Hello everyone!


Sorry this is just a brief note.  I keep thinking I need to just sit and type and update everyone.  However, once again, it’s just past 9 pm and I’m ready to fall on my face from exhaustion.  Well, I guess it beat insomnia.  I’ve been getting up by 6 to run every other morning.  Even the mornings I could sleep in, I don’t.  I’m not sure if I miss the insomnia…

School is in full swing.  Lots of new students!  You would think this would be easier, since I know what I’m doing now! But there is less staff this year, so I’m doing my own copy work, teaching three health classes a day, running the donation store, plus obviously still living in the dorm. Fun times!

I will try to get some pictures up and a ‘real’ blog post.  Introduce our kids and give some updates.  Suffice to say now things are quiet, status quo, I’m just busy busy busy. 

More soon, I promise.

Another quick post


Rosie singing happy birthday Ethan in Navajo. Kids returned today. About 22 more tomorrow. Very busy… I will try very hard to get my blog caught up tomorrow. It cost money to be able to put video on WordPress so if you are able, click the link above and you’ll see Rosie singing happy birthday in Navajo.
You do not need Facebook to see the video.

hotels Amish friends food

Dear friends and family…  greeting from Ohio! Yes Ohio.  We’re off again on another adventure.  Back to AZ!  While I’m very excited to be headed back, I wasn’t quite mentally prepared. I had too many loose ends.  I made too many plans with too many people. Not enough packing and a household sale to pay for the trip back. So here I sit in a holiday inn after I swore I’d never stay I in another. However since the GPS on my cell took us through a cornfield… I think stopping at the nearest hotel at 9 pm was the prudent move to make.  We did stop to visit our Amish friends.  They served us some yummy pie. Yes I ate it, crust and all. We won’t talk about the chick fil a waffle fries either.  Nor will we discuss my poor belly. The dairy queen burger is what really put me over the edge.  Food is not my friend today.  Although this hotel has what appears to be an awesome treadmill…


I will write more as we travel. Think happy thoughts and prayers for us.  This is unusually short but it’s really late and I have a Stephen king book to relax with.  Blessings.

June, not July

Good Morning starshine! The earth says hello!


That sounds so bright and cheery when I’m not feeling bright and cheery at all.

Should we start with the last 6 weeks and go forward, or today and go back? ah….. let’s see.

I wanted to start with last May, however, just now when I went to get my memory card out of my camera, it was gone.  I uploaded pictures in Rochester at my mother’s house, and that’s the last I’ve seen of it.  Good grief.  I went on a roaring rampage to no avail.  I’ve searched every bag and pocket.  It’s gone.  I have another card, but it’s only 4 gigs, that card was 8.  AND it had pictures on it.


I’ve been in NY for almost 3 weeks now.  It hardly seems it.  A week in Rochester, and starting my second week here in Salamanca. So far I’ve managed to leave all my shirts in Rochester, lose my memory card, and forget how humid and buggy WNY is.  I am covered in mosquito bites on my legs.  Was WNY always this humid and yucky?  It is a beautiful area.  It’s so green!  However, I really did lose touch with the gnats and flying biting things.  11 months in AZ has cured me of grey skies, bugs, and humidity.  We’ve had one or two really nice sunny days in 3 weeks.  Yes, I’m complaining.  Even Ethan said he’s ready to go back.

Next topic.  How we finished the year.  You’d think I’d dedicate an entire page to the excitement of finishing our year.  Probably not.  I can say after 11 months, my nurse’s office is ‘mostly’ clean, ‘mostly’ organized, and ‘mostly’ ready for the 2014 school year.  How’s that?  I’m already looking forward to another year there.  The last few days and weeks in the dorm were good and bad.  Good, because we knew the end was in sight, we were ready to head to NY, and bad because I felt I had just spent an entire school year living with 7 boys I felt like I hardly knew.  I said good bye to one student and told him I hoped to see him next year.  He turned around and said aghast, “You DO?!”.   wow.  Did i feel bad? yes!  I said, yes, I do.  Don’t i want to make a better impression than that?  It motivates me to try harder next school year.  One mother cornered me on the last day, yes I was hiding in the laundry room,  yes, i was avoiding this family.  Yes, her son and I don’t see I to eye on his behaviour, but she came in and stood in the door way.  There was no avoiding her.  She said, “I want to talk to you.”  Oh dear.  I sucked it up and responded.  She said, “Thank you for putting up with my son and taking care of him for the year.”  Really?   I could have fallen over.  Wow.

