Thursday, December 9, 2010


Sunshine least for a time. The temps are back up in the mid 30's. While I am thankful for the sun I'm not eager to have all the snow melt away. We have had snow most of the week - accumulating probably 3-5 inches I would guess. This morning there was just a fresh dusting. Today is supposed to be the warmest day all week - tomorrow and Saturday we have the chance of freezing rain or more snow. I will take the snow but would prefer not to have the freezing rain. We will see.

Have intended to blog all week but anytime I thought about doing so it was too close to bus route time or bedtime or someone else needing on the computer. So it never happened. Today again it's getting close to bus route time but I won't be home this evening as Stretch has his school Christmas concert tonight. (His last - those are starting..not sure I'm ready for that) I was looking for baby pictures of him last night - thought I had them all out to scrapbook but finally found them in a labeled box. It was fun...brought back memories. Now just to find the time to scrapbook them and finish his School Days album and...the list goes on.

Today I managed to get all the laundry folding done (first time all week) though I'm busy making more to fold. Also got the kitchen cleaned and dishwasher ran again so am basically caught up on dishes - at least until tonight. I also got a nap in thankfully. And supper is in the crockpot.

Had a good visit north to see Mom and Dad. What really made the trip was that I also got to see my sister Karen as she was down trying to schedule a meeting with the doctors caring for Mom. We spent Friday evening and most of Saturday together - mostly at the hospital but the point is that we were together. After she left for her home on Saturday Dad and I took Mom for a walk - the first time she had walked anywhere in several weeks. We did that again Sunday and Monday before Stretch and I left for home. Each time we went an increased distance and her increased strength and stability were obvious. While this is not an indication of "healing" it does show that the steroid treatment is still effective in keeping the disease somewhat under control.

Other than that...activities are ramping up for Christmas...between tonight and this time next week there are 3 different school band/choir concerts to attend. We only have 1 more week of school before the break - this entire year seems to have just flown by. I have done no Christmas cards yet...would like to get a note done to go in them. Will just have to wait and see.

Better scoot for now -want to let the chickens out today and feed and water them before bus route. I've kept them locked up all week due to the cold.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quick Recap

Well it's been a few days since I've written...but not as long as in the past. This morning I was the 2nd one up - makes it nice as it was still reasonably quiet for me to wake up. I've got laundry in washer and dryer, kitchen in process and am enjoying my second cup of coffee. For today there is LOTS of laundry to do, some baking, cleaning and hopefully a visit to a craft show. Before I can leave for that though the boys will be servicing my car in preparation for a trip north next week. I am going to see Mom and Dad. Stretch will come with this time - I am driving again and it is always nice to have someone with me. This time I won't be driving the entire way which is likely to be nice. It's been a more difficult week for Dad I think as for the first time since Mom was admitted he has not been able to be at the hospital with her daily. He got sick and was not allowed to visit until yesterday.

Speaking of challenges...I had an experience that I hope to never ever repeat this week. I was driving my afternoon bus route...making my regular stop at a trailer park where the entrance is directly onto a major state highway. Procedure is to use right turn signal, pull off the highway as far as possible without actually entering the trailer park, unload my students, use my left turn signal and pull safely back into traffic. (We do not use our 8-way red stop arm system for stops on this major highway because it would be more dangerous for the students to stop traffic then to just pull off the road). I followed procedure, unloaded about 15 students, moved another student still on the bus to the front of the bus and was pulling back into traffic. Suddenly there were red flashing lights from a state police officer in my mirror - he was quite clearly intent on pulling me over. So I moved ahead a few feet to open the entrance of the trailer park back up and stopped. He requested me to get out of my seat and step down into the doorway of the bus so he could talk with me. He asked if I had used my reds at this stop and why I had not. Then he said I should pull into the trailer park before I let my students off. I had got on the radio to try to let my boss know what was going on but did not get an immediate response. The officer eventually let me continue with my route - no ticket, no warning...just a "I will call your boss later". I was late to the elementary school and decidedly upset but loaded the remainder of my students and started to take them home. I had another stop on that same highway...handled it according to procedure and called my boss as soon as I was finished driving - he had no clue what had happened. His response when he called me back was "he can't do that!" repeated a couple of times as I told my story. I have learned the correct procedure - if a state trooper wants to speak to a driver of a loaded school bus he is to follow the bus to the nearest school and speak to the driver there. And I was correct in how I unloaded my students. Having said all was a decidedly upsetting afternoon for me as driver. On the bright side my kids, especially most of the elementary kids behaved better than they have all year. (I did tell one that if there was no blood involved and it was a sister issue I was not dealing with it at the moment). One of my most challenging students did excellent and was quite concerned at how upset I was...I told him I would be alright and would see him the next day. And there were many many questions the next day - most of the students had already heard from either their morning driver or older kids on the bus the previous afternoon. But they still had questions.

Ok...enough time on the computer now. Coffee is finished and I need to get going on house chores.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Post??

The sun is shining today. I spent the morning with a friend that I try to spend time with every couple of weeks then went to the camera store to order prints of pictures for Stretch's "school days" album. I've been pondering how to do that. K-8th grade all has their own individual page and I added as necessary. High school is a whole different ball game and the company I purchased his album from does not make high school pages. I've decided to do a 2 page spread (or more if necessary) of his different activities throughout high school. So cross country will have a spread - including all 4 years, drama will have a spread as will choir. School pictures and course schedules...not quite sure how to do those yet. But will eventually figure them out. I found I needed to find the pictures of "Little Women" and at least one year of Gospel Choir yet not including this year. OH yes...and "Fiddler on the Roof" which is one of my all time favorite musicals.

