Friday, December 21, 2007

Again??

So yesterday afternoon - 2nd last day of school before Christmas break - I'm at the elementary school attempting to load my students when one of my little boys came to me and told me another one had punched him in the nose and it was bleeding. The next time I looked we had blood what seemed like everywhere. So I'm on the radio attempting to get someone from the school out to get help because I knew the student with the nose needed looked at. Finally after using my cell phone to call my boss to get a response I was able to leave the two students involved at the school and take off to take the rest home. Thankfully there were no major issues with the remaining students and I was able to get them delivered safely. So...I'm empty and proceeding home myself when I meet a bus from the neighboring school district on a gravel road with soft shoulders that we both use - she still had students on board. I made the decision that since I was empty I would move over as far as possible - unfortunately I hit a patch of ice, then the soft shoulder and slid into the ditch up to my axles. Thankfully my boss was able to pull me out without having to call a wrecker and there was no damage done to the bus. I was there probably about 30 minutes. The other driver watched the entire thing happen - I found out later that she radioed in to her boss that she had just watched a bus go into the ditch and something needed to be done about the road. My boss appeared amused - and said that I'd had my share of "pulls" this year - this was the second time this week!

I'm very very glad that today is the last day of school before break - I need the break as do my students. Things have got to turn around soon - I don't want to find another job - I normally love driving bus and my kids.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shoes, Snow and Driveways

Well we have a normal school day today...Monday we were off for a snow day and yesterday we had a delay. Monday I didn't get plowed out until late in the day - then I took off for town. The main E/W highway was clear running water but the back roads were still snow and ice-covered. And getting up my driveway was extremely difficult when I did get back home - we dumped cat litter, wood ashes and any sand we could find on the driveway - then I prayed a lot. I finally got up after several attempts. Roads during the bus route were bad yesterday though thankfully I didn't get stuck or run extremely far behind - and I was able to successfully make my turn-arounds both morning and afternoon. However the driveway was still an issue - I was home for a few minutes between my kindergarten shuttle and afternoon route - ended up stuck across the road unable to go forwards or back. Eventually with the assistance of a pull and 4 people pushing I was able to get out and off the road. I just had enough time to get a quick drink before having to head back out again to do the afternoon run. Getting home after the route I still had trouble with the driveway...it took several attempts to get up and I didn't succeed until I'd made arrangements over the radio for the boys to get rides home. Needless to say I canceled any plans I had last night to go run errands or attend the middle school choir concert and I was more than a little discouraged.

B and Dipstick ended up coming down for supper - I fixed spagetti - it was rather spur of the moment but I was very thankful. They worked on the driveway - cleared some of the ice and melted muck off the bottom so I could get traction this morning. After supper B and I went to town - he drove. I had a coupon to a store I needed some stuff at and he needed some groceries from Stuff-Mart. After I bought my stuff we ended up at the local shoe store where I was to get new shoes. I learned something - my favorite brand of tennis shoes are made in 3 different countries overseas. So I'm in this shoe store - don't try on the shoes - just pick out the size I need and wait for the employees to go find the mate to that shoe. They are not able to do so - they ended up with 6 different pairs of shoes (I think) that were completely mis-mated - each pair was from 2 different countries. The only pair of that brand that was a matched pair didn't fit me comfortably. So...long story short...I ended up switching brands. So...now I have to consider...do I in the future want to go back to that particular brand or do I simply switch to another brand?

Better scoot - got to go switch laundry loads and clean some more. Mom and Dad should hopefully be here sometime this evening.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowed In




Picture taken from back door - across back yard.

Well we are officially snowed in - at least for
today. It started snowing yesterday morning about 11:00 am and continued all night. It was a mix of little tiny flakes, sleet, freezing rain and lovely big soft flakes. We are under a snow emergency which means that unless we are a emergency worker or on our way to work we are not allowed to go anywhere. Even when it's decreased I don't have 4-wheel drive so won't be able to go anywhere - not to mention the fact that it's impossible to hand shovel 10 inches from our drive. (O.k. maybe not impossible but extremely difficult and not something I will be attempting).

However we have 3 gallons of milk, plenty of flour, sugar and other baking supplies...plus the kids will spend some time sledding so we will be just fine.

Picture taken from front door - across driveway.




Picture taken of the deck.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A "normal" day?

A "normal" day? This will be the first one all week where school actually started on time with no delays and no cancellations. And the sun is attempting to shine. But I am so far behind on stuff that one day won't be nearly enough time to catch up. And maybe we might possibly get a snow day before Christmas break yet! At least one can always hope. Oh well...the bus is in the shop getting the broken window replaced, a grease job and hopefully a wash. I get to drive a mini for my shuttle - that's always fun. The kindergartners love riding in the mini bus and to me it's better than driving a different full size one. So during the day today I will attempt to catch up on housework - tonight we have Squirrel's TaeKwonDo testing and a Gospel Choir concert for Stretch so will be out running most of the evening. B is going to attempt to make the concert - Squirrel was disappointed that Dipstick and he won't make it to his testing. Dipstick may opt to go to youth group tonight instead of the concert - I don't know yet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Delay

We are just finishing up another 2 hour delay for this morning. It's much more gray out than it was yesterday morning - it's been raining since before I got up. To me it looks as if the ice is getting thicker on the trees and shrubs. However the roads are "just" wet at the moment. If the temperature - which currently is hovering just above freezing - drops any at all things will get very challenging. It feels very very cold out this morning though.



These pictures were taken yesterday after I got finished with my kindergarten shuttle. I did notice yesterday that places where tree branches did not normally touch the top of my bus routinely clipped them.

On a different note...my bus route went much more smoothly yesterday afternoon. I was full but not exceedingly crowded and it seemed the kids were slightly less wound up. We will see how things go today. Other than that it doesn't seem like there is too much exciting going on. I confess I was hoping for a day off today.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Storm & School Delay


11:20 am Well our 2 hour delay this morning honestly wasn't a whole lot of help as far as the roads were concerned. I got stuck - partly in a field off the edge of a road - it wasn't the worst one I'd driven on this morning but there was no way I could get myself out. We sat for probably 30 min waiting on assistance. The county salt truck driver was a friend from church. Also one of the mechanics and the head of maintenance for the school district came out. They hooked the back of the bus to one of the pick-ups and pulled me out - after shoveling a fair bit of salt/sand mix under the back of the bus. Then I followed the country truck to the end of that road before going out to the highway. Thankfully one of the other drivers was able to pick up my town kids relieving some stress for me. Also thankfully I was not the only driver that got stuck - just the only one that had to be pulled out. Now I'm having a very quick cup of coffee before I have to head back out to do my kindergarten shuttle - then it will be home for a few minutes before afternoon route.

Edited to add:
2:15
Ok...I haven't figured out how to post pictures on the right side as well as the left - sorry. (These pictures weren't from today - if I can figure out where they went I will put them up - they are similar except for hoarfrost it's clear ice on all the branches). I have found out also that my little seat belt child fell and hit his head this morning - he had to be taken to the ER for a CT scan. Thankfully he's ok though sore. I also had another child fall and land fairly hard before he got on the bus - he started complaining about not feeling well shortly before we got stuck.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Quick Update

Very quick update this morning as I've got plenty to do today - I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to yesterday. Before I get too far wanted to note a nickname change for the boys. Son1 will now be referred to as Stretch, Son2 is Squirrel and B2 is Dipstick. None of these nicknames were chosen by me - all were chosen by Dipstick's step-brother, Jay.

Tonight is the visitation for Matt's dad Mike - Stretch, B and I will be going. Squirrel will be at a friend's after his TaeKwonDo class and Dipstick will be at Cub Scouts. I'm certain it will be a late night if only because we have to go to Ft. Wayne for this. The funeral is tomorrow and none of us will be attending.

Yesterday we managed to get the bird feeders refilled and rehung. I need to make suet soon as I'm certain that will help keep the feeders filled. It's a great pleasure to watch the birds flitting around back and forth - especially on the gray gloomy days. I also did grocery shopping after picking up Dipstick from his house. Stretch and Squirrel shoveled the top part of the driveway and just beginning down the hill - this was after they'd been out sledding for nearly an hour. We spent time with Suz at her house - the boys played outside with her girls while she and I were able to enjoy a good visit.

Once we were home, Matt stopped in to see the boys. It was wonderful to see him and to have them all have a chance to visit. He and Stretch went to church last night - that gave them some one on one time to visit as well. He is struggling - holding his grief over his dad in and I'm certain would appreciate prayers. (Dipstick and I also finished shoveling the driveway before Matt arrived.)

B came over for supper last night - topped off an enjoyable day with a very pleasant evening. We had some very good conversation while the younger boys watched a movie.

