*The morning began realizing it was the last business day of the month, which means my city bill and water bill are due before noon at Kellogg City Hall, and the Central Shoshone Water District office uptown. This summer, Kellogg has been a maze of constructions as a major project fixing pipes below the streets is underway, and the road to City Hall is blocked, so they tell you to drive to Smelterville to get to City Hall. I drove to Smelterville, made my way back toward City Hall and encountered a big Road Closed sign, and it looked as if two big dump trucks were working and blocking the way to City Hall. I probably could have gotten through, but I turned around, drove back to Kellogg, went uptown, down McKinley Avenue, and took to the back street of Park Avenue to detour through the construction and make it to City Hall. And that route worked. And I got my bill paid. Then headed east on McKinley and up Main Street, and paid my water bill as well.
*Mom’s utility bills were due as well, so I drove them over to Bill and Debbie’s house and gave bill her water, city, Avista and sewer bill so he could go through the process of paying them and switching them over to his name.
*My goal for today was to get my office cleaned out. For over a year, it had become a catch of of boxes and piles and no organization whatsoever. I had created this space to have a place to write and do projects, and a retreat within my home. It has been anything but that for over a year. Plus, with people coming this week for Mom’s service on Friday, I would be using my office for a guest room as well, and wanted it cleaned up. And I did it!! I drug boxes and made piles and sorted and filled a couple bags of garbage, and it is now presentable and someone can sleep in there. I still have some piles to go through on my desk. But I will do that soon, and now I can start using my special space once again.
*But my did that day long project make everything ache. My feet, my legs, my hips, my back....all needed a nice hot soak in the tub, and that did make things feel much better.
*Paul returned home around 9:30 pm. He ran the clock at the KHS football game tonight, and neither of us had eaten dinner. So went to the store, bought a couple of Tuna steaks, grilled them, and put a salad together. I hadn’t eaten much throughout the day with my push to get my office cleaned out, so it felt good to eat.
*Project number two for Saturday.....the basement!!! Stayed tuned for how this big project turns out.
*I returned to my office from lunch and two students were sitting in the middle area of the counseling center. They informed me that they saw two baby mice go into my office, and one larger mouse go into our counselor office. I informed our custodian Sally, who promptly came and set some traps. Later in the day, I was sitting doing some work and “SNAP!!”, the trap in my office sprung. But no mouse in the trap. Dan was now the custodian on duty, so I went and informed him about our mouse problem. He came and checked the trap and determined it was defective, and would put another one in my office. As I was sitting at the table in my office doing some work, I could see the door to the counselor’s office. Out sauntered a little brown field mouse. It explored the middle office area for a bit, then went back in the counselor’s office. On my way out the door as I was leaving for the day, I let Dan know I had seen the mouse. I hope they get rid of the mice over the next three days when I am not at school. For whatever reason, this has been a bad mouse year. I think our new cat Clark has kept our mouse population at bay at our house. I am tempted to let him hang out in the counseling center for the day if they continue to visit.
*Paul took Sadie outside last evening, and he asked me to come outside and listen to a toad who was back by our back door croaking away. I loved the sound!! And the sky was magnificent tonight. So many stars!!! There were no clouds, and it was beautiful.
*I got out a couple of steaks from the freezer for Paul to grill, since our days are limited to grilling time, with the weather getting colder, so we need to take advantage of grilling while we can. Paul had also bought an acorn squash at the store the other day, and I found a new way of making it, called Roasted Parmesan Garlic Acorn Squash. If you want to try it, the recipe is here. I also roasted some potatoes in the oven, and it was a delicious meal!
*It was a glorious fall day in the Silver Valley. I love days like this when the days are sunny, but not too hot, the leaves begin to turn color, and the sky is bright blue. What a beautiful place I get to live in each day. Each season has its’ own beauty here, and right now I am embracing the beauty of autumn. I love the images of autumn in the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke below.
A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up, as if orchards were dying high in space. Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."
