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today equals five...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
...if we do not count that half day I went into a Kindergarten classroom a couple of weeks ago. Looking back, I cannot say why I even took that 1/2 day position, as it does not help me get closer towards the magic number. Mayhaps another of that sort will come along so I can add the two halves together?

The day spent in pre-K gets me over the hump and on the downhill slide towards the goal of ten days of sub. teaching before mid-May when the semester ends. I was a para.pro in a room with about twenty little people. The teacher seemed be well organized, and more than capable, but with that many students, it will always be challenging to get through the day. And as usual, it is easy after just a couple of hours, to pick out the two or three that are going to be consistently high-maintenance.

We had a lot of much needed rain late in the afternoon. Thankfully it held off until after the allotted time for the class to get out on the playground and run off some steam.  It was a pretty good day. Even though I am still struggling with this gunk in my head, and more than once during the day, wanted to just take nap, close my eyes, turn off my brain for ten minutes. When I did get home, I made a bee-line for the couch.....

one of the things...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
... I am thankful on a daily basis: good health. Arms and legs that (mostly) operate like I want them to, though that trick knee will always be problematic. And eventually get worse according to the orthopedic guy. But overall, I consider myself in good shape. Until this stuff in my head wore me down and forced me to seek medical advice.

After several days of misery, I took myself for the first time ever to a Doc-in-a-Box on Sunday. My amateur diagnosis was a sinus infection, that my amateur OTC medications could not cure. I do not hesitate to consult the experts when needed, and was ready for some serious drugs and resolution. I took my magazines, my insurance cards, and went to wait out the process.

I listed my symptoms, and he looked in my ears and down my throat, thumped me all over my face.
Gave me a script which I immediately took to wallyworld. I'll be taking antibiotic caps. for a week, then miraculously cured. I may be better already, as my face does not ache like it did 24 hours ago.
One of the things the dr. told me to do was to quit taking the stuff the pharmacist sold me on Friday morning. Which possibly explains why taking it for three days had not produced any improvement.

Started writing this on Monday, and it is now Tuesday afternoon. I might be getting better, but still feeling a bit like the response you get when you question the Magic Eight Ball: Ask again later.

free labor....

Sunday, February 19, 2017
...provided an opportunity to get some yard work done yesterday. I had a couple of little projects that were only a dream, but with help from two willing workers came to fruition on Saturday. Nothing particularly complicated, but due to severe motivation deficiency they had languished for months, without no visible progress.

A little spot in the front of the house right near the front door, that would not grow anything. I had an idea, and started on my project months ago, digging up some hopelessly infertile dirt but stalled out and made no more effort. The space is about four feet square, tends to wash badly when we get a heavy rain, due to Someone (The Man Who Lives Here, perhaps?) demanding that a metal piece that would divert water into guttering be removed.  I believe he felt this little piece of metal, installed by roofers, caused leaves to accumulate in the valley and cause problems with dampness under the shingles.

In conversation with someone, as I was seeking advice about my little problematic area I was lead to understand that even rocks will 'float', strange as that sounds. Which I took to mean they will tumble down stream if the force of running water is strong enough. I knew I needed to get rocks big enough to not wash out of that little space when we have a downpour. We went to the landscape supply shop, and took my recycle bins. Got one filled with good sized rocks, and two filled with cypress mulch.

The plan was to install bricks for edging, with the intention that they would be put in at an angle, so they would help keep the dirt in the planter area. Leveled with the concrete of the driveway on one end, and slightly elevated on the other, to help retain the dirt and plants that would go in this space. Of course I lacked several bricks of having enough, so might have make a surreptitious run to a nearby public park to abscond with a dozen more bricks to complete the edging.

I dug up some plants and relocated them in the area where the rocks would go, hoping they will grow and develop a root system. To prevent erosion over time as they spread and stabilize the area beneath the rocks. Agapanthus, blooms blue on tall stalks, from a bed that is just across the walkway leading up to the front door. And some Mexican petunias  that have dark purple flowers,from a friend, that could be considered 'invasive' if you are not careful where you put them..

The cypress mulch got put in the planters up close to the house, sprucing up a sadly neglected space where I hope geraniums will grow and re-bloom in summer. Making that space look much improved. Then we put out the bin full of rocks. Some pea gravel to fill in between the rocks will make it perfect. I am very pleased with the result. And thankful that those people showed up to provide the motivation and labor to see it through.

you might recall...

...my plan to deliberately find people who would want to have lunch, with the requirement that they be folks who make me laugh. We are nearing the end of the seventh week of 2017, and I have a perfect score. Just to prove how well I am doing, I will now share the joke I heard when my friend Kelly met me for lunch on Wednesday. She said it came from her eye doctor.