The other challenge has been figuring out what year I got the digital camera. I have about decided it was early '07. Still have not come up with a good way to organize digital pictures. And I can't figure out how some people can get several hundred pictures on a cd and I am not able to. That will help once I figure that out.

Sunrise was beautiful and red this morning. We saw 3 deer - including one nice buck and a pet pot bellied pig this morning on route. That was fun.

There was more I was going to write but can't remember what it was.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It was mentioned to me that my blogging has been missed. My response was that I would see what I could do. I haven't blogged recently - since Stretch's birthday. Depression has been an on-going more difficult issue for me than it has been in a VERY long time. There has been much going on with B's business that has contributed to it along with Mom still being in the hospital and declining. We have found that she never finished the course of treatment recommended by the doctors who know the disease she has - she was transferred to a hospital closer to home and ended up with a doctor that appears to feel that since she has two terminal diagnosis's there is no point in treating because it won't benefit in the long run - it will simply cost. It appears now that she has relapsed - she had been able to get up and walk with Dad's assistance and that seems to have disappeared. I would like to make another visit north but at the same time...want some good memories rather than painful ones.

B's business is going well at the moment. He has hired a office lady who comes in a couple days a week - that will be much better overall for the business as paperwork is definitely NOT my strong point. I can do the basics but that's it. It is a good thing that she comes in but the way in which it came about was emotionally painful. For awhile I was afraid I had lost two friends over it. Thankfully that fear is going away...and I am feeling much less invaded than I did at the beginning.

Today is a sunny day that is also supposed to be warm - in the upper 60's. I so enjoy the sunshine and it is very helpful to have light in the mornings to pick up my students with. It is also neat to get to watch the sunrises - I often think of that old saying "Red sky at night, sailors' delight; Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning". It is amazingly true - when the sunrise is red there tends to be a period of stormy weather soon after. One sees many more deer when there is light out as well.

We did have our first heavy frost over the weekend. I found out the hard way that the ramp was still slick after 11:00 am on Saturday - that was not fun. Still dealing with noticeable discomfort in my back but thankful a trip to the ER was not required. I walked like I was very old for the rest of the day and still get around slow.

The boys have been busy. Stretch and Squirrel both were involved in the technical side of producing the Fall play which was performed this past weekend. Stretch did sound while Squirrel worked lights. Squirrel especially seemed to love it and is very much looking forward to high school. I think he is much more likely to be involved in the technical aspects of the plays and musicals then he is the actual acting though that may change. Stretch enjoys the acting but was glad this time not to have any more than a part as a radio announcer.

Dipstick has been accepted to the new Eagle Tech Academy that will be opening up next fall. He has been excited about this since he first heard about it and has wanted to attend. I truly hope that he adjusts well and the program is better suited to his learning style. He is smart but hates homework and bookwork - would much rather be using his hands.

Guess that's enough of an update for the time being. Thanks to those of you who are still reading and commenting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Stretch

Today is my oldest son's 18th's birthday. There is so much more to write about then this letter to him he knows how to clean up after himself, can cook and shop for himself, will take the initiative to get meals on the table when I am not around.

Son - You are 18 years old today. I can hardly believe it. It doesn’t seem that long ago that your dad and I were bringing you home from the hospital as a newborn (not so tiny though). I remember being terrified that you were getting dehydrated because every time I fed you it seemed you messed your diaper only to learn that that was normal for an infant.

I remember seeing you in the operating room – wrapped in a towel just fresh born and thinking “he looks like a wise old man”. That impression has stayed with me – now you have grown into a very wise young man – mature in many ways beyond your physical age. You have survived and grown through the loss of your dad, moves to a new state and new schools….making new friends and becoming involved in a new church. You are still more comfortable with people older than yourself – I think that’s to be expected as a result of your experiences.

You accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior at the age of 4. I remember sitting with you at the dining room table explaining what that meant and leading you in prayer. You were sitting in your booster seat at that time still and we lived in an apartment in Tulsa, OK on the south side. You have always loved going to church – from that very young age on. I am thankful for that love and desire to spend time in God’s house – and for the growth I’ve seen in your life since. You and your brother were the reason that I “stayed in church” after your dad died – I knew in my heart that you needed to be there and you wanted to be there as well. In fact the day he died you went to church because it was a Sunday morning and that’s where you felt like you needed to be. You were baptized at the age of 7 I believe – the date was January 11 but I forget the year.

I could go on…but it will make this way too long. In the past years I have watched you grow spiritually. You had the exciting experience of leading a friend to the Lord this past summer. You are involved in worship team at church now as well as Gospel Choir at school. You are always willing and ready to share your faith with someone or to pray with someone. This past summer it was announced that you were called to be a pastor – you stepped up to pray in service without hesitation.

