Wednesday, April 26, 2023


Today was Administrative Professionals Day. When I got to work, the principal called me and three other women who work in the office together. She said some nice things, thanked us for our hard work and so on, and told us she was sending us off campus for a long lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant to show her appreciation. It was really nice of her; I wasn't expecting anything, so it was a pleasant surprise. 

Two of the women in the group are okay and I like them well enough. The third, though, was one of the bullies who made me so unhappy last year. She's much nicer to me this year (mainly because her mean girl bestie found another job last summer) but she's still a truly awful person. I've never met anyone who loves vicious gossip as much as her! She thinks it's funny to talk trash about people and their personal lives, and the school secretary (who was absent from work and not at the lunch) was the target of her nastiness today. I thought of how hurt the secretary would be if she heard some of the things this woman (who acts like her friend to her face!) had to say. It was disgusting.

I ate my food in silence and just listened. The other two women seemed to enjoy the gossip, but at least they didn't really engage with it too much. If you overlook the content of what the bully talks about, she can be very funny and personable, and she's fairly popular among the staff. But I keep thinking this: if she'll talk shit about everyone else and start/spread/embellish vile rumors, what makes them think she'll spare them when they're not around? 

So anyway, although it was a nice lunch and very nice of the principal to treat us, I'd have been happier sitting at my desk eating a cafeteria meal. 

The only good part of the lunch conversation was when the bully confirmed that she's been offered a job elsewhere and won't be back to our school next year. Pretty soon this woman will disappear from my life forever, and that will be a good thing.

And maybe, just maybe......I won't be back next year, either. 

I have an interview at the other school next Tuesday morning! 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Earth Day in the garden

Yesterday after work my loving husband helped me set up 7 foot t-posts in the raised garden bed. They will serve as the support for the Florida Weave trellis I plan to build. Now that they're hammered into the ground, they're only about 5 and a half feet tall, which should be plenty of height for tomato support. I'm excited to try the Florida Weave method. The t-posts weren't cheap, but I should be able to use them for years and years.

Today I planted most of my garden!

Tomatoes: Two each of Eva Purple Ball, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Nebraska Wedding, Rosso Sicilian, and Berkeley Tie Dye. Two cherry tomato plants (Mexico Midget and Ingleheart Yellow Cherry) are planted elsewhere (the flower bed in front of the porch). 

Although you can't see it in this picture, there's space on this end of the bed for my cucumbers. I plan to build a trellis for them with the two end t-posts and some smaller bamboo stakes. Another thing you can't see in these photos: marigolds are sprouting down the center of the bed and between the tomato plants. I planted those seeds a couple of weeks ago to get them a small head start. Year before last, when I used marigolds as a living mulch, I got the most tomato production I'd ever seen! I don't know if the scent kept bad insects away, or if the flowers attracted pollinators. Maybe both. It was a good year.

On this end you can see the baby lettuce and the radishes growing. Only about 6 or 7 carrots have sprouted, over on the right side. They're not very noticeable. (I don't have much luck with carrots, for some reason). The radishes will come up and out soon, but the lettuce needs to grow a bit more before I start picking it. Eventually, that end will be where the pepper plants go.

This last picture is of my potted up peppers (Datil hot peppers, Zapotec Jalapenos, and Sheepnose Pimentos) and the leftover tomato plants. As soon as I see if the tomatoes I planted in the bed take off, I'll be giving away the extras to gardening friends. The peppers will be ready to start planting out in a couple more weeks.

After working in the garden for a couple of hours, I got a little tiny bit of sunburn on my arms. I came inside, took a shower, ate lunch, and had the most delicious two hour nap. It rained while I was asleep--perfect for my newly planted garden!

