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.'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 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'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


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 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


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


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.