Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Friends

Yesterday I called my husband from work and he told me I had a Christmas card in the mail. He told me the last name on the envelop and where they lived and my response was, "I don't no anyone by that name that lives in that state." I told him to open it and it was from one of my dearest friends that I had lost track of and hadn't talked to in a least 8 years. I've been looking for her for at least that long. I realized that the last address I had from her was the address on the envelop and I had a phone number too, so I called. She answered the phone and I was so thrilled to hear her voice. We talked for an hour and it was like we had never been apart. I believe that in this life you are fortunate to make one really good friend that you can tell anything. I have been extremely fortunate to have six women in my life, including the one I just found again, that no matter how far we live from each other, no matter how much time goes by between phone calls or letters, I know they are there for me and me for them. Thank you ladies for being such great friends. You know who you are. Thank you Lord for bringing each of them into my life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Conversation with my 6 year old Grandson

Last night my darling daughter and son-in-law and my two grand kids that are visiting, took me to Chevy's for dinner. As we left the restaurant, my grandson ran ahead to the car and opened the door for me. I said,"Thank you very much." I was very impressed with his manners. When we got in the car I told his mom that Papa must be rubbing off on him because my husband always opens the door for me. My darling grandson replied, "No I learned that in my mind." "Do I get paid because I opened the door for her because she's old?" His dad said, "You don't say that!" He replied, "Why not, she's really old!" We were trying really hard not to laugh, but we weren't succeeding very well. Oh the innocence of children!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Songs of my Youth

For some reason today, I can't get some songs out of my head that I learned when I was a teenager at church. Don't get me wrong, I love the music today but for some reason I can't remember the contemporary songs I've learned in church in the last ten years but all the songs I learned 40 years ago are flooding my soul.

Heaven is a wonderful place
Filled with glory and grace
I want to see my Savior's face
Heaven is a wonderful, Heaven is a glorious, Heaven is a wonderful place.

Teenager are you lonely
Do you need a friend
Take Jesus as your Savior
He will be there till the end
He'll be your guide
Stay by your side
Teenager take Jesus today!

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever
I will sing, I will sing
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfullness, Thy faithfullness
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfullness to all generations.
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to thee
How great thou art, How great thou art!
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to thee
How great thou art, How great thou art!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we first began

By the way, what was up when we were kids of only singing the 1st and 3rd verses of a hymm? Anybody know or was that just in the interest of time. I always felt like I was missing some good music when we skipped the 2nd and 4th verses.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

BUSY, BUT FUN DAYS AHEAD

This morning I got up at 6 am with the thought in mind that I would finish my quilt block for my 1st Saturday QBM in Winters. Not happening. I cut the material out last night but for some reason, I just can't finish it right now. I have to be in Winters at 8:45 so I guess I have to pay this month. When I finish in Winters, I need to come home and make a grocery list and go grocery shopping. Yuk!

Saturday, Nov. 13th, darling daughters number 2 and 3 will be visiting us with #2's darling husband and two beautiful grandchildren and #3's boyfriend (that we haven't met yet). Darling daughter #4 will also be dropping in (since she still lives in the area)and we wish darling daughter #1 could also be here with her beautiful family. Since we will be having 3 of the four girls here, we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday, the 14th. So I have a lot of cleaning , shopping and cooking to do in the next week. We are planning some fun things to do with the grandkids, like a trip to the Jelly Belly factory and baking Christmas cookies together. I want to take them to ride the carousel at the Nut Tree and I'm going to try to take them to see A Christmas Carol in 3D.

It will be a great time and I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bad Things Happen to Good People

Last week I got an automated message on my phone from the Vacaville Police Department, warning me that a man had been spotted in my neighborhood, knocking on doors. If someone answered, he would say, "Oh sorry, I have the wrong house." Then he would be on his merry way. However, if no one was home, if he could get in the side gate to the back yard, he would look for an open window or door and come in and steal everything he could carry out. He knocked on my next door neighbors house and the great grandma that lives there took a minute to answer. When she walked aroung the corner of her living room, he was standing there looking in the window next to the door. He gave her his rehearsed speech and left. He also went to the neighbor 4 doors down from me and knocked on their door. The daughter was home and asked who it was and he left her house too. She was quick thinking and ran upstairs and got a look at him through the window. Unfortunaly, he came back to her house yesterday while no one was home and he and whatever accomplices went through their side gate, and kicked open their side garage door and proceeded to ransack the whole house and steal them blind. We have had 20 of these robberies in our neighborhood and no one sees anything because they do their homework well and hit between 10am and 3pm while everyone is working.