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A bit of news

Now that I'm back at work following (a really nice) spring break, we're down to just over a month left before this school year is over. It's been the toughest one yet in the six years I've been there, and I speak for the whole staff when I say that it's a huge relief to be so close to the end. There's been plenty of drama and sleepless nights and worries that I didn't blog about, since this is a public forum and someone in my "real" life might stumble upon words never meant for them... but trust me when I say that it's been a truly awful year, for me and everyone else. 

But! There's hope on the horizon! I don't want to say too much at this point (and jinx myself) but I'll say this much: a good job opened up in the district at an excellent school, and it looks pretty certain that I'm going to get to interview with the principal. Three of my professional references have a very good relationship with her, and they've reached out on my behalf and given me glowing recommendations! How awesome is that?! I nearly cried when one of them told me about calling the principal up and all the great things she said about me and my work ethic, personality, skills, etc. I was truly touched. I've spent a lot of years thinking nobody took much notice of me and how hard I try, and it turns out I was wrong. People were noticing. Whether or not the job works out, that warms my heart and raises my spirits. 
Right after my one reference made that phone call, singing my praises, the principal at that other school emailed me and asked me to check with HR about whether or not I need to fill out a transfer request form prior to interviewing (I don't, because it would be a promotion, not a lateral move*) and she assured me that she'd be back in touch soon. That's why I say I'm pretty sure I'll at least get an interview! I'm very excited, but cautiously so, of course. I don't want to get ahead of myself or my hopes up too much, but if it works out this will be a very good move for me. And the extra money will make life for my family a little bit easier, too. :)

Please cross your fingers, send good vibes, light a candle, think positive thoughts, or pray (whatever you're inclined to do!), blog friends. And thank you!

*I'm incredibly relieved that I don't have to fill out a transfer request form, which would require my current principal's signature. Although we have a fairly good relationship, all that will likely change the instant she finds out I'm looking to leave. I've seen how that's gone for other people, and it ain't pretty. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Happy Gotcha Day, Poppy!

It's hard to believe, but today makes one year since Poppy came to live with us! She was so tiny and sweet when we first met her. For the first week she lived with us we wondered if she was somehow physically unable to bark, that's how quiet and meek she was. She was just a baby.

What a change since then! She's gone from 24 to 57 pounds (much bigger than we expected her to get) and now she loves to run along the fence barking at any people that come onto or go past our property. When strangers come into our house, especially men, she gets very protective and raises hell and acts mean. When the pest control guy comes over, I have to make her go outside, she acts up so bad! But with people she knows, she's super loving and loyal. She recognizes our friends' cars, and when they come over, she's wagging and whining with excitement before they can even shut off the engine. She loves meeting new people (as long as they're not plumbers or workmen coming into our home) and she really loves meeting other dogs. She's sweet and endearing with us. Every night of her life she sleeps curled up tight against the backs of my legs, and every morning when we all wake up (George sleeps at the foot of the bed) she crawls up to my pillow to say hello and snuggle for a minute before getting up. 

The best part of Poppy coming to live with us, though, is what it's done for George. He's absolutely in love with her! She's always ready to play with him and he eats it up. As much as he loved Ginger, she was older and not nearly so inclined to play, at least not very often. I also think he was sadder and lonelier than we realized after Ginger died. Since Poppy came it's like he's got a whole new lease on life! They're great friends and George often acts like a puppy again himself around her. It's been wonderful to see how much happier he is now that he has a canine bestie again!

Happy Gotcha Day, Peapop! We love you!

Baby Poppy the week she came to live here.

She was so tiny compared to George!

Poppy yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

This week at home

This week is flying by. I knew that it would; breaks from work always do, especially this year. I can't shake the mild dread that comes up at the end of every weekend and holiday. This wasn't the case during my first five years at this school! I hate that there's no fun and no joy up there any longer. I'm still looking (and hoping) for positive changes next year. In the meantime, all I can do is keep my head down and wait. This, too, shall pass. (It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass!)  