You have persevered with cross country even though you felt like the team did not care about you or need you. I know it was tough at times – and even tougher to do it cheerfully. I am proud of you for learning that you run for yourself and for God. As long as you are doing your personal best that is what counts. You never gave up even when you were at the tail end of a race and most everyone had walked away from the finish line – you still crossed that line running as fast as you could. I really honestly hope that you continue to run – for fun and fitness even though you may never run in competition again.

I am proud of you for standing up for the underdog…when you were in 8th grade and Jon joined the cross country team you stood up for him and encouraged him when he was being picked on. That pattern has continued – you still care for those who are hurting. If one of your friends has a need you do your best to be there to help and encourage them – counseling on Facebook, through IM, the phone, texting or face to face.

You have exciting things to look forward to this year. One of them is waiting for the official acceptance letter from the college of your dreams. You fell in love with IWU when you were there for a 3 week course over the summer and now you can’t wait to attend there. You have faith that God will work out the details.

High school graduation is coming up and a new chapter in your life will be beginning. You have a fairly heavy course load this school year – something that is unusual for most seniors. Continue to work hard and do your absolute best throughout this year and into the future. Continue to seek God and His will first – as you have learned He will guide you and provide.

I love you – “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”. (Quoted from the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch) While you are no longer a baby – you are a young man, this is still true – I will love you forever and you will always be my firstborn.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not accomplishing much today. Had originally planned to go to Shipshewana today - there were a couple of stores I wanted to pop into. However last night Squirrel came home with a fever and not feeling well at all. So I postponed those plans - nothing was critical. Did have coffee with my friend that I was going to go with before coming home. Since I got home I've done some laundry and loaded dishwasher and taken a short nap. I should be cleaning my craft area (again) or folding more laundry or something...Instead I am sitting here thinking about this afternoon. Squirrel did have a cross country meet to run and I was scheduled to drive. My route sub could not switch back with me so I am still driving the meet even though he is not going. I am really hoping that my students behave much better this afternoon than they did last time I was off and that the route goes more smoothly. I am also thinking about the student who has been transferred off and the one who will be transferring on effective today and hoping those changes go smoothly.

We found out yesterday that one of our drivers has been admitted to hospital in critical condition - he has a football sized tumor in his abdomen. Not much hope is being held out for him. He has 3 children - the youngest of whom is in Squirrel's grade. Talked to my sister-in-law this morning - she spent two nights in hospital last week suffering from a severe bout of vertigo. She has lost hearing in one ear - not sure if that is a permanent loss or not. It is not known yet what caused the vertigo - she is off work for this week and is not currently driving as that was what triggered it in the first place. It leaves a fairly heavy load on her husband to pick up caring for all the things she handles in addition to her job as a vet tech. They have 2 young boys - one of whom has severe food allergies. Of course I live too far away to help.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quick Post

Quick post this morning...out to a cross country meet soon. And I'm bringing snacks for Squirrel's team - not as healthy as some but could be worse I think. Grapes (if I get them washed), raisins, peanut butter crackers and packaged fruit snacks plus water and a sports drink. What is nice is when both boys have a Saturday meet together and I don't have to drive them to the bus.

Dipstick is on his way to Plow Days with B's dad. B is not going this year - he is staying home to rest and recover from surgery. His follow-up appointment went pretty well - he goes back on the 28th for a "final" check.

Yesterday went very well on the bus route...I don't tend to be comfortable addressing my kids as "a group". I would much rather interact with them one-on-one. However the sub on Thursday had such a bad time with them - mis-behavior, back talk and ultimately ending up in a ditch - that I shared how disappointed I was. I went over bus rules, shared I was strict for a reason and could be stricter if necessary and told them that now they had to prove to me, the elementary principal (who I've not seen eye to eye with for some time as she thought I was too strict - and who stood and listened to me talk to them - then wished me "good luck" as she got off), my transportation director boss and the superintendent that they did know how to behave even if I was not the driver that day. So the test will come on Tuesday when I am driving a cross country meet for Squirrel's team instead of my bus route.

I still have not had "creative time" or even time to go through my pictures. But I did take time yesterday morning to have chai with a couple of close friends after morning route. It was good to connect some - and I got to cuddle a baby (he's not so much one anymore - going on 9 months old but I've known him since he was an hour old - hadn't even had a bath yet).

Time is to scoot or I will be late. That's not good for the snack person.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Disconnected...that is the thought that is running through my mind today. I've not been blogging or even keeping up on blogs that I enjoy reading (as I was reminded by an email from one of my brothers)...I've not been journaling. I have snatched a very few minutes to stitch a couple of evenings - once this week. I've not had much time with friends to connect and talk and share our lives. I am not even doing well at responding to emails.

School started about a month ago. Cross country season officially started 2 weeks later - Squirrel had 3 meets the first week and has 2 every week since one of which is on Saturdays. Stretch is also running mainly with weekend meets. I have missed more meets than I normally do already - that is a struggle for me. There have been 2 back to school nights (one for Squirrel and one for Dipstick). There is regular homework checks especially for Dipstick. Parent - teacher conferences are coming up already. Two nights a week we watch Little Bit for her mother so she can take classes to become a nurse and be better able to support herself and Little Bit. Grief Group starts tonight for Dipstick - and Wednesday night services have resumed for the fall.