And tonight the heavy earth is falling away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We're all falling. This hand here is falling. And look at the other one. It's in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
*My morning began with a trip to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I met Jennifer, one of the new dental hygienists at Silver Valley Dental. I have had Judy Lewis clean my teeth for the last 16 years or so, so it was interesting having someone new. Jennifer is attending graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in Dental Hygiene. I learned that I have a little more gingivitis in my mouth, especially around my back gums. Jennifer asked me if I had been stressed lately. I said my mom had passed away over the summer, so she attributed my gum problems to stress. And I probably need to do a better job of brushing and flossing as well.
* I stayed home today to be with Paul, who also stayed home. I had to take him to an appointment later in the day, so we both stayed home from work.
*Even though I stayed home, there was still school work to do. I got almost all of my end of year documentation done for Gear Up. I just have a few papers that need signed and sent in, and I should be good.
*It was a beautiful day out today. I went outside to water plants and saw the burning bush had turned a beautiful red color. I love burning bush, and the splash of red in the backyard.
*We headed to CDA around 2:30. I left Paul in the capable hands of the medical professionals, and I went to Costco to buy items for the reception I will be hosting after Mom’s service next Friday. You know how they always check your receipt before you leave Costco? Well today, there was a discrepancy, and the nice woman at Costco caught that I had been charged for two mustard packs instead of just one. So a manager was called, the same nice young man who had helped box up my items, and he promptly gave me a refund for the mustard. And 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday is a great time to go to Costco. The crowds were quite small at this time of the day.
* I needed to be back to pick up Paul around 4:45 p.m., and I arrived on time. We got in the car and headed home. Paul had just had a colonoscopy, and on the way home, he started laughing, and shared with me a little colonoscopy humor. He said, “What if while I was getting my colonoscopy, I started singing one of the songs from the show we are rehearsing? What if I started singing this?”
And it's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew, Where danger is double and pleasures are few, Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines And it's dark as a dungeon way down in the mines.
There certainly are some similarities. Just a little colonoscopy humor on the way home from my wonderful husband. Except now, how will we keep a straight face when we hear that song at rehearsals from now on?
*We got home and unloaded our items, and got Toby food and insulin, then headed over to Christy and Everett’s house. Christy prepared a lovely meal of soup, cucumbers and bread as a “Welcome Home” dinner for Bill and Debbie as they arrived in Kellogg to live in after their five day journey across the country with their two corgis.
*Paul was pretty wiped out from having not much food for two days so he was ready for bed early. It was early to bed for me, too.
*In the evening when Paul, Zoe, Molly, Travis, Cosette and myself all share our stories about how our day has gone, there has been a few great stories Zoe has shared about students. Zoe is a para-professional at Meridian Middle School, and she works with students in special education. Last week she shared two or three heart warming stories about how kind and accepting some of the general education students were to the students she works with, and it really touched her heart. And she could tell what an effect it had on her students. It is amazing how one act of kindness can turn a persons day around, or even their week!!
*Along these same lines, my friend Kenzie Sherman Lewis shared this story on her Facebook page today, and I would like to share it with you. Kenzie is a teacher at Post Falls High School. Post Falls is a town about 50 miles west of Kellogg. Period 1: They'd earned the ability to choose where they sit and inevitably this means someone being left out. By this time, the goal is to know my kids well enough to predict where this could happen and plan accordingly. This time I missed it. Sitting front row, alone in a group of three desks, he sat... Alone. No, a chair doesn't define your worth, but when you're a freshman (or even a senior)... (or even a grown woman with two kids) being alone can hurt. I secretly scrambled to set the arrangement and find an excuse to need to move someone to the front, someone who can make him feel like he's worth sitting next to. I didn't have to figure it out. She had moved with intention to a section of three, so excited to sit next to her best friends...but when she noticed him alone in the front row, she stepped up. I saw it in her eyes. When people are kind, you can see it in their eyes. While her peers celebrated their newfound classroom positions, she made her way to my desk and whispered, "Mrs.Lewis, is it ok if I move to the front so he doesn't have to be alone?" That's all it took. That's all it takes. One act of kindness. Lives were redirected that day. I was the only one who saw his face relax and a simple smirk sneak onto the corner of his lips. She noticed the tears in my eyes and smiled, she felt it too. Her best friends didn't even question her when she said, "I can't see back here, I'm moving to the front." They knew. When you live your life being kind and noticing when people need you to step up, the impact is not always recognized, but it is felt. There is good out there. I can't be the only one who forgets.