The cold, rainy weather we had through Easter has finally given way to a warmer, sunny morning. I'd hoped to get my garden planted this week, but I've had a setback. I moved my tomato plants out to the porch the other day to let them start acclimating to the outdoor light, and some of the leaves got sunburnt. Then, I was stupid (again) and left the plants out there overnight and it got down to 40 degrees. The next morning lots of the new young foliage had turned brown and shriveled, and I had to trim them to the point that they now look kind of pathetic. Most of the plants will probably recover, but they're going to be very delayed.  I've been so mad at myself! It's not like I didn't know any better. I don't know what I was thinking.

In wildlife news: the pair of Carolina wrens that built a nest in our old, rusted-out grill have successfully reared a brood of babies! The youngsters fledged yesterday. Early in the morning and all though the first part of the afternoon there was a flurry of activity and bird chatter (sometimes I could even see the grill moving as the babies inside hopped around!) and nervous behavior by the parents. Then, late in the afternoon, all activity and noise suddenly ceased completely. I cautiously crept over and lifted the lid, and there was nothing inside but an empty nest. 

 The babies are out in the big, wild world now---I wish them the best! :)

The spot of green is the rusted-out hole in the bottom that the birds used as a door.

The bluebirds in the nest box are still coming and going all day, so I'm assuming their babies are still small. I dare not peek, not while there are likely little hatchlings in there. The adults are so beautiful! We've really enjoyed watching them from the porch in the afternoons.

I had to be up and about early this morning. Poppy had an 8:15 vet appointment for her yearly shots and checkup, so I was up and showered and caffeinated by 8:00. The new vet's office is less than 10 minutes down the road, and of course Martina works there. The dogs are always so happy to see her, especially Poppy! Now it's only 10am and I have the whole day in front of me to do whatever I like. These are hours to be savored (away from work).

Back tomorrow. xx

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Scotch Eggs and Jellybeans

Happy Easter! I made Scotch eggs for part of our lunch today. This was my second attempt (ever) and they turned out great! I used panko crumbs for the breading and the exteriors have a nice crunch. With a couple of good quality mustards, they were a real treat!

And there was candy for dessert...

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Rabbits, bluebirds, butterflies..

Now that April's here, we're seeing so many animals starting to emerge from their winter hideaways. 

I spotted a rabbit the other night in the circle of light shining from our neighbor's front porch.

A pair of bluebirds have claimed the nest box and are busy from sunrise to sunset, flying back and forth to raise the year's first brood. I'd love to peek inside, but dare not lest I upset the parents.

 Another pair of birds, Carolina Wrens, have made a nest inside an old BBQ grill that we were getting ready to throw away. A small hole had rusted through the bottom, and we noticed the male and female going in and out through it. You can hear the babies squeaking and peeping inside if you listen carefully! What a creative spot to pick for a nest; I'm glad we didn't hurry to get rid of the old grill when it was no longer serviceable. Turns out it had plenty of service left in it--wren sanctuary.

Last week the first hummingbird appeared by our back porch. I hurried to clean the feeder and make some fresh sugar water, and now a pair of ruby-throats are constantly around, sucking up the fresh nectar.

The first butterflies of the year have shown up. It seems early, but they're here. I saw a couple of beautiful swallowtails yesterday.

Today hasn't been great for animal spotting, because it's turned chilly again with lots of rain. The woodpeckers have been turning up at the suet feeder, though. Not much deters them, plus the feeder's hanging under an eave of porch and that keeps some of the rain off while they're up there. It's fun to watch them from the dining room window.

That's all I've got for today. Oh, and I'm on spring break! I've been off since yesterday and I don't go back to work until the 17th. I'm so happy for the time off, I can't even tell you how much. Once we get back to school there's only five weeks left in this year; the end is finally in sight. 

A very happy Easter to you all!

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Grumpy Orange Felon

 If you aren't familiar with Randy Rainbow and his YouTube song parodies, you're in for a treat!

