Friday, October 26, 2012

College football and changing leaves

We have fall break now. This vacation is a mini-vacation, being a Friday and Monday off on either side of this regular weekend. This fall break is on the weekend of the extremely-taken seriously Florida-Georgia college football game. This is an intense rivalry between University of Georgia Bullgogs and Florida Gators. A LOT of people drive to Jacksonville to watch the game in person and root for the home team. The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs - both ranked in the top ten - meet in their annual rivalry but this year the outcome determines if Florida will proceed to the SEC championships or if FL will knock UGA out of contention. If GA wins they have to win the next three games to clinch the SEC East title and then go on to fight for SEC winner at the championship game.

Or something like that.

I could care less.

But saying that around here is akin to heresy and I could be run out of town on a rail. I told you they take the game extremely seriously, lol!

I'm just as happy to have four days off. The weather this week has been spectacular. We've enjoyed vivid sunrises, clear and sunny days, warm temperatures and thankfully no more humidity. All this will change as Hurricane Sandy passes. By Monday the night temps will be in the thirties and the daytimes will have said goodbye to the seventies. September and October are glorious here.

If it is going to be cool Monday then I plan to bake some bread in the bread machine. I also plan to make black bean salad, cream of mushroom soup, and granola bars.

Oh yes, and somewhere along the way I'll vacuum and do the dishes. But not yet.

The big news around here is that I changed the cat food. I noticed that the cats had been picking at their food, and some days refusing outright to eat it. My cat Bert has gained a lot of weight lately, too. He struggles to jump aboard the bed. They seemed a little sad too. I can't explain it. They just seemed down. I've fed them the same food since I brought them home from the shelter five years ago: Everpet cat food. It is the Dollar Store brand. But when they began to balk, and also to throw up more often. After all these years, I looked into the cat food reviews and apparently Everpet is the evil Hitler of cat foods. There was not one good rating anywhere, there have actually been recalls, and anyone adding their own review to a website always used a plethora of exclamation marks!!!!!

Immediately I felt awful, guilty, and terrible that I'd been feeding them this food. I changed right away to a Purina brand. But in my defense, they had never balked that much before and seemed to thrive. Now though they actually seem happy. The run to the bowl right away in the morning and they eat all of the measured-out portion I give them, with no leftovers. And no one has thrown up. I can't explain it but they do seem happier and more content. Calmer too.

I'm so glad I have cats. They bring me lots of joy and are great companions. I'd do anything for them. Far from being the stereotypical aloof cats, they are loving and constant companions. And they don't ask for much in return, just for me to give them cuddles, which I'm always happy to do.

This Fall Break is the first hop in the hop-skip- and jump trio of vacations we get from school. When we return to school it's just a few weeks until the week off for Thanksgiving, and then another few weeks until the big two-weeks off at Christmas. Between the change in the weather from summer oppression, the glorious landscape painting each day at sunrise of during the bright day as the sun sines through the colorful leaves, the anticipation of the holiday is a great time to be in Georgia. Especially if the Bulldogs beat the Gators.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pretty photos for you

Bird in a pear tree

Blue doors


Magnolia growing

New England cemetery in snow

Boy choosing heavy pumpkin

High hanging fruit- out of reach

I didn't know the hay turns fall colors too

Waiting at a stop sign, photographed the trees.

On another day waiting at the same stop sign, photographed the water tank

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The life of a cat lady

So it's fall and the leaves are turning though the days are still a delightful low 70s and the sun is still warm. But because the temps are not extreme the colors of the turning leaves aren't as vibrant as they were up north.

Leaving school today I saw a small maple leaf on the pavement, brilliantly red.

I carefully picked it up and noticed it was fresh. Lovingly holding it all the way to the car, I placed it on the beverage cup, intending to scan it when I got home and make something online with it. Maybe change the banner photo, maybe posterize it in Photoshop and make a greeting card...something.

I zipped to the grocery store and the Dollar Store to buy the week's stuff. Boy, milk went up thirty cents. That was a huge disappointment. A half gallon is $2.99 now.

Anyway, I got the food and drove home. I was worried that the heat inside the car had curled my leaf. It hadn't.

I got to the door holding all my groceries, with the leaf's stem in my mouth and the keys dangling from my pinkie. As I set the groceries down by the door I noticed a stream on small red ants traveling at full speed to the threshold and disappearing en masse inside the wall. Uh-oh. Visions of empires of fire ants building continent-sized cities inside my wall was too much to bear, so I jammed the keys in the lock, threw open the door and set all the bags down on the kitchen floor, while carefully laying the leaf down on the bookcase next to the door.

I grabbed the ant spray and used a third of a bottle spraying the ant line, the doorstep, and the walkway.

Then I put away the groceries, got dinner on the stove, and sat down to attend to email.

It was a hour later when I finished emails and replying to comments from the other blog, when I got ready to have some art fun and scan my leaf. I looked around. No leaf.

Hm. I know I brought it inside. I looked at the red rug on the kitchen, thinking the leaf had fluttered off in the frenzy to spray the ants. Was it on the rug, camouflaged but otherwise untouched? Nope. I looked at the bookcase and behind the bookcase. No leaf.

