January 10
Woke up to a temperature of 4 degrees outside this morning.  Brrrr!  It was our coldest day yet this winter with a high of only 10 late this afternoon.  I'm glad I didn't have anywhere to go.  Poor Tim had to work, so was outside in it all day.  I don't know how he can stand it.
       The kids helped me go through the house today and get it cleaned up and company ready.  I also did 
several loads of laundry and cooked a turkey dinner....complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn spoonbread and sweet potatoes.  We've gotten to be friends with a woman I work with and her husband, who was actually a good friend of Tim's in high school and we had them over for the first time.  We had a good time visiting and watching a movie together.  Helen and Dave's daughter, Danielle, is between our two in age and fit right in with them.  Teens around here are big on making everyday items out of duct tape and have been doing it for several years so we are used to it.  It was funny to see Danielle discover the coolness of this "art."  She had Matt make her a wallet like his.  It is a tri-fold complete with all the appropriate compartments and places for pictures and credit cards.....all out of duct tape.  I've seen kids make clothes and all kinds of things out of the stuff.  There is a web site, by 3M, I think where kids can enter in a contest to win a scholarship.  All they have to do is make their entire prom gown and tux out of duct tape!! (Duct Tape Fashion .Com has many inspirational ideas and tape in all colors for sale-it's not just the old grey stuff anymore) (Duck Brand Duct Tape  
Stuck @ Prom Scholarship Contest.)
January 11
Went to the hospital this afternoon to visit a woman from our church.  She has been in for over a week now with, as I understand it, an infection in her bloodstream.  She has been sedated, on a respirator and feeding tube for a few days and last night they downgraded her condition to critical and moved her to ICU.  She is 46, married to a blind man and has a 17 year old daughter and 13 year old son (who was in Children's hospital in Pittsburgh until yesterday with a liver infection).  It was so sad to see her like that and even tougher to see how scared the kids are.  The husband has an amazing faith in God and is handling it all with more grace than I'm sure I could muster in the same circumstances.

January 12
       I have been riding along with the regular drivers on their midday kindergarten routes learning them so I can be a sub when one of them needs a day off.  So far I have learned four and have two more to go.  Today I learned the easiest one and learned I will be subbing on it beginning Jan. 26.  The man the run belongs to has been out for quite a while with an injured leg and won't be back till some time in February.  Of the two people who have been sharing his route, one transferred to another school district and the other is done after Jan. 23 because she is a tax preparer and needs those midday hours for her clients.
       Lots of running tonight.  Tim worked late so it was up to me to get Matt and a couple of his friends to the high school for volleyball conditioning by 7:00.  That made me a few minutes late for a meeting at church.  The meeting wrapped up in time for me to get back to the school and pick the boys up at 9:00.  The roads had gotten icy while I was in the church so it was tricky driving.  Megan stayed with my mom and got some more help with her sewing.  Tim, thankfully, got home safe and early enough to get Megan and have her in bed on time.

January 13
I took Megan to her first 4-H club meeting tonight!  She chose a club that teaches crafts and domestic skills.  Tonight she made two simple fleece scarves and a pair of mittens.  Next week she will begin working on a wood stool that will be one of the projects she'll enter in the county fair this summer.  She's also decided to work on an embroidery project so we will have to head to the craft store this weekend to find a kit.  In March they will begin the section on sewing so they can have a project done in time for a county competition in June and again for the fair.  After that comes cooking.....again with the goal of entering something in the fair.  Megan is really excited about it and so am I.  It thrills me that she will learn all these craft skills that I never did.
       Tim worked late again so Mom picked Matt up from work for me so I could stay with Megan.

January 14
The weather got quite bad this evening and it was another long day for Tim so I had to ask my mom's husband to pick Matt up at work.  Mom was at the library.  She surprised us all by volunteering for a program to teach kids how to knit.  Megan didn't want to go when Mom mentioned it last week, but now she thinks maybe she'd like to.  I will have to ask Mom if she can still start.
       I made a crockpot of turkey noodle soup today.  Mm-mmm!  Sure was just the thing tonight, but poor Tim was so tired and sore that he didn't even eat any.  He just soaked in a hot bath and went to bed.

January 15
       What a yucky day!  The roads on my route were iffy this morning and I was a couple of minutes late getting to the school.  I'd rather be cautious than stuck.   Snowed some more when we were out on the afternoon runs.  I was glad to get back to the garage and park the bus.  Our school district has a four-day weekend.
       Leftover soup for supper tonight.  Tim got home a little earlier tonight and was able to take Matt to the funeral home in Derry.  A boy he knew from school, a senior, died this week.  He'd been huffing aerosol fumes and his mother found him slumped at the computer.  Sad.  His father died the same way in 1993.  Matt and some others had been talking with him for some time trying to get him to stop.  I hope that something good comes from the tragedy and that at least one teen stops.  Unfortunately, I know the odds are against that.
       Jeremy, the son of the woman we visited in the hospital on Sunday, came over to hang out for a while tonight and may come over again tomorrow.  I think he just needed to get out of the house and spend some normal time hanging out with friends.  There have been maybe a couple of tiny improvements with his mother, but she is still in critical condition.  They may try to wean her off the respirator tomorrow.  I hope they can.  They've tried two or three times before and couldn't do it.

January 16
       It's -2 this morning!!  The windchill makes it feel like it's about -30.  Now that is cold!  I would like nothing better than to stay warm and cozy in the house and enjoy my day off, but I have to drive to New Florence (over the mountain and about 40 minutes away), pick up Tim's sister and her boyfriend, drive them to the train station in Johnstown (over more mountains and on the news I can see it's even colder there) and then drive all the way back home.  Carol and Mark met through the internet and they seem to be quite happy.  This is the third or fourth time he's come to stay with her and I think this is the second time she's gone home with him.  He is wanting to move up here and live with her, but she lives in subsidized housing and they have to wait for Mark to be approved.  But trust me, after that.....there is a sofa, afghan and book calling my name.
       Hope you all are staying warm and enjoying these first weeks of 2004.

Carpe diem!