Now I need to be off to get some housework done and hopefully find time to work on some Christmas stuff.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

There is now the sound of much cheering and hollering in my house! We are off school today due to a snow day. We've had several inches of snow overnight and it's still coming down lightly. The amazing thing to me is that as of right now - 7:45 am - the district right next to us who used to be one of the first to cancel is still going - just going late. I am thankful for the unexpected day off as it will hopefully give us a chance to catch up on things around the house. I accomplished absolutely nothing yesterday as I had a major nausea causing headache and slept most of the day. Getting the boys to stop jumping around is a major challenge but they are happy.

On a different note...I don't have my chickens yet. Suz accidentally had my rooster butchered so the chickens will stay at her place for now. Eventually I will have a coop with a heat lamp at my house and that's where I will keep the chickens and keep them warm.

8:27 am - B2's school district is now also canceled as are most of the school districts around us. Later I will go pick him up to bring here for a bit - that way he's not home alone all day and the 3 boys can go sledding. In the meantime, hopefully at some point someone will be able to come plow my driveway...it surely would be nice to have a lawnmower with a snowplow attachment. We will likely all go to Suz's to sled there with her girls.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bus Route Stuff & Other Ventures

I have to confess to frustration this morning...Driving my route I completely spaced and drove right past one of my stops. The students were not out at the stop but they were on the way down their long driveway - in their mom's vehicle. I kept waiting for them to show up someplace along the rest of the route and it didn't happen. Instead while I was trying to nap at home I received a very irate phone call from the mom. Truthfully I don't blame her for being upset as it meant she had to drive her boys to school - and I should have stopped. On the other hand, she needs to have the boys out at the stop early especially since she lives on a very busy main road. I did check the time and I was not early - in previous school districts I would not have stopped if the students were not out. By the end of the call the mom was calmer - accepted my apology and now knows what to do if that should ever happen again. I told her where to meet me where it would be safe for me to get the boys that's not too far out of her way or mine.

Also I'm still too full - I got 2 new students yesterday. That pretty much negates taking the 5 off. Additionally two students that haven't been riding in the afternoon will be back on starting next Monday. That still leaves me 3 to a seat in most of my seats with many of these kids having issues that make it challenging for them to handle being 3 to a seat. I talked to my boss after I finished the other phone call and he basically said that if I do not have at least 72 riders I'm out of luck and will just have to deal with it. I'm going to do a count this afternoon both of actual bodies on the bus as well as those on my list that are not on the bus but are potential riders. I don't see any way that I can put 3 in the seat that I have my "seat belt student" riding. He's got enough issues without being squashed added to it - yesterday was a very rough afternoon with him anyway. When I went into the school this morning I found out that his teacher was away yesterday and he'd had a very difficult day overall. So the challenges are very much still there.

On a different note I'm going to get some chickens of my own - laying hens that are already layers. In other words I won't have to raise them from chicks before I start getting eggs. I'm both excited and nervous about this. Suz will keep them for me until B and I get something built for me to keep them in here. He says he's got feeders, nest boxes, etc at his parents so my start-up costs are likely to be very minimal.

This morning was beautiful - very cold but gorgeous red and pink sunrise. It's clouded over pretty much all ready - we are supposed to get rain and snow later tonight and tomorrow. I wished I could take my camera along on the bus! No deer this morning - yesterday we saw 6 in a group. That was fun. I'm making progress on Christmas stuff but it's slow. I am still trying to figure out how to simplify while still decorating the big tree and doing gifts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I did it!

I did it! I successfully began to conquer my fear of heights. (I say began because I'm sure that it's not completely conquered yet) Yesterday B & B2 were down to help me with stuff that's difficult for me to do alone such as cutting wood, cleaning gutters, taking out A/C units that are too big to lift alone. We got wood cut and stacked, as well as taken to the burn pile out behind the barn. We also got the big A/C unit out of my bedroom window and hauled to the barn. That left finishing up cleaning out the gutters to do - it had been started a couple of weeks ago with the front of the house being done. The back sides required a bigger ladder that I don't own so we borrowed one. Anyway...we sent Son2 and B2 up the ladder to the roof to start that process. They stayed up there working until both were complaining that their hands were cold at which point they came down and went to warm up. I was the only one willing to attempt to go up the ladder to take over - Son1 is more afraid of heights than I am and B needed to stay down to hold the ladder and run the hose. So I climbed up and finished the one side, then crawled/scooched over the top of the roof to the remaining side to work on that one. I was unwilling to stand up and walk on the roof but wasn't too terrified otherwise. And I was able to get down without the fire department having to be called! So growth is happening in this area.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Well...I'm losing 5 of my regular 14 middle school students on my afternoon bus route to another driver. Of the remaining 3 that have no siblings on my bus I am still hoping to have one more transferred off - the other driver goes right past her house while I have to do a turn-around when she rides. I was told the other driver did not want to take her as a rider because she "is a hottie and that makes the high school boys act up." Considering this other driver only hauls 30 students and I have 60+ I honestly don't have much sympathy for that reason. Of course now I am on the other driver's black list - she's really upset about having more passengers. While I'm not losing as many as I'd hoped to it should still make a difference - it will open up at least one more row in the back so that I hopefully don't have as many students sitting 3 to a seat.

On a different note the weekend went very well. Friday night I had G over - we went to the "city" - we stopped at Hobby Lobby and a scrapbook store. She didn't enjoy those as much as I had hoped she would - and we ran out of time to go to a department store. She did seem to enjoy walking the mall though. It was good to spend some time with her - we had some time to talk about stuff we don't usually get to chat about. I still want to spend some time scrapbooking with her.

Saturday the boys and I in addition to B & B2 had supper at Suz's. Her in-laws (who I've known for many many years) were there visiting. It was neat to get to see them and have them get to meet B. What was extra special to me is that they approve of him - that's important since I've known them so many years - they've been an adopted "mom and dad" to me - especially when I was away at boarding school. That was a late evening but a lot of fun.

Sunday there was only one service at church as they were finishing up their building fund drive. It is obvious we need a bigger building and the plans are beautiful. I do struggle with certain aspects of how they handle some of the pledging but overall it was a good morning. There was a catered hog roast at the local 4H center which they used as their annual Thanksgiving meal. I would have enjoyed having a bit more variety of side dishes and desserts but it was o.k. In the afternoon, we celebrated B2's birthday - he turned 11 on Monday.

This week will likely be a busy week but thankfully there's only 3 days of school. I've got to come up with some dessert ideas to take with on Thursday - brownies of some sort are a given but I'm not sure what else to bring. Enough rambling for now - time to get some stuff done around the house.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday

No training this morning - our session was canceled due to the school nurse being sick. I'm thankful to have time at home - haven't got much done that wasn't school bus related but at least I'm home and able to start laundry and stuff. And honestly I wasn't looking forward to learning how to handle seizures - have been there, done that at home with my husband. I've sent an email to my boss about the over-crowding on the bus - I have middle school students that could possibly be transferred to another bus. That would free up some space for my younger students. Legally I know I'm not over-crowded but so many of my kids are "high need" that having them 3 to a seat makes things more challenging. I have 20 minutes or so of "he/she's hitting/touching/pinching me" or "I'm crowded" or even "my mom doesn't want me to sit by him/her because they....(you fill in the blank)".

We had snow flurries this morning - quite a drastic change from the upper 50's from yesterday and the day before. The ground is still too warm for it to stick but it's still a cold blustery day where I'm thankful to have a heated home and a heated bus. I did get my irises replanted a couple of weeks ago - and some grape hyacinth transferred. I wanted to put in more daffodils, crocus and tulips but so far that hasn't happened. There is plenty of cleaning up outside that needs done but it will likely wait until I have some help.

Other than that, not too much is going on. Son1 ended up not missing any school this week - by yesterday morning he was feeling much better. I am very thankful for that. Just wish I could also have stayed healthier.

Better go for now - time to get ready for kindergarten shuttle

Monday, November 12, 2007

This morning is a damp gray day - it rained yesterday and last night. The nice thing is that it's a bit warmer today - in the high 50's right now. I saw several deer this morning on the bus route - that was cool. I am weary this morning but that's to be expected since I didn't get adequate sleep over the weekend.

Yesterday of course was church. Son1 had two concerts so he wasn't home much. Son2 was still recovering from his cold/fever/virus that he's had - he missed school on Friday though he did go today. B and his son B2 came down for supper - I was dropping off Son1 when they arrived. I came home to find B2 on my roof cleaning out my front gutters. B was on the stepladder in the back of the truck helping. That was wonderful as yesterday morning I had to wade through several inches of water on the front sidewalk. Son2 wanted to get up and help - he did very well. The rest of the gutters should still be cleaned out but hopefully for now the water will drain better. Yesterday morning we also realized that our 6th (and final) kitty from Oddball's last litter was missing. Sally dog had woken me up early Sunday morning barking and I heard something that sounded like barking outside the front door - I didn't turn on any lights to check but assume that something happened then to cause it to die.

