along everything already is due to the warm winter. If you can even call it a winter this year! 
  • At least the plants I started in the house are safe. I've already had to start potting up tomato plants and they're growing like mad under the aquatic grow light Gregg found for me to use. Soon I'll be out of room inside, but at least we have the porch to keep them on until they acclimate to the outdoors, and the weather is consistently warm.
  • Marco is driving us crazy. He's having some problematic breeding behaviors that we can't seem to stop. Gregg would tell you the main problem is his screaming for attention. (It makes him furious, and it is awful to listen to). But if you ask me, the main problem is that he tries to "feed" a pretend girlfriend as part of his mating behaviors, and that involves puking up food...wherever he can. We've removed all toys from his cage, and so now he regurgitates onto the side of his food and water dishes. I have to wash them multiple times a day and this has been going on for weeks now. It's pretty gross, not to mention, time consuming. If only it were possible to spay or neuter birds!
Last of all, here's a picture of my two sweet pups. They go nuts with happiness and excitement every day when I get home from work. Often this is the very best part of my day.

They were both vying for the chance to lick my feet after I took my shoes off the other day. That's true love!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Saturday evening in springtime

Good Saturday evening, everyone! 

It's been absolutely gorgeous here today despite the pollen covering everything. We're  smack in the middle of pollen season (already!), meaning everything has been absolutely covered in a thick layer of the greenish-yellow stuff, but last night we got high winds and then a heavy rain and so (for the moment at least) everything looks washed clean and fresh. It won't last, but for a few hours at least the pollen was tamed.

Here's an actual image taken from the air off the coast of Myrtle Beach last week. Look at that massive film of yellow on the surface of the water!

Thank goodness that I didn't test positive for any allergies to tree pollen. My triggers were grass, dust, mold, cats, and dogs. People that are allergic to pine and oak are really suffering right now and I'm glad I managed to escape that, at least. I've been going faithfully for my weekly allergy shots for months now, so hopefully soon I won't react to anything anymore! 

The early spring progress continues. Early flowering trees like Japanese magnolia are past done and already getting a flush of new green leaves. Yellow jessamine is already rampant and wisteria has started to bloom. Even the daffodils are past their prime, and it's only the first week of March! 

I forget what these flowering shrubs in the front of our house are called, but aren't they pretty right now?

Another view:

Here's my newest finished garden project: a cage to protect the tender new crabapple leaves (once they appear) from hungry deer. It's firmly staked down with three metal garden stakes, and I think it should do the trick. Take that, deer!

Speaking of garden projects, a few of my tomato seedlings are almost big enough to pot up! The peppers didn't germinate at all, so I'll be trying again with those tomorrow.

The lettuce, radishes, and carrots are already sprouting in the raised bed. It won't be long before I'll have fresh salads to add to my daily lunches. I'm really excited about that.

Is it spring yet where you are? Or are you still buried in snow, ice, and frost? If so, I apologize for my photos. I'm not trying to rub it in, I promise!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

What are YOU reading?

 The administration at my school got the idea to provide all of the teachers and staff with one of these laminated signs to hang outside of their doors/offices to kick off Read Across America week. Dry erase markers can be used to update them with your name and whatever you're reading at the moment to encourage students to read more. Every staff member got one in their mailbox. 

I happened to be in the room where the mailboxes are housed when one of my favorite teachers came in, pulled hers out, and smirked. "Job listings" she said. Ha!

I've heard that the people I listed as references for the new job I've applied for have gotten reference checks for me. This morning I decided to email the person I'd be reporting to, to introduce myself and let her know I have a strong interest in meeting with her to discuss the position. Fingers crossed that I'll get an interview, but even if I don't, I've done everything I can. It's out of my hands at this point so all that's left to do is hope for the best!

And to keep reading those job listings.......