Monday, December 21, 2009

Home

Well Squirrel and I are home now...he was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon. He is still wearing a cervical collar and will have to wear that until the 29th at the earliest. He is scheduled for some more testing to attempt to find out why he passed out in the first place...

At the moment he is pretty bored...finding creative ways to get around without having to have someone "walk" him. Tomorrow he will start doing some easy chores...just to keep him occupied. In the meantime I am playing catch-up from being gone so long.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Squirrel

Squirrel has been in the hospital here since late Wednesday night when he was brought into the ER by ambulance. He was admitted to the Pediatric ICU with a concussion and hairline skull fracture...now diagnosis has been expanded to include possible whiplash type injury. We will be here at least until he is able to keep a meal down and be up walking around without extreme dizziness and nausea. He started "eating" yesterday...more than just ice chips and has had a bowl of cereal this morning.

We ended up here because he passed out at school on Wednesday afternoon and fell off the stage - about a 3 foot drop. He managed to come down off the top riser but then tumbled off the stage. I did not see this happen...but very thankfully was sitting on my bus in the parking lot waiting for afternoon route to start. I was coherent enough to make sure they got someone to drive my bus route but other than that my focus has been pretty much on him. The choir concert he was involved in practicing for that was scheduled for that night was cancelled immediately.

Time to get off this public hospital computer and get back into his room.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Post???

Wow...it's been a very long time since I've posted anything...and I actually have pictures to post...but likely won't get to that tonight.

  • Dipstick has broken his new glasses - that he's only had for a week and the eye doctor's place is closed tomorrow
  • Dipstick's grades currently are not failing!!! This is awesome as he's been grounded for weeks due to failing grades & undone homework.
  • I enjoyed an awesome visit with my sister and her children yesterday. B and I drove to Grand Rapids to meet them. We enjoyed lunch then went to the public museum. It was too much to comprehend all in one day but so much fun to look. We enjoyed a nice supper at the restaurant near their hotel then headed home.
  • All 3 boys stayed home and went to school yesterday...was nice to spend the day just with B but equally nice to get home late(r) last night and see all the boys
  • Belle and Boo are beautiful handsome children that are growing so rapidly...they took to B very well - so much so that he was surprised.
  • Today was spend "recuperating" - I napped between bus routes and did laundry and dishes
  • Tomorrow will be spent preparing for a home show that I'm hostessing here Friday evening.
  • Stretch's fall play is over as is cross country...Life isn't slowing down much as the Gospel Choir schedule is picking up
  • Squirrel is running 3-4 days a week after school - usually in town but occasionally at the high school. He prefers to run at the high school as he thinks it is more interesting
  • My brother N and his wife I will be back from overseas for a month over Christmas...based near my mom and dad.
  • Excitement is high as my mind frantically runs around thinking about whether we will be able to make it north to see them...and what I should be working on to take to them
  • Still much concern over my Mom and Dad's health
  • Crops are slowly being harvested
  • Weather is still often rainy - today was misty and foggy most of the day. Was so thankful that we had a nice if chilly day yesterday
  • Boys should be home from church soon
I am totally rambling now...think I will go look at the project I have in mind to deliver up north. Was looking through pictures earlier this evening...found 1 set that showed many of my stitching UFO's...maybe someday I'll get them finished.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First "real" meal I've had in 2 days tonight...I baked roast in the oven and made potatoes and veggies to go on the side. I had hoped that there would be enough roast left to do another meal but it doesn't appear so this time. Cookies are just coming out of the oven...I paid bills today and balanced checkbook. I also got some cleaning done and a short nap in. It was really nice to be off school today and Friday...especially since I was down sick with something Friday and Saturday. I haven't had more than 1 cup of coffee since Thursday afternoon...not sure how bad I want to go back to drinking it - at least as much of it as I was. We will see how tomorrow goes.

Dipstick is at boy scouts tonight...he's missed several times. Stretch is upstairs doing homework while Squirrel is watching military channel on tv and waiting on his turn on the computer. Squirrel helped out here quite a bit today...inside lifting and carrying laundry for me as well as outside doing stuff for B. The camper is covered for the winter, the canoe is up on the wall in the lean-to...stuff is getting done. We have plans for re-arranging the shop office...I'm kind of looking forward to getting that done though I'm not sure when it will happen.

Cross country is over for another year - Semi-state was Saturday. I was supposed to get to drive the bus for that but...thankfully Stretch and Squirrel got to go anyway...both riding the bus.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brrr...

Brrrrr...it's cold here tonight. Actually it's been rather cold all day today though I did not light a fire during the day. Think tonight I will make sure it's stoked well before bed as tomorrow is supposed to be as cold as today was...and I like a warm house to wake up to.

B and Dipstick are watching tv tonight...the movie "Pearl Harbor". We have it on dvd but it's not one I've ever wanted to watch. Stretch and Squirrel are out tonight at youth group and should be back shortly. (Dipstick has been grounded due to his grades but his homework is done for tonight). This afternoon after school there were parent/teacher conferences at the high school. I really like how this school district does them - arena style with teachers paired up at tables. That way parents can visit with any teacher they wish to and skip some if necessary. Parent/teacher conferences are at the middle school for Squirrel next Wednesday night - same style. I much prefer this to just seeing one homeroom teacher out of several and getting notes on how the student is doing in the rest of the classes - in a 15 min. appointment. The other benefit to doing it arena style is that overall it seems to take less time to cover the teachers.

Boys are home so I'm getting booted off the computer...one goal for this weekend is to take pictures of all 3 boys outside somewhere - the weather is supposed to be better - not as cold and rainy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My heart questions...

No half started posts at all recently...have thought about posting but just not got it done...Don't feel like I've got much done at all recently though the house is mostly clean.

My heart is somewhat heavy this morning...yesterday morning there was a serious car wreck involving at least 4 of "our" high school students...the school where Stretch attends and the district I work for. Two vehicles were totaled, 4 students were injured. Of those 4, one is in a drug-induced coma on life support and one has multiple breaks in his back and neck as well as internal bruising. The injuries of the other two students were more minor...cuts and bruises mainly. Rumors are swirling ... the gist of which is that there was some sort of racing going on - in the early morning darkness on a 2 lane country road - with possibly another vehicle that left the scene...one vehicle clipped another one and two rolled. Likely most of us will never know the exact story...authorities may have trouble figuring it out. But the results...lives forever changed...families...pain...loss...

I have trouble comprehending this...my heart questions why? All I can do is pray for those involved and believe that God will work it for good. Stretch commented that it really again makes you realize the frailty of life and how fast it can change.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

He brews or why I don't do mornings

So this morning I'm trying to fix a fresh pot of coffee. I fill the reservoir with water, put a clean filter in...I grind the beans and push start. A few minutes later I wonder why my coffee is such a clear color...I know I ground the beans...Oh...wait a minute...did I put them in the filter?? Needless to say I hadn't.

There's a good reason why he brews in this house. (and it's not B it's usually Stretch that brews for me). The boys have learned to leave me mostly alone until I've had at least one cup of coffee.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A finished post!!

I've started more posts recently and not got them finished...hopefully this won't be another one.

Fall is definitely in the air...the nights are cool, days are cooler...leaves are starting to turn color and fall. Crops in the fields are ripening and I am beginning to see more and more wildlife on my bus route. This morning I saw a coyote near the end of the route and most of the kids on the bus saw a couple of deer at a stop sign. The chaos over the deer sighting was almost funny - one of my students saw it and started hollering and pointing.

Life has been crazy busy lately - we've had cross country meets for the last 2 Saturdays - with at least 2 more to come. In addition Squirrel has had meets during the week - thankfully those have been mostly "at home" but it still means long days for me. Stretch occasionally makes the at home meets but not all of them. Squirrel has been doing quite well - he ran the distance in just over 14 minutes on Tuesday. (It's a 1.9 m race for the middle school age group). He consistently places in the top 15 of the smaller meets (3 or less schools) - this past time it was out of 37 boy runners. (Girls had considerably more runners).

Stretch is in the fall play this year - in addition to cross country. He didn't try out as he focuses on cross country and then just helps with sound/lights/stage management at the play. However one of the kids who tried out - and got a part backed out so he has been asked to step in to take that part over. He does enjoy acting and it's good experience so I'm excited for him.