Saturday night B and I had a date - we had tickets to go to the OakRidge Boys concert - what a blast! It's been years since I've heard them live - and it's hard to believe that they've been a group for 30 years - that's getting close to being as old as I am. They did several of their old hits, some Christmas and some gospel. I didn't realize that they had a gospel album out - that's something to look for. I would love to see their Christmas concert but that's not going to happen any time soon. The funny thing was that B and I were among the youngest people at the concert! Prior to the concert we went to a wedding reception for the son of some friends of his - that didn't go too well as the couple didn't get there until an hour after we did and we had to leave early to make it to the concert.

Friday night I went to the closest good sized town west of here - needed to drop some pictures off to get prints of and to find some new jeans. I also was able to do grocery shopping shopping as well. B called and tagged along - we had a good time. I figured he would be bored while I clothes-shopped but he didn't seem to mind. All 3 of the boys stayed at the house - got along quite well.

Friday on the bus route was very very challenging. My "seat belt child" did fine once he was seat belted but getting him there was interesting. He figured it would be more fun to try to block the aisle with his arm. Then as we were about to pull out of the school I had 3 5th grade boys get into a heated verbal argument - heated enough that I felt that they were likely to come to blows. I turned the bus around and requested someone else to come out to the bus - they were to be dealt with this morning by the principal. I still don't know what started it but when I heard them there was a lot of finger pointing and name calling going on. Hopefully this afternoon will go better. In the meantime I suppose I had better get my emails sent.

Oh yes...adjusting to the reading glasses is getting easier. I'm still amazed at how much difference they make.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Reading Glasses

Well...I finally broke down and bought (actually B bought them for me) a pair of reading glasses. I am amazed at how much difference they make. It will take some getting used to figuring out the correct distance to hold my book or whatever - I've gotten so used to stretching my arms out to be able to read that being able to hold things closer is a bit challenging. And I have no problem seeing my computer screen - Son2 on the other hand likes things so small than I have to have him make it bigger for me to see it. I didn't realize just how bad things were apparently getting with my vision - distance is still excellent but the near stuff is not. I cried when I realized that I could no longer cuddle a baby and see it comfortably without having to stretch my head way back. I still probably really need to get an official eye exam but I hope that I can put it off for a bit longer - at least until after Christmas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Favorite Scriptures

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27 (
NIV)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29: 11-13 (
NIV)


These scriptures have been on my mind a lot in the last couple of days. They have both been of great comfort to me in the past as I faced the death of my husband and many other major changes in my life. Now as I consider other possible changes I find myself meditating on these again especially during the times when I struggle with fearing those changes. I am so thankful for the promises of God and for His wisdom and guidance. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God does have a plan for me - I don't see the entire plan but I know that it's a good plan and I can trust Him to lead and guide me.

Fall Break Recap

I promised my sister I would try to update this morning. It's been a week since I wrote last - wow. We really enjoyed fall break overall. Both boys did fight a fair bit but that's pretty normal for a long weekend. They don't do overly well when their schedules are disrupted and we stay home. The potential trip to Chicago fell through due to illness and finances. I was glad to not have the pressure of leaving and it did allow me to get some outside work done. However it would have been good to see family. I was able to get my irises replanted - still have some to do but got most done. I also did some weeding around my strawberry plants and perennial flowers. The exciting thing about that is that I haven't broken out in poison ivy bumps!!

Friday I got a much needed massage - yeah! From there I went and cleaned B's place then brought his son home with me. He only had a half day of school both Thursday and Friday. My boys enjoyed having a playmate. B came over for supper Friday evening - we just grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. It started raining later in the evening.

Saturday was a TaeKwonDo tournament that I'd promised Son2 he could compete in. It meant for an early morning as we had to drive to South Bend and be there by 9:00 am. Opening ceremonies seemed to last a long time - and it almost seemed even longer until Son2 got to compete. However there were over 20 different "rings" with competitions going on in most of them so there was plenty to watch. Watching the Extreme TaeKwonDo demonstrations was a lot of fun as was watching the black belts. Son2 was in a group of other color belts that were 11-13 years old. After the belt rank and age grouping was done the kids were grouped by size. That way there wasn't really small ones competing against much bigger ones. Son2 was up first to do his form - he ended up doing really well and placing second. Guess that's a really unusual combination. He was able to get his trophy signed and meet some of the higher ranks, etc that were there. We got home around 5:00 pm and spent a quiet evening at home.

Sunday was church in the morning. After lunch and a short nap we headed up to B's for the afternoon. The younger boys spent time on a paddle boat on a lake while B and I took a canoe around. Son1 opted not to do the paddle boat thing - he got tasked with going the half mile back to the house to find transmission fluid for the truck. He was able to drive a 4-wheeler back to the lake - he enjoyed that. After the first lake we dropped the boys off back at the house and went to another lake to spend more time canoing. That was most uneventful until we didn't tie the canoe down onto the truck for the ride home. It ended up falling off in the road - doing 360's before coming to a stop. It brought the nearest home-owners running out. The funny/amusing thing about that is that one of them turned out to be one of my former students from my career center bus route. He was a pretty good kid but chose to hang with some not so good influences. Anyway...I recognized him immediately so stayed in the truck (yes I was being a coward!). B mentioned my name and I could tell that the kid remembered me. His reaction was funny to watch as he spun around away from me and said something to his girlfriend and mother. I very much doubt he remembered me with fondness.

Monday we were still off school - I actually got to sleep in. The boys and I stayed home all day - that was very nice. We had a bonfire, burned leaves and trash. I also did my irises mentioned above - am still wanting to move some crocus bulbs and put in some tulips. Inside I did laundry and worked on some cleaning and organizing. Son1 cleaned his room thoroughly - it looks really nice at the moment. Son2 cleaned off his dresser top so he has a nice place to display his trophy from Saturday and previous ones he's won.

Enough rambling for now. I am very thankful that overall we had a good weekend and decent weather. Sunday and Monday both were beautiful - sunny and clear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bus Route Changes

The past two days have been much better on the bus. Monday afternoon I was so discouraged I was about ready to resign. Yesterday afternoon I refused to leave the school until the students were quiet - completely. Then I told them I expected the quiet to continue for 10 minutes - the consequence for talking or noise before that time was an additional 5 minutes added on. We ended up having a silent bus until I had only 2 stops remaining - and even then I'd told the students we were starting off this afternoon the same way. Today the silence was not quite as absolute - I did add on a total of 10 minutes before we were done. However once I was half empty the time was up and I allowed the students to talk quietly. I don't kid myself that my challenges are completely resolved but I am encouraged that I'm making progress. I did still end up escorting one student into the office this morning - I had just turned in a conduct report on him yesterday and he was breaking rules again this morning. (Probably my most absolutely strict unbreakable rule is silence at the RR tracks - until we are completely across. Just because my door is closed and I'm moving does not mean it's ok to talk or make noise yet - the silence has to continue until the radio comes back on.) If all my students ride in the afternoon I'm pushing 70 students - that's including the 4 newest riders. I would be over-full if I hadn't had 3 students transferred off.

On a different note - this weekend is fall break. We are out of school Friday and Monday. I am rather looking forward to the long weekend though our plans have changed. I had thought about going to the City for the weekend as we'd be almost half-way there as a result of Son2's tournament on Saturday. However due primarily to some unexpected expenses this week we are not going to go. Instead I am anticipating being able to get some yard work done. I would like to get my irises replanted, do some other transplanting and trim some trees. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough to allow me to work outside - I would like sunny and somewhat warm.

Last night the sunset was absolutely glorious - all reds, golds, pinks...the colors were amazing. I wished I had my camera handy to take pictures. Son1 had a Gospel Choir concert at the high school so I didn't have time to run home and grab the camera either. The concert went well I think though I could tell he was much more nervous than he is when he does special at church. I am rather hoping for something similar tonight but it's pretty overcast at the moment. Anyway...those colors make me so thankful for the beauty of God's creation. The leaves are turning - they seem to have more color this year than they did last year - that's fun.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's a beautiful sunny morning this morning - cool but not too cold. The sunrise was gorgeous - reds and pinks. Of course that made me think of the old saying "Red sky at night, Sailors delight; Red sky in the morning, Sailors take warning" Forecasters are predicting rain for this afternoon so we will see. Before the sun came up, while I was waiting with the boys to see the bus come I saw at least two shooting stars - that was cool. Son2 saw one that I know of. The boys get on the bus while it's still very dark out - just 15 minutes or so later when I actually leave the sun is starting to come up.

The weekend was overall a good weekend. I missed church yesterday morning - dropped both boys off where they needed to be then went home and back to sleep. I slept until 1:00 pm so must have really needed the rest. I felt like I could sleep some more when I did get up but knew that if I did I wouldn't sleep last night. I was still in bed and sleeping by 10:30. I'm awake now - weary still but that's normal. Yesterday afternoon we went to B's - he started teaching Son1 how to change oil, filters, spark plugs on the car. The spark plugs had never been changed - that was wild - they needed it really bad. The oil change was also overdue. We had dinner there and watched a movie - the kids finished it, I only saw part of it as I spent time visiting with B. We also took care of getting the corn he burns for heat - that was fascinating to me. I'm realizing again how much I love living in the country - I am definitely NOT a city girl.