In addition to all that...B had surgery last Saturday. It was "day surgery" in that he was able to go home that day. However he is not to do any heavy lifting, not supposed to be driving yet - he over-did it yesterday and was pretty beat last night. He was discouraged ...he does not do "sit and rest" well and had expected to be able to handle more by now. This afternoon he has his follow-up appointment and I am thankful to be able to go with him though it requires my taking my afternoon bus route off.

In addition to that appointment I hope to be able to get more daily housekeeping stuff done and start to get caught up on paperwork. I would also like to find my pictures I've downloaded on here and start organizing them. None of that has happened since we reformatted the computer. Eventually I will need to get an external hard drive for the pictures only. Tonight will be a late night as I am the one who takes Dipstick to Grief Group.

I feel like I only write here when things are not going well. One positive thing I am enjoying is the cooler temperatures and more deer sightings while I drive my bus. Yesterday morning the sunrise was beautiful and red - always wish I had a good camera along to get pictures of that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Finally feeling better today...not physically but emotionally. It has been a rough week...I have been over-reacting to what seems like everything. I've realized my reactions were over the top but not known why. Yesterday I had to take Dipstick to registration - had spent hours trying to make sure I had all the registration paperwork printed off the computer. We got there and I was missing 2 key pages so we ended up having to go the "slow" routine (not that having the pages done was that much faster as one still had to go through all the lines!) I confess I lost it...not shouting and yelling lost it but lost it none the less. Finally when I was in the restroom calming down it dawned on Mike and I would have been celebrating our 21 yr wedding anniversary. As soon as I acknowledged that and accepted that the grief would still hit at times...even after 7 1/2 yrs and being happily remarried, I started to calm down.

Talking to a dear friend on the phone this morning...who has also lost a husband to cancer and is remarried...she admitted she struggled extra this year as well. She pointed out that we thought God's plan was for us to be married to our first husbands for our lifetime - that we would grow old together and it didn't work out that way. Of course the grief will be there at times. (And in B's case he will still face grief on his loss as well). To further add to that...B has had some medical tests recently that could have revealed life-changing health issues and the questions...admitted or not would have been there.

This explains to me also the intense "grief" I felt at having confirmed that I would not be taking "my" elementary kids all the way to school this year. I will be finished with my bus route at the middle school in the mornings - the elementary kids will transfer to another bus. I've had these kids for 3 years now and will miss the time I got to spend visiting with them in the mornings. Those times were occasionally challenging but it was often those times that I had the chance to let a child know I saw they had had a difficult morning and try to encourage them.

So all that to's been a rough week emotionally. Today I feel like I see light again.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I've been aware for some time that the medical system in this country is broken. Today however I see that more clearly than ever before.

When Squirrel had his accident we had a short term health insurance policy. It covered a portion of his hospital bills but by no means all of them. In January we switched to a "permanent long term" policy that had a fairly high deductible and a premium payment of almost $600.00/month. However it has paid nothing on Squirrel's follow-up tests determining them either to be diagnostic or relating to a pre-existing condition. It has also denied coverage for my (recurrent) sinus infections determining them also to be pre-existing due to having been treated for them previously in less than a year. (Last fall and two this past spring). We have been paying out almost as much on these medical bills as on our monthly premium payment. Slowly there has been progress but there is still a long way to go.

This month B requires some testing done. He made his first doctor's appointment in several years for last week. We went together and blood work, an ultrasound and sleep study were ordered. I phoned our current insurance company this morning to try to find out what percentage of these tests would be covered. Turns out that unless he is hospitalized and having surgery within 21 days these would all be considered diagnostic and would therefore not be covered at all. Considering how much we are paying per month for coverage this is decidedly unacceptable.

So...I'm once again on the search for health insurance. I did...with B's approval go ahead and sign up for a policy that has no deductible, covers all pre-existing conditions with no waiting period, pays 75% of "everything" with a office visit co-pay of $10-30.00 and what sounds like reasonable co-pays on prescriptions. It is a plan designed primarily for "difficult to insure" people who have pre-existing conditions...and not everyone qualifies. In other words, because I deal with depression our family would qualify for this coverage while someone who was as "healthy as a horse" would not. The price is much more reasonable than what we had before and there is a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. So...we will see.

I rarely post anything that could be remotely construed as political or having anything to do with politics. However...right now I feel this needs written.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Realization...

It is official...I have too many hobbies. Now the question becomes how to pare down. I scrapbook, bead, stitch, crochet, take photos, journal, quilt (if one can call my feeble beginning attempts quilting) and "garden". In addition I have books on woodworking, writing, drawing (and supplies) plus all of the ones I actually do. I used to rubber stamp and have plenty of supplies for that as well. As a child I had daydreams of having a room/building devoted to crafts. It would have excellent lighting, work table space for working with beads/gemstones, more worktable space for scrapbooking and drawing. There would be a potter's wheel and kiln. There would be an area for sewing/quilting...I've never had the desire to design and make clothes but long to make teddy bears. There would be an area with easels for painting or drawing. The lighting would be natural daylight as much as possible...both overhead and through windows with a beautiful view. Realistically...I'm too busy at this time in my life for all of these and I can't see actually having the space for that room. But the thought of paring down is rather overwhelming.

On a different note...Stretch is home from college. He had a blast and made friends who I hope will be lifetime friends. He learned a lot...spent the drive home talking stream of consciousness and pretty much non-stop. He is sold on having a Mac computer for college. He pulled an all-nighter in celebration of successful finishing of the course and has been falling asleep in the recliner since we got home. He has decided that he will likely apply to this university after high school and that he will apply for the honor's program. I'm thrilled at that news...I know it will be more work for him but believe he is able to handle the load.