Dipstick...he's pretty much himself. He dropped out of football early on in the season. I'm sorry that he's not involved in a sport but at the same time it is probably better for his grades. He and I went to Grief Group last night - the same place I used to take Squirrel and Stretch to. He enjoyed himself - had more fun that he expected to. He was afraid that they would just sit around in a group and "talk about it". Instead they do crafts and activities as well as talking. I was surprised at how - even though I did not go into the adult group - I felt so at home there. I was looking forward to having an hour or so when I couldn't go anywhere else to sit and read or journal or whatever - I actually spent almost the entire time catching up with the program director. Pretty much everyone else was completely new to me but I still felt very comfortable and at home.

We've pretty much all been sick this past week - Squirrel started it and it's going around. B is probably the most miserable at the moment. I've been making homemade chicken noodle soup and pushing fluids and vitamins. Hopefully soon we will all be on the mend.

I've spent too much time sitting here at the computer...coffee and toast is finished and it's time to swap laundry loads. I've also got juice for jelly to make...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Squirrel had his first cross country meet tonight - I drove the bus to it. Driving the bus was kind of fun as the team is just big enough to not be able to use a mini bus so no one was crowded at all. Squirrel mis-judged the difficulty of the course and ran out of steam before the end of the race. He still finished well and placed in the top 15 runners and now has goals for the next meet. I didn't take my camera this time as the weather was decidedly iffy as far as rain was concerned.

I'm still pretty tired tonight - in addition to the meet on Saturday we worked a hard day at the old house yesterday. We sealed the driveway and put down rocks to fill in the places we were unable to seal. We were all pretty whupped last night. Today was pretty much a begin to catch up day - I worked on laundry, did dishes and typed out my bus route for the sub this afternoon.

I'll try to write something more interesting tomorrow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Crowds of spectators, ropes and lines painted on grass telling which way to go, hundreds of different colored uniforms, the whistle and starting gun...off they go. Spectators running and walking to different vantage points on the course...watching the runners as they spread out over the distance...hearing the roar as the first runners are spotted coming around the first bend then the next and the next. The rush to the finish line...and the increasing crescendo of cheers and shouts as runners come in...some in a pack...some alone. The intensity on runners faces as they reach deep inside for that last burst of energy to finish strong...the excitement as they catch the runner ahead...that final sprint...Dogs on leashes,cameras, sweat dripping, mosquito bites, airplanes buzzing low overhead, friendly parents, snacks, tears, "Well done, Nice run"...Invitational Cross Country Meets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Get up and What??

My get up and go disappeared sometime yesterday... just getting out of bed was almost a chore this morning though I did o.k once I got moving. I'm hoping for a nap sometime this morning though. I have got laundry started and am working on loading dishwasher. There's bus route paperwork to do as well as some for B. I'm hoping that if I don't push too hard today I will be able to get more done tomorrow...Saturday I'm driving Stretch's cross country meet to Marion. That will be a long day but I usually thoroughly enjoy the meet. The course is a fast one and there are a lot of runners which all adds up to lots of excitement.

Speaking of Stretch...he did not end up having MRSA though he did have another type of staph infection. The antibiotics cleared it right up. However he still ended up back in the after hours clinic last Friday night this time due to an allergic reaction to the antibiotic...he broke out in an itchy rash, had a headache and was running a pretty decent fever. An injection of two types of steroids followed by a course of oral steroids has fixed him up and he's finally feeling much better. He had his second cross country meet of the season yesterday - the first was last Thursday as he was getting sick - yesterday's went much much better. He came in under 23 minutes and felt great. He did learn the value of compression shorts under his uniform though - for more than just looks.

Squirrel's doing well...his cross country season has not officially started yet though he's got practice every day. His first meet is next Thursday the 8th and I am not driving that one. His recent excitement involved having a large rottweiler break a picture window as he walked past the house on his way home from practice. (He rides the shuttle bus to town and walks to my friend's house where he waits until I'm done with my bus route) . Thankfully the dog did not come out of the house but I still had one very terrified son. The dog's owner was very apologetic...I havent' heard end results on this but am hoping he was able to find a country home for the dog as it did seem like a nice dog - just not suited for town life.

Dipstick has dropped out of football. I had mixed emotions about that though it does uncomplicate the schedule somewhat. Unfortunately it looks like I'm still going to have to work to stay on top of his grades and homework...checking daily. I was hoping he'd out-grown that over the summer.

My little girl who had so much fear about school has been absent the last couple of days sick - kids are already starting to "drop like flies" with various illnesses. She had been doing much better at getting off the bus and walking to class - still wanted to walk with one of my older kids bt no tears and was walking by herself in the afternoons.

O.K...there's probably more to write but that's enough of an update for now. I need to attempt to get something constructive done.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Days Again

Busy busy busy...We are a full week into school and overall it's going fairly well. I can tell the students are getting much more comfortable with the bus and the school year as I'm having to spend more time at my RR crossings waiting on them to get quiet. High priority needs to be getting my seating chart done and posted. Problem is that while I love the results of having a seating chart...especially when I can use magnets to post the names - I hate drawing it up. Oh well I will get it done...earlier this year than I did last year.

I have the same route basically as I did last year. That's a huge yeah...made the morning route really easy - no new roads and most of the new kids were in town. My first pick-up was terrified to be riding the bus - she climbed on clutching her older sister's hand. Her mom and dad followed the bus the entire route and met her at school to escort her into the building. This afternoon going home I got a goodbye wave and an agreement that she'd see me in the morning. Now a week later she is doing much better. She is still afraid to walk to her classroom alone...and couldn't find my bus by herself this afternoon. However she is willing to walk with one of my older students into the building and to class. That's an improvement and a sign of growth. And I'm getting a real wave and smile when she gets off the bus in the evenings.

Today was Dipstick's first day of school for the year...the joys of juggling two different school schedules. He was kind of a mess this morning but hopefully had a good day. B left a few minutes ago to go get him from football practice...something new for all of us. (Squirrel and Stretch are doing cross country again this fall).

I'm sure there's plenty more to write about but in all honesty I'm tired tonight and my thoughts are scattered. The good news is that Stretch is feeling MUCH better than he was yesterday - I had him into the after hours clinic last night and he's on antibiotics for possible MRSA. Judging from the rapid response of his body they are doing their job thankfully.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pictures Finally..and stuff

Well...the house is very very quiet at the moment...all the guys are gone camping for the weekend. Stretch and Squirrel will probably be back tomorrow evening as they usually only go for the one night and the canoeing on Saturday. However B and Dipstick traditionally stay over until Sunday afternoon making it a full weekend. They are on a Father/Son camping trip headed up by one of the men from our church though it's not a "church-only" event. It tends to be more of a friendship building/outreach type event I think. I don't look forward to this trip all year long but usually when it comes around I get excited about having the house to myself for a bit - and maybe having the chance to work on a project that I don't usually have time for. Having said that...my time tends to go all too fast and I rarely get as much done as I hope to. Tonight I'm away to a home-party - that will be interesting I think though it was booked off one I held. Tomorrow I know that I have to go out to the butcher shop to pick up some meat I ordered. Other than that...I'm either going to work on scrapbooking or start sewing strips together for quilt tops provided I can get the sewing machine working.

To update on the end of our trip...the passports were received by 11:00 am Friday morning. That was a huge relief. We spent Friday visiting a hobby store (very large collection of farm toys)...lots of fun. We also went to a Farmer's Market and spent some time realizing how vast Lake Huron really is...we weren't really even on the lake but on a bay. (Somewhere during the week I saw a 3D display that really showed how deep the Great Lakes are). Pictures were plentiful. Saturday we headed home...took the scenic route that gave us glimpses of the lake. However being as it was a holiday weekend in Canada traffic by the lake was very heavy and the trip took at least two hours longer than it could have otherwise. We were all pretty tired when we finally got home. Sunday was church and beginning to get unpacked.

Monday was our beginning of school meeting for the bus drivers - this time it seemed very long. The good news is that my bus route is basically the same as it was last year...I'll have new kids of course but also will have many of the same ones I had last year. I hope that will make the adjustment period easier as they will already be familiar with my rules. (I just got off the phone with a "new" family who's moved into town.)