Saturday Son2 and I had lunch with a friend from Grief Group - we hadn't seen each other all summer so it was good to get caught up. From there we went to watch the Semi-State Cross country meet - that was a lot of fun. We were late getting there - missed the start of the girls race. However due to the fact that I was willing to "run" we saw them run past the first mile marker - I enjoyed the run though I probably paid for it later. None of our girls progressed on to the State Finals but as we have a young team overall and this was their first time there they did excellently. We picked up Son1 from there and headed on home. I had a date with B that night.

I'd better scoot for now - have a lot of cleaning and catching up to do since we were gone most of the weekend.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another One?!

Last night we had our second major fire in this area in the space of a week. This one was a livestock barn just a mile or so down the road from where we live - I could see the glow in the sky from behind our barn. It started sometime after dark and crews were on the scene until around 2:00 am. There were 3 fire departments, the local sheriff department and EMS that responded. Sometime this morning it re-ignited and it smoldered pretty much all day. During the day the owners were chasing down their cattle that had wandered off after being released from the barn. At one point they chased 5 cows across our place - I wish I could have seen it. Instead I saw someone on a 4-wheeler go behind the house and someone else go in front of the house. Something to be thankful for is that the owner's home did not burn and there were no injuries.

I certainly didn't get much sleep last night - between the fire engines, the traffic on our normally relatively quiet road and then a power outage. I would be very interested to know what the cause of these fires was.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This morning is a gray, gloomy, rainy day - it would be perfect for staying home inside in pajamas all day. But it's a school day so I don't get that privilege. It's the kind of day I really enjoy on the weekends - at least when I don't have plans to work outside in the yard. However I'm having a hard time getting motivated to accomplish much of anything inside today.

Yesterday turned into a busy day - felt like I accomplished a fair bit. I got a start on dinner for tonight (due to a change in "menu plans"), got to dig in the dirt for a bit - went out and started weeding one flower bed and worked on clearing space for another one. I have plans to put some of my irises just outside the dog run along the fence. The grass grows really long in that area - it's relatively easy to pull out and I think it would be better to have perennials along it. Last night Son1 and I went to the middle school to hear the 7th & 8th grade choir concert. I was able to catch up with his girlfriend's mother to find out how things were going since the fire. They have been blessed with an abundance of clothes to replace what they've lost. The outpouring of love and support has been amazing - and she is rejoicing that they are able to have a witness through this of the goodness of God. There are still needs there but I know they will also be taken care of.

Other than that not too much is going on - it's time for me to go make a phone call so I'll write more later.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peace

So far this morning has been an emotional morning for me. Last night Son1's girlfriend's home burned to the ground - it's totally destroyed. She called me and thankfully I was able to go see if I could do anything to help. She ended up spending the night at our house - Son1 gave up his bedroom for her. I was able to be strong last night but this morning has been rough - probably partly due to fatigue and the fact that I know I'm still sick - can't shake the cough that I've had for about 3 weeks now. I've got a doctor's appointment for that this afternoon. I'm taking the afternoon off my bus route as well as my kindergarten shuttle off. Anyway...

I took a few minutes this morning to have a cup of coffee (3 or 4th) and read my Bible.

The reading was from Matt. 6:31-34. So do not worry saying "What shall we eat?" "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" . For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

When hardships come, a person's heart is prone to feel anxious and unsettled. But believers do not have to feel this way; we can be at peace even in the worst of times. The Bible says that God loves us and will be our rock in a constantly changing world. (Ps. 18:2) This means we are not left alone to face our painful situations. When we trust the Lord's assurances, we can be calm, no matter what the situation may be.

To lay claim to God's assurance, we must put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, because we cannot know peace if our eternal security is in question. Once we have become believers, it is vitally important that we make a regular practice of confronting, confessing, and turning away from our wrongs. Otherwise sin will disrupt our fellowship with the Lord. (Ps.66:18) Sin and peace cannot inhabit the same heart.

Similarly a heart cannot hold both anxiety and peace, which is why Jesus encouraged His followers to be concerned only with the needs of today. (Matthew 6:31-34). Worrying about a troubling situation and seeking a solution apart from God leaves us in a state of unease. But when we focus on the Lord and trust in His provision, anxiety and doubt fell. "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because He trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3).

Early light: A pure restful heart is a valuable asset in this crazy world. Situations will arise that shake us up and cause grief. But Jesus is close by to soothe the soul, quiet the mind and bring peace to the heart.


This was taken from "In Touch" the October issue on today's date. It really struck me - both on this issue and others that I'm dealing with currently. I'm so thankful we serve an awesome God - there is no peace without Him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sectionals and Stuff

I started a post yesterday morning then got too sleepy to finish it. Instead I ended up taking a very short cat-nap before I had to run out the door to do my trip. I drove the cross country team to Sectionals last night - it turned out to be a fairly late night - we didn't get home until 8:45. So once again today I was sleepy. However I lay down for about 30 minutes this morning and it did seem to help. So far today I've done laundry (one load in the dryer, one in the washer), found Son2's jeans for this fall, cooked lunch (I usually just reheat something), run my shuttle route, made a grocery list and disposed of one of our kitties that was killed in the road last night. Unfortunately it was the "tamest" of our toms so he will be missed.

Sectionals did not go overly well for our teams. Son1 did not run as he's not one of the top 7 runners on the team. Instead he got to video tape the runners - he found that almost as much of a work-out as running would have been as he didn't get to stay in just one place. The boys team did not place at all - that was a big disappointment for them as it means they are done for the season. The girls did place 3rd so they will be moving on to Regionals this weekend. (Only the top 15 runners and 5 teams get to move on - the 15 runners don't have to all be on one of the 5 teams I don't think). If Coach takes the entire team this weekend they will need a bus - if not they won't. I'm waiting to hear if I will be driving or not. I almost would rather not as I'm running as it is. However the extra income is always nice.

Son2 did not go with us yesterday. He was able to stay and attend elementary cross country practice followed by TaeKwonDo. A girlfriend picked him up from there, fed him and brought him home about bed time. That was a huge help to me and a load off my mind.

My little "seat belt student" is doing better - at least he's no longer fighting wearing it. I could tell that he hadn't had to wear it yesterday afternoon. But he did put it on this morning - even if it was a bit slowly. We will see how this afternoon goes. I just about have a seating chart finished - I'm thankful for that. Will try to get it implemented tomorrow.

Other than that, not much is going on. It's cooled off dramatically today - this morning the sunshine against the colored leaves was just glorious. I wish I could bring my camera on the bus some days. I really do miss all the deer I got to see last year - I did see 3 this morning on my way home.

Where I'm From

I first saw this on my sister's blog several months ago and have been mulling it over ever since. It was fun to do - to think through but also much harder than I thought it would be. If any of you readers decide to do the same leave me a comment so I can come read it.

Enjoy.

Where I'm From

I am from flip flops, from Ovaltine and elephants.

I am from the house of windows overlooking the ocean waves and the cargo ships coming in out of the harbour.

I am from the hibiscus, the bougainvillea, mangoes, red mud, sandy beaches, ocean waves, heat and desert.

I am from wringer washing machines, line-dried clothes and running outside when a storm threatened to bring the laundry in.

I am from 5 times daily calls to prayer, rugby, boiled water and windmill produced electricity.

I am from the Equator where the length of the days and nights stays the same year round - where within the same country you can visit the ocean and be 7000 feet above sea level.

I am from lamp post Christmas trees and blond hair, from Bakers, Millers and Benefiels.

I am from perfectionism and poetry.

I am from a belief in Jesus Christ as my Savior and no other way to heaven.

I am from Somalia, Ireland, England and Germany, from mangoes, custard apples, chai and goat meat.

I am from the Dad from Canada who went to Africa as a single missionary to meet the Mom from America as one of the line of single women he had to meet - both following God's call to ministry.


Here's the link to the original template - I found it helpful to know what types of things I was filling in the blanks with. Where I'm From

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bus Route

This morning went much better on the bus - the route went smoothly and my "seatbelt child" wore his seatbelt without argument. This was in stark contrast to yesterday where he was "quietly defiant" and absolutely refused to put it on. I wasn't really willing to put it on him myself as I wasn't sure how he would react to that. I had another chat with his mother last night - she says he is to wear it for the rest of the year. That will be something to possibly reconsider at a later time but for now he will wear it. I did end up calling a couple of other parents as well - for other students who were unable to sit down and keep their hands to themselves. This route is very very challenging - some days I struggle with feeling like a complete failure.

Today is Son1's last cross country meet of the season - we will be going to it as there is an early dismissal this afternoon. It will be a long day though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Playing Hooky

I am playing hooky from my shuttle this morning - another driver is doing it for me. It was a gray gloomy morning and I woke up very achy and tired. I've had a nap, started some laundry, loaded some dishes and am not aching quite so much. It feels really good to be home rather than running out again. At some point this week I want to go to the craft store but guess it won't be today - unless Son2 and I go right after I get done driving this afternoon. Otherwise I will try to go Friday evening - that will depend on what else is going to happen that night.