Squirrel has been watching "Star Trek - Voyager" since we got home. He was pretty much counting the hours until we could leave this morning to get his brother. He missed his brother...though he enjoyed the county fair demo derbies. He also enjoyed mostly our trip to Chicago to see family.

Dipstick is out on a camping trip this weekend. The original plan was for it to be a biking trip so the troop could earn their badges. However due I think to the extreme heat forecast for this weekend the plan was changed...I am not sure what they are working on.

The computer is fixed...thankfully. It had to be completely formatted so I've still not got everything totally back to the way I like it. However...slowly progress is being made. No pictures are loaded yet.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Home late last night from dropping Stretch off at IWU for the next 3 weeks. He was accepted to a Summer Scholars program down there and will be taking a World Civilization course. It's a very small group of students - less than 20 I think. He got a scholarship for the tuition...we just had to pay for his room and board. I'm sure he will have a lot of fun...But wow! Talk about the memories and the mixed emotions...Seeing his room for the next 3 weeks - way nicer than ours at RVA and he does not have a roommate as there are only 4 guys total in the program. But the dorm atmosphere.. .I'm guessing the closest comparison was...I can't remember the name of the dorm but it was the boys one at the end of the main rugby field (Upper?) overlooking Logonot. Seeing the other students and parents there - some of whom were obviously also dropping off their first-born and were apparently struggling more with it than I was - and at least one student who had flown in this morning from Virginia. Along with all the dorm "stuff" was the longing that never goes away totally for me to go back to school - to sit and listen to people who are smarter than me share their knowledge - I wished I could have taken notes from the professor who was at the reception who prayed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Am currently getting an exercise machine set up in our bedroom. Stretch is afraid it won't get used...I have to prove him wrong. Dipstick is currently reading the instructions trying to figure out the cables. This piece was one of several machines that B purchased at the local town-wide garage sale this spring - since that time it's been residing on the front porch. However I now have a beautiful candle lantern that I would like to reside out there complete with a citronella candle for enjoying the evenings and the exercise equipment had to go. Squirrel and I will move the rest into the old shop for the time being.

Since i last's been almost a month. This summer is absolutely flying past and no major projects have been completed since then. Stretch leaves on Monday for his 3 week course at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU). Squirrel and I are planning a trip to Chicago for a few days while he is gone. Dipstick will hopefully be heading to spend some time with his sister in early August - after the 4H fair and his next boy scout camping trip. B stays very busy in the shop - working long hours most days. We did get away for a mid-week vacation while the younger boys were at church camp.

Squirrel was baptized last Sunday - that was exciting.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Home alone this morning...except for Squirrel who is still asleep. Stretch is off taking the SAT while Dipstick and B are out at a swap meet. I had considered driving down and getting more plants - petunias and perennials to put out. However I think I will leave that until I'm down that way early next week. Later today we have a wedding to attend so I'm going to enjoy the quiet while I have it.

We've been on summer break now since end of May. Our last day of school was May 27th...Dipsticks was June 3. Since Stretch, Squirrel and I got out we have cleaned out the old shop, the garage and started on going through the basement. It's been big jobs but thankfully not too hot.

The last few weeks of school were absolutely crazy...track meets,Prom, field trips, awards ceremonies, concerts...Am going to try to get some pictures up but am having computer issues so we will see.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today's Goal

Goal for today: Clear off the area where my sewing machine is so that maybe this weekend I can sew. Yesterday I cleared off my craft desk and the area around feels like next time I have time to scrapbook I will actually be able to do so. I will take pictures when I get the huge box that is currently in the corner emptied and sorted.

B has taken the day off to go to the big annual village garage sale south of here. I went with him last year and enjoyed myself - more just being with him then dealing with the crowds. However he planned a guys day with some of his buddies and I'm ok with that. I have been so busy driving track meets and running boys around that I'm thankful for the time at home alone during the day today. I'm not planning to accomplish a huge project...just a little bit. Supper is basically already made as it wasn't done as much as I wanted it to be last night so I continued cooking it overnight and it's fall apart tender now. I did stop at two garage sales on the way home this morning - one just south of our house and one on my bus route. Didn't purchase much and am content. I've had a short nap, loaded dishwasher and had it's time to be away to work on my project.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Stretch was accepted to the Summer Scholars Program at IWU. He gets a full tuition scholarship though we have to pay room and board. He will be away for 3 weeks - earning 3 college credits taking a course on World Civilization. He will participate in a ropes course, have some field trips and experience college life. I'm so proud of him...and at the same time...facing the fact that my oldest "baby" is spreading his wings to fly.

He is understandably excited.

He actually got the acceptance letter on Saturday...after just having the application mailed out on Wednesday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Word Picture and an Overdue Update

The sun...a glowing, orange-red orb peeking out before being covered by blue grey clouds. Later on my way home from bus route..The sun is again peeking through bathing farms, fields and trees with a golden glow while more blue grey storm clouds move in from the west. Now...early afternoon before heading back to my bus route...the rain has been gently falling for several hours. Birds are active at the bird feeders...someone once told me that means the rain will continue most of the day. The trees and bushes are budding out in brilliant shades of green...Spring has come.