Other than that...this week has mainly been a catch-up week - and time spent getting re-organized after our trip and ready for school. Hopefully this time I can get some pictures to upload to post.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dumb Idiot Award

Well I get the dumb idiot award for the week...we are now at my sister's place...arrived here late last night. It's a 3-4 hour drive from Toronto where we were at Mom and Dad's. We arrived here about 5:00 pm last night..and 30 min or so later I realized I had left our passports in Toronto! Thankfully Dad was able to find a place to ship them from where they are guaranteed to be here by 5:00 pm today. Delaying the return home was not an option as I have to be back for training on Monday morning early. I could have driven back to Toronto to get them and done a turn-around trip but was not eager to do so.

Today is planned to be a quiet day (relatively) visiting...allowing the kids to have time with their cousins...catching up with my sister. Later we are going to a hobby shop that has tractor models..and there's plenty of photos to take.

I'm looking forward to being able to post pictures and update more - and catching up on blogger friends. Am very thankful to be spending the last full day of our vacation back in the countryside. Think we all experienced some major culture shock in the city.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still in Ontario...having an overall good visit with Mom and Dad. It's hard to see how Mom has changed - even since March when I was up here for the weekend. Dad is trooping along...staying strong. We will be here until Thursday after lunch then visiting with my sister until Saturday morning. From there it will be the drive home.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

4H Fair

Well I haven't written as often as I'd have liked recently...still haven't gotten to that promised reunion update. The local 4H County Fair has been going on since last Friday...I've been up at the fairgrounds every day and late into the evenings...and that's without any animals to care for. In between it's just normal life and preparing to head to Ontario to visit Mom and Dad next week. I can't at the moment remember how to upload photos so that will have to wait until the boys get back from running. Today will be another day of catching up around home and preparing for our trip. B and Dipstick won't be going this time as they've not got their passports yet.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Decidedly discombobulated this morning...No Lil Bit (new nickname for Baby) today - her dad Ornery got laid off yesterday afternoon. I slept in until 7:30 - was soundly asleep when B woke me telling me Squirrel wanted to be at TKD by 8:00. I left with no coffee and no food at all...dropped him off and went to my coffee friend's house to visit and eat. B called just as I was about to leave there to tell me that our builder Bob (Yes we had Bob the Builder doing our addition) was at the house finishing up stuff so we could pass final inspection and we needed another smoke alarm. That necessitated a run to the nearest larger town west of here to get that and some stuff for my chickens then home to start dinner (mid-day meal). Being as you can't make a watched pot boil I'm attempting to relax and get my head screwed on straight. This afternoon basically it's a bit more running and book-keeping to be done.

One thing that's been made abundantly clear over the last couple of days is that mice...even "cute little field mice" make me climb on things. When Squirrel and I went to mow the other place there was a mouse nest in the JD mower - complete with very new-born baby mice...including one the mama was attempting to deliver as she ran frantically around trying to escape the monsters. We left...until the mouse nest had been removed and I was certain that the mouse was also gone. The mowing did eventually get done...but I was still rather jumpy.

Time to go for lunch...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quote and Partial Update

"Writing begets writing and not writing begets not writing" (quoted from the article "Baby Steps" in Writing Basics magazine)

I don't write to get published - usually I write to process stuff and just to keep a log of what's going on in my life. However that statement really resonates with me because I've not written recently - at least not here - and every time I think I'm going to write I back away because it seems like there is too much to write about and too little time to do so. So...I'm going to attempt to discipline myself to spend a few minutes every day here or with my handwritten journal (which I've not used either) - not just when I'm upset about something. (Though I had to just stop this, deal with an issue with Dipstick and make notes about it...ugh!! Guess that's part of being a mother and grandmother)

I've been watching Ornery's daughter "Baby" since end of last week. She is 4 years old now. We are finishing up potty training (she's in pull-ups when she arrives in the mornings) and learning about making sure to tell an adult where she is going - even if it's only from the shop to the house or back. Overall she's done quite well - is quite the chatterbox and seems to enjoy "running" with me. This morning we went and had coffee with friends in town (I can't decide how to refer to them as we started out as school bus driver and parents...now we are friends. Usually I refer to them as my "bus moms" - I truly never expected to be such good friends). One of them has a home that is the neighborhood gathering place...we sit outside when the weather is nice and visit. When the weather is nasty the visiting goes on inside. Anyway...Baby quite enjoyed that as there were different kids for her to play with and she got rather spoiled. I will only be watching her until the end of next week - by that time Ornery and his wife are to have full-time childcare arranged for. I rather hope that that will also involve preschool - she is one little one that needs the structure. (I think I need a better nickname than Baby...any suggestions?")

This past Saturday B and I drove back to Erie, PA to meet Dipstick's sister to pick Dipstick up from his 2 week visit out there. We drove appoximately half-way and they drove approximately half-way. Our drive was rather challenging as it was pouring rain and many thunderstorms pretty much all the way out there. However thankfully God protected us and we made it safely there and home again. I think Dipstick had a very good time. He's had a bit of a challenge adjusting back to "home schedule"...hopefully that will happen soon.

4th of July weekend was my high school reunion - 25th. B, Stretch, Squirrel and I drove to Chicago for the weekend. Stretch and Squirrel got to spend the weekend with their aunt and uncle and cousins - we met at a Bass Pro shop to drop them off. That was the first time I'd ever been in one of those so it was very interesting to walk around and check things out. From there B and I went to the resort where we had the reunion. I'll have to write more about that next time as it's time Squirrel and I went to the old house (which still hasn't sold or been rented) and mowed the lawn.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Ok...not really but definitely leaving today for my 25th high school reunion. This time it's in Chicago so not as far to travel. Last time it was in Colorado...made a couple of "new" states for me to travel through. When I tell people that "this time" the reunion is in Chicago most want to know where I graduated high school at/from...I grew up in Africa and graduated from Rift Valley Academy. Reunions in my class's case are basically a big family reunion - except most of us only bring pictures of the kids. However we have people travel from across the US and Canada as well as occasionally Germany and New Zealand. B is going with me. Stretch and Squirrel will be at their aunt and uncle's in the Chicago area while Dipstick is away visiting his sister.

Both computers will be going with the boys to get worked on. I should have some limited computer access at the resort...and enough free time to possibly check some stuff.

Lots to do yet this morning so had better scoot for now. I'm one of those people who like to leave the house clean and laundry caught up before I go...it never totally seems to happen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Computer Issues....Again

Having computer issues- the main computer is crashed at the moment. The good news is that Squirrel was able to get the laptop going again so we have limited access...The tower of the desktop will go with us to Chicago this weekend - my bro-in-law will get to fix it. I am so thankful we already had a trip planned when it crashed and that he has the know-how to fix it when I don't. I will also have him price out what's needed to get another one...we have monitors and keyboards but not the other stuff to have a second "quality" working computer. Being as B is laid off again at the moment and working on getting business started at home having a working computer is rather important. Not to mention the fact that this is absolutely how I stay in contact with family and friends.

B is still laid off - we still are not 100% convinced on what we are supposed to be doing at this point. However he has been busy catching up on work he already had in the shop - and getting more lined up. We thought we had a renter for the house but that fell through - they had approached me about possibly renting - we had agreed on a price and details. At the last minute they were approached by family to rent from and backed out on us. This is an opportunity for us to watch and see how God is going to work. I have struggled this time...still haven't taken time to sit down and journal everything out and I know that will help.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Laid Off - Again

B was laid off again this afternoon (or rather yesterday afternoon) I didn't take the news well at all even though it wasn't as much of a shock this time as last time. I'm beginning to feel sleepy so will head back to bed...no thunderstorms to wake me up tonight.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well...it's been 2 weeks again since I've blogged! Yikes. Ah well..overall life has been good. Today is a quiet "non accomplishing" kind of day - one that I've very much needed. Dipstick has been gone to Mom and Dad K's for the day - to help out his grandpa. Squirrel and I went for coffee with friends this morning and then to the store for milk and a few things I couldn't get yesterday. Of course we managed to not get pop so that is something that will have to be taken care of soon...not for me as I'm good as long as I've got coffee available...but for B. Stretch had a 4 mile run this morning then a quiet morning at home...except for having to meet Squirrel and I with my purse halfway to town.

Last week Dad K was in the hospital - he had several "minor" heart attacks and eventually had a heart cath and a stent put in. He's feeling much better now - even with the pulmonary fibrosis - his breathing is better as is his energy level.

