Winterville Marigold Festival

Each town has their “thing” for which they want to be known. In Maine, where I lived for a long time, the nearby town of Yarmouth is known for its Clam Festival. Here in Georgia, the town of Helen in the mountains is known for its Oktoberfest. Also in Georgia, 45 years ago, the Town of Winterville decided it needed sprucing up and planned a fundraiser and morale-booster. The planning committee chose the marigold to be their town symbol. The marigold stands for “hardiness, versatility, and vigor, and because it is a symbol of friendship all over the world.” Funds from the festival are funneled back into the community to maintain buildings and beautify the area.

The town is small with population 1200 at last census. Strangely, it’s its own municipality contained wholly within Athens GA. It’s quaint, really quaint. Large, two story homes with wrap-around porches line the streets, a nice looking Baptist Church is front and center, an original train depot stands historically and heroically, and Pittard Park is the locale for many community doings, including this festival.

In my opinion, this festival is the perfect size. It is long-standing and reputable enough to attract a variety of vendors, but not so large that it’s difficult to get around. My friend and I had a nice time for a few hours walking around and listening to music. Here are my photos of the day.

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A Crafting Friday Night (and Saturday morning)

The urge to craft and make things comes and cannot be denied, lol. I like making bookmarks. They’re smaller. This is good because the larger page is more intimidating. The blank page when I’m writing doesn’t bother me at all, ever. But the blank page when making arts or crafts is highly daunting! I’m not that creative with making things. There seems to be a disconnect between my mind’s eye imagination in seeing, and my hands in producing it. What I produce is amateurish, and only that, after a struggle.

Anyway, last night I made bookmarks from my photos, and overlaid scripture on them. Then I laminate. I’ve been dissatisfied, though, in the results. I can’t quite get the size right. Sometimes they come out too skinny and other times too fat. These two came out not-horrible.

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I finally got a clue and searched online for a bookmark template. I found one on Teachers Pay Teachers, for free.

bookmark template

The next challenge was to figure out how to insert the clip art, photos, or pictures that I want, into the bookmark while keeping the shape. Hmmm. Just copying and pasting didn’t work. After clicking around some, I found that if you click the image, then click ‘Fill’ and then follow the pop-up menu to where or what you want to fill the shape with, it will work. In my case, I had prepared some clips of work I’d already done.

When I paint or collage or stencil, I then scan the finished product into the computer, thus digitizing it. So I had a number of items from which to clip sections from and insert into the shapes above.

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From left to right: an acrylic painting, a color pencil stencil with digital clip art overlaid, a watercolor, a stenciled and painted collage, a paper collage with stencil on top. All art is by moi.

Then the job is to print out. I forgot that when printing pictures from Word I need to lighten it in the edit section, so, they came out a bit dark. I used regular paper and I think photo paper would make it a little sharper. Something went wrong with the last bookmark and there is no black line border all of a sudden, but those are the vagaries of printing. If I make the margins smaller the whole thing goes funky. So, I’ll figure that out next time. I just need to cut out this last batch. Overall, I’m pleased. I like the different shapes of the bookmarks, it makes them more interesting I think.

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I plan on attending the Annual Winterville Marigold Festival later this morning with a friend. I’ll be visiting and also photo taking at this charming festival held in a small and pretty town.

I might be so jazzed up that I come home and have a blast processing my photos and maybe make more bookmarks. Or the predicted heat might make me decide to lay down with the kitties and take a nap, falling asleep listening to birds out my window. Anyway, it seems to be a good day ahead. I hope it is for you too!

Summer state of mind

I think these two photos represent my upcoming summer life pretty well.

Oh, the joy of reading. I found the Mrs. Pollifax book series lately and I’m looking forward to a long read through 14 of them. Well, 13, as I already read the first. They are cozy spy mysteries with an elderly female main character that turns out to have a knack for spying for the CIA.

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And leisurely mornings drinking coffee. Sometimes with whipped cream! Slowly and quietly, from my favorite mug, not guzzled hastily from a Thermos so as to make it to school in time for the first bell.

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School, where I work, is coming to an end in 15 work days. In 12 1/2 work days, the children will be released from school, and then we have a remaining 3 days to have our concluding meetings, and pack up our classrooms. School isn’t over, and it’s incumbent upon the teachers and staff to maintain standards until the end, but in my mind, oh, goodness, in my mind:

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What a complete blessing to be able to work with children, educate them and support teachers on a great team like I have in my school, then to stay at home and recover refresh relax rejuvenate…well, all of the above!

Teaching is demanding work. Gone are the days of snacks and fingerpainting, if they ever existed at all. Teachers work very hard to meed standards the Local Board, State and the Federal Government set, and parents too. It’s like an extension of motherhood. Because our work involves real people with real needs from physical, to emotional, to educational, it almost never ends.¬† Planning, meetings, correcting, hugging, problem-solving, sometimes clothing and nursi my mindng, all happen in addition to teaching, all day long.

