Thursday, December 20, 2007

Visiting

Tomorrow we leave the hurried site of school and head East for visiting. I am really looking forward to seeing the Gash family- all three members have their own place in my heart. James will meet us there- ready to play video games with his brother in law and later become the godparent for the baby.
I am ready for the drive as well as the visit. I love to see the US. There is no place like it on the earth. The drive should be calm and relaxing. Scott takes the countryside part and I the cities. He is better at avoiding animals (although he IS the one who hit an elk) and I love busy traffic in the big cities. Really, we are a good team.
Why does the song "The weather outside is frightful. The fire is so delightful. And if you've no place to go. Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow." keep going through my head?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baby and the new best friend!


The Ice Storm Commeth!



We survived the ice storm of 2007. Knowing that we could live without power for three days makes us know that we would not like to live without it for three months!
I learned a great deal.
1) No matter how much you think you would like wood to heat- it dries everything out AND leaves soot- everywhere.
2) Always have some cash. It was amazing that banks and stores could not function. The smart stores opened with flashlight laden service and accepted cash for amounts calculated with pencil and paper.
3) Have a few days worth of paper products stashed somewhere in your house. Paper burns. No hot water means for very cold dishwashing.
4) Keep your cars full of gas when a storm is coming. Gas pumps also work on electricity.
5) Think outside of the box. Our rural water manager asked the fire department to use their pumps to pump the water into the flow tank for the area. Definitely outside of the box!
6) Keep one of the "old fashioned" phones. Portables do not work without electricity. Cell phones need a back up.
7) Always keep a good book on hand to read and a head lamp flashlight!
8) Have a battery powered radio somewhere (with batteries in it).
9) Meet your neighbors- even if they are grumpy!
10) Look into alternative energy- REALLY. Quit talking and begin doing!
The last thing is what I will be devoting some blog time to in the near future.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Homeschooling

My daughter talked about a friend who shared homeschooling of her son with her mother. I would LOVE that. I would give almost anything to be able to share with my grandchildren all of the marvelous things that homeschooling could open for them. At the same time I feel very certain that regular classrooms are important part of socialization in the US today. I did all things with my two- private, Catholic, home and public schools. The private overseas schools were the best. The kids were young and the influence of the huge money flow did not impact anything except the quality of teachers they were able to access. The second best was actually their high school- but I think that because their base was good AND I knew what would be expected in college- I could keep things in line.
And my grandchild? There will always be summers on the farm- paints and wood and tree houses. If his schooling is not sufficient where they are at- I will seriously consider moving where they are and helping to school (even if it is "after school school"). Our time is all about our children and now our children in law and grandchild(ren).
I already miss them all- and wish they lived MUCH closer- but they are better for living away and establishing their lives before they someday return home- to Kansas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

How do you turn the outside world off?


My grandson turned 9 weeks old yesterday. My daughter is slowly gaining confidence in being an at home mom. She is fantastic at it. I can hear the confidence in her voice that she is doing everything she can for her little boy and husband. She is exploring the possibilities of representing some nursing bras and baby wraps on her blog to bring in some extra income to a very tightly run house.

The outside world I would like to turn off is in my head. I worry constantly that she is getting behind the eight ball. She needs to take classes. She needs to use her skills and classification, before they all disappear.

Do they really disappear?

Then I look at my nephews. They are older and just living life day by day. They do not have a family to support- so they simply have fun. That is fine- but why isn't it fine for my daughter to do the same thing? Yes, they have 'finished school', but are they working in professions that they will do the rest of their lives?

So, my mantra this week will be "lay off". Her time will come to more fully explore her adult mind and expand her educational world. Right now, it is her time with the baby that is the most important. This is really what I did pray for her- to find a man who loves her and she loves and has a loving family.

Boy, that is difficult to say!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sometimes I forget.

I get busy and life is not always easy. Right now I am struggling with personnel at school and that is always difficult for me.

But then God sends me a bit of a lightness.

Today's was logging on to my daughter's blog and seeing this:
Yes, that is my 8 week old Grandson! He learned how to roll over yesterday and is VERY happy with himself!