*My friend Betty shared a story with me about her daughter Jessica cleaning Mom’s house the other day. In each and every room Jessica cleaned, she found a penny. This made her feel as if my mom was near to her, and she was comforted being in Mom’s house. Believe what you will, but I am glad Jessica felt comforted. If you look it up, this is a rather common phenomenon, finding coins after a person dies. The sweet and loving spirit of Jessica combined with the sweet and loving spirit of Mom while Jessica was in her house that day. I loved hearing this story.
*I had a wonderful encounter at Kellogg High School today, when I came across longtime family friend Kellie Lavigne. She was in the library at the school, and I took some time to go over and visit. Our fathers grew up together in Kellogg, and our parents were very good friends. Growing up we would have Thanksgiving dinner at their house in Kellogg, and often would go to Rose Lake to their lake cabin on the Fourth of July. Kellie and I talked about the process of grieving the loss of our parents. Her father passed away a few years ago, and her mother now lives with her brother in Nevada. She shared some funny stories about her mom, and it was a great thing to connect with her today. Thanks for the wonderful visit, Kellie. I needed that today.
*Today I stopped by Mom’s house to grab a few more items. And all of a sudden a realization hit me. Today is the last day of this being “Mom’s house”. Tomorrow there will be new occupants. My brother and sister-in-law arrive tomorrow to move in. Then it will become Bill and Debbie’s house. I walked around the “Mom’s house” one last time and wept. I weep because I miss Mom. I weep because this house was such a part of Mom and who she was, from the flowers in her yard to the copper on the walls, and the angels on her shelves, Mom’s personality shone through in this house. I weep because, even though the home of my childhood physically will still be here, it will change. And it is another loss. And even though Mom’s spirit will always reside in this house, tomorrow, things will be different. The name will change. The occupants will change. The look will change. Because, obviously, with death comes change.
*More visits with seniors today. What a privilege to sit down with these young men and women and talk about their future plans. Today I talked to students who want to go into outdoor recreation management, one wants to be an oncologist, and one wants to perhaps be a botanist, and another study business. The possibilities are quite endless at this time in a student’s life. One things that helps is having some kind of plan, and hopefully I am helping a little bit with that part.
*Cooked fried cabbage with cheddar jalapeno sausages were on the menu for tonight. I love cabbage.
*As I get back to work I feel like I get on autopilot sometimes. Get up. Walk. Come home. Write on computer. Get ready for work. Eat breakfast. Drive to work. Work in office. Go to lunch. Come back to work. Work in office. Come home. Watch TV. Fix dinner, Eat dinner. Go to rehearsal. Come home. Watch TV. Get ready for bed. Go to bed. Read book. Turn out light. Fall asleep. (Wake up the next day and repeat).
*Rehearsal was moved up to the theater tonight, and it was fun making our way through the playlist of songs and singing with the other cast members. I also had a fun conversation with one of the cast members about her love of musical theater. She said she had heard a rumor that we had named our youngest daughter Cosette after the character from Les Miserable. I told her, yes, it was true. This lead to her talking about her love of that musical and some of her other favorites. I also shared with her the story of me seeing Les Miserable for the first time, and my reaction to the Finale, as they did a reprise of Do You Hear The People Sing, and how I burst into tears, because I was so touched by the scene.
*Clark gets a little stir crazy being inside all day, and this afternoon he started chasing and fighting with our oldest cat, Benjamin (who is a girl), so we let him out for a while to run off some of his energy. Poor Benjamin. She really would rather not have Clark pay her any attention at all.
*What a beautiful day today. I had a good morning at church, and was very encouraged in many different ways by a few different people this morning. I left feeling very loved and appreciated.
*When you write a blog, you never really know how many people out there read it, unless they say something. Today I got a hug and a thank you for what I share in my writings, and I am glad that people do get something out of my daily musings about little tidbits of my life.