The old house still has not sold...not any offers even. The guy that looked at it a couple of weeks ago does not qualify for a loan on it so he is out of the picture. There will be another open house this weekend...hopefully something will come of that. Otherwise...I have been approached on the possibility of renting it out and am considering that. I don't know all the ramifications of renting and am not sure if I want to even get involved in that. On the other hand...some income off of it (helping to make the mortgage payment) might be better than none. I am thinking that this week when we go out to mow I will take the pitch fork and bring back some starts of some of my perennials...I dug up several of my irises but left the established black-eyed susan and purple coneflower.

The depression...well that's another thing altogether. Some days I think the new medication is working and other days ...not so much. The fact that Dipstick seems to be struggling more also - it's coming up on 2 years since he lost his mom - is not helping at all. And we lost our "puppy" this past weekend - she'd been killing chicks - hasn't helped either.

This picture is around the mailbox...a month or so after I planted the irises there. The top picture is immediately after.
On a positive note...I feel like I'm getting on top of the housework and am getting more stuff unpacked and sorted through. I have got some rhubarb plants to start...will eventually grow some strawberries as well. (Note to self: check to see if it's possible to put rhubarb and strawberries in the same bed!) I've also picked up and planted some daylilies and other flowers. I am wanting to build some more raised beds - starting that tonight - to put on the north end of the house. And I found some bleeding heart roots that may or may not be any good as they've sat for over a year. Either way I figured I would stick them in a pot and see if they come up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Note...

Quick note...I haven't blogged in a very long time...have really struggled with depression this past month...am now on different stuff that will hopefully help...maybe a post another time about the mixed emotions and fog of depression...and maybe not. Definitely a post another time on the Memorial Day weekend and the birthday party for Squirrel...lots of people, lots of fun, lots of mud...

The main reason for posting at the moment is that I just got word that there are two showings on my old house this afternoon! One has been scheduled for several days and the other was just scheduled today. I had a friend call to let me know that there was someone in the drive ... being as we've already had 1 robbery since we moved out...I called the realtor and she said she would go out to check it out after she finished her current showing she was on the way to...and she would call me back later. Less than 5 minutes later my cell phone rang again and she was calling back...she had just scheduled another showing for this afternoon from the person who was up in the driveway looking at the place. Hopefully this will lead to an offer of some sort...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Instead of...I will...

In order to focus on the positives in my life...instead of the current struggle with depression I'm dealing with I've decided to write a post that lists the things I'm thankful for. Some will be likely be "repeats"...some will not.

Instead of being upset... that the laundry is never completely caught up...I'm thankful that we are blessed with an abundance of clothes and towels.

Instead of being upset...that there nearly always seems to be dishes in the sink...I'm thankful we have plenty of food to fill our tummies - and a dishwasher to help with the dishes.

Instead of being upset...that my amethyst Intrepid that has so faithfully served me is no longer drivable...I'm thankful that there were ways for us to make things work being down a vehicle...and I'm thankful that I'm blessed with a husband who didn't put us in debt getting another vehicle.

Instead of being upset...that it's another grey gloomy day out...I'm thankful for the flowers and crops that will grow...for the way that the trees and grasses are turning green outdoors....I'm also thankful for the coolness of the temperatures currently.

Instead of being upset...that no matter what I try with some of the students on my bus they still don't behave...I'm thankful for supportive parents.

Instead of being upset...that my Mom is having more and more health issues and that she is declining so rapidly...I will be thankful for her example through her life...for the time we've had with her (while still hoping for more good years)...remembering the miracles God has worked in the past regarding her health...

I know there is more to be thankful for but I need to be away...fixing myself some lunch, dealing with that unending laundry and getting the dishwasher going.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Good news...Bad News Part 2

The bad news...my front ball bearing joint/axle & associated parts of my car are broken. They've been clanking and banging around for a month or more now...the car has almost 200,000 miles on it.

The good news...I was safely home - just pulled in the driveway.

The bad news...I have to be at work.

The good news...B has a big diesel pick-up that I'm capable of driving (though I think it's a tank and I don't enjoy it!)

The bad news...the truck has a big trailer attached to it

Good news...there's a couple of guys working a mile or so away who know how to unhook the trailer.

Bad news...truck won't start

Good news...same guy who can unhook trailer can try to start it.

Bad news...he's not successful at starting it.

Good news...he's willing to give me a ride to my school bus.

The funniest part about it...I had just dropped B off at work after lunch - we'd stopped in at a used car lot and found a vehicle that looked like it might work for me...we just weren't sure we wanted to do the "new car" thing right now. But I will be test driving it tonight.

So we wait and see what happens. It's rather a good thing that Stretch's musical is this weekend so that I can drive his car if necessary next week - he's free again to ride the bus.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good news....Bad News...

It's been an eventful few days since I last wrote...today I'm tired but at least I'm relatively calm and at peace. It's another grey gloomy day with thunderstorms expected...but the breeze is warm. I've got laundry started, dishwasher started and have done my morning bus route.

Good news...there was showing of my old house on Tuesday and the couple is possibly interested.

Bad news...the house had been broken into...door left wide open and there was a wild duck trapped inside.

Good news...the duck was successfully chased out of the house.

Bad news...the duck left droppings in most rooms throughout the house.

Good news...I have friends who were there for me yesterday when I had to deal with break-in news and who will help clean up tomorrow.

Bad news...house is not yet sold.

Good news...realtor is having another open house this coming Sunday...Good news - we didn't have to cancel or reschedule the Open House due to break-in.

Good news...there wasn't much of great value left in the house.

Bad news...most of what we know was taken was owned by the realty company and used for staging.

Good news...realtor isn't overly concerned about what was taken and is not pitching a fit about it.

Bad news...I was so upset over that and the fact that a young dad was killed in an unnecessary motorcycle accident over the weekend that I was completely unsafe to drive my bus route yesterday afternoon.

Good news...there was a good sub driver available.

Bad news...bus broke down.

Good news...she was at school when it broke down.

Bad news...no seat belts on the spare bus.

Good news...I had student driver again this morning and students behaved fairly well.

Good news...I had the opportunity to lay out for them how disappointed I was in behavior for last two sub driver's they've had...and my expectations for the ride this afternoon.

Good news...I was out taking pictures in the woods with Dipstick the other night.

Bad news...I am falling asleep here at the computer so therefore pictures will have to wait.

Good news...I'm home today and as soon as I finish loading dishwasher I can take a nap. So...I'm away.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last night I enjoyed a lovely walk with my husband. All 3 boys were at church youth group - B had planned on going to work in the shop after supper but had a hard time getting motivated. He suggested the walk - we went down the road aways, then over to the closest lake - saw birds nests with birds sitting on them and some sort of hawk flying around. We came back home through the woods across the road from our house - checking out all the downed trees and looking at the "forest" floor flowers. (Love the alliteration there!) From there we took the truck over to his mom and dad's to borrow a harrow to do our yard so we can seed grass this weekend (we hope). I drove it back...which doesn't sound like much until you realize it's stick shift and it's been 20+ years since I've driven one.

I got home later than normal tonight as Squirrel had a home track meet. He did very well in his events - the 800m, the 1600m and the long jump. Unfortunately my camera battery was almost dead so I only got a couple of pictures.

My afternoon bus route went better than I expected it to. I'd earlier this week had some issues with threats being made from one student to another one and some relatively minor vandalism. The vandalism came first followed by the threats. It's a very frustrating situation as I feel rather like the principal this year is not listening to me - granted she suspended the student from school for 1 day for the threats and from the bus for a day for the vandalism. However it feels like she expects a simple seat change to "fix" the entire situation and I don't believe it will as that has already been attempted. Oh well...I guess we wait and see what happens when the suspended student comes back.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where I'm From

***I originally posted this over a year ago but thought it might be fun to post it again...especially as I'm being slow on my ability to be original at the moment. I sometimes find it much easier to start with a question to answer or a topic to write about. Anyway hope it's enjoyed and if anyone else decides to do this leave me a comment so I can come read yours. Just wish I could figure out how to post a picture that would go with this...from an old slide.***


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.

I am from love, loss and love again.


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, April 9, 2009

Of Bats and UFO's

Well...I'm getting a late start this morning...first time this week I've slept (?) until 8:30. Most mornings I've been up between 7-7:30 - and been awake before that with B and Dipstick getting out the door. This morning I was semi-awake but fell back sound asleep. I feel rather like I'm getting the day off to a very late start - especially since Squirrel and Stretch are up playing PS2.

