Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Checking In

I have not been doing well at blogging lately.  I'm just busy and quite frankly, I don't always feel like being on the computer.  I'd rather read a book.

Allen's last cross country season has come to an end.  He has been applying to colleges. I also hope he is applying for scholarships. He wants to attend a  Christian college and has applied to 3 of them so far and is working on a fourth application.  He has turned out to be quite a nice young man and I am proud of him.  He is kind, thoughtful, hardworking, honest, conscientious, helpful, smart, witty, and good looking to boot!  He desires to follow God's will for his life which is most important. I really couldn't be happier!  When I started this blog, Allen was 10 years old and now he is 17.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It's been difficult.  I'm not sure I will get used to it.  I have caught myself glancing over to where Sherman's water dish always was...a habit I formed making sure he always had enough.  When we were pulling in the driveway tonight after being out as a family, I thought about how we didn't leave a light on for Sherman.  A split second later I knew he was gone.  Today I was the first person home in the afternoon.  It suddenly occurred to me that I was alone in the house...I haven't been alone in the house for the past 9 years because Sherman was always with me.  I can't imagine taking a walk without him with me.  My walks always included him unless it was a destiny walk-meaning I was going somewhere that he could not come (like to the library or a store)  I think about how he is slowly being erased from the house.  When I vacuum, a little more hair of his disappears.  My family room carpet was vacuumed...and it still looks clean.  You'd think that would be a good thing, but I'd rather have the fur accumulating. There is a small pile of dusty fur in the corner of the living room by the book case.  I haven't managed to vacuum it up.  I'm also used to him jumping up to check the floor for food offerings when we finished dinner.  He always sat just outside the kitchen door.  We would read the scriptures right after finishing the meal and he would always get ready at that time to bolt into the kitchen because he knew it was almost time.  I used to call him "Scripture Dog."  When I checked the mailbox today, there was a small package for us from our vet.  It was Sherman's paw print in some hardened clay.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sad Day For Us

I am very sad and also a little bit in shock.  Last week, my dog was being his normal sweet self.  On Tuesday morning he got up, I fed him and let him out.  He came back in and seemed fine.  I came home at 3:00 in the afternoon.  I noticed right away that he did not greet me with his usual exuberance.  I looked for him and found him outside laying on the grass.   It became obvious that something was wrong and that he could barely walk.  He made it into the house but went straight to bed-refusing to eat. Later he started vomiting.  He would drink, but only if I brought the dish of water over to him.  By Thursday morning, I decided to barricade him into the kitchen so that he would not mess my carpets.  When he attempted to move, he was all wobbly and clearly his back end was not working right.  Jamie was out of town and I knew I couldn't take him to the vet without help.  I wanted to wait til Jamie came home so we could face this together.

This morning we took him to the vet.  It didn't take the vet very long to figure out that Sherman had malignant tumors in his spleen/liver area.  Sherman also did not have very much physical sensation in his back left leg.  When he tried to stand up, he didn't know how to place his foot correctly on the floor. The doctor, a young man who just got his first veterinary job (two weeks now), was very kind to us. Apparently it is not uncommon that an illness like this show itself very suddenly.  Sherman probably had this 6 months ago, but was able to carry on as normal. There was absolutely nothing that could be done for Sherman and he would continue to decline and his suffering would get worse.  It was a difficult decision to make, but I decided that it would end today.

I called Jamie and told him.  He brought the girls to the veterinary hospital to say goodbye to him.  He couldn't bring Allen because Allen was at a cross-country meet south of Syracuse.  It was so sad to say goodbye to this creature that I had come to love for 9 years.  I was his favorite person.  He would follow me about the house and wait for me at the bottom of the stairs.  If I left the house to go out of town, he moped about the house.  I took him for walks regularly and he would sit at my feet and put his chin on my knee and gaze up at my face.  I will miss him.  I can't keep the tears from falling.  It already seems wrong in this house without him here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back in the Swing of Things

It has been a while since I posted. School has started and I now have kids that are a senior, a sophomore, and 8th grader. Next weekend we will be visiting 2 colleges in Pennsylvania with our boy.  Where did the time go?  We just put him on the bus for kindergarten!

