Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Feeling rather "grinchy" today - can't get motivated to do much of anything. Kitchen is tidied and wiped down from supper last night and breakfast this morning. Laundry has been going. Dishwasher is loaded.

Laid out the kids' gifts on our bed. Trying to decide if I need to run and do some more shopping. Not nearly as many "fun" gifts this year. I know I need to go out and go to the bank as well as return one item that I found cheaper elsewhere. (not for the kids). And I still have shopping I do need to do for Hubby. Want to get that done no later than tomorrow. But at the moment my motivation is completely gone. I've only had 2 cups of coffee today - that may be part of it. Thankfully I don't have the coffee headache I usually do.

Need to start packing to go north. Am sure that is part of the struggle. I want to see Mom and Dad but the travel is exhausting. And the fact that Mom is clearly declining again makes it more difficult. There are so many projects I need to get done this week - cleaning and organizing so that when school starts back up maybe I can do a better job of keeping things up as well as have more time to be creative.

OK...enough whining. Just writing things out always seems to help me some. I will go start another 15 min timer and work on an area that needs work. Trust any readers who are still with me - in my long absences and when I'm grinchy are having a blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Short Update & Questions

This will be short...I was perusing blogs and websites hoping for inspiration when I realized I have to leave for work early this afternoon. I have not been getting along with buses this week...and end of last. First my turn signal lever thingy broken in the middle of route (Friday afternoon), Monday morning my bus would not start. Today my spare bus started and ran well until I was empty at the middle school - then it started almost knocking and spewing out blue smoke. So that bus is now in the shop and I have to go back to the shop to pick up my regular route bus (from Friday afternoon/Monday morning) which is supposed to be done by route time this afternoon. The turn signal lever thingy is fixed, worn brakes are replaced, muffler is replaced...hopefully we will be good for awhile.

The Christmas tree is up and mostly decorated - to the point that lights and ornaments are on. Still have Stretch's ornaments to put on - that is waiting on his arrival home from college. Won't be long until we need a smaller tree simply because I'm too short. It would not be done if not for Squirrel's assistance stringing lights and Dipsticks replacing blown bulbs. Some of the shopping is done. No wrapping is done.

I've been pondering the last few days what makes a true friend? Is it time spent together, phone calls, having hobbies or life events in common? What causes a friendship to fade away or be broken? How much does age have to do with lasting friendships?

Some of these questions come from friendships that have totally blown to pieces over the last few years - one with a woman who was a believer in Christ and one who was likely not. Other than those differences these two ladies were rather similar - neither seemed to be happy unless they could drag the people around them down to join their level...unless there was chaos surrounding them. Some of these questions come from emotions I'm feeling now and questions a third friend has asked me repeatedly about herself.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful List

In list style things I'm thankful for:

• My “new” husband who has been sleeping through the night and staying awake all day since he got his new Bipap machine. He admits to feeling so much better now that he is really getting sleep.
• My handsome boys – all 3 of them.
• Stretch’s healing in his leg – his strong witness during the whole thing, his passion for God, his enjoyment of school – and that he is home this weekend!
• Squirrel – I have seen so much growth in him – spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. He’s stepped up to be a helper since his brother has left for college. He is a dependable friend and son – gets his chores done without complaint and often goes above and beyond. He also has a great sense of humor.
• Dipstick – He is doing so much better in school this year. That is a huge blessing. He actually enjoys it mostly. I am thankful that the doing better in school means he gets to enjoy more privileges. I am thankful for how quickly he has adjusted to wearing glasses all the time and how much better he sees.
• My Mom and Dad – that we still have Mom and that she is able to say things to Dad like “I’m so glad you are here”. I am also especially thankful that Dad was not more seriously injured in the car accident he suffered the other night – and that the accident was ruled totally NOT his fault.
• My sister Karen who spends so much time and energy helping Dad out and making sure both get the care they need. I am also thankful for our close friendship – something we did not have as children as we were too competitive.
• My brothers – even though I don’t have as much contact with them
• My home
• Sunshine
• Extended family – and especially how accepting Hubby’s family have been of me
• My job – the kids on my school bus – even when they make me nuts
• Jesus Christ and the greatest Gift He gave me – that of salvation

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A beautiful morning and other ramblings

Cold this morning when I went out for bus route - just at freezing. But oh so pretty. The moon was full - a golden reddish orb low in the western sky. The eastern sky was just lighting up - no major red streaks but glowing across the fields. Most are harvested, with dried corn standing in others. A few have winter wheat growing bright green. I saw 4 deer this morning - 1, possibly 2 bucks and 2 does. So cool to see them running across the road just in front of the bus...stopping to look back to see if they should be concerned about the big "monster" before they took off for the woods.

The furnace is going...I need to add wood before I head for town. Water is running in the washer doing yet another load of towels, socks, etc. A clock is ticking quietly and the fan is running in one of the computers. Then there is the clicking of the keys as I type.

I just finished coffee with some cocoa powder mixed in. It requires a bit more sugar than normal but I'm really enjoying the taste combination. Had some toast with peanut butter and honey to go with it. Soon I will get around and head to town. The chickens are out of feed and Squirrel needs some jeans. He wore shorts to school again! In addition I need to make eye appointments for Dipstick and B as both need glasses. Those few things will take most of the rest of the time between now and bus route. Hopefully this evening I will get back to doing something creative daily. I've been slacking off and not disciplining myself to do so. Part of that is that I'm fighting the annual fall bronchitis/sinus junk and just don't have the energy. And I've been staying ready to go run boys though I haven't had to. I've also just been spending my evenings reading, which will enjoyable is not accomplishing creatively.