However...in my defense I got to bed very late last night- I had coffee too late in the day followed by a bat chase at 10:30 last night! Much shouting, shrieks and general chaos went on...Dipstick and Squirrel slept through it all! My stitching went flying after B tossed a blanket at the bat and had it land on me - with no bat thankfully. B finally cornered it under one of my good brooms in the stairs - then we had to figure out how to get it into something to throw it outside without it getting away again. We'd been closing the door to mudroom so were rather puzzled as to how it got "in" the main part of the house...there's an old vent opening in the stairwall that I think will need to be covered over. (We've come to the conclusion that during construction bats likely took up residence in the crawl space so they are simply doing what they can to get out at night to hunt)

On a different note...I love my Ott-lite. I used it last night for the first time officially - first to take a hem out of one of Squirrel's uniform pants and then to stitch! It's been years since I've actually been able to see to stitch - I'm thrilled. So I pulled out my UFO (unfinished object) stash...of course I couldn't find all the patterns and projects at the same time or in the same place. However I was able to get a start on getting things organized.

Today Squirrel has optional track practice while Stretch has a movie planned with friends. I need to get going on getting chores done around here so we can grocery shop this afternoon before track. My goal is to be home before Dipstick gets off the school bus - Stretch will bring Squirrel home.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Day in the Life...

1st day of spring break...Dipstick went back to school today as his spring break was last week. This evening the sun is shining but it's cold out...we woke up to snow on the ground and snow flurries. It's all gone but still cold out. We've split wood... Stretch pinched a finger in a log on the splitter so now we are watching a Ken Davis dvd. It's really good to hear the boys laughing - deep male voices mixed with voices that haven't changed yet. We got most of the wood that we wanted to get split tonight done though there is plenty more to do. B is out at a meeting tonight.

This morning Stretch, Squirrel and I went to town...first stop was to get passports applied for. I was able to get my name change applied for also...so currently I have no passport as it's been sent in for a new one. But that didn't cost me anymore than the pictures and postage...the boys' were a different story. I'm praying for no emergencies with Mom.

From there we went to the music store to drop Squirrel's trombone off for repair. We picked up two new lesson books - for clarinet and guitar and a trumpet snake. Then it was off to the mall where the boys spent time at a bookstore while I stopped in a couple of other places. Then to the craft store....I had a gift certificate that I was wanting to spend though I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to get. I was debating between a sewing machine and an Ottlite . Both items were on sale but with the sale price and my gift certificate I got a light and only had to actually pay $1.35. I was so excited - the boys thought I was nuts. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I'll have my stitching found so I can try out my light. Then it was to a different bookstore and the grocery then home. Of course I still have a list of things I forgot but they can wait some.

Last week ended up pretty good - my little boy with the knot on his head did not go to school on Friday. His mom kept him home to keep an eye on him. The service for my friend's husband was Saturday morning while the visitation was Friday night. The minister who did the service gave a clear presentation of the gospel - I found it encouraging even though it was hard.

As far as my bus route goes - I've decided to keep a "bus journal" - basically a notebook (hopefully a sturdy one) that I can make any notes about my bus route that I need to remember. We'll see how that goes - hopefully it will help with my "documentation" issues. We'll see.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To Post or Not to Post...

that is the question! Today has been quite the day to say the least...I'm actually taking some "downtime" at the moment...I should be doing laundry or sweeping or something. But...more I need to process some stuff.

Got a phone call late last night that the husband of one of our bus drivers had just passed away. He'd been sick but it was still a shock as we'd all heard he was doing "o.k" - still undergoing treatment but stable. The visitation is tomorrow night while the service is Saturday morning. I think one of the reasons I'm struggling a bit more - besides the unfairness of it all - is that even though it's a different month once again it is the week before spring break from school. The year Mike died there were 3 of us bus drivers who lost husbands the week before or actually during spring break.

This afternoon was an "early dismissal" from school for teacher training. I normally enjoy those days even though the bus is always loaded - and kids are often hyper. This afternoon was frustrating - one of my 1st grade students got on with a knot on his head from someone opening the school door into him. I radioed in and asked someone to come out and look at it. The school did eventually send someone out - they said pretty much that they thought he would be fine - he should just ask his mom to ice it when he got home. I asked her to call his mom and let her know - they told her that he did it on the bus door! I was angry - there's no way he could have gotten a knot like he had from the door of the bus. Not to mention the fact that he should have had ice on it before we left the school! His mom did come out to meet the bus and I was able to explain what he'd told me had happened and show her the lump. She called the school and insisted they change the accident report. I radioed the bus shop and had them make note of it also. After I was done driving I was able to stop back and check on him myself - with ice the knot was going down and he was eating so that's a relief.

My girlfriend Suz called me frantic because she had a horse down and wasn't sure what to do about it. She wanted Stretch to come over and help get it up. By the time he got there the horse was up and being checked over by Suz's mom and an Amish neighbor. I still spent a few minutes holding the pony back...that's definitely a new experience as I've never had much dealings with horses.

I'm ready to get out and "play" in the dirt - have two of my flower beds built. Now I want to plant in them...we'll see what I can accomplish this weekend.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Week Update

So...I sit here and look at this blank screen again and wonder what to write...It's been 2 weeks(!!) since I've posted anything and I feel like I hardly know what to write about.

We had bus driver training this morning - this time on dealing with parents - whether they meet the bus or on the phone or whatever. Again I thought it was a rather interesting presentation - I came out of it with some areas to work on (I could do a much better job at documentation of bus stuff. I journal after all so it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to fill in a calendar page after bus route.) and encouragement in other areas. One of my biggest areas of encouragement is the statement that "kids won't go up to an adult or person they don't like". Implied from that is that if kids off my bus route come up to me in public for a hug or to say hi or whatever I must be doing something right. After this morning's route where I had two different sibling groups arguing amongst themselves on the bus I needed to hear that.

Dipstick is on spring break this week - Sunday I was afraid it was going to be a very long week. However yesterday he did really well at working on getting his bedroom cleaned and organized again. It's not done but it is MUCH better than it was. Today he is with his step-brother "Ornery" due to my training this morning. I was hoping to be able to make time to take him to a movie or something a little bit special but I'm not sure if that will work out or not - getting him to a matinee show and getting myself on the bus on time are the challenge.

Squirrel did pass his black belt test and has received his belt. He did really well - got to break "real boards" at testing. That is always more fun/satisfying than the plastic boards that are used more commonly. He came back from his retreat fighting a cold - and is still fighting it.

Saturday we went as a family to a local tractor auction - B had a tractor that was being sold. It was interesting to watch and hear the auction going on. I have a terrible time figuring out what is being said though - they speak so fast in such a sing-song fashion it just blows my mind. After we got home from that we all spent time in the shop building "my" flower boxes. That was fun - 2 are completely built but not filled yet. I will need at least one more 4x8 foot one and would like a couple of 4x4 ones for other areas of the yard. I want to grow a combination of perennials and annuals with the goal of eventually ending up with 3 seasons of color. I also want to mix in vegetables instead of having a huge separate vegetable garden. B is anxious to get grass seed sown.

Mom ended up spending a couple of days in the hospital last week - she was in on the 22nd in the ER and probably should have been admitted at that point. However as she "perked up" once she was re-hydrated she was sent home only to fall back into the same pattern of losing more fluid than she was able to take in a couple of days later. Thankfully we now have a diagnosis - it's something that in some people would be surgically "repaired" but she's not able to withstand surgery. Therefore she and Dad will have to learn to control the symptoms with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medication. It's been really difficult both for me and the boys being this far away. I am extremely thankful that I was able to go up for a visit at the beginning of the month - am trying to round up passports and figure out the best time to go later.