Speaking of the laundry room.  One of the students came in and sat on the dryer while I was ironing.  He had done this a few times.  So i just waited for him to start talking.  He did.  Big changes.  Moving.  8th grade is over.  What’s next?  SVIS only goes to 8th.  He was probably moving hundreds and hundreds of miles away to a new state, new school.  It was a good way to say goodbye.  I hope he finds another washing machine to sit on and another dorm Mom who will let him.

For our last meal together, Daryl and I took the boys out to a Mexican restaurant.  We made them all wear suits and ties.  If I had my memory card (UGH!) I’d upload the pictures.  They looked so sharp.  We really had a great time.  They were so well behaved.  It was a pretty expensive endeavor,  next time, I’ll start saving ahead of time! but so worth it.  We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home for ice cream.  I think we scared the manager.  He asked us why we were there.  I figured we either looked like a mafia family, or a bunch of Mormons.  No offense to Mormons, but that’s all I could think.  If the boys had little name tags clipped to their shirts, we could have been the Traveling Osmonds Family look alikes!

Oh, one more last goodbye story.  One student asked for our phone number.  Now logic says you don’t give students your phone number.  But I did.  I was comfortable doing it.  The dorm was empty.  All the boys are gone.  No more underwear or shoes in the hallway.  We’re going… it’s so quiet. What now?  Then my phone rings.  He wasn’t gone an hour and he called.  Loved it.

So.  We spent several days cleaning out the dorm, I cleaned my office, and I worked on the basement donation store.  A group of teens came in and painted some shelves.  I wish I had a before and after picture of that basement!  And then… back to NY.

The trip back was fairly uneventful.  Nothing stands out in my mind.  We left at 4:40 am Wednesday morning and rolled in to Rochester about 4 pm Friday afternoon.  It was quite the bombing run.  Drive. Drive. Drive.  We went to Chilli’s  and surprised my Mother.  I have it on video.  When she realizes it’s me talking to her, she screamed.  It was pretty funny.  Not viral material, but funny.  Ethan and I stayed in Rochester for a week and discovered a place on South Avenue called Cheesie Eddies.  Wow.  Someone can make a cheesecake better than mine?! yes, yes they can.  Now most of you know I’m pretty Paleo in my diet, but everyone needs to visit this place and at least TASTE their cheesecake.  Order online? Why, yes, yes I can.  And I will.  I MUST have another piece of their cheesecake.  I’d love to order one for the boys!  See? I’m still thinking of them.  Actually, I am.  I’d like to print out the pictures from our dinner out and mail them each their own copies, but I can’t do that WITHOUT MY MEMORY CARD!!!!


Getting back to Salamanca was interesting.  My daughter and her husband have moved in.  I’m not sure they moved in, but just sort of landed here. That’s probably a better way of putting it.  They landed here a few months ago.  So, now that I’ve cleaned, we’re going to start again.  I’m so OCD about my cleaning.  I realize not everyone is.  Right now my dresser is in disarray.  However, blue hair dye all over, and I do mean all over, my bathroom is something that I can’t live with.  It’s all better now.  We’ve settled in.

I think I’ve gained two pounds since we got back.  Tim Horton’s chilli has not let me down! However, my favourite yogurt smoothie in the whole world is gone!  I’m miserable!  I looked so forward to having one.  All they have now is strawberry and orange! Yuck!  I don’t want strawberry and I HATE orange.  ew!  No more mixed berry yogurt smoothies at Tim Hortons.  Very sad.

