Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Last day

My last couple of days at the middle school were somewhat anticlimactic. I felt only relief this afternoon when I turned in my keys and left for the last time. 

I'm grateful for the six years I spent there, and even more grateful to be moving on to something better.

Saturday, May 27, 2023


Whew, what a week I've had. My feelings have been all over the place.

There is, of course, the end of my one job and the beginning of the next looming. This was the last week of school for students. Several of my favorite kids came by my office to say goodbye, and one boy, Caleb, spent most of his last day hanging out in my office, talking. (He's mildly autistic and one of his accommodations is that he's allowed to find a quiet place to work outside of his classroom when he needs it). 

All year he would occasionally stop by my office and ask to sit with me and finish up assignments. I said yes whenever I was able to (and he didn't mind the times when I wasn't) and we'd do our respective work together.  I kept gentle guitar music playing softly in the background, and it was a peaceful, quiet atmosphere for work. He'd also come to me when he was upset about something or worried about his grades. Sometimes he just needed to talk, and I'd be there to listen--we've been firm friends throughout his middle school years. How I'm going to miss him! He's headed to high school in the fall, and I'm proud of him. He's worked hard to get there, and he's a really good kid, to boot. His parents must be proud. I hope they are.

The mother of another boy sent me an email on Tuesday asking about his attendance on the last two half days and ended it by saying "thank you for being a constant in John's middle school years and for being so easy to work with". Then later in the afternoon she actually showed up and brought me a gift: this beautiful orchid!

It's going to look wonderful in the window of my new office! In fact, it will replace a yellow orchid growing there that belonged to the outgoing secretary. How perfect is that?! It was awfully sweet of her.

There were a few phone calls and visits from other parents, too, and I appreciated it all. The end of the school year is always a bit bittersweet, with kids growing up and moving on and all that, but it seems especially so for me this year since I'm leaving. Next week there's two teacher and staff workdays, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then that's it. I've finished all of my work and packed up my office, so I won't have anything to do, really. I may bring a book. Then on Tuesday afternoon, when it's time to go home, I'll turn in my office keys and building entry key fob, and that's when I'll be officially done. This month of goodbyes seems to have dragged on, and on, and I'm beyond ready. 

Onwards and upwards from here (hopefully).

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Garden progress

My garden is coming along nicely. Two or three days of cool, rainy weather have done it more good than two weeks' worth of watering from the hose. There's just something special about rainwater!

My "living mulch" of marigolds is finally amounting to something:

"Marietta" is the variety name.

"Hillbilly Potato Leaf" will be the first slicing tomatoes we taste this year (probably). The plants are growing like gangbusters.

First fruit set honors go to the cherries, of course. Here are some tiny green "Mexican Midgets". I'm looking forward to having these in salads.

The cucumbers are coming along.

Four pepper plants are growing among the handful of carrots that managed to sprout. I never seem to have much luck with carrots.

Now that I'm finally harvesting lettuce, I made spots to plant two more peppers (both Datils) in the middle of the patch. The lettuce is a little late producing this year, but it's tender and delicious!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Early training

This morning I was allowed to go to my new school for the first half of the day to spend some time with the secretary I'll be replacing. She's retiring effective next week, so this was my only opportunity to spend some time with her. And it was wonderful! She's been in that particular position for 17 years and says she's loved it there. We spent four hours together going over the financial/bookkeeping part of the job. I took a lot of notes.

She walked me out to my car when we were done, showed me where my parking space will be, and told me one last time how much I'm going to love the principal, the teachers, the staff, and the kids. And my new office is small and humble, but it has a large WINDOW! My current office has no windows and no natural light, and sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in a box all day. Now I'll have lots of morning sun, and I'll be able to grow plants! There's currently a large, beautiful orchid growing on the windowsill. (I'm sure it must belong to the secretary who's leaving, and she'll probably take it. But I have orchids of my own to bring!)

Everyone I met today was so kind, friendly, and welcoming.  As to the work I'll be doing, well, it's going to be a lot to learn, but nothing seemed too terribly overwhelming or difficult. There will be two district-level training sessions in July, too, so that's when my real training will take place. I feel confident that by Christmas break I should be up to speed on all the basics. Of course, it will take at least a full school year to really feel like I've got a handle on everything, but that's the case with all new jobs, isn't it? But the whole staff seems to be happy, upbeat, cheerful, and proud of their school and I can't wait to start!

It was almost a bummer to go back to my current school after lunch to finish out the day. Two weeks from now that place will be history. It's still hard to believe. And boy, did I get lucky!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Under the weather, but happy

I've been home sick for the past two days. There seems to be some kind of stomach bug/cold/virus thing going around and lucky me, I caught it. I'm actually feeling much better today but given how upset my stomach was all day yesterday, I dared not go back to work yet. I barely made it to the bathroom in time a couple of times, and had I been at work it might have led to some terrible embarrassment.

