Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year! I am HOME!


I am home!!  I am HOME!  Not willingly, but we made it home at noon today after 20 hours on the road.  The hardest part was leaving the SUN, the BEACH, the 75 degrees of lovely WARMTH! 

My father and stepmom were so happy to have us...they have a nice home in a neighborhood in St Petersburg.  The area is where my stepmom (who by the way is only 5 years older than me, at 53, my dad is 69 ), spend every summer there while she was growing up, so she knew the area and while she had to work a couple of hours during the week she showed us around.  We also spent some nice alone time with dad.  She tends to like to stop and let we girls stop and look, dad gets impatient really easy, and boom it's time to go.

The last two days we spent on the beach, on the gulf of Mexico.  Which was pure HEAVEN to me!  I am now just a bit burned but have plenty of proof of my getaway!  Besides I tan really quickly.   Give me a week and I'd be native.

I took pictures so you all can see my good time...while my first true love is the west coast, I really, really enjoyed "only old people live there" attitude was broken and the weather and the laidback attitude sure won me over.

So I am home still barefoot, refusing to wear real shoes until I have to go back to work on Tuesday, is that wrong???   Keeping the sunshine and relaxing thoughts in my soul...

We are staying in tonight.  Welcoming 2006 whiile watching a favorite band on TV...

Here's to will be the best, yes the best year yet....

Sunday, December 25, 2005

i am better now!

ok , ok, I am better now.  I usually don't like to over react.  I learned a long time ago that doing that only makes matters worse, raises my blood pressure, makes my cats run for cover and usually causes more harm than good.  BUT...I felt justified in my frustration which really never husband called his son who we had asked to housesit & was worried about leaving his own cats and bribed him with a $75.00 Dominicks gift card...Gotta love that boy, the way to his heart has always been through his stomach.  Here, he gets cable, a computer AND $75.00 worth of food.

He's coming to sit with the dogs...whew! 

Just talked to my dad he's still excited and so now am I.

Mark is a little miffed at his youngest two sons who not only did not come to the Thanksgiving party didn't show up today.  The youngest called but he has no car to drive here.  The other one, whom I let borrow/or I should say I gave $140.00 for  a windshield for his truck, called yesterday, but it is now at 5:30pm he is officially MIA. 

Mark's now taking a nap.  He's getting up at 10:00 pm and we will be off to sunny skies and warm beaches....

AND finally some rest for my weary soul...



Why are my children such pains!

I ask you all this question.  Why are our adult children such world class pains in the butt????  So far my son is too busy building a ping pong table for a drinking game to stay here and take care of my dogs, my stepson came over yesterday got his Christmas gift of money to keep his electricity on, & he thinks he's cats can't be without him for a few days and the other stepson is with his in-laws.  The other two are so irresponsible I wouldn't trust them to pick up my mail let alone have them take care of my pets.  My son Eric is 1/2 hour away and will be working all week.


HUGE :::::::::::::sigh:::::::::::::


So I have asked Liz to ask Mike to let the dogs out....he lives less than a mile from us and he's very very responsible PLUS he loves my daughter...

more later...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

christmas eve

The bags are packed, shorts and swimsuits located, flip flops have been dug out from the back of the closet, my happy feet will be out in the warm Florida air soon!

Dog and Cat food have been bought, along with clean litter boxes.  My responsible working son, says he will let out the dogs.  The sorta responsible laid off son will stay here too. 

We are having a heat wave here, it's 40 and foggy.  Since we have so much snow it's still cold.  I changed my homepage to St Pete, it's 64 and week it will be 70's....

Tonight we will be going to the grandkids to bring them their gifts.  I only bought a few toys, mostly clothes, but cool clothes, like mini flannel shirts, painter pants, and spiderman PJ's.  Oh! And Purdue stuff, a cute mini football outfit.  And a hooded Purdue sweatshirt for Jacob.  Sorry can't be cool like the kids and call them hoodies sounds too dumb!

I am off to finish up my house, Eric and Tim are spending the night and will wake up here for Santa's arrival tomorrow morning.  Liz is happy, she's not used to being the only child.  Afterall, she's used to a huge crowd on Christmas morning. Having 7 older brothers does that!


If I don't get a chance to go back online tomorrow...

to you and yours!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

3 more days!

3 more days and the fat man comes!  We will be going to Jeremy's on Christmas Eve to celebrate with the grandbabies, And on Christmas Day we hang out here, my sons come over, and we of course eat my favorite tradition...Chinese food!  I even told my monitor, Julie about it and she's doing the same.  Much easier on the cook!