OK...better scoot for now...it's getting late and before I know it I will be out of time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Beautiful sunny fall day here today. So thankful for the sun. Feeling pretty cheerful.

B went for his sleep study Thursday night. It went well in that they brought in a CPAP machine around 2:00 am to get him fitted for it. But that indicates just how bad his breathing is when he's asleep...

Talking about sleep brings back memories of different places and ways I've slept. For as long as I can remember I've slept with a pillow tightly over my head. My logic when I was younger was that way if someone broke in I would not wake up to see them standing over my bed with a pipe. Not logical at all looking back but it worked for me then. It never really mattered if my feet were covered though at least not in hot areas. At school in the dorms I would sleep under pillow and covered in blankets so thoroughly that people would come into my room looking for me and not realize I was there. Of course I was much slimmer then and laying on my belly would not leave much of a bump. I remember doing that more in high school then younger. When I was 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade the boarding school I attended had many very tall trees around. I remember lying in my bunk looking out the windows and falling asleep to thoughts of being able to live among the tree tops. I don't remember much wind from those times though. On the other hand, Kijabe was "Place of the Wind" - it seemed there was always wind blowing. There were trees but it was more just the location on the edge of the Rift Valley. I love to listen to wind blowing now - especially at night when I am at home dressed in comfy clothes relaxing. Another favorite sound is the gentle sound of the surf in the Indian Ocean - day or night I loved to get somewhat alone on the beach and just listen to that sound. It is impossible for me to describe it - a continuous rolling swishing sound. Combine that with the warm sun and an ocean breeze...lovely. We slept with windows open to the ocean breeze and the sound though doors were always tightly locked.

I've slept on trains - we would take the overnight train from where we lived in Mombasa to the capital city. We would board around 6 pm - evening after a full day of doing last minute packing, laundry and baking. Mom would have packed a supper meal of some sort of sandwiches and fruit. Breakfast the next morning would be sweet rolls, hard boiled eggs, fruit and probably purchased chai. But come bedtime the bench seats would be turned into beds - the upper bunks serving as padding on the wall during the day. We would pull out our pillows and blankets and claim our bunks. I usually would have one of the middles - 6 beds to a cabin which was just right for our family. That middle bunk allowed me 6 inches or so of window space - the glass was down and the screens were up. I could hear the rhythmic repetitive clackety clack, thump bump of the train as it went down the tracks. Occasionally it would stop at little stations along the way. Then I could hear men talking and occasionally yelling/shouting and smell cigarette smoke through the open window. I never slept as well on the train - it wasn't my bed and it was stable. But it was still fun.

Occasionally brave dorm parents would take us tent camping...a bunch of teenage girls! In the African bush! We didn't have indoor bathroom facilities, no way of showering...but it was an adventure. We cooked over a fire...listened to the wild animals that were off in the distance.

I've slept in a hut where grain was stored and I could hear the critters moving around during the night. I've slept in hotels, on airplanes, on buses...probably other places I can't think of right now. Time to scoot as I need to get ready for work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Memory - Laundry

I am home alone tonight...Stretch is at college, Squirrel and Dipstick are out at youth group and B is away helping a neighbor with his combine. The house is very quiet right now...the dishwasher is loaded but not running, the tv is off...The loudest sound (outside of the clicking of my typing) is the hum of the dryer running. Which brings me to my "memory topic" of the day - laundry.

Laundry is never-ending in my house. I usually run a load or two at least every other day and there is nearly always clothes waiting to be folded. Thankfully I have the convenience of an electric washer and dryer that basically does all the work for me. All I have to do is sort the clothes, throw them in, add soap and press start. That's a far cry from what doing laundry in Africa was.

Mom ran a laundry day at least once a week. We had a ringer washing machine and rinsing was done by running the clothes through 2-3 tubs full of water. The ringer would turn so that it was over each tub and clothes would be hand-fed through it. As one tub would get too soapy to use it would be rotated out with the new one being the final rinse. I know that Mom soaked some of the clothes in a bucket before running them through the washer and some of the dirtiest would be hand scrubbed. After they were washed someone had to carry them outside and hang them to dry on the lines in the back yard. It was often my job to hang it out - bend over, grab, straighten, shake firmly, clip it up...repeat. I spent those hours day dreaming - weaving stories in my mind. I don't remember what they were about. If rain threatened and we had clothes on the line it was a mad scramble to run and get everything off before it got wet again. The mountain of laundry we 4 kids brought home from boarding school must have been daunting at times...I know it usually took the entire month break from school to get it all done.

Laundry at school was a different project. All our clothes, socks, towels, blankets, wash rags had to have our name on them somewhere. Mom would send away and order name tags which then had to be sewn in. We had large cloth laundry bags that were carried to the school laundry once a week (I think). Our socks had to be in a special net bag as did our unders though boys' unders did not. There were huge washers and lines for drying linens outside. Other things must have gone into dryers...I don't remember that part. Then students came in as a job and sorted and "put away" the laundry - each student had a box and that's where the clean clothes went. Certain afternoons were laundry pick-up days when we had lines waiting for us to hand them their clothes to carry back to the dorms. I worked in the laundry - mainly with other girls. We usually had a good time though there was definitely some teasing that went on as we got to see our current "crushes" pick up their laundry...and maybe be the one that got to give them their clean clothes...oh my be still my heart!