Tomorrow is Son1's last cross country meet of the season. The Varsity team will be moving on but he will be finished. The team as a whole will be going out to eat after the meet - family included. This should be interesting. Son2 does not want to go but I am not giving him a choice. He would rather go to TaeKwonDo class.

Other than that not much is going on. I did see 3 deer this morning on my bus route - that was fun. None of my passengers saw them though. And my student who can't sit still and keep his hands to himself is not at all happy about having a seatbelt he has to wear. He wanted to not wear it this morning - he lasted all of about 30 sec. before he was up and turned around. So we had a discussion when we got to school.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Recap

It's been almost a week since I've written - wow! It's a gray cloudy Monday morning - we had thunderstorms earlier but those seem to have moved out of the area. Today is supposed to be cooler then it will warm up later in the week again. The leaves are all turning though - and many are already falling.

Last week I dug up one batch of my irises to divide and replant. They didn't bloom well this past spring so I thought this might be the answer. I still have several to replant but am not exactly sure where I will put them. Those are still sitting on my table on the deck. Unfortunately while I was working outside I apparently got into some poison ivy again - am broke out in the itchy blisters. I didn't see any in the main area I was working but guess that doesn't matter. So...I'm not sure what that is going to do for my ability to do yard work - it seems the sensitivity to the stuff is getting worse. That's frustrating because I really do enjoy yard work - I find it rather relaxing to get out and "play in the dirt".

The bus route is going much better overall. I'm still having a few issues but they are decreasing. I did have to walk another student into the office today - he's been in trouble a couple of times already. The principal immediately started talking about transferring him off to a special needs bus - his sister has already been transferred. I told both her and my boss that if possible I want to keep him on my bus - we just need to come up with a set of consequences that will be effective. We may also need to have him strapped in - that is not my favorite option but it's better in my book then having him transferred off. He's very good at admitting what he does wrong - just can't seem to control himself. I would be more frustrated if he denied it - in my book the ability to admit it and therefore realize that it's not a good choice is a benefit. I just need to figure out where to go from there. One person did tell me they used to keep a notebook on the bus - when they had issues they would move the student up front, pass them the notebook and have them write out what they did wrong and what a better choice would have been. I kind of like that option.

Yesterday I had company over after church - we spent most of the day together. I fixed pork chops, baked potatoes and a veggie for lunch. Then for dinner we had pizza. We watched "The Gods Must Be Crazy I & II" - I had honestly forgotten how much I enjoyed those movies. I laughed and laughed. Personally I enjoy the first one more but a friend of Son2's who was here thought the second one was better. So what are your favorite comedies?

Son1 spent the day yesterday with his girlfriend at her home - went to her church in the morning. He didn't get home until after youth group last night.

I'd better scoot for now - got stuff I've got to accomplish.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I've been doing much more handwritten journaling than blog entries recently...I'm not sure why. It has been a bit difficult for me to come up with stuff to write about - I don't even have deer seen on my new bus route to mention.

Yesterday afternoon I drove another cross country meet for Son1's team. Actually this was another joint one where both the high school and middle school teams went to the same place. That makes for a fairly full bus but behavior has been much better this year. It's really been a pleasure driving them - especially the high school. The high school runs a 5K for each race. Son1 ran well - his time was 22:45 - not his best time but most definitely not his worst time. Except for this meet, he's improved his times in all the meets he's run in. 3 meets ago he ran the distance in 23 minutes flat. Last Saturday he ran the distance in 21:20 - so far that's been his absolute fastest. I know he was somewhat disappointed with his time last night but under the circumstances of heavy humid air followed by a thunderstorm he did well. Unfortunately one of the middle school students - who he's had issues with in the past - made fun of his time. That makes it difficult for him. I struggle with knowing what to do to help him deal with it - if I need to step in myself to say something or what. This student is younger than him and likely - even though he is on the middle school cross country team - could not keep up with Son1 in a 5K race. This student is also pretty much a bully and very few people seem to stand up to him.

On a different note, 2 more students have been transferred off my school bus to a special needs bus. This morning I took a conduct report into the office to speak with the principal about it - the response was "why isn't this student on a special needs bus?" I think it will be better for this particular student - less people to cause him to get agitated. However I do struggle with feeling like a failure at the moment - in the past I've generally always gained control of the students on the bus without having them transferred off.

I'd better close for now - need to go start dinner I guess.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Morning Route

One week ago today I had a disciplinary issue on my bus - phoned the parents of the students involved, did the write-up, walked the students into the office...I never received my copy of the report. I wasn't overly concerned about that until I had another very similar issue with one of the same students as was involved last week - the other student involved was a sibling from the family last week. I had discussed her daughter with her while I was on the phone about her son. At that point it was disclosed that there are some learning issues with the daughter. So long story short - after this morning's incident she will no longer be riding my bus. She's young and unable to sit still. Therefore the decision has been made to put her on a bus where she can be strapped in. That's a relief to me.

The other mother on the other hand is "out for my head" - she's accusing me of screaming at the kids, not being fair...She says I should allow the kids to move around. I haven't talked to her today about this - she actually phoned my boss. Thankfully she also told him that she's told her son to fight back if he's getting picked on - he pointed out that that's unacceptable behavior and he will face consequences if he chooses to fight back rather than letting me handle it. The initial plan was to put a seatbelt in for him - that would have made it easier to keep him in his seat. However mom has now changed her mind and says that's not an option. So ultimately I'm going to end up with a camera on my bus - to keep tabs on "everything" that goes on. Personally I really don't care for that decision but it's not mine to make. Oftentimes a camera does work to protect the driver. However to me it's a frustration because I feel like I am not doing my job adequately if one is required. (Of course I was told that the driver that had this route last year also had issues with it - it's not just me, it's the passengers.)

I will say that I do definitely raise my voice - probably fairly often. However I call the children by name and it's simply to get their attention - it's the only way to do so when one has a bus load of 60 or so children (more in the afternoons I think). I am not one to "cuss out" my passengers - and as much as possible I try to be fair and respectful. I will likely get the camera sometime next week.

Something I want to check into is what a "provocative victim" is and what the characteristics of one are.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flexibility Required

Well today in general has been a day to "drop back 10 & punt". After work this afternoon I came home and planned on blanching what's left of the corn that I didn't finish over the weekend, then going out and spending some time mowing the lawn. However after I had fueled the lawn mower it was leaking fuel from a hose. I was advised not to run it due to the fact it might catch fire. So...change of plans involved getting the corn cut off the cob, updating my blog and doing stuff inside. There is plenty of weeding to do outside but I had hoped to catch a couple of friends online.

It looks like I'm not going to be able to give up some of my days driving the kindergarten shuttle - my boss is having trouble finding someone to do it the days I want off. I either have to give up the entire thing or keep the entire thing. I'm more than a little disappointed about that as I was looking forward to being able to do a better job at keeping things up around here and staying in touch with people. The other issue is that I'm still having such a challenging time with my regular route though it is beginning to calm down slightly. And I still really don't want to end up on blood pressure stuff again. I know that's been down the past few days but today was a bit frustrating on the bus and I could feel it.

On a different note - I got to use an electric knife to finish cutting the corn kernels off the cob - wow! That made it so much easier - I was done with that in about 15 minutes instead of a couple of hours! I think I will have to look into getting one of those for myself.

Friday, September 14, 2007

T.G.I.F.

Today I honestly have to say "Thank God it's Friday" - and I'm not driving the bus tomorrow for the cross country meet. The boys are exhausted and managed to get into a fight this morning before we all left on the bus. I hope their days improve rapidly.

I ended up having to walk two of my students into the office this morning as one had apparently "karate hit" the other one in the stomach. When I asked him why his response was that the other boy had been picking on him. So I filled out paperwork on both boys and left it to the school to deal with. However I did have to call both parents and speak to them. The one (of the boy who had been hit) was not surprised to hear what had happened - said she had been having issues with him. She had been hoping they would be better this year but don't appear to be. The other mother told me that she had told her son to defend himself if he was being picked on. I can totally see her point of view - and in the past I've also told Son1 the same thing. However I also reminded her that if her son hits people there will be consequences that will have to be faced - and that he really needs to say something to me. She pointed out that if he stood up while the bus was moving to come to me he would get in trouble for that. I said that that was true but he could raise his hand and verbally get my attention - and then come to me when the bus was safely stopped. At that point, she said she would have a talk with him and tell him that - and then would probably go into the school to talk to the principal. So...again I see how much of a challenge this route actually is. And while making a seating chart will help some of my issues it certainly won't solve them all. Finishing that up will be high on the priority list for next week.