Hitting the ground running

The last few weeks of stock market crashing has put me in a bit of a tizzy. I am so upset at the people who took out stupid loans I could spit. How could anyone think that a house that was worth $250,000 one day- be worth $700,000 the next? And then those interest only loans.
It goes to show me that humans never really change. They want the biggest and the best with none of the consequences. Those of us who do save are messed over when their poo poo hits the fan.
I am put in the position of hitting the ground running. We are so close to retirement. Now, I am not so sure. UG!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankfulness

Lunch was revealing today. Sitting with one of my students I learned how he did most of the chores of the house so his mother could work. He took on the chores with an attitude of grace way beyond his years. He makes sure brother comes in from the friends for dinner (which he had prepared). While his brother played on the computer (which he checks to make sure he is on child safe sights), he does the laundry and then the dishes. He is careful to make sure all the toys are put away before he goes to bed, so his mother will find comfort in a clean house. Here is a twelve year old with all of the softness of a mother- but a boy's/ boy at school. He doesn't have time to read at night, "Mrs B- I am so tired after reading to my brother, I fall asleep." I console him (in a way acceptable for a young man to be consoled)and agree that for now on his "read aloud books" will be checked out by me for him and I will count it as his at home reading grade.
Do not think that he is abandoned at his home. His mother works the swing to make enough money to keep them in a safe house. He loves her for it. It is obvious that she must love him a great deal as well.
I am thankful that God puts these young ones in my path. They need my guidance and caring to become the adults who will lead our world with gusto in the future!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday

Do you think the turkeys are comfortable with being hand fed?
Fall in the yard

Friday, November 16, 2007

Smile



In the Navajo culture the first smile is celebrated like the actual birth of the child. It is a sign that the world is going to be all right and happiness will be within the tribe.

Nicholas began to smile this week. He seems to love to be content in his swing after hours of being held by his mommy and daddy. I cannot wait to see that smile myself!

The Navajo are correct- a baby's smile does bring great belief that all is right with the world. It is a calming thought and a wonderful way to view the place we all call home.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dad

It has been a year on Wednesday. Can you believe it?
Dad gave me so much- and I took all I could get.
Frank Loyd Wright, Mayan architecture, color splashes, mosaics of the Madonna, swimming, working with the homeless or the house bound or the single mothers without a job, Sedona, Oak Creek, fishing, colorful rustling leaves, the rosary, reading the Mass reading, singing, listening to classical music, travel, big swings, motivation to work on committees to change things, organization of people to do the common good, gentle poetry, soft talking, boisterous clapping, race track attendance, pro games of every sort, volleyball in the front yard, amazing people at the dinner table, politics, caring about the environment, carefree attitude about money (although I am much more thrifty and he was much better about making it), , an eye for a bargain, encouraging artists who were just starting, hiking, cruising to Mexico, skin diving, Hawaii,Hawaii, Hawaii, trying to fit into a family, recognition of a strong leader and a weak one. He, with my mom, helped me write some pretty difficult letters and reach some pretty closed people.
Dad gave me the opportunity to explore my spirituality and did not dwell on the religion when he spoke to me. He made sure that I read the great writers of our shared religion and did some foster care on my spirit though some pretty dark times. He never told me to quit. He pointed to our Lady and reminded me of the deep loneliness of her life when her Son was killed. That was a loneliness that I think he always felt and never knew how to share. He always told me to hang on to my family- no matter what it took- look for the positive (although he knew that was one of his downfalls).
I miss him terribly. I think I will go to Mass on Wednesday morning and say the rosary that I did not get to say at his wake. He always believed that his soul would be stuck in purgatory for a very long time- I guess it is my time to get off my tush and start helping him out of there!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fall




Fall is amazing on our land. The fields slowly turn from green to brown. The trees go from shade to colorful to bare.
The air is crisp with morning frost.
Another reason to choose Kansas.