We plan on leaving here at 10:00 pm and drive straight through to Florida.  We are troopers that way.  Mark will drive most of the way.  Liz and I can also drive, she needs the practice as the kid still doesn't have her license.  Mark was an over the road trucker for awhile.  We once went straight to California with 3 drivers in 34 hours, I know we are nuts. But I will be so excited to find the sun...

Families should drive more anyway so much to see of this wonderful country.  I've only been as far south as Tennessee, so this should be a real experience for me.  Mark, he was in the Navy, took many road trips as a kid, but he's excited too.

I am using some of time off to catch up on the household stuff...

bye for now


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yesterday was my last day of work until January 3rd.  Mark is also off until then too.  AND he will be going back to work!  They have work for him to do!  So it will be hopefully a short layoff for him this season.  We will be ok because of unemployment, but it's the him staying home all day that drives both of us nutty!  He's worked most of his life and he needs to do that to stay out of trouble! 

We spent today finishing up our Christmas gift shopping.  It wasn't painful at all.  This evening we went to my daughter in law Brandy's basketball game.  She is the one that got married last summer to Matt.  She is a math teacher at Oswego East and the assistant coach for the Varsity girls team.  Liz came too, some of her friends are on the team also.  It was weird to be at a game and not get paid to sit and watch!  Sorry bus driver in me coming out!  Speaking of that, I now know why people that deal with children all day get time off, because we have EARN IT!  I really am going to appreciate the break.

Last Saturday Dakota had his 1st birthday party.

He received every noisy toy you could think of.  We gave him a savings bond and a toy bus (of course!).  The boys get so many toys so we are going to purchase a group of bonds and then give them as birthday gifts so they all mature at the same time.  If they decided to go to college they will have something to help them out.

Then on Sunday Tracey dropped the boys off to make Christmas cookies (I have to develop the film, pictures will be displayed later).  Jacob had a great time.  The kid has finally figured out how to very clearly express himself.  He kept saying LIZZZZZZZZZZ come here we're making Christmas Ookies!  Dakota was his usual busy self only now the kid can walk very very well, he only took 2 tumbles, once into the kitchen cabinet and another time he came inches from the Christmas tree!

The next day on Monday, my phone rings and I hear breathing, I see it's my stepson's phone number on the caller ID.  I hear, "ama? I come to your house??  Where's ampa?, I want Aunt Lizzzzzzzzz!".  Seems the little stinker had such a good time with us he refused to go to his other grandma's house to be babysat while Tracey worked!  Gotta love that boy! 

We decided today that since we will be off next week we are going to head on down to Florida to see my father and stepmother.  They live in St Petersburg.  Gas is finally cheap enough so I won't feel guilty.  Plus we both need a break from the blasted cold, it's been below freezing for forever!  Most days below zero with a high of like 6!  We plan on leaving Christmas night and be back the next Saturday.  Mark was an over the road truckdriver in the past so he knows how to do a road trip.  I plan on sitting by the pool and/or beach and doing absolutely nothing but relax!  AND I think I've earned it, I haven't had a real vacation since 2002! As my hubby Mark said just this evening it's so nice to feel like everything is right in the world....



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am sooooo busy!

Been super busy, getting my shopping finished up, still have a few of Mark's kids to do, but he's off tomorrow so we will be going out then.  Kids get harder to buy for when they get older and can buy their own stuff. 

I'd rather buy for the grandkids, they are so fun and easy!

Friday night is Liz's theater groups play and Saturday I have trip, Dakota's 1st birthday party and my works party.  WHEW!  Luckily schools out next Tuesday!

Then I'll have time to bake and make cookies.  I always have Chinese for Christmas, I don't cook anymore! 

It's my gift to myself!

Today we were supposed to get a huge snowstorm, instead we got freezing rain.  Fun, fun, I only had to scrape a sheet of ice off a huge bus before I went out...

I made it though...time to hop around J-land!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I will behave I promise

Last night was Liz's choir concert, they have 4 shows.  2 Friday night and 2 on Sunday.


Yesterday my dear sweet 17 year old daughter told me she no longer is wearing a dress that never came in, so as I said I didn't have to buy those red spanky things that cheerleaders wear, BUT she needed black pants and a sweater.  I hear this as I am sitting in my bus, (she stops to see me as she walking home from High School), at 2:45 in the afternoon on a Friday, the day of the CONCERT.  I am thinking MY GOD does this kid have a presentable pair of black pants or a sweater!  She hates sweaters, she has always been my hot child, so she really has a limited supply.  The thought did cross my mind to go to the thrift store or is it resale shop down the block and get her one of those old lady sweaters with all the Christmas ornaments on it, sorry no offense, if you like these, but a 17 year old would never like these.  I am still controlling my rage with her choir director, I am still behaving!

