Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not Positive - with Edit at the end

Ok.  I admit it...I'm discouraged today - and frustrated.  Yesterday I had a great day - felt good, accomplished stuff - not everything that needed doing but was able to accomplish.  The house was warm and the sun was out.  The grapes are all juiced for was cleaned...bathroom counter was cleaned...and I figured out what all was going out when the circuit blew.  I even walked. And while I turned in a write-up on one student - and had issues with the same student at the beginning of afternoon route things overall went well.

Today...I dragged out of bed knowing I didn't sleep well.  The sun is going to shine at least some today.  The house is cold and I just don't feel good.  And I'm emotional.  Had issues with my student this morning - as well as kids at my last stop telling me there's no seats.  Kids wouldn't move in.  I know they all hate being 3 to a seat but on Wednesday mornings they are pretty much guaranteed to have at least a few seats that way.  I can't help it - it just is.  And Dipstick didn't make the bus this morning - nor did he text me to tell me where he was.  I'm feeling overwhelmed with everything going on this week - parent/teacher conferences this afternoon, bus driver committee meeting tomorrow morning and Grief Group tomorrow night for Dipstick (I have to be there for that even though he's old enough to do stuff alone).  For Squirrel parent teacher conferences are positive - I feel like it's a waste of the teachers time for me to go.  But I go anyway.  For Dipstick - it's frustrating.  He's passing all his classes currently thanks to the fact that he tests well.  But he simply doesn't bother to do the homework and nothing his dad or I say or do makes a difference.  So I'm going to go - simply because I believe it's important as a parent - even though I don't "need" to for Squirrel - and not going to have any answers for Dipstick's teachers.  I need to get the grape juice finished and canned and laundry folded at least. I have eggplants to dehydrate...and zucchini.   At some point I need to get bills paid and checking accounts balanced.  And I need to get a seating chart done for my bus kids - it's partly done mentally but needs to be on paper and finalized.

I've been thinking about life seasons a lot recently - Hubby and I are looking at basically being "empty nesters" in a year.  I'm realizing now that I will have more time to focus on being creative then and that's the time to do so.  But still looking at balance also - especially now. Balance is necessary but feels non-existent at the moment.   I'm not saying this well at all but am getting sleepier by the minute.  Hoping a short nap will help both physically and mentally.

Edited to add: Last batch of juice in the canner.  Will have 9 pints, 3 quarts and 1 jelly jar of grape juice.  Had a short nap and called and got a subscription straightened out.  Also folded 3 loads of laundry.  Hubby is out looking at incoming jobs so I won't need to make him lunch.  Since we don't have leftovers at the moment that's kind of a blessing.  I always have to laugh ruefully - he goes from having a few days up to a week without a lot of work then suddenly has a whole bunch of jobs come in.  This tends to happen right when he's getting really worried about not having enough work. The challenge is balancing them but the work has always been there when it's needed.  God provides.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Feeling completely exhausted today...emotionally as well as physically.  We lost our new kitten yesterday - she was an outside cat but Hubby and Dipstick both had become very attached as she was very tame - and a beautiful calico.  She got hit by a car.  I'm grieving that loss as well as Sally dog's.

Have been reading a lot about different MKs who are now as adults realizing what their parents endured as they sent their young children off to boarding school.  I think so many of us didn't realize the emotional cost our parents endured - I know I didn't.  Am really wishing I could talk to Mom to find out her thoughts as they left us - and as they received our letters.  I remember being quite ill as a 6th grader - spending several days in an oxygen tent.  I also remember finding out - imagine I was told but don't remember that specifically - that if I hadn't started improving soon my parents would have been called.  I'm not sure there was ever a specific diagnosis found for why I was so ill.  But I can still mentally picture that bed covered with the oxygen tent.  I mentioned that to my sister one day when we were chatting - she remembers that time as well.  Said she was allowed to visit me - I was in the school infirmary - and it was "scary".  She would have been 3rd grade at the time.

Still am crazy busy.  Squirrel had cross country meets both Saturday and last night.  The course last night was more difficult than Saturday's - he didn't feel he did as well.  His time was certainly slower but he was able to pass at least one team member.  His goal is to improve enough to catch up to our top runner - and hopefully pass him.  He is only 21 seconds behind him so it is do-able.  In addition to meets, I've been driving bus extra - drove the high school band to a festival on Monday where they marched in a parade.  Last Saturday I also drove for the band.  I won't be available to drive for them now until October as every Saturday we have a meet.  This upcoming Saturday will be at IWU where Stretch is finishing up his final year of college.  That meet is always fun and since I won't be driving a bus we will be able to eat together after.

I am in the middle of canning tomatoes.  After tonight I should have an estimate of how many quarts I will end up with.  Yesterday I spent roughly two hours peeling tomatoes and another half hour or so dicing them - that was using a vegetable chopper so it went quickly.  I had forgotten how messy it can be though.  Only finished about a quarter of the ones I have sitting in the kitchen - and they aren't canned yet.  They are sitting in my fridge waiting.  My friend Suz told me this morning that she canned hers last year without peeling them - just simply cored and cut out any bad spots.  She said it takes much less time so I'm thinking I will try that for the second batch.

