Fed Ex delivers

The tractor arrived this morning, just like Target.com said it would. I had just gotten home from Bible study and Terry was still at home, waiting for me to return before running his own errands. We had agreed to have one of us at home until the tractor arrived.

The Fed Ex driver was very kind and carried it into the house. Terry later moved the box to the family room after I took a picture to send to Judah.

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Jennifer says Judah is very excited about the tractor. Me too.

Playing with a new app

I take a lot of photos, and for the last few months I have really been using Instagram more and more. Recently, though, I found a new app, Steller. I’ve actually shared it with some teacher friends as I think it would be a superb app for students to use. If I was still teaching, I would use this app.

Here is a Steller “book” I put together real quick (like 5 minutes) called BRICK.

A second one is called DAHLIA.

If you have a smartphone, and you love to take photos on your smartphone, you might just like to play with this app. It is free. Free is always good.

Going ‘cross town

On Friday I put on my chaplain uniform, attached my police ID badge, and headed across town to one of the city’s newer elementary schools named for a local judge who died too young. I was scheduled to observe and assist the chaplain who is starting her second year at this school. Her first grade students got the highest scores on the assessment at the end of last year, and because of this woman’s high scores and stellar reputation, all of the new chaplains want to observe her before moving into our own classrooms.

The school is pretty much catty-corner, clear across town, from my house. I gave myself 45 minutes to get there, which was just about right. I probably could have gotten there faster if I had taken the city’s freeways, but I drove surface streets. Our city’s freeways can be quite treacherous. The original mid-town freeway was built with the idea that few people would use it. The lanes are narrow, the on-and off-ramps short with little room to navigate. Then two more freeways were added to the mix and the connectors to these freeways, which I would have needed to take on Friday’s trip, are highly complicated. CalTrans has been reworking these connectors now for a couple of years, making it even more confusing because each time you drive the freeway, something new has been added. Every week I hear reports of accidents on these freeways due to people driving too fast and too aggressively for the road conditions.

We also have a serious drug problem in Fresno, with methamphetamine being the drug of choice. It is manufactured AND sold in large quantities here. More and more people are involved in traffic accidents while under the influence of this horrible drug. A few weeks ago, on a surface street, a woman, high on meth, flew through a red light, in a stolen car, hitting and killing the driver of a car who had the right of way. The young man who was killed was on his way to play golf with his twin brother after working at his job as x-ray technician at a local hospital. The same hospital they took the woman who caused the accident because she suffered broken legs. The judge appeared in her hospital room to read the charges against her, all to which she replied, “not guilty.”

Oh, I’ve gotten far off the trail of my original story…back to the elementary school. The chaplain who I was meeting is 80 years old. She is bright and funny, and full of energy. She arrives just after lunch to spend time with the children on the playground. They all come running when they see her, hugging and saying hi and showing her their new clothes or new haircuts. They, of course, want to know who I am and I get quizzed on my name, my hair, my watch, and will I be coming every week, too. These children are hungry for adult attention.

We spend approximately 30 minutes in each classroom. This week’s activity, in addition to the regular story, involves a pre-assessment that was not done last year. The school district and police department want to see how much growth there is over the year the chaplain spends with the first graders. Testing first graders is a near impossible task. By the time we get to the last class room, it is getting close to 2 o’clock, dismissal time. The students are tired. Their attention span has gone to zero. Each of the eight questions takes an interminably long time. There is no time for the story in this last class, and yet, I feel they probably needed the story the most. “It’s Mine,” by Leo Lionni tells the story of three frogs who bicker and fight all the time over what’s ‘mine,’ until they are forced to share.Unknown

By the time we walk out of that last room, we are both frazzled. The chaplain is going to see about rearranging the order of classrooms so that this last room is seen right after lunch. She is hopeful that might be a solution for a group of students who desperately need what she is bringing.

Stabilized

Thank you all, dear Readers, for the good wishes. I am back in the saddle again. The high pressure system has entrenched itself and the temperature is again over 100. It is looking more and more like we will break our previous record of 60 days over 100 degrees in one summer.

Due to the early spring, high summer temperatures, and lack of rain, the summer produce is gone and fall produce has arrived. I bought my first pomegranate yesterday. Apples and pears are abundant. Brussels sprouts and beets are starting to arrive.

The sun comes up now right through the kitchen window and lights up my fruit plate.

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Feeling the pressure

We had a brief cool-down here. The temperatures were in the 90s for a few days, and then,yesterday, a high ridge of pressure started moving in, and my head was miserable. My sinuses are very small and inflexible so any air pressure change affects them, big-time. My head hurt all day yesterday and no matter what I took, the pressure was not alleviated and the pain continued.

I was able to go to Bible study at the church I’ve been attending for a few months. It’s a mid-morning study, at a time when my brain is functioning well. Even with head pain I was able to contribute to the conversation about forgiveness. The Bible passage was on Jesus’s story about the land owner forgiving his servant’s huge debt but then the servant went and threw his debtor into prison for a much smaller amount. The implication, of course, is that we have been forgiven so much and so God expects us to forgive those who do harm to us. It is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around.

My small grandson will be having a birthday in a few weeks. He called me because we haven’t seen them in awhile and Jen said he had sat by the door all day wondering where Gramma and Gampa were and when were they coming. Oh. I asked him what he wants for his birthday thinking he might like another truck. His sister piped in that he should ask for a tractor. Yeah, a tractor. That would be good. I had a pedal tractor as a child and decided he should have one, too. Yesterday, after Bible study, with my head screaming, I headed out to find such a tractor. They are a Christmas gift thing with supplies arriving around Halloween. Too late. Turning to the Internet, I found this one at Target.com.  It’s on its way as I type this.

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The Saturday the world went away

Our neighborhood is usually quiet. A few cars. The neighbors coming and going. Someone walking. Yardwork being done. Maybe a delivery truck That’s about it. But today, the first Saturday of September, nothing. No one. No cars. No people. No lawn care. Didn’t even hear the mail carrier come by but when I went out to the box, there was the mail. The heat was nearly suffocating at that point. Close to 3 in the afternoon and 100 degrees. Where had everyone gone? Maybe somewhere cool?

I worked in the yards this morning but heard and saw no one. Usually someone is pruning a tree on the next street, or charging by on their motorcycle. The neighbors clean their pool on Saturday mornings. But not today. The lady behind us usually does laundry and I can hear the dryer turning. Maybe she decided to hang the clothes today, it’s so hot, they would quickly dry. Children’s voices often float through the neighborhood but I heard nothing but silence this morning.

A car was abandoned on our street this past week. It appears to have been in some sort of accident. Rear tire bent, driver’s side scraped. I called the city police and they checked the license plate number. Not stolen. Then I called the parking patrol. They came and checked it, ticketed it, left it sitting there. It’s a fairly new Nissan Altima. Doesn’t make much sense why someone would just walk away from it.

A city vehicle was out earlier in the week for the neighbor at the corner. It appeared that the driver was turning the water off at the curb to the house. They didn’t pay their water bill?  The house has been neglected since it was purchased from the original owners about four years ago.

All of these events make me wonder. What’s going on? Has the world disappeared and I’m left here in my very quiet house in a very silent neighborhood?  Oh, wait, Terry is still here.

More ID

Who would have ever guessed that in one year’s time I would have a military ID AND a police ID.

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I now have my binder of curriculum for school resource chaplaincy and my badge. I’ve ordered my ‘uniform,’ a shirt with the chaplaincy logo on it. I have my school assignment but am still waiting for the principal to set up a meeting with the teachers.