Guess that's enough of an update. I hope to get around to catching up on all "my" readers posts and comment soon. I sure appreciate your comments and encouragement.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Stuff

  • Trying to come up with an interesting, catchy blog post is stressing me out.
  • I want to either get outside and "play" in the dirt or get out and travel - go sightseeing. Therefore I'm currently considering a number of day trips the boys and I can make over spring break...not really any good ideas where to start at the moment. Suggestions??
  • Daylight savings time is really not fun! It's dark again in the mornings when I drive my bus route...and getting supper and bedtimes at a reasonable time is a challenge. Who thought up this scatterbrained idea anyway??
  • Pete's circle of daffodils seems to have mostly survived the construction around here - they are just beginning to peak through the ground.
  • My daffodils and tulips are coming up at the old house - I always feel a bit melancholy when I go over there though I'm definitely happily married. (The above picture was taken last spring at the old house)
  • I stopped by the old house to check on the repair work being done on the kitchen ceiling - and see what else was being done as I knew there was some painting going on.
  • Stretch has equated the fact that doing extra chores around here - splitting wood - with or without a log splitter or working in the shop or whatever equals gas money for him
  • Spring track is starting. Squirrel will be taking time off TaeKwonDo to participate in track. Stretch is busy with spring musical practice. Dipstick is staying busy with homework and CERT (Crisis Emergency Response Training) through his boy scout troop.
  • Squirrel leaves tomorrow for a PeaceKeeper Retreat through school. PeaceKeepers is a program that trains kids to help others resolve conflict without violence.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Delay

Well...no delay this morning and I ended up backing up the bus about half a mile. I had come in the same way I did yesterday morning to this one area - knowing there would likely still be at least some water on the road. However I couldn't tell at all how deep it was - nor could I, in the dark, accurately judge a turn-around without running the risk of hitting something. So I just backed out to where there was a dead-end drive that I was certain I could turn-around in. It made me run later than I did yesterday - thankfully I had received a call from the mom of my student who lives furthest east that he wasn't riding so I didn't have to pass his stop. The only other "excitement" on the bus route was seeing the ice running diagonally across a busy intersection that I have another stop at. The first time it wasn't a problem...the second time the back end of the bus kind of skidded around.

This morning by the end of bus route time snow was falling - and sticking slightly to roads. It seems to have stopped now and it's definitely cold. The plan for today is to get a thorough grocery list made and ready. Then I'll grocery shop this afternoon while Squirrel is in TaeKwonDo.

I'd better go for now - have a parent to attempt to call about an incident from earlier in the week. The other student involved has been kicked off the bus for a day - I would like to see the same thing for this student. Unfortunately I don't have much real hope that that's what will actually happen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Floods & Trip Update

Water water everywhere! Today is a beautiful gorgeous sunny day but cold! Yesterday temps were in the 60's and today we are back down to the 30's. We had a 2 hour delay this morning in school start time - thankfully. There was rain and thunderstorms pretty much all day yesterday and well into the night - I've heard that we got a couple of inches and are already well over normal rainfall totals for this time in March. Many roads are flooded and there is definitely water in strange places. My bus route was not dramatically affected - I had to do one turn-around that I don't normally have to do. However I was sort-of expecting it and had come into that area the way that I normally exit it so it wasn't a big deal. On the other hand...getting to my bus was a wee bit challenging - I was unable to take the road south that I normally take as it had flowing water over it. (I will go through flowing water if I can see most of the way across - in this case I absolutely could not!) The first road I turned on to shorten my detour also had water across it and the opinion of the boys and I was that it was also too deep to cross. However we made it to the bus - only 5 minutes or so later than normal and were able to leave on route at our normal time. Coming home I did (on a different road) drive through some fairly deep water - ended up with my wheels and undercarriage having a bunch of straw/grass debris stuck in them. The car looks pretty funny.

I'm really glad I went to Mom and Dad's over the weekend- had a fairly good trip overall. The flights both directions were decidedly bumpy - coming back I could see the thunderclouds we had to skirt. The neat thing about the flight there was watching out the airplane window to see the lights of Toronto as we landed. I forgot how beautiful the lights of a city were from an airplane at night. I also forgot how absolutely huge Toronto airport really is - seemed like I walked forever to get from the plane to customs. Getting through customs was no problem at all - the lines were not long. Mom saw me before I saw her - I was looking for Dad or for both Mom and Dad together rather than Mom alone. That was encouraging. Mom ate well while I was there and overall we had a good time. We played a game - first time in a very long time I've played a board game with them and spent time visiting. I was able to sort and organize Mom's bookshelf in their bedroom and go through some of her files in the cabinet. I wish I'd had more time to get more done. It was good to see where they are living now. I'm not sure when I will get to go back.

Yesterday afternoon was the first afternoon some of my middle school kids rode a different bus. They were less than thrilled about the transfer but it seemed to make a big difference to me - my route went more smoothly and I was far more relaxed. I was afraid the other driver would be really upset about it but she responded to me well enough this morning on the radio.

I'd better go - have to attempt to accomplish something today - with the 2 hour delay this morning and another nap my day is almost gone. Naps have been a necessity this week - probably a little more than normal due to the time change.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scrambled

Am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment - getting ready for this trip is difficult - probably made more so by fact that I'm flying and so have to pack more "carefully". Have passport and marriage license set out in pile of stuff to go. Am still looking for envelope with Canadian checks in it - from our wedding that I need to cash. I can't remember where I set it down last time I looked at it. (I'm not the most organized person in the world - those who know me well would laugh rather hysterically at that statement I'm sure) I have yet to download the pictures off my camera so that I can go with a "clear" memory card. And the plan is to pack in such a way that I only have a carry-on bag and my purse! Again...for those who know how I travel that's a rather laughable statement - I'm known more for taking everything but the kitchen sink. I've been that way ever since I was a kid - somehow I have the feeling that if I'm traveling I need to take anything that is special to me in any way in case something happens and I can't get back to where-ever "home" is.

Tonight is Squirrel's black belt testing - from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. We are coming home for a few minutes after bus route - simply to give me a few minutes at home tonight. Squirrel has pointed out that that is a waste of gas. However today I feel it's necessary - not to mention that I'm washing his uniform and we will need to get it out of dryer so he can wear it.

This afternoon I'm heading into work early - both so that I can enjoy a walk with some of the other drivers - and so that I can go to the bus shop to discuss my afternoon load with my boss. I keep having extra kids in the afternoon and struggle with finding them places to sit. I have several students that don't do well in a "3 to a seat" situation yet that's exactly where I'm at.

Better go...haven't written about the beautiful reddish sunrise this morning and the deer I've seen recently. That will all have to wait.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can't think of a title

Well....one challenge solved...Dipstick is now typing anything that must be typed on the laptop computer. We will then transfer the file to a flash drive so that he can print it either at school or using the other computer. I am hoping that having the "big" computer free with result in less stress for all involved.

I am booked for a visit to Toronto this coming weekend to see Mom and Dad. I'm more than a little nervous about flying by myself - and driving a couple of hours to the airport. I'll have a book on CD for the drive...and am planning on packing in such a way that I only have a carry-on bag. Checked luggage means more charges - and while I got a good rate on the ticket I don't want to have to pay anymore. If I have to check something on the way back that's fine - I always bring back more than I left with. I will be taking the camera...along with journal. I would really like to get more of Mom and Dad's slides on CD before I go - however that will likely require paying someone else to do it. This will be the first time in probably 25 years that I've been the only one to visit - I'm looking forward to that part of the trip. B and the boys will have to "survive" alone here while I'm gone. My bus route is covered - had a chat with the substitute driver this morning.

Yesterday was a nice enough day that I cleaned the chicken coop out...that was a major job. It was nice to be able to have the chickens out for awhile. Sally dog was "herding" them though - towards Splash who I'd tied up. She was trying to be "discreet" about it (can a dog have that much smarts?) but definitely herding them. She had a group of 5 heading towards where Splash was when I caught her and put an end to that. She pretty much gave up after that...thankfully.

Stretch is busy with musical practice. He will legally be able to carry his brother around this coming week - one reason for when I scheduled the trip as I needed him to haul his brother to school. Squirrel will be testing for his black belt in TaeKwonDo this week - I'm pushing him a bit on that as I wanted it done before spring track starts.

Better go...am being sat upon and I've about run out of rambling anyway. Squirrel is waiting on me to go outside with him to "clean" the car out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dipstick has a fog day today...several school districts canceled. However we just went on a delay. Driving was not difficult - the roads were not slick at all. However visibility was non-existent to say the least - one could see about the distance of two telephone poles. Thankfully I knew the route and where the stops were - made things much easier. Even so...I realized at one point that I really wasn't sure where exactly on a road I was...turns and stops were definitely more difficult to find. The fog has lifted mostly but it's still a grey hazy day... it's supposed to start raining and sleeting later.