On a different note I have 6 dozen ears of corn sitting in my kitchen waiting for me to put them up. I have no real idea what to do with it - have tried freezing it in the past and haven't felt like it turned out really well. I remember eating home canned corn at Grandma's but have no idea how she did it. So this should be interesting. I also want to get some tomatoes and put them up as well - I've done a few out of my garden but would like to do more.

My doctor's appointment went o.k. last night I guess. He's not too concerned about the blood pressures being up - seems to think it's due to headaches from allergies. I guess that's good - at least I don't have to go on blood pressure meds at this point in time. Dropping part of the kindergarten shuttle should help a lot as well as it will actually give me some semi-productive time at home. I'd better get done for now though - have to leave shortly for the kindergarten run and should try to change laundry loads first.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Power Outage = 2 Hour Delay

We are on a 2 hour delay this morning due to an area power outage. It's apparently fairly large as it is affecting two different school districts. If I had got the call earlier I would have gone back to sleep for awhile this morning. Instead I'm trying to get some stuff done - laundry folded, kitchen tidied, etc. Son1 has watched a Star Trek episode this morning - now he's working on the kitchen for me. He still has some homework to finish also. I really want to get some work done in the craft room - tidying it up and getting re-organized again. That likely won't happen today though as Tuesdays are generally my busiest days - and the day I usually try to recover from being up too late Sunday night. I guess though that I'd better get a move on on some of this stuff.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Not Broken

It's not broken according to the x-rays I had taken this morning. The diagnosis is a severe bruise - which is absolutely not visible at this point in time. The treatment is ibuprofen, keeping it wrapped and rest. Dr's "exact" words were "try not to use it". I wanted to laugh but didn't - it's impossible to not use it as a school bus driver. Thankfully I didn't have to miss driving my afternoon route and I was able to get the grocery shopping done after school.

It's been a good day overall - though definitely not one in which I accomplished massive amounts of stuff. I made a few phone calls, went to the doctor for x-rays and did grocery shopping after school. Now I've got to get boys to bed and get ready for my day tomorrow. Hopefully this week will be a slightly slower week - no extra driving scheduled. That's a good thing. I do still have paperwork to do for my bus route though some of which must be finished tonight.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Another Long Update

I think I really need to be taking a nap. However I'm waiting for Son1 to get home from church - I went to early service, cried through most of it, waited around afterwards to talk to a couple of people then came on home. What initially triggered the tears was one of the songs we sung during worship - "We all need". I left Son2 at home sleeping this morning - he'd been gone most of the day yesterday and was a stubborn mess last night. On the one hand I really struggle with feeling like a terrible mom - I know he needs to be in church, I want him in church but some mornings I simply can't handle the argument - especially when we are both exhausted. I got up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck - have probably had too many late nights, too many long days and it's time I "crashed" for a bit.

The week ended up out pretty good overall. I learned that it's impossible to make coffee without putting water in the coffee maker! Truthfully I knew that already but that's how Friday morning started - Son2 had to come ask me "mom - did you put water in the machine?" Needless to say I didn't have coffee before I drove the bus that morning. Thankfully later in the day I was able to make coffee fine so I didn't cause the machine to break. It's almost as bad as the day I ate "raw" oatmeal and drank 1 1/2 cups of cold coffee before realizing the microwave didn't work - I don't function overly well first thing in the morning. I spent Friday morning between routes with a girlfriend I hadn't seen for almost a month - we'd been meeting pretty regularly on Friday mornings. She had the coffee already brewed when I got there - it was so good to be able to visit over breakfast, see her children and generally catch up on each other's lives. We are going to try to get back to meeting regularly at least a couple mornings a month. I don't feel I can handle more than every other week as I'm on the go so much anyway.

Friday evening I made spagetti, chicken and gravy for dinner - Son1 needed to have a high carb meal as he had a meet Saturday. This was an invitational meet with maybe 10 other schools - there were 7 races held that day - between the middle schools and high schools varsity and junior varsity teams. Boys and girls race separately with the top 7 of each team racing in the varsity races and any remaining members racing in the junior varsity races. I enjoyed watching the races as I knew kids in all of them - mostly from our school system of course but a few from another school. For the second year in a row, our middle school boys took first place as a team - that's exciting. Son1 ran his race very well again - he PR'd by 12 seconds off his time from last week coming in at 23 min. flat for the 5K race that the high school students ran. I drove the bus again this week - it went well though I did "yell" at one of the middle school boys for "hitting" another boy with his warm-up suit. ( I called him by name and told him not to do it again when he looked like he was going to) On the way back we only had both coaches and several high school team members on the bus. The rest had all gone home with parents.

While Son1 and I were at the cross country meet, Son2 had gone to a TaeKwonDo tournament - he wasn't able to participate as a competitor as the budget did not allow that. However he did get to help the judges out several times - recording scores, making sure people stayed in their rings, etc. He came home pretty excited and also exhausted. He is looking forward to being allowed to compete near the end of October.

Last night Son1 and I went to have dinner with B and his son. Son2 was expected to go along but being as he was tired and grumpy I left him home to be grumpy alone. Overall Son1 and I had an enjoyable time in spite of the fact it was too wet most of the evening for 4 wheeler rides. We had dinner, visited and watched the movie "Wild Hogs". It was interesting to watch though there was language in it.

Tonight I have an A run scheduled - going to MI to pick someone up and bring them back. It's funny - I can go for a couple of weeks with nothing then get 2 calls to do runs the same evening. Needless to say I can only do one of these - and the MI one was scheduled first. Thankfully I've not got any cross country meets to drive this week. I don't think any are scheduled until this coming Saturday. Unfortunately Son1 won't get to run in that as he's got a schedule conflict with Gospel Choir.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This week has been a less busy week so far - no weekday meets, not a lot of extra running...Probably the thing that has helped the most is that I no longer have to sit at the elementary school for 30 min. after I finish my kindergarten shuttle - the special needs student I've been taking is having his school day extended so I no longer will be transporting him. He never caused me any problems - my issue with it was the fact that I had to sit and wait for that time period. Today I actually took a short nap after I got home before my afternoon route. That was nice. I'm still weary tonight though. My afternoon bus route was interesting though thankfully fairly calm. I had 3 middle school students (8th grade boys) sitting in the front half of the bus - none have turned in their signed rule sheets yet and that was the consequence I had set up. I rather expect I will have them tomorrow afternoon as none were particularly pleased that I made good on my warning that they would be sitting up front if I didn't have them back. At least today I didn't have the issue of one child threatening to punch another one.

Tomorrow is likely to be a longer day - regular route, cleaning house, kindergarten shuttle, pm route followed by an extra afternoon shuttle - taking football and volleyball kids to the next town over. Friday I don't have much planned I don't think. Saturday is Son1's next cross country meet - we likely won't get home until 2:00 pm or so. Sunday evening I have a run to MI scheduled - that will be another late night as I probably won't get home until 11:00 pm. Monday I'm scheduled to do another late afternoon shuttle run and Tuesday I think I have a cross country meet to drive. Ok...on that note I'm going to close for now. It's time I got off the computer.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Busy Week - Long

O.K. - I can hardly believe it's been nearly a week since I posted anything. I must admit the last week has been absolutely crazy busy - with several very long days in it. I honestly don't even really know where to start.

I guess I will start with Son1's cross country meet yesterday. I got to drive the bus - a benefit because I got to get paid to go watch him run. Having said that, it also meant that we had a very early day as the coach wanted to leave the high school at 7:00 am. That meant we needed to leave our house by 6:30 am to be there on time to load and be ready to leave. The drive down to Marion went well - it was a beautiful morning - slightly foggy, cool with promise of a sunny day to follow - excellent running weather. The varsity teams (girls and boys) ran first then it was time for junior varsity - we had no girls running and Son1 was the only boy from our school running. However there were over 150 runners in the junior varsity boys' race so there was plenty of competition. I felt like many of those runners should have competed in the varsity race as they were that fast. However I guess only the top 7 runners got to compete there. Anyway Son1 ran a very good race - he beat his time from the first meet by 3 min. 34 seconds or so. I knew he was going to beat his time - the first meet was on a day when the heat index was over 100' - it was incredibly muggy and the course was one of the harder ones they would run on. None of our runners did exceptionally well that first meet. We hung around for the award ceremony as two of our girls had placed in the varsity race - one of the freshman placed in the top 10 runners! We got home about 3:00 pm so it was a long day on the bus.

Last night we went to a friend's place for dinner and a swim. What a blast! It's been years since I've swum in a lake and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The water was not too cold and mucky so it was fun. And I enjoyed goofing off with the boys. I did have the unexpected opportunity to drag Son1 to the pier when his calves cramped so severely he couldn't do anything - there was no wading in - one jumped into water over one's head. After a couple of bananas and a sports drink the cramps eased and he was able to enjoy most of the rest of the evening. That involved 4-wheeler rides and BB guns as well as dinner.

