Yay for Friday

I’m pretty sure I’ve used that headline before. When I was teaching I loved for Friday to arrive as it meant I got to rest for two days. Now, when Friday arrives, I feel like it’s a bonus day for me to do what I want, and today is pretty much like that.

For one thing, I am staying home all day, going nowhere, which means I don’t have to put on makeup or dress in decent clothes. I can stay in my knit pants and a sweatshirt. That house across the street from us, the one with the chair sitting on the parking strip, is still vacant, and yes, the chair is still sitting there. The yard is knee-deep in foxtail weeds. The garbage can still sits at the curb. The sun-blind was blown up on the roof during all that wind storm we had last week. In other words, the house is a mess.

What does this have to do with how I’m dressed? Well, someone showed up over there today. Maybe the rental company that represents the owner? Maybe a company that is being brought in to clean it up? Maybe a renter? Had I looked decent, I would have run over there and complained to them about the appearance of the place and ask when they plan to do something about the chair, the yard, and garbage can. But, looking the way I do, I figure no one would take my complaining very seriously. Also, this is the fourth vehicle that has shown up there the past couple of weeks and someone has gone in the house. And like the other times, the person stays five minutes and leaves. I sure wonder what they are doing over there. It’s certainly not any work.

Speaking of work, that’s another reason I am glad to be home today. I’m doing loads of laundry and baking mini peach pies to take to the church ladies’ tea tomorrow. I also started working on teacher appreciation notes for Day of the Teacher which here in California is May 11. I think the national Day of the Teacher is next week, so I’m hoping  to have my tokens of appreciation ready to deliver then.

Blustery day

It is cold and windy here. The clouds are drifting around, covering the sun, mocking me. The room is light, then it gets dark. Should I turn on the lamp? Oh, wait, the sun just came back out.

I was up and out early this morning, wearing long pants and a jacket and still shivering, to see the optometrist for a checkup on my shingled eye. Although the blisters are gone, I still have a bit of itching and the skin flares red every now and then. The optometrist had made a follow up appointment when I was first diagnosed, just to make sure all of was well, and I decided I wanted to know, for sure, that I had mended properly.  She again dispatched some dye in the eye, after checking the pressure, and looked about inside the eye. All was well.

I then drove across town, completely out of my way, to a newer, bigger Target store because I am boycotting my neighborhood Target. No, not for the reason many are up in arms and staying away from the store, but because the nearby Target is always redoing the shelves and seems to be out of the products I buy on a regular basis. They put in those self-checkout registers (which I refuse to use) and in doing so seem to have fewer registers open when I shop, which is early in the day. The newer, bigger Target has so much more to choose from, and I found items that I didn’t even know I needed until I saw them!

Back home I made a cranberry-orange loaf, a pan of brownies, and a potato salad. I had sorted laundry before I left home this morning so I was able to do four loads in between the baking and cooking. Since it is so cold outdoors, I can’t be working in the yard so I might as well be productive in the house. I even managed my own hated chore–dusting!

I bought an O magazine at Target, something I rarely do, so now that the chores and cooking have been accomplished, I plan to sit on the couch and read fluff.

I’m not cut out to work with kindergartners

I seem to have a crick in my neck and sore shoulders. I was lamenting this situation and wondering what I had done to cause the discomfort when Terry reminded me.

“It was all that bobbing and weaving with kindergartners.”

Ah, yes. There was a shortage of noon time assistants yesterday as the kindergartners were finishing their lunches. The principal asked if I would take one of the classes to the playground and watch them. Oh, sure, why not. Twenty two small, wriggling children. Piece of cake!

I had to stop the line twice on the way from cafeteria to playground to move a child who could not keep his/her hands to himself/herself. The kindergartners are still in awe of me as I’ve not worked too closely with them yet, so each stop caused them all to pull themselves together and look pensive. Each child who was moved to the front of the line, next to me, behaved perfectly from there on out.

Once on the playground, we joined the three other kindergarten classes so now there are over 60 of these small children running amok. I keep a close eye on them as I want no harm to come to them while I am on duty. I chase down a group of boys who have decided to roughhouse and pile on one another. Then I jump over to the play structure to take a couple of boys off of the slide who think they should stop others from coming down. Standing still for just a minute I see a girl tussling with a boy, about to pull his shirt off of him. I separate them, tell her she cannot do that and that they are to play nicely. Out of the corner of my eye I catch the roughhousing boys going at it again so I separate out the ringleader and we have a chat.