Occasionally - probably more often than I remember - girls did hand laundry in the dorms. That was done to either keep our nicer clothes nice or more often, at least on my part, because I did not have enough clothes to last an entire week - especially not when we no longer had to wear uniforms. I remember hand washing jeans in a sink then literally ringing them out...twist one way as tight as you and a friend could go then release and twist them the other way. Sometimes it was rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat. Then when as much water as possible was squeezed out, we would hang dry the clothes the rest of the way. That usually took at least an overnight to finish drying them...sometimes longer.

These laundry memories are not complete. I don't remember how laundry was done when we lived where there was VERY limited electricity nor how it was done when I was very young. Wish I had more memories of those days...instead of just snippets. But this whole writing about memories is good for me and fun. And I would love to post a picture of a ringer washing machine but I don't have the know-how at this point.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Memory - Driving

Today I drove B's stick shift truck to the closest "bigger" town that we live near. I pulled it into the first large parking lot I got to and parked it. My friend who was coming to the "city" with me got in and we started off. However we never even made it out of the parking lot before she asked to drive. I was fine with it as I'm not comfortable driving a stick - much prefer an automatic. But...it brought back memories...as well as the feeling I really ought to choose to practice more.

As a child growing up all I remember is Dad driving a stick shift - Mom didn't learn to drive until I was a teen. I'm not sure why she didn't or what triggered the change but Mom didn't drive much. One year we were on furlough - 5th grade or so for me so I would have been 11 or 12 I guess. It was hay season and we were out west visiting Mom's family. My aunt and uncle had a farm and needed to get the hay in. I was tasked with driving the pick-up truck around the field...something I thought would be relatively easy. But I didn't realize that it was an automatic truck and did not require being driven with both feet. So I would press both the gas and the brake pedal at the same time and inevitably the truck would stall. Must have stalled and lurched to a stop every few feet around the field that first time. Eventually I did kind of get the hang of it but it took a while. Must have been prior to that experience that I figured I would never want to learn to drive. After that I thought it was kind of fun. However I'm still not overly comfortable driving a stick...even though Dad did insist I learn how to do so. I am now employed as a professional driver...people laugh when they find out I don't do stick shift well as they figure school buses are all stick. Having said that, on my "bucket list" is to learn to drive a semi - simply to say that I can do it. That will require becoming proficient at shifting...could be awhile before I'm ready to do that.

I might add I was 20 before I actually got my driver's license...it took that long to get settled someplace where I could find someone to teach me. I did take driver's ed in 10th grade - living in Canada at the time. That was a trip...our closest town was 20 min or so away. The instructors would load 2-3 of us students up at a time - one drove in, all took turns driving in town and 1 drove home. On one of those trips the girl driving hit an icy patch (this was in winter in Canada) and put the car into the ditch off the side of the highway. She was mortified but I remember the instructor used it as teaching - having her drive it back up onto the road and continuing on into town. As we stopped for a snack and sat around together talking she was told how blessed she was to experience this so she knew how to get out. I don't remember her reaction to that. I do remember being thankful that I was not the one driving when we went around the one round-about in that town...I felt like we were going it backwards. It's taken me years to get past that feeling...it's a conscious decision still. We returned to Africa before I was old enough to get my license and could not get it in Africa until I was 18. Looking back that was probably a good thing as I would have struggled even more with driving on the correct side of the road.

Anyway...there's another memory. Now it's time for me to get going to work driving bus. Today is sunny and warmer which will make afternoon route nicer.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Kind of hibernating today...the high for the day was 55' F and we reached that this morning about 6 am. The wind is blowing, the leaves are rustling and it's been damp and misty all morning.

I hear the ticking of a wall clock, the wind blowing in the trees (blowing hard to hear it with all the windows closed), the muffled sound of a radio on Squirrel's room, the hum of an overhead fan in our bedroom and the clicking of the computer keys as I type. It is kind of neat to sit here in the quiet and listen to the sounds.

I was supposed to go to a friend's this morning after bus route - we usually try to get together every couple of weeks. However this time she had illness in her family and had to cancel. So I was able to come home from bus route and take a short nap. Now I just need to get motivated to accomplish something constructive. There is laundry to fold and put away, creative stuff to organize, cleaning to do...I need to also find more magnets so that I can make more name-tags for my bus. I have some students that are going to have to have an assigned seat in the mornings and it will require name tags.

Have much more to write about...on a day I can get my thoughts in some semblance of order. One of the big things on my mind is thinking about my mom and dad sending us off to boarding school. Considering that in those days there were no cell phones, computers were just coming available and all we had for communication was snail mail and the extremely rare operator placed phone call - usually made only when there was an emergency...Wow! Now I have almost daily text contact with Stretch...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It is another grey gloomy day out - damp and drippy. It seems like we've had a lot of those this week...we had a fire in the furnace last night to warm the house up. I am so very thankful for wood heat! Sometimes the labor to get the wood is frustrating but it is so nice to be able to heat the house as early as it needs it without having to worry about the added utility bills.

The trees are well in the process of turning already. Some seem to have lost most of their leaves already. However the majority still have leaves - just the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn are what you see. Crops are coming off the fields - corn is mostly done and soybeans will start being harvested very soon.

B's shop addition is finished and in use. As I type this I hear a truck he's been working on running...and I can look out the office window and see two more tractors in various stages. He's finished up two jobs this week - that's a relief.