This is so frustrating. We have an alarm on our house and two large dogs but we spent time last night making more improvements that we shouldn't have to make, but we don't feel safe in our own home. We weren't the only ones. Our neighborhood will be locked up tighter than Fort Knox. One good thing about this is that we are all making an effort to meet and know are neighbors so we can prevent this from happening in our neighborhood again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eagle Run and the Pumpkin Patch

I got to spend a week with my darling daughter and her wonderful husband and two of my beautiful grandchildren during the first week of October. The weather was pretty nice and I had a great time. The day before I left, the kids had their major fund raiser at school. It's called Eagle Run. They raise money by getting pledges and running around the circular driveway in front of the school as many times as they can. I didn't actually get to see the race because I was at lunch with Munchkin while Little Man ran his race and then I went to lunch with Little Man during Munchkin's race. They also had lots of fun things for the kids to do while they were waiting for their turn to race, like a cheerleading demo, a fencing demo, martial arts demo, volleyball, and gymnastics to name a few.

The next day, before I had to fly home, we took the kids to the Pumpkin Patch where they met their friends and we were able to go on a hay ride and pick out some good pumpkins. It was a little muddy but the we all had a great time.






Munchkin, Soccer Star, Little Man and the Big Kahuna








Bobby and Karen

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Brother, Mental Illness, and Homeless

My youngest brother is mentally ill and homeless. Writing these words makes me feel terrible. I'm eleven years older than him and I remember when he was born to my mom and stepdad. He was the cutest baby and we all adored him. Unfortuneatly, as he grew older, there was clearly something wrong. He probably had learning disablities but in the 60's kids like him didn't get the help they needed in school, so they failed. When he was 2 years old he got very sick and had fever convulsions. I think that probably was the cause of his learning disablities. There was also something else going on with him but my mother and stepdad kept it secret. I suspect he may have a chromasome abnormality. My stepdad was ashamed of him because he didn't live up to being the son he wanted. He was damaged goods. On the other hand, he was not disiplined for doing things he shouldn't do and when he wanted to find a job as a teenager, they wouldn't let him. So he grew up with no disipline and no responsiblity.

When my stepdad died in 1995, he left my brother a mortgage free home, two paid for cars and about $50,000.00 in the bank. By this time, my brother had been diagnosed with bi-polar disease and was spiraling out of control. I think his father was trying to make up for the way he had treated him all his life, but he didn't have the good sense to put that stuff in a trust, so my brother would be able to hang on to it. My brother had plenty of friends during this stage of his life and lost everything he owned within two years of his dad's death. His life just got out of control. He lived with my mom for a while until he was so abusive to her that she threw him out, and then he lived for a while with my grandmother. Grandma felt so sorry for him but he was abusive to her too, and had to leave. He wouldn't stay on his meds and he got addicted to internet dating and started traveling around the country to meet these women. It always ended the same.

My mother died in 2003 and he thought he would get everything she owned, but he got a big surprise. Mom didn't leave him any money and he only got a few things that he promptly sold and spent the money. By this time, he was so out of control that none of us wanted anything to do with him. He would have violent outbursts and you just couldn't trust him. We lost touch with him until about a year ago, when I got a phone call from him, telling me that he was in Denver and in a program at the Rescue Mission to get his life straightened out. I kept in touch with him and he wrote me how his life was changing and that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior. I sent him a Bible for Christmas and told him that someday we might be able to see each other again and encourged him to stick with the program. They were helping him so much. He was on his meds and for the first time in years he was really better.

Then he got into the phase where they started job training. You see, over the years, my brother has become one of those people who think everybody owes him something. He is entitled because of his illness to collect whatever money or help he can get from people and not have to work for any of it. He promptly went off his meds, got a cell phone, which he knew was forbidden, and got kicked out of his program. He called me six times last week and I missed everyone of his calls because I was at work. I'm really bad at checking messages, so I didn't get his messages until yesterday. The last call he said he was in Atlanta, Ga and was headed for the Rescue Mission in Nashville, Tn. He also said he didn't know what to do, that he was really messed up and he had three bottles of pills with him that he was thinking about taking. I called the Rescue Mission yesterday to see if he was there, but they couldn't tell me if he was because of confidentialty. I left a message for him to call me if he can.

