Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Fool’s Day 2015 was not a particularly good day.

April Fool’s Day 2015  was not a good day, but it could have been much worse.

I discovered a(nother) flat tire when I went to bike up for work.  (at least I didn't have it go out somewhere in the middle)

Ok, I have the option of driving to light rail and taking light rail to work.  My son, Benjamin,  however wanted to use the car, so he offered to drop me off and leave the car for me at the light rail station later.  

That was fine.  Except he called in the afternoon saying there were no parking spaces at my usual light rail station, plus he had another errand he was trying to figure out.  Well, he works on Bradshaw, so I told him he could leave the car at the light rail station at Bradshaw. That would give him a little more time to do what he needed to do and would only take me a few extra minutes.  As I rode light rail out and found myself at the Sunrise station quite a bit past Bradshaw, I realized that there had been no Bradshaw station.  WHERE was my car?  I called his work and was glad they actually put him on.  But I could hardly hear him because of the background noise at the restaurant.  Plus, I had asked my phone GPS for directions to Bradshaw and Folsom and the phone decided to start giving me audio directions in the middle of the phone call.  I barely heard “Butterfield” station.  I missed the train going back and had to wait for the next one.  Once at the Butterfield station, I had a little trouble finding my car, but (whew!) I did.  

 Naturally, I was late getting home.  Almost time to leave to drive for Andrew to do 11 Year Old Scouts.   Only because the car was not home when he got there, he thought Benjamin (who gets home LATE) still had it, so he cancelled Scouts.  Which made me feel a little like a failure.  

But hey!  That means maybe I could work on my bike (remember the flat tire) AND get a shower. 
Except we were completely out of milk.  Andrew started some potatoes for mashing and I went to the store.   When I am stressed / depressed, I want protein, particularly beef, and dream of steak.  Usually I resist, of course, and eat hamburger if I can.  But rib eye steak was “only” $5/lb, so I abandoned plans for hamburger patties and bought some steak and some asparagus.  It was going to be a good evening, after all.  

Well, naturally cooking dinner, even a simple one, took me longer than it should.  Finally we sat down to enjoy our meal.  Within minutes, Andrew was in trouble –a piece of meat stuck in his esophagus.  Fortunately, lower enough down that he could breathe and talk.  But he could not swallow or cough it up.  He struggled with it for quite a long time.  I was helpless to assist him, but had to stay in the same room just in case the situation changed dramatically.  When Joseph got home, I put him on Andrew watch and I took a shower.  By this time, Andrew was ready to admit that the situation was not going to resolve itself.  He called Kaiser and was instructed to come in to ER.  

We were pleased with how quickly he was taken from the waiting room to an ER room and everyone was very nice.  The ER doctor  (no, we did not see the relative of a future relative) called in a specialist – a Gastroenterologist – who, in due time, ran a scope down my son’s throat with the intent to either shove down or pull up the blockading meat.  Andrew’s esophagus rapidly becomes too small for the scope to go all the way down, but the doctor was able to pull out the meat.  They put Andrew under for the procedure an d he stayed under for a good long time, getting some rest while I waited and didn’t.  

It appears to be eosinophilic esophagitis.  His esophagus has ridges and  is smaller and more rigid than normal.  Threre are medications that may help.  He should mostly eat soft foods.  He should cut his (non-soft) food very, very small.

While we were in the ER we missed saying good-bye to Benjamin who left for Utah with his fiancĂ© and some friends.  I am not exactly sure when I see him next.  Sunday night? Monday?  That was a small disappointment.  No good-bye hug.

We eventually checked out sometime after 2am and were home a little after 2:30.  I had emailed my boss from the hospital saying I didn’t know when or if I would be in.  I turned off my alarm and  although I had trouble getting to sleep, I got about 3 hours before waking up to feed the dog and have family prayer.  I tried to go back to sleep, however I am not good at sleep on request (although it seems I can fall asleep almost anywhere, almost any hour when I should not and do not wish to).  Finally I came to work.