Dipstick is doing so much better in school this year. His grades are all A & B's - such a relief after the stress of last year. He's really enjoying his new school - and the freedom of not having daily homework. The other night at supper it was fun to listen to him talk about artificial hips and what is involved in putting one in. He is researching the longevity of such in preparation for a project to figure out how to make them last longer. (I think...if I understood it correctly). I can't remember exactly how the subject came up - except it had to do with Stretch's broken leg.

Speaking of Stretch...he is doing much better. He was released from the hospital last Tuesday and had his first follow-up surgical appointment on Wednesday - complete with x-ray. The surgeon was happy with his progress and said that there is clear evidence of healing in the bone(s). He is still not allowed to weight-bear and has another follow-up on the 3rd. He should be finished with his antibiotics the end of this week. Thankfully this entire time he's done well at keeping up with his classes and is enjoying being at college. I miss him though.

Squirrel is enjoying his freshman year as well. He's run excellently in cross country - making a PR every meet so far. He regularly practices his spanish on me and loves Gospel Choir. His first concert, complete with outfit is this coming Sunday at a church close to home. Additionally he is busy with volunteering at church running sound and with youth group, as well as looking forward to play practice and helping out there.

I feel like I'm chasing my tail...trying to catch up from being gone with Stretch, cross country meets and what not. My bus route, even though it's basically the same as last year, has been extremely challenging so far this year. Part of that is that I've had a lot more riders. That is starting to stabilize out some but still it has made a difference. Part of it is definitely discipline issues.

I'd better scoot - want to get some groceries before afternoon route so that I can just come home afterwards.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Stretch has mrsa. He has been back in the hospital on iv antbiotics since Saturday. It is a day to day thing at this point. Thankfully it seems to have been caught relatively early so it had not spread as much as it could have. However it is still not a good thing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From High to Low...in a Snap

Stretch and I left to take him to college last Friday morning, Sept 2. We drove two cars and did some last minute shopping on the way down. Getting him moved into the dorm was fabulously easy...there was a whole crew that just came and unloaded the cars in about 5 minutes and carried everything up to his room. From that point we unpacked and got him settled into his room. Then there were events for both the freshman and the parents for the rest of the day. I spent that night at the World Gospel Mission guesthouse about 15 min from the school...slept well. Drove back to attend a seminar and then have breakfast with Stretch. After that it was off to the cross country course to watch Squirrel's meet. Squirrel ran very well and Stretch got to come watch him run.

However on the way back across to campus Stretch had a bicycle accident and broke both his tibia and fibula in his right leg. He called me as I was walking back to the team's camp and said basically "Mom I wrecked my bike and I broke my leg". I hollered at Squirrel - sent him to find another team parent friend and took off running to find Stretch. An ambulance came (eventually - it seemed like a very long time to wait) and loaded him up with his leg in a brace. I could tell before they got there that he had indeed broken his leg...and watching the EMT's splint it just confirmed it. Legs are not supposed to bend between the knee and the ankle. However even at that point I did not realize that he had broken both bones. (Maybe I was in denial - not sure. It never even crossed my mind). ER service was good - took him for x-rays and I got to be in the room with him. The x-ray tech showed me the pictures while they were getting him settled back on the cart to move back to the room. Then it was just a matter of waiting until he was admitted - to a Peds room no less. Even though it was a little odd to have an "adult" on peds I was very thankful he was there. The rooms were large and cheerful and the nurses were fantastic. Stretch was on pretty heavy duty pain meds by this point - all it could do was keep him comfortable. The orthopedic surgeon came in after we were settled into the room upstairs and explained our surgical options. All 3 involved surgery and various recovery periods. He recommended putting a rod in and surgery was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. (Part of the reason for the delay was that this hospital had to order the rod from Ft Wayne) Surgery went well...took a little longer than the doctor expected due to the strength of his bones! One hears that and can only imagine the force it took to snap those bones in such a way that Stretch heard as well as felt them snap. Monday he was up out of bed learning to use crutches and Tuesday he was released to return to campus. He ended up missing only 1 1/2 days of class. I stayed in town until Wednesday afternoon before I came home. That gave me the chance to see him settled back into his new dorm room and make sure all our t's were crossed and i's were dotted as far as class schedules were concerned.

Getting back to bus route has been interesting. I had only planned to be gone for one day this past week instead of having an entire week off work. Some of my students were definitely glad to see me back and some were not. However I now have my seating assignments done on the bus (at least mostly for the afternoon route). Am still considering whether I will do them for the morning or not. Yesterday I drove the bus for Squirrel's cross country meet. It was an annual invitational meet where both the middle school and high school go. As has happened for the past several years our high school boys' team took first place. Squirrel placed 11th in the JV race with a time of 19:45. He was very pleased to break 20 min.

Next week plans to be another busy week but should be fun. I'm slowly catching up on what got behind while I was away. Will try to write again sooner. Thankfully I have been keeping up with a personal journal better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So...it's been all summer since I've posted...it has been an amazingly busy summer. Stretch, Squirrel and I had a good trip north to visit family. We left on Saturday a week after school got out and drove straight through to get there. Stretch did a fair bit of the driving which meant I was not so exhausted. We spent Saturday night through Wednesday morning with my brother N and his wife I in the city. It was really neat to see Mom able to attend church - yes in a wheelchair and not really able to communicate but there. By Tuesday she correctly identified both me and the boys...that had to be a highlight of the visit without any help. Wednesday after Mom's physio therapy we left and headed out of the city to visit my sister K and her family. We had a very nice, far too short visit there. Did a lot of walking around town - got to take a fair number of pictures...one of which received an Honorable Mention in our local 4H fair. That was very exciting to me as I'd never entered a photo anywhere before. We took the trip home in 2 stages stopping overnight about halfway. That seemed to work much better as I was not totally exhausted when I got home and had a much better attitude as I dealt with catching up on what didn't get done while we were gone.