She did have a sweater, and she said she'd wear her black dance pants.  I didn't see her very well as I whisked her off to school after work.  15 minutes later she called me to say she needed a white shirt also!  UGH!  So I searched found a white turtle neck (which I know she hated) and brought it to her.  When I looked closer at her on my return trip I realized her black pants were pretty worse for wear.  BIG SIGH!

So today after my field trip we went out into the hustle and bustle of Saturday shoppers to buy a pair of black slacks.  Which we found at the first store, near my home.  The kid is very short not even 5 foot so I'll be hemming pants tomorrow, but at least she will look presentable.  This is a huge annual show, with all the choirs and bands playing in a seamless concert.  Very very nice.  And tomorrow my kid will look good for the last two shows, one of which Mark and I will be attending.

So as we are wandering around Target I ask my daughter if she wants a robe for Christmas, how about slippers?  She says yes and I buy them -- am I an awful mom or what??  Buying gifts with her right there!  She said it was ok, she'd act surprised on Christmas morning.  I already have other ideas for her.  She will be suprised!  She is my last child.  She is the 8th one.  I've only known masses of children for 11 years.  Mark's 5 and my 3.  It's sad to see her be the last.  Last year my 2 boys spent Christmas eve here, so the morning was ok, the tree was a little more naked then when they were little, but there were kids here all the same.  Now I am down to one, and she's a great one! 

BUT now I have the grandkids...they will bring a packed Christmas tree!

Liz and Tracey!

So I am off again, there's a Christmas party for Mark's work we are going to.  whoo the fun begins!

Friday, December 9, 2005

everything is alright-snow and all!

I am about 45 miles southwest of Chicago.  Last night we had a big snow storm.  It was a typical northern Illinois storm with most of the snow being toward Lake Michigan.  We ended up getting around 5 inches here, but the southern part of the city got 10 inches.

The above picture is of an airplane that skidded at Midway Airport.  Midway is a very small airport so the pilot I am sure only had little room for error.  This could have been a real bad accident because the plane actually went into a wall and then into traffic!  A child did die, but everyone else survived. 

My neice, who works with me, lives near this airport and it took her 5 hours to drive a 2 hour drive.  I tried to talk her into staying here with us, but you know kids they know everything! ;) 

My route was fine, I was a few minutes late to the 2nd school, because of traffic.  BUT the KIDS were awful.  Loud, naughty and bouncing off the walls.  I need to remember to bring my whistle, that usually gets their attention very quickly.  They're pretty much trained in school to respond to a whistle.  Otherwise I really had fun driving in the snow, but I did refrain from doing donuts, it was hard but I didn't do it! 

My daughter has her Christmas show this weekend.  Her director is so unprepared that the outfits that they were supposed to wear were only ordered 2 weeks ago and will not make it for the show.  She is in an all girls show choir that is actually a graded class.  They were going to be very nice too, red velvet with fur.  Oh well, at least I stopped myself from calling her teacher and yelling about the dresses and the little shorts that we were supposed to run out and buy.  I've gained some wisdom in my old age.  I am a lot more able to think before I react...well usually!  And my kid appreciates it too!

I am in shock, but my husband, Mark is actually working today.  Our very cold weather has caused the ground to freeze too deeply for the work crews to do their grading work. His work is an excavation company.  Four of my stepsons work for the company and they were laid off yesterday.  It's a bit earlier than usually.  Mark is one of two truck drivers he still has a lot of work to do, so !! THANKFULLY!!  he will probably work until the end of the year.

It's a true blessing because we are still digging out of our debt from our failed owner operator truck  position from 2003.  I have finally made agreements with all my past creditors.  Only two actually went to a legal agency.  I am so glad that I have dealt with lawyers in my past divorce and custody situations, because legal types DO NOT scare me.  Even though the poor unfortunates that they hire to threaten people think they can scare you into court.  One firm, that I have had the displeasure of dealing with is rude and crude.  I even asked the guy to stop being rude and he said it wasn't against any laws to be rude, and he could talk anyway he felt like.  UGH ! There is a letter in the future from me to this office, it's so unprofessional and down right wrong to think they can bully people.  I am not a deadbeat, I've had problems, but they are being corrected one step at a time.

I have found my way around their threats, it's called knowledge, and I know my rights and I refuse to deal with them.  I send them checks and they leave me alone.  It's quite nice.   All this I owe to God, very hard work and a level head.  And helping others, that's a big one.  I truly believe that what goes around comes around -- and that was taught to me by my wonderful mother...during my divorce.

I am off to play in the snow! 

Thursday, December 8, 2005

there she blows!!!


Whoo hooo the weathermen/women are finally gonna be right!!  It's snowing like crazy outside and I still have a pm bus route to do!!  Hopefully the other drivers will behave!