 I am back subbing again.  Some days are great...and then some are not so great.

 This week I have worn all sorts of hats. 
  • On Monday I was math teacher at a middle school.  Since I am fairly good at math, I actually could teach it and help the kids who were stuck. 
  • On Tuesday,  became a 7th grade Spanish teacher at the same middle school.  Once again, I was very proficient in that so that I could actually help them rather than simply be a warm body in the classroom. The kids were surprised that I knew Spanish apparently. 
  • Wednesday I was in another middle school in another school district.  It was not a fun day since I seem to have quite a bit more trouble with discipline issues there.  I became an English teacher.  It was a miserable day...and a long one.  At the end of it, I had a head ache.  I had to send three boys to an in-school suspension room. 
  • Yesterday I was in an art room in this same district's High School. I had no trouble with discipline at all.  The kids were wonderful!
  • Today I was a librarian at another middle school in an entirely different county than the other two districts.  Actually it was the same district as this school.  I felt entirely at home.  I team taught with a home and careers teacher. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

I Choose...

My summer job has ended.  I do not have anything lined up for the Fall.  People keep asking me about it.  Nothing but subbing in sight.

I choose to trust the Lord.  I choose to trust that He has a plan for me...and that He will provide for me and my family.  I choose joy..and not complaining.  I choose to be a blessing to pouring out the blessings that He has given to me.  I choose to believe and not to despair.  I choose to trust the Lord.

I choose to be thankful because the Lord has taken care of me.  I have never had to go hungry.  Our bills have always been paid.  I choose to be grateful because Jesus loves me...even when I am far from lovable.  I choose to see the positive.  I choose to look around me and see all the good that comes from His hand.  I choose to smile and count my blessings.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

God Continues to Hold Me in His Hand

It is time for me to post again...just not quite sure what I am going to say.  I guess this: that God is good.  He takes care of me and holds me in his hand.  He has blessed me with an enjoyable job this summer- a Christian summer camp located on beautiful Canandaigua Lake.  I have been given the privilege of being a part of ministry while working in the camp office.  I have seen teenagers, little children, men and women come and go throughout the summer. I've seen pastors and their families make use of the cottages in order to find a time of rest.  We even had a couple who are missionaries to Italy stay a few days during their travel around the country speaking at churches. Last week we had close to 200 Christian motorcyclists stay at the camp

A few days ago, rather than work in the office, I was called upon to wait upon tables at a fancy women's luncheon.  I really enjoyed serving and it was fun to see a few familiar faces there. The job is interesting and the people I work with are lovely.

I wish that I could keep working there.  I love it that much, however...summer is coming to an end.  I trust that the Lord has more good things in store for me.

About the photo: This is the swimming area at LeTourneau with a beautiful sunset.  I do not know who took the picture.  I admit to borrowing it from Facebook.  If someone knows: tell me and I'll be glad to give them credit.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Plenty to be Thankful For

I guess I'm not alone in my disappointing search for a library job.  My friend Libby has been looking for a job for 2 years. She's hoping to be a public librarian...and subs for the Rochester area libraries. My friend Charlie had a few interviews this summer and was even called back for a second interview...and she has gotten nothing but rejection letters.  My friend Diane has had a couple of interviews this summer and has gotten passed over as first choice.  I have had three interviews this summer without a bite.

I don't know what to think. What do I do next, Lord?  Where is your still small voice that is supposed to direct my path? Is it there and I just can't hear it? Am I refusing to hear it somehow?

In any case...I have everything I need and plenty to be thankful for. I just need to remember this.

The photo is one I took of two boys in Ecuador playing happily with a deflated and beat up soccer ball on a muddy lot.  They don't need the latest and greatest equipment to find joy. To have a real soccer ball is actually quite impressive there.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trying Again

I am trying again with my devotional blog.  It was a good thing.  I was learning and growing and then I stopped.  I did not keep my hand to the plow. Please check it out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Old Books I Love

I've been reading Ramona Beverly Cleary.  So far I have read 3 this week.  I'm almost finished with a 4th and tomorrow I will start a 5th. Ramona always cracked me up and I could really relate to her when I was a kid...even the fact that she was an unusually good artist for her age.

