Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Today is Administrative Professionals Day. I was surprised this afternoon with a big basket full of gifts and a nice card from the staff at work! The receptionist and attendance/records clerk were also recognized. I don't know about them, but my gifts were obviously chosen with my tastes in mind. 

There were gardening tools, a gift card to the bookstore, a set of candles in pretty pastel colors, and hand soaps and lotions. 

In other work news, it's been a busy and productive week so far. I'm really starting to feel like I have a handle on everything that's expected of me in my new role. (I also got a really good performance review last month! Yay!) It's been almost a year now that I've been there, and I haven't had even one really stressful day yet. Not even one! 

Getting this job was a really, really lucky break. I'm grateful for it every day.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Stop and take notice

My workload has really kicked into high gear since returning from spring break. There's a big push to get final state funds spent as well as paying off all outstanding invoices by May 1st, and also lots of field trips and end of the year activities that must be arranged and paid for. I like being busy, but dislike looming deadlines (especially when I'm still in the first-year learning process). Next year will be much easier because I'll know what to expect.

My first day back last week was sad. I heard that one of the nurses I worked with at the last school had died suddenly over the break. She was only 34 years old, with a husband, a five-year-old son, and a three-year-old daughter. It's terribly tragic and was a huge shock. She collapsed out of the blue one afternoon and died several hours later at the hospital, and I don't think the cause of death has been confirmed yet. I feel so bad about this; she was a lovely young woman and a friendly, kind coworker. Her husband is devastated, and I feel so sorry for her babies. It's hard to accept that life is just like this sometimes. 

That being said, I think this meme I found the other day is worth sharing with you. This is what I've been pondering this week.

Things I'm stopping to notice and enjoy today:

  • A pair of bluebirds have a bunch of nestlings in the box out back and watching them feeding and caring for the babies is a joy.
  • Hummingbirds have returned and are taking advantage of the new nectar feeder.
  • My tomatoes are planted and the pole beans Mary Moon gave me are growing like mad. Soon the peppers will be big enough to plant out, and the melons should sprout any day now. The pomegranate tree is covered with flower buds and the blueberry bushes, while still small, are loaded with berries.

  • Today makes two years since Poppy came home! Happy Gotcha Day to the sweetest little girl ever. She makes us (and George!) so happy.

  • Fresh local strawberries, the first I've bought this spring. So sweet and delicious.

  • I've made some little friends at work. They're two groups of siblings who stop by the office every morning now to say hello and give me hugs when they get to school. They make me laugh regularly and seeing them always gets my day off to a nice start. I call them "the little wildlings"!

Anson, Emogene, Lucas, and Ethan. The Wildling Crew.

So, dear reader, what are you stopping to notice and appreciate about your life right now? What will you look back on and miss 20 years from now?  Time is short, my friends.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Spring garden update

The baby crabapple tree has doubled in size this year, and for the first time, it has a few flowers! Aren't they pretty? Unfortunately, the deer came back night before last and ate a bunch of the tender new leaves. I was so mad when I walked outside yesterday morning and saw the damage! Apparently, apple trees of all types are irresistible to deer. 

The tree will never amount to much without protection while it's young and just starting to grow. With that in mind I went to Lowe's in the afternoon and bought four seven-foot-tall garden stakes. Along with a big roll of fine mesh bird netting that we had stashed in the garage, they make a decent protective "cage" to keep hungry wildlife out. It's not the greatest looking thing in the world, but it should do the job. 

In other garden news, I've been hardening off my tomato and pepper plants and preparing the bed for planting. I started some herb seeds (basil, parsley, and oregano) in pots, sowed borage seeds in the bed in front of the porch, and planted marigold seeds in the raised bed between the spaces where the tomatoes will go. And I planted rattlesnake beans! (Thank you again, Mary, for sharing those with me!) I've been at home on spring break this week and the weather has been wonderful for working outside. Going back to the office next week is going to be hard!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Quick trip and baby shower

This past weekend was fun. Going out of town (even for a day or two) makes a nice change. The hotel I booked in Raleigh was a bit pricey, but since we only stayed one night it wasn't too bad. We drove up early Friday afternoon, and after checking in and putting our bags down in the room we went out to explore. The hotel sat in the middle of a few blocks of restaurants and businesses in North Hills. It's very walker friendly and safe, everything we needed was easily reachable on foot. It was only about 4pm, and since we weren't planning to have dinner until around 8:00 (when my sister-in-law got off work) we decided to stop for appetizers and drinks at a Chuy's.

I love the bright, funky decor! We ordered margaritas, along with chips, guacamole, and cheese dip. The waitress asked if we wanted a floater shot on top of our drinks (it was happy hour and floaters were $1) so we thought, "Why not?". It's not like we had to drive back to the hotel! Sipping margaritas topped with extra shots of tequila is how we ended up slightly tipsy in the afternoon, walking around downtown Raleigh. Haha.

Later, when Karen got off from her hospital shift, she met us at another restaurant that was an easy walk from our hotel, Cowfish Sushi and Burger Bar. They have an amazing saltwater aquarium, which I filmed for about 30 seconds to show you! We really enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere, and the food was good, too. 

The next morning, after a breakfast of Eggs Benedict at Another Broken Egg Cafe, we checked out of the hotel and drove 30 minutes north to attend the baby shower. Here's the finished Diaper Castle we built for our gift, which everyone seemed to love!

Sister-in-law Karen with her son (and father-to-be) Tyler. I still can't believe he's going to be a dad. He was just a little kid five minutes ago! :)

Tyler and Jessica. One person who attended bought them matching "Mom" and "Dad" 2024 mugs. They're getting really excited about the arrival of their baby boy. Little Joseph is due in May.

Late Saturday afternoon, Marla and I drove home. It would have been nice to stay an extra day or two, but she needed to get home ahead of Easter morning. (The Easter Bunny had a basket to leave for her little girl).

It was a quick trip, but a fun one! I'm glad I got to spend some time with the family. Gregg and I will probably visit early in the summer so we can meet the new baby.