I'd rather drive a school bus in a snowstorm any old day.  Much heavier and we have way less pick up then a car.  But you have to watch the ditches, one false move or get too close to the side of the road and your in!


Wish me luck!  I am putting on my snowpants and boots and I am hitting the road~!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

more Dakota and Jacob

I know, I know I am Grandma Picture taking freak, BUT I LOVE THESE BOYS!

Here's a few from the outing to the museum------>

This is Dakota playing in the hands-on baby area at the DuPage Children's Muesum-of course Aunt Liz is in charge of him.  Which is a double duty thing...1.) he love her, and 2.) She at 17 won't be in a big hurry to run off and have babies of her own, the kid wears HER out!

Jacob and Dakota playing with the air that was blowing through the pipes....

Liz and Dakota in the Wind Tunnel....everything in this museum is kid's level.  Dakota had just learned to walk and the kid was walking everywhere!  Jacob loves his Grandpa and loves to build.  He had fun doing that.

And Little Jacob deciding he wanted to take ALL the cars home with him.  Behind him is the baby doll he 'mothered' all evening...I feel all boys should learn to be good mothers!  But my stepson made him leave the baby here, won't my stepson freak when I buy the boys a kitchen to play with while they are here!


Saturday, December 3, 2005


Today after my sports trip I decided to go to the grocery store.  Now I normally like to go during the week between routes.  It's easier, faster and less crowded.   But sometimes I throw caution to wind and go for it, for the excitement...yes, I sometimes have a very boring life.

The kid that checked my groceries out for me told me that people were 'stocking' up for the BIG storm.  They were spending $400.00 and loading up for the long haul.  The weather forcast is for 2-4 INCHES, which by Illinois standards is not much.  Unless it's the first snow of the year, then it's crashing, bashing and flying in the ditch for the unskilled or speed demons.  You'd of thought it was 2 - 4 FEET that was being predicted.  People are strange.  At one point a few years ago I considered studying to be a counselor, I even took a few classes.  But I saw the pay and decided I'd rather deal with kids, at least they make some sort of sense..  And usually you can get through to them.

Of course won't I be surprised when I wake in the morning to 4 FEET of snow.   Guess I'll be trudging down the street to the Gas Station for bread and milk!

Friday, December 2, 2005

christmas walk

Tonight is our annual Christmas Walk.  I like these types of things because I LOVE to people watch.  Sometimes I go to socialize with my neighbors, co-workers, or some of the kids I know.  Sometimes Mark comes with me.  When he does he usually isn't all that interested in socializing or looking at the different shops.  We usually walk down the street stop at the Barber Shop to say "hi" to his friend Jimmy from high school, maybe get a hot chocolate or some food and race home.

Tonight I simply enjoyed being quiet and being by myself in the crowd.  For a cold night of 10 degrees, there were a lot of people out.

I love to walk and look, listen, and smell.  There's usually some girl scout troop singing carols, a little band playing, and some piped in music.  And there's this mime dressed up and skating on roller skates.  He's fun.  There's lots more too.

My favorite part though is the silent Fire Truck parade.  Different trucks from area communities dress up their Fire Trucks with lights and they parade down the road.  One year it was really warm and foggy, so they looked like they were floating  down the street.  Another year they took a turn too tight and ripped off the back bumper of a van.  Liz and I saw it too, it was a jaw dropper.

I got to see them tonight and I still got a thrill.  My grandfather was a fireman, I have a lot of respect for them.  Big towns or small towns they are still are and always will be my heroes.  I sometimes wish I was younger, I would loved to carry on the family tradition.

Oh yeah this year I didn't eat the free cookies or nacho's, not even the cider.  I came home and ate the last piece of BLUEBERRY PIE from Thanksgiving and was it every yummy!

Night all, I have a basketball trip bright and early tomorrow morning!

  I do believe in SANTA!  I DO!  I DO!!

Thursday, December 1, 2005

pics from the thanksgiving party



Thanksgiving party pics at Gario's Pizza------------------->


  My stepson Jeremy, with Koda and my daughter in law Tracey ... she's my hero!

  "Common Koda you can walk!!!" (he's leaning on Grandpa)

  Jeremy, Liz, Tracey and Liz's boyfriend Mike with Koda

  My newlywed stepson Matt with Jacob playing games

  My son Eric with his girlfriend Tina

I have another camera, to get developed, that has the other two kids, Jim and Tim maybe even me on it.  Mark's youngest two didn't attend the party, Dustin and Dale are still stuck in their own little world.  But that is part of growing up I guess.  Rebellion, wow I wouldn't want to be that age again!

But it was still a great nightand a great time!