Simplicity

Elena on http://www.mydomesticchurch.blogspot.com/ asked how gas prices have affected us. Greatly.
We live about 15 miles from town. Going to town was a daily event, sometimes twice a day. Now we conserve trips, using the smaller car for small outings and the truck only for the hardware/ feed store.
Thinking three or four times before opening the car door has given me a chance to catch my breath and think. Driving used to be a passion for me. It helped my clear my head and gain perspective on whatever was happening. "Free spirit, rule the road" is now being fulfilled by driving with the top down from school instead of around the lake. Fire up the gas hog for a ride doesn't thrill me as much anymore. Instead of the twirl around the lake, the farm's grounds are looking more inviting every day.
We are rarely going to the next city for Mass anymore. It is a 50 mile round trip. The celebration is much more joyful, but the temptation to cruise around to different stores is more than the gas tank can spare. Simple Mass on post has become a mainstay for me.
This Christmas we will drive to see our family in Maryland. It looked so cost efficient four months ago- price of air tickets+ car rental+dog kenneling. Now, not so efficient.
The other thing gas has definitely effected is the price of food. It is astounding how quickly food is rising. Noticing the small things is what our living in Kansas has produced for us.... Sometimes noticing them makes me wince.
Simplicity is the word used around here a great deal these days. It is why we moved to Kansas. Gas is causing us to really get into it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fun things to play with

One of my On line friends is wonderful about researching great sites to play on. Here are two she recently found:
Are You Living The Wrong Life?
I am 22% off track (it must be my lack of hobbies....)
And
http://www.freerice.com/

This one kept me humming along.

And the days grow shorter





Scott now spends his many hours caring for the land and the house. He is SO content in that. Life is good for him as he gets on his John Deere knock off and cruises around the fields to trim down one more tree. Today he is filling in cracks in the driveway. The turkeys follow him around waiting for a hand out.


I don't know many people who would enjoy such an adventure.

Fall is here. So awe taking. Even from my classroom window the leaves are inspiring. What God does to the landscape.



I remember my dad telling me that he thought God had a paint pallet in heaven and played with the orange and reds in the fall.

The colors I remember so well were always in Oak Creek Canyon. Maybe that is why I am so fond of Kansas. Quite, rain, streams, trees that turn colors.

hose times are the closest to my spiritual center as anything else that I can think of in my youth.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Crystal clear

We talked a bit today about moving. Maybe somewhere else the taxes are cheaper, the coast is closer, and the tornados do not threaten. Then we both looked out the window at the trees, turkeys and barn. There was a collective sigh. How could we leave this place? I have never been more peaceful. I have never felt such comfort in a place. Even the deer seem to feel free to hang out with the turkeys here (now, no calling me a turkey!)


Sky Blue- remember? Sky Blue - it is Kansas.

So, we are off to the Farm and Feed store for a midnight madness sale. What shall I buy? New potting soil for the spring, a bucket to feed the turkeys? I am really the same girl who wanted a big diamond from her guy when she was just 17?
Maybe- except the diamond I now want is the one that will keep the pictures of my family clear as Scott and I grow old together - here - in Kansas.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The wonder of it all



Don't you wonder what babies are thinking? Nicholas already looks at some of his stuffed animals with wonder. He even focuses more on them than he did on one of us.

What are those little brains doing? Taking in language, plugging in new sites and sounds, filing away words for a rainy day. Those girgles- are they meant to be language- just trying to communicate- but unable to get the tongue and lips to work the way they should.

Fascinating!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spiders spin

I never really understood the significance of spider webs during Halloween time. Were they not there all year long?
Here in Kansas- especially at my house by the dry creek bed- where turkeys roam freely and deer trim the grass, spiders really gear up this time of year. The webs are huge. Spun at dusk they often reach from the gutter on the house to the sidewalk below. My favorite spider spins one every night in front of the kitchen window. The kitchen light is on all night to light our path in the very dark night. The spider understood that our light, the only one for a football field of area, draws insects from everywhere.
And so she spins.
And we watch her catch things and spin around those things and let them drop to the sidewalk.
And in the morning- she and the web are GONE!
About dawn I went out to see what happens. She was taking the web in- conserving silk- so she could make another web another ghoulish evening!