And if you despise our (now indicted!!) former president as much as I do, then you MUST watch this video. What a hoot!

Two other blogger friends of mine have shared this recently as well, but I couldn't resist. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Birthday recap

No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth after my last blog post. In case you were wondering!

My birthday week/weekend was a lot of fun. I had intended to write about it right away, but then it was Monday morning before I knew it, and that kicked off a really busy, really stressful week at work. By this past Wednesday afternoon I was crying in my office, it was so bad. After that, though, things improved, and I managed to end the week yesterday feeling okay again. Exhausted, but okay. So here I am.

Let me rewind to my birthday, March 23rd. When I got to work that morning, I caught a teacher-friend of mine in the process of putting a "Happy Birthday" banner over my office door. It was so sweet of her! It really started my day off on a happy note. I made her pose for a picture to capture the moment!

Other gifts were soon to follow. A big card made by the kids (and teacher) in the autistic class, along with a little decorative bucket filled with candy and an assortment of fun pencils. A pot of fringe tulips and a card from a handful of other teachers. A beautiful bouquet of spring flowers and balloons sent by my parents. Hugs from several of my favorite students. It was probably the best day at work I've had all year!

The fringe tulips after they finally opened. Aren't they gorgeous?!

When I got home, Gregg gave me a water lily bulb he special-ordered for me to go in the container pond where the goldfish (rescued from the school aquariums) live. It doesn't look like much now, but it's going to be beautiful in a few months. The variety is called "Georgia Peach". 

My other birthday gifts were a new pair of walking shoes, and a nice set of knives (sorely needed in my kitchen).

On to Saturday, March 25th. My little get-together was fun, although only Marla and Martina were able to make it. I'd hoped Martina's husband, Will, would be able to come, but he had to work until too late. I also urged Gregg to invite his friend Ben, but he declined to do so on the grounds that Ben, although a nice and fun guy, likes to drink beer and when he drinks beer, he often gets loud and kind of annoying. I told Gregg I didn't mind (I wanted him to have some male company and Ben's a good guy despite his faults) but Gregg said he didn't want to risk him making a nuisance of himself. 

Marla did bring her little girl, Carsen, for a while right at first. As always, her daddy came and picked her up after she'd visited for a little while and had some food. That little girl is really growing up.

Carsen and Poppy

For food, I remembered something we'd done at a previous workplace for a staff lunch: crock pot hot dogs! Yes, hot dogs can be heated for a couple of hours in a crock pot and they turn out perfectly steamed and delicious. The night before I made an awesome batch of homemade hot dog chili (if I do say so myself!) that could be kept warm in a smaller crock. I also made my homemade guacamole that always gets raves, bought a couple of different kinds of dip (including salsa), and several kinds of chips and crackers. The first local strawberries are ready early this year, so I went and bought some and made strawberry daiquiris for drinks. And for dessert, we had a bakery-purchased caramel cake. It was all so easy and so good! Marla brought a beautiful platter of fruit with a yogurt dip, and Martina brought chocolates and candy purchased on her recent trip to Germany to visit her grandmother. We weren't lacking for good things to eat!

We had fun. The weather was nice, so we spent several hours on the back porch, talking and drinking daiquiris.

The next thing I did to celebrate my birthday was almost a week later, this past Wednesday. I went out to dinner with Little P. and his mom. As you all may remember, P. and I share a birthday so we had to do something to celebrate! We went to a fancy build-your-own hamburger restaurant (his choice), and I gave him a couple of new books for his gift. He started reading one of them at the table, so I consider that a success. :) The funny thing about giving him books was that my gift from him and his mom was a gift card to the bookstore! Haha! We both love books.

Before we left the restaurant, we had to take our traditional birthday selfie! I look terrible in it because that was the afternoon I'd cried at work, and my face was still puffy and my makeup was gone. Seeing my favorite little boy made me feel better, though! We're now 48 and 10 years old.

The inside of my birthday card from him.