A little old geezer took his fishing pole and went down to the creek. He was sitting on the bank waiting for a bite, when he heard something rustling in the undergrowth. When he looked around  a frog hopped out of the bushes, and sat beside him. The frog said: "I am really a beautiful princess under an evil spell. If you will kiss me I will turn back into a human, and will love you devotedly for the rest of my life." The man replied: "I am going to put you in my pocket just like you are, as I would much rather have a talking frog than a young woman in my life."

at the student's club...

Friday, February 17, 2017
...we enjoyed a talk about a couple of fiction writers from Florida. I was sort of familiar with one, who I  have not read, but know the name, and that he is a prolific producer of mysteries. Carl Hiaasen writes for the Miami paper, and is an ardent environmentalist. A staunch supporter of preserving the natural wonders of south Florida swamps, mangroves, and the area known as Ten Thousand Islands, low lying land to the west of the Everglades. Where there is an abundance of wildlife living in the hammocks and watery byways of southwest Florida.

Hiaasen has written a number of books, in addition to his investigative reporting for the Miami Herald, most of which would be classified as 'who-dun-its', but also several books for young adults. A number have debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. He attended Emory University, finished at the University of Florida and began a career as a newspaper writer.

The other Floridan we learned about was Charles Martin. His name was not at all familiar to me, but when I looked at one of the two books the speaker brought, I'm pretty sure I read it in recent years. About a couple who take a canoe trip along a river in north Florida, ending in Jacksonville.

I now wish I had been at the January meeting, when the talk was about three Georgia authors: Ferrol Sams (I recently read his memoir), Margaret Mitchell,  and Bailey White from Thomasville. I read Gone With the Wind in high school, and have read a couple of things by Sams,  and  at least one book from White. Pretty interesting, though from what I understand the 'program' is supposed to be limited to about fifteen minutes - not nearly enough time to share a wealth of research the monthly speakers apparently do before presenting.

We had lunch, severed on white linen table cloths, cloth napkins with five utensil place settings. I do not recall the last time I had such elegant table service. Green salad, baked chicken breast, steamed broccoli, homemade yeast rolls,  and a yummy dessert. I kept my hands in  my lap, did not drop any food, or swear inappropriately, believe I was remarkably well behaved.

suprisingly, there is....

...nearly nothing on my calendar for today. Except a luncheon that prevents me from trying to rustle up a day of sub. teaching. The event I will attend is with a group called the Student's Club. I thought when I started trying to wangle an invitation, they were a book club, a group of women who would agree to an assignment each month, then meet to discuss what they had read.

Wrong. The pick a topic for the year and assign different people to do research, present a program each month for the members. This year's topic is southern writers. I missed the meeting in January, due to a previous commitment. I will go today and hope to be much more well informed after it is over. I think we have lunch first, then the presentation about some well known writer (who I have probably never read.)

When I went to a talk last night at the public library, about Carson McCullars, the speaker had a handout, with a list of well-known, highly regarded writers of the southern genre. Some long deceased, and some still actively publishing.  One, Donna Tartt from Mississippi, won a Pulitzer for 'The Goldfinch', so I will request that one and get it read. The list included people like Harper Lee, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor and others. I have read very few of the titles listed, making me feel ill-informed and slightly ignorant.

It will be interesting to hear what the presenters have to say about the writers they were assigned. While we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Carson McCullars birthday the talks on other well known works from southern authors to be most timely. I will try to be more deliberate in my reading, and get some of those 'classics' taken care of. Better than sitting in front of the TV mesmerized for hours on end.

survived another Day of Love...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
... and happy to know that the next one is 364 days away. I've been celebrating Valentine's Day in the floral industry for more years than I care to confess. The first one, to the best of my memory, was when I started working in a retail floral shop in Albany. It was a family owned business. I'd been hired to do really simple basic stuff, then got a lot of on the job training over the time I was there.

The thing I most clearly remember is standing in one place, putting dozens of red roses in vases for twenty four hours. LIterally. Work all day, take a break to go find somethign to eat, come back and work all night. Go home for a refreshing shower but don't lay down, find food. Get back to work.

Where you will see buckets and buckets of roses, dozens of vases, tons of fern and fluffy stuff (gypsophilia, commonly known as 'babies breath', the tiny white flowers that are the filler in the rose arrangement). Producing dozens of arrangements of red roses, to be delivered all over town by a small army of drivers recruited for the day: family, friends, friends of friends, in-laws, out-laws, anyone with a valid license.

I am thinking the price, 'way back when, was about $45. I heard some disembodied voice on the radio today commenting that the average price of a dozen, delivered over the most recent holiday/event was $140. All I can say to that is: 'You should have gone to Publix.' We sold all we had ordered for the occasion, even though we are expected to look into the crystal ball and predict how much we will need well back around Labor Day in September.