Thursday and Friday were long days for me. This year I've picked up a mid-day kindergarten shuttle - I'm finding it exhausting when combined with my regular (new) route. I was on the go pretty much from 7:15 am when I leave for my morning route until 6 or 7:00 pm in the evening. I'm not driving bus the entire time - much of the extra time was running errands and cleaning the one house I clean for someone else. (That's a bit funny considering I have such a challenging time with my own!) Additionally my students were very wound up Friday afternoon as we were expecting a 3 day weekend - that made the bus route challenging. I honestly don't remember much about the first part of the week - except that I was running most days then also.

Oh yes...Son2 tested for his next belt in TaeKwonDoe Thursday evening. I had an appointment after my bus route in one direction while he had class in the opposite direction. I had arranged for him to ride a bus that would drop him off at the school (early) so he would make class. I then went to my appointment then went to class arriving in time to watch him test. Son1 also arrived - on a shuttle bus from the high school - in time to see him. I got some pictures of him testing though unfortunately I didn't actually get his "board break".

OK...this is probably long enough and I still have an email I need to send yet tonight. Thankfully Son1 is still watching a movie so he's not hovering wanting his turn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I was going to try to catch up on blogs this morning but instead I really need to clean house and get my grocery list made up. That way I can hopefully find coupons for some of what I need.

This weekend went by way too fast - mostly it was a lot of fun. Saturday the boys and I went with two friends to a tractor show - it had all kinds of tractors, engine parts, antiques, flea market stuff...I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There were many antique (literally) books to look at - that was probably one of my favorite parts. Of course being on a huge budget didn't allow me to purchase any. (Not to mention that I'm really trying hard to limit the number of books I bring in). Son1 also found it enjoyable. Son2 wasn't as interested though he had a friend his age to hang with. We stopped for dinner on the way home (the town where the show was, was 90 minutes or so away so it was a longish day).

Yesterday was church in the morning - I went and picked up Son1's girlfriend to bring her with us. She came home afterwards and spent the afternoon with us. In a sense this reminds me of the Amish ways where a dating couple spends weekends at each other's homes - it allows them to spend time together but not be completely "unsupervised". Also it allows the family to get to know the other person involved. He's young to have a girlfriend and that does concern me. However I guess it's something he can hopefully learn from.

I'll close with this quote from Pastor's sermon yesterday. He was taking about "Giving What You Have" - and how we have to understand the reality of what we have to offer and the responsibility to offer it. One example he used was that it doesn't do any good to bail someone out of a financial mess without teaching them how to not get back in that mess - people need changed lives and hearts. Anyway...here's the quote:

What I give, He takes.
What He takes, He cleanses
What He cleanses, He fills with the Holy Spirit.
What He fills with His Holy Spirit, He empowers.

I'm not sure if this is something Pastor came up with himself or if it's quoted from someone else. Usually he's pretty good about saying where stuff comes from though if it's from someone else.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

8 Random Facts

8 Random Things about me:

1) I was born in Somalia

2) I am terrified of heights - to the point that I don't willingly climb anything higher than about 2 feet.

3) I love driving school bus - getting to know "my kids"

4) My favorite photo ops involve waterfalls and kids who aren't paying attention.

5) I nearly always have at least one book with me where-ever I go - and hate to finish one up without having another one handy.

6) I've kept a written journal pretty consistently since I was about 12 - and I still have most of them on a shelf in my "craft room".

7) I have way more craft projects to do then I'll ever have time to complete.

8) I still blush at the drop of a hat...one would think I would have outgrown that by now!

Ok...I'm not going to tag 8 people. If you want to participate feel free to do so and leave me a comment so I know to check your blog.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ok...it's been a crazy couple of days. Yesterday overall went well - I haven't heard anything on the appraisal yet. My afternoon bus run ended up being longer than necessary - I missed one student's stop - she sat there and looked at her house as I drove by - waited until I was completely at the next stop - about 3 miles away - before she said anything. So we had to double back to take her home. Then another student commented on the fact that we were retracing our steps. It turned out that she was completely on the wrong bus - I don't go anywhere near her home. So my boss had to meet me (again) to get her and take her home. At least this time I didn't know her at all so could be excused for not realizing she wasn't "mine".

Yesterday I also started taking a special needs child to a daycare after my kindergarten shuttle. That means that instead of getting home about 12:30 I don't get home until close to 1:00 pm. My afternoon bus route went o.k. I guess overall though I'm still not getting home before 4:15.

Son1's first cross country meet is this Thursday someplace south of here. I'm going to be driving the bus for that and several of the other meets they have this season. So right now I'm feeling more than a little busy. That will continue until cross country season is over. We'll have a little break before spring track.

Son2 was supposed to be ready to go to TaeKwonDo this afternoon when I got done from his bus route. However he's not ready so he's not going again today. (He missed all of last week due to being sick). I told him that he's definitely going to start back next week - I'm not really sure what his issue is right now with this. However with the chaos of the first week of school I'm not going to argue too tremendously much.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday

First Monday morning of the school year...heavy rain and thunderstorms beginning sometime overnight. I actually had thought we might have fog this morning as it was fairly heavy last night while I was doing my Amish run (and to be honest I was rather hoping for a fog delay because I was really tired and up too late.) Anyway the bus route went quite well - most parents from in the countryside area either kept their children inside until the bus was at the house or drove the child down the drive to wait for the bus. My in town stops were not that way though - I had several rather wet children getting on the bus. Some had parents that kept them inside, most did not. Being as my bus is much more crowded this year than any other year that I can remember it's taking me a bit longer to learn names. Additionally when it's raining heavily it's more challenging to keep the windows clear and visibility decent. I got to the school in good time though - that was nice. Shortly after getting there though I had a student come to me and tell me that a girl sitting behind him was being mean to him and telling lies about him. Of course these particular students were in the very back of the bus so I couldn't hear anything that was going on. However I walked back to attempt to assess the situation and deal with it. Long story short after some discussion with the 4 students involved I instructed the two boys to sit nearer the front of the bus - and allowed the girls to continue to sit near the back. However the original student, A, who came to me initially continued to get upset - he was obviously getting angrier rather than calming down. I ended up...after talking to him some more alone - walking him into the school to see the school counselor as I really didn't want him to start his week off on a angry agitated note. I wasn't at all sure how the counselor was going to react being as I hadn't radioed ahead asking to see her. Thankfully she was very supportive -recognized A immediately and took us both to her room. I explained the situation, what I had done and why I had brought A in. She also made sure to take the extra step of explaining to A that I had brought him in because I cared and wanted him to have a good day. (I hadn't said that to her either- had just said that he was agitated and explained why). I was able to leave A with her to chat some more and come up with some additional ways to deal with things. I will probably need to call parents tonight but am not sure yet. Overall I am pleased with how things went.

Yesterday was chaotic and crazy - I had 3 additional friends here at the house for most of the day. Son1's girlfriend was over - I picked her up for church. Then I had another friend over to play with Son2 That left me mostly free to visit. We had a good time overall I think. Most all of us got involved - at different times - with a wrestling match. That was fun to say the least.

Saturday a couple from church came over to help pull carpet in my bedroom. That involved getting all my furniture moved out, carpet pulled and everything put back in. Really it only took a couple of hours - the boys and I had mostly moved the smaller stuff out before they arrived. However I ended up working almost until 10:00pm Saturday night getting stuff put back away. There's still some to go - some to sort through and decide what to do with. In addition to pulling carpet we also finished painting the one bathroom - a project that had been started 18 months ago. I'm really glad to have those two things done.

Enough rambling for now - have an appraiser coming shortly followed by my kindergarten shuttle that I have to do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

First Day

First day of school today...hectic, busy, exhausting, fun day. Morning bus route went well - I ran fairly close to on-time and didn't get lost at all. Actually I felt very comfortable with it. After bus route I ran two students down to our other elementary school as they had got on the wrong bus. Then home to take Son2 to the doctor - who did prescribe antibiotics to treat him for strep. However his fever has been mostly down today so I'm considering holding onto them to see if it clears up on it's own. He will likely go to school tomorrow. However he will not do his testing for TaeKwonDo on Saturday as he's missed an entire week of class. He will test when he goes back. After I got home from the doctor's appointment it was off to learn my kindergarten shuttle route - today we used a mini bus. However I've been told that it's perfectly acceptable for me to use my own full size bus - that way I don't have to worry about switching out daily. I'm thrilled about that because it saves me time and energy.

From the kindergarten shuttle it was off to the store to fill the antibiotic prescription. Then home for a quick lunch and game with Son2 before heading out to drive my afternoon bus route. That was totally crazy - getting students straight at the middle school, finding any new shuttle stops between there and the elementary school then getting a bus full of new elementary students. Thankfully they are pretty much the same as my morning students so at least I'd seen them once. However getting them all at the same time was challenging - and loud. Additionally I had two students from last year slip onto my bus - one I caught right away and was able to get him to the correct bus. However I was halfway through my route before I figured out who the other student was. She rode the entire route with me then got picked up by my boss and delivered to another mini bus that took her home. It was probably 4:30 before she made it home. My issues were minor compared to some of the other drivers - they were getting lost, having students who didn't have any idea where they lived or were on the wrong bus or both.