What a journey.
The baby (and his parents) is in Maryland now. I heard him crying over the phone (so did the dog).It is hard to think of not seeing them for a bit of time. It will only be a month right now. Then a month again. Then six months.OW!
From my vantage point- it is not a good thing for the kids to move away. I would like them to be close so I can do things with and for them.
But for them....I think it is good for them to move away.
They are able to grown without someone looking over their shoulder at the mistakes that have to be made in order to be a good adult.
Still- I will miss their whispers and chats.
At least I will be here- where the leaves are beautiful and the sky is blue- in Kansas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Laughter

Do you sometimes forget to laugh? I catch myself some days being WAY too serious. Laughter is a source of relaxation to me. Sometimes I have to sit at my desk at the end of the day and think, "what is one silly thing that a student said or did today?" Then a smile creeps in. Soon I am an giggling about that student and what a blessing they are to me and the rest of the team.
Laughter is a gift from God. I need to use it every day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two weeks ago

Two weeks ago I was preparing for a substitute. My daughter was getting ready- taking a shower, attempting her last good night sleep, chatting about how things would change. Change they would- I am glad we had the opportunity to give her a restful beginning to this long journey called parenthood.


Our son in law had arrived a week before. He had slowly settled into a routine and seemed to relax with this second set of people- parents in law- heck I don't know what he thinks of us. He tolerates our words. I am sure he is ready to spring forth and get the heck away from us:>) but he survives.


And then Nicholas- hard to believe that in two days he will be two weeks old! He is an amazing baby. Crying only when being changed or hungry. Beside his parents, he settles down best with Scott. Scott is amazingly tender with this dear child. He lays with him for hours on his chest- chatting and playing. I remember him doing the same with ours when they were little- but he had much less time then.


I am the changer, hugger and mover. Nicholas settles into my arms- but I know that I am restless- just my nature. He will see much more of me when we begin to explore together....that might have started the other day when we took this picture.
Ah- my job is to show Nicholas what wonders are in store for him- as he looks around
and
discovers his world.

Things

Today I made sure that one of my students was suspended. I was nervous about what he was capable of doing. Maybe I am an alarmist- but this kid gives me the willies. He can be so sweet in tone and then mumble something very scary under his breath.
Teaching and I see eye to eye- less and less. Working with children who need help is so rewarding- and so draining. I am constantly ready to quit one day and dance in the next. Being in my particular field I do not have to worry about standards- I have to worry about getting them to the classroom so that others can worry about standards.
I am counting down the days. I truly am considering something else for next year- but what?
Confusing- but an easy jump!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

On the Feast



Our little Nicholas was born on the feast of the guardian angels. Appropriate. He is a good baby and we can already tell that he has an excellent angel to guide him. He sleeps a good amount of time and wakes just in time for all of us to sleep :>)




School is a challenge to me. Two years seems to be the maximum that a work evironment appeals to me. I do not know what it is about my personality. Am I a perfectionist living in a slob body? If it cannot be perfect - I have a difficult time letting it just be. Dropping my special ed class was a sign to me that I was all ready to let go of this part of my life. It really isn't what I want to do. It seems that I am good at it- but I am- in no uncertain terms- able to control it. Kids are too unpredictable and I cannot fix what they most need.I am not sure if I should push through this aspect of my life- or just roll with it knowing that God always seems to put something new in my path.




I left teaching before. I think it was good to return, but I am ready to leave it again. My desire to share information can be done in a different manner. Figuring out how is the challenge....


There is a shop that has come up for sale in downtown Junciton City. I am considering purchasing it. It is in a good location and seems to be in good repair. Maybe that is my next road.....



At least I know that I am here in Kansas for a reason. The sunsets and walks in the tall grass are more pleasing then anything I have experienced before. Calmness surrounds every aspect. There is something exceptional about feeling the warm, humid air on my cheeks and walking my grandson out to see the play house. Painting continually comes to mind.... I do, really, miss my artistic friends.