Dipstick is struggling still with school - he is so intelligent but just can't be bothered to do more than the absolute minimum.  It is very frustrating - and something completely different for me to deal with.

I'd better scoot - have an appointment at 11:30.  Have got some laundry folded this morning and the kitchen almost ready to can in.  So progress...

To end on a positive note - the sun is shining today and it's not incredibly hot.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cloud formations from yesterday morning.  Just thought they were cool.
Lots to write is a beautiful day.  Low humidity and sunny.  That is a lovely change after the last several days of extreme heat and humidity.  Temperatures were in the upper 80's with heat indexes at least 10' warmer.  Made driving bus decidedly uncomfortable.  The rain we've had has been good though.
The dehydrator is running again - with more zucchini.  This time it's shredded fairly small so I'm anxious to see how how it turns out.  I have two more to do and possibly more on the way.  Also want to try doing some tomatoes but I'd rather get ones that are large enough to can.  We will see.

Yesterday I had coffee which turned into breakfast with a gal who will hopefully become a new friend.  We visited for over 2 hours - it seemed to fly.  She goes over the road with her truck driver husband for much of the year.  She is a believer and is just a few years older than I am.  There are always some nerves when making new friendships - at least for me.  So...we will see.

On a different note last Friday we lost our Sally dog.  She was 13 years old, probably as fat as she was tall - she was pretty short so that's easy to accomplish.  She was half german shepherd and half corgi-mutt.  Had shepherd coloring, face and feet with corgi legs.  We don't know for sure what happened as she was ok when I left for route that afternoon.  I firmly believe she was hit by a vehicle even though Hubby said she looked ok.  These last few years she didn't get enough attention but she was still faithful to wag her tail and greet us when we got home - as well as serving as an alert dog - letting me know when someone had come in the driveway.  She was especially helpful with that when the boys and I lived alone after Mike died - I never worried about having someone "sneak up" on us.  We got her about a year and a half before Mike died - makes her loss a bit harder as outside of my boys who I don't count in this list she was the last "thing" we shared to go.  Sally dog and two of my cats from OK moved here to IN with us.    The cats are gone, my purple "Princess" Intrepid is gone and I sold the house we shared a year about he died.  Kinda makes it the end of an era.  None of that to say that I'm not "happy" with where my life is now - just her loss signifies more endings.  I'm not at all sure how to express that.. There was some humor in the situation though.  I got home from work to see Hubby sitting down in the shop looking completely exhausted.  This is unusual enough that I asked him if he was quitting early. (It was one of those ridiculously hot humid days). His response was "Well I've been doing something I shouldn't have to do...I'm not sure what happened - whether she got hit or if it was just old age but Sally is gone.  I just got done burying her".  My reaction - mentally was "Sally's gone - and you buried her.  Why did you have to bury Sally?  Won't we get in trouble for having Sally buried on our property? Ooh poor Bob...where is he?" followed by verbally " mean Sally dog?!? I thought you were talking about Bob's wife and it didn't make sense to me.".   Hubby laughed...thankfully Bob did also later when Hubby told him about it.   I still look for her when I get home and miss her bark of greeting.
Pressure canned corn
Cross country and canning season are upon us.  I went after work this afternoon and bought a bushel of peaches (one of the few items I purchase) to can.  Hubby really likes peaches so it is high on my "preserving list".  Am hoping to acquire tomatoes without too much cost as well as more grapes.  This year I learned to pressure can and did corn that way.  Am excited to have learned that and to have 22 pints as a result.  However before I pressure can much I will have some supplies to purchase as canning on a glass cook-top is not recommended at all - the friend who taught me had her glass cooktop shatter when she was pressure canning one year.  I really enjoy canning even though it's exhausting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to school...

Fighting the panic today...just trying to take things a step at a time.  Stretch went back to college this morning - to start his senior year.  He has training for his on-campus job for the next couple of weeks.

I picked elderberries this morning - got a couple pounds at least I think.  Filled two cooler shopping bags mostly full.  Next step is to wash and destem them.  Will set aside enough for an elderberry pie and make the rest into jelly.  If I have enough will also try to make some syrup but need to research that first.  Many of the bushes I looked at had both ripe and completely green berries on them at the same time - not really normal.  However it gives me hope to get a few more.  Took me about an hour and a half to get what I did - and a fair bit of driving around the county.  Once I got home I cleaned up the kitchen and started working on sweet corn.  I have probably 24 cups cut off the cobs sitting in the fridge waiting for me to can.  Then I have close to a cooler full sitting in the garage that hasn't been touched yet.  I figure whatever I get ready between now and Thursday morning is what will get canned.  I already have some in the freezer frozen.  Am still processing zucchini - am so thankful I found out that it is possible to dehydrate it.  What would take lots of space in the freezer processes down to a quart size jar.  And all I have to do to use it is to mix a tablespoon or two in whatever casserole I'm making...