Bad news.  This throat thing is a chronic condition.  He loses Kaiser medical coverage through his dad on May 22 and he/we don’t know what we can get/afford.  I didn't fix my bike tire, either. But we should be able to work these things out. 

Good news.  Andrew lives and breathes -  with a positive and thankful attitude. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To Give or Not to Give, That is the Question

    Outside my office building right now is an attractive, friendly looking woman with a sign around her neck "Homeless. Please help.  I (Heart) Jesus."  She greets passers by in a pleasant voice, "Hi! do you support my right to ask for help?"
     Oh, the variety of conflicting feelings!
     She is not quite two blocks from the Employment Development Department and from the Personnel Board.  I wonder if she has gone inside there.  I didn't stop to ask or advise.  What if she doesn't know?  If so, I should have.  Maybe she has and checks back repeatedly.  Governmental wheels grind slowly.
     Maybe she looks for work every day.  It can be pretty tough.  And if you are homeless, how does an interested employer contact you? 
     Curious approach: Do you support my right to ask for help?"   For some reason I found it irritating.  Although, I suppose anyone has the right to ask for help. Of course, she wants financial support, not just theoretical.
      How much of the irritation was guilt?
      Guilty feelings.
      For being irritated which is not very Christian.  For teetering on judgmental, also not Christian.  And, of course, for not giving her any money.  On the way out, I had none.  I was on my way to deposit a check at the ATM.  Which, of course, meant that had I so chosen, I could have given her $20 on my way back.  Maybe I could afford to give one person $20, but I certainly cannot afford to give every beggar I see (or would you prefer petitioner?) $20.00!  I have to manage carefully to keep myself and household going.  ok, granted,  I am saving up to take myself and some of my children (who are also not frequent visitors to say the least!) to Disneyland next year. (Is it wrong to go to Disneyland, or the movies, or to buy ice cream when there are people going hungry?)
        So I am not impoverished. But if I gave to every beggar, I would be.  Soon I would be on the street myself.
      I console myself that I donate regularly to the charity I trust most to truly help people in need.  I donate to Fast Offering which specifically helps the hungry and those who might not be able to pay their utility bill or rent, etc.  In smaller amounts I donate to Humanitarian Aid, Perpetual Education, Temple Attendance and Missionary Funds.  I know that none of that money is wasted. 
      Sometimes we carry lunch bags in the car with a cracker/tuna package,plus maybe some raisins, perhaps a bottle of water, sometimes some hard candy.  Stuff like that. It varies.  Which we give to beggars on the street.  If they have a dog, we give them two.  I hear stories of rich people who make tons of money street begging.  But I know that real need exists, too.
      I am not a total grinch, but I am not much of a philanthropist. 
      How do you handle the charity question?  I do not find it an easy one.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Journey Through...

    Tonight we played a game I got for Christmas. "Journey Through Disneyland".  You need to travel through Disneyland, discovering and visiting Adventures, earning Fast Passes, and eventually leave before the park closes/the game is over.  Some things you can accomplish by yourself; some you can on your own, but it's often easier if you help each other; some things you must help each other to do.   Music is part of the game and certain music cues you to certain actions.  I am not ready for the full experience, so we only played with the music signalling time to start and time to be out.  You need to listen to and recognize the musical messages.   You only win if you all make it out on time. The better we work together the easier it is to get out but at the very end, you have to get out pretty much on your own.
     A lot like life.  Here we are with things to learn and trials to overcome.  Some we must do on our own, some we need to help each other.  We need to listen to and recognize the promptings of the Spirit.  As much as we can and should help each other, at the end it is up to each one of us to make it as individuals by accepting the atonement of Christ and following Him.  No one can just drag us through, it has to be our own choice.   The ultimate win will be to have a forever family return to Heavenly Father together and the better we work together the easier it is for each and all of us. 