We rather suspect that one of the dogs has tangled with a skunk...the aroma is still fairly strong outside. I have no good ideas how to decrease the aroma...especially since I'm not at all sure how/what the dog tangled with it.

The "scenic route" can be a lot of fun - provided one does not need to use the restroom! There are no public rest areas on back country roads. I made a wrong turn somehow coming home from dropping off a payment at the electric company and actually ended up in a different county. I am very thankful for a compass in my car as I would have had no idea which way to go or where I was without that. I still didn't know exactly where I was or which way to go but at least I knew which way I was going! B and my sister and girlfriend all laughed at me...my sense of direction (or lack) is well-known.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Been A Week

It's been a week since I've posted anything...on the one hand it seems to have flown by...on the other hand, not.
  • Been sick all week - fighting sinus junk with fever...no voice
  • Kids on bus LOVE having a squeaky-voiced bus driver
  • Had 1 little one ask for the bucket...and another one fall down bus steps yesterday afternoon. Thankfully he wasn't seriously hurt - more embarrassed and bruised.
  • Another bus driver's husband has just been diagnosed with stomach and colon cancer
  • I lost 4 lbs last month - doing county-wide weight-loss competition - only increased my activity very slightly - have increased water intake but really not watched what I ate.
  • Found out this morning that we do not have "automatic" recycling pick-up here at new place - boys were most disgusted and rather disbelieving about that! Their reaction was very funny...though I'm disappointed to not have the recycling pick-up as that means there won't be much of it going on here at this point in time.
  • We may be looking at some MAJOR repairs in old house - involving heat in the ceiling - we've made no decision yet on how to handle them but I suspect they will need dealt with before we can sell it
  • Caught some students pulling duct tape repairs off one of the seats on my bus - I'd been suspicious of these girls before and had been checking that seat 4x daily - this time they made "mistake" of putting tape on top of the seat where I could see it in the mirror.
  • Am attempting to plan a possible trip north to see my Mom and Dad - will end up being a "rushed" weekend trip but hopefully I'll be able to pull it off
  • Winter storm advisory for this weekend - currently there is very little snow on the ground but it's been cold the last couple of days and there is predicted to be snow in the morning.
  • I like bullet style journaling especially when it's been awhile since I've posted anything and it's getting late at night
  • Squirrel is testing for his black belt in TaeKwonDo in a couple of weeks
  • Stretch is away for the night at a youth group retreat...he's gearing up to be pretty busy again as musical try-outs were this past week
  • Dipstick does much better with keeping his grades up IF I am very diligent about checking daily to see what he has due and has turned in
  • Even though my writing may not be particularly amusing...life has been decidedly funny this week overall - except for finding out about life-threatening illness in friend's husband
  • Eventually I will get pictures posted again

Friday, February 13, 2009

I wrote this post last night...after a very trying day on the bus. I can't decide how to edit it so here goes.

Dipstick learned to swallow pills tonight! By his own choice! At supper he decided to attempt to swallow a frozen pea like he would a pill. He succeeded, did it again and moved on to a piece of frozen corn, then a frozen green bean. From there he snapped multivitamin in half and successfully swallowed it. This is huge though it sounds minor. Up to this point he's always choked on them and almost gagged. I'm proud of him - and it was so neat to see how excited he was about it!

I cried through my bus route this afternoon - and was very tempted to tell a principal that she could drive the students home! However I have a signed "contract" from one student...his mother was talking about his behavior with him...in front of me and I started taking notes. She had him sign it so we are agreed. I discussed with another student's mother his behavior and suggested that having him bring a DS on the bus would be acceptable if it would help him stay quiet and calm. She suggested using that as a reward for good behavior for a week or two. So I will likely be coming up with a similar contract for this student - maybe a fill-in the blank document that can be used as needed would be the best way to go. I'll have to sleep on this. But having stuff written down - with dates and all - helps me remember and keep stuff straight. My rules are pretty much the same for everyone but sometimes I focus on different aspects of them.

Dipstick is finally done with his homework and I'm away to bed.

Mom's memory seems to be deteriorating again...that's discouraging/difficult to watch and hear about. I need to plan a visit there but not sure how to do so with work and boys.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Linds

Linds interviewed me....some cool questions but there might be some long answers. Hope you enjoy the answers.

If you want to be interviewed leave me a comment saying so and I will send you 5 specific questions for you to answer.

1. You were born in Africa, I know, so can you tell us about what you remember most about the time you live there? Have you ever been back?

Probably what I remember most about Africa is ... Do I have to chose only one thing? Grocery shopping - I didn't have to do it myself as I never lived there as an adult. However it would take most of a day. There would be a visit to the market where we got our fresh fruit and veggies, followed by a stop at the grocery store for dried and canned goods. From there we would also go to the butcher shop to get meat and eggs - possibly milk as well. Then it was home where everything had to be washed (fruits and veggies) and put away. Occasionally there would also be a trip to the Post Office to get mail or pick up a package and to the bank. I remember living in a beautiful house near the ocean with windows all around the top floor that we could watch the ships come in and out. We still had to drive to go someplace to swim but what a view!

I remember - at an earlier age and in a different country - living on a mission station out of town with no electricity and no indoor toilet. The outhouse was actually a ways away from the house...overnight we used a can that Dad would empty in the mornings. There was a big old tree that I loved to climb with one of my bears and a book - I don't remember ever taking a journal up that tree but I spent hours hiding out reading books. In that house...I got to sleep in the living room - windows faced east so I was often one of the first ones awake. The house was only a two bedroom place - my sister and 2 brothers shared the bedroom - until she fell off the top bunk. Who-ever slept on the cot in the living room got to go to sleep in Mom and Dad's bed at night and be moved when they went to bed. Lighting at night was by kerosene lamp...stove must have been wood or coal. The fridge was kerosene - I remember Dad laying on his stomach on the floor priming it. That was the same house that Dad fell partway through the attic in. I remember riding my bike around - in a dress with shorts underneath it - falling off and skinning my knees.

Yes I've been back - but only to Kenya and only 1 time. I got to go back for my sister's graduation from high school - 3 years after I graduated. I knew at that point that there were some definite pictures I wanted to take that I'd not taken before...and some definite things I wanted to do. It was a good six week trip - and gave me a chance to see and experience more of what my Mom and Dad did as a young adult. It gave me a much better understanding of some things.


2. Where and how did you meet your husband?

This was not specified but I'm assuming this is in reference to B. I met him at church - actually officially through his wife. The very first time I noticed B he was standing in the hallway outside of a Sunday School classroom sharing with someone that cancer had been found in his wife - not afraid to show his emotions - the pain and sorrow in his face...My heart broke for him as I knew personally what it was to have a spouse deal with cancer and I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. It was probably more than a year later that we actually met and even then we rarely spoke. We did not begin to really talk until after his wife died and the relationship developed from there. He will tell you "never lend a car to a woman unless you are prepared to eventually marry her" - in a half joking way.

3. What games do you remember playing as a child? Did you play similar games with your kids?

As a child...we often played board games as a family. That was one way that Mom and Dad spent time with us together when we were home from school. We occasionally played Scrabble - something that I never really enjoyed in spite of being an avid reader. We played Tri-Ominoes. Probably the game we played most often was called "Muggins" - it was a good counting game made out of old calendars. I've never seen it in stores and have never played it with my boys. Ping-Pong was also a much enjoyed game - and one that I've not had the opportunity to play with my boys. I saw a set of Ping-Pong paddles in the dollar store the other day...it brought back some cool memories. Would love to play that again. I do occasionally get to play games with the boys - most often card games such as "Hand and Foot". Life is popular and occasionally we even play Scrabble.

4. What would you prefer - summer or winter?

I think I overall prefer summer. The days are longer and brighter. Growing up near the equator where the length of the day doesn't change much year-round has made a difference to how I cope with shorter winter days. Besides being a school bus driver means that during the summer I'm usually off. On the other hand...I do love the sight of a fresh heavy snowfall with the sun shining on it.

