Sunday, August 20, 2017

Settling In: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, August 20, 2017

Outside my window  Colorado summer feels like Alabama autumn.  I've been sleeping with my bedroom window open to let in the cooler temperatures.

I am thinking...  about how God took such good care of me during my drive out here.  In case you haven't read it, I chronicle my trip here.
Little "Bea" on her
first day of school.
I am thankful...  for the hospitality and inclusion from the friends who are sharing their home with me.  Wednesday was their daughter, Beatrix's first day of Kindergarten.  The school is a short walk around the corner.  They included me in the fun of the walk and watching her go into her class for the first time.  This isn't even my child, but I felt myself tearing up.
From the Workshop... I've started a new crochet project that should be finished by the time I write my next daybook.  Here are a couple of projects I finished before leaving for Colorado:

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

Now I'm number 28 on the waiting list.
I'm also still working my way through The Finishing Touch by Chuck Swindoll

Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Trajectory by Richard Russo.   My review is here.
  • Your Best Life Now. by Joel Osteen.  I've not written a review yet.  Sorry, but I've been kind of busy.
I am learning... to acclimate to the new altitude.  I'm drinking water like crazy and resting my body when it needs it.  I feel better every day, but it will take a few more days for me to get back to normal.  The exhaustion of all the driving didn't hit until a couple of days ago.  I'm not going to push it.  I'm anxious to get outside to ride and walk, but if I'm too tired, there's no sense in doing myself harm with overexertion.

I am looking forward to... 
  • Learning more about my new town.
  • Getting myself an interview suit.
  • Creating baby items for the Colorado Family Life Center.  This center is much like Sav-A-Life, so I feel comfortable donating to them.

And now for something totally different...

Five Minute Friday word of the week:  Speak


Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Speak"

Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Our Sunday School class declares this scripture at the beginning of each class.  This word is even more poignant to me now that I'm staying in a house with small children as part of the family.  I spent nearly a decade teaching young children.  They are like little magnets and mockingbirds.  Not only do they repeat what you say, but how you speak it. 

I wish I had more than five minutes so I could tell you a funny story about that. Oh heck, why not?

Along with numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and Biblical concepts, I had to remind the children of their manners.  Please, thank you, and yes, ma'am/no, ma'am were an integral part of our class vocabulary.  However, because we had so many silly boys in our class, there was a lot of belching going on.  I never got onto them for belching, but I did stress that the polite thing to do was to say excuse me.  This just wasn't happening, so I finally started saying to the culprit "say excuse me you big nasty."  Now, understand, it wasn't said in derision to embarrass the child, but as a fun reminder--and the children took it that way (they thought the term "big nasty" was hilarious and laughed hysterically).

Well, later in the school year, a mom came to me and told me a little story about her daughter.  The family had a visitor to their home from another country.  The guest, apparently from a country where belching is a compliment to the chef, let one rip and says nothing.  Without missing a beat, my student says, "say excuse me, you big nasty."  Fortunately, the parent was laughing through the tale (she understands my sense of humor and teaching style), plus the man didn't understand what she said.  I thought I was never going to stop laughing.

So what's my point?  This situation was a positive one, but what if my words had been harsh and cutting?  I've heard kids repeat some very inappropriate things said by their parents or teachers.  It saddens me when an adult won't own up to it.  So, please, watch what you speak, you big nasty!
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Auntie's Finally Been Somewhere! [101 in 1001 v. 2]

Several years ago, I mentioned my insane fear of driving on the interstate.  When the opportunity to move to Colorado came up, I had to face my anxiety.  My plan was to practice on short hops, then take off due west on a Sunday morning when there's less traffic and drive for two or three days to reach my destination.

The Saturday before, I finished packing the car and bedecking the vehicle to let everyone know that Alabama's in the house.

The scriptures I stood on for this trip:

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalm 3:3 - But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

II Timothy 3:17 (AMP) - So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Day 1

Me and my bundle of nerves pulled out of JackVegas around 6:00 a.m. central time.  I immediately had to make a pit stop at the Oxford Wal-Mart before I even got onto the interstate.  After emptying my nervous bladder, I cautiously meandered onto Interstate 20 West.

My first test was getting onto I-65 in Birmingham.  The map program said to use the two right lanes to exit onto I-65.  WRONG!  There was only one lane, but I made it. 

Moving from I-65 to I-22 to I-40 was pretty straight forward, so I settled in until I got to Arkansas, with brief fuel stops in Tupelo, MS and Memphis, TN.  One rule of road I set for myself was to start hunting for gas stations when I reach half a tank.  This works very well since that's about the time my bladder starts demanding attention.  The other rule was to only go to gas stations or truck stops with names I recognize.  This also tamps down the creepy factor.

By the time I reached Palestine, AR, not only did I need gasoline, but my body was screaming for food.  I'd had a snack at each stop, but I needed more.  Another rule of the road is, don't take Excedrin or any other caffeine-laden medication when you're already nervous.  I learned that one the hard way.  Anyway, the Love's truck stop I patronized had a Subway, so I got a sandwich combo and sat at a table to eat and settle myself down.