I don't know how to help him and it's so frustrating. I can't take him into my home because of his violent tendencies and you never know what's going to set him off. I can't finacially support him because we just don't have the money. It makes my heart ache to think of him wandering the streets with no place to call home, but what can I do?

Monday, September 07, 2009

My 100th Post!

This is my 100th post...and it only took me three years to get here! Suffice it to say I haven't been a very avid blogger. Over the last three years, I've blogged about loving Frankie Valli, my kids, my dogs, Tuesdays with Dori, trips to Italy, Alaska, Nashville, and Asheville.

I've talked about my love for photography, quilting, reading and anything grandchildren. I don't think I've had many readers and sometimes I feel like I'm just talking to myself, but that's okay.

I still have a job as a bus driver and I'm thankful to God for it. I will be starting my 22nd year in November as a bus driver and I've had lots of experience with all kinds of kids. Sometimes I've had bad times as a driver but most of the time it's been a great, fulfilling job. Hopefully I've made a difference in some of those kids lives. I know I've had some kids that have made a difference in my life. Here's some pictures I just wanted to share.









Monday, August 31, 2009

My New/Old Picture

I just love this picture. My sister found this in a box of pictures she was going through at my brother's house. We are 22 months apart so I must have been about 4 and she was 2. This was our version of a big wheel! I love the clothes, too. I think those must have been Buster Brown shoes and we must have had Little House on the Prairie dresses on under those coats. My grandma probably made the dresses and may have made the coats. I'm sure the car buffs will love the car.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hodgepodge of Random Thoughts

It's 5:15 am here. I'm up because I'm trying to reset my body clock. I start back to work in less than two weeks and I've been going to bed around midnight every night and getting up at around 7:30 am. When I go back to work, I have to be there at 5:45 so that means a 4:15 wake up call. Bedtime will be somewhere around 9pm. I'm starting now because it will take me a week to adjust. Bleech!!!

Yesterday was a mess. My van decided to break down in the McDonald's parking lot of all places. I called AAA and they sent someone out who said I needed a new battery and he would get the battery guy out there, test the battery, and if I really needed one they could sell me one for $120.00. Now I know I could get a battery for probably under $80.00, but I have no way home and I can't see myself walking in 100 degree heat to Kragen a mile away, purchasing a battery and walking another mile, uphill, carrying a 50lb battery. Then trying and failing to install it myself. I opted for the other tow truck driver with the batteries. Except that he got there, tested the battery, cleaned the battery terminals and jump started the van. He said I was good to go and just drive it to charge it up. Great, I saved myself $120.00!
I jump in the van and go do my banking at the drive thru, then proceed to drive my van around and the gauges start going nuts, the van acts like it is going to die and I end up at the dealership, paying $244.90 for a battery I could have got for $120.00! Why is it written in the stars that when you have the least amount of money, your car always breaks down...

On a lighter note, I'm really enjoying my quilting and I'm signed up to take a 2 day work shop at the end of August on actually doing my own quilting on my quilt instead of sending it out to be quilted. I'm trying to catch up on all my blocks before I go back to work and I want to start a Christmas lap quilt that I picked up a few weeks ago.

Now just to prove this is a random post, I will leave you with a picture.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I love Quilting!

I just finished my first quilt top today and I'm rather proud of myself. I guess I'm proud of the fact that I really finished it. Now I can't wait to get it to the quilter so I can get it back and put the binding on.

I used to be one of those people that went into a quilt shop, saw a beautiful quilt on the wall for sale at a very expensive price and say, "I'd never pay that for a quilt!" Now I would because I finally understand the cost of the material you have in each quilt and all the time and work it takes to make that quilt. I really don't want to see any of my quilts taken to the beach or a picnic that's for sure. I hope they will be treated like potential heirlooms. Certainly, they will look wonderful on beds or hung up but I found out the hard way about not putting a quilt in a plastic bag. They should be stored in a cotton pillow case.

Here's a picture of my quilt:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flint, Michigan

I was watching the news yesterday when I heard the newscaster say Flint, Michigan. I perked up my ears because that is my hometown. What I saw on that newscast broke my heart. They had a little girl talking about how afraid she is to walk down her own street by herself. She lives in a neighborhood that has a lot of abandoned, rundown and condemned houses where crackheads gather and she doesn't feel safe in her own home. It's hard for me to imagine Flint like that.