Now when I read the books, I can really relate to the parents.  I never thought about it as a kid: never noticing how they struggled financially and Dad goes off to finish college...and the washing machine breaks down, and taxes are going to come due soon.  Actually reading them has made me realize that maybe what I deal with on a daily basis is more normal than not.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thank you, Lord!

I have been reminded to give thanks for the loaves and the, "Thank you, Lord!" (John 6:8-13)

I have also figured out that my terrible rash is not the result of bug bites...but I must have had an allergic reaction to something.  I do not have any idea what.  It is clearing up, but I still have a few new spots on my arms and on one foot.  I stopped taking the Benedryl.  I believe that was contributing to my depression.  Yesterday Martha suggested I take Claritin.  She gave me one and the difference is huge.  I feel much better.  I slept better and didn't feel so negative and down either.  I woke up feeling better than I have in over a week!

Monday, August 06, 2012


I have been struggling a lot today to keep my thoughts positive. I just feel so down and discouraged about life lately. I keep trying to remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for...but the negatives just have a tight grip on me.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

What's up?

I have become a terrible blogger these days. I would like to get better at this again, but I've been having challenges. A quick update on my life.

I've had three interviews this summer. Each interview went well and I truly thought I had a chance...but I seem to never be the final choice for getting the actual job. It can be frustrating, but I'm trying to remain optimistic.

I got a call from a girl who told me about a public library that needs a full time children's librarian. I know about this library and was very reluctant because the hours of operation are bad. You see, it is a shared library: half the day it is a school library and the other half it is a public library. After being told several times about this position, I finally looked into it. The hours are M-Th: 3pm-9pm, F:3pm-8pm, and every other Sat: 10am-5pm. Absolutely not! A job like this would mean never being able to eat dinner with my family. It would mean leaving for work every day about the time my children are coming home. It would basically mean never spending time with them anymore. (or at least very little) It would mean never being able to see my son's sport events, attend any child's concert, etc. Terrible! I know that God must have a better plan than that for me.

In the meantime, I have been working at a Christian summer camp in the office. I really love it there. Last week, a former classmate of mine from high school came in with a large youth group from the city of Rochester. I knew that he had become a pastor. It was good to see him and talk with him. I had not seen him in about 20 years. I cannot afford to work at this camp forever. It has been a nice diversion...but unfortunately it will never pay the bills. Full time has not been offered anyway so it is irrelevant to think about.

Last week I got several mysterious bug bites on my neck, one on my right ear and two on my face. I also have four bites on my legs. The ones on my neck have flared up to a terrible rash...driving me crazy. I am on benadryl, also applying hydrocortisone creme. Keeping cool seems to help. Since today the heat is unbearable, I have been confined to a room in the house with an air conditioner unit in the window...which my personal doctor (husband) set up for me. Some people have told me that I ought to see a doctor (real one)...but I am hesitating because my health insurance is so poor. My health insurance decides for me-in it's infinite wisdom what is and isn't necessary to keep me healthy. Then I am left holding a large bill when I stray outside of it's guidelines.

That is all for now. I am ending this rather abruptly. Sorry...I have lost patience with thinking and typing while using a tiny keyboard...where I keep making errors and having to constantly correct.

Sorry no picture.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Old Childhood Friends

While staying with my mother, I've been dabbling a bit with my watercolors. Here is a little watercolor painting of some toys I used to play with as a kid.  They were leftovers from my older brothers.  At some point and time our pet dachshund got a hold of the grumpy one and chewed him up a bit. I think the blue one has a couple of bites out of it too judging by the looks of things.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Update

I have not made any update of my life lately and thought that I'd give it a shot today.  I am at my sister's house caring for my mother while sis and her husband have a little respite. I am really enjoying it here so far.  I have been busy so far so that it has not become lonely.  Today will be slower, now that my work is done. So far, my visits with Mom have been pretty good.  She seems a little more like her old self now that her hearing aides are working better.