Sometimes, exhausted
with toil and endeavour,
I wish I could sleep
for ever and ever;
but then this reflection
my longing allays:
I shall be doing it
one of these days.
-    Piet Hein

I keep thinking this.  And that I really wish I could properly observe napping day (today, March 9th, but no nap in sight).  But back on topic.  I don't think we will be sleeping forever. Or perhaps at all.  And that thought makes me tired, too.  Until I realize that our perfected bodies (WHAT will that be like? Maybe neither I nor anyone else will recognize me!) anyway, our perfected bodies will not get tired.  Oh, what a happy thought.  And as a lot of my emotional exhaustion is tied in to physical weariness and always feeling like I have too much too do or at least too little me to do it (big as I am), I don't think that (emotional exhaustion) will be a problem either.  Sounds like something to look forward to!!

For now, for exhaustion, I could try to get more and better sleep. ha ha.  And to think about happy things and things I am looking forward to. (bad grammar to end with a preposition, isn't it)  Positive attitude => positive energy.  And to try to give myself credit for what I do get done, try to look at my To Do list in bite-size pieces, and listen to music or something that makes me laugh - The Satellite Sisters.

Break is over, back to the salt mines.  So glad I don't really work in salt mines!!!  I <3 br="" california="" parks.="" state="">

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Is it a Sin to Play Games When I Should Be Sleeping?

     I have "Words on Tour" on my new smart phone which I enjoy, but which can also be a little bit obsessing as enjoyable and challenging things can sometimes be.
     I awoke in the night and knowing that today is No Alarm Clock Saturday, but also knowing that I seldom manage to sleep in much past my normal alarm time and often even wake up earlier, I still picked up my phone to play "for a few minutes." 
     You know that those few minutes can go on a little longer than intended or than we realize.  Also, electronic devices can wreck havoc with sleeping because their light or something affects our melatonin.   We are told to avoid screens time for  30 minute or an hour or so before bed.   R-i-g-h-t !  like books, you know the kind with paper (non-lit) pages) are safer!  How many hours of sleep have I lost to books??!!
       But back to the question.  Is it a sin?  It might be foolish.  Ok, it probably is foolish.  Is it a sin to be foolish?  It certainly is not god-like and supposedly we are trying to become more like God.
       What is sin?
       I asked my church.  That is I went to the website and typed the search "What is sin?".  "To commit sin is to willfully disobey God's commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17)."
        I almost felt relief.  Except we are commanded to take proper care of our bodies and " retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).
         Among the other answers to the question was this article which I find encouraging (not encouraging to play games at night, though)  "Sins and Mistakes"  Mistakes, even stupid mistakes (are there smart mistakes?) are not sins. (But when we know better it's not a mistake, right?) In this article,the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr is quoted as saying, “What many people call sin is not sin.” (Don't be so hard on others.  and probably yourself.  We are not authorized to judge others, anyway.)  That same article says, "A fool is a fool, not a sinner."
         Ok, honestly, I don't know if playing games when I should be sleeping is a "sin."  Not a great idea.  Certainly not the worst sin I need to worry about having committed (wouldn't that be nice!!).  But probably not a "sin".  Should I repent of it?   I don't suppose that it would hurt and I absolutely need practice at repenting.  Why we (that is to say I) do not repent is another topic worth considering (unfortunately often).
          However we are now heading to another question which is, "Is blithering on in my blog when I have more things to do than day (and energy) to do it a sin?"
          I am now going to go get some laundry started (unless someone has beat me to it).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

the cold and dark before dawn

     A few years ago while my sons attended an early morning religion class, my dog Anna and I joined a group of neighbors and their dogs in the park next to the church.  We noticed that each morning just before sunrise a wave of distinctively cooler air rolled through.  When there was a sudden chill the sun was about to rise.  If we would turn to the east, we would see the sun coming and soon we would feel it's warmth.  I don't think that it is always "darkest before the dawn," but my experience is that it might be coldest. 
       I think this is often true in our lives.  When things seem to be at their worst, if we will hold on with faith, we will soon receive deliverance.  When Joseph Smith Junior made his first effort at vocal prayer, he was assailed by horrific powers of darkness that nearly destroyed him.  He continued in prayer and the darkness was dispelled by heavenly light.  God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him.  Few of us get such manifestations, but smaller  no less wondrous  miracles and relief will come.
       We live in a world with much dark coldness.  The cruelty and evil that occur all too often in too many places fill me with sorrow.  There would be despair, but I know God lives and He knows what is going on.  Somehow it is wisdom in Him to allow it.  I cannot fathom it, but I trust in His greater perspective, wisdom, and love.  As the dark rolls over us, I remember the promise of dawn.  The Son will come.  May I be ready to greet Him with joy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord

    What does it mean to prepare the way of the Lord?  The way where?
    I think we must first prepare the way to our own heart. One of my sons mentioned briefly a discussion about preparing a road or pathway for nobility by removing stones and other obstacles and smoothing the path. What stones block the path to my heart? Fear? Of what? This is really silly. Fear of being exposed in my weaknesses? HE already knows and has promised to help strengthen me. Fear of punishment? Christ has taken the punishment upon Himself for me already. It is if I reject His gift and refuse to repent that I will suffer. Pride? Laziness? Selfishness? What is worth keeping as an obstacle to opening one's heart and life to Jesus Christ. Nothing.
    How can I prepare my way to the Lord? Learn of Him and His word. Read it. Pray about it. Live it, at least really try.
    There are moments when I do manage to clear a bit of the path.  In those moments there is joy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Family Day - The Irony

    Today is Family Day.
    First irony.  Family Day commemorates the day that I was sealed in marriage for all eternity in the temple of the Lord.  However, a sealing is not automatically forever valid.  A sealing is a covenant making between a man, a woman, and the Lord.  The Lord always holds up His end but the other two sometimes have problems. That's life.  Problems can usually be worked out.   My marriage ended in divorce.
     I still believe in temple marriage. It is a beautiful, true, eternal principle Perhaps someday I will be blessed to find a truly eternal companion and meet the requirements of sealing.  It's possible.
     I still believe in family.  I love and am very grateful for the beautiful family of children, children-in-law, and grandchildren with which I am blessed. 
     Second irony, I let myself get too busy and too tired to invite my children together for family day.  I know it's just a day we chose and designated.  (Actually I designated, which makes it even worse).  I can, should, and will invite my family together soon.  But I feel disappointed in me. 
     On the other hand, my sweet daughter-in-law remembered, understood, and invited my household to dinner after church today. 
     Today is a good day to remember to be grateful for your family and to express love to them.  Every day is a good day for that. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Terminal Trouble But I Got My Hug