While we were away on our trip Hubby and Dipstick stayed home to work in the shop. Just a couple days before we arrived home the crew arrived to put up the frame of the building. That was done in a week - was rather amazing to watch. This crew started at 7 am and usually left by 4. The rafters were set in just 2 hours. After the outside was done the boys started working on the inside under the supervision of a good friend of Hubby's. They prepared the floor and pit area to have concrete poured then installed insulation and inside tin through out. A garage has been built with a loft over head, ceiling installed, several doors installed...It has been a HUGE job and very difficult at times for the boys. But I think overall it's also been an excellent learning opportunity. We are to the point now where there will soon be a crew coming in to install insulation in the ceiling and the electrical is being done. I will be extremely thankful when this project is completely finished and things can settle back into a more normal state.

In addition to the shop addition Squirrel and Dipstick spent a week at church camp. Overall I think they had an excellent time - having them both gone made for a very quiet house. Shortly after they arrived back from camp my brother N and wife I arrived for a week long visit. Their last visit down was when Hubby and I got married so it wasn't much of a visit. This time we had time to talk and do stuff together. N spent most days helping Hubby out in the shop - doing hands on mechanic stuff. During that week I got back on a bike for the first time in over 20 years. What a riot...could stay upright but could definitely NOT ride in a straight line. The boys did several bike rides with their aunt and sometimes their uncle. A couple were quite long.

One of the most fun things we did was an experiment using powdered sugar blown over an open flame. If one did it just right one got quite a flame. N also showed Squirrel how to use his soldering tool. Hopefully that is something he will get some good use out of.

August 1st Squirrel officially started cross country practice again. That's meant that I'm up by 6:15 or so to take him to practice at the high school. Usually I found a friend to hang out with and have breakfast. The friend time has been great...the getting up and out of the house early not so much. However guess it's good practice for back to school. School starts again for Squirrel and I this coming Wednesday. Dipstick starts Tuesday. Stretch heads off to college Sept 2. It will be nice to have basically the same route I did last year - means the students already know me and my expectations. But I'm not really ready to start back yet. Summer has been far too short.

This past week has been busy and mostly fun. Thursday morning I had my back to school driver meeting...got my route and all that information. Then I left while the rest of the drivers had to stay and do their summer safety training - I had done mine on Wednesday. Instead I went to S's home to meet Stretch, Squirrel and a group of other teenagers. We took off from there to go to a waterpark in OH. We spent the evening playing and riding rides there then headed back to our campsite in a beautiful state park for a late supper and eventually bed. We had some very persistent raccoons haunting the camp site...as well as a smallish skunk. Thankfully the skunk did not spray. People wandered off to bed as they got tired. I did end up sitting up with some of the kids as one girl was dealing with some major anxiety and I've done that in the past. (Still do...especially when I have to attend events at Dipstick's school!) We got back last night about 5:30. Squirrel and Stretch left immediately to go join Hubby and Dipstick at the Father/Son camp-out and canoe trip while I came home.

Today has been a quiet day at home...I've cleaned and organized some, did plenty of laundry and caught up on emails and blogging.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Catch-up Part 1

Wow...I haven't written since spring break. Time has flown by - and much has happened. Not even sure where to start...guess maybe I will work backwards(?)

To start with my new computer crashed - with hundreds of photos on it that were not backed up. It has been in the shop since Monday and I'm still waiting on a call telling me how bad the damage is and if stuff will be able to be recovered. I am typing this entry on the shop computer - hiding out in a dark office enjoying the peace and quiet. The only sounds are the clicking of the keys, the ticking of the clock and the hum of the computer fan.

Graduation for Stretch was last Friday night June 10th. So very proud of him and his accomplishments - at the same time sad as he will soon be leaving home for college. Graduation was beautiful - and appeared to go very smoothly. I took lots of pictures - and promptly downloaded them onto the computer. The funniest part of that day was seeing Stretch's car completely wrapped in Saran* wrap - and his face when he got to see it. A group of his friends got together and did it. They also did a nice job undoing it.

We had a brief visit with Mike's parents over graduation and a slightly longer one with Lara and boys. It was so nice to see them.

Saturday morning after graduation both Stretch and Squirrel ran in a 5K in town here. It was a fund-raiser for a non-profit organization a friend of ours is involved in starting up. Anyway...there was a 5K and a 10K walk/run. Squirrel took first place overall in the 5k and Stretch took 4th. That was fun to watch and exciting to have them do so well. (There were a total of 63 participants so not huge but good for them. Squirrel decided he needs to train more before he runs another one). After that we had brunch and saw Lara and boys headed back to Chicago. Am really hoping they will be able to come out for a few days later this summer though that's still up in the air. Dipstick was at a boy scout camp-out Friday night through late Saturday evening.

Sunday afternoon was an Open House at our church for Stretch and 3 other graduates (the others were all from a different school district) It went very well and everyone seemed to have a good time. Stretch had some of his closer friends come home with him for the evening - that was fun as the weather was beautiful for them to play outside for some time.