*Today my sister has jumped on the bandwagon of writing a daily blog post about things going on in her life. It is called Here is What I Know Today, and you can find it on her blog here. And my brother posts his daily Three Beautiful Things on his blog here.
*I have been needing to get some card written and sent to people, and I finally got some done today. That felt good!!
*After church I put some spare ribs in the crockpot with some sauce, and they slowly cooked all afternoon. Then I took them out of the crockpot and put them in a pan, and covered them with more sauce and baked them for about 10 minutes. They were some of the best ribs I have ever made. I paired it with a Top Ramen Cabbage salad and some rice, and it was a great dinner.
*Paul and I went up to KHS for a little bit to get some work done. I needed to get my paperwork finished for my final invoice, and get it scanned and submitted. It felt very good to get that project done.
*One of my favorite treats to make in the fall is dried pears. I love the taste of dried pears, so I sliced up the pears I had on the counter and put them in the food dehydrator. I can’t wait until morning to try them out.
*I had a special surprise when Anita, my kindred spirit, called and left a message on the home phone, I called her back and we had a wonderful visit on the phone for about an hour, talking about all kinds of things. What a blessing our conversation was today.
*The Comic Con travelers arrived around 9 p.m. from Salt Lake City. They were pretty tired and hung out for about half an hour, then were on the road to Moscow by 9:30 p.m. It was nice to see them and hear about the fun they had over the weekend, and we look forward to seeing them again in about a week and a half as they come home for Mom’s service.
*It was a very productive day today, and felt good to be outside for a good part of the day.
*The morning was spent planting roses. I spend some time in the morning creating a map of where each rose would be planted depending on the type of rose it was, how big it would get, and the color.
*I helped Paul move the bathtub to the place where I wanted it in the flower bed under our bedroom window. We went to ACE and bought some potting soil and cedar mulch. I had also purchased some dirt from Jackson and Perkins, the company I purchased the roses from, that will help keep the mixture loose. We filled the tub with dirt. Then while I planted the roses in the tub, Paul dug four other holes outside the tub, one on either side of the tub, and one behind, for the climbing roses. In the spring we will have some kind of trellis or arbor for these roses to climb on. The final rose was a ground cover rose that was planted to the north of the tub.
*Most of my vegetables have quit growing, so I took some time pulling them up from the raised beds. We bought some extra potting soil to add to the raised beds, and will also get some compost manure to add to them this fall as well, to prepare for next spring’s planting. I did leave the mini cabbages still growing, some Swiss Chard, carrots and sunflowers. Everything else was pulled.
*With the outside work was done, it was time for a nap.
*I had planned to make some spare ribs today, but didn’t quite get them going in time, so they will be on the menu for tomorrow. But I had some leftover chicken, celery, onion, cream of mushroom soup and potato chips. All the ingredients for Potato Chip Casserole. That, combined with a salad made of lettuce, celery, red pepper, red pear, hard boiled egg, toasted walnuts and blue cheese with homemade Italian dressing drizzled over the top. It was a mighty delicious salad.
*As I clean off different places around the living room/TV room/dining room area, the dining room becomes the catch all for things I don’t know what to do with. Tonight I tackled the table, and sorted all the “things I don’t know what to do with”. I made some progress, but I will have to finish this project tomorrow.
*Crazy glue is a wonderful invention. I repaired the lid to the coffee pot/urn that was on Mom’s hutch. Hopefully it is now good as new.
*Clark, our new cat, likes to lose his collar. Today he lost another collar. This is the third collar he has lost. He came up on the couch tonight to “help” me with my project as I was sorting things. We had a bit of a photo shoot.
Bill and Debbie and their two corgis left their home in Maryland today and started heading west toward Kellogg, where they will make their new home in Mom’s house. Their plan was to make it to Elyria, Ohio today, and break up their journey into a five day trip, arriving in Kellogg on Wednesday if all goes as planned.
*For those of you who are fans of the show The Gilmore Girls, today at the Salt Lake City Comic Con, Travis, Molly and Cosette got photos with Jess and Kirk.