         What a day!  Picking up my missionary proved to be a more of an adventure than expected.
          This a spoiler, but in case you don't read the whole story, I must warn you.  Check and DOUBLE check your missionary's itinerary. Don't just make sure you have read the information you were given correctly, but make sure that the information is current at the time of travel.  Contact Missionary Travel and confirm your missonary's flight itinerary.
         The sequences and timing may not be exactly right - things were crazy.
          The mission office forwarded Benjamin's itinerary to me the end of June.  I was so excited to get it and I made sure all my children had it, too.  Korean Airlines to Los Angeles, then American Airlines to Sacramento arriving at 2pm.  I checked the flight status repeatedly. Everything was good.
          We (my sons, Joseph and Andrew, and I) went to the airport, parked in economy parking, took the shuttle in, and were settled in to waiting by 1:30.  American Airlines Terminal B. Soon most of his siblings and I were waiting at the point beyond which only ticket people could go.  Watching eagerly as tram after tram arrived and emptied.  We checked the flight board.  On time.  We were sure he would be one of the last ones off - after helping others and waiting nicely, but still.....
         Then we heard a PA "Would the Robarts family please join their party at Terminal A information"  What?! Terminal A??!   Has Benjamin been waiting for us all this time at Terminal A?  How did we get different Terminals?!  So we dashed through the airport.  Up and down escalators, stairs, and elevators, through a parking garage, over  a sky way,  and breathlessly arrived at the Information Desk.  Where there was no Elder Robarts.  Someone asked who paged us. The information lady pointed - we thought at my ex-husband.  Why was he here at Terminal A when he was going to meet Benjamin, too?  Who cares? !  Now we were sure that Benjamin would finally arrive at Terminal B, but we would not be there.
         So, we dashed back!  Now, the fleet of foot hurried ahead of the pregnant sister and the old, slow mother.  I told them to hurry and to hug him!   One son went down to the baggage area to Scout around.  We got back to the nearly deserted tram stop, started down the escalator to the baggage area.  Halfway down one sister got a message from the brother that Benjamin was definitely NOT at baggage and neither was his luggage.  She and my grandchildren (her nieces and nephew) turned around and ran up the escalator.  I knew that was too much for me.  My pregnant daughter and I continued down.   I didn't see that the kids made it to the top of the escalator, but my daughter had to quit and ride back down, too.  (Don't worry there were at least one aunt and uncle at the top)
We scattered to different ways back up - another escalator, an elevator. We had people all over Terminal B.
         It was a little like The Amazing Race. Only less organized.
         Word came that Dad, my ex, had an itinerary a few weeks newer than mine which said Delta airlines Terminal A.  That flight was delayed.
          Well, my flight had come without Benjamin and his flight had not come yet.  His email was newer.  Drat!  I hate it when he's right and I'm wrong!  My daughter got through to Missionary Travel and confirmed that Elder Robarts' travel plans had been changed.  Then I realized.  Missionary Travel never had emailed me even though I had talked to them a few weeks before and made sure they had my email.  I had gotten mine from the mission office.  The mission office would not have cared about an update to the flight after the one they put the missionaries on.  Their job was done.  And they probably assumed that either I or Missionary Travel or both would have been more on top of things.
          The good news was that while the American flight was on time, the Delta flight was quite late and we had plenty of time to  go back up and down and over and through to Terminal A.
           A few minutes waiting and talking and then THERE HE WAS! coming down the escalator.   I think I yelled.  I know that we flew into each other's arms and that was one wonderful, long hug.
          Lots of hugs and pictures.  After politely waiting for family, Benjamin's very good friends Ben and Ahn and Ahn's little siblings (whom he loves) greeted him. So sweet!
           It's a good thing I had told the Stake Executive Secretary that a 4pm release appointment  was too quick to be sure we would be there on time.  Surprisingly after all that we were a bit early for the 4:30.  The whole family was there, but the Stake President only wanted Elder Robarts.
           The rest of the evening was sharing food and every body talking at once and the kids wanting to play with Uncle Benjamin and watching the video my son had taken as we ran through the airport back and forth. 
         He's home!  And pretty happy to be here, but not as happy as I am.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Never good enough.

     Do other people have this problem?  I am never good enough.  I never do enough.  For instance.  Last night on the way home,  I stopped at Wendys (those Frosty tags!)  I saw a man sitting outside.  Not by the door, not bothering anyone, not looking too mangy, but looking homeless or something.  I bought a Jr hamburger for me, value fries for the 3 of us, and got 6 free Frosties.  Then I added another Jr hamburger and another Frosty (which I think they charged me for because I forgot to show them that I was carrying 8 tags).  I asked the man if he was waiting for someone and he said yes.  I asked if he was hungry and he said, “Yes, I am.”  So I gave him one burger and one Frosty.  He told me that he had a bicycle accident and got a concussion. He was in the hospital for something like 17 days.  No one knew where he was, so his landlord evicted him. (Joseph said that does not sound legal and I think he is right) He had a bag with things donated by some church. He was grateful that it’s summer and not raining.  I expressed sympathy, but I left.  Joseph asked me if I had gotten any contact information but I didn’t think of it.  
      So, good points – I gave him a little food and kind words.  Bad points – nothing more to help him.  And it wasn’t much food. Not quite good enough.  What should I have done?  I am not sure.  I really don’t think I am up to bringing strangers home.