At the moment...Monday is a blur. I don't have any recollection of what we did. Oh yes...Monday was clean the bus day and take the computer in. Tuesday Squirrel was to have an appointment with his pediatric cardiologist. Instead I ended up taking him to the family doctor as he had another lump under his arm, had a mild case of sun poisoning and I wanted the glued place on his forehead checked as he said he could squeeze white junk out of it. Doc said the glued place was healing fine - just needed a bit more time. Sun poisoning could be treated with benadryl and aloe lotion - he did not recommend that he go on the water park trip scheduled for tomorrow. However when doc saw the lump under his arm he said the water park was out - the lump had to be lanced and the wound kept open for a couple days. So we are dressing that 3x daily and he's back on antibiotics. Today he is definitely feeling better - not 100% though. I have questions that so far have no answers. Currently the opinion is that "some people just tend to get these" and there's not much that can be done to prevent them. So Squirrel and I will experiment and see what we can learn.

Today two of Stretch's friends came over to help take down the tin on the inside of the shop. Stretch, Dipstick and Stretch's friends put in a good days' work out here. B is getting ready to put a large addition on the shop. We have spent weekends for the past couple of months moving the wood pile, emptying and tearing down the old shop and garage and pulling out a large walnut and 2 dead apple trees. It has been a lot of work - hard physical labor mostly. We even moved the chicken coop down to the end of the yard and I spent several nights outside with Dipstick chasing and catching chickens to put them back in the coop. (They are fairly easy to catch when they are roosting and I've got fairly comfortable carrying them upside down by the legs. It was pretty funny the one night I had Stretch help as well as Dipstick! He wasn't so comfortable carrying wing flapping chickens by the legs). I had not planned on putting up a new fence until the chicken coop was in it's final home. However since they will persist in completely wandering the yard I have decided a fence is necessary. And I'm kind of hoping that B will agree to keep them down there - I enjoy the walk and they are further from the house.

The last couple of weeks of school were crazy busy - think there were 3 weeks in a row that I was out every weeknight doing something - band concerts, choir concerts, awards ceremonies...One of the evenings was spent attending a zoning board meeting for B's shop - he needed variances to put up the addition and to have the business here. It was a really interesting evening as I'd never been to something like that before. The guys on the board had obviously done their homework - visiting the different sites that were being discussed. I felt like I learned a lot and was glad I went with B.

The computer repair place just called - said the reason it would not boot up was because there was a cd in the dvd drive. They offered to refund the diagnostic fee and not go any further. However I figured since it was in there they might as well go ahead and run the diagnostics to make sure there is nothing else wrong with it. I will be able to go pick it up tomorrow. I am excited - that means I won't have lost any pictures. Just have plenty to back up.

Guess I will stop for now. Eventually I need to write about the boys' awards and final concerts. Thgankfully I don't have to drive the trip to the water park tomorrow - there was another driver willing to take it over. I probably would have enjoyed going but with planning a trip north to leave Saturday and Squirrel not getting to go I didn't see much point in driving it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Still here

Am still here...just been busy and struggling some. We are on spring break this week and I'm hoping to accomplish a few things around the house...and lots of rest. Of course that is dependent on my not spending all my time running parts this week.

Squirrel has started the week off sick (or ended last week depending on how you look at it). He came down with a bad case of strep throat. I took him into the after hours center Saturday and he got antibiotics. However I suspect he didn't keep the first dose down. But he wasn't feeling like he could handle his planned trip to DC so didn't go. I am very disappointed for him - and today he is feeling well enough to regret not going. However it would have been a rough trip (though fun) since he wasn't 100%.

Dipstick still has 2 F's in his school work. That is a major frustration to me as I know he is capable of doing very well in school. He just does not care enough - even when he does not get to do things that are fun. He will spend most of this week working in the shop - that's something he usually enjoys. When the weather is decent he and Stretch will be working to move the woodpile to the north end of our property in preparation for adding on to the shop.

Stretch has plans to spend part of the week with a friend - part of the time here at home and part at his friend's house. In his free (??) time he will work on his research paper that makes up 50% of his grade for his senior language class. He has picked a challenging topic.

I'm hoping to work on a t-shirt quilt, scrapbooks and basic cleaning. Time to scoot as I've spent enough time on the computer for now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Long day today. I drove a field trip for GC - was blessed to hear the choir sing at a senior center. They actually did two back to back concerts there in different locations in the center. However I only got to hear the first one as one of the girls passed out during the last song. She is ok - did not eat properly this morning. However she needed someone to sit with her out of the chapel where the second concert was done as it was too warm for her to be in. I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with her some during that time though I missed hearing the group sing and Stretch speak. We arrived back at the high school at 2:25 and I needed to be at the middle school by 2:45 to drive my afternoon route. In the meantime I had to switch out buses and hopefully make a restroom stop. I managed both but all that combined made for a very long day.

Dipstick did a good job of making supper tonight - he asked if he could fix something. He was not interested in doing scrambled eggs and potatoes so he found a recipe, went to his grandmother's to get a couple of missing ingredients and made a good beef stroganoff for supper. I was thankful to not have to cook.

Stretch and Squirrel went to youth group after play practice. On Wednesday evenings they usually eat out as it is closer and more convenient then trying to get home to eat before church. (With the price of gas it is probably about as cheap also). Usually we have Lil Bit with us but her mom is on spring break this week and did not need a babysitter.

I am once again in the shop office typing this up as internet in the house is not working correctly. It has been raining all day - not heavy...mainly a nice light mist. However that is projected to change to snow overnight provided the temperatures drop enough. While I am weary of the cold I much prefer the lightness of snow to the dreariness and mud of rainy days.