I’ve started running at the Allegany State Park.  It’s nothing like running in the gym at school, or a treadmill… or even out on the school trail in the dirt.  with the snakes.  and the lizards.  It’s BUGGY and humid.  It’s also so green and beautiful.  It’s hard to run and not want to stop and take it all in.  It’s also hard to do the hills!  No real hills on treadmills.  So, I’m finding out what running is really all about.  I’m hoping to do my first 5K this Saturday.  I know I can.  I know i can easily run 3.1 miles, I’m doing a bout 5 an hour.  It’s just actually running the first one.  Running with people.  Running with people and having other people watch you.  We’ll see.  I did get new running shoes.  They’re just cheap asics and they’re butt ugly.  Not even pink.  But they work and my right shin wasn’t screaming at me when I was done.  My skechers are so much better.  Or they were.  Til they died after 3 months.  I can’t afford $80 every 3 months for shoes.  The asics offer so much more support, but the skechers are so much more comfortable!!! bah.  What a trade off.  Considering the amount of excruciating of pain in my right shin, I’ll take the butt ugly.  Because of the pain I can’t run every day like I want, so I”ve learned, but every other day.  However I can walk in between, and go alot farther on the days i do run.  Obsess much? Yes. Yes I do.  Everything I do, eating, drinking, and living, revolves around my next run.  Tommie, you’ve created a monster.  I no longer run to lose weight.  It’s no longer about the weight.  It’s running to get that runner’s high.  It sets in and then you’re in go mode… your mind is empty, they music is good, it’s just you and the wind.  For about an hour your free.  Nothing else matters.  That’s someone else’s pain … someone else’s body… your just in your head. Going. and Going.  Unless of course you have to go to the bathroom.  So I’m at the park, I’ve just run 4.5 miles and I have to go.  Badly.  Really badly.  And there is this port-o-potty.  There are no port o potties in the Allegany State Park.  But that day, there was.  Just sitting there.  Now I’ve had to go since mile 2.  Now I really have to go, and there’s this port o potty.  I’m not seeing a mirage.  It’s there.  What do you do? What DO YOU DO?  I used it.  So I’m thinking as soon as I go in and sit down, they’ll come and take it away, with me in it.  Or worse, I’ll get locked in.  I think about these things.  And worry about them.  I used it, as obviously several people had already done, and I didn’t get locked in, and no one came and carted it off with me in it.  There was a triathlon at the park that day.  Apparently they provide port o potties to their participants.  And now guests of the park as well.  It was gone yesterday when I did my 5 miles.  But I didn’t have to go, so all was well.

Speaking of losing weight, visit http://justinwilloughby.com/600-pound-weight-loss/one-step-nation/   if you want to hear an amazing story of a man who lost weight.  I don’t know him ‘personally’, but I’ve seen him at Open Arms Community Church many, many times over the past two years.  He was just on Good Morning America.  AWESOME!

I’ve run out of things to type, I think.  I just wanted to catch up.  I’m using my neighbors internet, and it is SLOW.  With permission I might add.  They have a guest access thingy.  It’s slow, but it works.  If I ever find my memory card, I’ll upload pictures.

Kudos to Carol Creswall for coming to meet me.  I’m really sorry to hear our friends L. and B. are dealing with some health issues.  I would very much have liked to meet them and share the pictures with them of our year at Sun Valley Indian School.

It’s almost noon and time to go.  Not that I have anywhere to go… or anything to do.  What an odd feeling… there’s a treadmill in the basement… hm….



*EDIT* I just realized I never explained the title.  I woke up this morning thinking I missed someone’s birthday by one day.  I got online to search for flowers and excuses as to why I missed this 85 year old’s birthday.  Just as I was ordering them, my laptop over heated and shut off.  At that point, I realized her birthday is July 24, not JUNE.  Yeah…  Just Gail being Gail. Sigh.

A month has gone by and what I learned.

vacation 083Nicholas with the fireman’s gear.  Fire safety and prevention time.

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Bird in the rapids.

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view from the bench.


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The reflection of The Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.  Candler, Arizona.

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the golf course at the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.

vacation 363Ducks, using flash.

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The hotel again.


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Down the little river from the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.vacation 271

reflection of a tree at sunset.


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Sunset at the Sheraton.


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Sunset by the golf course.


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In Chapel waiting to see the fireman.

Greetings, family, friends, and people I have yet to meet.

I am pleased when people say, “You haven’t blogged!”.  It does make me feel good.  It also makes me feel like a heel.  I know I promised.  I know, I know!  It’s been over a month!  I think of thinks to type, and then I don’t.

Part of it is, we went on vacation.  Part of it is lack of motivation.  Part of it is I had NO CLUE what was going on as far as staying or going.  Ah…

The best laid plains of mice and men…  Excellent book.  But I’m not here to speak of books.  I’m here to announce two things.  First, I am 99.9% sure we will be here one more year.  So, to my family, I’m sorry you’re reading it here first.  However, my time zone of 3 hours makes it inconvenient to call.  Between being the school nurse, living and helping in the dorm, AND now doing the school clothing store…  my life is usually not my own.  Most of the time I don’t mind.  Honestly I don’t.  If you want something done, ask the busiest people.  It’s true.  I’m really excited about the store.  Let me explain.  Funci, you’ll get this.  It’s a ‘clothing’ store.  Well, it’s in the basement of the residence of our administrator.    It’s small, and loaded with tons of clothes that were donated over the years.  Sadly, it’s had very little real upkeep.  This is not by choice.  People truly have done what the could.  So, now I’m trying to clean it out. Which is why my back hurts so bad… but that’s another story.  There are three piles, Keep, Toss, and Salvation Army.  There is a lot of TOSS.  Trust me.  We’re talking serious polyester here.  I’ve lost it laughing hysterical down there.  I’m sorry, but there is no one who needs a 1960s orange vinyl and polyester moth-eaten suit.  On the plus side, in going through bags, bags, boxes and more bins, I am finding quality clothing that can be sold or used by our staff and students.  That’s pretty awesome.  I have a woman named Donna working with a little bit from the current Work and Witness Team that’s here.