I like it at Martha's house.  It has a homey ambiance...which sometimes I feel that my own home is lacking.  I like being in a quiet place.  I enjoy listening to the birds sing.  It has been windy and a bit cooler than I  had anticipated and I have not brought long pants with me other than flannel lounge pants. (I cannot help but think of one reader from Australia who would use the word "pants" for something else, it is not long underwear that I am wishing for).

My job situation looks bleak right now.  It is tough trying to find a library job.  I do have some leads...but there are many of us competing for the same positions.  I find myself questioning whether or not it was all worth my going to grad school...but here I am and I must look forward.  I have been trying to figure out what one does with an MLS if one cannot find a library job.  I have applied for 7 library positions lately, 2 of which have been given to someone else.  I did a long term sub job at a small country school district east of where I am located.  It took me about 50 minutes to drive there-not quite half way to Syracuse!  I was in a middle school/high school with approximately 415 students.  I liked the people there very much.  The school has some issues...but it is a tiny rural school with a tiny budget.  Not fair to compare it with schools in suburbs of Rochester.  The librarian there is retiring, but by law the job must be offered first to a person that school district had to let go a few years ago. I keep checking the website to see if there is any news, but so far there is none.

For the summer I am working 2 days a week as a secretary at a Christian camp located on our lake. I start next week. I think it will be a nice job for the summer, but I wish it was a little more hours.  We are really having to S-T-R-E-T-C-H our money this summer.  Speaking of camps, my son Allen will be working at another Christian camp this summer and leaves today. I think it will be good for him.

My artwork has been neglected for months and months.  I had hopes of working on it while at Martha's but I am having difficulty motivating myself. I have been reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hounds of Baskervilles which is turning out to be a pretty good read.  It is a classic that I got for free on my kindle.

I am stealing a picture off of Martha's computer for my post. Since we shared a bedroom as children, I feel as though I am entitled to it!  LOL! An oldy but a goody of my daughter Audra and her grandfather...circa 2005?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

7th grade orchestra concert

Here is one of my favorite daughters during the 7th grade orchestra concert on Thursday night.  They sounded wonderful!!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I Love BHS Library

I have once again been fortunate enough to be able to sub at BHS library.  I've been there for a good share of the week while the librarian is out of town.  How do you like the display I created? It is a collection of books that have been made into movies. (click on it to see a bigger image) The staff have gone to movie theaters over the years and have asked for the display posters of movies that are from books.  All sorts of books are in this display from The Grapes of Wrath to Harry Potter.  The cardboard cut-out was donated to the library by a student.  While I put this display together today, it generated a lot of attention from students and faculty walking by in the hallway.  A couple of girls even stopped to help out so that I wouldn't have to keep climbing out of the display case to stand back and look at it.  I was quite pleased with the results.

For the last few days, I have been trying to evaluate what it is about this library that I love.  Here are the reasons I've come up with.
  • I always feel welcome and appreciated.
  • The staff is so warm and friendly.
  • The staff has told me that they LOVE me as a sub and always request me.  (Wow!)
  • The students always seem friendly too.
  • The staff members really like teenagers.
  • The teenagers really like the staff.
  • The staff have a wonderful sense of humor and allow teenagers to BE teenagers.
  • The staff respects the students.  There is no unreasonable policing or "lording it over" the students.
  • The staff have reasonable rules that make the library a functional, safe and respectful place.
  • Students are never told that they cannot come to the library because it is too full.
  • There is plenty of staff so that the library is never closed so that the librarian can go to lunch, teach a class, etc.
  • There is a section of the library where students can hang out and just talk with their friends. They can even use their cell phones in this area of the library.
  • There is a section of the library that is for study purposes.  Students are expected to be quiet and productive and they are!
  • It is always busy and there is plenty of work to do.
  • If a student has an overdue book, reasonable action is taken to get the book back..but the student is never black-listed for life! 
  • The physical space is really ideal.
Anyway...I just wanted to share some positive aspects of a library I have been in.  I hope that one day I will work in a library that runs very similarly to this one.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Borrow Books

I hope this little girl returns her library books!