I'm pretty beat tonight and will try to get to sleep early. We will see.

Son1 is exhausted tonight - he seems to have enjoyed his first day at high school. However it was a long day since he has practice after school and doesn't get home until after 6:00 pm.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is This Grand Central?

Two days until school starts. My phone has been ringing off the hook today it seems like - I feel a bit like answering "Grand Central. How may I help you?" Mainly it's people calling me to see what time I will be picking their child up for school on Thursday morning. That's generally a very difficult question to answer because the route is completely new to me and I'm not sure yet exactly how I will run it. There are some areas that I have some leeway in which direction I come from with the students and I haven't decided which will be safest and quickest. I usually like to run it in my car before hand to make sure I can find the stops and then run it in the bus the day before school starts to get an idea of my times. However I have company coming in this evening just for overnight and Son2 is sick. So...I'm really torn as to what's best to do right now - one of those times that it's really difficult to balance being a mother and work. Son1 is at freshman orientation tonight - I had planned on going with him. However due to Son2 being sick I stayed home.

Thankfully today the weather was cooler than it's been. It was a very cloudy morning but the sun came out this afternoon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Stuff

Well...I finally have the car back. They ended up replacing the transmission range selector (sensor?) control module - with a used part. Hopefully this will take care of the problems and I won't have to take it back. I still have the loaner car until I'm "certain that my car is properly fixed and won't have to go back again". As thankful as I am for the use of the loaner car, I'm equally thankful to have mine back - it's hard to get used to driving a different vehicle.

Both boys are on a father/son camping/canoe trip this weekend. They should be back sometime this evening. They've gone on this trip every year since we moved here - one of the men from the church "adopts" them for the time. It's been a different one every year but I'm thankful they get to go. Last year Son2 came back with a severe sunburn and ended up on antibiotics for "sun poisoning". Therefore both he and the person who's "taking" them have strict instructions about sunscreen usage and hat wearing. Son2 has been really good about wearing sunscreen when he's going to be out any length of time - he hates the hives and itching that goes along with a reaction to the sun. For Son1 the sun has never been an issue.

My goal for today is to get the house cleaned more thoroughly than has happened in awhile. I will have company during the early part of next week. So I'm setting my 15 min. timer and moving from room to room. The front room is done except for taking out the stuff that needs to go to storage. I've been in the family room and my bedroom...am hoping the dishes will be dry and cool enough to unload and reload so my next 15 min. can be in the kitchen. Then I will continue to rotate around. I am cheating and running the a/c units again today - it's not as hot as it's been but still muggy.

My break time is about up and it's time to get back to the project. I would absolutely love to be able to spend some time working outside as well. However last night while mowing I found more of what I suspect is poison ivy growing across the lawn - it's still in the back but coming across towards the driveway. I left it alone except for taking out my spray bottle of weed killer and spraying it. I suspect that everything is going I want to save is going to have to be dug up and then the entire area sprayed heavily with a type of total vegetation killer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ongoing Sagas

And so it continues...I phoned the car repair place around noon today to find out if and when the car would be ready. I was told that they should have it done after 3:00 pm - the part was in and the tech would put it back together when he was back from his lunch break. I arranged a ride into town for 4:00ish hoping to be able to pick the car up and bring it home. It wasn't done and I decided to wait until closing time to see what happened. I did get the old part - it really did need replacing - every set of wires was corroded. Apparently when this part shorted out it shorted out 2 other sensors - for the speedometer and odometer. Those are now replaced. However I ended up getting another ride home - the car is not finished or fixed - it still will not shift correctly and the tech doesn't seem to know what the problem is. So I left instructions for them to keep me informed by phone and I guess I have no other choice but to wait.

I'm also still fighting an itchy rash - there are some definite poison ivy spots. However there are also spots that are not poison ivy blisters though they itch almost as much. I'm not sure what is causing them or how to "fix it". On that also I continue to wait and do what I know to do.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cherries

Great excitement today for me...I found cherries on several different trees extending along the fence line of the property. The owners of the woods behind us had a forester meet them to discuss their woods - how it's growing and what the next step for them needs to be. I learned that when you are planting hardwoods you alternate a row of hardwoods with a row of pine trees - somehow that helps the hardwoods grow faster and eventually the pine trees die out by themselves. (I went outside because I had a question for the owner). The forester also pointed out some cherry trees with fruit on them - the cherries are very small but sweet. This evening I took a walk - down the hill along the fence line looking for more trees. Turns out there are several and they had little tiny cherries on them. I may have only been able to get half a cup or so but I'm still thrilled and hope to be able to put them up until I can make something out of them. The grape vines have little dark purple grapes on them - apparently they don't sweeten until after the first frost. So I'm going to have to keep an eye on them and be ready to try and pick them after the first frost. The hazelnuts will be bountiful again this year I think...I've really got to come up with ideas and knowledge to use them. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Apples, pears, peaches and plums aren't doing too well though - if I get enough peaches for one batch of jam or jelly I'll be surprised. Plums will be even less - I can't find any on the trees.

While I was out walking and looking...this was not an exercise walk by any stretch of the imagination...I saw a coyote (i think) cross from the woods behind us across the hill and road into the field where it disappeared. It was an animal that looked a bit like a wolf but the coloring was wrong - too brown. That's why I think it was probably a coyote. Anyway...though I've often wondered if we had any living around here this was the first confirmation of it.

And we have baby kittens again...5 this time I think. Oddball is the mother - she's done good this time. Now we just have to wait and see if they all survive.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

18 years ago today I was getting married. Looking back at my younger self...we were just babies really - I was 23 and he was 22 1/2. We had absolutely no true idea of what marriage would involve - what love really meant...what it meant to walk out those vows of "in sickness and in health, until death do us part." I know that I didn't realize how much of a choice love would be - I was wrapped up in the emotions I think. And I was excited about getting married - looking towards the future.

So much has changed since that day. I've become a mother to two handsome young men. We made a cross country move. I took care of my husband through a lengthy battle with brain cancer - through the changes and challenges that that entailed. I know I often failed - in my actions and my attitudes. I am thankful that my husband loved me anyway.

Now I've been a widow for a little over 4 years...made another cross country move, changed jobs, bought a new (to us) home...I wonder sometimes what the future holds. Thankfully I know Who holds the future.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Updates

Ok...time for another update. The car is still in the shop. The current theory is that the cause of the problem is the fact that the transmission selector sensor pigtail has some exposed wires on it - those are touching and causing shorts. The tech took me back to show me the part and the problem. The part itself either has to be new (my preference) or retrieved from a junk yard - of which there are no cars with the part on it. It's also not available from any of the local dealers - apparently this car was built in Canada so has some parts that are strictly Canadian. So it will be at least two days before the part comes in. Then it's installing it, fixing or redoing the creative wiring that has been done to try to isolate the problem and hoping that solves the problem for good. I just hope that it isn't actually the transmission selector sensor. It seems like they come up with a theory/potential problem - we fix that thing and it still isn't completely right.

I was going to start a second job Monday morning - very early. I would have been working at the local deli/gas station/mini mart - probably 20-25 hours a week. They just called and said that my hours of availability won't work for them. So I'm disappointed and still in need of another job.

We had our bus driver orientation this morning - early. I'm tired from it. My route is going to be completely new this year - east of the house. I knew it was likely to change but was still hoping to have at least a few of the same kids as I did last year. I won't have any of the same kids so that's very disappointing. And I will have a much fuller bus I think both morning and afternoon. I will also have to learn a whole new area that I don't currently know very well at all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And The Saga Continues

I took the car and dropped it off yesterday at the repair shop after the fuse blew again Sunday morning. It was to be looked at this afternoon and hopefully repaired. Instead I got a call telling me I can come pick it up - they would like me to drive it to see if it goes out again. (The tech has done some creative wiring so the systoms that are on the fuse that keeps blowing all have their own individual fuses. The hope is to isolate for certain which system is causing the problem) So since I'm in town I arrange for someone to follow me home in the borrowed vehicle I'm driving and then they would bring me back into town in my car. That's all accomplished with no trouble and I head off to pick up Son1 at the laundromat where he's finishing up getting the bedding all washed and dried. We leave the laundromat and head to fast food then start to head home - and a fuse blows again. It's not the one that controls the daytime running lights - that's the one that the repair shop people think that it is - I know because suddenly the car is not wanting to shift properly and I've lost my speedometer and odometer. So...I call the repair shop again and tell them a fuse has blown and what I've lost this time. The car is scheduled to go back in tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime my "check engine" light is on, the car is "roaring" and does not want to go above 30 mph - if that. I'm really hoping I can physically get it to the repair shop tomorrow. And I'm scared to know how much it will cost me to get it fixed.

Thankfully I still have the borrowed car and I've figured out how to adjust the seat on that one. That's a small thing but it does make it more comfortable to drive - it's a Oldsmobile and was probably top of the line when it was new.