She’s a bit older than me, but we’re having a great time.  She’s like me, get rid of it.  She’s got a great sense of humour.  I will miss her help when she leaves tomorrow.  Her and I found a really old coat with the name KIM embossed on it with 1981.  I don’t know what Kim did in 1981, but I have her coat.  Actually I don’t.  It’s at the bottom of the dumpster.  I’m really having a great time down there.  However, I’m not made for heaving lifting, and my back really hurts.

In addition to hurt back, Ethan and I were sick.  Ethan went to the dr.  He had the flu so bad he lost 3 pounds.  From where, I do not know.  I laid in bed for two days and just moaned.  I feel so bad because I made him at least try class.  Then I got sick.  My stomach hasn’t been that sick since chemo.  I don’t know how Ethan managed.  I have guilt now.  I didn’t eat for 3 days.  Not how I want to lose weight.  Tonight was the first night I have a full meal since Monday.  Our current chef, Kathy, made a full turkey dinner.  It was fantastic.  A perfect meal to end my fast on.  Some fast. Ha.  I hate being sick.  It makes me resentful. Sick? Me? who’s got time?!

The funny thing is, I’ve been running.  Last February, I couldn’t clear a mile without dying.  I couldn’t even walk the path around the school without getting winded.  Now I run 3 to 5 miles a day.  That’s not the funny part.  Monday I did my laps and thought, “i’m dying, why does my stomach hurt?”  But I’m told, or read, runners take the pain, you get used to it, it goes away.  I could not figure out why my stomach hurt so bad and I could barely get three miles out.  So I went home.  It took me til Tuesday afternoon, a fever of 101.4 and vomiting to realize I was sick.  That’s the funny part.    I didn’t even realize I was sick.  Ah well.

Now the second thing.  I believe we are coming home for three weeks. I don’t have exact dates.  Daryl will stay in Salamanca, I’m sure.  I will stay in Rochester for most of it.  I know Ethan will want to be in Salamanca to see his friends.  It will be interesting working out the logistics of it all.

Although I did promise Ethan we’d come home for Christmas next year.  It really is hard to be gone so long.  Ethan has really changed.  From wanting to go home, to being excited about being in 7th grade next year.  I”m looking forward to seeing the Allegany State Parke and eating Tim Hortons.  And Salen ham.  And Tony’s  and Perry’s sherbet.  ahh… real food.

speaking of food.  I really like this Paleo diet.  I won’t say too much about it since I got so much FLACK from people, AHEM, however, I have lost a lot of weight, yes running helps, but even if you never exercised and went Paleo, you’d still lose weight.

Meanwhile, Carol if you’re reading this, I’d love to finally meet you.  If there’s any way I can meet the “Betts” too, that’d be awesome.  I can thank you all in person.  Let me know if it can be arranged while we’re in Rochester.

So what have I learned?  Well, here’s the thing, when I wrote that title, then uploaded pictures, I had an intense, spiritual, epiphany.  However, I was so sick, I went to bed, and that was three days ago.  Anyone knowing how flighty I am, realizes I have no idea what I was going to type. Sigh.  A day in the life.

I have nothing deep or profound to type.  No insights.  No words about poverty. I could type about our vacation we were blessed with, but even that seems to fall short at the moment.  We did break in to our ‘jar’ to help pay for it.  Who knew saving change for a year could add up??

I will write more when my back isn’t screaming.  Honestly, it hurts.  I can  hear the little boys down the hall watching a movie, so I’m going to shut the door and take a bath.  I can hear my name, “Miss Gail”, so I better go shut the door! Funny!  I love the little boys coming in.  I really do enjoy them.  I’ve loved reading to them, with the BookIt program, cooking and baking with them, even just watching them play on the little race track someone gave us.  However…  it’s almost 8 pm, Daryl’s out with the older boys for a prayer walk, and “Miss Gail” feels a bath would be in her best interest.


next time… next time…  and not in a month.


I will add this.  Our Amish friends called!  They want us to write when we’re coming in so they can have a meal ready for us.  Coolness.