The November People

I also own slightly (highly) superstitious Celtic bones, and Cindy is a wonderful writer.

November wood

There’s something a little different about the month of November. I think (in my slightly superstitious Celtic bones) that it’s because it follows on the heels of Samhain, which we commonly call Halloween nowadays. Where I live I can’t kid myself that it’s autumn anymore, because the bones of winter are on full display, often without the soft covering of snow just yet. November is, undoubtedly, the ‘thin month’, when the veil between this world and that is stretched very thin.

I was walking in my neighbourhood park this morning, which is a large area bordered by forest. There are generally one or two other people there with their dogs even on chilly days, but this morning it was just me and my two dogs all alone.

Generally I love November’s palette—the greys and browns, the soft reds and blacks, the pewter of bare branches and the deep green glow…

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First day back to work….yay.

My first day back to work after being out for surgery and it’s such a cluster…you know what. First of all this morning, I walk into the Board Office which the Transportation office is moving into, but we’re only halfway done. So half of our stuff is in one building and the other half is in the other building. I don’t think we should be moving anyway because the mechanics already think they are kings of the  castle, and I can tell you that they are not. So, I walk into the board office and there’s a note on the door to go to the other building to pick up field trip forms and the keys. So I walk over to the other building and the first thing that happens, is Jason, pointing at me and saying “You! You!” and I’m like “What?” and he’s like “Your bus was the messiest bus I’ve ever seen.” And I was like “That mother…flipper was clean when I left” (I was out for surgery at the end of the school year so it was someone else’s responsibility to clean the bus for the end of the year). And he smiles and says “I know. Brandon obviously didn’t do anything at the end of the year. He just walked off the bus. There was actually garbage sticking up out of the seats.” So, he, Karen and I chat for a few minutes, with them welcoming me back and I’m like “Thank you, and look, the first words out of my mouth are mother…flipper,…jeez”, and I head inside to get my field trip form and key. I then head out to bus 63 and pre-trip the bus and proceed to Goddard school to pick up my students. That all goes swimmingly. I was fifteen minutes early, we got the coolers (filled with the students packed lunches) loaded on the bus and the kids got on, I drove them to the elementary school for the day, parked my bus and went home. I didn’t have to be back until 4:00pm to pick them up and take them back. I get to the bus lot at about 3:55, (It only takes 30 seconds to get from our parking lot to the one at the school where I pick the kids up so I would have still been early) and the first thing I notice is that the seat has been moved all the way back and the air had been let out of the seat. It’s an air seat, so it bounces up and down when you’re driving. Then, I reach for the keys and they’re not there. I’m like…what the heck? So I look in the pockets behind the seat and the cubby next to the seat, thinking that maybe they just hid them, so nobody would come and steal the bus. No go. Not there. So I walk up to the bus garage hoping that MAYBE someone is still there. No such luck. Not a car in sight. So I pull my phone out and start looking up phone numbers. Who to call? Cindy or Michele? I choose Michele. While I’m calling her I walk around the building thinking maybe they put the key in the mailbox, where we put the keys at the end of the day when everyone’s gone. Nope. No Key. Michele Answers and I tell her what’s happened. She says she’ll be right down. So I start meandering down towards the bus. Figuring she’s going to pull up to the garage, because that’s where the keys are, right? A few minutes later this small silver car pulls up in front of the board office and this blond lady gets out and goes into the board office, but I’ve never seen this person before in my life. After A little bit she starts heading down towards me and I say in my best customer service voice, “Can I help you?” She says that she’s looking for Michele (that’s me) and she has the key for bus 51. And I tell her that I need the key for bus 63. So we head back up to the board office and look at the wall where the keys are and the four keys for the four buses that are being used for field trips right now are not there (because they are up inside the other building like I thought in the first place!) So The lady (who turns out to be Michele’s daughter) hands me the phone & I tell her (the other Michele) that those keys are not down here they must be in the other building, and she says “Can’t you take another bus?” and I say “I can, but I don’t know which ones can be driven” (Because we are in the middle of summer and they are all being worked on and can’t necessarily be driven until they pass inspection). And she says “Just take one”. So I pick bus 56 and say the words to her “With your permission, I will take 56” And she says fine. We hang up, I tell her daughter thank you very much for coming down here, I run over to bus 63 and grab my purse, run over to 56, do the fastest pre-trip in history, and drive the 30 seconds over to the school to pick my kids up, 23 MINUTES LATE! Needless to say, the kids were nuts, the teachers were frazzled, the parents were waiting at Goddard when we got there, and I was furious. Quietly furious, but furious none the less. When I got back to the bus lot and parked the bus, I called Cindy (who is in charge of field trips) and told her what happened and she says, horrified, “You took 56? That bus is not supposed to be on the road.” And I told her that we didn’t know which bus to take and that Michele told me to take 56”. Ugh! I hate being late. I hate making someone wait for me. A couple of minutes is one thing, but 23 minutes is just not nice. So, because someone else screwed up, I get to look unprofessional. I’m still shaking, I’m so mad. But now that I’ve written this up I feel better. Sometimes you just need to get it off of your chest.