Feeling much better, I headed across Arkansas.  This is where my nerves were truly put to the test for the first time.  Oh yeah, and it's also where my Alabama flag came off (Must have been Razorback fans #RollTide).  From the moment I got back on the road until I got to the Oklahoma state border, rain dripped, poured, spit, fell in sheets, bounced, and fell in two liter drops.  Also, I noticed that my air conditioner wouldn't blow, so I had to open the window and sunroof to keep from melting into a puddle.  That worked fine until my windshield fogged up beyond visibility.  So, I pulled over on the shoulder.  As I pulled over, I rolled over those "hey, get back in the road" divots, and low and behold, my air and defroster started working again.  Talk about God providing right when I need it.  When both the windshield and the path to re-enter cleared, I got back on track.

Side note:  I thought Arkansas would never end.  By late evening, I finally crossed the Oklahoma border.

As the sun started to set, I started looking for a place to stay for the night.  Lodging rule: only pick hotels you recognize with rooms that are "in," not "out."  Not that I'm a snob, but I'm a female alone and don't want to have to explain a killing to the cops.  I didn't see a sign for anything I was comfortable with, so I turned onto the Muskogee Turnpike thinking I would find an exit to a hotel there.  Then, I heard my GPS say, "Stay on the Muskogee Turnpike for 62 miles."  WHAT!?  I had no idea that this particular stretch of road has no exits to anything significant.  Unfortunately for me, I hate driving in unfamiliar places when it's dark.  Fortunately for me and my bladder, there was a concession stop with a McDonald's and a gas station.  After peeing and praying, I got back on the Turnpike and made it to the Wyndham Hotel in Tulsa OK a little before 9:00 p.m.  By the time I checked in and got to my room, I felt like I had been in a fight with Mike Tyson...and lost.  I fell into bed a little before 10:00 with the intention of sleeping until 8:00 or 9:00.

Day 2

I woke up at my normal "get up before God does to go to work" time of 3:30 a.m. and COULD NOT go back to sleep. 

After lounging in bed for a while, I went to the hotel's fitness center and rode the elliptical for about 15 minutes to work the kinks out.  After a shower and a leisurely breakfast, I hung out at the hotel until around 10:30, then I hit the road. 

Once I got into Kansas, trouble began to brew.  My JSU flag broke off somewhere on I-70 West in Topeka.  No big deal.  However, I started hearing something weird in the area of my right front tire.  I finally saw the problem, something black was flapping on the tire.  I knew it wasn't the tire going flat or its treads separating because the car stayed steady.  I pulled over and found that the rubber flap that redirects mud and rocks away for the car had come off on one end.  All I could do was remove it...forcibly.  Good thing I had scissors in my console. 

It gets worse.

When I got back in the car, I noticed I had to manhandle my steering all of a sudden, plus my battery light came on.  HOLD UP!  I had a brand new battery so I wasn't sure what the deal was.  Since I was in the middle of nowhere and the car was still drivable, I pressed on to find an exit with a decent hotel.

I'm going to cut this part short but it took me FOUR hotels, before I could find one that took cash (thank you Days Inn in Salina, KS).  Most hotels run by managers with sense will take cash and put a small hold on a debit/credit card in case you damage your room somehow.  Not these.

Side note:  Thank you to every teenager, college kid on spring break, drunk, criminal, and irresponsible pet owner who's ruined hotel rooms which made this kind of nonsense necessary and making my life terribly inconvenient.

I was frustrated, hot, and tired enough to throw up when I checked in around 4:00 p.m.  Once I cooled off, ate a bite and took a shower, I settled down and slept.

Day 3

After a great night's sleep, I had breakfast, then headed for the nearest Advanced Auto Parts.  After several tests, the guy told me my alternator wasn't putting out enough amps and recommended a nearby mechanic.

Side note:  As a female who knows more about cars than the average female, I'm very particular about mechanics.  I don't like mechanics who talk to me like I'm stupid, or talks in circles because he's feeding me BS, and if one rips me off, I never go back and I TELL EVERYBODY!

The man at this particular shop was honest.  He let me know that it would be noon before he could even work me in, but recommended another shop across town.  What choice did I have?  So I headed for it.

I kid you not, my car ran until I got into the shop's parking lot, cut off, then I could cut it back on long enough to properly pull into a space.

There goes God providing again.

The guys at Oard's Auto and Truck Repair were excellent.  Everyone was friendly, their place was clean, and the waiting area was nice.  Turns out I didn't need an alternator (Praise the Lord!).  It seems that somehow my alternator belt, power steering belt, and air conditioner belt broke.  This mystified the head mechanic, 1) because I was able to drive the car about 100 miles in that condition and 2) because the Advanced Auto Parts guy assessed my alternator with NO BELT on it.


It took a couple of hours to run diagnostics, replace the belts, recharge the battery, and run diagnostics again to make sure everything was OK.  The price for the work was very reasonable, and I got back on the road by noon.

Rest Area in Kansas
Like Arkansas, I thought Kansas would never end.  Like Arkansas, once I got into Colorado, I was in a race with torrential rain, wind, lightning, and hail.  I safely reached Aurora around 7:30 p.m. mountain time.

I learned a lot and really enjoyed the trip.  HOWEVER, I hope I never have to drive that far alone EVER again.

Looks like I punched another fear in the face!