*I love days like today when Paul and I are home alone together, working on projects, nothing else on the schedule, and getting things done. It was a very good day.
*Yay! It is Friday, and I get to do what I want today. The morning began with a meeting at the School District Office meeting with our Business Manager, getting all my end of the year invoicing figured out. If all goes as planned, it looks like I spent all but $30 in my budget, which is good!!
*After my meeting, Christy picked me up at the house, and we went to the Food Bank to drop off some canned goods, then went to The Bean to enjoy some coffee. We had a nice visit about a lot of different things, and I also saw some people come into the coffee shop I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a fun morning.
*Time at home was spent dusting, organizing, cleaning, etc. I loved having the rest of the day at home.
*I have been wanting to use the tomatoes from our garden to make Minestrone soup, so I got the recipe out from when I prepared it in Italy last summer, and made it. Most of the tomatoes in the soup were from our garden, as was the Swiss Chard and the fresh thyme. I turned out so good, and was just the right thing to celebrate the first day of autumn.
*I also made my first batch of gluten free biscuits. I am trying to avoid eating white flour and white sugar. I had purchased a gluten free flour blend last summer that I had never used. There was a recipe for biscuits on the back, so I made the recipe, and added some Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese to the dough, and they turned out really good. They also had kind of a nutty flavor, because of the brown rice used in the flour. And instead of putting sugar in the recipe, I used Stevia. I will definitely be making those biscuits again.
*Speaking of Italy, I look forward to the day when I can sit down, go through all my photographs, and really take some time and write about all I experienced and saw, and write some thoughts down on paper. It was such an incredible three weeks that I don’t want to ever forget it.
*I am really enjoying having essential oils. I did some research tonight on how best to use them. I put different combinations in my diffuser at night, but I have also been looking at topical applications. I soaked my feet tonight in Epsom salts with Lavender and Frankincense oils. I also put Frankincense on my feet in the morning and at night. I have a sore on one of my feet and I put Melaleuca (Tea Tree) oil on it every night to help with the healing. I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about ways to use the oils.
*I got a little pampering today from Lorri at the Uptown Hair Salon when I received a pedicure. Mom had received a gift certificate to get a pedicure, and was not able to use it, so I was the lucky one who got to receive the gift. It felt so good to get my feet and lower legs scrubbed and massaged, and I love the color. And I am glad to report that my feet look healthy with no callouses or bunions or anything else that would cause me trouble. Except the pain the my heel continues off and on. But I have just invested in some better shoes, and that is helping immensely.
*I am not sure how he did it, but our rather large, black three legged cat found a hiding place in our backyard early this evening. Both Paul and I went out to find him, and did not know where he was. He eventually showed up on the patio at the sliding glass doors. But we have not idea where he was hiding himself.
*While I was out trying to find Toby in the backyard, I picked one small little cucumber from the garden. It was our one and only cucumber harvest of the year. I am not sure why the cucumbers did so bad. But so did the beets. I am bound and determined one of these summers to have a good beet crop!!
*We added a new cast member to the fall show, and it was so nice to meet her, and have her join our group. We have practiced at our house this week, but now we will begin rehearsing at the theater beginning Monday.
*It was fun to hear from Molly, Travis and Cosette about their first day at the Salt Lake City Comic Con.
*I was a bit chilled last night, so I nice hot bubble bath was just the thing to warm me up. And it did the trick!
*We had a brief visit from Molly, Travis and Cosette this evening as they stopped here to drop of their two bunnies, Booker and Dumblebunz, and switch cars, and start their trip to Salt Lake City for their much anticipated event Salt Lake City Comic Con. I look forward to seeing their pictures of them in their costumes and their encounters with many celebrities.
*It was nice to sit down with the people at KHS who work with students regarding career and counseling, including Dan Lucier, our new guidance counselor, Elana Estill, our college and career counseling person, and Warren Jones, our Upward Bound coordinator. We were able to map out some events for the fall, and talk about College Application Week, and I look forward to working together with these people throughout the year to help our students in any way we can.