   Last year I bought this fabulous new camera

Last year I bought this fabulous new camera. A Nikon 5100. I love this camera. It takes fabulous photos. For the last 27 years I have been a portrait photographer, albeit, at a national portrait studio, for the majority of that time. The rest of the time, I was a stay at home mom, constantly following my kids around taking photos of them with this fantastic film camera that my mother in law gave me,  practicing the skills I had learned. Of course the camera and the studio was already set up for me so I never really got to learn the technicalities of the art.

So last year, I bought this fabulous new camera. I got the expensive one. I bought the one with all the bells and whistles. I have no clue how to use this damn thing. I get very frustrated. There are so many settings that I get overwhelmed. But I have a good eye. I like to photograph things. I see things that please my eye. I like to play with light and shadow. Just because I don’t know how to do the technical stuff with the camera, does that mean I am not a photographer? Just because I didn’t go to school and get my degree, does that mean I am not a photographer? Just because I have no clue how to use Photoshop, does that mean I am not a photographer? I don’t know to be honest with you.

I bought it because, I had folks asking me to photograph their kids, their grandkids, their families, their pets. So… I put the camera on my credit card thinking that I would start photographing all of these clients and my dream of being a portrait photographer in my own right, without the benefit of a studio would come to light. I hated the stupid rules that these businesses put on us. Now, most of them were for the companies good, which is fine. But a lot of them were stupid. They didn’t make any sense and I dreamed for years of doing my own thing. I KNEW how to run that studio. I didn’t need anyone looking over my shoulder.

After I bought the camera, I started networking. I started advertising, trying to build up a clientèle. I have the skills. I have ideas. I know how to photograph kids, and make them look fantastic. I know how to photograph a family and make them look fantastic. I can put a family group together in a shot and make sure everyone looks good. I LOVE to play with light and shadow.  I have been doing this for YEARS. But as soon as I bought this camera, nobody wants me to photograph their kids, or their family, or their pets. What the heck??? They’ll say things like…”Oh…you’re starting photography?”.  I guess it’s the mentality of a “mom with a camera”.

I was always the one they called to straighten a studio up if an employee was not doing their job. I was the one they called when a customer was unhappy. I was the one folks would wait for to photograph their kids because they loved me, bypassing the other photographer who was doing nothing.

Now? I have only photographed two kids since then. So here’s the deal…I start getting some clients in the next month or I am selling this camera. I have to pay off this credit card. I am determined to learn how to use this camera properly. I am determined to learn how to use photoshop. So there it is.