Uh-oh. Cat. The cat must have gotten it.

I went into the bedroom and saw the two of them curled up there on the bed in the waning sun patch. And on the rug next to the bed was a regurgitated leaf. My nice rug. My formerly nice leaf.

Such is life of an old cat lady. Apparently unbeknownst to me, what I had really been doing when I had cradled, shepherded and delivered a snippet of the outdoors, was not to scan and make art for myself, but to give a taste of the outdoors to my cat.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I made veggie-tomato soup, ratatouille, grilled some zucchini, squash and scallions, and prepared fruit salad. I did it all while listening to some lectures on spiritual discernment. I'm a happy camper right now.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe

Friday, October 12, 2012

Uncontrolled bouncing

Ahhh, at long last, the weekend.

I can't complain. It was a teacher workday without kids, and to boot, I took a personal day, lol.

Yesterday was a day where, once per quarter, the children who have behaved to a certain standard are rewarded with a party. The first Reward Party of the year they get to play on bouncey houses. Each grade level comes out and for 45 blissful minutes, they get to free play in them.

When the kindergarteners came out, the grade I work with, they were massively excited. They were giddy, happy, and deliriously laughing. The fact that it was a 75 degree sunny fall day helped a lot!

One of the kids in line waiting to climb up the ladder of the inflatable slide, laughed and jumped on the bouncey house as a trampoline, looked at me and said, "I'm bouncing and there is nothing you can do about it!!!" She was right! Nor would I want to. This was one time they were encouraged to let loose and have fun. Run, bounce, slide, yell. Go for it, kids.

I plan to make banana muffins this weekend, and vegetable soup. Maybe quinoa salad. I plan to study a  lot and not talk to many people. I might go outside. Or not.

As the timeless and genius character Sheldon Cooper said Thursday night: “I didn’t really hit my academic stride until I cut out that time-suck known as ‘playing outdoors.’”

LOL, happy weekend!

Friday, October 05, 2012


This was a busy week that ended well. All was calm and nice as we brought the kids down to the final assembly point for loading into the cars and buses. One of the third grade teachers was singing a Friday song as she led the kids down the hall, and the kids were smiling and laughing. I received some sweet little hugs as I dropped off my bunch of kindergarteners.

The weather has broken from the excessive heat, though some days are still hot. But the humidity isn't high and the temps don't stay in the 80s for long. It's like the thermometer mercury tries with all it has to reach those upper 80s and just can't make it, and settles briefly into the low 80s before slipping down and down for the evening. We have good sleeping weather now.

So the day was warm but nice as I left the school at the end of the afternoon and concluded my workweek. My usual Friday venture is to go to the local grocery store just a mile away from the school before heading home for the weekend. As I entered the store, I saw the same kids I'd just dropped off at the school gym a few minutes ago. LOL, the aisles of the store rang with successive shouts of four different kids running up and down aisles exclaiming "Mrs Prataaaaaa!"

As I waited in the checkout line, I ran into a fellow I'd known at the church I'd gone to six years ago. He greeted me warmly and said it was good to see me. That is always nice, to run into someone you haven't seen in a while. He said he'd just gotten a chicken and had spent the night building a pen for it, and was at the store getting some feed.

As he left and I turned to my own aisle, the lady in front of me was looking at me quite intently. After a moment she said, "Didn't you write for the Madison County Journal?" I said I used to (the editor always put my photo next to my byline). She said she enjoyed my columns. That was nice also.

As I drove home I mused about how it is to build a new life. I guess my life here in GA isn't new any more. I'm recognized by children and adults, I've forged relationships at work and church and the community. I moved here 6 years ago this week. It has seemed like a blink of an eye, but at the same time, I've accumulated a body of public work, a reputation, and relationships. I also have accumulated a cache of memories unrelated to my former life in New England. All this has grown almost unbenownst to me during all that time.

The sea air and foghorns have slipped back in my mind as the newer ambient sounds of cows lowing and roosters crowing are more prevalent. I'm not sure how I feel about that, except to say, time passes, and all things change. You get used to that as you grow older, anyway. The decades accumulate and memories come and stay and then go as new memories slide in, as fleetingly ephemeral as the wisps of fog I used to watch evaporate into the warm sunshine of life.

Fog at Jasper Beach, Machias Maine

Fog at Lubec, Globe Cove, high tide

Sunset at Lubec Harbor

Sunset over the fishing fleet, Lubec Harbor Maine

LOL, waiting for the Fourth of July parade to begin in Eastport Maine. As is typical of Mainers and Maine summers, you have blankets and sweatshirts along with shorts and flip-flops, all at the same time!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Obama's smirk compared to Sheldon Cooper's haughty derision face

Obama's smirk,

reminded me of the classic Sheldon Cooper's haughty derision face,

and his "I look at you with an expression of exhaustion and ever so slight amusement" face-

Except, Sheldon Cooper would make a better president. Less arrogant too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Lovely barn

Waiting for the Middle School buses to pass, I snapped this picture of one of my favorite barns along my route to and from school. The recent rain had greened the pasture. I definitely live in a nice place. :)