I grew up in Flint, Michigan when General Motors employed 80,000 people. Everyone you knew worked at the auto factories and kids out of high school got great jobs there. Now GM employs about 7,500 people and it's almost impossible to get a job.

I remember Flint's vibrant downtown area. We had big two and three story department stores like J.C Penney, Sears and Roebuck, Learners, and I think Macy's. Every Saturday, my grandpa would take my grandma and me and my little sister downtown and drop us off so Grandma could get her hair done. We would wait patiently for her and then she would take us to Woolworth's to sit at the soda fountain counter and get a Cherry Coke or sometimes a Root Beer Float. Then we would take the bus home or sometimes Grandpa would pick us up. Sometimes we would get to go to Kewpies for lunch as a special treat. I remember they had the best hamburgers and there was a big mural of a Kewpie doll painted on the side of the building. Kewpies is gone now and Bill Thomas's Halo Burgers took over. They might be gone now too.

When I was growing up in Flint we played outside during the summer from early morning until dark. We only came in for lunch and we didn't have to fear for our safety. We rode our bikes all over the neighborhood and that's just the way it was.
During the school year, we walked by ourselves to school, went to the corner store for candy and didn't fear anything.

I feel sad for my grandchildren that can't play like that anymore because of all the dangers they have to face today. I feel sad for that little girl in Flint that will never know how good that place used to be.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nashville and Asheville

On Father's Day we took off from Sacramento airport to lovely Nashville, Tn to visit darling daughter #1, her darling hubby and our super darling grandchildren. We spent 2 1/2 glorious weeks with them and also got a chance to go to Asheville, NC to the Biltmore House.

Biltmore House was built by George Vanderbilt and was opened to his family and friends on Christmas Day 1895. It is the biggest private residence in the U.S. The self-guided tour we took allowed us to visit 53 of the 250 rooms in the house. There are also beautiful gardens, a working farm and a winery, a hotel and stables. If I lived there I would be buying a yearly pass because you can then go every day of the year and there is plenty to do there.

By the way, our grandkids are the best. We dragged them around with us for 2 1/2 weeks and there was no whining or crying. That's great for a 5 and 7 year old. They are really well behaved children and their parents have done a great job with them.
Here's some pictures:






Saturday, June 20, 2009

One more Balloon

The other day, Mike and I decided to go out to breakfast. It was almost 8am. We went out to the car and I heard this hissing noise. I thought, "What in the world is that noise?" I happened to look up and there was a hot air balloon coming down right over the houses across the street. We live just around the corner from a park so I knew that is where it was headed. Mike ran back inside for my camera and we raced to the park just in time to take these pictures. It amazes me that once they land it doesn't take to long to deflate the balloon.





Sunday, June 07, 2009

Up, Up and Away

These are some pictures I took the other day from my bus after I picked up my students in the morning. The kids really got a kick out of this. I thought that one balloon was going to land on top of a house. It just missed it. Hope you enjoy the pictures.






Friday, May 22, 2009

Sandra

Whoever reads this blog, by now knows I'm a school bus driver. This past week has been the most horrendous of my 21 year career. On Tuesday, one of the high school girls that I drive suddenly passed away. Sandra was a ray of sunshine. She was in a wheelchair but that chair did not define her. She was smart and beautiful and very much wanted to be a veterinarian. She would have been a senior next year.

Everyone that knew Sandra, loved her. She always had a smile for you and was seldom in a grumpy mood. She was very intuitive and knew just how to make another child feel better about himself or herself. She was loving and giving. I often thought that if the vet thing didn't work out for her, that she would make a great teacher.
She taught me a lot in the last two years.

If Sandra had any faults, it was not being able to get to the bus on time in the afternoon. She was such a social butterfly that she just had to stop and talk to her friends or they were holding her up with an extra hug or two. Sweetie, I'd gladly wait all day for you for just one more hug.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Week in the Desert

Our anniversary was March 22ND. We can never go anywhere on our anniversary because I am driving a school bus at that time. This past week was our spring break from school so darling hubby and I set off for a time share in the desert in Helendale, Ca. It's between Barstow and Victorville. The accommodations were wonderful. We had a two bedroom, with two and a half baths and a better kitchen then the one I have at home. Hubby was happy because he could play all the golf he wanted for $50.00 for the entire week. I had a good time because I was with hubby, but that area was not my cup of tea. I was pretty bored. I like to go sightseeing and there wasn't much to see without going a couple hundred miles away. Oh well, I took pictures of what I did see and I did get some rest. It's back to work for me tomorrow. Hope you enjoy the pictures.