And I don’t even teach. I am support staff, where I support my teacher in doing all of the above. When you invest emotionally and educationally in an entire person, it’s tiring. When you do it for 22 little ones every day all at once, it’s more than exhausting. The educational or behavioral strategies you apply, the changes you make in order to reach them, the love given out, the sadness when someone needs to be chastised, the heights when they succeed, or depths when they continue to squander their mind due to various reasons…all take a toll.

So summer comes along and as it approaches there comes a bounce in my step and a twinkle on my eye. I feel pretty happy also when moms get to spend valuable time with their kids at home and they do family things away from the hurry and scurry of the busy-ness of school year.

I always have Grande Plans for the summer. I’ll write War & Peace! Not really, but huge plans, I never seem to meet them. Admittedly, it takes discipline to maintain a schedule throughout the 9 weeks we have off for summer. (We return on July 30). It takes discipline not to sink into a laziness that expresses itself in sleeping late, staying in pajamas all day, and eating potato chips or popcorn for breakfast (not that it has happened to me, noooo) but one has high hopes every year.

I do tend to wilt in the extreme heat of a southern summer, and I’m not an active person anyway, so much of the time I’ll be in my small, cozy, lovely apartment that I love so dearly, reading, studying, listening to sermons, crafting, and watching movies. Alone. That is my summer state of mind.

Soon to make an appearance, first on May 22 at noon when we load the kids onto the buses for the last time of the 2017-18 school year, then again in force on Friday afternoon when we conclude our retirement party for the staff that are finishing strong after many years of service and are dismissed as staff for the last time this year.

Can’t wait!!!

Is it easy to change my routine? See for yourself

This is what it feels like for me (an autistic person) to change my routine or add to my routine.

Reality to an autistic person is a confusing, interacting mass of events, people, places, sounds and sights… Set routines, times, particular routes and rituals all help to get order into an unbearably chaotic life. Trying to keep everything the same reduces some of the terrible fear. Jolliffe (1992) in Howlin (2004), p.137

Also-

Routines play an important role in the lives of people with autism. The everyday hustle and bustle that most people view as normal can be an overwhelming combination of frightening crowds, intimidating sounds and overbearing lights for people with autism. Routines help to create stability and order.

People with autism quickly learn routines and are naturally motivated to repeat them. If the steps in a routine are presented with a clear beginning and end, the total routine is often learned quickly. Since people with autism are naturally motivated to repeat routines, the completion of the routine is in itself reinforcing. This includes daily, weekly, monthly and annual routines, as well as structuring tasks as consistent routines.

A reliance on routine to provide certainty in the lives of people with an autism can potentially lead to their behaviour becoming ritualistic and obsessively rigid. This may be most evident during times of change or disturbance. If this occurs it is possible to support people away from this behaviour towards a more balanced approach to routine.

So anyway, there you go. A visual for you

Do you love where you live?

I love where I live. I love the inside of my apartment and I love the outside yard.

On weekends and in summer I go out into the yard and take a walk around. There is an abundance of things to look at. There are a tremendous variety of birds, animals, and plants to marvel over. In spring the rhododendron, dogwood, pear tree, wildflowers, and azaleas are blooming. The squirrels and chipmunks cavort. Cows low in the distance. The vigorous rooster is crowing next door. Robins, crows, wrens, woodpeckers, cardinals, Eastern blue birds, cedar waxwings and many other birds I don’t know fly from tree to tree and sing. The train hoots a few miles away. If it has rained, there might be a new variety of mushroom to observe on the tree stumps. A barn cat skulks by. It’s quiet except for the birds, sounds I love.

The yard is large and contains lots of different trees. Dogwood, pear, magnolia, live oak, pine, and more. Here is a photo gallery of this weekend’s morning rambles.

 

 

The weekend, coffee, and cats

The mornings are getting lighter and the evenings are getting longer. Ahhh, spring. Our yard has lots of birds and I enjoy hearing them in the morning. It’s natural music and I love it. Wildflowers abound in the yard.

My morning has been filled with RefNet’s music and a Sproul sermon. I also listened to Ligon Duncan’s FANTASTIC T4G2018 sermon called¬†The Whole in Our Holiness

Stop what you are doing and go LISTEN to that sermon RIGHT NOW. I don’t usually urge or gush, because I know different people react to sermons differently. But this is one of the top sermons ever.

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My cat is with me each morning as I sit and type or do my morning routine devotional etc. He has coronavirus.

FIP generally follows infection of a feline coronavirus, which typically does not cause any outward symptoms. It is assumed that there are some types of coronaviruses that mutate into the feline infectious peritonitis, either on their own or as the result of a defect in the cat’s immune response. Also complicating the matter is that a coronavirus can lie dormant in a cat’s body over months before mutating into FIP. The FIP virus then infects the white blood cells, using them as transportation to invade the entire body. Source

So a cat can live for a long time with coronavirus but then for unknown reasons something triggers the virus into its more deadly form, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. (FIP).