5. What would you like to have achieved in 10 years time?

In 10 years time...wow! The boys will be grown by then and most likely out of the house. I would definitely like to be debt-free. I would like to have lost 50+ lbs and be in better physical shape than I am now. I would like to have improved in my photography skills and have completed at least 2 quilts. More than any of that though I would like to have grown in my relationship with God - and be doing what He wants me to do. I would like to see my marriage strong and happy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February Thaw

We are in the middle of a February thaw it seems. One could hear water running and dripping all day. The snow is nearly melted off and things are pretty muddy. There isn't much flooding in our area but there are places that I'm sure have rising water. I just got the fire going again in the woodstove - it had burned itself pretty much out but it is getting cool again tonight and we will need it.

Not much has been happening around here. Dipstick was out pretty much all day at a boy scout event - he seemed to have a good time but is pretty tired tonight. Squirrel is fighting a cold so he stayed home all day. Stretch and I went this afternoon in B's "big truck" to pick up something from the old house and a crate from a friend. I also went to town to get litter for my chickens and birdseed. I've been getting 10+ eggs a day - even with the chickens cooped up. I'm looking forward to being able to let them out in a fenced area.

Guess that's enough boring rambling...I haven't taken as much time to come up with interesting things to write recently...nor have I taken many pictures recently. I have decided however that as far as pictures go...a tripod is a very useful tool to have.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

Another snow day today...and what feels like complete chaos around here this morning. Stretch is waiting on his turn on the computer and watching TLC, Squirrel is playing a computer game on the "game computer" and Dipstick is playing PS2 right next to him. It's snowing heavily at the moment - and visibility is limited. All the same there are vehicles "flying" past here this morning.

I just talked to a friend of mine - and the mom of one of my kids off my bus. She had to go push her husband out of their driveway this morning as he got stuck - they live in town which is usually in better shape then out. I'm rather glad I stopped and got milk last night - even though I paid more than it would cost at the grocery store. As it was...driving home last night I felt like I was driving blind - could tell where the edge of the highway was mainly by way of the rumble strips. By the time Stretch came home it had eased up considerably.

I plan to spend the day doing laundry, baking and putting stuff away. We will see how it goes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Homework and Chili Pepper

I've started posts and had to leave them this week - or had parts of posts running around my head and no time to get them down. So once again this will likely be a rambling update...Stretch and Squirrel are both at Wednesday night church, B is in the shop working on an engine and Dipstick is working on homework inside. Dipstick is struggling getting homework done - he hates doing so it's a daily battle. The sad extra frustrating part of it is that he's very intelligent and would do very well in school if he got his work done and turned in. I'm rather at a loss as to how to help him get it done without being a nag and having daily arguments and tears over it. Even now - he's talking and dawdling over getting it done - though he now understands how to do it. B and I have taken away just about everypriviledge and activity that he wants to do - yet still seem to get nowhere. I'm going to continue printing out his homework agenda daily - as well as pages that show where he's not turned stuff in. Then I will go over it with him and B, then will file it in a folder somehow. Hopefully - while causing me some extra paperwork it will start to show a pattern and Dipstick will be able to see where and how to improve. What makes this extra challenging for me is that it's not something I've dealt with before so it's all new to me.

On a different note - we've had sunshine the past few days. It's been very nice - to see the sun sparkling on the snow. It's been cold and we've had freezing fog the last couple of mornings - that is so beautiful as it leaves gorgeous hoarfrost on everything. The roads sure have not been very nice - the top layer has melted off but there's still ice andsmooshed snow underneath everything. That is finally beginning to change as of today. This morning we had red sky so I'm waiting to see how the weather changes - I'm certain it will just not how.

The other night I made a batch of brownies - cheated and used a mix with a couple of additions. First off I used applesauce in place of half of the oil - a relatively common substitution that lowers the fat content. The other addition involved a 1/2 tsp of a spice...I did not tell anyone in the family what I did. Squirrel begged for a brownie after supper and was eagerly allowed one. He ate a couple of bites then screwed up his face asking "Mom...what did you do to these?...Wait....Mooommmm....you didn't?!!" By that point I was laughing hysterically as I confirmed that indeed I had putChipottle chili pepper in the mix. I think I laughed until I cried - Stretch got into the fun by asking me whatever possessed me to add chili pepper to the brownie mix...then I had to get the magazine to show him that it's supposed to increase one's metabolism. I don't know yet if it will work...but the reaction sure was funny! And I have certainly found that I'm less likely to eat a HUGE amount of brownie - I'm much more content with a smaller portion. Next time I will try a little less chili pepper...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lost and Found

I got a bee in my knickers tonight and found my lost specs! I decided there was no way that they could have fallen out of my bedside table and therefore had to be behind it - in it. (Squirrel is standing beside me telling me he thinks he broke his toe! Dropping the fire poker thingy on it just a few minutes ago. I'm certain it's not broken but equally certain it does hurt). Deciding the specs had to be behind/in the bedside table actually involved my taking the back off the table as the drawers would not come out. B just came in for supper so I'd better go for now - this looks like it won't post anyway.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two in a Row


The above was the scene from our 3 season room yesterday afternoon - it gives an idea of how much snow we had.

School ended up being closed today - we headed down to the bus about 7:10 - made it there to get it started by 7:30. Roads were slick - the highway especially had black ice and I fishtailed more than I have in a long time. Bus started with absolutely no problem and we ended over to a friend's house for coffee. She is one of the moms off my bus route and we're becoming friends - she has coffee available for several of the local neighborhood moms - we sit and chat. Stretch and Squirrel hung out there as well - Stretch finished up his homework that was due tomorrow. I finally got the call telling me school was closed for the day about 8:15 - pretty much last minute. We have drivers on the road by 8:30 (6:30 on a regular day). Dipstick did have school - he just went late.

Dipstick is on a 2 hour delay already for tomorrow. We are closed! I got that phone call before 4:30 pm! I'm rejoicing as is Stretch - Squirrel not so much. He's upset that he's missing band and Math Academic Bowl practice. I am amused as it's so much like Stretch was 4 years ago at the same age.

I am looking forward to being able to sleep in some and unpack more. We will also be going to the old house for a short time to make sure it's looking decent - apparently there is a showing scheduled for Saturday afternoon. This is the first showing in over 2 months so we will see what happens. In the meantime today I made a parts run for B - drove his big pick-up to Leesburg to pick up two engines. One is ready to be put back together - the other needs disassembled and sent to the machine shop. Roads were bad - I drove really slowly. I really didn't have any problems except when I had to cross a RR track right before I got there - right turn and up a steep grade. Made it ok on the third attempt. Needless to say I came home a different way.

This picture is from this evening - just as the sun was going down. Guess that's rather obvious if one looks at the round glow shining through the trees. It doesn't do the colors justice but I thought it was pretty. Today was a beautiful day - clear, sunny and very cold.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Car Retrieved

Well the car is retrieved. B took the skidloader and several shovels down and was able to pull it out - no harm done. I suppose I should mention that the car went in the ditch because I pulled over in a narrow area of the road to let the snow plow go past - I basically got "sucked in" by the deep snow in that area. Afternoon bus route went o.k. though the roads were definitely bad and students were understandably wild. I have phoned a couple of parents this evening - not sure how the results will be but will wait and see.

We are on a 2 hour delay for the morning already - I'm thankful for that. HoweverBoss wants the buses all running by 7:30 am - that means we have to leave here by 7:10 or so. That gives the buses close to an hour to run before we get on the roads. They should be fairly warm by then.

Pictures will have to wait - I did take a couple earlier this evening. It's bedtime and I'm tired - my sense of humor is pretty much gone - I was laughing earlier about the day.

Half the Story

It's been a most definitely interesting morning this morning and the day is barely half gone! It is a beautiful peaceful very cold morning out - snow is falling softly in big fluffy flakes - visibility is less than half a mile. The wind is blowing at times - lightly and roads are snow-covered.

Stretch, Squirrel and I left the house this morning about 6:10 - earlier than normal - to get to the bus as I was afraid it would not start. It didn't - neither did the spare at the middle school. (I just got a call from hubby telling me that school will be released early again! It was yesterday as well - my bus was in the shop getting serviced and I only had 40 min notice. Today at least the notice is more - 90 min. However my car is still in the ditch down the road - more on that later) I ended up driving a 84 passenger snub nose for my route and running quite late so only had half the passengers I usually do. We made it safely to school - late but safe. I gave the snub nose back to it's regular driver (who couldn't get it started this morning either), left her spare at the middle school and made sure my bus was cared for so it would hopefully start this afternoon.

On that note I'm going to finish my coffee and head out again...will post more later with some pictures.