One of the noon time assistants (paid staff) is standing close by and I stop to give her a hug and tell her how much I appreciate her doing this EVERY DAY. She is probably 23 years old. One needs youth and energy to do the job. At 63, I’m beyond my prime for such endeavors and that is why my neck and shoulders are complaining to me.

Footnote: all of this took place in 15 minutes.

 

Pollen and bugs, oh my.

The subdivision in which our home sits was built on what was once a large olive grove. Olives and figs thrived out here in this clay soil and hardpan. The holes for the tree stock, much of it brought from Spain and Italy, had to dynamited to get a deep enough spot to plant the tree so it would survive. And survive they did. The street into our subdivision is lined with the last of those olive trees. I love them for their beauty and their tenacity. I don’t love them for their pollen.

This is the time of year when olive trees bloom and the street is covered in a fine creamy colored pollen that each tree so abundantly produces. That pollen drifts, too, especially with the high winds we have been having. I sneeze each morning and my eyes water each evening.

Our temperature is approaching 90 today and it is so beautiful in the backyard that I cannot stay indoors. I find weeds and grasses to pull and bushes to prune. In between those chores, I sit on the garden bench our son-in-law is in the process of building and just look up at the trees and the beautiful sky. And sneeze.

There are bugs out there, too. Bugs that like to bite me. I wonder what they bite when I’m not around. The birds? Squirrels? Cats? They don’t like the taste of my husband as he is rarely bitten. Why me?

Today is the last Good News Club meeting. We are serving pizza and cookies and playing lots of games as we review our last six weeks of lessons on the life of Joseph. We will do this outdoors since the weather is so wonderful. I will sneeze. My eyes will water. The bugs will bite. It will be great fun.

If it still works 

It was a Ladies Who Lunch day on Friday. Six of us met in a Target parking lot and carpooled to a small town about 30 miles south of Fresno to have really good Mexican food and even better conversation. We sat around the table for over three hours talking about all sorts of subjects.

One topic that had more than one of the gals ranting is cable tv prices. The rates just keep increasing and it’s hard to get a real person on the phone to talk about options. I had little to offer because we have never paid for tv programming.

We have an antenna and still manage to have more tv to watch than we have time for. Terry sets up a recorder for programs that will run late in the evening. We spend a couple of hours watching previously recorded programs each night. I can only handle about two hours at a time so we always have plenty to watch.

The discussion at lunch turned to the actual tv, and I said we have a 21-year old tv. One of the gals jokingly asked, “is it just black and white?”

It gets color but it’s not large. Nor is it high definition. However, it still works and until it dies, we will keep watching it. After I got home, and was watching the news, I took this picture and texted it to my friends with the note, “see, I do get color on the 21 year-old tv.”

It’s Greek to me

Saturday was a tour and luncheon of Fresno’s large Greek Orthodox Church–Saint George. Terry and I had toured the Greek Monastery a couple of years ago, and knew some of the history of the religion. We were excited to learn more, and we knew the food would be special.

There were about 50 of us on a rainy, gloomy day who came out for this event. The church vicar was our guide and his daughter sang as part of the lunch entertainment.

We entered through these doors:

Into this beautiful sanctuary:

The ceiling was just completed in the last year although the church was built in 1955 at this location. It had been hard to find the right iconograph painters to complete the work. The church finally found a couple in St. Petersburg who came and did the work over a four year period. Their style of painting matched the previous painters’ style of iconography.

Our lunch was Greek salad and Greek walnut cake for dessert.

The main course was chicken, pilaf, and spinach pie:

It was all made by the ladies of the church who joined us at our tables to enjoy good food and good fellowship.

Many in this group did not know about the monastery so they voiced interest in doing that tour some time in the future. The vicar even offered to be the guide. Terry and I would be delighted to go again. They too serve a delicious Greek lunch.

Creativity in the backyard

Our kids came for a visit this past week. The grandkids were on spring break, and their parents took a few days away from their work, too. Their plans had fallen through at the last minute so I suggested they come to our house and take some day trips into the hills and up to Yosemite where the wildflowers and waterfalls are in abundance. Those trips never materialized as they relaxed and made art I our backyard. 

The grandkids have become fascinated with Bob Ross videos. You may remember him as the artist on PBS who, with a mouse or squirrel in his pocket, taught painting techniques. Judah and Leeya wanted to paint like him so their mother bought art supplies at Michael’s and we set them up to work on the patio. 

   

As they painted, their father was busy building a garden seat I had asked for after seeing one in a mountain community. 

 

Here are the finished products:

 The garden seat is only half finished. Chad ran out of time to get the actual seat part built so for now we are using a bench we already had.