*It was fun attending the first P.E.O. meeting this evening at the home of Ann Haller. A lot of what this organization is about is supporting women in education, and it was so great to talk about the many various ways we have supported different women including sponsoring one woman for a low interest Educational Loan Fund loan for $12,000, another received a PCE (Program for Continuing Education) grant for $1800, and we awarded two KHS seniors each a $500 scholarship last spring to attend college. If you are a woman who is attending college after a break in your education, and could use some additional funding, contact me, and we can see if one of these loans or grants could help fund your education.
*I ordered some roses to be planted in an old bathtub my friend Jane got rid of. Each rose is in memory of one of our dogs or cats that has passed away. (We have had quite a few!!) The forecast looks good for Saturday to have some good weather to get these roses planted!!
*The end of my fiscal year for my job ends in September. So I am busy getting my final invoicing done for my 2016-2017 Gear Up year. It will be done to have this project completed!!
*I finally got some parent nights scheduled to help senior parents with the FAFSA process. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), opens October 1 for students who plan to attend college in the fall of 2018. Often this application can be a bit intimidating for first-timers, so it is nice to have a night where parents can come and get a little help filling out the application.
*We have two seniors this year who are pursuing applying to military academies. What dedication and drive these two students possess in this process. I marvel as I talk to them about all the steps they have to go through to make this happen.
*My roots come from the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. This is where my dad’s side of my family comes from, the Woolums and the Wilsons. Tonight as we were practicing and listening to songs, Gordon said my southern roots showed forth as I belted out one of the songs I will be singing in the upcoming performance. I hope to some day visit Tennessee and Kentucky, and visit and meet family members there, and find where Grandma Woolum grew up. And while we take that particular trip, Paul can explore his roots in the great state of Arkansas.
*It continued to rain today. There was snow up on Silver Mountain, the local ski resort, and on Lookout Pass, the pass on the Idaho/Montana border.
*The rain came down all night, and it was pouring when I got up this morning. Nikki and I decided we didn’t want to walk in a downpour, so we canceled our walk this morning. But I did enjoy sitting in the living room, cozy in a blanket, listening to the rain fall down. Cosette knows I love the rain, and shared this word with me on my Facebook page today. Yes, I am a Pluviophile.
*Another wonderful day at work, getting seniors registered for the ACT test coming up, and again meeting with some one on one.
*I love stories. I love to hear stories. I love to tell stories, write stories, read stories. As I have been meeting with the students one on one these past few days, I am hearing parts of their story that I hadn’t heard before. Many have dealt with very traumatic things. Many are excited about their future. It also warmed my heart as one student praised Paul, and talked about how he is one of his favorite teachers. And I get the chance to sit and listen, every day, to the stories these wonderful students have to tell.
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” --Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center
*I had a rather interesting experience listening to another story today. NPR is usually the radio station that I listen to in the car. As I was in the car coming home for lunch, a man was being interviewed about a book he had recently written about Patience Gray and sculptor Norman Mommens, and about their time living in various places in Italy including Carrara. I was taken aback for a moment, realizing, about two months ago, I was walking the streets of Carrara and looking up at those beautiful marble mountains with April, Eric, Tina and Kellee. Oftentimes I look back on that trip, and it seems more like a wonderful dream I experienced than reality. But it was reality, and part of my story.
*Our living room was also a place of storytelling tonight, story telling of the musical variety. Tim, Gordon, Ken, Roger, Cherri and Norma gathered with Paul and I to share some musical stories as we continue to rehearse and prepare for the fall show at the Sixth Street Theater. What a joy to have our home filled with the sound of four strumming guitars, and voices lifted up in song....all with a bluegrass flavor to them.
*We ended the evening with some stories from our girls. We have started a new thing where we use the Voxer app, which records voices, and everyone in the family records their story of how their day went. It was fun to hear how Molly was feeling better, and Travis was looking forward to their upcoming trip to Salt Lake City. Zoe woke up late, and Jason was excited to share about doing lights and sound at the auditorium at Meridian Middle School. Cosette is struggling with a cold, and trying to feel better before she leaves for Salt Lake City. Paul and I ended our storytelling to them singing our own version of the Eddie Rabbit hit I Love The Rainy Nights.