 

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease in cats which carries a high mortality due to its characteristic aggressiveness and nonresponsiveness to fever, along with other complications. This disease is comparatively high in multi-cat households as compared to those with a single cat. It is difficult to diagnose, control, and prevent…Source

All three of my cats have (had) coronavirus. Luke declined rapidly after the coronavirus triggered into FIP, and died fairly quickly after getting the disease (which was caused by my adoption of the stray, Murray, who unknown to me, had it). I’ve been noticing that Murray’s coat is a bit rough and dull and he has been quiet lately. I am hoping it’s my eyes playing tricks, or it’s the change of season or something, and that he also is not declining yet. I know eventually they both will, Bert has it too, but not now. Not yet, please.

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I am definitely a woman of contrasts. Found these at Kroger on the marked down shelf. I could resist neither of them.

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Ahhh, slow Saturday mornings. Breakfast of cheesy grits, veggie hash with a fried egg on top. Yum! And coffee.

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Speaking of coffee, I found this at the Dollar store. I looked at the price and then looked again, it had to be a mistake. Nope. It was $1 for 7 ounces. The price per ounce was less than half of the next highest item, one I had been buying for years. (The Dollar General restaurant sized generic coffee). If I remember, it was 7 cents per ounce. Coffee that cheap can’t be good, right? I bought one bag to try it.

It was good. Looking up Mountain High Coffee, it seems that the coffee is gown and processed in VietNam and then shipped to port Savannah for distribution to DG stores. Um, OK, well, it tastes good and I’m thrilled to find something at DG that’s both inexpensive and actually tastes decent!!

PS, I went back and bought 4 more pouches.

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Speaking of buying things, The Special Store was having a 50-75% off sale last weekend. I saw on the photos they posted that they were selling a floating shelf bookcase. In inspecting the real thing, I saw that it was clean, new-ish, and heavy duty industrial (which I like)., There were three there, two black that were taller and this one that was gray and shorter.

In a ‘use what you have’ moment, a few months ago I had brought inside my wrought iron plant stand and had been using that as a bookcase. But now that spring is here I really wanted to bring that back outside as I am anxious to spruce up my patio area. I want to put come small cacti on the plant sand and the painted birdhouse I’d gotten a few weeks ago. This floating shelf book case was only $20 and I thought that was a deal. When I got home I swapped out the plant stand for my new book case.

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Speaking of using what you have, I had taken down a hanging quilt I’d had up for ten years in order to put a painting there instead. Yes change happens slowly in Casa Prata. What to do with the lovely hanging bar so it doesn’t get lost or I forget about it? Oh, use it to solve another problem. I’d somehow accumulated a lot of bracelets. This is what I did with the bar:

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I plan to stay quiet today. Next week will be a bit busy as we begin a mandated statewide grade level test for 3-8th graders. I am proctoring. Today I will stay in, nap, read, and write some more. Lucky me, this is exactly what I love to do. About only 30 more days of school with the kids, so soon enough I’ll have the summer off to do this every day, not just Saturdays. Have a good weekend everyone!

Murray’s napping routine

When I’m home on weekends or on Spring Break, Murray, my younger cat, has a routine. He likes to arise with me from bed, where he sleeps at my feet atop the covers. I feed him and Bert in the morning so they enjoy their breakfast. Murray is an active cat and he marauds all night. He goes from window to window, spying out the nocturnal animals. he checks all the corners, crunched up leaves he might find on the rug or on my shoe I’d tracked in from outside, or chase moths or even invisible insects only he can see. He plays with his ball. I find it in different locations in the house.

But after breakfast, he’s tired. He wants to be with me some more though, which is wonderful. As sit down at the table where my laptop is, with my coffee, he leaps on the table and lays down in the cat bed I have there behind the computer. He gazes at me a while (I feel so adored!) and then he curls up and naps.

I browse the internet, type, and read. He snores. It’s nice.

Murray has always enjoyed sleeping under the bed covers. He likes his head covered. Sometimes he snugs his head under my arm, or pushed it up under my hand. But the bed is his favorite. Strangely, he will not sleep in or on the bed when it is not made. He lies the covers to be flat. If I linger at the table too long and he has decided to go to bed, he makes some noise or gets off the table and twirls around my feet. I know what it means: Make the bed!

I get up from my chair and head toward the bedroom. He is ahead of me. He sits under the headboard watching and waiting while I make the bed up. When I’m done, he noses his head under the fringe hanging down and then noses his head under the sheet. He jumps up and chooses which end to sleep in. Sometimes he chooses the foot of the bed, where an additional throw carries extra weight for snugness, or sometimes he chooses to snuggle up next to the pillow.

In any case, he will stay there all day until around 4:00 when he leaps down to take a drink of water from his bowl, and greet the world again.

Cats are so particular about what they like and their routines. I love Murray. He is a good cat.

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I don’t know what the difference was between being one foot to the left or to the right, but it makes a difference to Murray, who always chooses more toward the wall.

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