I once heard in a movie, Sister Act 2, Whoopi Goldberg told the young lady who wanted to be a singer, but was having doubts…”If you wake up in the morning thinking about singing, spend your day thinking about singing and go to sleep thinking about singing, then you’re a singer.” Well I wake up in the morning thinking about photography. I walk around thinking about photography. I look at things, people and places, wanting to photograph them. All. The. Time.

I think that this makes me a photographer. So what is in my life, that is blocking me from my dream? Whatever it is it needs to get the hell out of my way. I have a dream and I am bound and determined to follow through. Now… Who wants me to photograph their kids?

All of this happened in just a few minutes…

Let me tell you about my morning… So first of all I wake up about 7 minutes later than I wanted to. (you need to read this really fast because this is how I was feeling while this was going one :-))  No problem, I get up, get dressed, go out to the kitchen, make some coffee, go out to my van to start it, so it can warm up and my windshield can defrost because it was really cold this morning. Now I usually roll one of my windows down because my van will sometimes lock itself when I walk away from it. (automatic locks), but my windows were frozen closed and wouldn’t open, so I was like…oh, it’ll be ok… and shut the door and go inside. I take the dogs out, come back in, make a cup of coffee, grab my purse, go outside to leave for work, and “shit!” my car LOCKED ITSELF! Again! And of course I can’t get back into the house because I locked the doors on the way out. Now, I don’t want to just knock on the door because the dogs will go ballistic, and wake the whole house up with the maniacal barking, so I grab my phone to call the hubby to come unlock the door, and drop my phone, “NO!”, it hits the ground and the back pops off and the battery falls out. Grr, so I pick it up put it back together and turn it back on, and like a dummy I stand there waiting for my phone to boot back up so I can call the hubby, but it’s taking forever, so I finally walk around to the other side of the house and start tapping on the window of my bedroom with a stage whisper…”Gary, wake up, it’s your wife Michele. I need you to get up and come unlock the door, and let me in, because I’m locked out of the car and the house”. I hear him grumble …hmrrmhmh. Ok, so now my phone is up and running, so I call work and tell them I’m locked out of my car and the house but I’ve got it taken care of and I’ll be there in a few minutes and can they please send someone out to start bus (because otherwise I’d have to drive up to the building, get my key and drive back down, park my van THEN walk to my bus…this will save me about 3-4 minutes) They say yes. So then my hubby comes out, let’s me in, I go inside get his car keys, go out, unlock my van, go back in put his keys back, go back out, locking the doors as I go.  Wait! It’s not over yet…keep reading…

So now I’ drive the exactly 1 mile to work going about 60mph. The speed limit is 55, so don’t be calling in on me. Park my van, and I can see my bus is started, but the hood is open, and I’m thinking…”are they pre-tripping my bus?” I look around (paying attention to the fact that the engine is in there and running and hasn’t fallen out or anything) walk over to the door of the bus and see the Very new guy who’s a bit of a nervous nelly, standing by the steering wheel going through my folders, so I say… (I swear I didn’t mean to scare the shit outta this guy,…I thought I gave him a heart attack) DUANE! and he jumps in the air, completing a 180 turn and yelps, “is this your bus?” (I think he’s kinda scared of me, I don’t know why, I swear) I say, “yes,… thank you for starting it”, then I get on the bus, he says ” I checked your oil” I say ” ok,… thank you. Was it ok?” he says “do you want me to close the hood?” I say (thinking myself…he didn’t answer my question) “Yes, thank you”. He closes the hood and then just disappears. So I did the fastest pre-trip ever and leave on my route.

Well to make a long story short (LOL!) I was only 5 minutes late leaving the bus lot, but somehow managed to get to the Junior High right on time, and still managed to be shuttle bus #2.  You have to realize that I am a shuttle bus every day! It’s supposed to be the first 5 buses that get there are supposed to be a shuttle and take the 8th graders over to the high school, and SOMEHOW, even though I was 5 minutes late I was still a shuttle and number two on top of that.

So that’s my story, short and sweet, if I do say so myself.