Squirrel finally found out that he is able to take his college level public speaking course this fall.  He's been jumping through hoops trying to get information and registered.  Last Friday evening he was told the classes were full and he wouldn't be able to take it.  That was pretty disappointing - the counselor was going to see if the professor would take him in the class.  He finally found out today he would be able to take it - and he has homework due on Thursday.  This wouldn't be an issue except he doesn't have the book yet.  However the book is ordered and should be here tomorrow.

Dipstick is also back in school - he has two English classes this semester and at least two welding classes.  Hopefully he will continue to keep up with the work in English so he does acceptably.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fibro and other updates

It's been a very long time since I've written - 6 months.  I've thought about it several times but just haven't taken the time to sit down to write.  Of course part of that is due to the health issues I've been dealing with - increased depression, physical pain and dyshidrotic eczema.  Having an official diagnosis for the pain "helps" in that I'm not crazy.  (Some would say I am but whatever...)  Thankfully fibromyalgia is not life-threatening but it can be life-altering.  I don't have the excessive fatigue that many do but I do have the pain.  Some of it is an all-over achy-ness, some of it is pain in specific areas - that can move around.  I could be prescribed a controlled substance drug to deal with it but I really don't want to spend my life drugged up - not to mention that as a school bus driver I have to be careful what I take and insurance won't cover it anyway.  So...we are treating the depression - working to find an affordable drug that is effective, the eczema, and the high blood pressure that is a family inherited issue.  The pain I just live with or take OTC painkillers - that knocks it down to bearable.  I'm working on weight-loss/exercise changes as well and would like to get to eating more "whole" foods.

On a different note - I'm home this morning and thankful to be.  Played hooky from church and will be going up to the 4H fair later.  But am enjoying my peaceful morning at home.  The guys are all gone - 2 to the fair, 1 to church.  Stretch is still in Israel for most of another week.  I enjoy the fair and we usually all spend at most of at least the first 3 full days there.  This afternoon Hubby, Squirrel and Dipstick will be pulling antique tractors.  Then we will all help with making kettle corn for "sale".  The money raised is given to the 4H museum that Hubby's dad was instrumental in getting built.  I hope to get to walk through the barns at some point today - to see the animals and visit friends who raise them.  Hubby and Dipstick for sure will stay for the grandstand event truck pull this evening - I may or may not.

Yesterday I drove school bus in the morning and then went straight to the fair.  Made for a long day but mostly enjoyable.  In the afternoon I watched and took pictures of Squirrel and Hubby doing blacksmithing.  Watched the demo derby last night - one of my favorite events.  There is one more demo derby on Wednesday evening that I hope to attend.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Red sky in the morning...grey-blue overcast layers later... active birds at the mostly empty feeders ... I would say we are definitely going to get more snow and weather.  We have an inch or so predicted for overnight and a wintry mix for Saturday.  There is also talk of another system moving in next week mid-week.  Most of the "reliable" forecasters aren't giving amounts connected with that yet.  I'm interested to see what happens.  I don't mind the snow but actively dislike the cold. Had a feeling it would be a "long" winter this year - the crops were prolific.  Thankfully here at least we have the equipment to somewhat keep up with snow removal.

Other than that - we went on time to school for the first time in I can't remember how long today.  Was hoping things would settle into a routine again but suspect it will be awhile before that happens.  This isn't going to be much of an entry this time - main thing on my mind was a description of the weather indicators. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


This snow plow got stuck just down the road from our house.  He took out a portion of the guard rail.
Well....we are on day 2 this week of snow days.  Last week we were off Monday and Tuesday due to snow days - still don't understand why on that.  Then we also canceled on Friday.  Can't remember why - if it was cold, blowing wind or actually snowing.  This week it's been a combination of dangerously low wind chills and blowing snow.  Truthfully school tomorrow is doubtful as there are still windchill warnings active until noon tomorrow.  However today at least the Warning Level emergency is lifted and we are allowed to travel with caution. Sunday and Monday we weren't supposed to even be on the roads unless we were an emergency vehicle, plow or a emergency/public safety employee.  People didn't tend to listen - some employers still required people to come to work.  However we didn't go out until last night when B and Dipstick went to tear out a stage at church.  Today Squirrel is out with a list of things to do in town - groceries to purchase, a stop at the cell phone store and the license branch at least.  We have more snow expected and slightly warming temperatures this weekend. 
This is Lily - our new puppy.  She is about 7 months old. Behind her you can see some of the drifts - that is looking towards the road. .

I've spent the time off baking some, looking for and sorting childhood letters and trying to keep up with the cleaning.  Between the dog, somewhat grumpy family and us all being home that's been harder rather than easier.  I am very very thankful for the sunshine in spite of the cold though.  I much prefer that to the grey gloomy days we often have during the winter.
A view from the 3 season room - gives just an idea of how deep the drifts were over the weekend.  Now the snow is up touching the bottom ring .