It's been awhile since I've written and life has been as busy as normal if not more so. This is our first full week back from spring break - been a good week overall. Last night was Grief Group for Dipstick - that is the time that he and I travel to "the city" on a Thursday evening to spend time at a center for grieving children. There are adult groups but I'm not involved this time...did that when Stretch and Squirrel went through. I initially thought it would be a time for me to write/journal, read or create. Instead I'm making friends with a couple of other moms who bring their children and don't attend group themselves. We catch up on each others' lives and giggle like school girls. Last night was particularly funny...I had purchased a book and set of flash cards on American sign language so we opened it up and started working on the alphabet. What a hoot! We laughed so hard we cried. But I plan to take it back next time...and in the meantime driving home this morning I was working on my alphabet by memory. I used to know it a very long time ago and some seems to be coming back easily. Sign language is something that I remember having a longing to learn as a teen in Africa - the church we used to attend in OK had an interpreter for the services and I enjoyed watching them. I still love to watch someone sign during praise and worship time at church. So...all that to say...I'm going to pursue a half-faded dream and see what happens. I don't know why it calls to my heart but it does.

Yesterday was also Squirrel's first Academic Bowl Competition of the year. He is once again on the math team. I did not get to attend as I was with Dipstick. However his team placed 3rd out of 8 teams so I am proud of him. He blames himself for the 2 mistakes that were made - didn't go with his "gut". His next meet is on a Saturday and I will attend that one. Not sure I want to drive the bus though...we will see. Stretch went to the meet after his musical practice was over.

Wednesday I drove the first 7th grade field trip since Squirrel's accident at Christmas. This was much shorter and he had water with but I confess to still worrying a bit. Was really glad I was able to drive it even though we drivers did not participate in the career activities involved. After school he had his first track meet of the season - he did long jump and ran 3 events. I think his best event by far is the 1600meter race - ran that in just about 6 1/2 minutes. This one was at home so I was able to drive my bus route first - but it made for a long afternoon.

Over spring break Stretch and Dipstick stayed home and worked in the shop with B. Squirrel on the other hand rode with me to Ontario to visit Dad and Mom. We left on Monday and returned Wednesday night - it was short visit. However I'm glad we went. Mom seemed to know me most of the time - and had a fairly good idea who Squirrel was though she often mixed him up with my brother David. She was agitated on Wednesday morning. I really think that she needs more mental stimulation than she gets. PT refuses to work with her so everything that is stimulating is up to Dad and those who come to visit and volunteer to walk with her. She seems to love to play catch with stuffed animals and wants most everyone in the room involved while that is going on.

Friday of spring break Stretch and I made a college visit to IWU in Marion. We had a good drive down there and really enjoyed the time together as we don't get much one-on-one time anymore. IWU is one of the schools he is considering for college - expensive but most will be. And it is close enough for him to come home relatively often - or for us to visit him. Much will depend on the types and amounts of scholarships he can get. I have to believe that God will provide - as well as direct where he is to go.

The biggest thing that happened before spring break is that Stretch was inducted into the National Honor Society chapter at our high school...and he was elected vice-president of the chapter for next year. I am so pleased and excited for him.

I'd better scoot for now...this is probably enough of an update for now and it's getting to be time to head for bus route again. On the agenda for tonight is to watch Suz's kids - including the 4 month old baby and go to the grocery store. Additionally my two big projects are to plant stuff outside...and to catalog my craft supplies. Any suggestions on the later?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A week

This week (end of last) has been difficult around here at our middle school (where Squirrel attends). An 8th grade girl turned up missing early Thursday morning - initially it was thought she might be a run-away though she'd had no prior history. Her body turned up in a field less than a mile from her home late Friday evening. A 17yr old boy has been arrested and admitted to killing her...he's been charged. They had no prior relationship. ..met through facebook. She was fighting with her boyfriend and vulnerable.. .he's been kicked out of at least 2 school systems - ours and the neighboring one to the west. The visitation was yesterday.., funeral is this morning. (I would have liked to attend the visitation but it was in conflict with Dipstick's needing a ride home.) Kaylin's (the girl) bus driver was fairly instrumental in helping the police find and arrest the boy - in part due to how close he lived to her. She has been in on most of the case...including helping "her kids" on her bus deal with it. Our middle school kids - especially the 8th grade girls have really had a rough time with this.

Between that, my Mom still being in hospital and the challenges of blending a was a rough weekend. I've been quiet...not even blogging because otherwise I have a tendency to get "verbal vomit"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Can't remember the last day I did's running again this morning. Dishwasher will be running before I go back to work this afternoon. Doctor said sinus infection and infected tonsils! So now I'm on strong antibiotics hoping it will take care of it for good this time.

There's been lots I've wanted to write about this week though I probably won't remember it all. Dipstick finally has all his grades back up to passing and above...not just barely. That's a huge relief. Squirrel made it through his first choir concert without passing out this time. That was another huge relief...both for me and his choir director. I sat in the front row and watched him pretty much the entire time he was on stage. Stretch is busy as usual - preparing for the spring musical at the moment. I'm excited to see the high school perform it as it is one of my favorites of all time.