Diary of a school bus driver. Day…? IDK, it’s October 24th

So my kids were eerily quiet this morning. All of them. Even the little ones. Last Thursday the bosses put a State Trooper on my bus for a ride along. Made MY day…Not! The kids (The little ones) were not very well behaved and I told them I was very disappointed in their behavior. Then on Friday, I brought in candy to pass out at the end of the day. I told my JH kids that they better not leave ANY GARBAGE on my bus or I would never give them candy again. They were very good. They policed the crap out of each other.Awesome!
They ate it all before we left school and cleaned up their mess. The LITTLE kids? They didn’t even get one piece. I was going to give them theirs when they each got off the bus. For one, because I did not trust them, to not leave garbage all over the bus, and 2? Because I knew they would eat it while I was driving down the road which is dangerous. But, they were not behaving themselves. Every time I looked in the mirror someone was out in the aisle, someone else was throwing stuff (broken pencils, crayons, paper, toys), they were yelling and screaming, wrestling, etc. So, I stopped the bus, turned the light on, which signals silence, which mostly works, and told them that I had brought candy to give them, but they were not behaving, and they were NOT getting any candy. I proceeded to tell them that I gave the big kids candy, because they were being good. Quite a few of them got off the bus and went straight into their mommy’s arms and I could tell that they were telling them how mean I was. I just waved and went on about my business.
I wonder if the exceptional behavior today was in the hopes that they would get that candy?
Hey, whatever works. 🙂

Day something or other. Hey! It’s Friday!

Fridays make me happy. 😀
Especially when we had Monday off. Of course, that just means my paycheck is gonna suck next week.

I so need a 3rd job so I can bring in more money. 2nd job sucks too. Well, I like doing it but it DOES NOT pay enough.

So the boss man said I had to leave earlier in the morning because I was getting to the JH too late. So I started leaving 6 minutes earlier and now I get there so early I get to be a shuttle bus, and take all the 8th graders over to the high school. Which means I’m hanging around for like 20 minutes with a bunch of 14 year olds.

I, like, SO turn into a 14 year old when I’m hanging out with them for 20 minutes. Gah!

Well hell, it keeps me young.

Not much happening. Unless I start telling you about Michael (a 2nd grader) spitting on other kids, or Blayne throwing a paper plane, or a jacket that went flying out the window at 55MPH.

Now THAT was a tiny bit scary, cuz when I saw those two sleeves of the nylon jacket hanging out the window right behind me, I thought it was a kid falling out of my window. Gad!

Very quickly I realized it was a jacket but my heart was pounding like crazy. Then it goes all the way out the window and gets hung up on my stop sign, and I,m thinking …

Holy crap! Where can I pull over to get that jacket off my stop sign?

But…it falls off by itself and I just kept going. The dump truck behind me was probably thinking Aw geez that crazy bus driver is losing a student out the window. Oh no. Just a jacket. Wait she’s not going to stop and get it? Nope? Well then, neither am I.

I am hoping for a nice quiet afternoon.

Pray for me please.

diary of a school bus driver day 20..conversations

7:09 am

Shuttle one is in place..

Shuttle 2 is in place…(this is me btw)

so is shuttle 3..
and shuttle four…

So is shuttle 5 or am I 4?

Bus 25 – 45 are you shuttle 4 or 5?

I’m not sure… I can’t see how many buses are up there.

Well I need to know so I know whether to be a shuttle or not…

Me – I’m the 2nd shuttle and bus 8 is behind me. Are you behind her?


Base – Bus 45 they are asking if you’re behind bus 8.

*something unintelligible*

*something else unintelligible*…

followed by a whole lotta nothing.

Bus 34 – I just went by and there are 5 buses lined up, so you all are good.

By this time I am getting frustrated. People need to Speak. Clearly.


Now I already have eight 8th graders on my bus so I know I can fit 40 more kids on my bus to take over to the other school.

Me – Bus 30 please tell me when you’re full.