I've been doing some of my work from home, though. Yesterday one of the assistant principals emailed me and said, "I hope you feel better..........STOP WORKING FROM HOME!" Haha. Had we been talking in person I would have told her that now that our evil principal has been fired, I don't mind keeping my work caught up from home. The guy they sent from the district office to get us through the rest of the month (as the interim principal) is beloved by the staff and students, and I don't mind the way I would have with the wicked witch! I wouldn't have lifted a finger from home for her. What a relief that she's gone; even though I won't be there next year I'm happy that the staff will no longer have to suffer under her. 

Next week I'll be spending a morning at my new school, training with the outgoing secretary. She's retiring after many years in the position, and she's told me through email how much I'm going to love it there! Everyone has been so very kind and encouraging and welcoming already, and I don't even officially start for two months! This may end up being the school I stay at until I retire, with any luck. I'm happy.

Speaking of happy and good news, I decided to weigh myself yesterday and check in on how my diet is going. I've lost 23 pounds since January! Slowly but surely, I'm getting there. By the time I start the new job in July I'll have to have some new clothes. Everything is starting to get loose on me, especially pants. I certainly won't complain about needing new clothes!

Now, as promised, here are some garden pictures. Have a great weekend, everyone!

The marigolds, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in the main bed are starting to grow!

My "Marvel of the Four Seasons" lettuce is looking good right now. 

This is the bed in front of the porch, where I've planted two cherry tomatoes and three pepper plants. Zinnias from last year are resprouting in there, too!

You can't tell in this picture, but our young fig tree is almost shoulder high. Still no sign of a fig yet, though.

The bananas on the side of the porch are growing like mad.

For the first time in all the years I've had it, it looks as if the pomegranate tree is going to produce fruit this year! It's taller than the roof and absolutely loaded with flowers and developing poms. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Follow up post

It's still not really sinking in that I'll be starting a new job soon. Right now I'm trying to pay extra attention to everything about my current school, because exactly three weeks from today I'll be leaving for the very last time. I'm ready for the change and the new adventure, but I'm sad to be leaving a place that has been so important to me these last six years. And I'll really miss some of the people. 

/8234]'jhn dv3ee        (gibberish from Marco as he tiptoed across my keyboard just now. So HELLO from Marco!)

I keep hearing wonderful things about my new school and my new principal, though! She seems to be adored by everyone who knows her, and the staff is supposed to be top notch, as is the school itself. It's a STEM certified magnet school and is considered one of the best in our district. I've been told over and over how much I'm going to love working there. I feel very, very lucky to have scored this position! My first day will be July 10th, so I'll still have the whole month of June off to relax and get ready. 

Thank you all for all the kind words and good wishes on my last post! Your support means a lot to me, and I consider you all true friends. :)

PS.........I'll be posting a garden update soon. There's been lots of progress!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

A really good week so far

Well, I had my interview yesterday morning. I think I did fairly well; as always in job interviews, there were a few questions that left me floundering a bit, but I've learned to kind of talk around those moments of awkwardness and to remain calm. From my time as a retail manager interviewing potential new hires, I know that usually interviewers aren't looking for perfect responses to every question. But if a candidate can remain poised, tries to give a thoughtful answer, and will freely admit it when they don't know something (but shows a willingness to learn) then that can go far.

It turns out that elementary schools don't have separate bookkeepers, and so probably 75% of those secretaries' jobs are actually bookkeeping. I was a little surprised by that, and also that one of the heads of finance for the district sat in on the interview. Of course, lots of my past job experience involved managing money, but it's not something I've done since starting work for the district. They assured me that, if I get the job, there will be training to get me up to speed, so I'm not terribly worried about it. I told them that I'm willing and eager to learn!

They had some more interviews scheduled, but the principal assured me that I'll hear one way or the other very soon. As soon as I got back home, I logged onto my work email and sent the principal an enthusiastic "thank you" for her time and consideration. So......we'll see. It's possible someone with more bookkeeping experience will be chosen, and I wouldn't blame them for that. But I do think I have a good shot.

And if it doesn't work out.......guess what? I'll be disappointed, but not terribly so because............


I don't know if it was the literally dozens of teachers and staff that are leaving because of her (at last count it was 30!), or the never-ending HR complaints and grievances filed by staff this year, or the parents that hated her and lobbied for a change......likely all of those factors and more that I know nothing about, but in any case, she's gone. What a relief to know that even if I don't get the new job, at least I won't be working for her next year.