Spring is on the way...our circle of daffodils is coming up again already. I really would like to fill that entire circle in with early spring bulbs - but first have to get the daffodils thinned out and spaced in a bit better. Will probably mess with them after they are done blooming this year...just before we mow them off. Still have dreams to get spring flowering shrubs in as well as summer flowering ones. In all honesty I would really like to have flowers/shrubs, etc that bloom from early spring to late fall. I would also like to have a nice vegetable garden...we will see how things progress.

There is more to write but it's time I was away to swap laundry and load dishwasher, etc. Will try to comment on other blogs later.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday doings...

3rd load of laundry in washer, 2nd load in dryer, 1st waiting to be folded. Previously clean laundry mostly folded and put away. Dishwasher has run and is now cooling to be ready to empty, reload and run again. I am now sitting down to 3rd cup of coffee...or is it 4th? Kitchen counters are tidied and wiped and Squirrel is working on a fresh batch of cookies. The headache that drove me out of bed this morning shortly after 6:30 has eased to a dull pounding instead of blinding pain. Hopefully by date time tonight it will be still less. In the meantime I will push fluids and coffee and we will see.

Last night I went with Squirrel to the 2nd Annual Middle School talent show...there is some amazing talent in our middle school. I thoroughly enjoyed it...those kids have guts. Some you could tell were really nervous but for a first time like that they did great. Driving home was not as bad as I expected - it had been precipitating since mid-afternoon so I was a little concerned. I did slide past a turn or two but nothing really major even though we were among the last to leave due to him being on the "clean-up crew". Dipstick stayed home with B...he's still having issues with his grades and getting homework turned in on time. Stretch was at the high school basketball game - he got home later than Squirrel and I did.

Other than that...things are going along pretty well. Mom is still in the hospital waiting on a nursing home placement.

Better go for is almost finished and it's time I got started on lunch. Still need to find a movie to go to tonight...or something fun for a date.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Irreparable damage in the frontal lobe...nothing further can be regained now. Now to find a nursing home that will accept her - a challenge with the damage sustained. There's many many questions going through my mind...could this have been prevented? Should or could it have been caught sooner? What triggered the immune response that caused the damage? Is this something that can be inherited? I'm sure there's more but right now those are top...and I don't know if there are answers.

I think I'm kind of numb...but not really surprised. Just wish I lived closer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sitting here at the computer having my second cup of coffee...thinking I will probably need to make another pot. We were released from school early yesterday due to weather and are on a snow day today...Dipstick is on his second snow day in a row. He spent a good part of yesterday getting his unfinished homework done and is now in the shop with the other boys helping B.

The snow seems to be moving out of the area - clouds are lifting and the day is getting brighter. We probably got at least 5-6 inches in the last 24 hours with the possibility of another 1-3 today along with lots of blowing and drifting. Roads are definitely bad though we see trucks "flying" past here if they go past at all. One certainly can't put on tennis shoes and walk out to the shop though...unless one wants wet feet.

On my agenda for today is some basic housecleaning, laundry and working on shop books and medical bills. Additionally since it is a snow day I really want to get the Christmas tree sister is amused that it's not down yet but I confess to having had other things on my mind. I plan to have Squirrel help me with that later today.

As far as Squirrel's cardiology appointment went...I was very pleased. The doctor spent a long time talking with us and explaining things that had to be ruled out and why. Bottom line is that there is nothing major, life threatening wrong with his heart or in his brain. Basically the rapid growth spurt he's had since last August has caused the mechanism that controls his blood pressure to not work totally correctly and he had a common fainting spell. (Technical name is neurocardiogenic syncope). It is more common in girls than boys...nothing my family does can be simple apparently. Most people with it outgrow it by the time they are 19 and treatment is usually as simple as increasing fluid and salt intake. For Squirrel this means carrying a water bottle at all time - including while at school which requires a doctor's note - and salt tablets as he does not like to add salt to his food. We do still have to have a tilt table test to confirm the diagnosis and provide background if medication is ultimately needed. I don't expect we will need to add medication because he's had no other episodes since that one. Again...while it's sad that we are left with long term damage from that one episode things could have been much worse and I'm thankful that's all we have to deal with. God has a plan even when we don't see it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Been back from Ontario since a week ago today...had lots to process. Found myself fighting tears at odd times throughout the week...usually over stuff having nothing to do with our trip to Ontario. I'm so glad that the boys and I was absolutely wonderful to see all my siblings together for just a few minutes..and to be able to get a picture. I need to remember to get it onto a disc at one of the big box stores so I can put it on the well as get copies. Traveling went well...except we got "randomly selected" for a more extended border crossing investigation. At least the roads were good and we didn't have major snow to deal with either way. Seeing Mom was definitely difficult...leaving for me was even more difficult though I know she doesn't remember. We have a new diagnosis...BetaAmyloid Primary Associated Cerebral Angiitis ....not cancer though treatment options are not really any better. And it's only treatable. Having said that...she is responding to treatment at this point in time. Unfortunately she is still not able to be cared for at home...and whether or not that time will come is questionable.

Squirrel...we had his follow-up ENT appointment on the 26th. All the hearing tests were redone as was an additional one. It was a long day - and he missed school the entire day which was not fun. The outcome was that barring a miracle the hearing loss is permanent and the doctor did not really seem optimistic about a hearing aid being of any assistance. Being as what he described required surgery to install a titanium plate in his skull we are not pursuing that option. Today we see a pediatric cardiologist to see if there were any heart related reasons for his passing out. I don't want to keep hauling him to doctors but at the same time I feel that if there is a medical reason it happened we need to know so we can hopefully prevent future episodes.

