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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Another perk

There's yet another perk of my job I meant to mention here: fresh eggs! One of the science teachers keeps a large flock of chickens and sells wonderful eggs for $2.50 per dozen.

Aren't those beautiful? They're the best eggs I've ever had. Look at the rich orange yolks....

We had some for our supper tonight. Delicious!

Saturday, March 17, 2018


I've taken on a new case as a Guardian Ad Litem.  This morning I have to drive to Lake City, a town about 30 minutes from here, to meet two little boys and their dad. There's a court date on Tuesday to determine if he gets to keep the kids and to ask the judge to take away the mother's parental rights, as she's mentally ill and has been missing for a long time now. She may be dead for all anyone knows. There's been some question about whether or not the father is fit to raise the boys, so I have to go and check things out and prepare a report for court.

I've been dreading it (the visit). To people under investigation by child protective services, everyone assigned to the case is part of "the system". (Often people confuse a GAL with a DSS employee) It's kind of intimidating, going to a stranger's house to inquire into all sorts of personal family business during a time of crisis. I'm glad I arranged to go early (11am) so I can get it over with. I did speak to the father to arrange a time to visit, and he assured me he's willing to do whatever he needs to do to keep his children. He told me to come anytime it would be convenient for me, so that was reassuring, at least.

I have to take a personal day off work to be able to make the court date Tuesday. I wasn't able to make Kay's last court date because the GAL coordinator got a date mixed up and I had less than 24 hours notice to be there. Many of the volunteers are retired from paying jobs and so are able to accommodate things like short notice. I can't. Yesterday this was part of a group email that the volunteer coordinator (the one who mixed up the dates last time) sent out about next week's court docket:

Also I need you to be at these hearings the program has been frowned upon by the Judges and the Guardian attorney that too many Guardian are not being present for hearing, so I need you there; if you need a work excuse let me know I will provide this for you to give to your employer.

I felt slightly annoyed at that, considering it was his mistake that caused me and probably a couple of others to not be present last time. And that's another thing: it's difficult to have a paying job, with school hours, and be expected to work effectively as a GAL. I need to be meeting with guidance counselors and teachers of these school-aged kids that I'm trying to serve, and with limited personal days (only 2 per year) and the same work schedule the teachers and counselors have, that's tough. When I did my volunteer training, I still had the job in retail and I had much more flexibility in my schedule.

So I'm not sure how this all will work out. I'm committed to doing at least a year, and certainly things will be easier over the summer when I'm off. We'll see how the next six months go.

In the meantime, wish me luck this morning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Today is the final day of my 6 week gluten-free diet experiment. I'm proud to say I didn't cheat, not even once. I can be extremely stubborn when I make up my mind firmly to do something! It was a real challenge but I was determined to give it a fair shot to see if my skin issues would improve. And the verdict?

I can't tell much difference, to be honest. For a while I thought the skin was improving, but it became apparent pretty quickly that it was just the normal ebb and flow of the flare ups I've experienced for years. I had thought there was a chance I might suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis  instead of standard eczema, but apparently not. I had one semi-bad flare after a couple of stressful days (stress is a known trigger for eczema) and another one right before my period last month. What I was eating didn't seem to make much difference at all. So much for that!

On the bright side, I won't have to face a life without bread. That would be a hard, hard life! For my birthday next week I've ordered myself a luscious chocolate cake to enjoy. And tonight, for the first time since January, I might just have a sandwich!!! Oh, how I've missed grilled cheese sandwiches!

The great Gluten-Free Challenge is officially over!

ps...I know I promised you all a book review. I'm working on it and hope to have it ready by the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thought for the day

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Working on letting go of people and situations that no longer serve my peace of mind
and emotional well being.

Back tomorrow (with a book review I'm working on for you). Have a good Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Crimes & Misdemeanors

If our parrot Marco was a human boy, he would be living in juvenile detention. I have no doubt of it.

For one thing, there's his love of destroying others' personal property. As proof, I present to you......

Exhibit A:

I can't keep a hairbrush in the house without it getting ruined. He just loves to bite off the little plastic tips on the bristles. Despite my best efforts, he's adept at sneaking over to the brush and biting off a tip or two before I can stop him. Eventually he always gets them all. 

Exhibit B:

The rubber on the handles of my cookware is slowly getting chewed off and it's ruining my pans. We try hard to keep a close eye on things when he's out of his cage, but it's easy to forget about him when he's quiet--which is when he's plotting his next crime.

There's also the coffee cup he pushed off the counter last week, causing it to shatter on the floor. When I came storming in the kitchen to see what had happened he looked at me defiantly and said, "What's wrong with you?" That was the second or third piece of dinnerware he's destroyed this year alone! 

This morning in the 30 seconds it took me to go get the dogs' bowls for breakfast he jumped over to the kitchen counter and was standing over by the coffee pot, looking innocent when I came back in. He loves coffee, and you have to watch him when you're drinking it or he'll be face down in the cup, drinking for all he's worth, but I hadn't poured any yet so I thought everything was cool. I took him to the bathroom with me (he loves to hang out with me while I blow dry my hair and put on makeup in the mornings) and I noticed he had his beak firmly shut every time I looked at him. Eventually I realized that he was slowly chewing on something and that brown powder was falling from his beak into the sink. He was trying to swallow it all before I noticed him. Guess what he had found? Just guess.

A coffee bean. And he had eaten most of it by the time I figured out he had it. That bird is the devil!

"Helping" me brush my teeth yesterday morning.
He insists on supervising all morning activities in this house!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

In like a lamb.

Despite a couple of chilly nights, March has begun with some gorgeous spring weather. I won't be surprised if we get one last freeze before the month is out, though.

I'm not the only one who loves warm, sunny days...

Basking in the warm sun at midday!
Here are some more early March photos from our backyard.

The blueberries are in flower.

The dogwood tree is beginning to bloom.

The best part about this time of year is how quickly we're  gaining daylight. The days are notably longer now. This final photo was taken at 6pm today.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A pretty flop

Eating gluten free is getting old, and I still have at least two more weeks to go before I can say I've given it a fair shot. I've had to get creative when my resolve starts to waver. Making something new look appetizing helps a lot. This was dessert the other night, made with a gluten free graham cracker crust I found at the Food Lion down the road:

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That's cheesecake flavor Jello pudding pie with fresh strawberries on top. It looks way better than it tasted!

The berries are out of season supermarket specimens that had very little taste. The pudding was okay, but I would have preferred plain vanilla or banana crème, since it seemed weird to have a cream cheese flavor without the true richness of cream cheese. You know? And the crust was okay taste wise, like a normal graham cracker crumb, but it didn't hold together well for slicing.

All in all, a really lackluster pie. It was pretty, though!

I bought a gluten free chocolate brownie mix to try tonight. I'm hoping it turns out better than the pie!
I'll report back tomorrow. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Spring has arrived super early here with everything bursting into bloom almost a whole month sooner than normal. It seems strange when late February looks and feels more like April. It's been up to 85 degrees every afternoon. I've been wearing shorts for a week.

It's a lovely time of year in South Carolina, and my favorite season by far. It's so nice outside today that I'm inspired to share some photos with you. The first was taken by me in my backyard this morning. The rest are courtesy of my friend since childhood, Trey, and were taken in our hometown in Marion County, SC as well as Myrtle Beach, SC, which is only about a 45 minute drive from where we grew up. (Thanks for letting me use these, Trey. I really appreciate it!)

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Dramatic morning sky.

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Flat, flat land.

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Early flowering trees.

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Life in the country

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Sunset on the Little Pee Dee river.
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Sunrise over Myrtle Beach, SC.