Relax-The next part of life will simply come.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Here he is- Nicholas Ryan has arrived. He is beautiful and already has a big personality. This pic is when he was 45 minutes old- calm and enjoying the sun light. He only gets upset when you take all of his clothes off. I do that so he can really get upset enough to latch on and feed like crazy. Yup- I am the mean nana- which makes Jen the loving mommy. What a joy to have Nicholas join us- especially the day before I turn 50!
It is amazing how God provides for his youngest!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Roses


Roses do not normally bloom this time of year in Kansas.
There is a large, old rose bush outside our front door. The thought of cutting it down crossed my mind this summer since the limbs seem scattered and brown. Resisting the urge, pruning instead, it lay dormant for a period of time.
About two weeks ago blooms began to appear.
Monday- after Ryan arrived at our house to be with his bride of nine months for the birth of his son- a shoot about four feet tall produced the most perfect pink rose I have yet to see. It is slowly unfolding.
It has a perfect stem to be cut.
Below it there are a half dozen roses ready to explode- but they seem to be waiting.
Both my dad and Scott's dad were gardeners. I have no doubt that God has permitted them to be a part of their great grand son's life by providing their grand daughter with a perfect rose for her delivery room and a set of roses for her return to their temporary home- our house.

Full circle

A year ago I was getting ready to fly home to see my dad for the last time. My heart was tremendously heavy. People at school were compassionate- especially the office staff. I was crying at the drop of the hat. I had already flown out to be at the hosptial after my brother in law passed- Ron and soon his wife would pass as well. The school year had started with losing Paul- and that entire section of life seemed to close.
And then the funeral
Suddenly a shower in Monterey- is Jen really getting married?
Then the wedding- in all of its beauty and love
And now- our baby Nicholas will arrive- probably today!
The circle of death and life- amazing stuff.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What a difference a summer makes!


What a summer it has been.

James graduated. I have to admit- I was crying most of the time. It was wonderful to see all those cadets-but it was sad to think that part of our lives is over. He came home for the summer. I got to spend about three weeks with him- but dad got two months.
Jennifer got out of the Air Force and is preparing to be a mom. Oh, I do remember the conflicting feelings of giving up a good job for someone I did not know....
And now I am back to school.
Whew...
More later

Sunday, May 06, 2007

So many decisions

I remember when decisions seemed easy- or were they ever easy?
As my daughter and son in law begin to make some serious decisions about their lives together- or apart- I think about my decision making process.
Never being comfortable with decisions- I often left before anything became complicated. I left decisions instead of making difficult choices- that would often be a better decision.
Why is this?
My Dad had the same job for many years.
My mother never worked outside the home.
I seem to change jobs and lifestyles like they are clothing.
Now my daughter seems to be taking after me. I don't really view that as a good thing.
How to help her not follow into my "things are better somewhere else" trap is difficult- at best!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fast Forward

Jennifer came home for a few days. She looks good- thin- but you can see the baby coming! She has a relaxed way about her. She is simply comfortable.There is a different tone in her voice. She is excited to talk to Ryan. But she speaks to me with a bit more ....authority. Scott and I both attempted to get her to go baby shopping- she is just "not there yet". :>) We wonder when it will hit.
Jennifer will need help if she and Ryan are both staying in the military. I am afraid that she will opt out of the military to stay home with the baby (what I probably would have done). Instead we are encouraging her to stay in and finish her enlistment. This will enable her to finish college in three years and have many more options for her future.
Scott is good with kids (although I am better). My job is fantastic. Scott's has burned him out. So what to do?
Scott is going to move to Maryland for the first six months that our grandbabby needs day care. This will give the support that we think will enable Jen to "Airman on" and Ryan to "Marine on". I'll be busy earning the extra pay to help us in this endeavor. LOTS of people think we are crazy. My opinion- what is MORE important than our child and grandchild?
This should be interesting (my kids say that I say that a lot these days).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ever changing story