We ended up having 2 snow days last month - not for snow but for ice. I was very thankful for the second one - on the 22nd - I had been in the "city" Thursday night with Dipstick and really could feel the ice on the roads coming home. We had 2 times of sliding - the second was very scary as I thought for sure I was going to lose complete control. Much urgent praying was done under my breath - especially after I realized there was already a car off in the field.

Stretch is doing fine just very busy with choir and another play. There will be just one performance of this play - written by a senior so a once-in-a-lifetime chance. In two weeks choir will be participating at the state level in a music contest as an ensemble.

I'd better scoot....need to get dishwasher loaded and some picking up done before I have to run again. (I was going to add a picture this time but can't remember how to get it up...sorry)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Safely in Ontario tonight. Boys and I are here to visit Mom who has been in hospital since Jan 4. This weekend all of us siblings will be here for a few hours together. More another time...wanted to do a very quick note.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On a snow day canceled due to freezing rain. There is nothing here yet but apparently on the main east/west highway south of here it is lightly raining and freezing on contact. I am rather glad I don't have to try to drive the bus in this...even though on my route it isn't likely to be too bad yet. It's the southern routes in the district that are bad.

Updates...Not really sure where to start so this will likely be rambling. Mom is still in the hospital...she has been diagnosed with Primary Lymphoma of the brain. Basically it started in the brain and as of now has not spread outside the brain. Chemo is hopefully going to be started yet this week...

Squirrel is doing pretty much the same with his hearing. The ENT had lots of tests done right there in the office - that was nice. At one point Squirrel looked at me and said "I think I failed Mom" - which pretty much was true as far as hearing stuff went. ENT said that he didn't have much hearing at all in that ear and wanted to try a course of steroids. If they helped then it would probably come back...if they didn't it likely would not. So...we have done the steroids and are scheduled to go back for more testing on the 26th and will get results the same day. I am not expecting any new news...and he is compensating very well.

B and Dipstick's passports arrived yesterday in the mail. So now if a trip north needs to be made that involves all of us it can be done.

Better scoot for now and try to get some stuff around the house done...Will try to do a sooner update - especially since I've taken some fun pictures recently.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today was beautiful...cold, slightly, occasionally sunny...the trees were beautiful with their coating of "white ice". It wasn't the crystal clear ice I've seen in the past but ice mixed with snow. It's been kind of neat to hear the tinkling in the trees as the ice-coated branches rub against each other. It is still cold and we are under a winter storm advisory from the wee morning hours tomorrow until Friday afternoon.

Today overall has been a fairly productive day. I was able to get Squirrel an appointment with an ENT for tomorrow morning...I was surprised to get in so quickly but also thankful. That is one thing off my mind because at least we will hopefully find out if it's a temporary condition or a permanent one. I was also able to find the paperwork needed to apply for passports for B and Dipstick. I have some clothes laid out in case of needing to make a quick trip north.

Mom has been in the hospital since Monday. Right now my sister, brother and sister-in-law are there supporting Dad and Mom and I'm in a holding pattern. Doctors are not sure what the exact problem is.

I've got some stuff to finish before bed so had better go for now...have been waiting on a phone call and think I'm going to try calling for an update myself.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! May 2010 be a year of growth and blessing to all.

This morning we have snow coming down...counties directly west and north of us are expected to have 8-12 inches last I checked so we will certainly get some. I confess I am rather hoping for more than theory is that if it's going to be cold there ought to be snow on the ground.

The plan for this afternoon is to go pick up the first parts of the Hot Rod to be. We are starting with the body - a 38 Chevy pick-up. I have no good idea of what it will look like when we are finished but am thinking the process will be fun. I know that I always enjoy looking at finished ones more when there are pictures of where and what it came from so pictures there will be and maybe eventually an album with the pictures in them.

Dipstick today is picking up marshmallows from the marshmallow wars that were had here last night...Stretch got to enjoy playing games with the adults. Squirrel wasn't feeling overly well so he spent the evening in bed sleeping...he's likely in the best shape today as far as sleep is concerned. We had friends over...Suz, C and their 4 kids as well as another family with a couple of boys. I got to hold a 3 week old baby for much of the evening...and Stretch got diaper changing experience. Overall we had a good evening. It was close to 2:00 am before B and I got to bed though.

Squirrel and Stretch are both looking forward to going back to school next week. There will continue to be adjustments for Squirrel as he will still have some doctors appointments to face and learning to watch people when they talk. He is still having issues with no hearing in his left ear...we are hoping that it will eventually return but don't know at all. Dipstick is not looking forward to returning to school quite as much...he would usually rather be out working in the shop than in class.

Speaking of working in the shop...B is now officially self-employed. He was called back to do 5 engines at his old place of employment with no guarantees as to how long he would be there before being laid off again. So he said thanks but no thanks. I am confident that his place here is the best for him but it's still scary at times. We will definitely be learning new things and relearning others...trusting God to provide.

On that note...I'm stopping for now...trying to get pictures to load onto the computer and will post goals for 2010 another time.