Bus 30.

*Ugh nevermind.*

Kids start getting on my bus so I just have to assume he’s full. So I start counting kids. I get to aqbout 30 and the kids on the sidewalk decide I’m full, I didn’t tell them I was full, they just decided.

So I step off my bus and holler>>

hey! I can fit about 10 more kids on this bus.


So more kids come back to get on my bus and for some strange reason I’m overfull. Wth?

Just sit down somewhere.


So we go to the other school and while they’re getting off the bus I count them. Sure enough there are exactly 48 kids on my bus. I must have passed through some weird time/space thingie because they were sitting 3 to a seat. OR>>>SOMEONE was just hogging their seats.

I am going to try really hard to not get frustrated with people. Everyone’s talking to each other on the radios and nobody answers. It drives me nuts!

*just let it go M*

just let it go

I am so over it now!


Diary of a school bus driver Day 18


We pick up at the junior high and then head over to the high school to pick up the 8th graders. No high schoolers because of the levy issues.

Anyway The bell rings and the kids start streaming out of the school. Grades 5-7. They move pretty quick, but there are always stragglers, who like to stand around and chat their friends up. I give them til about 2:12, then I start my engine laughing maniacally because it’s fun to watch the kids scatter off the sidewalk like roaches when the lights come on. They are afraid to get left behind.

Now we head over to the high school. Same parking lot different school, just a hop, skip, and a jump.

We park in our specified spots and wait…and wait. The bell rings and nobody comes out. Then after about 5 minutes they start trickling out the doors.  I guess they think we have all day. But they don’t seem to understand that we (the drivers) are on a time schedule and have to be at another school once we get done dropping them off. I talked to my boss because the kids would come out and start ducking between the buses when we’re trying to leave. So the principal ( I am really starting to like this guy) started calling out on the radio for the drivers to start their engines, close their doors and LEAVE!


The kids are strolling to the buses, and we’re leaving them behind on the sidewalk. How else will they learn that they need to come straight to the bus not wander around in the school for 5 minutes, THEN decide to come out and wander around and chat with their friends,  and THEN decide to get on the bus.  Yesterday, I left one of my students on the sidewalk. I had to STOP my bus and put my brake back on for 2 girls who were late… C never got on… the principal is telling us to leave… so I left.

The kids on the bus are yelling…

Miss M! –  C is back there on the sidewalk!

I told them, –  but he’s not on the bus where he belongs. If he wants a ride, then he’ll come out and get on the bus.

I know, you may think this is mean but how else are they going to learn?  At this point, it is taking them OVER 7 minutes to come out and get on the bus. It should be closer to 3-4.

Needless to say he was not happy this morning, but he’s going to be even more unhappy if he doesn’t move his backside and get outside and GET ON THE BUS…ON TIME!!!

Mean busdriver.

Diary of a school bus driver Day-14

While waiting at the school yesterday afternoon, waiting to load…

E – Miss M! Miss M! Do you have any wipes?

Me – E, please go sit down.

E – But Miss M, I have arm pit juice on my hand.

Me – Wha?

E – I have J’s armpit juice on my hand.

Me – um eew.

E – Do you have any wipes, or hand sanitizer?

Me – Why do you have armpit juice on your hand?

E – I went to hive J a hug and got his sweaty armpit juice on my hand.

J – Miss M! E wiped armpit juice on me. 🙂

Me – No, I do not have any wipes. All I have is paper towels.

J- Here E. Use these paper towels.

E – No, those won’t clean it off. I need wipes.

Now she proceeds to wipe the arm pit juice on my sleeve, and arm.

E – here Miss M. I’ll share my armpit juice with you.

Me – *sigh* thank you E. Thank you very much. Now will you both go sit down and stop wiping arm pit juice on each other,…and on me… on on anyone else!

Kids. 🙂

Bird poo?

Bird poo?

See the tiny white dot? Bird poo? maybe. cleaned it up anyway.