I loved the snowcapped mountains and the desert contrast.


The outside of our condo.


Our bedroom and bathroom.


The kitchen, living room, and dining area.







This poor Canadian Goose was missing a leg and foot.


Hubs on the golf course.


It was a beautiful golf course.


This is a shot of one of the lakes around the timeshare. It was so windy that day that there were whitecaps.


This is one of my favorite shots. I was looking up at a Joshua tree and this is what was hanging down.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photo Montage

Here are a few recent random pictures I've taken. These were taken last weekend when we had a very nice day weather wise. Darling Daughter #3 came out with me for a drive and we just played for the day. These pictures were taken at Lake Berryessa, the town of Winters and the Old Stephenson Bridge out near Dixon. Hope you enjoy them.

The first couple of pictures are of the Glory Hole in Lake Berryessa. For those of you that have never been there, the big round thing in the picture is the spillway into Putah Creek. As you can see, we are experiencing a drought. If the lake was full the water would be over the top of the Glory Hole and it would spill over like a big bathtub drain.















Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photo Tag

Go to your 6th folder and post your 6th picture.

This is a picture of my now defunct Red Hat Roses group.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Standing Up!

I lost 2 lbs this week. This is an up and down battle and I will win the war. I'm trying my best to make exercise a daily habit. I've gotten at least 90 minutes of cardio in for the last 5 weeks so I'm on a roll. I just need to start strength training. It will come. I've got lots of time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Falling Down

I've been sitting here in tears for the last 10 minutes because I have to go to Weight Watchers and weigh in. I've had a horrible week on my diet. I did exercise a 100 minutes this week but my eating was off the charts. I know I've put on at least two lbs. I can't face the scale this morning. I am going to my meeting because I need to be there. I think I may need to go more than once this week. I'll do that too, if I need to.

I'm trying to decide what made me make the choices I did this week. There was a lot of stress with the job and irritation with stupid people, but you would think I would stop before I put that extra food in my mouth. Last week, I lost enough weight that I had to readjust the points I get. I went from 27 to 26 pts. It's almost like I was scared that I wasn't going to get enough food by going down a point. Is that silly or what?

I'm going to wipe my tears now and stand up again and start fresh today! I found this simple quote on spark people and I just need to do it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I am Stoked!

I had my Weight Watcher meeting today and I lost 3.4 lbs this week. That's a total of 6 for the last three weeks and I've also lost 5.75 inches. I'm exercising with Spark People and the Boot Camp Challenge. I'm feeling better and I have more energy. I've realized that I can't let myself get too hungry or it's all over. During the week when I'm working, I try to eat about 5-6 times a day. I relax a little on the weekends. I get up at 4am and so I try to eat a little breakfast by 5am. Then when I get home from work at 9 or 9:30, I eat a little more. I pack a bag lunch to take with me that I eat about 1pm and then I eat an apple at 4:30pm on my way home from work. Dinner is usually by 6pm. I usually try to save at least 1pt so that I can give myself a treat after dinner and before bed.

I'm also trying to exercise every day by doing walking on the treadmill, walking the dogs, doing a Leslie Sansone walking video and the Boot camp video on strength training.

I know this sounds like a lot of work and that it's time consuming but I'm really beginning to see that I'm worth it and it's not taking time away from anything that's more important.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Weight Watchers and Spark People

I had my first productive weigh-in today at Weight Watchers. I lost 1.4 lbs this week. I think that's amazing especially because of New Years eve. I planned for it though and saved my flex points because I knew there would be challenges and I still managed to lose weight. I would like to keep my expectations reasonable at 1.5 lbs per week. If I stick with that, I will meet my goal of 71 lbs by Dec. 28, 2009.

If anyone needs help in this area here is a link to the Weight Watchers web site.
www.weightwatchers.com


I have also become a big fan of www.sparkpeople.com. Both web sites are helping me to lose this weight. Spark people also has a nutrition tracker and fitness tracker like Weight Watchers and they track all your calories, fat, protein and so forth. The people on both sites are very supportive and I'm enjoying them immensely. The difference between the two sites is, Spark people is totally free. Check it out and see what you think. I signed up for the Boot camp Fitness Challenge and believe me the video workouts are awesome. I didn't know a 56 year old overweight woman like me could kick box. It's really fun, too. I'm going to try not to let my blog become all about weight loss but I will keep this updated with my progress.