Jennifer is pregnant. That is Jennifer Bowen GASH is pregnant. Baby Gash is due on my birthday- September 30th. A grand way to mark an important birthday- having a grandchild. Difficult to believe. Seeing is believing and she will be home in two weeks. I will get to see the baby tummy and hear all the baby news.
Anything else happening?
James got engaged to HIS Jennifer. They called us to tell us. I am SO happy for both of them. As you can see by the picture, they are great together.
Anything else?
Well, the school I am working at is in danger of the feds stepping in. Who knows what God has in mind for me next year. It better have a paycheck. Babies and weddings are EXPENSIVE:>)

Friday, February 09, 2007

I got tagged

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:Brownies
Clothesline – Absolutely- all the linens and towels- then into the dryer for a soft spin
Donuts – Have you ever made them?Never
Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:HUmmmm- nothing in particular...
Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes- upright and I live it.
Garbage Disposal – Yes
.Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?The internet
Ironing – Love it or hate it?I like ironing, but I only do it very occasionally.
Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?Every drawer in the house at times....
Kitchen: Design & Decorating?Not my thing- SInce I have lived in so many I just do with what I have. Not curtains is a main thing for me. I love to look out the window.
Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?Doing the dishes, cooking
Mop - Y/N?Yes.
Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?I don't wear them
Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?I open the door.
Pizza - What do you put on yours?Corn and mushrooms- lol
Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?Read, look out the window Recipe card box - Y/N?No.
Style of house -Ranch with a walk out basement and a massive barn
.Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?Nope
Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?It's organized toxic waste!But will be cleaned up with a grandbaby on the way.
Vacuum - How many times per week?About every three days - only where the dogs are....
Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?Maybe three
Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?Nope- fly by the seat of my pants.
Yard - Who does what?The tractor- with my dh on for the ride.The Green house goes up in three months!
Zzz’s - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?Turn off the lights, t.v. computer etc.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sadness

Today both Scott and I are just sad. We definaetly feel the loss of the soldiers yesterday- the news says 25- we think it is closer to 30. The direction this war is going is not good. Neither of us have a good feeling about it. To us- going as far off the grid as possible is our "war effort". The less we need in oil, the less we need the Middle East.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Turkeys


We started with about ten turkeys visiting us on a semi daily basis when we moved in. Later in the summer three hens taught their chicks how to fly off the wall in front of the picture window. For those of you who, like me, did not know that turkeys fly...They do! The herd continues to grow by the month. We have had some frigid weather in the past week. We saw one look out turkey in a tree (covered in ice- but still on guard). The rest seemed to be hanging out somewhere else. Today we looked out to spy, not the normal 50 that we have counted lately----but 72 turkeys making their way to where the corn normally is! Scott has not put out corn for a week- but went out with a bucket to feed today. They walked away- a few being brave enough to come up to grab a piece. Turkeys- just another part of living in a safe place- here in God's country- Kansas.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Just a couple more pictures!



Don't you love pictures? Especially of a beautiful wedding!

The week after

It is quiet in the house. All of the guests are gone. Scott is watching the games and I am reading. The snow is gone- with the guests. The weather is chilly, but not really cold. It is time to look at out the front window and just ponder at how beautiful it is here. The dogs often get me up before dawn and I am fortunate to see the sun streak the sky with reds and pinks and oranges. The turkeys come in the morning for food, the big toms first and then the hens. They play and chase each other in the yard- waiting for Scott to return to the spot with corn.
It is so peaceful here- just life off the road. We touch base with our three- who are living in the fast lane. I appreciate what they are doing, but do not desire it for myself. I am a bit lonely for children at the house- but I have more time for God and turkeys.
It is our home- Kansas.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pictures





Wedding to remember! Now they are safely on their way to home. I have a new found appreciation for the mother's of the bride! What a wonderful time!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Whew! They are on their way to their life together!


It has been fast and furious. The Bride was lovely and giggling on her way down the aisle with her father. The Groom beaming. They took their vows, got some wonderful advice from Father and came to the reception to enjoy their family and friends who had gathered. It was WONDERFUL!