Another experience while subbing recently at a school library to share with you. This one was frustrating and sad...and just plain ticked me off! A 5th grade class came in. My directions were to take the class into the library classroom for a lesson. While I was in there, the library aid came in with the list of students who did not return books and so therefore they were unable to check out any books that day. She also pointed out that there were two students in the group (I will call them Jane and John here) who were not allowed to check out books at all because of lost books. I looked at the list which displayed the due dates for the books in question. The due date for John's book was sometime in 2010 and the due date for Jane's was 2009. This takes these two students back to 3rd and 2nd grades when the items were lost. So these two 5th graders have not been allowed to check out materials since then. I know this to be true because I remember John from last spring while subbing in the same library. The same "note" was made then about this "irresponsible" child-the same lost book from 2010.
Apparently there is no such thing as grace at this library. The elementary school years are important years when the love of reading is discovered and needs to be nurtured. I wonder how Jane and John feel about libraries and books. These impressions may last a life-time. Next year they will be moving into the middle school in this district. I've met the librarian there and cannot imagine her carrying the stigma of these children into the library setting there. I hope not! Can she undo the damage done? Will John and Jane ever be forgiven for lost books in 2nd and 3rd grades?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Do you Google?

Another library story.

I subbed in a local intermediate school as a reading teacher. I've subbed for this school before and have felt great dismay at seeing the library so forgotten. Anyway...during the day I needed to go to a fourth grade classroom to assist a few students who struggle with reading and writing. The teacher announced that they needed to work on their research. They are studying life in colonial times. The class was divided into groups of 2-3 students where each group was assigned to research a topic such as farming, schools, village life, cooking, homes, etc. The portion of research that my three students were assigned was the subject of quilting. They fumbled around trying to locate books. Finally they asked their teacher and she couldn't find the books they needed. She told them to get the net-books out to use for research. So they got out two net-books, turned them on...and waited...........logged in..........waited.........and finally were ready to start. The first little girl went right to the Google homepage. I stopped her and said, "Wait a minute. Are there specific databases or websites that you are supposed to use?" (Databases are collections of resources to help people research topics.) She said, "No...we just go to Google." I stepped over to the teacher to ask her. She said, "No. They can just go to Google."
So what do you think a fourth grader puts into Google to begin her search? Why quilting of course! And what sort of information pops up? Everything!!! I tried to help by directing her to narrow her search by putting in quilting colonial times. At this time, who knows what popped up and we barely had time to look through it when the time for researching was over because the kids needed to get ready to go to a special.

So here's the thing that teachers don't realize. Librarians can help avoid all of this wasted time. Nothing was accomplished during the short 15-20 minutes that I was in the class. I'm wondering if the librarian even knows about this project. If I were the librarian at this school I would like to pull a bunch of books about life in colonial times to send down to the classroom on a cart for the students to use. I would also create path-finders to direct students to good and reliable websites to help students find information. That way we can avoid the long lists to quilting shops that have great supplies for quilters around the country. I would also look at the school's databases to see if there was any good sources there. I might even like to come to the classroom to show the students (and teachers) how to use the databases. I could even take it a step farther by helping to create a webquest for the class to use.

It was frustrating and yes...even painful to see this. I am just itching to become a school librarian and help with projects like this.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Been in a contemplative mood today. Decided not to cook dinner. Everyone fends for themselves tonight. Is that okay? Why do I feel guilty then? Here is another year-2012. I'm 45. Just wondering where I'm headed next. Thinking about family and relationships, choices, libraries and my neglected art. I wish I could travel somewhere.
Maybe it's time to go bake something with chocolate in it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Something Sticky?

Waffles with sticky syrup?
Gum on the bottom of one's shoe?
Jam on toast?
Tree sap?
Duck tape?

Well...this is the very first post of the year. I subbed in an art class today and ended up doing some artwork. I drew a flower arrangement. The students were impressed and they asked if I was an art teacher. I said, "No...but I've always done art on the side as a hobby." I left it on the teacher's desk along with the report on how the day went. (It was a good day!) Now I kind of regret not bringing it home, scanning it and putting it on my blog. I haven't done any artwork in so long that it felt good.
Kristina, I promise to try to draw something sticky this week! It shouldn't be that hard, should it?