I have not had time to continue with my project of scanning slides. I did finish the ones that I knew were Mom's family and need to transfer them to disc. I want to send a disc to an aunt who can probably do much identification of those family members. Dad can do some but probably not all. While I recognized my grandparents I did not try to identify them as I usually was not sure who else was in the pictures.

OK. Guess it's time to post this and head into the house to hopefully find a copy of something done for the shop. Guess I need to find my cut and paste functions on this system as that is simpler than typing things out twice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

5 inches...

Edited to add: I wrote this last night and didn't post immediately. As of posting this morning, we are closed today. Dipstick is also.

5 inches of snow back on the ground and we are already on a 2 hour delay for tomorrow morning. Often when a delay is called the night before we don't even go to school. The snow is prettier than the grey cold mucky mud we had by the end of last week. But it was rather nice to be driving on dry roads. Thankfully we had today off already so don't have to make it up. Dipstick had another snow day today...mainly due to ice, freezing rain and sleet this morning. That was all before the snow started.

Things around here have been crazy busy again. Saturday I drove bus for Gospel Choir - they attended the state ISSMA competition. They did really well - took gold. Lots and lots of people...and I had to park the bus a long ways away. Thankfully this year we had sunshine even though it was cold. Last year I drove down in snow. It makes for a very long day. (Driving 6 days last week means I'm doubly grateful to have today off - it gave me a chance to begin to catch up on laundry and other house chores).

Things have settled down slightly in relation to Stretch's musical. The girl who originally had the lead part quit so there's still changes going on. Squirrel was out of school a full 5 days. He ended up at the doctor a week ago - bronchitis and sinus infection. Dipstick came home sick this past Thursday - he was out Friday as well but will be going back the next day he has class.

One of the reasons last week was so busy was that I ended up spending a lot of time doing shop stuff - either running parts or doing paperwork. We are still looking for a different book-keeper - probably be another couple of weeks yet.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Squirrel is ill now...I got a call from the school yesterday to come pick him up. That is the first time since we lived in OK that I've had to pick him up during the day I think. Even then it wasn't because he'd gone to the nurse - it was usually because he'd tossed his cookies. Usually if he makes it to school he is there all day. He is running fever and fighting a headache and sinus junk.

I am off this afternoon - attending a funeral with B. It will be rough on B and Dipstick both. Stretch will meet us there...and then return to school immediately after for play practice.

Speaking of play (musical) practice there is apparently a huge uproar over one of the students who did not get a part. She has had parts in the past but this year they are afraid she would get hurt during set changes. (She is special needs and requires an aide with her most of the time - as well as being a senior) Of course the people who don't like the school system are really all over this. I feel sorry for the other kids involved...and sad for Stretch and the girl who has the lead female role. Not sure how to phrase my feelings beyond that.

We still have snow on the ground - I am loving it though not the bitter cold that we've also had. My feeling basically is that deep snow (2ft+) on the ground for an extended period of time is what winter is supposed to be like. And I've felt all along that if it is supposed to be winter and is cold we might as well have snow on the ground.

On a different note...I am learning once again that most humans have a tendency to go back and prod a hurt spot simply to see if it is still sore. I know I certainly do. Without saying too much...I've lost a friendship that I worked hard to keep strong. I made some mistakes in the relationship - especially when the other party involved started working for my husband. However I attempted to keep the work relationship separate from the friendship and to discuss stuff in an adult manor. But she has said some stuff that imply an intimacy with my husband that is not acceptable. Prayers would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


* 3rd snow day in a row for tomorrow
* At least 10 inches over the last 2 days - not counting the ice
* Still under a Level 1 Snow Emergency until 7 am tomorrow morning
* Planning to go sledding tomorrow - once snow emergency levels have been lifted
* Hubby is ready for boys to go back to school
* 2 of 3 boys are ready to go back to school

* Hubby and Stretch are both recovering (recovered) from the sinus infection/flu/bronchitis
* No one else has it - yet
* Waking up with a blinding headache means one does not accomplish much
* Copious amounts of coffee, water and pain meds helped
* Tomorrow I will not sleep so late in hopes I don't wake up with a headache

* Have realized I am an "out of sight, out of mind" person in regards to my craft supplies
* Have recently found some neat stack-able bins that will hold my rubber stamps so I can see them all at a glance
* I need some more of said bins
* And more shelves
* Or less hobbies
* Scanning slides has not happened in a couple of weeks - not as interesting when I can't identify the people and places. All I know is they are related to Mom

* Boys taught me the computer game "Mahjong" and it is very addictive
* It is also fun

* We have eaten through a batch of peanut butter cookies and have a double batch of another kind to bake
* Baking is a comforting thing to do when one can't go anywhere due to snow
* This is an exceedingly random blog post BUT at least it's a post
* I have not kept up on reading blogs...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Been a week or so since I've written. The most major news since then is that this past Tuesday Mom was transferred to a nursing home. She was transferred on her birthday - apparently has a nice big room where she can see down the hall with plenty of space for pictures and a few plants. However she apparently left the hospital with a bug of some kind and hasn't been doing excellently since. I will be calling Dad tonight to get more of an update.

We've got snow on the ground again. Had a snow day yesterday - probably got 4-6 inches on Tuesday when it snowed all day. We got a bit more this morning - the big fluffy flakes that I think are so pretty and that add up quite a bit faster. But no delays this morning even though the roads were still fairly slick.

Yesterday morning we got the house picked up and the Christmas tree down. After lunch the boys all went to Suz's to sled and I napped. After I napped I worked for awhile scanning slides into the computer. I bought a new scanner - much more simple than my original one. This one has a tray with space for 4 slides. You slide the tray through and each one comes up on the computer individually. Then you take a "snapshot" of it and move on to the next one. Each one self-adjusts as far as lighting and color is concerned (before you do the snapshot). Then you can save it to a folder on your computer. I hope to get a couple of discs made to send to my sister next week - one for her to take to Dad and one for herself personally. Eventually there should be a collection of discs as there are several hundred slides at least.

My one resolve for this year is to try to use my time more wisely...especially those 5-10 min. snippets of time that one has daily. Whether that means I clean something that doesn't get cleaned often or start a blog entry or read a devotional or whatever...rather than just playing computer games when I don't have time to do anything else. So...we will see how that goes.

It's getting late so I'd better scoot and get supper dishes loaded into dishwasher. Hoping to at least be able to crawl into bed earlier than normal tonight. Last night was a late night - we had Lil Bit for the evening as her mom's classes started back up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Mom is coming up on being in hospital for a year. I am hyper aware of that. She's had several not good days and appears to be getting weaker. The questions are there - if the treatment plan had been followed completely would she be doing better? If the diagnosis had been made earlier would things have been different? How many others are simply tossed away because they don't have someone to advocate for them? Mom has Dad and my sister talking to the doctor and striving to make sure she gets the best care possible. My youngest brother David is researching and digging for more information...watching her symptoms and trying to figure out what the changes mean.

Along with the questions on her care come the questions I wish I had asked her. How in the world did she keep meals on the table for 6? Two main meals and breakfast. We didn't have a microwave or prepared foods or even much in the way of canned foods. Everything had to be cooked from scratch on a gas or wood burning stove. Did she ever have days when she was just ready to tear her hair out dealing with us kids? We fought often...especially my sister and I. I don't remember ever hearing her and Dad disagree in front of us kids yet I know they must have had disagreements at times. I remember only one time seeing her weep - we were getting ready to go on a trip from the coast to up-country by bus. Something wasn't going well and Dad was short with Mom. I don't know how it was resolved but I know that it was somehow. I remember lying in my bed at night and hearing them reading the Bible and praying together out loud - low murmer of voices. In the mornings Dad would be up way early to read his Bible and pray, Mom would wake later and read hers in bed while Dad was getting breakfast. (Mom had to eat within 30 min or so of waking up or she would get dizzy and shaky - I am like her in that respect - have to have breakfast and coffee fairly soon after I wake).

The laundry we 4 siblings brought home from boarding school at the end of term must have been absolutely mind-boggling. Each time our quilts had to be washed as well as most of our clothes, other bedding and towels. While we had a washing machine of one sort or another for most of my memory, we had no dryer. Everything was line-dried outside. My job was often to help hang the clothes. I tended to enjoy doing that most of the time as it gave me time to think and dream about what my adult life would be like. If rain threatened there would be a mad dash outside to bring in the remaining laundry that hadn't been brought in yet. Seems like we never finished doing all the laundry until it was just about time to return to boarding school a month or so later. Of course, after it was brought in it all had to be folded and sorted and put away. Some things were ironed.

I remember having other students at school comment to me on how "cute" it was to see an older couple like my Mom and Dad walking around campus holding hands. They often did that when they were up visiting - and they usually made the trip up at least twice a term. (Terms were 3 months long with a long weekend - mid-term - in the middle). I don't remember what I thought about Mom and Dad holding hands in public at my school - just the fact that others thought it was neat. I know that mail call was huge - always hoping for that letter from Mom or Dad. They took turns writing to us - individual letters to 4 kids written by hand or typed. Eventually there was a computer but Mom's letters were still mostly handwritten and Dad's were often.

Returning to school was always an adjustment. My sister and I would spend the week prior to return to school time baking cookies to take back with us. Molasses crinkles were made, brownies of various sorts, probably oatmeal raisin cookies...I don't remember the rest. There was hot cocoa mix to be made, tea and other school supplies to be purchased. Eventually the packing was done, the last snacks were organized and time came to head to usually the train station. (Occasionally we took the bus to the capital but that was a much more crowded unpleasant trip and the train was preferred). A "picnic" supper would be packed along with sweet rolls for breakfast. Eventually our stuff would be hauled to the train station and packed into our 2nd class compartment. (First class was too expensive and we were too many to ride 1st. In 2nd there was room for 6 people to sleep). Until bedtime we would read or talk or journal or walk the hallways of the train. Come bedtime it was time to pull the bunks up and make them into beds. There was only one window in the compartment and a small sink. Once the beds were made up there was no room to sit and really only room for a couple of people to stand at a time. Who-ever had the middle bunk on both sides had a small sliver of window to look out. There wasn't much to see except sometimes at the little places we stopped but it was fun to try. When we did stop one could often hear people talking and smell smoke. Mornings would come early...we would all be up by around 6 or 6:30. By then it would be light out and we would be watching the animals in the game reserve we were riding through. Dad used to joke that we were watching the gnus (news) and we would try to see how many different types of animals we would see. The train would usually arrive at the station around 8:00 am and the process of getting cabs and unloaded would begin. That day would be spent shopping in the capital before we headed out to the school later in the day or sometimes the next day. Mom and Dad would get us settled into our dorm rooms and then they would have to leave to return to the capital before it got really late. They would head back to the coast the next day. Adjustment to school was always tough for me...for the first 12-15 hours I would stay in my dorm room unpacking, reading my mail and eating from the snacks I'd brought from home. I would not go to the dining hall until the next day.

Enough of the memories for today.